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

cinnamon smile bread

cinnamon swirl bread DSC_0404

 

Because it’s Sunday.

And Sundays are for baking.  And for breakfast.

And for eating something sweet and calling it breakfast.  Because, why not?

cinnamon swirl bread DSC_0422

Especially when it smiles at you.  Doesn’t your day feel better already?

Sundays are for cinnamon and sugar and not waking up at 5 am to let dough rise and cut and fold cinnamon rolls.

Sundays are for easy recipes that you can make in your pajamas.

And for recipes that prepare you for Monday.

cinnamon swirl bread DSC_0424

Because Mondays are evil, and can only be improved with some leftover cinnamon bread.  With a smile built in.

If you’re feeling extra generous, you could even make an extra loaf and take it to work to comfort your co-workers, too.

Cinnamon Smile Bread

Makes 1 9-by-5 inch loaf

Printable Recipe

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 large egg

  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda

  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

2.  In a small bowl, combine ⅓ cup granulated sugar with the cinnamon, brown sugar, and cocoa powder; set aside. .

3.  Melt butter in a large microwave-safe bowl, about 1 minute; set aside to cool.  Once butter is cooled, whisk in the egg, ⅓ cup brown sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.  Whisk in buttermilk until incorporated.

4.  Add the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, optional salt, and gently fold ingredients until just combined.  Be careful not to overmix, the batter will still be thick and lumpy.

5.  Pour half the batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Sprinkle three-fourths of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the batter, the top with remaining half of the batter.  Smoothe the top with a spatula and sprinkle remaining ¼ of cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top.

6.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.  Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.

*Bread will keep at room temperature wrapped tightly for up to 5 days.  You can also freeze the loaf (whole or sliced) for up to 3 months.

[ Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks ]

mini vanilla bean scones

vanilla scone 6534

So, you may have noticed (or may  not have noticed, if you’re still searching for a new rss reader) that there was no Thursday Things yesterday.  I do apologize, I got back from vacation last week, but apparently not back from my “blog vacation” which lasted an entire week longer than the rest of my vacation.  You see, there’s this funny thing about going on vacation where I somehow come home to 234923842943 more things to do than there were before I left?

I am still doing laundry from vacation.   I thought I washed everything before we left but there is always more to do.  So much more…  It.  Never.  Stops.

Ever.

In fact, I’m beginning to think that there’s a portal in the back of our washing machine that just throws the clothes back into the hamper.  Or Sophie is pulling them off of the hanger and just throwing them back into the hamper while I sleep.

sophie in the sheets

I’m not sure, but there is clearly some sort of mischief going on here.  After four days of doing laundry and cleaning I finally gave up and decided just to try again this weekend.

I had to clear my head, think about other things… like how we can get back to vacation land.  Or, since that’s not really the most attainable option, I decided to dream about my future career in a little bakery in a sea-side town like La Jolla, about having little elves to do all my cleaning and laundry, and about butter.

Lots and lots of butter.

dsc_6512

Whenever you are feeling down, the cure is butter.  When you’re sad?  Butter.

Like 9 times out of 10 the answer is butter.

Except when you step on the scale after your week-long vacation of over-indulgence…  Nope, even then, when you realize that you have to return to real life and then you fall into a post-vacation depression, the answer is still butter.

I’ll just disguise this butter as breakfast, and put this glaze on top.  I won’t even know it’s there.

dsc_6514

Yes, that should do just fine.

Plus, think of all the calories you will burn just working the dough, right?  Surely, that counts for something.

And we will make them “mini” because then they aren’t nearly as bad for you.  Mini makes it more cute and less bad for you.  Yup, sounds great.  A delightful breakfast, snack, or dessert for any day.

You know it’s a good sign when your breakfast can moonlight as dessert.

Oh, and we’ll talk more about the vacation later… Thursday, perhaps?  😉

Mini Vanilla Bean Scones

Makes: 12 mini scones, or 24 super mini (1-bite) scones

Printable Recipe

For the scones:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2/3 cups Sugar

  • 5 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

  • 2 sticks (1/2 Pound) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

  • 1 large egg

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste*

For the glaze

  • 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste*

  • pinch (like 1/8 teaspoon) salt

Make the scones:

Preheat oven to 350˚F  degrees.  Stir 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste into 3/4 cup heavy cream and set aside.

In your food processor, pulse flour, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Once mixed, add cubed cold butter and pulse with flour mixture until the mixture resembles crumbs.*

*If you prefer to do this by hand, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together, then cut in the cubed butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until it resembles crumbs.

Mix vanilla cream with egg, then combine with flour mixture; stir (or pulse, if using processor) gently just until it comes together.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and gently pat it into the shape of a rectangle. (Mixture will be pretty crumbly.)  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.

Use a knife to tidy the edges to make a pretty rectangle, then cut the rectangle into 12 equal-sized rectangles. Next, cut each rectangle in half diagonally, to form two triangles.

Carefully transfer triangles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes, removing from the oven just before they start to turn golden. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze:

Combine 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste with 1/2 cup milk, set aside for about 5 mintues.

In a medium bowl, put 3 cups of powdered sugar and whisk in the milk until thoroughly combined. Taste and add more powdered sugar to taste.  If the mixture thickens up too much on you, add milk as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time.

Carefully dip each cooled scone in the glaze, and place on a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet (to catch the drippies).  Alternatively you could drizzle the glaze in a pretty design, whatever you prefer.

Allow the glaze to set completely, about an hour. Scones will keep several days in an airtight container at room temperature, if glazed.

You can make them ahead by freezing the cooled (unglazed) scones, defrost at room temperature for several hours (depending on ambient temperature) and glaze once defrosted.

[ Adapted from The Pioneer Woman ]

Sunday Brunch: Bouchon Bakery’s Blueberry Muffins

bberry muffin 2

These muffins will change your life.  They are so light and moist that you will forget all about those dense, dry, or gummy things from the bakery case at the grocery store.  These particular muffins have juicy berries, a hint of lemon, and crunchy almond streusel.  It’s everything you could possibly ask for in a muffin (and maybe even a little more).

The magic takes place overnight.  Now I know muffins are usually in the family of instant gratification, but Thomas Keller insists that the overnight rest to allows the flour to fully hydrate and gives the flavors time to marry.

10d4e9146fb011e2b55422000a9f1377_7

Is it really worth it? All that t extra time between mixing and eating just so it can hang out in the fridge?

In a word: Yep.

I was positive I overbaked these muffins.  Positive.  I spent all this extra time waiting for them to cook to a perfect golden-brown, so by the time they reached that color, I did my toothpick test and it came out dry as a bone.  Now, with the the toothpick test I usually looks for a few crumbs to show there is still some moisture in there, so of course I was devastated.  After the overnight rest, I was going to have to start all over again.  I took a bite anyway, just to see how they were.

bberry muffin 1

They were perfect.  They had a perfect tender crumb and bright, blueberry flavor, with just a subtle almondy sweetness from the streusel.  If I were to do it over again, I would probably add some brown sugar to the streusel to make it more streusely (totally a word).

I adapted this muffin recipe from Shannon at A Periodic Table, who makes it a little more user-friendly for the average home cook, who may not want to measure 72 grams of eggs.  Since I was using her recipe, I didn’t even realize that I was leaving out the molasses called for in the book (which may lend a darker hue to these pale muffins) but, to be honest, I didn’t miss it one bit, and her addition of lemon helps to brighten up the flavor of these beautiful muffins.

bberry muffin 3

You can find the original recipe on page 76 of the Bouchon Bakery Cookbok, and if you don’t have molasses in your pantry, don’t fret, your muffins will survive just fine without it.  I added the almond streusel from the book, but it really wasn’t necessary, the muffins would’ve been just as delicious without it.

Bouchon Bakery’s Blueberry Muffins

Yields 1 dozen muffins

Printable Recipe

For batter:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup + 1 ½ Tablespoons cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons unsulfured blackstrap molasses* (I left this out)
  • 3 Tablespoons clover honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼  cup buttermilk + 2 Tablespoons (reserved for post-batter rest)

For berries:

  • Scant 1 cup of frozen berries
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

For streusel:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar* (Optional: use ¼ cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup brown sugar, or replace all of the granulated sugar with brown sugar)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter

 

  1. Toss berries with 1 Tablespoon of flour and return to the freezer.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until pale.  Scrape down the sides and add the sugar, continue beating until light and fluffy; about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl (again) and add the lemon juice, zest, and honey (molasses too, if using) and continue beating to incorporate.  Scrape down the bowl, and add the eggs and vanilla, mix on low speed until combined; about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk in 2 additions (flour-buttermilk-flour-buttermilk) mixing on low just until incorporated. Be extremely careful not to over-mix the batter. Scrape down the bottoms and sides of the bowl one last time, and then either transfer to a new bowl or leave in that one, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 36 hours.
  5. While that is doing its thing, you might as well make the streusel.  Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave and stir into the dry ingredients with a fork until completely mixed.  Cover and refrigerate until show time.
  6. When ready to make the muffins, take the batter out of the fridge and set on the counter to come to take the chill off.   Preheat the oven to 425˚F and line a muffin tin with paper cups.
  7. Once the oven is preheated, add the reserved 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to your batter and gently fold into the batter to loosen it.  The batter will be very thick (and conveniently scoopable).  Sprinkle the berries over the top of your batter and gently fold into batter, using as few strokes as possible.
  8. Scoop batter into muffin cups, and sprinkle with up to 3 tablespoons of streusel, lightly pressing the streusel into the muffin batter.
  9. Place the pan in the oven and lower the temperature to 325˚F.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. These muffins are best served fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days, or individually wrapped and frozen once cooled.  Set out overnight to thaw or reheat, wrapped in foil, in a 325˚F oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through.

 

 Adapted from A Periodic Table & The Bouchon Bakery Cookbok

Sunday Brunch: Meyer Lemon Cake

DSC_8014sm

Two things:

1.  This cake is filled TO THE TOP with lemon flavor.

2.  It is probably the best lemon cake known to man.

Maybe not, but it might be.  I haven’t tried every lemon cake on the planet (yet). It has  a bright citrus flavor with a light and airy crumb… I don’t know how it happens, but it does.  And it’s magical.  Even though it’s no secret that I’m a chocolate girl at heart, every once in a while I crave something a little more… refreshing.  Plus, it’s not really acceptable to eat chocolate cake for breakfast.

Lemon cake, on the other hand, is totally legit.

Replacing the lemons called for in the recipe with meyer lemons allows the ctirus flavor to really shine and keeps it light and refreshing instead of having the citrus flavor assault your tongue.

Like, I love lemons, but if you give me a lemony treat I can usually only eat so much of it before my mouth is just tired of the lemon flavor.    It’s all “HEY I’M LEMON AND I’M HERE IN YO FACE,” where meyer lemon is like the regular lemon’s sweeter, more laid back cousin who is just like “Hey, what’s up? I’m kinda lemony and kinda sweet… whatevs.”

DSC_8028

That being said, if regular lemons are your thing (ahem, BFF), go with that.  I will happily use regular lemons later in the year when my darling meyer lemons are nowhere to be seen.

But, if you do get happen to find some meyer lemons in your basket at the store, bring them home and make this amazing sweet, citrusy cake.  You will not be sorry.  A little guilty, maybe, but not sorry.  Not too guilty though, this cake has yogurt so it’s good for you!  (Something like that)

Meyer Lemon Cake

Makes: 1 loaf

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

For the Soak:

  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line a 8 x 5 inch loaf pan

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, and lemon zest.

3. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until mixed.  Gently fold in the vegetable oil until incorporated.  Pour into prepared pan and bake about 50 minutes or until done.

4. While the loaf bakes, make your lemon soak by heating ⅓ cup lemon juice and ⅓ cup sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.  Set aside while loaf finishes baking.

5. When loaf is done baking, cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.  (To make clean-up easier, line the baking sheet with foil).  Pour the lemon soak over the loaf and allow it to soak in while the loaf continues to cool.

6. Once the loaf is completely cooled, make your lemon glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Drizzle over cake to your liking.  Honestly, I think the cake was just perfect even WITHOUT the glaze, so if you want to skip this step, be my guest!

* Alternatively, you can use 1 cup of plain yogurt + 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

[ Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home ]