Chocolate Babka

Babka has always been one of those recipes that I want to try, but it looked so difficult. I got over my “fear” of making homemade breads a couple of years ago, so I decided it was time to make babka for #choctoberfest! This Eastern European yeast-risen cake has lots of steps and takes all day to make – but it’s so worth it! There’s a rich chocolate filling that is swirled in brioche-like cake. This version has a little orange zest in the cake and topped with an orange syrup for a little bit of freshness and adds a touch of sweetness.

Imperial Sugar helped make this recipe possible with their generous donation of sugar as a sponsor of #Choctoberfest. You should have seen my face when 88 lbs of sugar arrived at my house. I’ll be set for all my baking this holiday season with my kids! Thanks Imperial Sugar!

Chocolate Babka | Join Us, Pull up a Chair #choctoberfest

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Orange Breakfast Rolls – The Secret Recipe Club

It’s that time of the month again for The Secret Recipe Club! I was so excited when I opened my email l an saw my assignment this month – The Heritage Cook! Jane has been part of the SRC since the beginning and I’ve seen so many great recipes that she’s shared and so many that have been featured. Jane features traditional and new recipes and since she’s been gluten-free for several years, she has a large amount of GF recipes. I had a hard time narrowing down a recipe and polled my friends on Facebook. It was a tight race between her recipe for baked buffalo chicken wraps, italian hot artichoke dip and orange breakfast rolls with orange frosting glaze. I polled my family and the breakfast rolls won out!

The recipe made a good amount of rolls so I ended up sending them to work with my husband, because I would have eaten them all before he got home from work that day. They’re not overly sweet and have the perfect amount of orange flavor. While these rolls took some time to make, it’s definitely worth it!

Orange Breakfast Roll | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

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Pretzel Rolls – The Secret Recipe Club

One of my favorite times of the month is here…reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club! This month, my assignment was “It’s Yummy to my Tummy.” Heather’s two kids named her blog and I love it! Such a fun title!  Heather and I have a lot in common. We both started our blogs to organize our thoughts and experiment. Plus, we both use cooking and baking to relax.

After looking through all the recipes on Heather’s list, I decided to go with pretzel rolls. They’ve been on my list to make for a while, so I figured it was time. I had also considered making her pancakes and sausage muffins, apple bellini and asian lettuce wraps. I’m thinking the Bellinis would be perfect to serve on Thanksgiving.

The rolls were easy to make, since I’ve made pretzels before. The texture of the rolls were the right consistency and I loved the little bit of sweetness from the brown sugar.

Pretzel Rolls | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 1/3 cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
2 Tbsp warm milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup light brown sugar
4 cups flour
2 quarts cold water
1/2 cup baking soda
kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/3 cup water with the yeast. Allow to stand and get foamy. Add in the remaining cup of water, milk, melted butter and brown sugar. Stir the mixture around until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add in the flour and mix well until your dough forms. Since I was using my stand mixer, I let it knead for a minute or two so I didn’t have to knead it by hand. Remove and place on a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a 2 foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces, approximately 2 inches wide. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and then place a damp towel on top. Allow to rise for 10 to 15 minutes.

Take each piece of dough and form it into a roll or knot. Place back on the lightly floured surface about an inch apart and cover with a piece of lightly greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 30 minutes or until they have grown in size.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large stock pot, bring the water to a boil and add in the baking soda. The mixture will bubble and make a mess, but trust me, it’s worth it! Drop in two rolls at time and allow to boil for 30 seconds or less. Remove the rolls using a slotted spoon and allow to drain before placing onto the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all rolls have been boiled. Sprinkled with kosher salt. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on the top rack until the rolls are the desired color. I baked mine so they were on the darker side for a crispy outside. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minute and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.

Check out all the other great recipes in this week’s reveal using the link below!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

So…I had originally planned to blog about these cinnamon rolls right after Christmas, but things got CRAZY! We adopted a puppy the Monday after Christmas and then it was our turn to get the sick bug. Knock on wood, I was spared, but everyone else was hit with a little something. We’re getting back on track and I thought it was finally time to share our new tradition for Christmas morning.

Before this past year, we would just have cereal or something light for breakfast before heading out to spend the rest of the day with our families. I felt like we needed to do something for just the four of us and making breakfast where we can just hang out in the kitchen and be together…our little family. It ended up being a perfect morning and going forward, I’ll be making the dough on Christmas eve with Madeline and finishing them up while we’re opening gifts the next morning.

What I loved about this recipe is that rolls are not super sweet, but adding the cream cheese frosting makes them perfect.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

Dough:
1 packet active dry yeast
2 Tbsp warm water
1 cup milk, warmed
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp melted butter

Filling:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Frosting:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
8 ozs cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

In the bowl of a stand mixture, combine the yeast and warm water. Add in the warm milk and stir in the sugar and egg. Add two cups of flour and the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix using a dough hook until the batter comes together. Slowly pour in the melted butter. It should be cooled slightly. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 cup of flour and mix. The dough will be sticky to start and gradually will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball. Add more flour until it no longer sticks to the bowl or your fingers. Cover and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl and using a rolling pan and a little additional flour, roll the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick and into a rectangle about 12 by 18 inches. Softly spread the softened stick of butter over the dough and then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon. Starting at the long edge of the dough, begin to roll it into a log. Cut the dough using a serrated knife in half. Cut each half into half again and then each quarter into three equal pieces.

Arrange the rolls spiral side up into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, remove the rolls from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. I cheated and used the proof feature on my oven to speed up the process. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are golden brown.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter and sugar using a hand mixer until smooth. On low-speed, gradually add in the powdered sugar until combined. Add in the heavy cream and mix on medium high-speed until the frosting is at your desired consistency. Serve the rolls warm with a smear of frosting.

cinnrolls2

 

Source: Lovely Little Kitchen

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – The Secret Recipe Club

I’m excited to share my reveal for this month’s Secret Recipe Club! It usually takes me a couple weeks to decide on a recipe, because I always pick out way too many and then I need to narrow it down to that special one. This month was an exception! Upon receiving my assignment, Culinary Adventures with Camilla, Camilla is our group hostess and has so many unique recipes, things I’ve never heard of before. It’s so fun to see what she’s making the kitchen with her kids. She recently did 10 days of tailgating recipes – lots of great recipes over there!

I searched for something using canned pumpkin. I had almost a full can after making pumpkin pie creamer and wanted to use it up before it went bad. I found a recipe for pumpkin cinnamon rolls – SCORE! I’ve been wanting to make cinnamon rolls for awhile but hadn’t gotten around to it yet…so this was the perfect opportunity!

The recipe was simple to make and was sooo good! The pumpkin flavor was perfect, with the ooey-gooey center. I tried them without any frosting, they were good..not too sweet, perfect for a breakfast treat. My husband decided to indulge and spread cream cheese over the top and dusted with powdered sugar. He loved it and said it was the perfect “bedtime” snack. Whether you enjoy them plain or with a little something extra, you definitely need to make this recipe!

1 Tbsp active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 cup white whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 stick butter
2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar, softened to room temperature
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, warm water and sugar. Stir and allow the yeast to bloom. After 3-5 minutes, stir in the pumpkin, flour and salt. Mix until a sticky dough forms. Knead the dough for another 4-5 minutes until it becomes very elastic.

Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with olive oil until it’s completely coated. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. I used the proof function on my oven since it was cool in my kitchen when I made these. Butter and flour a round baking pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

After the dough has risen, cream together the butter, remaining two tablespoons of pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Punch the dough down and transfer to a floured surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread the pumpkin butter mixture over the dough with a off set spatula.

Starting from the long side, roll the dough up and pinch the ends to seal everything in. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 8 to 10 inch pieces, about 2 inches thick. Place the slices into the prepared pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the top and edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Orange Pull Apart Bread – The Secret Recipe Club

It’s the second Monday of the month and you know what that means!!! It’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day for my group. This month I was assigned, The Tasty Cheapskate – where tasty and cheap eat together. Jean has a great concept for her blog, eating delicious foods for cheap. All of her posts have cost breakdown and it was interesting to see how the prices of items have changed in the past three years. I chose a recipe, Orange Pull Apart Bread, that Jean made in October 2011. She noted the cost of an orange was 33 cents, I paid $1 for an orange to make this recipe…crazy!

I have seen pull apart breads all over Pinterest but haven’t tried one yet because when I read the instructions, it seemed daunting…until I saw this post. Jean had step by step instructions and the fear was gone. I knew I couldn’t mess it up with all the photos she provided….well, except that I rolled my dough a little too thin! It still worked out well and I ended up with thinner pieces of bread to nibble on. I think the next time I’ll try it, I’ll frost it with a cream cheese frosting, a la orange cinnamon rolls I used to eat growing up as a kid.

1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 packet of quick-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 3/4 – 3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar mixed with zest of one orange
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Heat the milk to melt the butter and then add in the water into a bowl of a stand mixer. The liquid should be warm but not too hot. Add in the sugar and yeast. Once you start smelling the yeast, add in the eggs and vanilla. Mix together. 
Add in 1 cup of flour and mix on slow with a dough hook. Add in another cup of flour and mix. At this point, my dough was really wet, so I ended up using almost 3 1/2 cups of flour until my dough was no longer sticky. Knead the dough until it forms into a ball. The dough is different than regular dough that I’m used it, it’s more oily, but that is because it is a richer dough. Once the dough has formed into a ball, allow to rise until its doubled in sized. I use the proof setting on my oven (LOVE), and it took about an hour. 
Grease a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn out onto a floured counter. Roll into a 12 x 20 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Take the melted butter and spread it all over the dough. Sprinkle the orange sugar all over the buttered dough. 
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 5 strips from the short side. Stack the slices and then slice the long piece into 6 squares. Stack all these pieces together, cut side up and place them in the greased loaf pan. Allow to rise again until the dough is to the top of the pan or slightly above. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the top becomes golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan and then transfer to plate where you get to pull apart slices of delicious orange bread. 

Mini Pretzel Dogs – The Secret Recipe Club

I always love when it’s reveal day for The Secret Recipe Club! It’s so fun to go through all the other recipes and find out who had you. This month, my assignment was Rebekah of Family, Food and Fun. I was Rebekah’s assignment in February! I looked through so many of Rebekah’s recipes and had a hard time selecting one…it’s that always the problem with SRC!? I finally settled on a recipe for mini pretzel dogs!

I haven’t made pretzels in so long, so I knew it was able time. This was a great recipe to make for dinner, plus I had leftovers and they’re great to heat up for an after-school snack for Madeline. I knew these would be time consuming to make and with our crazy schedule lately, I knew I would have to make these on the weekend. The pretzels were the perfect texture and were even better dipped in spicy brown mustard..YUM!

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
8 hot dogs, cut in half
In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the water and sugar. Sprinkle the packet of yeast on tops of the water and allow to feed for 5 minutes. You’ll begin to smell the yeast and see a foam starting to form. Once the yeast is frothy, add the flour, salt and melted butter. Knead using a dough hook on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly coat the bowl with oil. Add the dough back into the oiled bowl, sprinkle with flour and cover with plastic wrap to rise in a warm place. 
When the dough has doubled in size (about an hour), line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush the paper will oil to keep the pretzels from sticking, Place the oven racks in the center and top third and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly beat an egg in a small bowl and set aside. 
In a large stock pot, combine 10 cups of water with 2/3 cup baking soda and bring to a boil. As the water comes to a boil, remove the dough from the bowl onto on a clean work surface. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece of dough until its a foot long. Wrap the dough around the hot dog and seal the ends.  
Once the salted water is boiling, gently place the pretzel dogs into the water. Boil for 30 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the boiled pretzels with the beaten egg and then season with salt, pepper or other spices. 
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes and serve warm. 

Honey Wheat Bread – The Secret Recipe Club

The Secret Recipe Club is back! My group had a break in January and while it was nice, it wasn’t good for my blogging. I’ve really slacked when it comes to making new recipes lately. Being stuck in the house because of cold and snowstorm after snowstorm, drives my motivation level down, down, down. This week I’m going to get back to making new recipes and working out. It’s all or nothing!

This month my assignment was Jen’s Journey. I loved looking through Jen’s blog and reading about everything that she has overcome over the years. I spent several hours reading and searching for my recipe. I haven’t made bread lately and with the cold weather, I knew it would be perfect timing since I was also making soup (recipe to come later this week). Who doesn’t love soup and bread on a snowy, winter day?
This recipe makes two loaves of bread but it was perfect to freeze one and enjoy the other right away. I loved the texture of this bread and it was a heavier bread that I usually make, but it was perfect addition to soup. Thanks Jen for getting me back in the kitchen, making bread and experimenting with the proof feature on my new oven!
2 packages regular active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
3 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups very warm water (120-130 degrees F)
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 3/4 to 3 3/4 cups ap flour
Dissolve yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water in a large bowl of a stand mixer. Once dissolved, add in the honey, softened butter, salt, 2 1/2 cups water and 3 cups of whole wheat flour. Using a dough hook, combine on low for one minute. Once combined, beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes and then add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and mix until combined. 
Starting with 2 3/4 cups of the all-purpose flour, combine with the whole wheat dough until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Add in another 1/2 cup of flour and continue kneading the dough until the dough is smooth. 
In a greased bowl, turn the dough around the bowl to cover all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 40 minutes or until it’s doubled in size. When the dough has doubled in sized, grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Gently punch the dough to deflate the dough and divide into two equal pieces. Shape the dough into loaves and place into the greased pans. Cover and allow to rise for another 40 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan immediately and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely and then slice, butter and dig in! 

Cheesesteak Buns: The Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to this month’s Secret Recipe club! Every month I look forward to my assignment for the Secret Recipe Club and I’m always excited to go and scour for a recipe. This month I was assigned C Mom Cook. I was excited to see I was assigned Shelley’s blog! Shelley and I met each other through the SRC and found out we don’t live too far from each other – small world!

I’m envious of Shelley’s bread making skills and knew I wanted to make something with homemade dough. I would have loved to make one of her many sourdough recipes or chocolate brioche buns. I knew this month was going to limited on time and settled on her recipe for cheesesteak buns. Since we’re both close to Philly, I figured it would be a great way to celebrate one of the famous foods of the area.

I whipped these together and I loved how quick and easy they were to make. They were great for dinner and perfect for lunch leftovers the next day. The best part…I had some leftover dough and made dessert ones with caramelized bananas. YUM!

First you’ll make the dough:
1 cup milk, scaled
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3 cups flour
Once your milk has been scaled, add in the sugar, oil and salt. Let this mixture cool until it’s lukewarm (about 105-110 degrees). Add in the yeast and allow it to sit until the yeast is activated and becomes frothy, about 10-15 minutes. 
Sift the flour into a large bowl and then add the milk/yeast mixture. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook attached, combine the flour and wet mixture and knead using the mixture until the dough has formed into a ball. Leave the dough in the bowl and lightly spray with cooking spray and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until it doubles in size – about 1 to 2 hours.
While the dough is rising, make the filling. 
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/ 4 lb thinly sliced chipsteak
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
Heat the olive oil over a large skillet and add in the onions. Cook the onions until they start to caramelize. Break the meat into small pieces and add into the pan. Constantly move the steak pieces around the pan until it’s cooked through. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, cover the pan and remove from the heat. 
Once the dough has doubled in size, deflate it and divide it into 16 pieces. Roll each portion into a round ball. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle approximately two inches in diameter. Using your hands, gently pull the edges to make the circle large closer to three inches in diameter. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling into the middle of the dough. Gather the edges of the dough and seal the bun. Place each bun on the prepared baking sheet and bake at 400 for 15 minutes until they turn golden brown. 

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