I’ve been spending a lot of the last few months experimenting with all types of food delivery services – HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef and more. Meal kits have their pros – I love how convenient they are and how they can push me a little bit out of my comfort zone, but they have their cons too. For one thing, the costs can really add up and for another the produce isn’t always in the best shape by the time it gets to my door. Continue reading
Now as you are well aware, I am far from gluten-free. I do, however, enjoy gluten free foods from time to time. Usually when I bake gluten free items, I will just bake something that doesn’t require flour rather than something that substitutes a “gluten free” flour. However, the folks over at Butterfly Gluten Free Flour were kind enough to send me a bit of their flours to try out and being the curious cat that I am, I just had to try them out. Continue reading
Thanksgiving is this week and many of you already have your menus planned but for those of you with a little wiggle room, allow me to talk you about these rolls. I saw these on in my inbox and was very skeptical like, “How much like stuffing could these really taste like?” Turns out, a lot. A lot like stuffing. Like, exactly like stuffing. Continue reading
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Allow all the items to chill in the freezer for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Remove all items from the freezer. Place the flour mixture in a food processor and pulse for 1 or 2 short bursts.
- 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.
- Add the remaining butter and pulse a few more times - the butter should still be visible and pronounced in the mixture.
- Drizzle in a few drops of the lemon juice mixture and pulse 2 or 3 times until crumbly.
- 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.
- *Note: you may not use all of the mixture, or you may need to add a few extra.
- Be careful not to over process the dough - it should be loose and crumbly, you aren't looking for it to form a ball.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rotate the rectangle so the short side is facing you, and letter-fold the dough again.
- Rotate again and use your hands to gently shape the dough into another 6-by-9-inch (15-by-23-cm) rectangle.
- Perform the final letter fold. If, at any time, the dough starts feeling soft or the butter starts to warm, refrigerate until cool again.
- Once all three letter folds are finished, cover the dough loosely in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a fork. Set aside.
- Place a half sheet pan sized (18 by 13 inches/46 by 33 cm) rectangle of parchment on your counter.
- Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne (if using), and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and dust the parchment with one-third of the sugar mixture.
- Place the dough on top of the parchment and sprinkle the dough with another third of the sugar mixture.
- 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).
- Return dough to the refrigerator and chilld for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.
- 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.
- Brush the egg wash where the two sides of the dough meet (this will help to keep the rolls stuck together).
- Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for another 20 minutes.
- When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line two baking sheets with parchment.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the slices.
- 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.
- *Note: I flipped some and didn't flip others, because SCIENCE! See details below.
- Allow to cool slightly, then serve warm or at room temperature.
- 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.
* 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.
Get the book – Baked Occasions
Check out Shannon’s post – November Baked Occasionally
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It’s no secret that Shannon and I are big fans of peanut butter and jelly.
Shannon’s pbj ice cream, and my pbj birthday cake, we can hardly get enough of the stuff. Hardly a week goes by where I don’t consume at least one of my favorite pbj sandwiches (Jif Natural, creamy of course, with Favorit raspberry jam, and maybe a couple fruit slices or potato chips stuffed in for crunch). It’s impossible to resist.
So, it should surprise no one that Shannon’s choice for October’s Baked Occasionally series was the Peanut Butter & Jelly muffins from Baked Occasions.
You will have some batter (and streusel) left over, don’t try to stuff it into the muffin tins (or, read that line after you’ve been stuffing, whatever). If you use the fancy leaf muffin liners, you can use more batter and streusel than normal because they are taller and will hold more. This, however, will also add a few minutes to your baking time.
Tender, slightly sweet peanut butter muffins, filled with just a bit of sweet, sticky jam and topped with crunchy peanut streusel. There’s really not a single thing wrong with these.
What I liked:
- Easy to make – Despite being a filled and topped treat, these muffins were pretty easy to make, actually. I used a large scoop for the batter and a small scoop for the filling and it seemed to work out perfectly!
- Not too sweet – The flavor melds perfectly with sweet filling paired with a peanut-buttery muffin and topped with sweet, crunchy streusel. The muffin itself isn’t too sweet, which is good because it helps to keep this recipe nice and balanced without being tooth-achingly sweet.
What I didn’t like:
- The filling – Of course you need jelly for it to be “PB&J” and I didn’t really “dislike” the jelly, I just wasn’t sure how much it added to these guys. It felt like, if anything, it didn’t add enough jelly flavor for it to be worth the effort. I remember thinking that someone should invent “jelly chips” (like chocolate chips, but filled with jelly and without any chocolate!) and they would be great here because you could evenly dispense the jelly flavor. ANYWAY – If you weren’t up to the effort of dropping tiny spoonfulls of jelly into your muffin cups, you could definitely just serve it on the side, with the added bonus of everyone being able to choose their own jelly flavor!
- One more super tiny note – Again, more of a ‘note’ than a “dislike” really. A couple of my peanuts burned while baking, so you could either tent the muffins with foil for the last five minutes or so of baking, or you can just leave out the peanuts, either way will work just fine.
- All in all? These are a winner! Bake some up for your next brunch or take them to work (your co-workers will thank you, trust me).
As always, my PIC (that’s “partner in crime”) Shannon has her own beautiful post right here where she shares her thoughts on the recipe, but with much prettier pictures. 🙂
- ½ cup (75 g) salted, roasted peanuts
- 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
- 1?3 cup (75 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 ounces (¾ stick/85 g) unsalted butter, melted and warm
- 1¾ cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk, room temperature
- ½ cup (115 g) sour cream (not low-fat), room temperature
- ½ cup (130 g) creamy peanut butter
- 1?3 cup (75 ml) canola oil
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1?3 to ½ cup jelly of choice
- Finely chop peanuts and put in a medium bowl.
- Whisk in the flour, brown sugar, and salt.
- Pour melted butter over the mixture and fold the ingredients together until the mixture is crumb-like. If you press some together inside your fist, it should form a solid piece. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Lightly spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly along the bottom and up the sides of each cup. Alternatively, you can line the muffin tin with liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, until well combined. Be sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, peanut butter, oil, egg, and vanilla.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.
- Drop about 2 tablespoons of batter into each cup of the prepared muffin pan. Use the back of a clean, lightly oiled spoon (or silicone spoon) to flatten the batter and make a slight indentation into the center.
- Place 1 rounded teaspoon of jelly onto the muffin batter in each cup, being careful to keep it in the center of the cup.
- Top the jelly with another 2 tablespoons of muffin batter to cover the jelly completely, using the back of a spoon to gently spread the batter into an even layer. It's best to start on the outside of the muffin cup so that you don't spread the jelly towards the outside. The muffin cups should be not quite full.
- Note: You might end up with excess batter. Do not try to force it into the cups; simply make one or two extra muffins.
- Cover the surface of each muffin cup with a small handful of crumbs, pressing the mixture ever so gently so that it adheres to the top. If you use the pretty muffin liners , you can probably fit a very generous amount of streusel onto the top of the muffin, but will likely have some left over.
- Bake muffins, rotating halfway through the baking time, until the crumb topping turns a golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes.
- If a toothpick inserted into a muffin near the edge (avoiding the jelly center) should come out clean (disregarding any topping or jelly that might stick), bake them for a minute more—these muffins might sink in the middle if not baked all the way.
- Let the muffins cool almost completely in the pan on a cooling rack.
- If you used the aforementioned liners, removal is easy peasy. Otherwise, angle the muffin tin slightly and use a small offset spatula or a butter knife to coax the muffins out of their tins. Place muffins on the cooling rack until completely cool.
- These can be stored in an airtight container for 1 day, or wrapped in saran and stored in the freezer for up to a month.
- You will have extra batter and streusel topping from this. You can make an extra muffin or two, if you like and save some of the streusel, refrigerated, for another use.
- If you don't feel like filling your muffins, I think jelly would be just as good if not better served alongside these muffins, rather than filled.
- If you notice your topping browning a bit too quickly, tent the muffins with foil for the last 5 or 10 minutes of baking.
Bake along – Get the book here!
Check out Shannon’s post here.
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