Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekend Bagels

On a Saturday morning, what is better than a fresh, hot toasted bagel and cream cheese?

Nothing, except for a fresh, hot toasted bagel that you mixed, boiled and baked yourself!

Last weekend I made a batch of 10 homemade wheat bagels and I'll tell you right now, this recipe is a keeper.  It's easy, fairly quick (total time of about 3 hours) and the finished product is so, so good.

I adapted a recipe from Serious Eats to make a somewhat healthier version with a mix of wheat and white flour.  You can check out the original here or follow my version here.

Happy weekend, sweets!

  • 2 cups white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. instant dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cup hot water 
  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients (only 2 tablespoons of the white sugar) in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment to combine.
  2. Switch to the dough hook, and slowly add hot water with the mixer on low.  
  3. Continue mixing with the mixer on a medium setting until dough becomes shiny and stretchy without breaking, about 1 - 2 min. 
  4. Spray large bowl with cooking spray (or grease however you choose) and transfer the dough to this bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put a kitchen towel over that, then let the dough sit for 1 hour to rise. 
  5. After 1 hour, fill the biggest pot you have with water, add the other 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and bring to a boil.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Lightly flour a large working space, put the dough on it and punch out all of the air.  Split the dough into 10 even portions. 
  8. Roll one portion into a rope shape, about 7-8" long, wrap it around your hand and pinch the ends together to make a bagel shape.  
  9. Put your first bagel back on the table and cover with a large portion of plastic wrap.  Make the rest of the portions into bagel shapes, keeping them all under the plastic wrap to rise for another 10 minutes.
  10. The pot of water should be boiling now, if so, use a slotted spoot to transfer 1 or 2 bagels into the water.  Let them boil for 30 sec - 1 minute on each side, then transfer to a clean kitchen towel.  If you want a fluffier bagel, boil it less.  If you want a chewier bagel, boil it more.
  11. After all of the bagels are boiled, dry them off with your towel, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Flip the bagels, and bake for 10 minutes more, and enjoy your fresh-baked breakfast!
Bagels risin'
Bagels boilin'

Bagels dryin'

Bagels baked and ready for eatin'!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pineapple Upside Down Cake - Mad Men Season Premiere!

Is anyone else as excited for tonight's 2-hour Mad Men season premiere as my hubby and I are!?  We have been re-watching old episodes for weeks getting pumped up for the newest season.  I cannot wait to see what is next for Don, Betty, Peggy, Roger.  Oh, Roger. 

Image from Vanity Fair
Anyway, to celebrate I figured I would make a 60's-style dessert to enjoy while we watch- Pineapple Upside Down cake! This recipe is  The old fashioned way is to bake this cake in a cast iron skillet, which I decided to forego for my trusty square pyrex.  Just as retro, if you ask me ;)

The end result is still a silky, perfectly vanilla cake sweetened with pineapple that pairs perfectly with some chocolate chip ice cream.  I've modified a Martha Stewart Pineapple Mango upside-down recipe for this one and it's truly one of my favorite cake recipes.  A must-try, with any fruit baked into the bottom of the dish that you like.

Now pull out your chip 'n dips, channel your inner Peggy (or Peter), and enjoy the show folks!

  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons room temp. unsalted butter
  • 1 can of pineapple rings
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Spray an 8 x 8" square pyrex dish with cooking spray
  3. Pull out 7 pineapple rings from the can and put them off to the side, finely chop the remaining rings and let them drain on paper towels
  4. Beat 2 tablespoons of butter with the brown sugar until well mixed and nice and light and airy.  Using a spatula, spread out the butter/brown sugar mixture in the bottom of the greased pan. 
  5. Arrange the pineapple rings and slides however you like on top of the brown sugar.  Fill in any gaps or holes with the chopped pieces.
  6. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl, set to the side.
  7. Using your mixer, blend the stick of butter with white sugar until well mixed, and nice and light and airy.  
  8. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla.
  9. Turn the mixer to low and add half of the flour mixture, mix well, then add the yogurt and mix well, and then the rest of the flour until all is well mixed.  Here is the silky, delicious, amazing cake batter.
  10. Spread the batter evenly over the pineapples, and pop the pan in the oven for 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. 
  11. Let your cake cool for at least 30 minutes, then turn out onto your serving plate, enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Irish Carbomb Cupcakes

I love seasonal baking.  I'm talking apple/cinnamon/pumpkin in the fall, peppermint and chocolate in the winter, citrus and fruit in the summer...but spring always has me caught.  My mind goes floral but I haven't gone much further than lavender (with my Almond Lemon lavender cupcakes).  March is the only springtime month that comes easy.  March means St. Patrick's Day, which means bringing out one of my favorites: Irish Carbomb Cupcakes!

My good friend Christina of All's Fare Food Blog shared my recipe with her readers last year, and I am excited to post it here today with new pictures.  These treats bring the flavors of one of my favorite "shots" (can you call it a shot?) together into a cupcake with Guinness Chocolate Cake, Jameson chocolate ganache filling and Bailey's Irish Cream frosting.

I got an early start this year and baked my first batch of these cupcakes in February to say thank you to my new coworkers.  I've recently started a new job, and I'm sure you all know how the first couple of months go.  There is a lot to learn and a lot of my new coworkers have been awesome helping me along the way so I thought they deserved some boozey-cupcakes.  They disappeared fast, good move by me!

Here is the recipe that I adapted from Smitten Kitchen, this makes about 2 dozen cupcakes - enjoy!


Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 1 c. Guinness (pour first to let it settle)
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter - room temperature
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 c. sour cream
Jameson Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • 1 nip of Jameson Irish Whiskey
Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting (makes enough for 12...make two batches to have enough for all 24 cupcakes):
  • 3 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 nip of Bailey's Irish Cream


1) Make the cupcakes
  • Preheat oven to 350F and prep cupcake pan with liners.  
  • Bring 1 cup Guinness and 1 cup butter to a simmer in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cool slightly.
  • Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and 3/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl to blend.
  • Using an electric or stand mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl until light and creamy. 
  • Pour Guinness/chocolate mixture into the egg/sour cream bowl and beat to combine. 
  • Add flour mixture and beat for about 1 minute on low.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.  Be gentle, but make sure everything is well-mixed. 
  • Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for about 17 minutes or until a cake tester (toothpick in my case!) comes out clean.  
  • Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack. 
2.  Make ganache (you can start this while the cupcakes are cooling)
  • Pour chocolate chips into a heat-proof bowl.  
  • Heat the cream in a separate pot until it simmers, then pour over the chocolate.
  • Let the cream sit on the chocolate for 1 minute, and then stir until smooth.  If the chocolate has not melted enough to stir it smooth, you can pop it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and stir again.
  • Add the butter and whiskey, and stir until combined. 
  • Let the ganache cool until it thickens up a bit.  I put mine in the fridge for about 40 minutes and stir once every 10 minutes per Smitten's suggestion.
3.  Fill the cupcakes
  • Use a cupcake corer ($5 at Williams-Sonoma), apple corer, wide piping tip, 1-inch cookie cutter, knife, whatever you have on hand to cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes.
  • Save your centers to make a tastie! (A tastie is what I call a small bite of your cake that you can dab frosting on to make sure it tastes good without eating a whole cupcake)
  • Give the ganache one last good stir, fill a piping bag or ziplock baggie and cut off a corner, and squeeze the ganache into each cupcake.  It's okay if it is a little over-filled, people will love it and you can cover it with frosting later.
4.  Make the frosting
  • Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer for several minutes.  You want it really light and fluffy, I like to use the whisk attachment for this.
  • Once the butter is whipped, slowly add your powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
  • When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, add in the Bailey's and an extra splash of Jameson if you have extra for good measure, and whip until combined.
  • You can add more sugar or more liquid (milk, or booze, either one!) to thicken or thin out the frosting.
5.  Decorate!  Now you're ready to frost your cupcakes any way you like.  Enjoy!

Here's one of my tasties; a cupcake core, a dab of ganache and a dot of frosting- delish!
Here are my cupcakes all filled, pre-frosting