Saturday, January 31, 2015

Red Velvet Shortbread

One of the best things about attending the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) trade show is getting to see friends...and new products.  Susan Balfour of Katy Sue Designs has been a friend and over the last few years, she has been designing molds for use in baking and clay.  She's given several molds to form fondant in and place on cupcakes, but this year she expanded to some mat molds.
I loved these entwined sweet hearts, which she gifted to me to try with my baking...and I did. I used my favorite shortbread recipe and keep in mine a cookie that has no leavening is what you'd want to use.

Red Velvet is certainly a "Southern" thing--Adams Extract, a Texas company, is credited with bringing red velvet cake to American kitchens.  I've created lots of recipes with Red Velvet, so why not shortbread.

Red Velvet Shortbread
1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar (icing sugar) + extra for dusting the mold
1 T Red Velvet flavoring or red food coloring
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 T Dutch-processed Cocoa
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour (plain flour)

Preheat oven to 325F-degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter thoroughly.  Add the confectioners' sugar and cream again.  Add the Red Velvet flavoring (or food coloring) and vanilla and mix again.

Add the flour and cocoa and mix just until combined.  Form the dough into two disks and roll out between parchment paper.
Roll out to 3/8-inch thick between the parchment.  Remove the top sheet of parchment, dust the mold with additional confectioners' sugar, tap to remove the excess, and place on the dough.  Using your rolling pin to impress the image.
I used a 3-inch square cookie cutter to cut the dough, then transferred it to the baking sheet.  I also, used a skewer to add some "air holes" to ensure thorough baking.
I also scored a diagonal line across the cookie because I wanted the end result to be triangles. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, these Red Velvet cookies and a sweet card are sure to impress your loved ones.  Enjoy!
One of my new lines--CountryScapes!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Barb's Dilly Bread

I'm so proud of my sister; she created this bread on Sunday and couldn't wait to share the recipe with me.  Often hesitant about working with yeast, I think she surprised herself how perfectly this turned out and we laughed after I said, "see, you did get the bread gene!"

Herb breads are one of my favorites to make because of the flavor they add to an ordinary sandwich.  The first time I had a really good herb bread was in the early 80s when I made a trip to California with my mom and dad to visit an older brother.  We had lunch at a little cafe in Benicia (which was actually the first capital of California) and I ordered their Veggie Sandwich on Herb Bread--delicious.

My sister's Dilly Bread reminded me of that bread and I couldn't wait to try baking a loaf yesterday.  Interestingly, most of the recipes, she found, called for cottage cheese and as they say, "necessity is the mother of invention", she came up with combining sour cream and buttermilk to substitute.  Also, she had the advantage of fresh dill because of a Christmas present her hubby gave her--an AeroGarden.  I have one, but it's still packed and I'm afraid the three kittens would be munching on the greens:-( So, I substituted dried, but I'll give the measurement for both since this summer, I will certainly be planting herbs on the patio.

Barb's Dilly Bread
1 T King Arthur Flour Gold Instant Yeast (or any dry you have on hand)
1/4 cup warm water (about 105-110F-degrees)
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
Mix these ingredients in a 1-cup glass measure and proof for 5-7 minutes.
It should appear bubbly if you have active yeast!

In another glass measure, warm 1/2 cup sour cream with 1/2 cup buttermilk in the microwave oven--about 30 seconds.

In a stand mixer, using the dough hook, add the following:
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Bread flour
2 T granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1T softened, unsalted butter
2T dried minced onion
2 T fresh dill, snipped (or 2 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. salt (I used a new salt developed especially for bread baking)
Combine those ingredients, then add the proofed yeast and the sour cream/buttermilk.  Allow the mixer to knead the dough about 5 minutes or until the dough comes together away from the sides of the bowl.  If you need to add more water and/or flour, do so a tablespoon at a time to achieve a smooth dough.
Place the dough into a greased or lightly oiled bowl, right side down, then turn right side up to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled, about 45 minutes.  
 Punch down the dough and knead by hand.  Roll the dough out to a 8 x 8-inch square, then start to roll the dough, pressing each time to seal the roll.  This process ensures that your bread doesn't develop gaping holes in it.  Place into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and cover again with plastic wrap, sprayed with a baking oil.
Allow to rise another 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat your over to 350F-degrees.  When the dough has doubled again, bake 25-30 minutes.  My Sis said her's took 30 minutes and so did mine!  Turn out onto a rack and allow to tempting as it may be to cut into that hot loaf!
Here's my loaf. I made grilled cheese and they were delicious.
My sister's turned out perfectly and I'm so happy she shared this recipe with us all! Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kentish Huffkins & December's Apron Winner

It feels like I've been away forever and I bet you were beginning to think "Where's Waldo!!" I honestly don't know where the time went...well, yes, I do.  The move, teaching, getting ready for the holidays, family visiting at Christmas, CHA (Craft & Hobby Association trade show) and then, there's the little thing that I changed companies as of January 1st--I'm a licensed artist with Elizabeth Craft Designs.  There's new lines of dies and stamps...which I have drawn, so yes, I know where the time went and unfortunately how I neglected my baking blog.

But, I'm here and wanted to get the December apron out before my life starting turning upside down again:-D  The apron goes to~Denise Bryant!  Please email your address and I'll get this apron to you asap.

Now on to a recipe...I came across these rolls in a British cookbook and adapted them for a more friendly recipe. Don't you just love the name--I thought right away they looked like the British version of a bagel with that dimple in the middle, however, they aren't simmered in water before baking.  They are softer with a crispy top and I've made them twice and gotten the same results.  BTW, my hubby raves over these.

Kentish Huffkins
4 cups King Arthur Bread flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. granulated sugar
4T + 1 tsp. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water + more if needed
1 T dry yeast (approx. 1 pkg.)

Start by warming the milk in the microwave for 40 seconds.  Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer, measure the flour, salt and 1 tsp. of sugar.  In a 1-cup liquid measure, whisk the dry yeast and the remaining 1 tsp. sugar in the 1/2 cup of warm water (approx. 105-degrees).  Proof for 7-10 minutes until foamy.

Using the dough hook attachment, start mixing the dry ingredients.  Add the butter, then the proofed yeast and mix.  Slowly add the warm milk.  If the dough has not come together, away from the sides of the bowl, slowly add more water.
Your dough should resemble this:
Place onto a wooden board and knead until smooth (about 5 minutes)  Lightly oil a large bowl with vegetable oil, place the dough, right-side-down, then, turn over right-side up.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour.

At the end of an hour, divide dough into 8 or 9 pieces.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten.  When all the rolls have been formed, spray the plastic wrap with a baking spray.  Allow to rise 30 minutes more. 

Meanwhile, as the rolls are resting, preheat oven to 375F-degrees.  Just before they go in the oven, use you thumb to make an impression in the middle and lightly dust with flour (I have an old-fashioned flour duster, but you can you a small sieve).  Bake rolls for 18 minutes, until they're golden brown.

Hubby wanted an egg sandwich with veggie sausage on his...I love Irish butter:-D  Enjoy!