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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baked occasionally october – peanut butter and jelly muffins

baked-occasionally-pbj-muffins

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.

pbj-muffin

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.

The Verdict:

  • 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. :)

wee-eats-pbj-muffin

peanut butter & jelly muffins

Ingredients

    For the Crumb Topping
  • 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
  • For the Muffin Batter
  • 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

Instructions

    For the crumb topping
  1. Finely chop peanuts and put in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk in the flour, brown sugar, and salt.
  3. 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.
  4. For the muffins
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, peanut butter, oil, egg, and vanilla.
  8. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.
  9. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.
  10. 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.
  11. Place 1 rounded teaspoon of jelly onto the muffin batter in each cup, being careful to keep it in the center of the cup.
  12. 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.
  13. Note: You might end up with excess batter. Do not try to force it into the cups; simply make one or two extra muffins.
  14. 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.
  15. Bake muffins, rotating halfway through the baking time, until the crumb topping turns a golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes.
  16. Baking the muffins:
  17. 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.
  18. Let the muffins cool almost completely in the pan on a cooling rack.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.

Notes

- 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.

http://wee-eats.com/2016/10/03/baked-occasionally-october-peanut-butter-and-jelly-muffins/

Bake along – Get the book here!

Check out Shannon’s post here.

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baked occasionally july – nanaimo ice cream bars

baked occasionally july | wee-eats.com

Welcome back to Baked Occasionally – where Shannon and I bake our way through the Baked Occasions book, month by month, just for fun. We do all the hard work, so you don’t have to, and let you know what tricks we learn along the way!

After weeks of indecision, Mr. Eats chose this month’s recipe… on Friday evening, actually. Yes, I suck, I know. Luckily for us, these required zero tinkering, they came out perfect on the first try.

Although technically for Canada Day, which has passed, I’ll dedicate these babies to my favorite Canadian, Movita Beaucoup in honor of Canada anyway. Besides, these chilly treats will make the perfect treat all summer long regardless of your location.

Featuring a salty, chocolate crust topped with rich, cool ice cream and a thin layer of fudge – these bite-sized treats are absolutely irresistible. When perusing the book recipes, I wasn’t even particularly interested in this recipe, but I gave the burden joy of choosing July’s recipe to Mr. Eats whose love for ice cream immediately drew him to these.

In case you’re wondering, I used Tillamook’s vanilla chocolate chip ice cream because it’s what I had in the freezer. If Tillamook is available near you, you absolutely  must get their ice cream as it’s hands down my favorite (mass-produced) ice cream of all time. Just sayin’. This stuff is goooood.

What I liked

  • Easy peasy – This is like the easiest thing I’ve ever made. I could have fancied it up with homemade ice cream, but why bother?
  • Oven-free! – That’s right! You’d be surprised how hard our a/c has to work when it’s 110 out and I turn the oven on. Trust me, it’s not pretty. Plus, oven-free makes these super kid-friendly too so let the little ones help out!

What I didn’t

  • Nothing – Seriously – Not a thing! In this case, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I’m generally against nuts in my desserts but they blend in perfectly with the bits of pretzel and digestive cookies. If there’s a nut allergy or something in your family, go ahead and omit them I don’t think it’d make much difference.

20160703-DSC_1598

nanaimo ice cream bars

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) toasted walnuts,, chopped
  • 5 1/4 ounces digestive biscuits or graham crackers (about 15 biscuits)
  • 2 1/2 ounces thin pretzel sticks
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg,beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the ice cream
  • 2 pints ice cream (recommended: vanilla, coffee, or salted caramel)
  • For the fudge
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Instructions

    Make the crust
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inch overhang
  2. Place walnuts in a large bowl
  3. Crush digestive biscuits (or graham crackers) until finely ground,, with a few coarse chunks remaining. Add to walnuts. You can do this using a food processor or by putting them into a large ziploc bag and crushing them with a rolling pin.
  4. Coarsely crush pretzels, leaving peanut-sized chunks, and add to the bowl with walnuts and biscuit crumbs.
  5. Place another large bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add butter to the bowl and heat until melted.
  6. Once the butter is melted, remove the bowl from the double boiler and add the brown sugar and cocoa to the bowl, whisking until combined. While whisking, add the egg in a slow steady stream. Return the bowl over the simmering water and whisk for another 60 to 90 seconds until smooth, shiny, and slightly thickened.
  7. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Add the walnut/crumb mixture, stirring with a spatula to combine until the entire mixture is moistened.
  8. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
  9. Ice cream time
  10. Set ice cream out for 10 to 15 minutes to soften. Place in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until softened,, but not melted.
  11. Remove crust from refrigerator and spread the ice cream over the crust, smoothing the top.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 2 hours.
  13. Make the fudge
  14. While the bars are chilling, make the fudge layer by heating the cream, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat.
  15. Stir the mixture and once it begins to simmer remove the pan from the heat.
  16. Add the chocolate and stir until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  17. Fudge time
  18. Remove pan from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap; pour the fudge over the top of the ice cream layer.
  19. Use a small offset spatula to spread the fudge in an even layer. Re-cover with plastic wrap and return to the freezer for another 2 hours.
  20. Serving
  21. Remove bars from pan using the parchment overhang to pull the bars up from the pan. Place on a cutting board.
  22. Run a sharp knife under warm water and cut into bars, running the knife under water and wiping it clean as needed.
  23. Serve immediately, or wrap individual bars with plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to eat.
http://wee-eats.com/2016/07/05/baked-occasionally-july-nanaimo-ice-cream-bars/

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Baked, Occasionally – Kitchen Sink Dutch Baby

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2016 is a new year and a new collaboration with Shannon over at A Periodic Table. Last year, we spun our way through the Jeni’s books and this year we have something new in store. We will be baking our way through the Baked Occasions book month by month in our new series Baked, Occasionally. Each month we will select one recipe (the same recipe) from the book and bake it together word-for-word from the book. Then, we’ll compare our results and, if we see room for improvement, we’ll tweak the recipe and make it again until it’s just right!

This month’s recipe was the Kitchen Sink Dutch Baby.

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