babka rolls

Babka has been on my to-do list for a long time now. So when King Arthur Flour featured their babka recipe as their Bakealong Challenge back in April, I Jumped on the opportunity to finally make my own.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with babka, it’s like cinnamon swirl bread but on crack. Often filled with chocolate or cinnamon and nuts, then topped with a sweet, crunchy streusel topping – this stuff is irresistible.

 

Though it looks very intimidating, having finally made it I can honestly say it’s not nearly as scary or daunting as I thought it would be. It’s a lot like making cinnamon rolls except you don’t have to cut the log into individual pieces, although once I made these all I wanted to do was turn them into rolls… which is why my April post turned into a July post (oops?).

 

However you decide to shape it, your babka will start with a simple sweet yeast dough. Once properly kneaded, you let it rise, shape it, let it rise again, then bake it off in the oven.

I know what you’re thinking… You’re looking at all those twisties and and saying to yourself that clearly this is some kind of trick. It must be harder than expected because just LOOK at how beautiful these babies are. I assure you, it’s no trick. Though time consuming (as all yeast breads are), these are not actually “difficult”. I made these three ways so you can choose your favorite and run with it.

The original recipe provided by King Arthur Flour gave enough for two loaves, so I’ve halved the recipe assuming you will only want to make one loaf (or 12 rolls). If you want to make two loaves (or two batches of rolls), feel free to double the recipe and divide it into two pieces after its first rise to work one loaf at a time. I did NOT halve the filling or the topping, you will use all the filling in the rolls and you’ll have leftover topping but that stuff is good on everything so feel free to stash it in your fridge or freezer for the next time you want to jazz something up with a bit of streusel on top.

babka rolls

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cups warm water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups + 2 tablespoons (13.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk*
  • 1 tablespoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • For the filling
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • For the streusel topping
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • For the egg wash (make right before baking)
  • 1 large egg, beaten (set aside)
  • For the glaze (make after the rolls come out of the oven)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk

Instructions

    Make the dough
  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine all of the dough ingredients, using the lesser amount of water. Mix the ingredients together until everything is moistened, adding additional water if necessary to enable the dough to come together. It will still be a little lumpy and not very pretty. Once the dough comes together, cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  2. After resting, knead the dough by hand or with the dough hook until it becomes soft and smooth like a normal bread dough.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough becomes very puffy (it may not quite double in size).
  4. If you need a break, now's the time to take it. Instead of allowing to rise now, you can cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove from fridge and allow to rise, covered, for 2 to 3 hours until it's nice and puffy.
  5. Make the filling (I make mine while the dough is rising then warm it a bit to loosen before filling the dough)
  6. Stir sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and espresso until the butter is fully incorporated. Set aside, covered, until ready to use. (Do not mix the chocolate chips or nuts in with the other ingredients).
  7. Make the streusel (I also make this while the dough is rising, and then stash it on the counter or in the fridge until I need it)
  8. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until moistened. You should be able to press the streusel into clumps with your hands.
  9. Extra streusel can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. Throw it on top of banana bread or muffins, or toss some into pancake or waffle batter. You can also freeze it for a month or two if you like.
  10. Shape the dough
  11. Line a 9-by-13 inch pan with parchment and grease lightly with butter or cooking spray.
  12. Pour dough onto counter and gently deflate, stretching/patting into a rectangle.
  13. Roll dough into a rectangle approximately 15 by 20 inches. If it's being stubborn cover it with a towel and let it set 5 to 10 minutes to relax. I usually use a combination of rolling and stretching until I achieve my desired size, it doesn't have to perfect, just something in that vicinity.
  14. Spread filling over the dough and sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.
  15. Starting at the long end, roll the dough into a log about 20-inches long. Trim about a half inch or so off of each end to get rid of the straggly edges.
  16. Using a serrated knife, cut into 12 equal-sized rolls and place cut-side down into prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until rolls become puffy and begin to crowd each other in the pan.
  17. Bake the rolls
  18. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  19. Once ready to bake, lightly brush the tops of the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle generously with streusel topping.
  20. Bake rolls for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown on top and baked through.
  21. Glaze the rolls
  22. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and milk until no lumps remain. If too runny, add more powdered sugar, if too thick add more milk. The glaze should be on the thicker side, sort of like Elmer's glue but more delicious.
  23. Drizzle glaze over slightly-cooled rolls. Best served the day they are made (and still slightly warm).
  24. OK, but what if you want to make that impressive fancy babka loaf you see at the bakery? Well, I've got steps for that too!
    To make a loaf
  25. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment and grease lightly with butter or cooking spray.
  26. Shape each half of the dough into a 9" x 18", 1/4"-thick rectangle.
  27. Smear dough with the filling, coming to within an inch of the edges and scatter nuts and chocolate chips over the filling
  28. For the fancy (split top) twisty loaf
  29. Starting with a short end, roll the dough gently into a log, sealing the seam and ends.
  30. Use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise to make two long pieces of dough.
  31. With the exposed filling side up, twist the two pieces into a braid, tucking the ends underneath. Place into prepared baking pan
  32. To make a less fancy (twisty) loaf
  33. Starting with the long end, roll the dough gently into a log, sealing the seam and ends.
  34. Fold the dough log in half (like a horse shoe) and twist the horseshoe. Place log into prepared baking pan.
  35. To make an easier less fancy (non-twisty) loaf
  36. Starting with a short end, gently roll the dough into a log about 10-inches long, sealing the seam and ends. Place log into prepared baking pan.
  37. To bake either of the loafs
  38. Place loaf into a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap, allowing to rise about 2 hours. Right before baking, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with topping.
  39. Preheat oven to 300°F and bake for 35 minutes. Tent with foil then continue baking an additional 15-25 minutes, for a total baking time of 50-60 minutes.
  40. Remove loaf from the oven, and immediately loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Notes

* If you don't have dry milk, substitute liquid milk for the water.

* If the dough doesn't want to roll/stretch out, cover it with a clean towel and let it rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten, then stretch it some more.

* For those (like me) who like to rely on thermometers, the bread should reach an internal temperature of at least 190°F

http://wee-eats.com/2017/07/01/babka-rolls/

 

Baked, Occasionally – Kitchen Sink Dutch Baby

20160130-IMG_3601

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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cinnamon almond scones

cinnamon almond scones 2 - wee eats

‘Tis the season for cups of hot cocoa, gift-giving, and out-of-town relatives. Chances are that you (or someone you love) is traveling this month. There will be brunches, dinners, parties, and overnight guests and all of those wonderful things that come with the holiday season.

What are you to do in times like this? Make scones, of course! These come in handy both as a host and as a guest, and are so easy to whip up that you can really make it from start to finish in about 30 minutes. They don’t have any tricky ingredients (except a dash of almond extract, which is totally optional anyway) and so they can be made from almost anyone’s kitchen. Or, better yet, you can make them ahead of time in your own kitchen and freeze them until you need them!

Scones are very thoughtful like that, always there when you need them.

cinnamon almond scones - wee eats

Situations in which these scones may come in handy:

  • Your brother or sister is in from out of town and staying with you and you need an easy breakfast treat.
  • You are staying at your in-laws and want to surprise them with the smell of cinnamon wafting through the air in the morning.
  • You’re hosting Christmas brunch and need something you can make-ahead so you aren’t running around like a crazy person on the day of.
  • You have to go to a holiday party and have NO IDEA what to bring the host/hostess – Bring a batch of scones wrapped with a bow for them to enjoy for breakfast the next morning!
  • You have to work on the holiday and want to do something nice for your fellow co-workers.
  • You need to make something sweet but are pretty sure that if you see one more cookie you might just finally snap…

cinnamon almond scone 3 - wee eats

The trick to getting big and fluffy scones is to make sure they touch when you bake them. I don’t separate mine at all after cutting. You see, scones (and biscuits) are friendly treats. They like to hold hands with their brethren when they bake so they can use each other for support and grow big an fluffy. If you want flatter scones, just leave an inch or two in between the wedges and they won’t bake up quite so tall.

Since this recipe makes six large scones, I’ve also included directions on how to turn this recipe into mini-scones. Again, if you want them to bake up big and fluffy leave some of them touching (maybe in pairs) so they can use each other for support.

These scones are great because they aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. They have a delightfully cinnamony dough topped with crunchy almonds and a delectable cinnamon-sugar topping which gives them just the perfect touch of sweetness to accompany your morning coffee.

cinnamon almond scones pin - wee eats

cinnamon almond scones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 large scones

Ingredients

    For the Scones
  • 2 cups all ­purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • Cinnamon-sugar (below)
  • For the Topping
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter cubes until the largest pieces of butter are about the
  4. size of small peas.
  5. Make a well in the center of the butter-flour mixture and add the milk and vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula until a shaggy dough is formed.
  6. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a your parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently pat the dough into a disk about 7 inches wide.
  7. Scatter almonds over the top of the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  8. Cut into 6 wedges and place into oven - if you leave the wedges together they will get taller than if you separate them.
  9. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

Notes

To make mini scones:

You could make these into mini scones by shaping the dough into a rectangle that is about 1/2-inch thick. Cut that rectangle into 6 to 8 rectangles, then cut each rectangle in half diagonally to make triangles. Bake mini scones 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

To freeze scones:

You can freeze scones either right after cutting or after baking. To freeze before baking, place cut scones (prior to cinnamon/almond topping) on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Remove from freezer and place into freezer-safe baggy. Bake directly from freezer, adding an additional 2 to 5 minutes for baking. You may want to use an egg wash to get the cinnamon-sugar and almonds to adhere to the frozen scones.

To freeze after baking, cool scones completely on wire rack. Place on lined baking sheet in freezer 1 hour until firm. Place in freezer-safe baggy. Thaw and enjoy at room temperature or warm for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/12/09/cinnamon-almond-scones/

 

[ Recipe from: Bake or Break ]

pumpkin scones

DSC_0698 pumpkin scone

Because it’s the weekend and weekends are for staying in your PJs for as long as humanly possible.

And because it’s winter and therefore still considered an acceptable time of the year to eat pumpkin-flavored things.

And because apparently I think everything needs to be drizzled with icing.

Everything.

And because, if you haven’t noticed, Starbuck’s fancy new bakery line wants nothing to do with their classic pumpkin spice scones that I anxiously await every year, so I was likely to start getting the shakes if I didn’t somehow consume a pumpkin scone before the end of winter. 

These scones are smaller than the Starbucks variety, meaning you won’t want to run off of a bridge (as badly) once you realize you’ve inhaled the whole thing (or two of them).  They’re also taller (and craggy-er) than the Starbucks scone, which I find to be more enjoyable, personally.

DSC_0690 pumpkin scone

And while I considered using royal icing on them (I’m half-convinced that’s what is on theirs, or some sort of concoction that can only be made with high fructose corn syrups and/or various types of hydrogenated vegetable oils), royal icing is a bit much for the morning, wouldn’t you agree?

So I did the usual mix some powdered sugar with a little bit of milk and vanilla and drizzled it on top.  Then I thought I should also do a version with some pumpkin spice mixed in, and drizzled that on top, because PUMPKIN!

To review: these are not Starbuck’s pumpkin scones.  But they ARE pumpkin scones.  And they are delicious.

I made one batch of these (for me, that was about 12 scones) and then froze them to bake at my leisure.  Now I can preheat the oven while I make my coffee, pop in a scone, and have a scone breakfast ready in no time flat.  I  don’t even have to think about it.  Which is convenient for any of you who are planning to start a diet in January, you can bake one or two this weekend, and freeze the rest to reward your post-diet self! 😉

pumpkin scones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 12 scones

Ingredients

    For the scones
  • 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For baking
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Your favorite glaze* or cinnamon-sugar (if desired)

Instructions

    Make the scones
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and spice. Work in the butter until coarse crumbles form (I do this by grating the butter into the mixture, then using my hands or a pastry cutter to cut the butter in). A pastry-cutter is recommended, as you want the butter to stay as cold as possible.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla until smooth. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened.
  3. Scrape dough onto a floured surface and divide the dough in half. Pat each half into a circle about 5- to 6-inches in diameter and about 3/4-inch thick.
  4. Transfer the dough circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut each circle into 6 wedges. Cover and place in the freezer 1 hour.*
  5. To bake the scones
  6. Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place wedges onto parchment and brush with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (if using).
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and the side of the scone looks dry and baked.
  8. Remove scones from oven and drizzle with glaze (if desired) or enjoy as-is.

Notes

* Once frozen, you may transfer the scones to an airtight freezer-safe bag for storage. Bake from frozen for same amount of time.

* Alternatively, you could probably bake these without freezing (for when you're short on time), but I haven't tried. I would estimate they would take about 15 minutes if you don't freeze them (but you might want to start checking around 10). If baking fresh, they may not raise as high as these did.

* For the glaze, I used 1/2 cup of powdered sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir until your desired consistency is reached, adding more powdered sugar to thicken or more milk to thin.

* For a pumpkin-spice glaze, add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to your powdered sugar before adding the milk and vanilla. Prepare the same way as the regular glaze

http://wee-eats.com/2014/01/04/pumpkin-scones/

pumpkin scone pin

 

cranberry orange pull apart bread

 

cran orange 3-3-2

Yes, I KNOW that we JUST had pull-apart bread.  But, you see, since my recipe make two loaves, and it’s delicious, and… you can never have too much of a good thing.

Or something. I think that’s how it goes, right?

I’ve been trying out this whole “orange-cranberry” thing that everyone’s been talking about… and apparently everyone in the whole world loves but I had never heard of… turns out they were onto something.

So, I give to you, the cranberry-orange pull-apart bread… also known as “the longest-named-bread-in-all-the-land.”  Also known as, “The only thing that saved my first loaf from being completely devoured.”  Also known as, actually no, that’s all it’s known as.

When the fiance asked what I was making and I said “cranberry orange bread” he was super unexcited and responded much like any small child normal adult would, with extreme prejudice and skepticism.

Apparently I wasn’t the only person on the planet who hadn’t combined oranges and cranberries into delicious.

CRAN ORANGE 5-2

So, if there are anymore of you out there, I’m here to let you know that I put oranges with cranberries.  And it was delicious.

Even the fiance loved it.

I wasn’t sure if there would be enough moisture in the mix to rehydrate them, and there wasn’t.  While the bread was still very good, I think it would have benefitted from the juicy berries.  So, I would recommend re-hydrating them in some orange liqueur, orange juice, or even just some water, for about 30 minutes before throwing them into the bread.

CRAN ORANGE 3-3.2

Alternatively, you could probably use some orange marmalade instead of orange sugar for the filling, or fresh cranberries instead of dried, or leftover cranberry sauce even.  I didn’t have orange marmalade, fresh cranberries, or leftover cranberry sauce, but I did have a bag of oranges and a bag of dried cranberries.

I mean, if cinnamon bread is filled with cinnamon-sugar then clearly orange sugar would be perfect for this, right? So, I zested the oranges into some sugar and VOILA!  Orange sugar was born!  Then I sprinkled the cranberries as best I could and shoved any stragglers into the pan after stacking the dough pieces. 

And again with the glaze.

cranberry orange pull apart bread

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

This recipe makes 2 loaves but it can easily be halved to make just one loaf, or you can make two different kinds of loaves filled with cinnamon-sugar or pumpkin

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe of your favorite cinnamon roll dough (my favorite recipe below)
  • For the dough
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 cups + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour; divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the filling
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons orange zest (about 3 to 4 large navel oranges)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries* (see note below)
  • 1 stick of butter; softened to room temperature
  • For the glaze
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons milk; plus extra if needed

Instructions

    For the filling
  1. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and orange zest, set aside while you prepare the dough.
  2. In another bowl, reconstitute dried cranberries (optional, but recommended)
  3. For the dough
  4. In a large (8 cup) saucepan, mix the milk, sugar, and vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is steaming. Remove from heat and cool to luke-warm (110-115F degrees), then add the yeast. Stir to combine; let sit 5 minutes to allow yeast to bloom.
  5. Stir 4 cups of flour into the milk mixture and put lid on the pot. Allow to sit for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, add remaining dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour dough out onto a large sheet of saran wrap and wrap dough tightly. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or up to overnight. (You could also roll the dough out immediately by sprinkling the counter with flour and kneading until the dough is no longer sticky. Once the dough isn't sticky, cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes to allow the dough to rest)
  6. To roll the dough
  7. Pour dough onto lightly-floured surface and separate into two equal halves. Roll one half to a 12 x 20-inch rectangle and cover the other with a kitchen towel to prevent from drying out. Spread softened butter over the dough. Cut the rectangle lengthwise into 6 long 2-inch wide strips.
  8. Spoon generous amounts of orange sugar onto one strip of dough and sprinkle with cranberries, top with another strip and sprinkle sugar/cranberries onto that strip. Repeat until all of the strips are in a pile and covered with sugar/cranberries.
  9. Slice the strip of dough into 5 4-inch wide strips. Stack strips tall-wise into a loaf pan. It will be sloppy, they'll flop everywhere, it's OK. I actually propped my bread pan on its side to make the first few strips a little easier.
  10. Repeat with the other half of dough, sugar, cranberries, and butter.
  11. To bake the dough
  12. Cover and let rise 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
  13. Preheat oven to 350F. Once dough has risen and oven is preheated, cook bread 45 to 55 minutes until cooked through. If the top starts to get too brown, lightly tent with a piece of foil and continue cooking.
  14. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to continue cooling.
  15. For the glaze
  16. Mix ingredients together, adding more milk if the mixture is too thick or more powdered sugar if the mixture is too thin.

Notes

*Those of you who thermom your bread want the final temp to be between 190F and 200F.

*Glaze is entirely optional, if you do use a glaze be sure to pour it on while the bread is still nice and warm.

*You can rehydrate dried cranberries by covering with water, or another liquid. Pour liquid over dried cranberries and let stand 30 minutes.

http://wee-eats.com/2013/12/03/cranberry-orange-pull-apart/

cran orange pin