Thursday, April 28, 2011

Honey White Cinnamon Chip Bread

This bread is one of my most favorite creations of late. It is sweet, and spicy, and yummy enough to slice up and eat as-is for breakfast.


You start by making these cinnamon chips ahead of time. They need to be completely cool and broken up before you can move on to the bread part of your day, so I make a big batch once every few weeks, and store them in a Mason jar in the cupboard.


Mix up a batch of your favorite bread, and knead in 1/3-1/2 cup of cinnamon chips. Allow to rise as usual, shape into a loaf, and bake.


Oh, and FYI? Sugar is hydroscopic…meaning that it sucks water out of its surroundings. (That’s the reason you can dump sugar on slice strawberries, and come back to a bowl full of smooshy berries and cups of juice.) Your bread dough will be able to handle a little extra flour, since it will get wetter as it rises.



Now, if you don’t have a favorite bread recipe, or are not sure it’s going to work in this instance, I’ll help you out.


Aunt LoLo’s Honey White Cinnamon Chip Bread


2 cups warm water

1 tbsp. yeast

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tsp. salt

6-7 cups flour (or 3 cups whole wheat and 3-4 cups white flour)

1/3-1/2 cup cinnamon chips



In the bowl of your mixer, combine your water, yeast and honey. When you can see your yeast foaming, add the olive oil, salt and  6 cups of flour. Add more flour, gradually, until the dough is pulling  away from the sides of the dough. Dump in your cinnamon chips and continue to knead until the chips are mixed in. Add more flour if you need it.


Remove your dough from the mixing bowl, spray the bowl with cooking spray, and put the dough back in. Turn to coat, cover with a damp towel, and place in a warm, draft-free area to rise.  When the dough has doubled in size, and can hold a dent when you poke it with two fingers, it is ready to divide. Divide in half.


To form your loaf, take one piece of the dough and pat, stretch and poke it into a long oblong (like a pizza crust) then roll it up tightly to form a loaf. Pinch the seam together, and tuck the ends under. Place it in a greased 9x5 loaf pan, and repeat with the other loaf. Allow to rise until the loaves are a little less than double their original size. While the loaves are rising in their pans, preheat your oven to 350. Bake for 30-38 minutes, or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it.*  Remove from the pan as soon as possible, and cool on a wire rack.


*Yes, you’ll need to pop a hot loaf out of a hot pan to tap on it, but it’s totally worth it. Nothing’s worse than cutting open your cooled bread and finding dough in the middle. The best way to do this is to pull one loaf pan out of the oven and shut the oven. Hold the pan with one hot-padded hand, and flip the bread into the other hot-padded hand. Set down the pan, remove the hot pad from that hand, and use your finger nail to tap the bottom of the bread. If it doesn’t sound hollow, pop the bread back into the pan, and stick it back in the oven. The whole process should take about 30 seconds, so the bread doesn’t cool down too much.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cinnamon Chips

I cannot take credit for this recipe. It’s floating around in various places, but it is always the same…so if anybody knows who to give credit to, let me know!

A few weeks ago, I stopped by a local bakery and picked up a few loaves of bread. Both were so good, that I set about to recreate them at home! 

One of the loaves was a white bread with cinnamon chips. They weren’t like the ones you can buy at the grocery store, though – the chips weren’t waxy, like cinnamon flavored chocolate chips. They were little crumbles of sugar and cinnamon. I believe they are available online from one or two specialty stores, and then…there was this one recipe. I modified it a bit – the original recipe called for teaspoons and tablespoons, and made enough filling for one loaf of bread. It took half an hour in a 250 degree oven, plus cooling time, and I just figured there had to be a faster way!
1. Combine ingredients in a skillet and mix with a fork. Cook until bubbly.
2. Pour onto a lined cookie sheet (greased tin foil, parchment paper and silicone liners are all great options here).
3. Allow to cool completely, then break it up into chunks.
4. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature. It will keep for several weeks.

I’m going to give this to you in “parts”. If you want enough for one loaf, substitute in “teaspoons” for “parts” (and remember that 3 tsp. = 1 Tbsp. That will save you some grief, trying to count to 9.) If you would like enough to fill a mason jar, and make closer to six loaves, then substitute “1/4 cup” for “parts.”
Cinnamon Chips:
2 parts corn syrup
2 parts shortening
3 parts cinnamon
9 parts sugar

Combine all ingredients in a skillet with a fork, and then cook over medium low heat until bubbly and gooey, stirring with a silicone spatula or similar. When the mixture is ready, pour it into a prepared (lined) cookie sheet and allow to cool completely. Break into small pieces and store in an airtight container. Will keep at room temperature for several weeks.

Mix it into your favorite white (or wheat!) bread to make this.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Potato Pancakes (i.e.–Easter Redux)

Edited to add: My father reminded me that these pancakes are also awesome with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives.

According to family tradition, this is my father’s absolute favorite way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. (Also, according to tradition…this recipe goes back to bachelor days, so we know it’s a goody!)

The biggest surprise was that the four year old ate it! The two year old had two bites, in exchange for two strawberries. (But he did finish all of his ketchup.) Eh – you win some, you lose some.
So, here you go – Easter on a plate!

Poppy’s Potato Pancakes
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cheese (I used swiss)
1/2 cup ham, cut into bite-size chunks
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl
Preheat a griddle over medium heat, with some canola oil.

In a bowl, combine all ingredients with a spoon. Use a small scoop to scoop out balls of the dough and put it on your pre-heated skillet. Cook until brown and toasty on the one side, then flip over and use a spatula to smash it into a patty shape. When the second side is golden, you might want to flip it back to the first side just to crisp it up.

Enjoy hot, with a little ketchup. Delish!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Rosy Posy Cake!


A sweet friend of mine turned 26 and, as everyone knows, that is an occasion that calls for CAKE. (Besides that fact, I was looking for nearly any excuse to bake another cake. I seem to have misplaced my Cake Mojo, and I want it back! The icing…is hiding a multitude of flaws.)


I followed the directions from here, and was pretty pleased with the results! I put on a “crumb layer” using some leftover pink buttercream from the freezer. Then, I made the roses using my usual chocolate frosting recipe, subbing in mint extract for half of the vanilla extract called for. Even with filling, and crumb coating, the cake in a separate frosting, one batch of icing was still not quite enough to do up this cake. Just a note for future reference.




Cake and frosting recipe here.

PS – I think part of my issue is my oven temperature…and the amount of baking soda the cake calls for. I used the King Arthur flour site to convert the cake measurements to weight, so I’m sure that I measured everything correctly. However, I don’t think I baked it long enough. The edges of the cake just crumbled off, and after I iced the cake and cut into it, the middle was like fudge. Not exactly what I was going for. So, next time…bake it longer, knock down the baking soda to 1 tsp. instead of 1 1/2, and add a smidge more salt, for more contrast with the super sweet icing.