Sunday, January 29, 2012

Daring Baker - January, 2012 - Scones or Biscuits~

I loved this challenge! A beautiful biscuit (or scone) is just a wonderful treat. And, they are so versatile. You can eat them just with a bit of butter or jam, with sausage gravy for breakfast, or even sprinkle them with sugar and bake them on top of some beautiful fruit or berries.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!



Audax is just a wonderful cook, and an inspiration to me in the Daring Cook and Baker challenges. He is very informative, quick to answer questions, and creates a great fountain of knowledge for our challenges.

The knowledge and expertise in this challenge did not disappoint. I was happy to see that he incorporated my favorite method for biscuits - using grated frozen butter. That method has saved me quite a few times. For the recipe and all the information, click here.
Of course, I had to make my buttermilk biscuits for comparison. Personally, I prefer the buttermilk version. Yes, this is just a taste thing. Well, that, and buttermilk doesn't make me sneeze like regular milk does.

For a .pdf of my buttermilk biscuit recipe, click here. Now go make some biscuits!

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour, unbleached preferred

6 T. butter, frozen solid, then grated

1 T. baking powder

¾ c. buttermilk, chilled

1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add grated butter, then gently fold with your hands. You want your end results here to be well mixed without heating the butter too much.

With a fork, gently stir flour mixture while adding the chilled buttermilk. Don’t mix your biscuits too much, stir until just combined.

Lightly flour your work surface and turn your dough out. Gently start patting it out into a round, about ½ to 3/4 “ thick. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutter. Carefully reroll and repeat process until you have no dough left.

Place biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet, lightly touching each other. Brush with melted butter, or a little extra buttermilk. If desired, you can sprinkle the top with salt.

Bake 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown. Let cool for a minute or two before eating.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Daring Cooks Challenge January 2012 - Tamales!


Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!

Sigh...I don't know why I'm posting this so late. I made these over a week ago. And, they were really good! Many apologies.

While I would normally post a recipe here, instead, I encourage you to go to the daring cooks site and check out the recipe I modified. This was the first time I had made tamales with so much fat in the masa dough. And, as it turns out, I think I prefer when about 1/2 the lard has been added in. Yes, the tamales are much less soft, but I liked them better that way.

I love making tamales. The first time I made these, I remember how difficult it was tying the corn husks together with strips of other corn husks. Now, I cheat, and roll each tamale in some foil.

Since I had made tamales before, I used this opportunity to perfect my sweet tamale recipes. It's not perfect yet, so I'm not going to share it. However, I will tell you that I love the pineapple filling I made, and just have a few tweaks to the masa before I publish the recipe.

I love both sweet and savory tamales. Thank you again for such a great challenge!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wheat Garlic Pull Apart Bread


I've been seeing sweet versions of pull apart bread for over 6 months now on many food blogs. The pumpkin version at Willow Bird looked tasty, but we are on pumpkin ban here (too much potassium). Pity too, since I really wanted to make a sweet potato version (again, too much potassium, although I sneak those). It's a sad state of diet when I have to sneak around to eat sweet potatoes...

So I decided to return to one of my first culinary loves. Yes, that's right - garlic. I love the stuff. Once, when I was on vacation, I ate at this newer Italian restaurant. As an appetizer, they served sliced bread, two thin slices of mild creamy cheese, and an entire head of roast garlic...Yep, you guessed it - I ate the entire head. It was so good - especially when I mixed it with that creamy cheese. A word of caution for those of you that think that sounds tasty - it took me about 4 days to quit smelling like garlic - it practically oozed out of my pores after that indulgence. It was worth it...


This bread reminds me of this story. And, it's fabulous. I dealt with my guilt of having an obscene amount of butter in this recipe by using wheat flour. The wheat gave it a nice texture, and filled me up faster so I didn't eat the entire thing in one sitting. This stuff is great to sop up your favorite Sunday Gravy, or even your not so favorite.

For a printable version, click here.

Garlic wheat pull apart bread

Adapted from an already awesome recipe for white bread here

2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup bread flour, or 2/3 cup all purpose flour and 1/4 cup wheat gluten

1/2 cup milk, warmed to room temperature

2/3 cup warm water

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 T. sugar

1 T. active dry yeast (that’s about 1 packet)

1 t. kosher salt

For the filling/topping:

2 T. grated parmesan cheese

½ t. garlic powder

6-8 roasted garlic cloves

4 T. melted butter

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with your sugar. Set aside and see if it bubbles up. If it doesn’t get at least foamy within about 20 minutes, toss and get more yeast. Once it bubbles, you are ready to go.

Add the bread flour and ½ cup wheat flour, as well as your milk, melted butter, and salt. Mix until well blended and let rest 15 minutes.

After the dough has rested, add as much remaining flour that dough will take, but dough should still look slightly wet and messy. If you are using a stand mixer, attach your dough hook and begin on low medium speed. Your dough has had enough flour when it stops sticking to the bowl and starts forming a smooth mass. Knead in the mixer for 3-5 minutes until dough is very smooth and elastic.

If you are kneading by hand, after the first rest, turn dough out onto a floured board and begin kneading. Your dough may need up to an additional cup of flour, so be generous with your flour until your dough can take no more. Knead 5-6 minutes until smooth.

Place in an oiled dish, turning the dough once so surface is lightly oiled. Cover and let rise in warm place for up to 2 hours, until double in size.

Prepare your dipping butter – melt butter and add roast garlic cloves, garlic powder, and ½ T. parmasen cheese. Process in a food processor or blender until well mixed and roast garlic cloves are incorporated. Grease a bread pan with 1 t. butter, be generous if you wish.

Gently deflate dough and divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rectangle that’s 4-4 1/2” wide – as wide as your bread pan. Dough should be about ½” thin. Cut into rectangles 2 ½” x 4 1/2 “. Lay your bread pan on its side, to begin adding your dough to the pan – it’s much easier to do this way. Brush one side of each rectangle with your butter/garlic mixture, and place in the pan, and continue this until your pan is full and you are out of bread dough. If you have remaining garlic butter, drizzle over the top of your bread, and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.


Let rise for 30-40 minutes, then preheat oven to 350. Bake bread for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool slightly before devouring.