Lemon Mini Bundt Cakes

Awhile back, one show I really enjoyed watching on the Food Network was Kathleen Daeleman’s show. She focused on healthy food choices, portions and exercise to maintain a well balanced and healthy lifestyle. Her show is no longer on air but it doesn’t stop me from trying her recipes. I prepared this recipe for my Chef Spotlight Dinner where we highlighted health conscious chefs. Rather than a loaf, I prepared this as individual mini bundt cakes for all my guests.

Lemon Mini Bundt Cakes
recipe adapted from Kathleen Daeleman

1-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons finely minced lemon zest (about two lemons)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a mini bundt pan of 6, set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and 1/2 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and lemon zest and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk. While there are still bits of flour to be seen, add the pecans and mix until ingredients are just combined. Don’t overmix or you’ll be serving lemon butter pecan hard tack.

Pour batter into prepared pan, bake in the center of the oven until bread is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Prepare the lemon glaze while your bread is baking by whisking together in a small bowl the lemon juice and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Just after the bread comes out of the oven, poke holes all over the top with a fork or skewer and pour lemon-sugar mixture over the cake. Cool bread in the pan on a rack 1/2 hour or as long as you can stand it. Serve warm or cool.

I garnished my cakes with a sliced strawberry, raspberry puree (drizzled on) and fresh blueberries.

Lemon Garlic Knots

These have gotten raves from many fellow food bloggers and now that I’m armed with yeast confidence, I’m ready to tackle these! The recipe originates from King Arthur Flour but because I didn’t have the ingredients called for, I looked to this recipe. The adaptations that many food bloggers have used come from The Repressed Pastry Chef.

I didn’t use bread flour as I didn’t have any on hand so I’m planning on trying this recipe again to see the difference. Although the recipe stated to bake until very lightly browned, I let them cool and baked them again before serving with the lemon herb & roasted garlic butter I made. I thought it added a nice flavor overall and gave it some additional color.

Lemon Garlic Knots
original recipe adaptations of The Repressed Pastry Chef


Dough

3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

Glaze
2 to 4 cloves peeled, crushed garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil or garlic oil

OR

Lemon Zest Butter

1 head roasted garlic

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the dry ingredients together then add the olive oil, milk and water. Using the paddle attachment or dough hook, mix and knead to form a smooth, elastic dough, adding additional water or flour as needed. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it’s doubled in bulk.

Shaping: (click here to see the great pictorial of how to shape these) Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and roll each into a rope about 10 inches long; tie each rope into a knot. Place the knots on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes to about an hour, until very puffy looking.

Glaze: Whisk together the garlic, oil and seasoning OR Lemon Zest Butter and mashed head of roasted garlic. Set it aside.

Baking: Bake the knots in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes. They should be set, but only very lightly browned. Remove the knots from the oven, and brush or drizzle them with the seasoned oil/butter. Eat the knots warm. Yield: 8 garlic knots.

Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

This is a great sweet bread recipe to try if you’re starting to use yeast. It’s a bit time consuming as it is a 2 day process but it’s definitely well worth it… and a delicious way to start your morning. I had tried another recipe years ago with high hopes, only it didn’t work for me. Perhaps I could give it another try, but this definitely is a great cinnamon roll recipe!


Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
adapted recipe and also seen in the blog, Karen of Loves to Eat

Dough:
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray

Filling:
8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, which I added for more texture

Icing:
2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

For the filling: Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt & walnuts in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

Country Crust Bread

This is a fabulous bread and definitely opened my eyes to the world of homemade bread. Aside from the nice, crisp crust, the inside is wonderfully soft, hearty and the slight sweetness of honey really shines through. I highly recommend trying out this bread, especially for those who are a bit intimidated by using yeast. If I can do it, you most definitely can!

In Bridget’s blog, she has some beautiful pictures of her bread in a braid form. I initially tried to form mine into a braid, but it didn’t work out too well. I think it might have been my anxiousness to get it baking. What I did for my loaf was divide the dough into 2 after it doubled inside the oven. I rolled it out onto a floured surface and halved the dough. With each half, I divided it again in thirds to form ‘logs’ and braided them. I placed both braids on top of each other in my loaf pan and let that rise… and baked as directed in the recipe. The result is a braided crust and the inside of the bread still came out very uniform! Thank you Bridget for sharing this with me and restoring my faith in working with yeast!

Country Crust Bread
adapted from Betty Crocker and Cooks Illustrated
from the blog, Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Makes one 9-inch loaf

3 – 3½ cups (15 – 17½ ounces) unbleached flour, plus extra for work surface
1½ teaspoons table salt
1 cup water, warm (110 degrees)
1 egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) rapid-rise yeast (also called instant)

1. Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Once oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain heat 10 minutes, then turn off oven heat.

2. Mix flour, salt, and yeast in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix water, egg, butter, and honey in 1-quart Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Turn machine to low and slowly add liquid. When dough comes together, increase speed to medium (setting number 4 on a KitchenAid mixer) and mix until dough is smooth and satiny, stopping machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook if necessary, about 10 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead to form smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

3. Place dough in very lightly oiled bowl, rubbing dough around bowl to lightly coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

4. Form dough into loaf by gently pressing the dough into a rectangle, one inch thick and no wider than the length of the loaf pan. Next, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam side up and pinch it closed. Finally, place dough in greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan.

5. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in warm spot until dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees, placing empty loaf pan on bottom rack. Bring 2 cups water to boil.

6. Remove plastic wrap from loaf pan. Place pan in oven, immediately pouring heated water into empty loaf pan; close oven door. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted at angle from short end just above pan rim into center of loaf reads 195 degrees, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove bread from pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

My Fears… Conquered!

For the longest time, I didn’t want to work with yeast. It was just one of those things I didn’t feel comfortable working with. The proofing… the idea of it being a living thing that grows in the proper environment… the odd smell. Probably the major reason why it intimidated me so much was the gorgeous breads that could be made with it. I didn’t believe I could achieve such success after a few flops I had in the past using yeast.

So tonight I decided I would face my fears. All the breads I’ve been seeing on some of my fave blogs did me in and I was tired of commenting, ‘I wish I could work with yeast so I could try this recipe.’ Thankfully some talented food bloggers were kind enough to suggest some recipes to try. Tonight I tried two… a sweet & savory (Click the link for recipes!):

Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
as seen in the blog, Karen of Loves to Eat
(will be posting pics in the morning!)
Country Crust Bread
(adaptations of fellow blogger, Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

Overall, I was so pleased with the way these came out, I’ve gained more confidence in trying more recipes calling for yeast. I’ve also become a believer that homemade yeast breads taste so much better than commercial ones (not counting some amazing artisnal ones I’ve had!).

Cranberry Pumpkin Praline Muffins

The following recipe was featured in my Muffin Swap event. You can read about it and view other muffin recipes HERE.

Joelen’s Cranberry Pumpkin Praline Muffins

Recipe adapted from HERE

3 T. brown sugar
1 T. sour cream
1/3 cup broken pecans
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground clove
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 canned pumpkin
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Grease twelve 2 ½ inch muffin cups or line them with paper bake cups. Set muffin cups aside. In a small bowl stir together 3 tablespoons brown sugar and sour cream. Stir in pecans. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.

Make a well in the center of the dry mixture. In another medium mixing bowl, stir together egg, buttermilk, pumpkin, 2/3 cup brown sugar and melted margarine. Add the pumpkin mixture and dried cranberries all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into the muffin cups, filling each ¾ cup full. Drop 1 tsp. of pecan mixture on top of each muffin. Bake in a 400 degree oven about 20 minutes or until done. Cool slightly, and serve warm.

Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Muffins

The following recipe was featured in my Muffin Swap event. You can read about it and view other muffin recipes HERE.

Joelen’s Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Muffins
made with Hershey’s Chocolate RaspberryCream Filled Chips

Recipe adapted from HERE

2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup Vanilla soy milk (Silk brand)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 raspberry puree (thawed & mashed frozen raspberries)
1 package Hershey’s Chocolate RaspberryCream Filled Chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl or 2 cup measuing cup, beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk and oil. Pour all at once into the well in the flour mixture. Add the Hershey’s Chocolate RaspberryCream Filled Chips.

Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until moistened, but do not beat. The batter will be lumpy. Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.n.