Saturday, September 20, 2014

Apple Basil Challah

This month for Crazy Ingredient Challenge we are cooking with apple and basil. I had a few ideas in mind. I thought a pork dish would be perfect but ultimately settled on an apple basil challah. I had wanted to bake a challah since I made the beet bread pudding last month. The loaf that I made for that was a water challah (no eggs) so it was time to add the eggs. Plus, I love braiding loaves and I look for any excuse to practise. 

This bread is not sweet. If you want a sweet challah, increase the sugar. You could even sprinkle sugar over the crust or even add sugar to the apples. I did not want a dessert challah so I didn't do that. Later, I will make French toast and can add all the sugar that my little heart desires. This is HUGE loaf - 1.08 kg. I have to get creative before it's too stale to eat as is. Right now, it's soft and fluffy and I can't stop eating it. The basil gives just the perfect background note. I probably could have used more basil and if  I ever make a basil bread again, I will.

Be sure to scroll down to see what the others made with apple and basil this month

Apple Basil Challah


500g all purpose flour 
7g active dry yeast
132ml water (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon)
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
89ml oil (6 tablespoons)
52g sugar (1/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
14 - 28 grams basil, chopped
2 apples, chopped
1 egg white


Combine all the ingredients except salt, apple, basil and egg white and knead until just combined - about 1 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes then add salt and basil. Knead dough for 6-8 minutes (in a stand mixer) until it forms a smooth tacky (but not sticky) dough. 

Form the dough into a bowl and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and let rest until doubled. This could take up to two hours but depends on the temperature of your room. 

When the dough has doubled, divide it into 4 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a roughly 9"x 2" rectangle and fill with apples. I used approximately 1/2 cup of apples per rectangle. Roll the rectangle into a tube, sealing the apples in. Keep rolling the tube until it's about 12 inches long. 

Braid dough.See instructions for the 4 strand weave/round challah here. 

Whisk the egg white with  1 tablespoon of water and brush over braided loaf. Allow loaf to double once more. This could take 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

When loaf has risen, brush dough with remaining egg wash. Bake loaf for 40-45 minutes or until loaf reaches 195 F.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pumpkin Espresso Bundt - #BundtBakers

Let's start this with a confession. When Tux of Brooklyn Homemaker chose "Autumn Harvest" (focusing on autumn produce)  for this month's Bundt Bakers, I was a bit thrown. You see, nothing really stands out to me when I think "autumn harvest". Of course I know all the produce associated with fall. But I was trying to think of what was quintessentially fall for me.  I grew up in Jamaica. We ate pumpkin at least once per week all year round. Same with sweet potatoes. It doesn't help that I am now in South Florida and there are no apple orchards nearby to think about going to for apple picking. Do they have pumpkin patches here? I should look that up.

However, within a few moments, I knew that I would make a pumpkin cake. I had always wanted to make (and taste) one so this was finally the time. I added espresso to half of the batch because I wanted to try the zebra/stripe effect - not just marbling. I also happen to love coffee flavoured desserts so I thought I'd see how the two worked together. .As much as I love coffee flavoured desserts, you won't find me drinking the stuff. There just does not seem to be enough sugar and flavoured creamer in the world to get it tasting like something that I would like. Basically, I try to make a cup of coffee taste like ice cream.

Speaking of ice cream, one of my favourite flavours is Starbucks' Java Chip. I still remember the first day that I tasted it. It was 2001. This was before they switched from Dreyer's to Unilevers and changed the flavours/recipes.  I bought a carton at the Safeway a couple miles from my college campus. Indecent words and sounds were heard and I was hooked from the first spoonful. I felt like I was cheating on my other favourite - Devon Stout from a popular bakery in Jamaica. Chocolate ice cream started giving me the side-eye, getting worried about its status in my life. Mmmmmmm

Pumpkin Espresso Mini Bundt (It was raining when I took this pic.)

Oh....we are here to talk about cake. Sorry about the ice cream tangent. Right, so I wanted stripes. The stripes worked out well but it was just a little tedious! For the larger pan, I poured a quarter cup of batter at a time into the pan. With the smaller pans, I poured by the tablespoon. Even though it took a little longer than normal, I think I will definitely try this again. I didn't go full on pumpkin spice here and I only slightly regret it - just cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. I really could have used more cinnamon.

Thanks, Tux for making me finally taste a pumpkin cake. Scroll down to see what other cakes the Bundt Bakers made this month.

Pumpkin Espresso Bundt

For cake
2 tablespoons espresso powder (or 3-4 tablespoons instant coffee powder)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 tablespoons oil
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For glaze (adapted from Dine & Dish via I am Baker)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons pureed pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly grease a standard sized bundt pan.

Dissolve the espresso powder in a tablespoon of water and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
Cream butter, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully combined. Stir in vanilla, pumpkin and oil until thoroughly combined.
Starting and ending with flour, alternate adding flour and milk to the mixture. Stir until just combined with flour streaks remaining after each addition. At the end, stir until no streaks remain.

Divide the batter into two. Stir the espresso into one half. Pour a quarter cup of the plain batter into the bundt. Then pour a quarter cup of the espresso batter in the center of the plain batter. Both batters will spread on their own. However, if the batter is a bit thick, you can rap the pan lightly on the counter to help the movement. Keep pouring alternate batters into the center of the previous batter.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

When cake is cool, whisk together powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients. When the glaze is homogenous, pour over cake.


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oat Sourdough Waffles - Foodie Extravaganza Party

Welcome to Foodie Extravaganza! 

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September is National Waffle month and along with a bunch of other bloggers we are having a Foodie Extravaganza all about Waffles! You can see all of the delicious recipes at the end of this post. #FoodieExtravaganza

 The last ten days in the kitchen have been a struggle for me. (Were I being more honest, I would say that it has been the last month but the last ten days sucked the most.) My friend's birthday was last Monday and every year I make her a cake. I just could not decide on a cake this year. For several weeks, I dismissed ideas. Finally, time was running out and I whipped up a coconut chocolate cake hoping to top it with a fluffy coconut frosting. Chocolate cake. I have made several. I have made that particular recipe once before but without the coconut. I expected no trouble. Ha! The cake did not rise. I was shocked. I had already told my friend's husband to pick up the cake in a few hours. I cleaned up the kitchen, cancelled the pickup and sulked.

Day 2. New plan. Red velvet cake. Same coconut frosting. I can do this. Baked perfectly. Yes! Back in business. I just need to let it cool. Oh, let me rest it ....suddenly the cake flew out of my hand, slid across the table and landed upside down on the floor. Clean up red cake. No pickup to cancel this time. I knew better. But there was sulking.

Day 3. New plan. Marble cake (red and white). Bake cake. Check after timer goes off. Needs a few more minutes. Reset timer.Leave kitchen. You know what I forgot to do? I forgot to put the cake back into the oven.

There were other mini mishaps-like an egg fiasco. But I don't want to think about it. Let's talk about waffles instead. Specifically, these Oat Sourdough waffles.  They have that lovely sourdough tang, some oats to make them a little more hearty plus some spices. I am not big on pouring syrup on waffles but I did try to add just a little to these. I have no problems eating cake for breakfast (what do you think happened to the cake that didn't rise?) but I just can't seem to pour syrup on my waffles. Typically, I use waffles to make sandwiches. I did that with these after the first lightly syrup-ed one. 

Lots of great waffles below so scroll past the recipe to see them!

Oat Sourdough Waffles


2 cups milk
1 cup mature 166% sourdough starter
1 cup flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt

Combine milk, starter, flour, oats and sugar. Combine and let rest overnight at room temperature.
Preheat waffle iron.
 Beat eggs, oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and add to overnight sponge. Stir until just combined and let rest for 5 minutes.
Cook according to waffle iron manufacturer's instructions.

Welcome to the Foodie Extravaganza!
We are a group of bloggers who love to blog about food! And each month we all incorporate one main ingredient into a recipe. This month the ingredient is waffles. We hope you all enjoy the delicious ways we made our waffles and be sure to come to see what next month’s new ingredient is. If you would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!
Make sure to check out these great recipes from our group!

14 Delicious Waffle Recipes

14 Delicious Waffle Recipes
Cinnamon Swirl Waffles from Summer Scraps
Caramel Apple Waffles from We Like to Learn as we Go
Cheddar and Jalapeno Waffles from Rhubarb and Honey
Sweet Potato Waffles from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Strawberry Shortcake Waffles from Mrs. Penguin
4 Ingredient Spiced Pumpkin Waffles from Keep It Simple Sweetie
Lasagna Waffles from Love in the Kitchen
Pumpkin Pie Waffles from Eazy Peazy Mealz
Oat Sourdough Waffles from Passion Kneaded
Waffle Crusted Apple Pie Parfait from The Freshman Cook
Sweet Potato Waffles with Pecan Honey Butter from Wicked Spatula
Savory Bacon and Veggie Waffles from Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Bacon and Cheese Waffles from Housewife Eclectic
Maple Bacon Waffles from Ashlee Marie
Loaded Baked Potato Waffles from Food Lust People Love

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