Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing ItI’ll admit it, one of the main reasons I’m writing this post is so next year, when I’m craving a perfect pumpkin bar, I’ll know exactly where to look.  But that doesn’t mean they’re not for you, too.  They make an excellent dessert alternative for Thanksgiving.  I like pumpkin bars that are thick– I have no time for those weak, thin and flimsy ones. I suppose one could even say that this is more a pumpkin cake, but the fact that I swoop into the pan and eat this treat with my hands, makes me comfortable with the bar title.

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing It

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing ItOne of things that makes these bars stand out is the use of virgin coconut oil.  I try to swap out vegetable or canola oil whenever I can.  I find the smell and taste of those to be somewhat off-putting.  And aside from the better flavor, coconut oil is much healthier.  Both the coconut oil and the pumpkin make these bars stay moist for days and days.  The maple cream cheese frosting is the perfect way to top them.

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing It

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing It

These bars would be fantastic on your Thanksgiving table for those guests who aren’t into pie so much.  They can be left in a regular cake pan, or to fancy things up a bit, put them on a festive platter.  Using parchment paper in the pan makes them really easy to lift out.  However you decide to serve them, I know your friends and family are going to love them.  Enjoy!

Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Relishing It

The Recipe: Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

(makes a 9 x 13 pan)

2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup coconut oil, melted, then cooled a bit

4 eggs, room temperature

1 15- ounce can plain pumpkin purée

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Frosting:

3 cups confectioners sugar (about 12 ounces), sifted

8 ounce package of cream cheese (full fat)

1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

toasted walnuts, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper (let enough hang over the edges to be able to grasp and lift the cake out with) and coat with non-stick cooking spray (if wanting to remove from pan in one large piece) or just grease pan with coconut oil, butter, or spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer (or using a regular bowl and wooden spoon) fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the coconut oil and sugars together until blended well.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until somewhat creamy, 3 minutes or so.  Then add the pumpkin puree and blend until uniform.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top of the wet and use a spatula to fold everything until moistened, (this will prevent a big cloud of flour from landing on your countertop), then using the paddle attachment again mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.  Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer (or a hand mixer, or wooden spoon) mix all of the ingredients together, except the confectioners sugar, until smooth and creamy. Then add the sifted confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.

Remove cake from pan once it has cooled, if desired.  Or frost it in the pan. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts, if you like.  Keeps well for days covered at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!



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Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

With Thanksgiving just a week away, I imagine you’re knee-deep in recipe ideas.  Well here’s one more.  No, it’s not a dish or dessert for the big meal, but rather something quick and delectable to pull together when your overnight guests wake in the morning.  Something that will make them feel warm and cozy and loved.  These pumpkin scones are fantastic, and you’d do well to remember that I’m very fussy about my scones. Too hard– forget it. Too dry– kick them to the curb. But those ones that are just right– firm on the outside and flakey on the inside– well, I could devour a whole pan. These fit into that just right, or rather “perfect” category.

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

So, through the years of playing around with different scone recipes, I’ve learned that one thing is the key.  And I’ve shared this before, but it’s so important that I’ll emphasize it again.  Use grated frozen butter.  Always use grated frozen butter.  In fact– use grated frozen butter for most baked goods– pie crusts and biscuits included.  Keeping the dough completely cold is the key to it’s flakiness.   It’s so simple to grab a stick of butter from the freezer on a whim and whip these up. Aside from the convenience, grated butter means that you don’t have to work as hard to incorporate it into the flour.  It’s already in tiny pea-sized pieces.  I’ve found that using my hands works best. Toss it around a bit and then mix in the wet ingredients with a fork or spatula. The less you work with scone dough, the better they’ll turn out.

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Keep in mind that all of the flour does not need to be fully incorporated– it’s ok if your dough has a bit of flour on the top– in fact it’ll be easier this way. This dough is more wet than my usual scone recipe because of the pumpkin.  So be sure to sprinkle a bit of flour on your hands before you pat it out into a circle and cut it into wedges. Because it’s a wetter dough, freezing them on the pan for 15 minutes before they bake is also important to help them keep their shape.  These scones have all the autumnal spices you’d expect and taste amazing with a hot cup of coffee.  I love the addition of maple and nutmeg into the icing.  It adds character.  I hope these scones find their way onto your kitchen table one of these cold, snowy mornings.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

The Recipe: Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing

(makes 6-8)

For the Scones:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup plain canned pumpkin (Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin is my favorite brand)

1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt

3 eggs, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter, coarsely grated

turbinado or demerara sugar for sprinkling

For the Icing:

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

about 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

pinch of salt (this is important– it will enhance the flavor of the icing, so don’t be stingy)

roasted salted hazelnuts, for topping (almonds, pistachios, or walnuts would work, too)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon.

In a medium-sized bowl mix together the brown sugar, pumpkin, yogurt, 2 eggs, and vanilla.

In a small bowl, use a fork to mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water, the the egg wash.

Coarsely grate the butter using the largest holes on a box grater.  Work quickly, so the ingredients stay cold.  Mix the butter into the flour mixture using your fingertips.  You want the butter to be coated with the flour.  Work quickly.  Then, using a fork or spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the butter/flour mixture. Do not over-mix.  It’s ok to see specks of flour that haven’t been fully incorporated.  Sprinkle countertop with flour, as well as your hands. The dough will be sticky. Place dough on the counter and pat into a 6-inch round circle. Use a bench knife or a chef’s knife to cut into 6-8 wedges.  Place the wedges on the lined baking sheet and put into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove from freezer and apply egg wash with a pastry brush.  Then sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until they feel set in the middle and they have developed a beautiful deep golden color. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

To make the Icing: Whisk all of the ingredients together until creamy.  Add more cream, if need be.  Dollop the icing onto the scones and smooth out.  Top with salted roasted hazelnuts, or your nut of choice.  Store leftovers in an airtight container, but they are best if eaten the first day.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!


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Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

I’ve been on a reading tear lately, and it’s just what I needed.  Usually it feels like my mind never gets a chance to focus on one thing, or to just contemplate.  I’m constantly jumping from topic to topic, and though technology certainly contributes to this, in the end the responsbility is mine.  So I’ve slowed down a bit and decided to concentrate on a few good books.  It’s the perfect cure for all of the multi-tasking that seems to take up my day. In the past, I’ve often had a hard time jumping into another book right after reaching the end of a good one.  It was like I went through a period of mourning.  I’m done doing that.  I’m diving right back into the next one, and thankfully I’ve been getting some great recommendations with the help of friends.   But, I’d like more!  Please share with me any must-reads.

Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

Why am I going off about books right now?  Well actually, because these amazing chocolate cinnamon rolls were the result of one of my last reads.  The book was ‘The Storyteller’ by Jodi Picoult.  It takes place partially in present day and partially during World War II.  It’s a wonderful read.  The recipe is the one the father (a baker) would lovingly make for his daughter.  After reading about the delicious description of the bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon twirled together into a soft roll, I couldn’t get them out of my mind.  Luckily for me, there was a recipe at the end of the book.  So I made them.

Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing ItBittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing ItBittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

I’m so glad that I did, because my kids absolutely loved them.  And chocolate and bread are a perfect combination.  This has been a family favorite for some time.  These rolls are about to earn the same title.  These are a perfect chocolate cinnamon combination, with neither overpowering the other.  You may be tempted to chop more chocolate, but don’t.  This amount was spot on.  I can already imagine snowy winter weekend mornings with the smell of these bittersweet cinnamon rolls wafting through the air, as I sip my coffee and read another incredible book.  That is until my kids shout “Mommy!”, and need something.  Hope you enjoy the rolls!

Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing ItBittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls | Relishing It

The Recipe: Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 cup warm milk, (I used whole) (110°F)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup plus a pinch, granulated sugar, divided

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 large egg yolk

2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces), plus extra

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, divided, plus more for pan

1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cinnamon

coarse sugar (such as turbinado or demerara)

powdered sugar to sprinkle

Pour the milk into a small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Whisk. Let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk.  Whisk the egg mixture and the yeast mixture together. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a bowl and wooden spoon), combine the flour and salt. Add the egg mixture and beat on low until most of the flour is incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low adding 1 tablespoon of butter at a time until 3 tablespoons of the butter are incorporated. You will knead the dough for about 10 minutes.  You may need to stop the machine and remove the dough from around the hook to make sure everything is getting properly incorporated along the way.  The dough will be sticky.

Place the dough in a large buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a dishtowel.  Set in a warm, draft-free place to rise until the dough doubles in size.  About 1 hour. The length of time will depend upon how warm your area is.

Prepare the filling by using a fork to mix the chocolate, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Add the remaining 3 tablespoon of butter and use the fork to combine. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Once the dough has double, roll it out into a 16 x 12 rectangle on a well-floured surface.  Sprinkle filling over the dough and roll into a log.  You may need to trim the jagged end of the log slightly. Cut the log into 9 equal pieces. Place into a 8 x 8 buttered pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for about 20 minutes.

When the rolls have risen slightly, remove the plastic wrap and mix the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water.  Gently apply the egg wash to the rolls using a pastry brush then sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon or more of coarse sugar.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown and the center feels set. Cool on a wire rack and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar on top.


Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!






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Rhubarb Cardamom Custard Pie | Relishing It

The last official day of school has arrived for my little ones, and I’m emotionally all over the place.  My first thought is that I cannot believe another year has slipped through my hands.  The daily hustle-and-bustle clouds how much time is passing, and suddenly the school year is over.  Aanen will be a second grader, while Aria will be a full-time kindergartender– no more half days with my little girl at home.  Ugh…  My second thought is a little less melancholy and a lot more pressing.  What on earth am I going to do to entertain these children all summer long?!  I have a few ideas circling in my head– and I’m sure we’ll have a wonderful time– but still the concern is there.  Swimming, biking, basketball, reading, exploring, and more kid-assisted baking, I’m sure.

Rhubarb Cardamom Custard Pie | Relishing It

Rhubarb Cardamom Custard Pie | Relishing It

Speaking of baking (how’s that for a transition?) the weather has been a bit cooler, so I made this pie especially for my hubby (you all remember his favorite Sour Cream Apple Pie, right?)  This pie is a variation of that masterpiece.  And though I made the pie for him, I did my fair share of helping him eat it.  I’m usually fairly disciplined when it comes to baked goods and I try not to over-indulge.  Apparently this pie was the breaking point and soon I was eating pie for breakfast, followed up with pie for a snack.  I’ll be sure to not make it again for a long time, as apparently I can’t say no to it.

Rhubarb Cardamom Custard Pie | Relishing It

Cardamom and rhubarb is one of my favorite fruit-and-spice combinations.  If you haven’t tried it, do so.  Add more cardamom for a stronger flavor, if you prefer.  I wanted it to be ever-so-subtle, as I really relish the pure taste of rhubarb and I didn’t want that to be lost.  One important factor is to serve the pie cold from the refrigerator.  It’s just so much better that way.  The crust holds up beautifully and still remains flakey and crisp.  It will last for days when covered lightly with plastic wrap.  Enjoy the heck out of this one, friends.

Rhubarb Cardamom Custard Pie | Relishing It

Rhubarb Cardamom Custard Pie | Relishing It

The Recipe: Rhubarb Cardamom Custard Pie

Use 1/2 of this All Butter Pie Crust recipe

For the Rhubarb Cardamom Custard Filling:

1 cup full-fat sour cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 egg

3 cardamom pods– seeds finely ground using a mortar and pestle (outer shells discarded) or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 cups chopped rhubarb,  cut into about 1/4-inch thick pieces

For the Crumble:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

Follow the recipe and instructions  from this recipe to prepare the pie dough.  You will only use 1/2 of the amount.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

To Make the Crumble Topping:  In a small bowl, stir the dry ingredients together with a  fork.  Then, using that fork, cut the butter into the mixture until it’s crumbly and everything is incorporated into the butter.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To Make the Rhubarb Cardamom Custard Filling:  Beat together the first 6 ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until smooth.  Then stir in the rhubarb.  Set aside.

Shape the pie dough into a 9-inch pie plate.  Pour the rhubarb cardamom custard filling into the pie.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Then reduce heat to 350°F  and bake for another 30 minutes.  Remove pie from oven and add the crumble mixture evenly to the top of the pie.  Return to oven and increase the heat to 400°F and bake for 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.  This pie is best served cold and will keep for days.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!







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Rhubarb and Strawberry Galette | Relishing It

If you’re a regular visitor to my little corner of the internet, today’s recipe will come as no surprise.  But for those of you new to Relishing It, witness my obsession with galettes. Sweet or savory, I love a good galette.  They’re so versitile, tasty, and just gorgeous.  Since we’re rolling right into Spring/Summer and there’s so much wonderful fruit, that means that we are rolling right into galette season, too.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Galette | Relishing It

Rhubarb and Strawberry Galette | Relishing It

I spent the better part of a recent rainy afternoon stocking my freezer with homemade pie dough, so I have it at the ready whenever I get the inclination to whip up a galette.  Having the pie dough at my disposal makes things a bit easier.  Not that making it is difficult– it isn’t.  It takes less than 5  minutes to make a batch of pie dough.  No lie.  And the galette itself is almost foolproof.  Even the imperfections give it a rustic look that I love.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Galette | Relishing It

Rhubarb and Strawberry Galette | Relishing It

Being a food blogger, there is a certain amount of self-promotion on social media that you have to do in order to tell people that “Hey, I wrote a post and it’s worth reading”.   It’s something that in the beginning of blogging feels silly and awkward and then 3 years later, you don’t give it another thought.  It’s all part of the process and I get that.  You want to convey how wonderful and delicious something is, without sounding like a grand-standing braggert.  So, with this in mind– when I tell you I make killer galettes, I mean it.  Really.  They are so damn good that I wish I could eat one everyday for every meal.  There I said it.  I’m a braggert now.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Galette | Relishing It

The key is the crust. It’s buttery and flakey…. and buttery. Did I mention that it’s buttery? It has a wonderful crunch and the right amount of tenderness.  And it comes out perfect every single time. No guess work. Just follow the recipe and directions. Use frozen, grated butter– it never disappoints. In this version I wanted to use some delicious Spring rhubarb.  I generally am a straight-up rhubarb gal, but my family loves strawberry with it.  They work well together.  I made sure to not sweeten it too much, as I still love the tartness from the rhubarb.  I think this galette reaches the perfect balance.  Not cloyingly sweet, and not too tart.  Perfection.  Give it a try for yourself and make sure to share.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Galette | Relishing It

The Recipe: Rhubarb and Strawberry Galette

1/2 of this recipe for All Butter Pie Crust

1 cup diced red rhubarb

1 cup diced fresh strawberries

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon corn starch

pinch of kosher salt

1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash

2 tablespoons turbinado or demerara sugar, for sprinkling (or any coarse sugar)

Follow the recipe and directions for the All Butter Pie Crust.  You will only use half of the recipe, but make the entire amount.  The other half will keep in the freezer until you are ready to use it.  Thaw in the refrigerator the night before use.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F.  Place the oven rack in the middle position.  Have a baking sheet ready for the galette.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the rhubarb, strawberries, cornstarch, sugar, and pinch of salt together until everything is coated.  Set aside.

Lightly sprinkle flour on a piece of parchment paper that will fit onto your baking sheet.  On a flat surface, place the dough in the center and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out to 12-inches.  Pour the fruit mixture into the center of the dough.  Flatten the mixture a bit with your hands.  Fold up about 1 1/2-inches of the dough around the edge.  Make sure to pinch the seams together along the way.  Then use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash.  Sprinkle with turbinado or demerara sugar.  Place the galette and parchment paper onto the baking sheet and into the oven.  Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the liquid bubbles a bit.  You may see some liquid run from the galette during the baking process if the seams didn’t get adequately sealed.  Don’t worry, it’ll turn out just fine.  Let cool before cutting into it.  Simply cover leftovers with a dishtowel, if there are any.  Enjoy!

A few other galettes you may enjoy:  Sour Cherry Galette, Blueberry Galette, Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut and Beef Galette, and Rustic Apple Galette

Thanks for visiting today– have a great weekend!




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Apple Challah via Relishing It

Despite the frigid weather, we survived this week’s arctic blast here in Minnesota.  And while I managed to get out-and-about a couple of times, much of the long weekend was spent tidying up the house and pre-Spring cleaning.  By January our home is so cluttered with Christmas toys, winter gear, and heaping piles of kindergarten projects that it’s almost unbearable.  So we bought more toy shelves (I really need to have a garage sale this Spring), organized the important school work, and re-arranged a few rooms.  And somehow, once everything was in order, it felt like we’d uncovered two new rooms.  Now I can finally think clearly again!

Apples for Apple Challah via Relishing It

Diced apples for Apple Challah via Relishing It

Aside from the re-organization and playing countless games of Munchkin and Memory with the little ones, I also managed to squeeze in a little baking.  It was a nice way to help warm the house when the windchill dropped to -30°F.  This apple challah turned out perfectly.  One of my favorite things to play around with in the kitchen is bread made with yeast.  I’m fascinated by how yeast grows and changes, creating such interesting flavor.  Baking bread takes patience and planning, but not a lot of work.  And the aroma of freshly baked bread, alone, is worth the small effort.

Challah dough stuffed with apples via Relishing It

Challah stuffed with apples via Relishing It

Apple Challah ready to bake via Relishing It

If you have reservations about working with yeast, just relax and start with something simple.  This apple challah is a nice entry point.  You basically shove everything into a pan and bake it up.  But the results are a magical, tender, rustic-looking bread.  This one isn’t overly sweet– it’s amazing flavors come from the apples, honey, and cinnamon.  One of my favorite characteristics of this challah is the nice ‘crunch’ provided by sprinkling turbinado sugar on top.  The crust is best on the day it’s baked, since it tends to soften over time in a sealed container.  Even so, it keeps well for several days, and the inside stays soft and moist.  Enjoy it drizzled with a bit of honey and a nice cup of hot coffee.

Apple Challah via Relishing It

Apple Challah via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Apple Challah

For the Dough:

4 cups (20 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour  (see note)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

6 tablespoons canola oil

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup honey

1 package instant yeast  (2 1/4 teaspoons)

1/2 cup luke-warm water (between 100-110°F)

For the Filling:

3 smallish apples, diced into 3/4-inch chunks with the skin on

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Glaze:

1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Note: The recipe from King Arthur called for 4 cups of flour.  I generally assume that 1 cup of all-purpose flour weighs 5 ounces.  So, I added 20 ounces of flour to this recipe.  King Arthur called for 4 cups of flour, but stated 17 ounces as their weight measurement.  I did feel the dough was a bit stiffer than I was accustomed to working with, but the outcome was absolutely perfect.  It was a soft and tender bread that was sublime.  I think it’s safe to say that anything between 17-20 ounces would work here, though I haven’t tried the 17 ounce version first-hand.  Can you tell that I love my scale? 

In a bowl of a stand mixer (the recipe can also be done by hand, of course), mix the yeast, honey, and water together until it is dissolved.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes, or until it begins to get a bit foamy.

Add the remaining ingredients for the dough to the yeast mixture and slowly mix using the paddle attachment until the dough just comes together.  Remove the paddle attachment and add the dough hook.  Knead the dough for a few minutes until it is soft and smooth.  Place the dough in a slightly oiled large bowl and cover it with a dishtowel or lightly greased plastic wrap.  Allow to rise for about 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Lightly grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2-inches deep.  Mix the apple filling ingredients together in a bowl.

Gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface.  Roll the dough out into a 8 x 10-inch rectangle.  Place the apples on the dough in two 10-inch rows near the center of the dough.  Fold each side over the row of apples closest to it.  Pushing down as you go to seal it.  Using a sharp knife, cut the dough down the center, and then across 8 times.  You should end up with 16 pieces of dough.  Hopefully the photographs will help with a visual.  Place the pieces of dough into the prepared pan so they create a single layer.  Tuck any apples that have fallen out into the mixture.

Cover the challah with a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap.  Allow to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s about 2-inches high.

Preheat the oven to 325°F toward the end of rising time.  Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle heavily with turbinado sugar (or any coarse sugar).  Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the top is a beautiful golden brown.  Some of the higher pieces may get dark brown, and that’s ok.  The dough needs to bake all the way through in the middle, so be patient.  Remove challah from oven and after 5 minutes loosen the edges and transfer it to a rack.  Serve hot or cold, preferably with a drizzle of honey.  Keeps well for days in a covered container.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Thanks so much for stopping by!  xo


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The leaves have been tumbling down for the last couple of weeks here.  It seems that even after several hours of weekend raking– or what Radd calls ‘the worst possible way to spend an afternoon’– we wake on Monday morning to a blanketed backyard.  I don’t mind it so much.  Having a huge, majestic tree makes it worthwhile.  In the Spring, I love seeing the new green leaves come in. It also protects us from the brutal afternoon Summer sun while the kids play in the backyard through July and August.  And for a few all-to-brief weeks in October, I get to enjoy the transformation of leaves from deep green to brilliant yellow and orange.  Then they fall.  And they keep falling.  I’ll take it though, even if it means we have to rake our tails off for a few days every October.

Speaking of October, I’m still hooked on those delicious, tart apples, so I thought I’d throw together an apple dessert.  This Double Apple Bundt cake is one of my favorite styles.  It’s dense, moist, and fuss-free.  To be honest, I actually find most bundt cakes to be better the day after they’re made.  It’s as if they’ve had a chance to consolidate, or come together a bit more…it’s hard to explain, but there’s just more substance the day after baking.  Aside from having fantastic flavors, this cake is also a great make-ahead dessert.

This cake has a BIG apple flavor.  It combines a double-shot of grated apples and either apple butter or apple sauce.  I’ve made it both ways, and they’re equally good.  The addition of toasted walnuts and white raisins provide nice texture, though neither is overpowering.  I’m not a huge raisin fan, but they really work here.  I also added whole grains and cut back on the sugar and butter.   Make this cake– with a cup of coffee, it tastes like Fall.

The Recipe:  Double Apple Bundt Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour (substitute all-purpose, if necessary)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter  (8 tablespoons)

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1 cup apple butter or applesauce

2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and grated

1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

1/2 cup plump golden raisins  (regular will work, too)

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting, optional

For the Icing

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

about 2 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9-to-10-inch (12 cup) Bundt pan.  Dust pan with flour if it’s not non-stick.

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and the sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes.  Scrape the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the apple butter or sauce — your batter will look curdled.  Add the grated apples and mix to completely blend.  Add the dry ingredients  and mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and raisins.

Pour mixture into the prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top.  Do not place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before unfolding and cooling the cake to room temperature.  If you can stand it — cover the cake overnight with either plastic wrap or a cake dome and let sit at room temperature.  This will allow the flavors to meld and the texture of the cake will be wonderful.

Make the icing by combining the confectioners’ sugar and some of the orange juice into a bowl.  Slowly add more of the juice until you get your desired consistency to drizzle on the cake.  Ice the cake and allow a few minutes to dry before slicing into it.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours

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