Category Archives: Brunch

Red Velvet Cookie Dough Bagels

The baker in me instantly associates cream cheese with red velvet cake..I love cream cheese buttercream, and think it is simply the best frosting. However, most people think of bagels. As I was daydreaming about breakfast one morning, my thoughts wandered a bit, and settled on the idea of a red velvet bagel….with a fluffy, lightly sweetened, cream cheese schmear ūüėõ

Sponge:

  • 4 cups high-gluten bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 2-1/2 cups of water at room temperature

Dough:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 additional teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 squirts red gel food coloring

(Makes 12 large bagels or up to 24 mini bagels)

Toppings/flavoring:

  • Egg wash (beaten egg white)
  • sugar for sprinkling

Time:
Sponge: 5 minutes mixing, 2-hour rise
Dough: 1 hour (kneading, resting and shaping)
Delayed rise: Overnight
Baking: 15 minutes

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Begin by mixing the 4 cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of instant (rapid rise) yeast, and 2-1/2 cups of water in a 4 quart mixing bowl. It should have a thick consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic. Let the yeast do its job and allow the mixture to double in size (at least two hours).

Once the sponge has risen, mix 1 tablespoon of barley malt syrup, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1/4 cup cocoa, additional teaspoon yeast, and 3 teaspoons salt. Before mixing in the flour, mix in the food coloring. Add in the flour in three installments, and mix until fully incorporated.

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Once all of the ingredients have been mixed in, knead the dough either by hand or with a dough hook. Add additional flour or water as necessary, and knead until the dough is a little stiff (not tacky) and a little springy. It should be satiny and smooth, without any dry bits of flour. This takes about five minutes using a dough hook, or about 10 minutes if kneading by hand. Divide the dough it into 12, equally sized pieces.

Shape each piece into a round smooth ball by using your thumbs to pull one surface of the dough around so that it forms a nice smooth skin, and squeeze the folds on the bottom together to seal this ball. Take it and roll it between both cupped palms to further smooth out the folds and form a nearly perfectly round ball.

Places these on a greased cookie sheet, or silicone baking pad. You should let them rest for about 10 ‚Äď 20 minutes to allow the gluten strands to reform.

To shape the bagels, grab a ball of dough and push your thumb into the center. Poke with fingers of both hands, begin enlarging the hole. Work your hands around the circle so that the dough remains the same thickness around the hole. As the hole closes up, keep stretching it until it shrinks to no less than about 2″ diameter when relaxed.

As each bagel is formed, place it back on the greased cookie sheet, or greased silicone baking mat. Make sure to leave enough room between bagels; 6 ‚Äď 8 bagels will fit on a cookie sheet. Once the bagels have been formed, let them rest for a few minutes to allow them to proof. As they begin to rise a bit, they are ready for the fridge. Spray the bagels with a light cooking oil spray and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over them.Place them in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling the dough allows the yeast to work on the proteins in the dough, which yields some of the classic flavors that make bagels taste like bagels.

Place two baking racks in the center of the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees F. Fill a pot with water, and add one tablespoon of barley malt syrup, and one tablespoon baking soda. The makes the water a little bit more alkaline. Bring the water to a boil. Prepare a couple of baking sheets. Take the bagels out of the refrigerator. Carefully lift the bagels, and place them two at a time in the boiling water.

Boil them for 45 seconds to a minute on one side, then flip them over and boil for an additional 45 seconds to one minute on the other side. The longer you boil them, the chewier the crust will become.

Using a slotted spoon, place the boiled bagels on paper towels. Pat them dry, then place them on the baking sheet. Brush the bagel tops with egg wash, then place the cookie sheets in the center of the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Take then bagels out at this point, and sprinkle the top with each bagel 1 tsp of sugar. Let the bagels bake for another 5 to 8  minutes, until they’re just beginning to brown.

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I went a little crazy and ended up stuffing my bagels with my favorite cookie dough! I had some leftover from a batch of cookies, and I couldn’t resist. I also didn’t punch holes into some of them, and stuffed them with a slightly sweetened cream cheese spread ūüôā

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The Maple Bacon Breakfast Birthday Cake

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Robert is not only my oldest friend, but also one of my most unique friends. Not surprisingly, he requested a very unusual birthday cake this year. He decided that his birthday breakfast would consist of cake this year, so we collaborated to create this bacon infused, maple cinnamon birthday cake. It’s kind of like eating french toast, pancakes, waffles, and bacon, but in cake form. In my opinion, it’s the breakfast of champions ūüôā

Cinnamon Birthday Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups oil
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¬ľ teaspoon salt
  • ¬Ĺ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • ¬Ĺ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon

Cinnamon Walnut Filling

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Candied Bacon Garnish

  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Maple Bacon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup bacon fat
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. maple extract
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350¬ļ F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Slowly combine wet ingredients. Pour oil into a large bowl. Slowly add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.¬†Pour milks and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. ¬†Alternate adding the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.¬†Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well.¬†Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans and place pans into oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cake bakes, prepare the candied bacon for the oven. Line a pan with foil, and lay the bacon out on the pan. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly the bacon.

Once the cake is done baking, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake the bacon for about 15 minutes, until it just begins to brown. Remove from the oven to cool. Place bacon on layers of paper towels to absorb excess grease. Pour the bacon fat from the pan into a separate (heat-proof) container to cool. This will be used later in the frosting.

While the bacon cooks, prepare the cinnamon walnut filling. Combine the softened butter, cinnamon, salt, powdered sugar, and walnuts in a medium sized bowl.

The last prep step is to make the frosting. Using a hand mixer or KitchenAid, combine the butter and cooled bacon grease. Slowly incorporate the the powdered sugar, over several installments. Add in the maple extract, and add heavy cream as needed. Mix on high for a couple minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy, and all ingredients are fully incorporated.

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To assemble the cake, frost the base layer of the cake, then top with half of the cinnamon walnut mixture. Swirl it around into the frosting, and repeat with the next cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer, and apply a thin crumb coat of frosting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set. Apply a thicker layer of frosting, and then garnish the sides of the cake with the cooled bacon pieces.  I also made swirls of frosting on the top of the cake using a closed star frosting tip.

Nutella Swirled Banana Nut Muffins

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A lot of my client contacts at work have been asking me me to bring in some sweets, so I needed an easy, crowd pleasing treat.I decided to make banana muffins, which are almost healthy, right? I threw in some hazelnuts to give them some texture, and of course I swirled a giant globs of Nutella into each muffin. Why? Because Nutella makes everything taste like heaven. The ingredients included:

Muffin Base;

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 jar Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and combine with a hand mixer. Fill each lined cupcake tray 2/3 full, and drop1 heaping tablespoon of Nutella onto the top of each muffin. Using a butter knife, swirl the Nutella around the top of each muffin.

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Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes, until the edges were golden brown. The size of your muffin tins and how full you fill them will also affect baking time, so baking time may vary.

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I chose to make both normal sized muffins, and mini muffins. The mini muffins only need to be baked for about 10 minutes.

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Chocolate Oreo Cinnamon Rolls

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In the world of brunch, cinnamon rolls are like a blank canvas. They beg to be flavored, filled, and transformed into something more. I’ve wanted to make chocolate sweet rolls for quite a while, and today was the day this idea¬†finally materialized. These chocolate Oreo cinnamon rolls are the¬†perfect brunch for¬†all the¬†chocolate lovers out there ūüėÄ

Sweet Dough

  • 3 1/2 ‚Äď 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Chocolate Oreo Filling

  • 12 oreos, crushed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4¬†oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2¬†cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2¬†Tbsp. cream
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons lukewarm water with a teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Let this proof for about five minutes to make sure your yeast is still good. In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast mixture, remaining sugar, and salt. Heat milk at a low power until it is lukewarm. Add the warm milk, 1/4 cup butter, and egg to the flour mixture and mix with hands until ingredients are combined. Continue to add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Rinse out mixing bowl and spray with cooking spray and place dough back into the bowl, turning once to bring greased side of dough up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about an hour).
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Roll dough into a large rectangle, until it is about 1/2 of a cm thick.  Melt the butter and spread over the entire dough rectangle. Stir together the cocoa, brown sugar, cinnamon, and crushed oreos. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the melted butter, leaving one inch of dough at the top of the rectangle uncovered. Roll up the dough horizontally from the far side. Roll dough into a tight roll. Cut dough log into 8 equal pieces (you can cut it into more pieces if you want smaller cinnamon rolls), and place in a greased pan, leaving about half an inch between each roll. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rise again (about 30 mins). Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until rolls are golden brown and the centers seem firm. While the rolls are cooking, prepare the frosting.

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To make the frosting, whip cream cheese and butter together. Alternate installments of cream and powdered sugar, and stir in the salt and vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Spoon over the warm cinnamon rolls, and sprinkle any left over oreo crumbs over the top of each roll. Serve warm

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls

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Fall. It’s a wonderful time. The leaves change color, the air gets that delightful¬†crisp, and I get to bake all things pumpkin related. I decided to make some pumpkin pie cinnamon rolls for brunch this morning. To my delight, I had a full apartment of taste testers ūüėÄ

Sweet Dough

  • 3 1/2 ‚Äď 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4¬†oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2¬†cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2¬†Tbsp. cream
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons lukewarm water with a teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Let this proof for about five minutes to make sure your yeast is still good. In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast mixture, remaining sugar, and salt. Heat milk at a low power until it is lukewarm. Add the warm milk, 1/4 cup butter, and egg to the flour mixture and mix with hands until ingredients are combined. Continue to add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Rinse out mixing bowl and spray with cooking spray and place dough back into the bowl, turning once to bring greased side of dough up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about an hour).
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Roll dough into a¬†large rectangle, until it is about 1/2¬†of a cm thick.¬†¬†Melt the butter and spread over the entire dough rectangle. In a small bowl, stir together¬†the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon.¬†Spread the pumpkin pie filling evenly across the dough (I also tried out an oreo flavor, as see in in the picture above…recipe to come!), leaving one inch of dough at the top of the rectangle uncovered.¬†Roll up the dough horizontally from the far side. Roll dough into a tight roll. Cut dough log into¬†8 equal pieces (you can cut it into more pieces if you want smaller cinnamon rolls), and place¬†in a greased pan, leaving about¬†half an¬†inch between each roll. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rise again (about 30 mins). Bake at¬†350 for 30-35minutes, or until rolls are golden brown and the centers seem firm. While the rolls are cooking, prepare the frosting.
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To make the frosting, whip cream cheese and butter together. Alternate installments of cream and¬†powdered sugar, and stir in the salt and vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Spoon over the warm cinnamon rolls, and sprinkle cinnamon over the top of each roll. Serve warm ūüėÄ
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Chocolate Chip Bagels

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My friends and I planned a picnic in Central Park, and I volunteered to be on bagel duty. I experimented a lot with bagel recipes and flavors last Fall, and really fell in love with this traditional bagel recipe. Homemade bagels always take a little bit of effort, but they are SO worth it. The ingredients include:

Sponge:

  • 4 cups high-gluten bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 2-1/2 cups of water at room temperature

Dough:

  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 additional teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of barley malt syrup (can also use honey or molasses)
  • Egg wash (beaten egg white)

Yield: 12 large bagels
Sponge: 5 minutes mixing, 2-hour rise
Dough: 1 hour (kneading, resting and shaping)
Delayed rise: Overnight
Boiling and Baking: 30 minutes

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Begin by mixing the 4 cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of instant (rapid rise) yeast, and 2-1/2 cups of water in a 4 quart mixing bowl. It should have a thick consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic. Let the yeast do its job and allow the mixture to double in size (at least two hours).

Once the sponge has risen, mix 1 tablespoon of barley malt syrup, 2 tablespoons of honey, additional teaspoon yeast, 3 teaspoons salt, and about 3 1/2 cups of the bread flour into the sponge. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, add in the chocolate chips, and knead the dough either by hand or with a dough hook. Add the remaining flour as necessary, and knead until the dough is a little stiff (not tacky) and a little springy. It should be satiny and smooth, without any dry bits of flour. This takes about five minutes using a dough hook, or about 10 minutes if kneading by hand. Divide the dough it into 12, equally sized pieces.

Shape each piece into a round smooth ball by using your thumbs to pull one surface of the dough around so that it forms a nice smooth skin, and squeeze the folds on the bottom together to seal this ball. Take it and roll it between both cupped palms to further smooth out the folds and form a nearly perfectly round ball.

Places these on a greased cookie sheet, or silicone baking pad. You should let them rest for about 10 ‚Äď 20 minutes to allow the gluten strands to reform.

To shape the bagels, grab a ball of dough and push your thumb into the center. Poke with fingers of both hands, begin enlarging the hole. Work your hands around the circle so that the dough remains the same thickness around the hole. As the hole closes up, keep stretching it until it shrinks to no less than about 2″ diameter when relaxed.

As each bagel is formed, place it back on the greased cookie sheet, or greased silicone baking mat. Make sure to leave enough room between bagels; 6 ‚Äď 8 bagels will fit on a cookie sheet. Once the bagels have been formed, let them rest for a few minutes to allow them to proof. As they begin to rise a bit, they are ready for the fridge. Spray the bagels with a light cooking oil spray and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over them.Place them in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling the dough allows the yeast to work on the proteins in the dough, which yields some of the classic flavors that make bagels taste like bagels.

Place two baking racks in the center of the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees F. Fill a pot with water, and add one tablespoon of barley malt syrup, and one tablespoon baking soda. The makes the water a little bit more alkaline. Bring the water to a boil. Prepare a couple of baking sheets. Take the bagels out of the refrigerator. Carefully lift the bagels, and place them two at a time in the boiling water.

Boil them for 45 seconds to a minute on one side, then flip them over and boil for an additional 45 seconds to one minute on the other side. The longer you boil them, the chewier the crust will become.

Using a slotted spoon, place the boiled bagels on paper towels. Pat them dry with a paper towel (taking care to not wipe away all the melting chocolate chips, then place them on the baking sheet. If any chocolate chips fell out during the boil, feel free push a few more into the tops of the bagels. Brush the bagel tops with egg wash. Let the bagels bake for 11-14 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

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My review: I really liked the amount of chocolate chips in the dough, and found that a Nutella schmear is perfect with these bagels. They had a great chew, and the crust was perfectly crispy.

Baked Red Velvet Donuts

One of my favorite things to do with left over cake batter is make donuts. Yes, you can just fill a donut pan with cake batter, and BAM! It works. No need to make a special batter, or find a new recipe. Cake batter = donut batter ūüėÄ After baking a big red velvet cake earlier this week, I decided to bake some red velvet donuts, topped with¬†a cream cheese frosting.

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Red Velvet Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¬†cup granulated white sugar
  • 1¬†tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4¬† cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1¬†tablespoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2¬†cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 1/2¬†(8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • dash salt

Preheat oven to 325. Grease donut pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring. Stir in the coffee, and white vinegar. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, until just combined. Fill each donut holder 3/4 full, then bake on the middle rack for 8-10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Keep a close eye on the donuts, you don’t want them to over bake! It will continue to cook as it cools. Let the donuts cool in the pan for about five minutes, then remove from the pans onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Slide a knife or offset spatula around the outside of the donuts to loosen them from the pan.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Combine the softened butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt, and powdered  sugar in a large bowl. Gently mix by hand, then finish combining with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Whip until the frosting is fluffy.

Once the donuts cooled fully, I decided to pipe on the frosting with a closed star tip, and sprinkle some red velvet crumbs on top ūüėÄ

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