SMOKED PAPRIKA SOURDOUGH

My sister Norma back in Brazil jokes that she would add smoked paprika to her toothpaste if at all possible… If you are in her team, this bread is for you. I did not add a lot, and feel that the bread could stand even more, as you will see in the comments. The scoring style, “Multiple Leaves”, was inspired by the one and only Morgi, from Israel. Check his quick video tutorial here.

SMOKED PAPRIKA SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

370g water
110g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
470g white bread flour
30g spelt flour
2 tsp smoked paprika
10g salt

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the starter in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add the two types of flour, paprika, and salt.  Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. You will notice the dough will gain quite a bit of structure even with just 4 minutes in the mixer. Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. Because the dough is already a bit developed from the initial time in the mixer, you should get very good structure after 3 and a half hours, or even sooner than that.

After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Leave at room temperature one hour, and then place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F.

Invert the dough on a piece of parchment paper and score with a new razor blade, if so desired, or simply make a cut on the surface in the shape of a cross with a very sharp knife. 

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. You can generate additional steam by spraying the inside of the lid with water before closing the pan.  Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you are into sourdough baking, I urge you to follow Morgi’s instagram page. His talent with artistic scoring is something! For many of his styles, he includes not only a photo of the finished bread, but a short video of the slashing, start to finish. It goes a little fast, but you can pause and even draw a sketch on paper as he goes, if necessary. For the multiple leaves, you can pretty much do whatever you like as far as spacing the leaves or keeping them close. I liked this scoring a lot because since the edges of the leaves are cut more deeply, and the veins very lightly, the bread will not ruin the design as it bakes: it will naturally open around the edges of the leaves. Very clever.

The smoked paprika gave a delicate pink hue to the crumb and crust, next time I might add three teaspoons instead of two, to intensify the flavor.

This bread was once again made with my basic method, which starts with a 4 minute kneading in the KitchenAid. The only modification I’ve incorporated was leaving it at room temperature for one hour before placing it in the fridge overnight. I notice a slightly more open crumb and more oven spring when I do that.

ONE YEAR AGO: A Cake to say I Love You, from Kim-Joy’s cookbook

TWO YEARS AGO: Lemon-Almond Cake with Cranberry Glaze

THREE YEARS AGO: The Iron (Uptake) Chef Challenge

FOUR YEARS AGO: Thank you!

FIVE YEARS AGO: Salmon Rillettes, a Classy Appetizer

SIX YEARS AGO: Linzer Cookies

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Baked Ricotta, Take Two

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Uncanned

NINE YEARS AGO: Pork Ragu

TEN YEARS AGO: Friendly Kuri Squash

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Celery and Apple Salad

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED CINNAMON COOKIES: VEGAN & DELICIOUS

Today I share a recipe for delicious cookies that happen to be vegan. No eggs, no dairy, but no sacrifice of flavor and texture. The recipe comes from Modern Vegan Desserts, written by a professional patissiere, Petra Stahlová. I invite you to read my review on her book (as well as musings on vegan baking in general) by visiting the Home Bakers Collective site, with a click here.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED CINNAMON COOKIES
(published with permission from Petra Stahlová)

62g soft vegan butter (I used Country Crock plant butter)
62g icing sugar
15g almond flour
54g aquafaba
82g plain flour
3g ground cinnamon
200g 70% dark chocolate

In a mixer, beat the softened butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in the almond flour. Gradually mix in the aquafaba, adding a tablespoon of plain flour after each addition of liquid. Once all the liquid has been mixed in, carefully stir in the rest of the flour and the cinnamon with a spatula.

In a bowl, cover the batter with cling film so that it directly touches the surface, and leave to rest for half an hour at room temperature. Put the dough into a pastry bag with a 10mm diameter tip. Place either a silicon mat or some baking paper on the baking tray and pipe out 2.5 inches long lines onto the sheet. Don’t squeeze the bag too hard; the width of the batter should correspond to the diameter of the tip, i.e. 10mm. Leave half-an-inch space between the cookies, as they will spread out during baking.

Heat your oven to 375F (convection on, if available) and bake for about 7 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. Afterwards, leave the cookies on the baking tray for half a minute to firm up and then transfer them onto a cooling rack.

Temper the chocolate, then dip the cooled cookies and put them on either a silicon mat or baking paper to let the chocolate crystallize. Decorate with sprinkles, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made these cookies for Mondays with Sweetness, in which I share bakes with our departmental colleagues. Since there is one adorable person who is allergic to eggs, I am always trying to find bakes that she will be able to enjoy. Nobody could tell these are vegan. The cinnamon flavor is perfect, the chocolate complements it well, and with the golden sprinkles they get a festive look. If you don’t feel like tempering chocolate, you can get by with candy melts but there will be a little compromise in flavor. I usually take the opportunity of tempering chocolate to make some extra decorations that might come in handy in future bakes.

I close this post inviting you to read more about Modern Vegan Desserts,
so please stop by the Home Bakers Collective.

ONE YEAR AGO: Lemony Barley with Shrimp and Spinach

TWO YEARS AGO:Black Rice with Roasted Cauliflower

THREE YEARS AGO:
La Couronne Bordelaise

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Special Birthday Dinner

FIVE YEARS AGO: Duck Confit for a Special Occasion

SIX YEARS AGO: Tuscan Grilled Chicken and Sausage Skewers

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with Pork Tenderloin & Apples

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Salmon Wellington

NINE YEARS AGO: The Green Chip Alternative

TEN YEARS AGO: Weekend Pita Project

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Let it snow, let it snow, eggs in snow

FENNEL-RUBBED SHRIMP IN LIGHT COCONUT SAUCE

Nothing comes together faster than a meal involving shrimp. Or sea scallops, for that matter. But in this neck of the woods it is a rare, very rare event to find dry scallops, whereas good quality shrimp is always available. For this preparation, instead of using a full can of coconut milk (so common in recipes everywhere), I opted for full-fat yogurt with a touch of light coconut milk. Worked wonderfully well. Tasty but considerably lighter.

FENNEL-RUBBED SHRIMP IN LIGHT COCONUT SAUCE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 + 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground Kashmiri chiles
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/3 cup cashews, toasted
1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
1/4 cup light coconut milk
drizzle of honey
dried mint, to taste (optional)

Combine the ground spices and salt in a bowl, add the shrimp and mix to cover it with spices. Refrigerate for 30 min to 1 hour, if possible, but you can start cooking right away. Mix the yogurt with coconut milk and honey, reserve.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp, cook, stirring them for a couple of minutes. Add the yogurt-coconut mixture, and cook in low-heat until shrimp is fully cooked and the sauce reduces a bit. Add the cashew nuts, dried mint (if using), and serve..

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am calling this dish “Fennel” shrimp because it was the flavor that came through more obviously, at least for me. If you like more heat, add more pepper, or add a touch of cayenne. I love the flavor of Kashmiri pepper, so that’s what I used. If you are like me, and twist the nose at dried mint, I suggest you give it a try. I lost my dried mint snobbism after reading about it in Middle Eastern cookbooks. It has a permanent spot in my pantry now.

Shrimp in light coconut sauce over white rice. So simple, and so satisfying! My kind of dinner!

ONE YEAR AGO: Puff Bread Balls, Two Salads and a Cookbook Review

TWO YEARS AGO: Pistachio-Caramel and Apple Mousse Cakes

THREE YEARS AGO: La Couronne Bordelaise

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Special Birthday Dinner

FIVE YEARS AGO: Duck Confit for a Special Occasion

SIX YEARS AGO: Tuscan Grilled Chicken and Sausage Skewers

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with Pork Tenderloin & Apples

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Salmon Wellington

NINE YEARS AGO: The Green Chip Alternative

TEN YEARS AGO: Weekend Pita Project

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Let it snow, let it snow, eggs in snow

COOKIES WITH A SMILE

For almost two years now I’ve been baking for weekly homeless meals, in a church-organized project called Common Table. Before pandemic times they had a sit-down dinner in a big room, so I could bake whatever I felt like it, including regular cakes, pies, tarts. With Covid-19 in the equation, everything changed. They show up and grab a bag with their meal, so any sweets must be individually wrapped and packed together with their main meal. This has obviously restricted my choices of things to bake, and I find myself making more cookies and less of everything else. But, there is always a silver lining. Focusing on cookies made me decide to improve my decorating skills, so that sweets could also bring a smile, especially for families with kids. Every week I include about a dozen iced sugar cookies, so that I can practice different styles of decoration, and at the same time not get too overwhelmed by the process. Visiting Youtube University I try to learn from the great cookie decorators out there. In this post I show you a few of my favorite recent adventures and include the video tutorials I followed to make them. The basic cookie recipes were either gingerbread (this post) or variations of my default recipe for sugar cookies.

PENGUIN GINGERBREAD COOKIE

To make these cutie pies I followed Haniela’s tutorial found in this link. Starting with a simple round cookie I drew a heart shape with a food pen. Then I used four different colors of Royal Icing: black and white with flood consistency, and orange and pink with thick consistency. For Royal icing I recommend the wonderful recipe from my tent-baking friend Tanya. All piping was done without icing tips, just bags cut with sharp scissors.

After flooding with white, I waited for it to crust, flooded with black and waited for it to crust also. A couple of hours later I made the details of nose, feet, and the little bow. For the feet, it is better to pipe the two external parts, wait 10 minutes and pipe the central one, so that they don’t join together. Next, just like in the video, I drew the eyes, and added red luster powder to the cheeks with a soft brush. Finally, I piped an outline of white royal icing, and immediately touched the wet surface of the cookie into a plate with black sanding sugar. I love my little penguin girls.

SANTA’S HEAD

To make these sleepy Santas, I followed the tutorial from Little Cookie Co. Just three colors of Royal Icing are needed: white, peach and red. Her tutorial explains it all very well, and I was just a little nervous to make the mustache, because it had to be piped free hand and I have a hard time making things symmetrical. I guess it turned out ok, maybe Santa had a bit too much eggnog the night before, but these are trying times for all.

SNOWGLOBE SUGAR COOKIE

Another wonderful tutorial by Little Cookie Co. I made quite a few of those during the month of December, some smaller containing just a small snowman, some with a Christmas tree as Royal icing transfer (shown in the composite picture that opened this post). If you watch the tutorial, you’ll see she pipes the tree with icing free-hand (check it out at 4 min and 5 seconds), but I simply could not bring myself to even try. This is a more elaborate cookie to make, many layers, a lot of waiting, a work of patience. But I do think the result is pretty nice!

SWAN SUGAR COOKIE

I followed part of the tutorial shown in this link, but added my own feathers… oops my own design of feathers. I am actually featherless. I modified it because I don’t care for the taste (or texture) of fondant, although I admit it looks absolutely stunning. It seems also quite a bit of work, as each feather must be shaped individually using small silicone molds. I decided to just pipe some white Royal Icing and immediately shower it with white sanding sugar.

The cookie is actually quite simple to make. Flood the body with white, let it crust. Add the orange beak leaving a small space between the beak and body. Right away add a small band of black royal icing, and pull with a scribe tool very lightly towards the beak and towards the body. A small dot of black for the eye, and just the tiniest touch of white off center on the eye. It is a small detail that makes eyes look a lot more realistic.

HOT CHOCOLATE MUG COOKIE

To make these cookies I followed the tutorial from this link (at 4 min 20 sec). For the decoration of the mug itself, I opted for three different styles. Two are shown above: royal icing transfer of a snowflake, or wet-on-wet white icing over the basic blue. After the mug crusted, I added the whipped cream part, let that crust and hours later added the white swirls + mandatory sanding sugar coating.

The third style was air-brushing with white pearl dye and a stencil. The top was sprayed with Diamond dust, a product I featured recently on In My Kitchen.

REINDEER LITTLE STAR

For these cookies I did not follow a tutorial, just saw them somewhere in the internet, saved a screenshot and improvised my version. Flooded the white part, waited about 10 minutes, flooded the upper brown, waited a couple of hours and added the triangle white for ears, black for antlers, and red for nose. Next morning it was time to draw the eyes and add red powder dust for the cheeks. Perhaps this was my favorite cookie of this series, although I do love the Penguin Girls…

I tell you one thing, I already miss holiday baking!

ONE YEAR AGO: Pearled Farro with Asparagus Coins

TWO YEARS AGO: Pistachio Caramel and Apple Mousse Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Someone turns 70 today!

FOUR YEARS AGO: Carioca Cake, the Final Chapter

FIVE YEARS AGO: Duck Confit for a Special Occasion

SIX YEARS AGO: Ken Forkish’s Warm Spot Sourdough 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Bran Muffins, Rainbows, and a wonderful surprise!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Salmon Wellington

NINE YEARS AGO: The Green Chip Alternative

TEN YEARS AGO: Weekend Pita Project

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Let it snow, let it snow, eggs in snow

SWAN COOKIES

PORK TENDERLOIN WITH APRICOT-MISO GLAZE

My default method of preparation for pork tenderloin is butterflied and grilled. I suppose default means a single entity, so I will break that rule and include a second option: sous-vide. But sometimes you get into a situation that prevents both from happening. It was very nasty outside so grilling would be masochism. And there was not enough time to sous-vide unless we wanted to have dinner at 9pm. Brazilians do that often, but I totally lost that habit and have no interest in re-visiting it. I had to come up with a plan C, and this was the tasty outcome.

PORK TENDERLOIN WITH APRICOT-MISO GLAZE
(adapted from Bon Appetit)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
5 tablespoons apricot preserves
1/4 cup red miso
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
2 pork tenderloins
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth

Heat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with oil spray. Combine preserves, miso, vinegar, orange peel, and garlic in small pot over medium heat. Cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. If you want to make a smooth sauce, use a handheld mixer or small food processor for a few seconds. Reserve.

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet, tucking thin end under to ensure even cooking. Brush with 2 tablespoons apricot glaze; roast 12 to 15 minutes. Turn pork over with tongs and brush with 3 more tablespoons glaze. Continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150°F, 10 minutes longer. If you like your pork cooked a bit more (we do), keep cooking and check the internal temperature with a probe thermometer.

Transfer pork to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add chicken broth to remaining apricot glaze. Bring to simmer and cook until reduced to 2/3 cup sauce, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Slice pork crosswise into 1/2- to 3/4- inch-thick slices and arrange on platter. Spoon sauce over and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: There is really nothing special about the handling of the tenderloin, apart from the delicious glaze. Different brands of apricot preserves have different levels of “chunkiness”, I used one with pretty large pieces of apricot and they did not quite melt into the sauce even with heating. So I opted to smooth things out with my blender. You might get by without that step. I only roasted one tenderloin, and had a bit of sauce leftover. It showed up again a couple of evenings later to coat chicken-cashew meatballs. Perfect marriage. Actually I believe this glaze will go well with pretty much any type of protein, including seafood.

ONE YEAR AGO: Tropical Sunshine Entremet Cake (perhaps my favorite ever!)

TWO YEARS AGO: Freekeh with Zucchini and Almonds

THREE YEARS AGO: Salmon a la Wellington, re-visited

FOUR YEARS AGO: The Unbearable Unfairness of Cake Baking

FIVE YEARS AGO: Hermit Cookies

SIX YEARS AGO: Cremini Mushroom Meatloaf

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Ottolenghi & Tamimi’s Roast Chicken with Clementines

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Eight-Ball Zucchini: The Missing Files

NINE YEARS AGO: Grilling Ribbons

TEN YEARS AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Ossobuco Milanese: an Italian Classic