Chocolate Almond Biscotti!

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I love biscotti and I love coffee! They are a perfect pair if you ask me. Almond and chocolate are also a perfect pair! A little crunch from the almonds and the cookie itself with a little sweetness from the chocolate chips–Yum! I did a couple batches of these and the second one turned out amazing!

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I got this new coffee mug for my birthday! I love it so much! That morning was a great morning because of my new mug and delicious biscotti.

Each log is about 8 inches long and 3 inches wide. You can make it longer and skinnier for a smaller cookie slice, but this is how I like to make mine.

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The biscotti logs after the first bake, about 20 minutes.

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Make sure to let it cool before slicing. Then line them up for the second bake, which will give you the crunchy cookie you are looking for.

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I love the chocolate in these!

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You can drizzle these with more chocolate, but I thought they were great the way they are!

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I hope you get a chance to enjoy these! They ARE worth making!

 

Ingredients

1/3 cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

2/3 cup Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 tsp. Pure Almond Extract

2 ½ cups AP Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

½ tsp. Baking Soda

¼ tsp. Salt

½ cup Sliced Almonds

½ cup Ghirardelli 60% Dark Chocolate Chips

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
  2. Cream sugar and butter until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix until combined.
  3. Add all dry ingredients-flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix until mostly incorporated. Then add the chocolate chips and almonds.
  4. Continue mixing until dough comes together.
  5. Divide your dough into two logs that are approximately 8 inches long and 3 inches wide. You can estimate when dividing the dough or weigh out the total weight of the dough into grams or ounces. Then divide that in half. Mine was 436 grams or 15.4 ounces for each log.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. It should be golden brown.
  7. Let it completely cool, 30-60 minutes.
  8. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Slice the biscotti logs on an angle. Each slice should be about a ½ inch.
  10. Place slices with the wider side down touching the pan.
  11. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy with your favorite coffee!

 

 

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Focaccia!

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Happy New Year! One of the first breads I learned how to make in Pastry 101 was focaccia bread. After that it became one of my favorite breads to make and eat. It tastes very similar to pizza and that’s probably why I love it so much! There are many flavor combinations, but what I love most is using thyme and lots of cheese! The original recipe of this says to use 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, but I’m not a fan of it so I replaced it with thyme.

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I flattened mine out to just under a 12 inch x 12 inch square. I would go a little bigger if you want it to be a little thinner. I thought I had stretched it enough because it seemed thin enough, but it grew a little bigger than I expected. I didn’t mind though since it came out so fluffy.

This is my favorite step because you dip your fingers in olive oil and dimple the bread after it’s been stretched. It’s just fun!

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I love cheese so I covered it quite well. I used cheddar and Monterey Jack, but mozzarella or any Italian cheeses would be great on it.

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It does freeze well too if you don’t think you’ll eat it all before it goes stale. I really hope you get to enjoy this bread. It’s worth all the effort!

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This recipe is a variation from the recipe in my school textbook, On Baking: A Textbook of Baking & Pastry Fundamentals by Sarah R. Labensky, Priscilla A. Martel, & Eddy Van Damme.

 

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast

1 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar

12 fl. oz. Very Warm Water

1 lb. 2 oz. Bread Flour

2 tsp. salt

3 oz. Onion, chopped finely

1 Tbsp. Thyme

1 ½ cups Cheddar and/or Monterey Jack Cheese (shredded)

2 fl. oz. Olive Oil

 

Directions

  1. Measure 12 oz. of very warm water (The warmest water your hand can stand.) Add the yeast and sugar to this and stir it. Let it sit until it’s nice and foamy.Chop the onion. Set aside
  2. Weigh out the bread flour and add to the mixing bowl. Add the salt and thyme. Mix.
  3. Add the activated yeast, sugar, water mixture to the mixing bowl with the flour mixture. Begin mixing. Add the onion. Mix until it comes together. You may have to knead it by hand a little depending on the size of your mixer. It won’t mix well if the mixer is a little smaller. Knead until the dough is smooth and springs back when pressed on.
  4. Put about O.5 fl. oz. of olive oil in the mixing bowl. Place the dough back in the bowl and turn over so all the dough is covered in the olive oil. Cover it with plastic wrap touching the dough and a towel on top of the bowl. Let the dough raise for 1 hour in a proofer or at room temperature.
  5. After 1 hour, punch down the dough. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Place parchment on a sheet tray. Place the dough on the parchment. Flatten it on the pan so that it is about a 12 inch x 12 inch square or bigger depending on how thin you’d like your bread. Dip your fingers in the extra olive oil and dimple the surface of the dough. Sprinkle your shredded cheese of choice on top and any other topping you desire.
  8. Let it proof for 30 minutes.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

 

Gingerbread Coffee Cake

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So it’s been awhile since I’ve last posted, but I’ve been very busy finishing up school. I can now say I graduated from pastry school! I can’t believe it is over already, but I am so happy with my life!

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year! I love all the preparation and all the Christmas movies!! I also love this gingerbread coffee cake!

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This recipe is a delicious coffee cake that my family has started making a couple years ago. We all love gingerbread a lot, so why not try a new Christmas coffee cake. We used to make another coffee cake that looked just like this one, but it was vanilla flavored. Since we tried this version a couple years ago, it’s become the new favorite!

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The cream filling sounds almost too basic (as you’ll see in the recipe), but I promise it tastes delicious in this coffee cake!

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It’s so moist and full of flavor! It even lasts a 4-5 days without tasting stale or dried out. We did learn last year that it freezes well if it comes to that for you.

And let’s not forget the crumb topping…it’s amazing and completes the coffee cake!

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Here you go!

 

Ingredients

1 ½ cups AP Flour

1 ½ cups Wheat Flour (or use all AP if desired)

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar, divided

½ tsp. Salt

1 ½ tsp. Ginger (Increase if you want it spicier-try doubling or tripling depending how new your ginger is.)

1 tsp. Cinnamon

½ tsp. Cloves

½ tsp. Nutmeg

½ cup Cold, Unsalted Butter, cubed

2 Tbsp. Melted Butter

1 tsp. Baking Soda

½ tsp. baking powder

1 Egg

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

¾ cup Applesauce

½ cup Molasses

1/3 cup Buttermilk

¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line with wax paper.
  2. In the mixer using the paddle, combine the flours, ¼ cup brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Mix until combined.
  3. Add the cold butter and mix until the butter is pea sized.
  4. Remove 1 cup of the flour mixture and place in another bowl for the streusel topping. Add the melted butter to this and stir. Mix in the remaining brown sugar. Set aside.
  5. Add the baking soda and baking powder to the mixing bowl. Mix together.
  6. In another bowl add the applesauce, buttermilk, molasses, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Use a whisk to mix together. Add the egg. Mix. Add this to the mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
  7. Divide the batter between the two pans. Sprinkle streusel topping onto each cake. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until done.

 

Cream Filling

Ingredients

2 ½ Tbsp. AP Flour

½ cup Almond Milk

½ cup Unsalted Butter

½ cup Sugar

 

Directions

  1. Mix together flour and milk in a small pot. Cook until it thickened, stirring constantly using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  2. Let it cool in the pot on the stove.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in the mixer. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl.
  4. Beat with the paddle until smooth and creamy, like a frosting.
  5. Once the cakes are cooled, slice in half and divide the cream filling evenly. Place the top half back on the layer covered in cream and enjoy!!

 

 

*This coffee cake was adapted from other recipes.

Pumpkin Bread!

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It finally feels like Fall with the colder weather. I love lighting my candles almost every night! It’s as close as I’ll get to a fireplace.

I love the change in seasons so much because with each season brings new ingredients to use in baking and cooking. The Fall is one of my favorite times of the year because of all the pumpkins, apples, and squash. This means warm apple pie, apple crisp and cobbler, apple cider, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, and…pumpkin bread!

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This recipe is not an original but one my mom has made for a long time. It comes from a cookbook called Recipes for Life. I’m not sure exactly where it came from but it’s been well loved as the pages are yellowing and the cover is falling off.

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This recipe is so easy to make and so worth the time! The bread is so moist and full of pumpkin flavor. It’s definitely a family favorite! It does make quite a bit, but it freezes well or you could give it away to friends and family!

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Ingredients

3 ½ cups AP flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

 

3 cups sugar

1 cup oil

2/3 cup water

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

4 eggs

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the 3 medium loaf pans by greasing them and dusting with flour. Set aside for later.
  3. In a bowl, add the AP flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In a mixer using the paddle, add the sugar, oil, and water. Mix until combined.
  5. Next, add the pumpkin, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and mix until the batter is smooth.
  7. Divide the batter between the 3 greased and floured medium loaf pans.
  8. Bake for about 55 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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I hope you get a chance to make it!

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Enjoy!

 

Apple Butter!

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Nothing says Fall like homemade apple butter. I’m so glad I finally had some time this weekend to make it! It’s super easy to make and quite delicious! Once all the peeling and chopping is done, let your crockpot take over and just enjoy the awesome smells as thy permeate your house!

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I usually freeze it once it is made or give it away to friends and family. I’ve never done any canning before, but I would like to learn one day.

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It’s so good on toast, bagels, scones, English muffins, or even in oatmeal, maybe even ice cream, although I’ve never tried it. The picture above is what will soon be apple butter just at the start of the cooking.

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This picture is after about 5 hours of cooking.

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And this picture is after going a total of approximately 18 hours because I ended up letting it cook on low overnight. I know it looks quite gross, but once it gets pureed in the blender, I promise you it is amazing!

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The apple cider I used in this recipe is my absolute favorite! I get it from my local farmer’s market. They don’t pasteurize it, they freeze it. This means you only have about a week to drink it or put some of it in apple butter. I’ve also made some awesome apple cider pancakes to help use it up. Wherever you get your apple cider from, as long as it’s your favorite, it will work for this recipe.

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Apple butter is complete! It is so smooth and full of apple flavor! Gosh, I love Fall!

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I had made Irish Soda bread awhile ago. Since it has raisins and cinnamon in it, I decided to toast it and spread some apple butter on it. Mmm. Mmm. So good!

Ingredients

4 lbs. peeled and diced apples (Fuji and golden delicious. Use 50/50 of each–2 lbs. Fuji, 2 lbs, golden delicious)

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups apple cider

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. cloves

¼ tsp. nutmeg

 

Directions

  1. Peel and dice apples. Place in crockpot. Use your favorite apples. I prefer golden delicious for just about anything I make that uses apples.
  2. Add the brown sugar, apple cider, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the apples. Stir it all together.
  3. Turn crockpot on high for about 4-5 hours. Turn down to low until you’ve reached the 12-hour mark. I leave it on overnight because the time I get to the apples being in for 12 hours, it’s the middle of the night.
  4. Puree in a blender until smooth. Can or freeze.

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Enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from a recipe for apple butter from the Food Network Kitchen.

Honey Wheat Bread

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I’ve been making this wheat bread since my senior year of high school. It’s so good! I can’t seem to go back to buying wheat bread from the store. It just doesn’t have the same flavor. That’s is how I feel about any homemade bread versus store bought. It does take some time as it does with any homemade bread, but it freezes well and I don’t eat it very often. When I do have time, I make a loaf and then it will last at least a couple weeks.

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My family loves it and enjoys it very much! I love to make my gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches on it or a deliciously toasted Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Not only do I love freshly baked bread, but I love the process and how the dough feels in my hands. Kneading the dough is relaxing to me so it’s easy for me to make time to make this bread or any other bread. I think my second favorite bread to make is Focaccia. All the herbs, onions, and cheese are just so yummy! I want to try making pizza out of it sometime. Oh, and I have a really good English muffin recipe! They are quite amazing!!

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Above, is the milk, butter, salt, and honey being heated in the pot. It gets poured into the mixer with part of the flour and the yeast. Below is the dough after mixing in the other half of the flour. The picture on the right is the dough before it proofs.

 

 

 

Above is how to shape and form the loaf. Flatten the dough into rectangle. Fold the long ends over into thirds and roll tightly (the short side) to form the loaf. Place it in a greased large loaf pan and let it proof for about half an hour.

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The beautiful loaf after it has proofed. Below is the final product!

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Ingredients

4 ½ cups Whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. Active dry yeast

1 ¾ cup Almond milk

2 tsp. Salt

1/3 cup Honey

2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter

 

Directions

  1. In the mixing bowl, put 2 cups of wheat flour in the bowl followed by the yeast.
  2. In a small pot, add the milk, salt, honey, and butter. Heat until butter is melted and the temperature reaches 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the mixing bowl. With the dough hook, mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn up the speed to high for 3 more minutes.
  4. Take the bowl off the mixer and add one more cup of flour. Mix in by hand with a rubber spatula. Once incorporated add another cup of flour. Do not completely mix in. Place the dough onto a lightly flour surface and start kneading. Once the flour is incorporated, it will probably be sticky. At this point add a couple tablespoons at a time until the dough forms a nice ball and does not stick. Knead by for about 5-10 minutes until it springs back when touched.
  5. Grease the mixing bowl and place the dough back into the bowl. Let it proof for about an hour or until it’s doubled in size.
  6. After the first proof, punch down the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Flatten it to rectangle, getting rid of the air bubbles. (See above pictures.)
  9. Fold one third to the center and then the last third over that like a letter. Flatten and stretch to about 6-7 inches wide. Roll tightly to form the loaf. Tuck the ends under the loaf. (See above pictures.) Place in a greased large loaf pan. Let it proof for about 20-30 minutes until doubled in size.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes and then cover with foil so the loaf doesn’t get too dark for another 15 minutes totaling 35 minutes. Adjust accordingly depending on type of oven being used. Alternatively bake to an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from loaf pan and let cool on a cooling rack.

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

Cherry Amaretto Sweet Rolls

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Mmmmm….Cherry Amaretto Rolls. Besides vanilla bean, I love pretty much anything that has cherry and almond in it! I don’t know why, but my taste buds like it!

I recently purchased some cherry amaretto preserves and then stumbled upon a Fall Baking magazine, which contained a recipe for Cherry Almond Sweet Rolls. They just so happened to contain cherry preserves as the filling for them. This magazine has so many good recipes in it and was worth every penny!

IMG_1412My mom hosted her sister’s weekend this year, so we decided on these cherry amaretto sweet rolls! They turned out really well! My aunts loved them! I made quite a few changes and completely turned the roll into my own creation. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. When I see a recipe, I can’t help but make changes and improve it using ingredients I love, like buttermilk, pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean, or real butter. Sometimes knowing how ingredients work helps me decide what to use instead of another, such as knowing the gluten strength of flours. I have made too many changes sometimes, and it doesn’t quite work out, but more often than not, my changes to recipes work! It makes me so excited, and then I can’t wait for the next recipe.

I had bought a 16 oz. jar of cherry amaretto preserves, but I didn’t use all of it. I used about 3/4 of it. A lot oozed out as I was rolling, so I recommend putting less it or just deal with it like I did. You could try chilling it for a bit too before cutting the rolls. Another thought…you could spread some of the preserves on as you are eating the roll, if you want more cherry flavor. This recipe is nice because another fruit flavor could also be used instead of the cherry preserves for another flavor if you don’t like cherries. As the rolls baked, some of the filling did come out on the bottom of the pan too. But overall, I didn’t mind, I still thought they turned out great. My yield was 10 rolls, but you could make more or less depending on how big you want your rolls to be.

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Make sure to proof the dough for an hour or until it’s doubled in size as well as proofing after shaping and the rolls are in the pan. Otherwise you will have very dense rolls.

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Don’t they just look so good? Yummmm. I recommend waiting until they are completely cooled before icing them. I decided to add a little almond extract to my flat icing to add more almond flavor. These should be eaten within a couple days otherwise, freeze them so they don’t lose freshness. Also, microwave them right before eating for a little bit, if they are getting on the older side and they will be just like they were the first day!

Ingredients

2 cups Bread FlourIMG_1393

1 ½ cups AP Flour

1 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast

½ cup milk

½ cup Greek yogurt

6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1-16 oz. jar Cherry Amaretto preserves

 

Flat Icing

½ cup powdered sugar

1-2 Tbsp. milk (start with one or teaspoons)

A few drops of pure almond or vanilla extract

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Directions

  1. In a mixer, add both the flours and yeast.
  2. In a small pot, add the butter. Let it melt and then add the milk, yogurt, sugar, and salt. Heat to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Another test: if your finger can stand the warmth/heat without burning your finger, it’s probably ok to use.) It just needs to be very warm.
  3. Pour the heated ingredients over the flour and yeast. Place dough hook onto the mixer and start mixing.
  4. Add the egg after it has mixed a little. Continue mixing until dough has formed into a ball. The dough should be smooth and spring back when touched.
  5. Take the dough out of the mixer, pan spray the bowl. Put the dough in the greased bowl and turn over so the top of the dough is now greased. Let it proof at room temperature, in a proof box, or on the proof setting in your oven until doubled in size. About 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough down and roll out to a rectangle (14 inch x 10 inch).
  7. Spread a good amount of cherry preserve filling onto the dough or any other filling of choice. Roll up the dough long ways. Cut to desired size. I got 10 rolls out of mine. Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan. You may need a second smaller 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan. Place rolls however they fit best in pans. Let rise for 30 minutes on the proof setting on your oven again, at room temperature, or in a proof box.
  8. Bake a t 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before making flat icing.

 

I hope you get to enjoy these with your friends and family with some good coffee!