salted caramel pumpkin roll

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Pumpkin rolls are one of my favorite desserts and it kinda sucks because I only get to eat them once a year. For some reason it’s less acceptable to enjoy a pumpkin roll from January through October, but November? November is fair game. I think I’m going to make an effort to bring it back in 2015. This March, PUMPKIN ROLL BIRTHDAY  CAKE! You heard it here first, guys.

I took a big risk making this for Thanksgiving. We’ve talked about it before, the fact that Mr. Eats has a deep love for my praline pumpkin cake. I mean, I love it too, but I also like to not eat the same exact thing every year for Thanksgiving. This meant that a regular old pumpkin roll just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to kick it up a notch. I

First thought? I know! Praline pumpkin roll! Which did seem like a good idea until I realized the praline would just crack off of the roll, assuming I was able to even roll the cake with hot, molten, drippy praline all over it. So I used my second thought instead: salted caramel.

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Initially I thought a beautiful salted caramel layer swirled between the cake and frosting would be gorgeous and delicious, and maybe it would have been, except for one small issue… You see, caramel is liquid and so it did what liquid does and oozed out… all over the counter. I really wish I had been able to snap a picture but I was too busy trying to fanangle my pumpkin roll and yelling “I MADE A MISTAKE” and “OH GOD NO” in the kitchen, so there was no time.

Back to the drawing board.

The solution, of course, was to beat the caramel IN the frosting. That way you get all of that salted caramel flavor and zero mess on the counter. Well, not zero mess. Pumpkin rolls are a bit on the messy side, but the mess won’t be caramel, so at least you’ll have that going for you.

 

 

This is the part where I tell you how to roll up your pumpkin roll without it cracking. And I would really love to tell you that, except that I’m 0 for 3 at the moment… However, I did some research (read: talked to some pumpkin-rolling masters) and we decided that I was most likely rolling the cake too tightly. So when you’re rolling, roll it loosely and gently and with care. Then say a prayer.

The good news is that if you do crack it, it will still taste just as good. And if you use some artistic liberty in your photos and angle the roll “just so” and crop out most of the cracks no one will ever know it cracked to begin with! Well, except the people who are actually eating it. Just slice it before you serve it and those dummies won’t know any better anyway.

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salted caramel pumpkin roll
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 10-inch roll
Ingredients
Cake:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ canned pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
Salted Caramel:
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspooon fleur de sel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sour cream
Filling:
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup salted caramel
Instructions
Make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 10 by 15-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, eat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until thick and foamy.
  4. Add pumpkin puree and continue to beat until combined. Stir in flour mixture and pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Dust a dish towel with ¼ cup powdered sugar and invert cake onto towel. Starting from the short end, loosely roll the cake until a spiral and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the salted caramel:
  1. In a small saucepan mix the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir to combine.
  2. Mix heavy cream and fleur de sel in a small measuring cup and heat in the microwave for about 1 minute until it is hot. Stir to dissolve the salt.
  3. Heat over high heat until it reaches about 340F and is dark amber in color. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 1 minute.
  4. Carefully pour the heavy cream into the sugar mixture (it will bubble and spit), whisk to combine. Add the sour cream and continue whisking until it is incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.
Make the filling.
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium high until combine. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the salted caramel and beat to combine. (You could also probably just stir the salted caramel in for a more swirly effect but, whatever)
Fill the cake:
  1. Carefully unroll the cake, if it breaks just keep going, you've come too far to stop now.
  2. Spread filling onto cake leaving one inch un-frosted at the end and re-roll into spiral. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place into refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
Notes
Once chilled, you can move the roll to the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw roll overnight in the refrigerator prior to serving.
[ Pumpkin roll recipe source: Libby's Pumpkin ]
[ Salted caramel recipe source: Baked Sweet & Salty Cake FROM: BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking ]


pain au thanksgiving

11.14 turkey pain 2

I know that by now we have seen every possible use of Thanksgiving leftovers under the sun. We’ve seen them in pies, in soups, in sandwiches, and in salads, but one I had not seen was this masterpiece.

Imagine, if you will, your Thanksgiving leftovers tightly wrapped in a croissant dough and baked to perfection.  I think my knees just went weak…

May I present to you Pain au Thanksgiving! It’s very similar to its cousin pain au chocolate but instead of being filled with chocolate, it is filled with an entire Thanksgiving dinner … all rolled up into flaky buttery croissant dough… which is where it has apparently always belonged.

As soon as I got this idea I couldn’t wait to make it. I knew that I had to do it before Thanksgiving, so that you could use it for your leftovers. Of course, the added bonus of me getting to eat TWO Thanksgiving dinners this month may have weighed on my decision as well.

11.14 turkey pain 2.2

For these, I used a standard croissant dough (you can use your own favorite recipe, I used this one only because I had successfully used it before). If you’re short on time (or motivation) you could even use store-bought puff pastry or some of those refrigerated “crescent” rolls in a pinch. Just keep in mind that a different dough may yield a different amount of pastries. My recipe yielded 24 pastries each one about 4 by 2 inches when baked.

For the filling, I used turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. I toyed with the idea of putting the gravy inside, but decided it would a> be too messy and b> be much better alongside the sandwich. Because, if there’s one thing I love more than a sandwich, it’s a sandwich with a jus for dipping.

I also opted to leave out the cranberry sauce since Mr. Eats turned his nose up at it. You’re welcome to include it if your guests are more cranberry-friendly – I personally think it would have been delicious stuffed inside or even drizzled on top as a glaze.

If you’re wondering what on earth you are going to do with 24 thanksgiving pastries, fear not! You can freeze the pains (baked or raw) and keep enjoying that turkey dinner for up to three months.

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Pain au Thanksgiving

Yield: 24 Pain au Thanksgivings                                                                  [  Printable Recipe ]

Time: 1 hour (prep), 8 – 18 hours (refrigeration), 15 – 20 minutes (baking)

For the croissant dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk, warm (105°F–110°F)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter

For the filling:

  • Thanksgiving leftovers: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, whatever you want!

Baking & Serving: 

  • 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
  • Gravy, for serving

Directions

Making the dough:
1. In the stand of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix the milk, sugar, and yeast. Let sit until foamy (appx 5 min). In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, set aside until yeast has foamed.
2. Add flour/salt mixture to yeast, while mixing on low. (I usually add half, then once incorporated add the rest)
3. Once it comes together into a smooth, slightly sticky mass, shape it into a rectangle about 1 ½ inches thick, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and set in the fridge for about an hour until chilled

Laminating the dough:

1. Once dough is chilled, line up sticks of butter and smash with a rolling pin between two sheets of parchment paper until they are roughly the shape of an 8 x 5 inch rectangle. Wrap and chill, swapping butter for dough in the fridge.croissant 1
2. Unwrap dough and roll out onto a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as necessary* into a 16 x 10 in rectangle. Arrange dough w shortest side nearest you, put butter rectangle in the center, and fold like a letter—cover the butter with the bottom 1/3rd of dough first, then with the top. Brush off any excess flour with a pastry brush.

3. Turn dough 90 degrees so new shortest side is near you, then pound with a rolling pin at even intervals, making uniform impressions (this will help the butter to spread). Roll dough again into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle. Brush off any excess flour, and fold in thirds again, stretching the dough as needed to square off the ends—thus forming a 3 layer 10 x 5 inch rectangle.

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4. Give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back for doing your (presumably) first ever “fold”, rewrap the dough in plastic wrap, and stick it back in the fridge at least another hour. (I’m not going to lie, I got a little impatient and may not have waited the whole hour… on that same note, I also left the house a while between another fold and it was in for over an hour, and alas the world has not come to an end)

5. Repeat 5 & 6 three more times, creating a total of 4 “folds”. Once you have completed your last fold, rewrap the dough and place in refrigerator for 8 – 18 hours.

When you’re ready to shape the Pain au Thanksgiving

1. Remove dough from refrigerator, unwrap and cut in half cross-wise. Re-wrap half of dough and place back in the fridge. Just look at all those buttery layers…

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2. Roll on lightly floured surface into a 16 x 12 inch rectangle, stretching as needed to maintain rectangular shape

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3. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Stretch each square so that it is slightly elongated and place a small amount of filling of your choice into the center. If you go over 2 tablespoons of filling you will probably have a hard time rolling it into shape.

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4. Fold one side over the filling and wet it slightly with some water. Fold the other side over and press down firmly to seal.*

5. Place onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan, seam side down. Continue with remaining squares, I was able to fit 8 onto each pan. Once the pan is filled cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set in a warm spot to proof until doubled in size 1 to 2 hours.

6. Remove other half from fridge and repeat the steps again.

 

 

Baking: 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F and make an egg wash by whisking one egg with 1 tablespoon water.
Right before you put the dough into the oven, brush with egg wash. If you feel so inclined, you can sprinkle some shredded cheese on top for added flavor. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until well-browned.

Notes:

To freeze raw:

Once you have filled and sealed the dough, you can place them seam-side down on a small baking sheet (that will fit in the freezer) and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for 1 hour until firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and return to freezer until ready to bake.

To freeze cooked:
Wrap cooled pains tightly in foil and place into a freezer-proof Ziploc bag.

To bake from frozen (un-baked):
Place frozen dough on parchment-lined sheet and cover with plastic wrap.Place on counter to rise overnight about 8 to 10 hours. Once doubled in size paint with egg wash prior to baking.

If you freeze croissants pre-baked:
Frozen croissants can be thawed overnight prior to reheating or taken from the freezer directly to the oven, in which case they will need a few minutes more to reheat.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375F from thawed, add a few extra minutes if baking from frozen.

 

 

 

olga bread

olga bread 0185

Back home we have this restaurant called Olga’s Kitchen. It’s nothing fancy, but it was located in our town’s main shopping mall, which means I spent a fair amount of time there in my youth.

The main draw of Olga’s Kitchen is their “Olga Bread.” Olga Bread is an extremely soft, pliable, slightly sweet, pocketless flatbread. They serve their gyros, shawarma, and even ham and cheese enveloped in this warm, fluffy stuff, but my favorite way to eat it was always just straight up.

While I was waxing nostalgic to one of my aunts about Olgas, she mentioned to me that she had a recipe for the famed bread and would be happy to share it with me. Skeptical as I am about pretty much all recipes, I knew she wouldn’t steer me wrong… and she didn’t. The result was pretty darn close to the real thing.

I used butter in place of the margarine called for in the recipe, since I don’t own margarine and reading a recipe before I make it is way too much work. The butter gave the bread a more buttery flavor, but I think using margarine would have extended their shelf life as these were a bit stiff by day two. That being said, a few minutes in a preheated oven made them good as new, but if you want to give the recipe a shot with margarine be my guest.

I used our Olga breads to hold our chicken wraps, and then it masqueraded as a naan-replacement to dip into a saucy dinner the next night.

I haven’t been there in years, but Olga’s Kitchen is still around (I looked it up) and is apparently only located in Ohio & Michigan, which means making this recipe is about as close as you are likely to get to the real thing.

olga bread

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 16 rounds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water (105 - 115F degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups flour, divided

Instructions

  1. Heat milk to a simmer, then remove from heat. Add honey and butter and pour into a large bowl to cool.
  2. In a small bowl stir sugar into warm water and add yeas packet. Set aside to bloom, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup flour to milk mixture and stir well.
  4. Add egg and yeast mixture to flour mixture; stir to combine.
  5. Add additional 1 cup flour and stir to combine. Continue adding flour, 1/4 or 1/2 cup at a time, until sticky dough is formed, don't worry if you don't use all of the flour.
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes until it forms a smooth and cohesive ball. The dough will still be quite loose and sticky, this is how you want it to be, DO NOT add more flour.
  7. Pour 1 tablespoon of neutral vegetable oil into a large bowl and place dough into bowl. Toss once to coat and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  8. When ready to form dough, punch dough down and divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a thin circle, about 8 inches in diameter. I found this was easiest to do by covering the top of the dough with plastic wrap while rolling, which prevented the sticky dough from attaching itself to my rolling pin. Then, I layered each round between plastic wrap to keep from sticking together.
  9. When ready to cook, heat a 10-inch dry skillet (or griddle pan) over medium-high heat.
  10. Drop dough onto pan and cook for about 20-.30 seconds per side. The first side will be well-browned and the second side will be more splotchy. Transfer to towel-lined plate to keep warm while cooking the rest.
  11. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. After the first day, bread is best served reheated in the oven or on a skillet to restore its soft, pliable texture. After the second day, any unused bread can be frozen in an freezer-safe bag and reheated for later use.

Notes

*I used butter in place of margarine which gave the bread a more buttery flavor, but I think using margarine would have extended their shelf life as these were a bit stiff by day two. This is easily remedied by reheating the olga bread to restore pliability.

*I made this by hand, using a spatula and a bowl, because I was too lazy to take out my mixer. You could definitely cut down on prep time by using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or dough hook, if desired.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/11/11/olga-bread/

halloween candy bark

choco bark 0181

Halloween is tomorrow and since I’ve been 1,896 miles from home for the past week, sadly I haven’t had time to create a Halloween costume.

I have, however, managed to carve a pumpkin – Hubby and I started this tradition just last year, neither of us having carved pumpkins for many years.

pumpkins

In my time away over the last five days I’ve enjoyed a bit of actual autumn weather, got to see some fall colors, and walked 25.25 miles through the trails surrounding the beautiful Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA, while away at work conference. And yes, my legs are very, very sore.

I also learned the bad news from my beloved that, despite following the advice of a trusted website, our pumpkins have already turned to rotting mush in record time and will not be making it to Halloween… It turns out that peppermint soap thing actually does the opposite of preserving your pumpkin.

chateau elan

So today, as I am sitting on a plane hurdling towards home (and 90 degree weather) at 500mph (or around there), anxiously awaiting my return home, I am also mourning the loss of our beloved pumpkins, and have every intention to drown the sorrows of our loss in this bark.

Just like the last bark, I used the sturdier candy molding formula for the base layer of bark because I love the snap it gives the chocolate. I also went with an extra dark chocolate for the base to provide a good contrast to the sweeter milk chocolate flavor for the second layer.

After spreading the second layer of chocolate, I adorned it with some of my favorite candies and a sprinkle of crushed potato chips and set it in the fridge for a few minutes to set up. Start to finish (including chopping time) I was done in under 30 minutes which isn’t bad at all if you ask me.

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Even though one day is plenty of time to make this bark in time to hand out for Halloween, it would be an excellent way to use up all of your leftover Halloween candy as well.

I included my favorite candies in the recipe below, but feel free to use whatever candy you find in the bottom of your (or your kid’s) trick-or-treat basket.

halloween candy bark

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: one 18 by 12-inch half sheet pan of bark

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dark chocolate (I used this candy molding formula from Chocoley)
  • 2 cups milk chocolate (I used this dipping and coating formula , which is a bit thinner than the candy formula)
  • 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter (go with a regular standard peanut butter that won't separate, I always use Jif)
  • 1/2 cup mini peanut butter cups; chopped (I used a mix of Trader Joe's dark chocolate and milk chocolate peanut butter cups)
  • 1/2 cup mini Oreos (I used mini Reese's Oreos), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mini Reese's Pieces
  • 1/2 cup potato chips, roughly crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Melt dark chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Pour melted chocolate onto parchment-lined baking sheet and set in the fridge to solidify, about 5 minutes.
  2. Melt milk chocolate in a double boiler or microwave and stir in peanut butter until fully incorporated. Pour over hardened chocolate and spread to cover.
  3. Working quickly, before the top layer of chocolate hardens, sprinkle with assorted toppings (I listed them in the order I sprinkled, but that's not necessary) and place into fridge to harden for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Remove bark from refrigerator and cut into pieces.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/30/halloween-candy-bark/