Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hummus Bread

It sometimes amazes me how flavored bread can be made from almost any ingredient you desire. Want tomato bread? Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, or sundried tomtoes. How about Pumpkin Bread? Add mashed pumpkin. The list could go on and still the imagination would continue on. The most surprising one by far is the addition of Hummus to bread dough. Hummus is the Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas and tahini. This recipe is adapted from one if KAF'S Whole Grain Baking. It has intrigued me ever since I first saw it and I'm so glad that I had extra hummus left over from my Shabbat lunch-- enough to make a few loaves. But I stopped at one- and it's a good thing I did because I think I could single-handedly polish off the whole thing. In terms of flavor, I think it's one of the most successful breads I've made to date. An easily kneadable straigh dough redolent with the heady scent of sesame, it bakes up to a nice, light golden loaf with a nice bite from the seeds. The smooth hummus contributes an ethereally silky texture to the crumb. This loaf would be great for sandwiches. But if you're a bread lover like me, you won't mind eating it by the slice, all by its lonesome.

Hummus Bread
adapted from KAF Whole Grain Baking

6 ounces water
8 ounces hummus
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 egg
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sesame seeds
flour as needed
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to make a shaggy dough.Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead until the dough is smooth. Give it a rest if it needs one.Here the dough is completely kneaded. Place in a clean, greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled. Here is the risen dough.

Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface.Pat the dough into a rectangle.Roll up jelly roll style. Tuck the ends into make a shorter loaf.Place the loaf into a greased 8x4 inch pan and allow to proof.The dough is ready for baking.Bake the dough in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. That crack happened all on its own. The beautifully golden, moist crumb.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

Know how when you locate a hard to find ingredient your hoard it instead of actually using it? That's what happened with my canned pumpkin. Scared to run out, my cans just sat in my cupboard waiting to be used. I know that doesn't make sense-- I mean what did I buy them for after all if not to bake with. The first thing I thought to make was pumpkin bread. I know, normally one thinks pie. But I wanted something fast and easy. I wasn't in the mood to bother with pie crust (although along with yeasted pumpkin bread, that's probably where the other pumpkin will go). I took this recipe from the King Arthur Flour's Baker Companion where it waited patiently for me to find it. I rely on King Arthur Flour so much that my copy of that book is falling apart. The covers are off, the jacket is torn. Sad, but a testament to how well- loved the book is. For those without the book, the recipe can be found here. This recipe makes a generous two loaves, one for now and one for the freezer. I omitted the chips and nuts and would up the nutmeg and maybe add some cinnamon the next time. Overall, though it was a success, wonderfully dense and moist and nicely pumpkin-y. I will be making this again when I refresh my pumpkin stash. The key to good flavor is to let it rest overnight. Do not skip this step. I cut it open and found it tasted like nothing. Allowing it to cool and the flavors to meld really develops the flavor.
The oil and sugar.The oil and sugar mixed well. Adding the eggs,and pumpkin and water. Mix until smooth.Add the flour, leaveners, salt and spices. Mixed until just combined. Don't overmix! You don't want a tough quick bread. Spoon the batter into greased pans. Bake for about an hour until a cake tester comes out clean.

Jelly Roll Cake

As a lighter alternative to the Ice Cream Cake, I baked this Jelly Roll at the last second. Quick and easy to prepare, this dessert is also practically guilt free but moist and yummy! It was my first time making a jelly roll and based on the results, definitely not my last. Equipped with my new jelly roll pans, the variations seem endless. This recipe is taken from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. I rolled it on parchment paper instead of a towel and thankfully it rolled without breaking. Be sure to dust even the parchement with powdered sugar as it stuck a drop. I opted to fill it with jelly as that was what I had on hand. The spiral was really picture perfect. I couldnt photograph it as it was Shabbat. A real keeper for those warm summer days. I wonder if you could fill it with ice cream? Now there's an idea!

Jelly Roll

3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Any flavored jam; I used strawberry

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Set aside.Place the eggs in a bowl.Beat the eggs until foamy. Sprinkle in the sugar gradually (or all at once, like I did!) beating all the while.Continue beating until the batter is very thick and light lemon in color, about three to eight minutes. The batter will have doubled in volume. Add the vanilla.Sprinkle on the flour mixture,and gently fold until combined.Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 12-14 minutes, until its golden brown and springy to the touch.
Remove the cake from the oven and from its pan. Using the parchment, roll the cake starting from the short end. Cool completely on a wire rack. When the cake has cooled completely, unroll it.Heap on the jelly, and spread evenly.
Roll it up. Sprinkle powdered sugar over it or slice and arrange onto a plate. Enjoy!

Ice Cream Cake

Boy, is it getting hot around here! Spring/summer in the coastal cities of Israel is painfully so. You can't so much as walk around outside without needing to jump into a cold shower. It's that bad. And only going to get worse. Which is why I felt it necessary to make an ice cream cake to serve to my Shabbat guests for dessert. Frozen dessert that features chocolate ganache and ice cream... what could be better to serve before sending them on their way in the devastating heat? Just as I thought, this decadent dessert received rave reviews. This recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. All I did was swap out the ice cream flavor. I used the only nondairy ice creams the supermarket carried-- chocolate and vanilla chip. I really went all out on the chocolate. Prep is easy, it's the waiting time that requires patience. If you're in a hot weather area like I am, be sure to take the cake out just before serving or else you'll have chocolate everywhere. Don't say you weren't warned.

Ice Cream Cake

1 3/4 (14 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsley chopped
1/2 cup sugar
8 large eggs
two flavors of ice cream-- no exact measurements

Oil or lightly spray an eight inch springform pan. Set aside.Place margarine or butter and chocolate into a large bowl and microwave until almost melted.Stir until smooth.Add sugar and mix well.
Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly after each addition.This is the completed batter. Gently tap the bowl on the counter to release air bubbles.

Pour a third of it into the pan and freeze until firm to the touch. This will depend on the freezer. When the bottom layer is almost frozen, take out one flavor of ice cream to soften.Spread over the bottom ganach layer and return to the freezer for fifteen minutes to firm up.Pour on another third of ganach and return to the freezer.

Repeat with the second ice cream flavor and ganache. I couldnt take a picture of the finished product because it was Shabbat. But it was a major hit. Definitely make again with other flavored ice creams.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sinfully Rich Chocolate Crunch Bars

This bar cookie was the second baking for S and A's engagement party. And a hit it was. In fact, S even told me, after a class we had together, that she really liked them, took home the leftovers and had two for breakfast the following morning. That's love. These are also taken from my trusty KAF Cookie Companion and as the name indicates, these are extremely rich bites of goodness. Maybe the base of oats will assuage your conscience somewhat? In addition to oats, the bars are whipped up easily with some sugar, corn syrup, and margarine and topped with melted chocolate. The base caramelizes into a candy like bottom in the oven. Adding a simple chocolate coating puts them over the top. Allow them to come to room temperature for serving so that no one breaks their teeth on these. A warmer temperature might also be helpful for cutting them more easily. I struggled with mine. Place in paper serving wrapper for pretty presentation.

Sinfully Rich Chocolate Crunch Squares
4 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup corn syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

2 cups chocolate chips
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly grease a 10x15 inch jelly roll or line with parchment. In a bowl, combine all of the base ingredients.Stir well. Press the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Using oiled hands is a tremendous help but not necessary. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until its light golden brown. It will bubble heavily-- this is the melting of the sugars-- we're making candy! Allow the base to cool completely.Place the chocolate and shortening in a bowl and microwave until almost melted. Stir until smooth.Pour the mixture over the cooled base-- looks decadent already.With the help of an offset spatula, spread all over the top. This topping spreads really easily.Put the tray into the refrigerator to set the top, or the freezer if youre in a rush.When the topping has set, remove from the fridge and using a bench knife score the bars to mark them for exact cutting. Cut carefully. Placing them into decorative papers makes them ready for a party in no time!