Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Wait, Danish Braid!

It's that time again...Daring Bakers emerge from the shadows and display their wonderful fares. This time, a Danish bread! I must admit to you that I was not very excited about this challenge when it was revealed. I don't know why, but I just wasn't. The only thing I was glad of was that I would be able to make the bread for my family when I went home after my exam. In the end, this recipe excited me and I really enjoyed making it. I decided to use a peach filling because my parents had just gotten some from the farmer's market. I enlisted the help of my father but he's "never been good at peeling things," so the help left rather quickly! :-) In the end, I decided not to peel the peaches and it turned out well. I even ate some of the leftovers straight from the pot! :-) The first braid I made cooked a lot faster than the 25 minutes instructed. I probably could have taken it out after 5 minutes at 350 but I left if another 5 minutes, 5 short of that instructed and it was already a little too brown. For the second braid, I wanted to make a calzone type braid with sausage and cheese for my brother, but we forgot to get sausage, so I just filled it with chocolate and butterscotch chips. This time, the bread baked properly and was very good. The recipe was chosen by Ben at What's Cooking and Kelly at Sass and Veracity. Thanks for such a great challenge. This was probably one of my favorite challenges and I'll definitely make it again! Check out the other great breads by visiting our blogroll.
Danish Dough
Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough
For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.
For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Butter Block
1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour.
Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. Just look at those layers!
If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Danish Braid
Makes enough for 2 large braids
1 recipe Danish Dough (see above)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see above)
For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk (I skipped this)

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.

3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.
Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Simple Salad

Just a quick post for ARF Tuesday. This salad is one that I often make to take to the hospital for lunch and I've discovered that, for some reason, I enjoy it more out of my tupperware container. Go figure! I love the tart, sweetness of the apples combines with the saltiness of turkey and the added exotic taste of the hummus. All around it's a wonderful, healthy and satisfying lunch. I've also done it with leftover chicken and it's good that way as well. Workday Salad
romaine lettuce
apple, cut
turkey, cut
feta/goat cheese
tomatoes, cut (if available)
dressing (Italian, balsamic vinegar, raspberry vinegarette, etc)
Put lettuce/spinach on bottom of plate. Add the remaining ingredients (and more if you like. Carrots, strawberries, blueberries, and onions are great additions as well!) with dressing either right before you eat or leave the house for work. Enjoy with triscuits, pita chips, or fresh bread.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quirky Jerky - EDITED

Tomorrow I take my United States Medical Licensure Exam Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (USMLE Step2 CK for short!). Through studying for boards, I prepared for this AND I've been studying for the past two weeks....SO I am quite ready for it to be done with. I've stopped studying for the night and have decided to resond to a meme. Yes, I've been tagged. Jane tagged me to let you in on 6 quirks that I have. Here are the rules:Link the person who tagged you.Mention the rules in your blog.Tell about six unspectacular quirks of yours.Tag a new set of six bloggers by linking them. Now to the quirks!

Let's see, this is kind of hard! I'm sure if my family was here, they could come up with some pretty easily!

1. I don't like spur of the moment things. I mean, I used to be REALLY bad! At one time, if I had packed a lunch but someone asked me if I wanted to go get lunch, I seriously couldn't handle it! I would just cringe inside and say "I don't Knooowww." I mean, I had already planned to have the such and such that I brought, right?! NOW, I'm not that bad anymore. I can do spur of the moment lunches...but I'd rather have things planned!

2. I don't like avacados but I like guacamole...even the kind with just avacado, lemon juice, and yogurt. Don't ask, I don't know!

3. I have to have the fan (unfortunately, not a ceiling fan...a little white one that sits on my desk) on to sleep. Apparently, I'm so aware of it that one night when our power went out, I woke up and thought "Something is not right" (Anyone recognize where that comes from? If not, I'll clue you in at the end of the post!) Then I realized that the fan wasn't on and turned over to see if my clock was on.

4. If I sit in the back seat of a car, I have to sit on the driver's side. I don't know why, but when I sit on the other side I feel out of place and am more prone to feel car sick.

5. I am a rules person. If I've been told not to do something, I get extremely uncomfortable doing it. (Not that this is a bad thing, sometimes I'm just a bit too rigid) For instance, my first year in medical school, after Hurricane Katrina, a group of my classmates decided to go on an "adventure." They picked me up...without telling me what we were doing and started driving. I figured out where we were going and wasn't thrilled. Imagine my delight when we arrive at our destination, a state park, and see road blocks and signs saying "DO NOT ENTER!" Oh, darn...we can't go. RIGHT...the driver drove AROUND the signs. I mean, I was freaking out, near tears. Then they decide to go to the OLD church on the ground and explore the cemetary. I WOULD NOT go! I had just read a book about a murder that had taken place (fictional mind you!) in that cemetary (Deep South by Nevada Barr...great, you should read it). Then they want to cross a tree bridge to explore the abandoned town...NO! I refused to go, so no one went. I'm such a party pooper!

6. My mom reminded me of one when I was at home this past weekend...I talk to cars! I don't have road rage, but if someone does something stupid or is in the way, etc. I talk to them. Sometimes, I'll even be on the phone and say "WHAT are you doing?" My mom says, "What do you mean?" Then my response..."Oh, I was just talking to a car!" Hmmmm....

Don't think I'll tag anyone, I'm too tired to think of people to tag right now! Gotta go get some rest for my test tomorrow! :-)

The answer to the quote...It's from Madeline books! Miss Clavele always woke from her sleep, sat straight up in bed and said, "Something is not right!" :-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back with Berries

I'm back for ARF! Last week, I got busy and just didn't get a post up in time...but this week, I return with a berry filled scone. After posting about the banana scones a couple of weeks ago, I went in search of a blueberry scone. What I came across was a recipe from Eating Well (I really think I may change subscriptions from Cooking Light to Eating Well...any thoughts on that?) that I adapted a bit to make it blueberry. They are not sweet scones, but the blueberries add the perfect amount of sweetness and tartness. To me, it was just so much fun to bite into a blueberry and have its flavor meld with the wholesome wheatiness of the scone. So, try these out...they're healthy and yummy! One of the things a favorite pediatric attending told me...if you tell your child such-and-such is a treat, he'll think it's a treat. SO, if you bring you child up on less sweet muffins/scones, he'll think that's how they should be rather that the sweeter version. Sweet or not, these are very good! Check out the other great recipes over at Cate's. Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones
4 tablespoons (2 oz.) reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (I used 1 1/2 cups whole wheat (regular) and 1/2 cup bread flour b/c I didn't have pastry flour)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup blueberries
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a large baking sheet or coat it with nonstick spray. Place cream cheese and butter in freezer to chill, about 10 minutes. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut cream cheese and butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender or your fingers until it resembles coarse meal. Add blueberries and gently incorporate. Make a well in the flour mixture. Add 2/3 cup buttermilk, stirring with a fork until just combined.
Transfer half of dough to a well-floured surface and gently press into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. With a floured knife or pastry blender, cut into 8 wedges. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake scones for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden and firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

May There Be S'more

This weekend my church is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Pretty neat. In 1958, the local baptist church decided that there needed to be another baptist church in town, so about 30 of the members went to a plot of land, pitched a tent and started the church. 50 years later we have a membership of 2000+ and have been in our new building (the second...No, we haven't been in a tent all this time!!!) for just over a year! Through those years, God has richly blessed us and used many people to bring glory to His name. May He continue!

ANYWAY, Friday we had a smoked chicken dinner on the grounds. Sunday there will be a catfish dinner on the grounds. But Saturday there was a community carnival and the needed goodies for a cake walk thingy! Who am I to say no to that request!!! So, I decided to try a couple of new things. One was a butterfinger blondie, which I will post later. But today, you get an exciting creation...the S'more Cupcake!!! I found this recipe for graham cracker cupcakes and modified it a bit. Then just throw in some chocolate chips and marshmallows, top with chooclate frosting (yes, from the can!), and garnish. What kid wouldn't love that! My only suggestion...don't garnish until the day you are going to serve or else the graham cracker gets soggy/soft! S'more Cupcakes
1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs (make these in a food processor, I used about 12 rectangles 3/4 cup of flour
2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ cup of oil
¾ cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
¾ cup of milk
In a small bowl combine the crumbs, flour and baking powder; set aside. Beat the oil and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until combined. Add the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.Alternately add flour mixture with milk, beating well after each addition. Line two muffin tins with 16 cupcake liners total OR place aluminum liners on a baking muffin pan required...did you know that?!?! I didn't! Fill each liner 1/3 full with batter. Place 7-8 marshmallows on top of each batter. Top with remaining batter. Be careful not to run out of batter; just be "frugal" with your batter until you're sure you have enough. Bake at 350F degrees for 22-25 minutes or until done. Cool in pans or on sheet for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. When cool, ice with chocolate frosting. Before ready to serve, place a small square (each large rectangle will provide 8) in the cupcake. Top with a few marshmallows. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Snickerdoodle Dandy

During the week last week, I needed to bake! Studying had gotten to me. It also happened to be one of my friends' birthday. Hey, hey...a reason to bake! So, I decided to try a new Snickerdooddle recipe. Many of you have probably heard about or seen the Sweet Melissa cookbook; in fact, there were several giveaways, all of which I entered but none of which I won! Oh, well. I did, however, see this recipe from the book and decided to try it. It turned out GREAT! A little simpler than my recipe and it was definitely easier to roll...chilled nicely. Anyway, I took a little bag of these to Emily at church and she later said that she barely got out of the orchestra room with them in tact! I agree, they were quite good. The outside has that sugary crispness but the inside is soft. In addition to great texture, they're not flat! They stayed nice and rounded on the top...though one of my friends has a recipe that make really rounded snickerdoodles, maybe she uses shortening? So, if you want a good cookie to make with your kiddos or even to relieve some stress (like me!), try these cookies! Snickerdoodles- adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy. All rights reserved. Copyright © Melissa Murphy, 2008
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the cinnamon sugar: I never measure this...I just do it by eye. Pour some sugar in a bowl, add a good amount of cinnamon and stir together. If it's still pretty white, add more cinnamon!
Cream the butter and sugar until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt - Or use my easy technique and put all on top of the butter mixture...stir ONLY the dry ingredients and then mix into the butter! One less bowl to clean! At this point, the dough it too sticky to roll, SOOOO, refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your baking stone or sheet. Make the cinnamon mixture.
Using a tablespoon, get some dough and then roll it into a ball with your hands (after they've been washed!). Now, roll them in the cinnamon sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Be sure they are secure on the pan. Bake for about 12 to 13 minutes, or until the bottoms are slightly golden in color. Do NOT overbake...if they still look slightly undone at 12 minutes, go ahead and take them out. Leave them on the pan for a few minutes and they'll cook a little more but not overbake! Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 3 dozen (give a few more) cookies

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I'm halfway done with my board exams! Only Ob-Gyn, Psychiatry, and Internal Medicine left. :-) For this week's ARF Tuesday at Sweetnick's, I submit a scone with banana and bran that I made many months ago. At first I thought this was a recipe from Dorie, but after an extensive search through her book (and all the other cookbooks I have) I realize that it came from Cooking Light! I didn't even remember finishing this recipe because of how strangely it started. I don't know what the issue was, but the instructions said to knead. Please, tell me do you knead a "muffin" batter? Something was wrong that day b/c my dough was not thick enough. So, I just added a bit more flour and didn't knead...I just placed the batter/dough onto the stone. Turned out okay but I'd like to try it again and see if the outcome is better! Visit Cate's site to see the other great entries. Banana Bran Scones adapted from Cooking Light Nov 2007 Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup wheat bran
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup ripe mashed banana (about 2)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons fat-free buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.
Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a food processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine banana and brown sugar in a medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add flour mixture and 1/4 cup buttermilk alternately to banana mixture, stirring just until moist. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 1 1/2 minutes with floured hands. Pat dough into a 6-inch circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut dough into 8 wedges, cutting into, but not through, dough. Brush 1 1/2 teaspoons buttermilk over surface of dough; sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; cool on wire racks.