Archive for the 'Breakfast + Brunch' Category

Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

Being married to a cinnamon lover means that I’m constantly on the lookout for both sweet and savory recipes that call for an abundance of the fragrant spice. When I stumbled upon Monkey Bread in this month’s Cooking Light, I immediately ran into the kitchen to see if I had all the ingredients on hand. After baking my share of snickerdoodles and cinnamon rolls, I was excited to try a cinnamon-laced sweet that was completely out of the ordinary.

Whereas traditional Monkey Bread is made from canned biscuits, this healthier version builds a base from scratch using a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Waiting for the dough to rise two times will test one’s will and patience, but the end result is certain to make it all worth while.

Monkey Bread is an indulgent marriage of sticky buns and doughnut holes. Served hot out of the oven, it’s a gooey, golden, and unabashedly sweet affair. While it may be civilized to eat it with a fork and knife, I prefer to monkey around with my fingers, pulling each nub apart, slowly and deliberately. Monkey Bread is the ultimate brunch time centerpiece.

  • 13 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
  • 4 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package quick-rise yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup very warm fat-free milk (120° to 130°)
  • 1/4 cup very warm orange juice (120° to 130°)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Monkey Bread

Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached; mix until combined. With mixer on, slowly add 1 cup milk, juice, honey, and 2 tablespoons butter; mix dough at medium speed 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Monkey Bread

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

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Cardamom Crumb Cake

Cardamom Coffee Cake

While crumb cake might be too ordinary for most to request on their birthday, it was the perfect choice for my frosting-loathing and spice-loving Astronomer. To up the celebratory quotient, I swapped out traditional cinnamon for a heaping teaspoon of Guatemalan cardamom—it’s the birthday boy’s current obsession.

I knew this America’s Test Kitchen recipe would yield a winning cake, but The Astronomer’s reaction was even better than expected. Don’t tell his mama, but he declared it to be “the best birthday cake ever!” Oh, how will I ever top this in the future?

Employing cake flour in both the crumb topping and cake resulted in a delicate body and a satisfying crumb. Rich buttery notes tied everything together, while the cardamom added a sexy touch like only it can.

Although I initially frowned upon The Astronomer’s desire for a such a pedestrian cake, this one made me a crumb cake convert, and I wouldn’t hesitate to request it for my next birthday. Mmm, cardamom!

For crumb topping

  • 1/3 cup (2.3 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed (2.3 ounces) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) cake flour

For cake

  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Make topping

Cardamom Coffee Cake

Whisk the granulated and brown sugars, cardamom, salt, and melted butter together in a medium bowl to combine. Stir in the flour until the mixture resembles a thick, cohesive dough. Let the crumb topping mixture rest at room temperature until needed.

Make cake

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil.

Cardamom Coffee Cake

Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the butter into the flour mixture, one piece at a time, about 30 seconds. Continue to beat the mixture until it resembles moist crumbs, 1 to 3 minutes.

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Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Though I love reading Cooking Light from cover to cover each month, I rarely prepare any dishes from it because most recipes feature some form of animal protein. I’m not a vegetarian by any means (Lord, no!), but seeing as though I dine out quite a bit, refraining from eating big hunks of meat at home keeps me nice and balanced.

Recently, the magazine’s editors have taken note of mostly meatless folks like me. In fact, this month’s issue provided an entire section dedicated to comforting vegetarian casseroles. I loved how these entrees had oomph and interest without relying heavily on meat. This recipe for Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata immediately jumped off the page because I adore eating breakfasty foods for dinner. Plus, The Astronomer really digs artichokes.

Stratas, which are close relatives of quiches and frittatas, earned their name from the interweaving layers of egg-soaked bread, vegetables, and cheese. This one is loaded with herbes de Provence-tinged artichokes, as well as rich and tangy crumbles of goat cheese. Topped with a bit of hot sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, this strata fit the bill for a filling, satisfying, and most importantly, meat-free meal.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 1 large)
  • 12-ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • 1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 5 slices country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 5 ounces crumbled goat cheese, divided

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in artichoke hearts and garlic; cook for 8 minutes or until artichoke hearts begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in herbes de Provence. Cool 10 minutes.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Combine milk, black pepper, salt, and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and bread; toss gently to combine. Stir in artichoke mixture, and let stand for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°.

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Maple Bacon Biscuits

MAPLE BACON BISCUITS

Is it just me or has bacon’s popularity gone viral over the past few years? Fat-streaked slices of cured pork have always been a morning mainstay, but these days, bacon has expanded well beyond the breakfast table. I’ve encountered bacon-kissed lip balms, bacon desserts, bacon-infused vodka, and even bacon lingerie! With the bacon bandwagon steaming along at full speed, it’s no surprise that these Maple Bacon Biscuits are one of the best-selling items at Huckleberry, a bakery and café in Santa Monica.

The Los Angeles Times developed this recipe based on Chef Zoe Nathan’s creation. I’ve never dined at Huckleberry, but was excited to prepare their famous Maple Bacon Biscuits at home. At first bite, I wasn’t sure what the fuss was all about. But after the second one, I was completely taken by the biscuit’s slightly sweet crust and tender layers of flaky dough. The texture and flavors were perfect. After I finished the first biscuit, I quickly moved onto a second one. Bacon and maple syrup are a deliciously lethal combination.

  • 1 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Fleur de sel

MAPLE BACON BISCUITS

In a medium frying pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until cooked but not crispy, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate or pan, to remove excess fat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the diced butter, until it resembles small peas. Stir in the bacon, then one-fourth cup plus 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and the buttermilk until the dough just comes together (it will still be clumpy). Be careful not to overwork the dough.

MAPLE BACON BISCUITS

On a lightly floured surface, gently press or roll the dough to 1-inch thickness. Cut the biscuits using a 2-inch round cutter; you should have 24 biscuits. Place 12 biscuits on each of two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Freeze the trays just until the biscuits are chilled, about 10 minutes.

MAPLE BACON BISCUITS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. While the biscuits are chilling, prepare the egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, egg and cream. Brush the chilled biscuits with egg wash and top each with a pinch of fleur de sel.

MAPLE BACON BISCUITS

Bake the biscuits until they just begin to brown, about 25 minutes (you should easily be able to pick the biscuits up off the tray). Remove the tray from the oven. Quickly drizzle 1 teaspoon of the remaining maple syrup over each biscuit, then place the tray back in the oven for 3 minutes more. Serve while still warm.

Makes 2 dozen biscuits.

[For Printable Recipe Click Here]

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