I've been a long time reader of Alexandra Stafford's blog. In fact, we probably cook from it at least once a week. So when her book, Bread Toast Crumbs came out last month, it arrived in my mailbox with not a minute to spare. I've been wanting to be the type of person who bakes my own bread for a while now but unfortunately this whole grad school thing was not allowing that to happen. This cookbook has showed me otherwise. The recipes are simple and fairly quick and make me wonder why it's taken me so long to make homemade bread on a weekly basis because fresh out of the oven it's just such a game changer.
This bread is adapted from one in her book and it teeters on the line of being borderline too decadent. Creamy chocolate ganache with bursting juicy berries swirled together in a barely sweetened loaf that's all too unassuming until you cut it open and BAM - what dreams are made of. My dreams, at least. And somehow it's dairy and egg free. I seriously don't know how that happened but it wasn't hard at all.
Of course you could go ahead and use whole milk in the dough and butter in the ganache, but I've replaced them both with coconut milk to keep that fat content and creaminess factor high. Honestly, you'd never know the difference, plus that subtle coconut smell as you're mixing up the ganache is quite intoxicating.
So maybe make this for your mother on Sunday, maybe make it for yourself and eat the whole thing in 24 hours, maybe bring it to brunch. Either way, food is love, and everyone will love you.
Makes 1 loaf
Adapted from: Bread Toast Crumbs
For the Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour (384 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup boiling water + 1/4 cup room temp water
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
a knob of vegan butter* for greasing the pan
For the Filling:
3.5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespooons powdered sugar
1 scant cup of berries (I used strawberries + raspberries)
Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Whisk to combine. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk and water (both boiling & room temp). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry followed by the coconut oil. Use a rubber spatula to mix everything until it forms a cohesive dough. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
While the dough is rising make the ganache. Place the chocolate and coconut milk in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate begins to milk, then stir in the powdered sugar. Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted completely. Remove form heat and set aside to cool completely.
Grease a standard 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan generously with vegan butter. Once the dough has risen de-flat it with a fork and transfer it to a heavily floured work surface. With floured hands shape the dough into a ball (it should be very covered in flour at this point) and let sit for 20 minutes uncovered. Gentle shape the dough into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle (using either your hands or a rolling pin). Make sure you have plenty of flour underneath your rectangle so it doesn't stick to the surface. Spread the ganache all over the top of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on all sides. Top with berries. Roll the bread from short end to short end into a thick 10 inch log, seam side down. Take a deep breath (you've got this!) and transfer it your buttered loaf pan.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, while you let the dough rise for about 10 minutes until it just begins to crown the rim of the pan. Cook the bread for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and firm. Remove from the pan and turn onto its side to cool (I let it rest on 1 side for 10 minutes then the other side for 10 minutes) before cutting into it!
These are my favorite christmas cinnamon rolls adapted for summer. We made rhubarb compound butter last week and now I'm putting it to good use! The light coconut cream frosting and strawberry rhubarb filling makes these buns perfect for early summer!
Notes: Dough can be made ahead of time. Let it rise fully (2 hours, plus 20 minutes) then cover and refrigerate up to about 3 days. The rhubarb butter and frosting can also be made up to 3 days in advance.
Makes about 15
Adapted from: Flourishing Foodie
For the dough:
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon cane sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup water
For the filling:
1 cup rhubarb compound butter, softened
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled & diced
1 tablespoon arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the frosting:
1 batch coconut lemon frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer proof the yeast with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of warmed water. Set aside, after about 5 minutes the yeast should look puffy and bloomed.
In a medium bowl, mix together both flours, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl mix together the melted butter, egg and vanilla. Add 3/4 cup of water and the butter mixture to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Then with the stand mixer on low slowly add the flour mixture until the dough because integrated and sticks to the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl, with heavily floured hands knead it into a ball then place in a well oiled bowl in a warm area, covered for two hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the rhubarb butter and lemon coconut frosting if you haven't already. After two hours, punch the dough down then let sit for 20 additional minutes.
Prepare the filling by tossing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
On a well floured work space roll the dough out into a large rectangle (about 14 X 18 inches). Carefully spread on the rhubarb butter. Drain any liquid from the strawberry mixture then top the rhubarb butter with strawberries. Starting from the long end begin to roll the dough up into a tube. Carefully cut the tube into 15-16 equally thick rolls and place cut side down in an oiled 8x13 inch baking dish (I ran out of space and placed the last one in a ramekin). Let sit for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. Position one rack in the middle the second rack on the lowest rung. Fill a baking dish with water and place it on the low rack. Place the cinnamon rolls on the rack above and cook for 25 - 35 minutes until lightly browned and a skewer comes out clean.
Top with frosting and enjoy!
I'm in Chicago this week apartment hunting. We've got five days to find a live-able apartment in a safe neighborhood with the best kitchen a student's budget can buy. I'm praying for a gas range and natural light. No big deal.
On a more exciting note, I made hand pies! I love hand pies. They are cute, portable, and infinitely less fussy than regular pies. And these hand pies are no exception. They beg to be taken on a picnic somewhere sunny and cool and savored down to the last buttery bite. The flavors epitomize Spring meeting Summer with fresh juicy strawberries, bright green basil, and creamy mascarpone cheese. If you're unfamiliar with mascarpone it's like cream cheese's savory, more sophisticated Italian cousin. The three blend together beautifully in a flakey all-butter crust (my favorite part), providing a bite-sized, adult-version of the strawberry cream cheese pies you probably ate as a kid.
Did I mention they are also super fun to make? They have that charming hand-made, perfectly imperfect look with oozy strawberry juices coming out the sides and fork-crimped natural edges. It's been scientifically proven that it's impossible to be in a bad mood while making and eating hand pies. Don't believe me? Try it.
Strawberry, Basil + Mascarpone Hand Pies
adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes about 13 3.5-inch pies
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk (see notes)
For the mascarpone filling:
8 oz mascarpone, softened slightly
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons agave (or sweetener of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the strawberries:
1 pound strawberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon agave (or sweetener of your choice)
6-8 medium basil leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
a pinch of salt
1 egg, for egg wash
turbinado sugar, for topping
Make the dough. Cube the butter into 1/2 inch chunks then pop it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the cold butter chunks, and using your hands integrate the butter into the flour until the butter chunks are roughly the size of peas - some larger some smaller. Form a "well" in the middle of the flour/butter mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Using a fork, mix the edges of the flour mixture into the buttermilk. Keep going until everything is wet and just combine. Keep those butter chunks intact. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough into two disks, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days.
Prep the mascarpone mixture. With a rubber spatula combine all the ingredients until smooth.
Prep the strawberries. Dice the strawberries, discarding the stem and white insides. In a medium bowl toss the strawberries with lemon juice, zest, agave, basil leaves and salt.
Assemble the pies. In a small prep bowl whisk the egg. Working with 1 disc of dough at a time, on a floured work surface, roll out the pie crust until it's about 1/8 inch thick. Using a biscuit or pastry cutter, cut out circular disks (I used a 3.5 inch biscuit cutter).
Using a pastry brush, paint a 1-inch border around the edges of the disk with the egg wash. Scoop roughly 1 heaping tablespoon of the mascarpone mixture into the center of the disc followed by roughly the same amount of strawberry mixture. Lightly stretch a second disk then drape it over the strawberries and mascarpone. Using a fork, crimp the edges by pressing the top dough layer into the bottom. It's okay if the strawberry juices and mascarpone seep out the sides a little. Repeat with remaining pies.
Using a knife, cut small holes into the top of each pie for steam to release. Transfer prepared pies to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and pop the pies in the fridge to cool as the oven heats. Just before putting the pies in the oven, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cook for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.
Repeat with the second batch of dough. You can re-use the scraps, just pop them in the refrigerator for a couple minutes to harden up. You can also brush scraps with egg wash, top with sugar, and bake as pie crust "cookies".
- About the buttermilk. If you're like me and don't keep buttermilk around you can make your own by mixing 1/2 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon milk (of any kind, I actually used almond) then adding 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes. It will curdle slightly. Then you're good to go.
- The basil is totally optional and you might want to omit it if you have, say, picky kids. But in my humble opinion the basil is what makes these pies. It gives them a bright almost peppery surprise that pairs so well with the fresh strawberries.
- About re-using dough scrapes - know that the more you work the dough the tougher it will become.