Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"English Muffin" Bread

This is another of those loaves that I made with no intention of sharing on my blog. But I loved the end result so I thought I'd share. I had gone into the kitchen intending to make Sourdough English Muffins. However, my starter just wasn't bubbly. I had been having trouble with it - I think it's STILL punishing me for buying commercial yeast over a year ago. I had to put off the English muffins but I really needed to make something. Anything. I remembered seeing recipes for "English Muffin" Bread and quickly looked up a recipe.

Of course, I got distracted and some milk that I was only supposed to be scalding went a bit beyond the scalding stage and reduced a lot. I decided to just go with it anyway and didn't bother to add fresh milk to make up the rest. I loved how quickly this bread came together. The entire process took less than an hour and a half. The crumb was great and the flavour was good too. I snapped a crumb shot for a friend, ate several slices and then thought that I should share it here. Weeks later, I'm finally getting around to it.

I'll definitely make this again and will try adding various flavours to it. Garlic is always my first choice but we'll see what I decide on. Tomorrow I'll be sharing a really delicious sandwich that I made with it.

English Muffin Bread 


12.75 oz all purpose flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
cornmeal for loaf pan


Grease a loaf pan and sprinkle bottom and sides with cornmeal.

Whisk together flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Heat milk and water to between 120F to 130 F. Pour over dry ingredients.

Beat at high speed for a minute then scoop into prepared loaf pan. Cover and proof at room temperature until dough has doubled. This could take about 45 minutes, depending on the temperature of the room.

Before the door has doubled, preheat oven to 400 F.

Bake the dough for 22-27 minutes or until it registers 190 F. Cool for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. Allow to completely cool before slicing.


  • The recipe is for an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. However, I used a 9" x 5" pan without scaling the ingredients. I was fine with the size. However, you may want to use the smaller pan so you can have a taller loaf.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Spicy Chicken Cauliflower Pizza - Crazy Ingredient Challenge

I am surrounded (virtually) by cauliflower. First, cauliflower (and cheese) won the vote for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge. A few days later; I got an email from Pinterest featuring all things cauliflower. Then a blogger posted a round-up of 10 cauliflower recipes. A few others posted their own cauliflower recipes and then I learned about cauliflower Alfredo from yet another blog post.

You know me, I live for dessert. I try to turn almost all the Crazy Ingredient Challenge ingredients into dessert . It was with some reluctance that I ditched my original ideas for pizza. Don't look at me like that. Cauliflower in dessert would definitely have worked. It's very mild tasting so it would have been easy to blend it into a quick bread or brownies and then top them with an amazing cream cheese frosting. But pizza is good too and it's been a very long time since I've had pizza. I'm pretty sure it's been about two years.

I have ZERO regrets about going for pizza instead. Sure, it helps that I also made cupcakes on the same day. But seriously, this pizza is absolutely delicious! The cauliflower sauce works perfectly here. Again, it's very mild so I am sure that no one would suspect that you topped your pizza with cauliflower sauce. They would be too busy enjoying the cheesy goodness.

Be sure to check out what everyone else made below!

Spicy Chicken Cauliflower Pizza
Recipe by: Kelly  
Yield: 2 10-11 inch pizzas


Pizza Dough
275 grams all purpose flour
152 - 182 grams water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

Cauliflower Sauce
3 cups cauliflower 
3 cups water
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons minced garlic (see note)
salt & pepper, to taste 

4-8 ounces pepper jack cheese
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
tomato, diced
jalapeno, diced
red pepper flakes


Pizza Dough 
Combine all the pizza dough ingredients until it just starts coming together then knead for an additional 5-7 minutes. Dough should be tacky. Start with the smaller amount of water and add water as needed. 

Form into a ball and place in a large, oiled bowl. Cover tightly and immediately refrigerate for at leas 18 hours. 

Remove dough from fridge and divide iinto two pieces and form each piece into a tight ball. Leave the balls to rest for 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven and a pizza stone, if using, to 450 F. 

Flatten each dough into a disk and gently stretch it to a 10-12 inch circle ensuring that the edges are thicker than the center. If the dough tears, be sure to patch it so that the sauce doesn't leak through. 

Place a disk on a floured peel. Brush the edges with oil. Top with approximately 6-8 tablespoons of cauliflower sauce, half the chicken, tomatoes, jalapeno and then cheese. 

Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and bake for 7 - 9 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Let rest for 2 minutes then sprinkle with red pepper flakes before serving.

Cauliflower Sauce
Boil the cauliflower in the water until the cauliflower is tender. Remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon and place in a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup of the cooking water, milk and garlic. Process until it's completely smooth. Add salt and pepper and process once more.
  • The garlic in the sauce may be very assertive, however, it definitely mellows out after being baked on the pizza. You can saute the garlic beforehand or start with less garlic and then add as much as you like. 
  • You may also want to add more sauce than I suggested. The recipe makes more than enough. Leftovers can be stirred into pasta or soup.  

Crazy Ingredient Challenge

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spiked Lemonade Bundt - #BundtBakers

I am the host of this month's Bundt Bakers and challenged my fellow bakers to bake a Bundt inspired by Girl Scout cookies. My fellow bakers may be surprised to learn that I have never eaten a Girl Scout cookie. I've just never seen anyone selling them. The fundraising-children outside my supermarket usually sell chocolate. I'm pretty sure that I saw a Girl Scout some weeks ago and she was holding one of those boxes of fundraising-chocolate. I think that when I was a Brownie in primary school, my friend and I may have sold some cookies one year. I have a vague memory of knocking on some gates in my neighbourhood. They were most likely just simple vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies. From what I gather, the US Girl Scouts are the main cookie entrepreneurs.

I wasn't a good Brownie and I was an even worse Girl Guide. I avoided camping - never even told my mother about it. When I first transitioned from Brownie to Girl Guide, I ordered my uniform but never picked it up. I know. Horrible. But it was complicated. You know, in the way that 10 year-olds can have complicated lives. A new girl moved into the neighbourhood and we started high school together. (High school starts at age 10/11 in Jamaica.) We were inseparable. I was at her house every day after school. Her mother was a dressmaker so I asked her to make my uniform instead of using my regular dressmaker. Then suddenly, C and I weren't friends anymore and picking up my uniform became a wee bit of an issue.

Adding Lemon-Rum Syrup

I have no idea what happened. When we talked about it years later, she didn't know either. I'm 100% sure that whatever happened was my fault though. There was no fight or anything like that. More than likely, I just got distracted. I was a VERY impressionable 10/11 year old (and beyond but let's not go there). I think it was another year or two before I got a new uniform made and started attending Girl Guide meetings. C and I ended up in the same class for the last 4 years of high school but it wasn't the same. We each had our core group of friends by that point but we did keep in touch off and on after high school. When she was in Florida with her family 3 years ago, we met up and ended up talking about baking bread. She introduced me to white wheat. High school regrets; I have lots.

I made a cake based on the Lemonade cookie (a shortbread dipped in lemon glaze). I chose this for one simple reason - it's the last cookie that I'd ever choose to eat. There are Thin Mints (chocolate), Samoas (more chocolate plus coconut) and Thanks A Lots (dipped in chocolate)! There would just be no reason to choose Lemonades. But I'm trying to branch out when it comes to dessert flavours. So it was time to find out what lemons had to offer. I figured that adding a little rum wouldn't hurt. I'd tell you that I ate this entire cake by myself in 4 days but I'm pretending that never happened.

Be sure to scroll down to see everyone baked!

Spiked Lemonade Bundt
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from: Cook's Illustrated
Yield: 1 cake



3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup buttermilk, room temperature

¼ cup rum
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature

Lemon - Rum Syrup
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup rum
4 tablespoon butter

1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoon rum syrup


Preheat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly grease and flour a 10 - 12 cup Bundt pan.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl. In a separate container, mix together buttermilk, rum, lemon juice, and vanilla.

Cream sugar, butter, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time and beat until combined.

Add  the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with 2 additions of the buttermilk mixture. Scrape down the bowl as needed

Scrape batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 40 -50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes then remove cake from pan..

Lemon-Rum Syrup

While cake is baking, whisk together sugar and lemon juice over low heat until sugar is dissolved. When sugar has dissolved, add rum and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in butter. Reserve 4 tablespoons of syrup.

Prick the warm cake all over with a fork. Brush the cake with the rum syrup. You can also slowly pour the syrup over the cake ensuring that the syrup has been absorbed before pouring more. Cool the cake completely.

Mix together powdered sugar and enough of the reserved syrup until the desired consistency has been reached. Add additional water, if needed. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake.
  • In the cake, lemon extract would be a better addition than vanilla. 
  • For the lemon-rum syrup, the sugar will mostly dissolve in the lemon juice if left to sit for a while. You can let the two sit while you work on the cake so the syrup comes together more quickly when you're ready.
  • I used 3 large lemons in total for this recipe. I got a bit more than 2 tablespoons of juice from each. Each also yielded more than a tablespoon of zest. 


#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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pain Petri - Moroccan Challah - #BreadBakers

Well, this is awkward. Last month I mentioned that I was writing up my post while watching the Great British Baking Show /Bake Off. Well, PBS aired the finale last week and now I find myself a little lost. What am to watch now? Remember when I said I wasn't sure how I felt about the show? Well, now that it's over, I'm missing it. I guess I liked it after all.

This post will be more brief than normal. I'm feeling a bit out of sorts, I guess. Something just feels wrong. Not physically. It's hard to explain. A vibe? Lets talk about the bread instead.

I can't remember what I was Googling back in September when I came across an article about Joan Nathan's Pain Petri. This Moroccan challah is distinct from other challahs in that it includes anise. What caught my eye though, wasn't the use of anise. Until making these loaves, I had never used anise before. I was actually pretty sure that I probably wouldn't like anise. What was interesting here was that Joan Nathan promised a loaf  in less than 90 minutes. That's from kneading to baking. 90 minutes. I saved the recipe and it turns out that it was perfect for this month's Bread Bakers Seeds theme being hosted by Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories.

So a loaf in 90 minutes. Could it really be that good? Wouldn't it be dense? I'm here to tell you that it was good - surprisingly good. It was definitely more dense than a traditional challah but not badly so. More dense but not a dense loaf. Does that make sense? I hope so. For comparison, I divided the dough in two and followed the steps for baking half in 90 minutes. With the second half, I refrigerated the dough overnight.

Fermented Overnight

You know how they say that your baked goods will be even more flavourful with a long, slow bulk fermentation? I've always just nodded and smiled at that. It's not that I disbelieved. I had definitely had more "sour" sourdough loaves when I did a cold rise. But I just had never directly compared two doughs before so I really couldn't attest to how much more flavourful it was.

Wow. That is what I said when I bit into the second loaf. Yes, it was lighter than the first loaf. But it was also bursting with flavour. It was buttery (the dough only has oil). The anise was wee bit stronger too. Night and day. I loved the first loaf. I was IN LOVE with the second. I don't think I will ever bake another loaf of bread without a long, cold rise. (You'll find that funny if you check back later this week and see that I share another 90 minute loaf. Ha! Maybe, I should say that I won't bake another challah-style loaf without a cold rise.)

10 minute bulk fermentation
So if you need a quick loaf of bread to serve to company that didn't give notice and dinner must be ready within 2 hours, try the quick version of this recipe. But if you have time, let it ferment slowly. I almost made another batch of this last weekend but I had to stop myself since the list of breads to make is long. I cannot keep baking tons of pain petri.

Pain Petri - Moroccan Challah
Yield: 2 small loaves
1 cup (227 grams) warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
8 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon anise seeds 
1/2 tablespoon salt
3 3/4 cup (450 grams) flour 
sesame seeds, for topping
egg yolk + half tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together water, yeast, and sugar until yeast is dissolved then whisk in oil and egg. Add anise seeds, salt and most of the flour. Knead until a soft, elastic dough has formed, adding more flour as is necessary.

For a cold fermentation, cover and immediately refrigerate the dough overnight. Otherwise, leave the dough uncovered and let it rest for 10 minutes.

10 Minute Fermentation: Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll one piece out to a 24 inch long rope making sure there are no seams. Bring the ends together and twist to loose spiral. Or shape in another way that suits you. Place on baking sheet and repeat with the other piece of dough. 

Beat the egg yolk with half a tablespoon of water. Brush the loaves and sprinkle sesame seeds over the loaves. 

Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes then rotate the baking sheets. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the bottom of the loaves sound hollow when tapped. 

Overnight Fermentation: Preheat oven to 350 F. Bring dough to room temperature. Shape. Brush with half the egg wash. Let rise uncovered until doubled (approximately 30 minutes). Brush again with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.Bake 30-40 minutes or until hollow when tapped.

I'd grind the anise seeds before using next time sot there's a better distribution. 

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month's theme is Seeds, and his hosted by Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to Don't forget to check out the rest of the delicious breads with seeds:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Whoopie Pies with Peanut Filling - Foodie Extravaganza

Do whoopie pies count as cookies? I found this recipe in Taste of Home's Ultimate Cookie Collection. Cookie collection. If they do indeed count as cookies, I can add them to the much-too-short list of cookies that I can successfully bake - Alton Brown's chewy chocolate chip cookies, these chocolate lava cookies, and biscotti/mandelbrot. However, if you consider them to be little cake sandwiches, then it's back to the drawing board for me. 
Waiting for filling

March is National Peanut Month and peanuts are the ingredient of choice for this month's Foodie Extravaganza. Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic combination. However, it's not one that I truly love. In fact, while I love peanuts, I am pretty nonchalant about peanut butter. I thought I'd explore chocolate plus peanuts where peanuts were also adding texture to the soft cakes. Great decision. One not so good decision was when I used spicy peanuts. I love spicy food. And I've been trying to figure out how to approach the cayenne + chocolate combination. This, however, was not it. I simply chose the wrong brand of spicy peanuts. They were much too savoury (from the addition of dried tomatoes, etc.) for this application. I will have to make my own spicy peanuts to try again. Or I could just stop hesitating and add cayenne to my chocolate batters. One day.

Whoopie Pies with Peanut Filling
Recipe by: Kelster   Adapted from: Taste of Home and Cook's Country
Yield: ~15 pies (30 mini cakes plus filling)

Filling Ingredients
3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup peanuts (chopped or crushed)

Cake Ingredients
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup buttermilk


Whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan. Add milk to the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Place pan on medium-high heat. Stir continuously until the mixture boils and becomes very thick. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. You can refrigerate it to speed up the cooling. 

When boiled milk mixture is cooled, place in a mixing bowl, add vanilla and whisk together for 30 seconds or until combined. Beat in the butter one tablespoon at a time until mixed in. Then beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it becomes light and fluffy. This could take about 7 minutes.

Set aside to set at room temperature. It will thicken a bit more as it sits. 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two half sheet pans or cover with parchment paper.
Thoroughly mix together cocoa powder and hot water. Set aside to cool. 
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until fully combined. Mix in the cocoa mixture. Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then alternate adding the flour with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
Drop tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Make sure that they are at least 2 inches apart as they will spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cakes are firm to the touch, switching and rotating pans halfway through baking.
Cool completely. 
You can fill cakes in different ways. Spread some filling on one cake, add some of the peanuts. Top with another cake spread with some filling. Or you could spread filling on a cake, sandwich with another cake, then roll the sandwich in crushed peanuts.

Filling needs time to cool and set. It should be made before the cakes.
Some of your cakes might be a bit smaller than others. Be sure to pair matching cakes together before filling.
Aesthetically, I would have preferred bigger peanut pieces my but my Rocket made quick work of the peanuts.

Welcome to the March Foodie Extravaganza!  
  Where we all share delicious recipes with the same main ingredient.  
This month the ingredient is Peanuts!  We have a great variety of yummy recipes from main dishes to desserts to share with you.  If you would like to participate in the next Foodie Extravaganza, just go to the Facebook page to join.  We would love to have you!