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Yogurt Pound Cake

Yogurt Pound Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 2 1/2 cups flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. 8 oz lowfat vanilla yogurt
Instructions
  1. Beat together butter & sugar until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir vanilla into yogurt. Alternately add dry ingredients and yogurt to butter mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and beating well after each addition.
  2. Pour into well greased and floured Bundt or Tube pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Beignets

Beignets
Yields 24
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup warm water, 110 degrees
  2. 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  3. 1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  4. 15 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  5. 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  8. Canola oil, for frying
  9. Confectioners’ sugar for finishing
Instructions
  1. Combine warm water, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and yeast in large bowl. Let sit, about 5 minutes, until foamy. In separate bowl, combine flour, 2 remaining tablespoons sugar and salt. Whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons canola oil into foamed yeast water. Add flour mixture to liquid and vigorously stir with rubber spatula until all flour is incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  2. Place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Dust a separate rimmed baking sheet with flour. Add enough canola oil to heavy-bottomed Dutch oven to measure 1 1/2-inches deep. Heat oil to 350 degrees over medium high heat. While oil is heating (after dough has doubled in size), finish preparing beignets. Heavily dust clean work surface with additional flour. Place half of dough on floured work surface and gently coat in flour using a bench scraper to turn dough and to keep from sticking to surface. Pat dough in to rectangle with well-floured hands. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness, about 12x9 inches. Using a pizza wheel, cut into twelve 3-inch squares. Place squares on floured baking sheet.
  3. Fry beignets, about 4-6 at a time depending on size of pot, until golden brown, about 3 minutes total, flipping halfway through frying. Use slotted spoon to transfer beignets to wire rack on rimmed backing sheet. Repeat with remaining beignets, being sure to maintain oil at 325-350 degrees during frying. Generously dust finished beignets with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

My New Relationship With Yeast by Kelly Sears

After the cork pops, the ball drops, and all the decorations are put away, it’s time for the resolutions; the promises.  The time when we vow to turn the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s from the past year into motion in the new one.

The New Year to me is a clean sheet of white paper and a box of ten new pencils.  I love pencils, they allow forgiveness; a quick erase and the to-do list of twenty can become fifteen with just a flip upside down and a couple of sturdy set of swipes from left to right. Pencils allow for breathing room, edits, scratch outs and drafts.  Pen is permanent and seems super strict. For those of you under 25, a pencil is made of wood, has a strip of graphite running down the middle, starts sharp, after a series of bright ideas and big plans, whittles down to dull, can be sharpened again and you hold it in your hand and write on paper. Genius!

With the clean sheet of paper and the sharp new pencil, I write a list of things I would like to learn in the new year. My list rarely includes quitting a bad habit, losing pounds, or starting some new system.  These seem like processes to me; adjustments that require life changes to be successful, and a completely different blog post!

Some years the list includes things I fear, some years it includes things I haven’t made time for, in other years, on the list is something I think I should know, and yet others, that list includes something that seems really cool to know. In 2017 among other things, my list included learning to knit (epic fail), trying bungee Pilates (the comedic value alone was worth the effort), make a really good pie (satisfying), and baking a better loaf of bread (yes!!).

I’m not sure how I could have a friendship that has withstood forty years and a marriage of nearly thirty, and I couldn’t figure out how to have a relationship with yeast.  Sometimes, getting better at something starts with one move, deciding to do so. Whatever material you built the wall from to mentally stop you from doing it, is usually not made of kryptonite and usually crumbles once you make the decision to take action. Even doing nothing is doing something.

Back to bread, I enrolled myself in a four day boot camp in Ann Arbor at Zingerman’s Bakehouse.  For four days I surrounded myself with all things yeast and dough, shut my mouth and opened my ears.  Life Changing!

I embraced this new skill with gusto.  Soon I was baking six or seven loaves of bread a week and had multiple varieties of sourdough starter feasting. I purchased proofing baskets, lames, linen couches, and cast iron loaf pans.  My countertops continually had something rising at different stages and I asked my husband if he could build me a proofing box.  It was at this point, I got the look.  The look you get after nearly thirty years of marriage, the one that requires no words.  This look, in my world, usually translates to “perhaps we are taking this bread thing a bit too far;” grab some reins, apply the brakes.

He’s usually right.  My new found skills tend to teeter on obsession.  In my quest to master, I forget time and space, I forget the real reason I began the journey to begin with.  Learning a skill is all about empowerment; education + knowledge = power.  Once you learn how to do something you didn’t know how to do before, you no longer have to rely on others to do something for you.  Intrepidation is stifling. Remove hesitation and the results are unharnessed creativity and freedom.

As with most things one fears, once you face it, it’s never that scary, and the lessons learned transcend just bread making and baking.  On the journey to soft rolls, French loaves, cinnamon swirl breakfast bread, multigrain sandwich loaf, sourdough boules, crusty peasant bread, and warm brioche, this is what happened…..

Patience– like good conversation, friendship, wine, and marriage, a really good loaf of bread takes time

Renewed commitment – sourdough starter, when ignored for too long dies, if you feed it a little everyday it flourishes.  It only takes a little energy every day to keep the fire burning, without it, the light will go out.

Trust your instincts – even if the instructions say one thing, listen, smell, taste, adjust; follow your gut

Create a good environment – goodness thrives in a happy place

Recycle – stale bread = croutons, toast, and bread crumbs, heals are the best part of the loaf and make the best mop to sop of the bottom of the bowl, mistakes still taste good even if they don’t look good, save some of the dough to create the next loaf, old dough makes new dough taste better

Close your mouth and open your ears – it’s amazing what you can hear when you turn your voice off and your ears on!

Share – most recipes yield two loaves for a reason; eat one, share one.  They taste better that way.

Whatever your paper and pencil have in store for you this New Year, embrace the results.  Even with epic fails, you never stop learning. Keep tweaking; adjusting, trying new things, you just might learn something completely different along the way.

 

Warm Dinner Rolls
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Ingredients
  1. 12.5 ounces water (room temperature)
  2. .375 ounces instant yeast
  3. 21 ounces bread flour
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
  5. 1 ounce sugar
  6. .5 ounce non-fat milk solids
  7. 2 ounces butter, softened
  8. Egg wash: one egg, one tablespoon milk
  9. Sea salt for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the water, yeast and half the bread flour. Stir together until the mixture is shaggy. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Using a bench scraper, spin the bowl as you scoop around the outside of the bowl, tossing the dough towards the middle of the bowl with each turn. Once the dough comes together in a rough ball, spill the dough out onto the counter (no flour!). Work the dough together into a tighter ball and then knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Press the inside of your wrist against the dough, if it doesn’t stick, the dough is ready to rest. (this process should take about five minutes or a little less if you put a little muscle into it)
  3. Place dough in an lightly oiled ball, cover and proof until double in size- about an hour in the right conditions – around 80-85 degrees.
  4. Scale the dough into 1 oz. size; Make up rolls into desired shapes. Place rolls 2 inches apart on paper-lined baking sheets. Proof until double in size (about 30-45 minutes).
  5. Egg wash; dust with salt, bake at 400 degrees until brown – about 20 minutes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

 

Ginger Pound Cake with Cranberry Sauce

Ginger Pound Cake with Cranberry Sauce
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Pound Cake
  1. ¾ cup milk
  2. 2.7 ounces crystallized ginger, finely minced
  3. 2 cup butter softened
  4. 3 cup sugar
  5. 6 large eggs
  6. 4 cups flour
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cranberry Sauce
  1. 2 tablespoons butter, separated
  2. 1 cup chopped peeled apple
  3. Pinch of nutmeg
  4. 1 cup cranberries
  5. 1 cup apple cider
  6. ½ cups sugar
For the Pound Cake
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan or tube pan with floured cooking spray.
  2. Heat milk with minced ginger in a saucepan until heated but not boiling. Remove from heat and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Beat butter until creamy then gradually add sugar, beating 5-7 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat at low speed until blended. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. You may have to bake for up to 15 minutes more. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
For the Cranberry Dessert Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add apple and nutmeg and cook until apple begins to soften, about 3 min. Add the cranberries, cider and sugar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until apple is tender and sauce is thick, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in remaining butter. Puree in a blender until smooth. If too thick to pour, stir in up to ½ cup more apple cider. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer up to 3 months.
Notes
  1. Can make pound cake ahead and freeze.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce
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Bread Pudding
  1. 2 cups half and half
  2. 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin
  3. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  8. 10 cups — 1/2 inch cubes egg bread (about 10 ounces)
Caramel Sauce
  1. 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  3. 1/2 cup whipping cream
For Bread Pudding
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk half and half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes. Transfer mixture to 11 x 7 inch glass baking dish. Let stand 15 minutes. Bake pumpkin bread pudding until tester inserted into center comes out clean - about 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare caramel sauce: Whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Serve warm over bread pudding.
Notes
  1. *From Bon Appetit November 2000
Adapted from From Bon Appetit November 2000
Adapted from From Bon Appetit November 2000
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce
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For the Apple Cake
  1. ½-¾ cups chopped dates
  2. ½-¾ cups apple brandy (or Calvados)
  3. 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  4. 2 cups white sugar
  5. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. 1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. ½-teaspoon ground nutmeg
  8. ¾ teaspoon salt
  9. 4 cups slightly tart apples: peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  10. ½ cup melted butter
  11. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the Caramel Sauce (yields about 2 cups)
  1. 1-cup sugar
  2. ¼ cup cold water
  3. ½ stick butter
  4. 1-cup heavy cream
  5. ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
Instructions
  1. About one hour before starting to bake the cake, place the dates in a small bowl and cover with the apple brandy. Stir from time to time and if they get too "tight", just add more brandy.
  2. Preheat oven to 325. Using butter, grease a baking pan (approximately 13 x 9 x 2).
  3. Into a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Add the chopped apples, dates, melted butter and the eggs. This will be a very heavy, thick batter but don't worry -- just be sure to mix it well.
  5. Spread in the prepared pan, place on a rack in center of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Test with a skewer -- if it comes out still a bit gooey, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. You'll know when it's done. It will be a nice dark tan color and will spring back to a light touch.
Caramel Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Continue to boil until the sugar caramelizes and turns a deep amber color, being careful not to let it get too dark and burn.
  4. Remove from heat and carefully pour the cream into the melted sugar. It will bubble violently and give off steam.
  5. Return the saucepan to a low heat and stir butter and sea salt. Set caramel aside until ready to serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Summer Fruit Cobbler

Summer Fruit Cobbler
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Ingredients
  1. One recipe Sour Cream Cobbler Dough (see below)
  2. 8 cups fruit, whole if small/1” pieces if large
  3. ½- ¾ cup sugar
  4. 1-2 tablespoon flour
  5. Pinch salt
  6. 1-2 filling flavorings (1 teaspoon. citrus zest, ½ teaspoon. cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon. nutmeg, 2 teaspoon minced fresh or crystalized ginger, ¼ teaspoon almond extract, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  7. 2 tablespoon sugar
  8. Sour Cream Cobbler Dough Recipe
  9. 1 2/3 cup flour
  10. 1/3 cup sugar or brown sugar
  11. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  12. ¼ teaspoon salt
  13. 6 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces
  14. 1-2 dough flavorings ( ½ teaspoon citrus zest, ¼ cup fine cornmeal, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup chopped nuts)
  15. ¾ cup sour cream
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse to blend ingredients. Add the butter and pulse until they are the size of small peas. Dump the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add any flavorings and stir until dispersed. Add the sour cream. Using a rubber spatula, gently smear the ingredients together until the dough begins to form large, soft, moist clumps. Bring the dough together in an 8” log. Divide the log into 10 equal pieces. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
  3. Put the sugar, flour, salt, and filling flavorings into a large bowl. Add the fruit and toss. Pile the fruit into a 9”x13” dish (or one of similar volume). Place the dough pieces atop the fruit. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake until filling is bubbling and the topping is browned, 50-60 min.
  4. Let the cobbler sit at least 20 min. before serving to allow juices to settle.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

For The Love Of Caramel by Paul Lindemuth

One of my favorite cookbooks is “My Last Supper” by Melanie Dunea. It is a journal where 50 great chefs were asked “if you were to die tomorrow, what would you want for your last meal on earth?’ Each chef shared their personal thoughts and requests.

I’ve often been asked a similar question when I’m teaching: “what is your favorite food or flavor?” I know the answer, hands down, to either of these questions:  Caramel.

There is something seductive about caramel and the flavor descriptors are pretty diverse:  buttery, nutty, smoky, toasted, butterscotch, burnt.

I love the chemistry part of working with caramel which begins with melting pure cane sugar and slowly controlling the temperature to turn the sugar from crystal clear to pale amber to deep golden brown. Each stage yields different flavors: pale amber is light and mild, deep amber is rich and complex. Taking the caramel beyond this point to dark caramel yields a more bitter flavor due to increased oxidation (my favorite). Additionally, heating beyond this point (which happens very quickly) will turn the caramel into a black, smoking, bitter mess as the sugar breaks down into pure carbon.

I spent the 4th of July holiday toying with this chemistry while roasting marshmallows to create S’mores. I started with that initial golden-brown crust on the marshmallows, took it one step further to dark brown (actually peeling that layer off to taste it and then putting the remainder back over the fire and tasting again). Then I let a couple of marshmallows actually catch fire and get totally charred…. not so tasty. It sure was fun playing with melted and burnt sugar!

When you peel back the layers of chemistry and technique of caramel, you can easily create some pretty amazing flavors. Patiently working with one cup of granulated sugar, ¼ cup of water to dissolve the sugar and adding 1 cup of heavy cream to the hot caramel will yield my favorite thing to eat:  perfect caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Apple Tartlets
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. ¼ cup cold water
  3. 1 cup heavy cream
  4. ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  5. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick wedges
  7. ¼ cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
  8. ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  9. 2 tablespoons Calvados or apple brandy
  10. 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  11. 1 package frozen puff pastry thawed
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and the water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Using a pastry brush dipped in cold water, brush down any sugar particles that cling to the side of the pan. Continue to boil until the sugar caramelizes and turns a deep amber color, being careful not to let it get too dark and burn.
  2. Place the saucepan in the bottom of the sink. Carefully pour the cream into the melted sugar. The sugar will bubble violently and give off steam. Return the saucepan to low heat and stir until the caramel is dissolved and smooth. Add the sea salt and set the caramel aside.
  3. In a large sauté pan melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples and toss to evenly coat them with the butter. Sauté the apples until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of the sugar and continue cooking until the sugar melts and the apples are caramelized, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Add the nutmeg, Calvados or apple brandy and lemon juice. Toss gently to combine. Set the apples aside. (The apples may be prepared up to 4 hours in advance, loosely covered and held at room temperature.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Gently unfold one sheet of the thawed puff pastry. Cut the pastry into 4 rounds. Transfer the pastry rounds to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Using a smaller round cutter make a shallow indentation into each puff pastry round, being careful to not cut all the way through the pastry. Using a fork, evenly prick the center of each pastry inside the inner circle.
  7. Divide half of the apples into the center of the pastry rounds. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and apples.
  8. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into thin slices and scatter the butter evenly over the apples. Sprinkle the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the tartlets. Bake the tartlets until the pastry is puffed and brown and the apples are soft, about 15 to 18 minutes.
  9. Remove the tartlets from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to plates. Spoon some of the caramel sauce over each tartlet and serve.
  10. Serves 8
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Walnut Cake

Walnut Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup walnut pieces (ground to 1/2 cup walnut powder)
  2. 1 1/4 cup cake flour (divided, plus more for dusting pans)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 stick butter (softened, plus 1 tablespoon to grease pan)
  7. 1 cup sugar
  8. 3 large eggs
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 1/2 orange (zested)
  11. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  12. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  13. powdered sugar (to dust)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease an 9-inch cake pan with butter and dust with flour and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor add the walnuts and 1/4 cup flour and pulse until finely ground to a powder. Remove from the processor to a large bowl and set aside. Wipe out the food processor.
  3. To the ground walnuts, add the remaining flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine.
  4. In the bowl of the food processor add the butter and sugar and pulse until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, vanilla, orange zest and maple syrup and process until combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture and pulse until just combined. While the machine is running, drizzle in the buttermilk and continue to process until the batter just comes together.
  6. Remove to the cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is golden brown. Remove to a baking rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Adapted from Carla Hall
Adapted from Carla Hall
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
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Ingredients
  1. 3 ripe bananas
  2. 2 eggs
  3. ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  4. ½ cup milk or almond milk
  5. ½ cup maple syrup
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  8. 3 tablespoons ground flax
  9. ½ cup dark cocoa powder
  10. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  11. ½ teaspoon salt
  12. ½ cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
  2. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add eggs and combine thoroughly. Then mix together the remaining wet ingredients: Greek yogurt, milk, maple syrup and vanilla.
  3. Add in dry ingredients (flour, flax, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt) and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour mixture into a greased muffin tin, filling each up about ⅔ full.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/