breakfast quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

So the other day, I wandered into my pantry (which is just a glorified word for the never-ending chaos that is my utility room – it just happens to have shelves and is right next to the kitchen) looking for some crackers… and it became clear to me. I mean, I had to gingerly remove and stack jars of chickpeas and brown rice on the floor. All to get to a box of crackers that was hiding behind a 5 pound bag of flour. In a moment of pure clarity, I knew. I needed a pantry clean out.

(I mean, there was some mild cursing when I almost knocked over a jar of dried currants, but mostly it was a moment of very dignified contemplation.)

One of the things I am drowning in is COPIOUS amounts of quinoa. I think I have like, 2 pounds. Which is basically – since quinoa is not very heavy in the first place – like a barrel of quinoa. Sure, there are about a million recipes for quinoa salads out there, but that just wasn’t what I was feeling.

I had tried breakfast quinoa once before, but I wasn’t thoroughly satisfied. Previously I had used rice milk and it just… didn’t do anything for me. It was pretty darn tasteless, in fact. I used regular milk here, but by all means experiment with almond or soy milk if that’s more your thing, and let me know how it turns out. And of course, this is mostly just a base recipe; you can add whatever you have in your crazy, over-stuffed pantry: nuts of all kinds, dried fruit if you have some, honey or maple syrup drizzled on top… the sky is the limit.

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Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 2, easily halved

Gather: 
1 cup quinoa, rinsed until the water runs clear
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
yogurt, to serve
jam or fresh fruit, to serve
toasted almonds or pecans, to serve
turbinado sugar or honey, to serve

Prepare:
Bring quinoa, milk, water, and vanilla extract to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and scrape down sides. Cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Top with yogurt, jam or fresh fruit, nuts, and/or sugar or honey to your heart’s content.

Simple Seasonal Breakfast

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For the past two weeks or so, I’ve been having exactly this for breakfast – a bowl of plain yogurt with blood orange segments on top. I’ve been using homemade yogurt, which is super thick like I like it. After I segment the oranges, I like to squeeze the leftover membranes over top of the bowl, to get all the extra juice into my yogurt. It’s like a customized blood-orange-flavored yogurt, minus the horrible sugary taste you get with commercial yogurts. So, so tasty.

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And then there was the day that I ran out of blood oranges… so I used some frozen berries left over from last summer. I microwaved them for 30 seconds on half-power, and let all the juices mix in with the yogurt. Definitely the best way to start the day.

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The Love Language / Brittany’s Back

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Uncanny | Steel Cut Oats with a Jam Swirl

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Uncanny is a series in which I explore the different uses for jams and preserves that we put up during the summer. Because even though each jam you make is wonderful on its own, a veritable taste of summer in a jar… sometimes, you just get TIRED of eating summer on toast.

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Oatmeal wasn’t big in my house when I was growing up. I think grits were more of a constant presence. (We did grow up in Virginia, after all, Land of Buttered and Cheesy grits. Lula will agree with me. REPRESENT.)

But, I have recently come around to oatmeal. Remember how I wrote two days ago that if we didn’t get snow for 2 more weeks than we would break a record here in Denver? Well, nevermind, because we got our first snowfall today. Major fail, in my opinion. When it snows, it gets all cold and all wet, and people forget how to drive, as if 3 snowflakes in the air impedes their ability to drive whatsoever, and then it ends up taking me an hour to drive to the grocery store which is all of 10 blocks away which sends me into a not-so-nice mood and there’s lots of cursing and obscene hand gestures and honking and my father on the phone telling me “he wasn’t aware I had that kind of mouth.”

So yeah… snow sucks.

Basically, it’s cold and it’s wet and you know what coldness and wetness calls for? (Other than puppy hugs, that is?)

Hot, warm breakfast cereals. Like oatmeal.

This isn’t some earth-shattering revelation of how to use up jam. This is the Kitchenette blog, not the Kitchenette Think Tank, of course. But, I think the picture above is so yummy-looking that it deserved a blog post. For the record, I like my oatmeal made with steel-cut oats; the texture is a lot more pleasing than the rolled oats I bake with so often. Furthermore, I like my oatmeal topped with a dollop of cold, tangy, plain yogurt, and then swirled with some hot jam. I microwave my jam for 20-30 seconds until it’s really runny, because it mixes in better when it’s hot, than it does with it’s straight from the fridge and gloopy and all that.

This morning I made mine with some cinnamon-scented blackberry jelly, but you could use whatever preserves you have around.

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Steel-Cut Oats with a Jam Swirl

Adapted from Alton Brown
Serves 2 really hungry breakfast-ers

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Gather:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups boiling water
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
plain whole-milk yogurt, for serving
1/4 cup jam (your choice of flavor)

Prepare:

In a large saucepot, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast. Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes, without stirring. Add the milk, and stir gently to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Meanwhile, spoon your jam into a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until the jam is hot and runny. Spoon oatmeal into a serving bowl and top with yogurt and hot jam. Swirl if desired before serving immediately.

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Other Uncanny Ideas from Around the Interwebz:

In a pan sauce to accompany turkey or chickenA small dollop of sweet preserves makes a delicious sauce for juicy, roasted chicken or turkey. (via Local Kitchen)

In a spicy dipping sauce for sweet potato fries - A spoonful of jam creates a sweet fruity note for extra spicy dipping sauce! (via Food in Jars)

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Dinosaur Bones / Royalty

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October Daring Bakers | Chocolate-Glazed Espresso Doughnuts

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The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

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I was so excited to see that the challenge was doughnuts, since I have had a particular recipe from Martha Stewart in mind since before I got married… waaaaaay back in September 2007. I saw this recipe in a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine issue, one of the MANY wedding magazines I acquired in the process of planning the best party of my life our wedding. Her Holiness of All Things Domestic suggested serving these doughnuts as a midnight snack along with coffee. What a cute idea! I thought. Eventually we ended up scrapping the idea of a midnight snack, but these doughnuts earned a permanent spot in the back of my mind from then on.

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I was so enamored of the idea of an espresso glaze for doughnuts, but I had some cocoa in my cabinets and thought that would be an excellent addition. I mean, really… why WOULDN’T you add chocolate to coffee?

I thought these were a great deviation from your standard Krispy Kreme, sugar overload, diabeetus diabetes-on-a-plate fried ring of dough. The dough itself, when fried, doesn’t taste very sweet at all. In fact, if you like a sweeter doughnut, I would suggest adding another few tablespoons sugar to the batter. But with the addition of a dripping coat of chocolatey glaze, these are really sent over the top. They’re not sweet like what you’ll find at your grocery store or at a bakery, but instead, the espresso and cocoa really stands out. They’re rich in flavor, not rich in sugar… it’s almost savory in a way. I mean, to make a long story short, they taste like the delicious bastard child of a mocha latte and a doughnut. They’re just.that.good.

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Chocolate-Glazed Espresso Doughnuts

Adapted from Martha Stewart Weddings
Makes about 2 dozen

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Gather:
1 cup warm milk (about 60 degrees F)
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1 large egg
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup  (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder, divided
vegetable oil, for frying
Chocolate-Espresso Glaze, see recipe below

Prepare:
Whisk together the milk and yeast in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl, and let stand 5 minutes until foamy. Add egg, sugar, bread flour, pastry flour, and salt. Mix on medium speed until dough comes together, about 6 minutes. Add butter and 1 teaspoon espresso powder; mix on medium-high speed until combined, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Raise speed to high, and mix until dough forms a smooth ball, about 1 minute more.

Reduce speed to low. Add remaining 5 teaspoons espresso powder, and mix until just combined. Shape dough into a smooth ball; cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out rounds with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter. Using a 3/4-inch round cutter, cut out center of each round. Gather together scraps, reroll, and cut out. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cover with a dry kitchen towel. Let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 20 to 25 minutes.

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a heavy stockpot until it registers 360 degrees Fahrenheit on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches of 4 to 6, fry doughnuts, flipping once, until golden brown, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon or kitchen tongs, transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with paper towels. (Adjust heat between batches as necessary to keep oil at a steady temperature.) Let cool 10 minutes before glazing.

Whisk glaze. Dip each warm doughnut into glaze, turning to coat completely. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with parchment; let glaze set, about 20 minutes. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment until ready to serve (up to 8 hours).

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Chocolate-Espresso Glaze

Gather:
2 sticks unsalted butter
2  1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup unsweeted cocoa
1/3 cup brewed espresso, chilled

Prepare:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the sugar and cocoa, then whisk in the brewed espresso. Remove from heat, and let sit for 10 minutes or until thickened.

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The Black Keys / Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be

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Uncanny | Streusel-Topped Jam Bars

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So even though I’m very happy with my jams this year, and I’m sure all of the jam you canned was like, superfreakingdelicious and all that, but sometimes, you just get TIRED of eating jam on toast, or a bagel, or a piece of cardboard (if you’re dieting). I will be the first one to admit, I ate my weight in jam on toast for May through July. But eventually the monotonous texture started to get to me… and after a while I wanted something different.

Thus the inspiration for a series on the blog, entitled Uncanny (extra points to my sister-in-law Amy for suggesting that title!)

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I wanted to do things for this series that could be easily adapted to whatever preserves you have in your canned goods pantry. I used a jar of my blueberry-cinnamon-vanilla jam, but you should use whatever you have around. Hey, you could even make this with store-bought jam, although I’m not sure it will bring the mouth-gasms like the home-canned preserves do. Adapt this recipe to whatever jam/jelly/conserve you want, whether it be blueberry, raspberry, peach, apple… I could go on. Feel free to spice up your jam before you spread it on the crust… I stirred in a 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, just to punch up the fresh flavor of my blueberry-cinnamon-vanilla jam.

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The recipe itself is very adaptable, too. If you want, add some pecans and throw them on top with the streusel. Add a thin layer of shredded unsweetened coconut onto the crumb topping before spreading your jam. If the amount of butter offends your health sensibilities (clearly I have no sense, so this isn’t a problem for me) then compensate by adding some wheat germ into the crumb layer. You could even switch out the flours, maybe substitute a cup of almond flour for one of the cups of all-purpose flour. My point is, it’s a very adaptable recipe! Have fun with it!

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Streusel-Topped Jam Bars

Inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Peach Shortbread
Makes 18 bars

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Gather:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into cubes
1 large egg
1  (8 ounce) jar of jam, jelly, or preserves
1/2 cup rolled oats

Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Prepare a 9 inch x 13 inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. Add sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt to a food processor bowl and pulse a few times to combine; alternatively, whisk together in a medium bowl.

Add the butter and pulse about 10 times until the crumbs are the size of peas; add the egg and pulse until combined. (No food processor? How do you live? Use a pastry blender, a fork, or two knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture.) Press 2/3 of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan, pressing firmly. Pour the jam onto the crumb base, and spread using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

Add the 1/2 cup rolled oats to the remaining crumb mixture, and stir to combine. Sprinkle the oatmeal mixture over the jam layer. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn brown. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

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Cory Chisel / Home in the Woods (Live) lovely guitar-pickin’ and gravelly male voice pairs wonderfully with these jam bars

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Espresso-Laced Chewy Granola Bars

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I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect granola bar for the past… five, six months? I like loose granola just fine in my yogurt, but I wanted a chewy, not rock-hard, not-too-sweet granola bar. I wanted it to be full of oats and nuts, but I wasn’t so enamored of the idea of a granola bar full of dried fruit. And I finally found it, through multiple Google searches, which finally led me to 101 Cookbooks’ Big Sur Power Bars. I should have known that Heidi would have exactly what I was looking for, being the harbinger of great, whole-foods-based vegetarian recipes, that she is.

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I made these to take with me to Austin City Limits last weekend, but unfortunately, you’re not supposed to take any food into the festival grounds. (Ugh, stupidest rule ever.) The original recipe calls for twice as much brown rice syrup as below, which yielded a very sticky bar, too sticky for me. For the second batch, I halved the amount of brown rice syrup, but kept everything else the same. The result is a nutty, sweet (but not cloyingly so), chewy-but-not-sticky granola bar. I joked to B about these being the rolled oats-version of a cup of coffee, but unless you’re super sensitive to caffeine, I doubt these will affect you much. The espresso is a great unexpected upgrade on flavor, though, which is all it’s there for in the first place. The brown rice cereal and the oats have great interplaying textures, too, so you get the whole crispiness associated with a Rice Krispy bar, but it’s still chewy and hearty from the oats, coconut, and nuts.

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The recipe definitely introduced some new ingredients for me. I had never used brown rice syrup before, and at first I didn’t know where to look for it (it’s in the baking aisle next to honey, at least at my grocery store). The brown rice cereal was even harder to locate, but I found it in the Whole Foods cereal aisle. If you can’t find the brown rice cereal, then just use Rice Krispies.

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Oh, and just let me point out… for all the hard work we do around Case de Kitchenette… making fresh pasta, canning whole tomatoes, and making butter from scratch… this recipe doesn’t require any cooking at all. Unless you count toasting the coconut and nuts. (Which you could skip if you are suffering from Terrified-of-the-Oven Syndrome.)

Can I get a hell yeah for easy recipes?

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Espresso-Laced Chewy Granola Bars

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Makes 12 bars

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Gather:
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup (unsweetened) shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup turbinado or light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons ground espresso beans
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups rolled oats (not instant oatmeal)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal

Prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub a baking sheet with coconut oil or butter. Toss pecans, almonds, and coconut on baking sheet, and cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Keep a good eye on the nuts and coconut, tossing a few times if necessary, to make sure the nuts down burn.

Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with parchment paper.

Combine the rice syrup, sugar, salt, espresso, and vanilla in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the toasted nuts and coconut with the rolled oats and rice cereal in a large mixing bowl. Pour the brown rice syrup mixture over the rolled oat mixture, adding in batches, and stirring in between additions of syrup.

Spread the sticky granola mixture into the parchment-lined baking pan. Let sit until cooled and stiff, about 2 hours. Cut into pieces as small or large as you like.

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Surfer Blood / Floating Vibes

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NFMW 2010 Day Six: Peach Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

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After the “strata fail” (as Kate coined it in the comments, best. description. ever) I was bound and determined to make something that I would be willing to eat for breakfast for the rest of the week.

Enter the Foster’s Market Cookbook, which was a gift from my dear sister-in-law Amy. (Amy and I have basically come to the conclusion that we’re going to tell each other what kitchen stuff we want, and then buy them for each other under the guise of birthday/anniversary/Christmas presents. Sister-in-laws are super useful like that.) It’s pretty much food porn, bound into hardcover. And it’s got a foreword written by the Great and All Powerful Martha Stewart, High Priestess of Successful Cookbooks, so you know the recipes are clutch. I think I marked every recipe in the ENTIRE FREAKING BOOK to try. Including, but not limited to, the first recipe for streusel muffins.

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I really don’t understand why we don’t just sprinkle streusel on everything. It’s the ultimate combination of butter, sugar, and nuts! Panera has the right idea – they have that damn cinnamon streusel bagel. I misinterpreted it this entire time, though. I thought it was The Devil’s Bagel because I wanted to eat 5 at a time. I think really, we should be eating streusel-covered breakfast pastries. IT’S WHAT GOD INTENDED.

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Modifications made: I didn’t have a full 1 1/2 cups sour cream, so I used a cup of sour cream, and a 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese instead. Oops! I put the ricotta, sour cream, eggs, butter, and vanilla through my blender before I folded in the peaches… just to make sure there where no lumps from the ricotta or butter. The next time I’ll make them with all sour cream to see what the “original” texture should be like, but I doubt it really made a difference.

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Suggestions for next time: I didn’t peel the peaches before chopping them; next time I will make sure they’re peeled beforehand. The peel turned almost green around the edges in the baked muffins. It was an immediate reaction, so probably a result of the peach peel reacting to something in the batter. But definitely unsightly.

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Peach Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

Adapted from The Foster’s Market Cookbook
Makes 12-15 muffins

Gather:

Pecan Streusel Topping
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped peaches (about 3 peaches)

Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and spray the entire tin with nonstick cooking spray.

For the streusel topping, combine the pecans, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and softened butter in a medium-sized bowl, and mix until well-blended. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice in a medium bowl.  In a separate (large) bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, sour cream, and vanilla. Fold in the chopped peaches.

Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture, just until the flour is moistened. Do not overmix the batter. (Small pockets of flour are okay here.)

Spoon the battter into the prepared muffin pan. The batter should come to the top of the paper liner or pan. Spoon the streusel topping over the batter, and press lightly with the back of a spoon so that the topping adheres to the batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve immediately for best crunchy topping. Otherwise, store in an airtight container.

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Jaill / New Noise

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NFMW 2010 Day Three: Swiss Chard Breakfast Strata

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I always promised myself that I wouldn’t be one of those bloggers who only posts her successes in the kitchen. I seriously dislike it when it seems that every dish a blog is 100% perfect, with no room for improvement in the ingredients or preparation… no “Hey, I effed up this recipe, it tasted not so wonderful and I really didn’t want to eat it.” Because although those blogs inspire me with their constant perfection, they also make my screw-ups feel ten times worse in comparison. Like I’m the only blogger in the world who makes mistakes.

Well EFF THAT.

This, my friends, is ONE OF MY MISTAKES. In a long line of mistakes. Trust.

Lately, I’ve had this idea that it would be really cool to do a series of strata posts. Strata, as in the breakfast casserole made with eggs and milk and stale bread and delicious vegetables. People are always asking me what to make for their family brunch/Mother’s Day breakfast/teacher’s breakfast party, and I always recommend strata. It’s super easy to make and you can make it with practically anything you have in your fridge.

In fact, I’m 100% positive that my friend Sarah made strata for our Business Communications Brunch senior year of college. I’m 95% positive I was the one who suggested she make strata for the brunch. I’m 80% positive I really liked the strata she made that day.

I’m 100% positive I don’t want to eat any more of this strata.

Here’s the “recipe,” if you’re feeling masochistic:

Basically, I sauteed 1 onion in a little bit of butter, blanched 1 bunch of swiss chard, and toasted about 3 cups of bread cubes in the oven. I whisked 2 cups of whole milk and 6 eggs and 1 tablespoon of mustard (along with some salt and pepper) in a bowl. I layered the toasted bread, onions, and chard in a 9×9 baking dish, and poured the custard overtop. I let it sit overnight, and then in the morning I sprinkled 1/2 cup of goat cheese over the top, and baked it for 45 minutes.

My beef with the strata was that the soft custard-y (is that a word?) bread grossed me out. (I have big problems with texture, people. Perhaps I will like overly-soft things when I have no teeth, but that won’t be for approximately 70 years.)

Fortunately, Mr. Kitchenette seems to like it… which only confirms my belief that he will eat anything I put in front of him. Which is really fine with me, because he never complains. 50 husband points to Mr. K.

I want to say that I’ll try making strata again… I really want to like it. Do you have a favorite recipe that I should try?

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Atlas Sound / Walkabout (feat. Noah Lennox)Noah Lennox is the man known as Panda Bear, which I’m also obsessed with, and basically I’m coming to the conclusion that everything he touches turns to gold.

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Traditional Cream Scones

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Apparently, I’m quite picky about my scones. Until this recipe, I had yet to find one scone I really liked. Who knew?

The Starbucks scones are too sweet. And who wants a pumpkin-flavored scone in July? There’s another local coffee shop here in Denver called Dazbog, but their scones are too dry for my tastes. Plus, there’s always the cost factor – I’m somewhat hard-pressed to pay $2.50 for a dry, overly sweet scone.

I think my problem was that I had only tried flavored scones up until now. And let me tell you, this “plain” scone is anything but unflavored. Made with the simplest of ingredients, it’s the perfect canvas for whatever jam, jelly, or honey  you might have lying around the house (I had mine with strawberry jam), but they’re awesome by themselves as well. These are tender thanks to very little handling in the mixing process, so they don’t get hard as a rock in storage (as long as you keep them in a sealed container, of course).

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These are best when right out of the oven, but they still taste pretty freaking amazing 5 days later… I speak from experience.

Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that these are brushed with melted butter and dusted with sugar right before baking. How could this be wrong?

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Traditional Cream Scones

Adapted from :pastry studio:

Yields 8 scones

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Gather:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted
sugar to sprinkle over top

Prepare:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. Add the cream, stirring until just combined. (Do not worry if there is a small bit of flour at the bottom of the bowl. Best to sacrifice one tablespoon of flour than to ruin the tenderness of the biscuits by trying to pick it up into the dough.) Dump the dough onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Gently mold the dough into a 9-inch circle. Dust a pastry cutter or knife with flour, and cut the circle into 8 equal pieces. Use a spatula or pastry cutter to gently separate the scones so that they can bake without touching each other. Brush each scone with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 13 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Serve immediately, or cool and store in a sealed container.

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Now Playing: Best Coast  /  Boyfriend

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Monkey Bread(s)

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I know some of you might be reading this, being all “WTF is monkey bread? Has she gone off her rocker?” Or perhaps, for the food bloggers who are reading this, you’re all, “WAY TO JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON, woman!” because monkey bread is the latest recipe darling of the food blog world, or so it seems.

I’m getting the impression that most people haven’t heard of monkey bread before… at least if they didn’t grow up in the South. I grew up in Virginia, but my mother is from North Carolina, and even better, a pretty small town in North Carolina. She’s been making monkey bread for my brother and I since we were wee little kids, using refridgerated biscuit dough. Once I was old enough to pop open the cans of Pillsbury biscuits myself, I was making monkey bread as often as she would let me. My group of friends and me even made it at 5 am the Sunday morning after prom… it was that popular of a dish among my friends (mostly because my mom would make it when they came over, she spoiled them like that).

If you ever wondered how many teenagers it takes to make monkey bread after they haven’t slept for 24 hours… it’s about six. And it still takes them two hours to do it.

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Now that I’ve gotten over my fear of making doughs from scratch, I decided it was time to attempt monkey bread from scratch instead of falling back on the refrigerated dough. I haven’t had the Pillsbury biscuit dough in… 3 years? So I can’t say that I can really taste the difference between a scratch dough and the refrigerated biscuit dough. But you know, I made it from scratch… therefore it HAS TO BE BETTER. It’s like, a law or something.

Plus… this recipe contains 1.5 sticks of butter. Not as much as you’d see in a Paula Deen recipe… but still pretty good.

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Monkey Bread(s)

Adapted from a Kitchenette Family Recipe

Makes 15 muffins or 1 bundt pan (Serves 12)

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Gather:

For the dough
2 3/4 cups bread flour (plus more for kneading)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (active dry or instant)
3/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

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Prepare:
About an hour before preparing the dough, set out 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 egg to come to room temperature.

Alternatively, if you need to heat them up in a hurry because you didn’t read the directions beforehand (this has never happened to me… never ever ever) you can warm the butter by filling a drinking glass with very hot tap water, let sit for 15 seconds, then empty the glass and cover the butter with the overturned glass for 5 minutes. Warm the egg to room temp by setting the egg in a jar/bowl filled with warm water (not hot water, it will cook the egg) for 3 minutes (it helps to submerge the egg beneath the surface). Repeat with gradually hotter water for 3 minutes at a time until the egg no longer feels cold to the touch.

Combine 1 1/2 cups of the bread flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixture; whisk to combine. In a separate small bowl, whisk the yeast into the warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy (see what foamy yeast looks like here and remember if yours doesn’t foam, your yeast may be expired). Whisk in the room temperature butter and the egg into the yeast mixture. Add the butter-egg-yeast mixture into the stand mixture bowl (or large bowl) containing the flour mixture. Combine by either mixing on high for 1 minute with the mixer’s paddle attachment, or using a wooden spoon and your own arm muscles until the dough comes together, approximately 1-2 minutes. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by hand until it is smooth, springy, and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Butter the inside of a large bowl. Add the dough to the buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth; let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add muffin liners to two muffin pans.

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Combine 1 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix well. Punch down the dough once or twice and use scissors to cut off pieces of dough, about the size of your thumb. Drop the pieces of dough into the cinnamon sugar and toss until well-coated. Add 5 to 6 pieces of dough to each muffin liner (dough pieces should reach the top of the muffin tin). Once all muffin tins are filled, add approximately 1 tablespoon of pecans on top of each monkey bread.

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Combine the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the brown sugar has dissolved into the melted butter. Drizzle approximately 1 tablespoon of butter/sugar mixture onto each monkey bread. Bake breads at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, or until the top of the muffins are caramelized and crispy.

Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately.

NOTE: This recipe makes enough for a bundt pan of monkey bread as well, which is the original incarnation of monkey bread. If using a bundt pan, add the pecans to the pan first, then the pieces of dough, then drizzle the butter/sugar mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes and invert onto a platter to serve.

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Now Playing: Local Natives / Sticky Thread

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