baked occasionally – election palmiers

election palmiers | wee eats

When I chose election palmiers for our November Baked Occasionally recipe, it honestly had nothing to do with the election. It’s completely coincidental that the post is debuting the day before election day and they’re called “election palmiers” and … it’s just a whole bunch of serendipity I guess.

I’ll spare everyone words on the actual election, as I know it’s all we have heard about nonstop for the last few months, the last thing I need is another place to read about candidates and issues and voting, etc, I’ll leave you to pretty much any other form of media for that. Let’s deem this a safe space, shall we? Free of election news, despite the name of these delicious cookies. Instead, let’s talk about cookies, shall we? Palmiers, to be exact. Vote Palmiers 2016, that’s a cause I can get behind!

I’ve made palmiers dozens of times, but I’ve never made them totally from scratch. Usually I just grab some puff pastry from the freezer section and go along my merry way, so I was really curious to see what went into creating them from scratch. Lucky for me, Shannon had also never made them from scratch and being the curious creatures we are, we agreed that although it was probably the best-known recipe, it was also the most exciting recipe for November.

Yes, some elbow grease is required as we are basically taking a cookie dough and then laminating it. No, not with heat and plastic, but with rolling and folding and butter. Lots of butter. I also used this recipe to try out a new gluten free flour blend, but more on that later.

So, the pros

  1. The homemade version is a bit crunchier, flakier, with more butter flavor than the puff pastry version and I would say they are worth the extra work.

The cons

  1. It is a lot more work than simply unrolling some puff pastry and going on your merry little way, BUT I still think you should try making them from scratch at least once.
  2. Rolling – I seriously HAAAATE rolling dough. The only thing I hate more than rolling is cutting out cookies. I have tried for many years to make cut out cookies for the holidays and usually end up with a few cookies cut out and then I just give up. Make your life easier here by putting a piece of plastic wrap between your dough and your roller. You’re welcome.
  3. Folding – Yeah, it gets tedious and can be difficult, a dough scraper can be helpful for getting stubborn dough off or your counter tops and to help you get that perfect fold.

I scaled back on the cayenne significantly (by about half, but maybe my cayenne is just extra spicy?) and it added just the right amount of kick at the end without making the cookies overtly spicy. If you’re worried about it at all, feel free to leave it out entirely. It does give the cookies an interesting boost of flavor, though. I also made a second batch of these with pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon (and no cayenne), which were equally as enjoyable.

baked occasionally – election palmiers

Yield: 20 - 24 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 ounces (1 ¾ sticks/200 g) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¾ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ cup (125 g) raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

    Chill the ingredients
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and ½ teaspoon of the salt and place in the freezer. Place the butter in a separate bowl in the freezer. Finally, in a small prep bowl or measuring cup, stir together 2 tablespoons water with the lemon juice and place in the freezer.
  2. Allow all the items to chill in the freezer for 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Make the dough
  4. Remove all items from the freezer. Place the flour mixture in a food processor and pulse for 1 or 2 short bursts.
  5. Add about half of the cold butter chunks and pulse about 3 to 4 times in short bursts. Do not over process the mixture - the butter pieces should be visible and just slightly bigger than pea size.
  6. Add the remaining butter and pulse a few more times - the butter should still be visible and pronounced in the mixture.
  7. Drizzle in a few drops of the lemon juice mixture and pulse 2 or 3 times until crumbly.
  8. Test the dough by pinching a bit in your fingers, the dough should just hold together. If it still crumbles apart, continue to add drops of the lemon juice mixture and pulse as needed.
  9. *Note: you may not use all of the mixture, or you may need to add a few extra.
  10. Be careful not to over process the dough - it should be loose and crumbly, you aren't looking for it to form a ball.
  11. Form the dough
  12. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until it just comes together. Use your hands to shape it into a rough 6-by-9-inch (15-by-23-cm) rectangle about ½ inch (12 mm) thick, with the shorter side closest to you.
  13. Make the first letter fold: Fold the bottom third of the dough on top of the middle third, then fold over the top third to cover, just like folding a letter.
  14. Rotate the rectangle so the short side is facing you, and letter-fold the dough again.
  15. Rotate again and use your hands to gently shape the dough into another 6-by-9-inch (15-by-23-cm) rectangle.
  16. Perform the final letter fold. If, at any time, the dough starts feeling soft or the butter starts to warm, refrigerate until cool again.
  17. Once all three letter folds are finished, cover the dough loosely in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
  18. Fold again!
  19. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface.
  20. Using a rolling pin this time, roll the dough into an 8-by-15-inch (20-by-38-cm) rectangle, with the shorter side closest to you.
  21. Make the first letter fold - Fold the bottom third of dough on top of the middle third, then fold over the top third to cover.
  22. Rotate the rectangle so the short side is facing you and letter-fold the dough again. Rotate again, gently roll the dough back into a rough 8-by-15-inch (20-by-38-cm) rectangle, and perform a final letter fold. Cover the dough loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 more minutes.
  23. Shape the cookies
  24. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a fork. Set aside.
  25. Place a half sheet pan sized (18 by 13 inches/46 by 33 cm) rectangle of parchment on your counter.
  26. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne (if using), and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and dust the parchment with one-third of the sugar mixture.
  27. Place the dough on top of the parchment and sprinkle the dough with another third of the sugar mixture.
  28. Roll the dough into a 12-by-15-inch (30.5-by-38-cm) rectangle about 1?8 to ¼ inch (3 to 6 mm) thick. If the dough becomes too sticky, sprinkle a tablespoon or two more of the sugar mixture over it. (I found that putting a layer of plastic wrap over the dough helped me out immensely here).
  29. Return dough to the refrigerator and chilld for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.
  30. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll up both of the long sides of the dough toward the center so that they meet in the exact middle.
  31. Brush the egg wash where the two sides of the dough meet (this will help to keep the rolls stuck together).
  32. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for another 20 minutes.
  33. Slice and Bake
  34. When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  35. Add a teaspoon or two of water to the parchment and use your hands to spread it around, making the parchment to be slightly damp.
  36. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut crosswise into ½-inch (12-mm) slices and place the slices on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
  37. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the slices.
  38. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the cookies over with a spatula. Bake the other side of the cookies until they have spread slightly and are puffy and golden brown, about 5 more minutes.
  39. *Note: I flipped some and didn't flip others, because SCIENCE! See details below.
  40. Allow to cool slightly, then serve warm or at room temperature.
  41. Storage
  42. Allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight storage container. They recommend eating the same day, but my coworkers seem to be enjoying them just fine a whole 24 - 36 hours later.

Notes

* Do yourself a favor and make rolling easier by putting a piece of plastic wrap between your dough and your roller. You'll thank me later.

* If making and baking all in one go, you will want to begin preheating the oven when you return the dough for its final chill (after shaping it into the spirals).

* Flipping the cookies: I left some cookies un-flipped for science and did not notice a huge difference in terms of flavor/texture between the flipped and un-flipped cookies, so I would deem this step as OPTIONAL. Especially if you are prone to burning yourself like yours truly.

http://wee-eats.com/2016/11/07/baked-occasionally-election-palmiers/

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Check out Shannon’s post – November Baked Occasionally

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baked occasionally ultralemony bundt cake with almond glaze

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We return this week to our regularly-scheduled programming: Baked, Occasionally. The series where Shannon from A Periodic Table and I bake our way through Baked Bakery’s latest cookbook: Baked Occasions. Each month we will bring you a new recipe from the Baked Occasions cookbook. This month’s winner? Ultralemony Bundt Cake with Almond Glaze.

This month’s decision was exceptionally difficult, as we could have made any of the May options in the book and been equally happy with any of them. With options like Strawberry Layer Cake  In fact, we almost made more than one, but then I talked myself back off that ledge and decided that, with Spring in full swing that we would dive face first into the Ultralemony Bundt Cake with Almond Glaze. This cake is filled to the top with slap-you-in-the-face lemon flavor and accented with just a slight hint of almond that works beautifully with its bright, citrusy flavor.

A mixture of all purpose and cake flours gives this cake an extremely tender crumb while still keeping it sturdy enough to move around without problem. I took my to the thinner side and ended up regretting it. So even if you think your glaze might be a bit too thick, so long as it’s still easily pourable just stick with it and it’ll make for a thick, beautiful glaze.

I was also not prepared for how brown the cake would be and almost panicked near the end of baking when I saw the bottom of the cake. Once I cracked open the book, however, their cake is even much browner than mine, so don’t be afraid. If you start to get nervous, just place some aluminum foil over the cake during the final ten minutes or so of baking.

In the book, the Baked guys say that some people complain that this cake is “too lemony” to which I would say… then why are you eating something called “ultralemony cake”?

What I liked:

  • Flavor: This cake has an amazing bright, strong, citrusy flavor that is somehow perfectly accented by the hint of almond in the glaze. That being said, if you have allergies, feel free to skip the almond and sprinkle the cake with some candied lemon peel or just a few sprinkles instead!
  • Ease: Life is hard sometimes and I would be lying if I said the ease of this cake recipe didn’t factor into my choice this month. It’s so easy to make!

What I didn’t:

There’s really nothing that I didn’t like about this cake! If I had to pick something, I guess it would be…

  • Lemon Waste: This cake uses like a million lemons (or 10, I lost count), and I felt bad that a lot of them were going to be wasted. Slice your extra lemons and make some infused water or throw them down the garbage disposal to freshen it up. Also, did you know that if you throw a lemon chunk into your blender with warm soapy water it works wonders for cleaning it? Just some tips…
  • Arm Fatigue: Zesting lemons can be really hard on your arm, so you’ll get a really good work-out but you might have to take a few breaks in between. If you end up short a lemon, your cake will probably survive, but try to stick it through (or enlist some help from a significant other, small child, or neighbor.  If you promise them cake as a reward they may be willing to help!)

ultralemony bundt cake - wee eats

baked occasionally ultra lemony bundt cake

Ingredients

    For the cake
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon koshersalt
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 10 lemons, zested (about 10 tablespoons)
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons lemon extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • For the lemon syrup
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • For the glaze
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 1/2to 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • Gear
  • 10-cup bundt pan
  • baking sheet

Instructions

    For the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Generously spray the inside of a 10 cup bundt pan with nonstick baking spray. Make sure all of the nooks and crannies are thoroughly coated.
  2. Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Place the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add lemon zest and rub the zest into the sugar with your hands until it is fragrant and yellow.
  4. Pour melted butter and oil into the lemon sugar and beat on medium speed until well-combined. Add the rum, lemon extract, eggs, and egg yolks. Beat until combined.
  5. Add flour and cream alternately, beginning and ending with flour. (flour-cream-flour-cream-flour)
  6. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
  7. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and place pan on a large baking sheet or sheet pan - This will help to catch any cake batter that may overflow.
  8. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.
  9. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes, place wire rack over half sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  10. For lemon syrup
  11. Whisk sugar lemon juice, and rum in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar melts.
  12. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved, stirring. Set aside until slightly cooled
  13. Gently loosen the sides of the somewhat cooled cake from the pan and turn it out onto the wire rack.
  14. Using a toothpick or skewer (something thin) poke several holes into the cake on the crown and sides. Use a pastry brush to gently brush the top and the sides of the cake with syrup, allowing the syrup to soak into the cake in between batches.
  15. Let cake cool completely.
  16. For the almond glaze
  17. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and almond extract together in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cups of the confections' sugar and whisk until the mixture in pourable, but still fairly thick. If it is too thick, add a few more teaspoons of lemon juice to thin it out. If you thin it out too much, add some more confectioners' sugar.
  18. Pour glaze in large thick ribbons over the top of the bundt cake. Sprinkle almonds over the glaze and allow to set before serving, about 20 minutes.
  19. Cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Notes

* The rum, which I expected to taste and not like, basically disappears into this cake somehow. If you don't have rum or don't want to use rum, you can replace it with equal part lemon juice in the cake, or just omit it all together from the syrup.

* For optimal visual impact - keep your glaze on the thicker side (unlike me). You want it to be pourable but very thick.

http://wee-eats.com/2016/05/03/baked-occasionally-ultralemony-bundt-cake-with-almond-glaze/

[ Get the book – Baked Occasions ]
[ Check out Shannon’s post on A Periodic Table ]

Baked, Occasionally #2 – March’s Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

wee eats | texas sheet cakeThis month’s Baked, Occasionally recipe was my choice and, big shocker here, I chose peanut butter and chocolate. Because, honestly, this cake was getting made whether it was for this series or not so I might as well just do it, right? Plus, March is my birthday month so I try to fill it with all of my favorite things, two of them being chocolate and peanut butter.  Continue reading

baked occasionally – dad’s black cocoa bundt cake with whiskey glaze

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Today’s Baked Occasionally comes to you slightly delayed, which is my fault this time. I spent the weekend traveling across the country so it took me a bit to get my bearings. A better-prepared and more organized person would have typed up their post in advance and had it ready to go, but I am not that person.

Baked uses this cake for their “Father’s Day” recipe, which is June 19th this year, for those of you who were wondering. My dad was never big into whiskey, though, so you would do just as well to top this with a non-whiskey glaze if you so choose.

Like my father, I am also not big on whiskey. I was, however, eyeing the black cocoa from King Arthur Flour for probably two years now, waiting for an excuse to finally pull the trigger, so I was actually very excited when Shannon chose this cake. It also re-affirmed my need purchase a new bundt pan as their recipes use a 12 cup and mine must be… well, less than 12 cups. While there was no disaster, once again my baking sheet that I place under my bundt did catch a few drops of batter.

Likes:

Great cocoa flavor – I am IN LOVE with this black cocoa. Seriously. If you’ve ever made homemade Oreos and noticed the flavor wasn’t quite right – black cocoa is what you need to take you the rest of the way.

Gorgeous dark hue – Seriously, LOOK AT THAT SHOW STOPPER.

Texture – The cake was wonderfully tender, although rather crumbly.

Dislikes:

HOLY WHISKEY, BATMAN! – My whiskey-loving co-worker definitely enjoyed this glaze. I, however, thought I might get a buzz just from eating a slice of the cake from all the whiskey that was happening in there. You could make it plain or get creative, Shannon made her own icing with coffee and a hint of salt.

Crumbly – I was worried the cake would be dry based on the crumbs, but it wasn’t at all. It does, however, make the cake a bit messy.

All in all, the cake was delicious and easy to make. Make sure you use a large (12 cup) bundt pan or you’ll risk some spill-over. My solution to this is to place the bundt pan on top of  a baking sheet while it’s in the oven so that it will catch any spill-over. The whiskey in the glaze was very strong and overpowering to me (a non-whiskey-drinker). If you’re a fan of whiskey, follow the recipe as-is. If not, then feel free to omit it altogether and use a plain glaze in its place!

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black cocoa bundt cake with whiskey glaze

Ingredients

    For the Bundt:
  • ½ cup (40 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup (20 g) unsweetened black cocoa powder*
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee
  • 2¼ cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2¼ cups (495 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 ml) canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) heavy cream
  • For the Glaze:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2½ to 3 cups (280 to 340 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality whiskey

Instructions

    Make the Bundt:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease the inside of a 12-cup Bundt pan, either using a baking spray or buttering the pan and then cocoa powder and knocking out the excess. Make sure all of the crevices are thoroughly coated.
  2. Place both cocoa powders and the instant espresso powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the hot coffee directly over the powders and whisk until they are thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, oil, and vanilla until combined. Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk again until just combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Whisk each addition gently to combine.
  6. Whip the cream just until it reaches medium peaks. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the batter to lighten it. Fold in half of the remaining whipped cream until just incorporated, then fold in the rest until no streaks remain.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 50 to 55 minutes, then remove from oven. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Then gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack so that the crown is facing up. Place a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, if you like, for ease of cleaning) underneath the wire rack.
  9. Make the Glaze:
  10. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream.
  11. Add the powdered sugar in three parts, whisking to combine after each addition. Add the whiskey and whisk until uniform. The glaze should be thick and ropy, but pourable—not runny and thin.
  12. If the glaze looks too thin, add the remaining ½ cup powdered sugar and whisk to combine.
  13. Assemble the Cake:
  14. Pour the glaze over the room-temperature cake in thick ribbons; it will slowly drip down the sides. If desired, add a few sprinkles to the top. Let set for about 15 minutes before serving to allow the glaze to set.
  15. Storage:
  16. The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes

* For "dark cocoa", Baked recommends Vallrhona, which can be hard to find. Hershey's Dark Cocoa is one I use often without issue.

* You can find black cocoa at Sur la Table, King Arthur Flour, or Amazon, but you can substitute regular dark (Dutch-process) cocoa powder in a pinch.

* Make sure you use a large (12 cup) bundt pan or you'll risk some spill-over. My solution to this is to place the bundt pan on top of a baking sheet while it's in the oven so that it will catch any spill-over.

* The whiskey in the glaze was very strong and overpowering to me (a non-whiskey-drinker). If you're a fan of whiskey, follow the recipe as-is. If not, then feel free to omit it altogether and use a plain glaze in its place!

http://wee-eats.com/2016/06/06/baked-occasionally-dads-black-cocoa-bundt-cake-with-whiskey-glaze/

[ GET THE BOOK – BAKED OCCASIONS ]
[ CHECK OUT SHANNON’S POST ON A PERIODIC TABLE ]

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