ENRICHED SOURDOUGH JAM-FILLED ROLLS, AND A COOKBOOK REVIEW

I am absolutely thrilled to share this recipe, fresh from the press, part of the second cookbook of my dear friend Elaine (click here for her sourdough site and here for her new book ordering info). Sourdough taken straight into brioche territory, with just the right level of sweetness, filled with your favorite jam. The recipe makes 16 rolls, I actually halved it and divided the dough in 8 pieces for shaping as rolls. To divide the egg, I just mixed one egg with the yolk, weighed that, and used half. It ended up being 30g egg mixture for half the recipe, in case you’d like to go that route.

ENRICHED SOURDOUGH JAM-FILLED ROLLS
(from Elaine Boddy’s Sourdough Whisperer)

Either line a large baking or cookie sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with rice flour, or prepare fluted baby brioche pans (3 1/8 inches [8 cm] in diameter and 11/4 inches [3 cm] deep), lined up ready to fill on a baking sheet.

Makes 16 snack-sized buns
50 g active starter at 100% hydration
270 g milk, cold or room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk (reserve egg white for brushing)
75 g butter, at room temperature
50 g runny honey
500 g strong white bread flour, plus more for dusting
7 g (1 tsp) salt, or to taste
200 g jam of your choice (about 2 tsp per roll)
Powdered sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

In the early evening, in a large mixing bowl, roughly mix together all the ingredients, except the reserved egg white and jam. It will be a very sticky dough, and it may be easier to use a bowl scraper or spatula to mix it at this stage. Leave it roughly mixed, cover the bowl with a clean shower cap or your choice of cover and leave the bowl on the counter.

After an hour, perform the first set of pulls and folds on the dough. Lifting and pulling the dough across the bowl until it starts to come into a soft ball, then stop. The butter will not be fully mixed in yet; it will become more so as you work with the dough. Cover the bowl again and leave it to sit on the counter. During this first set of pulls and folds, the dough will still be sticky, but keep working with it.

Over the next few hours, perform three more sets of pulls and folds on the dough, covering the bowl after each set. The dough will remain sticky but nicely stretchy and will come together into a nice soft ball each time. Do the final set before going to bed. Leave the covered bowl on the counter overnight, typically 8 to 12 hours, at 64 to 68°F (18 to 20°C).

In the morning, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pull the dough into a 14-inch (35-cm) square that is an even thickness all over. Using a dough knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into sixteen equal squares. Place a heaping teaspoon of jam in the middle of each square, pull the corners and edges of each square together and stick them together. Turn each parcel over and shape into a ball. Place each ball onto your prepared pan, allowing space between them to grow, or place them in your baby brioche pans. Cover the balls with a large plastic bag and leave on the counter for the rolls to proof again for 2 to 3 hours, or until doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 325F. Mix the egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush the top of each ball gently with it. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the rolls directly on a rack to cool briefly. These are best eaten warm, with an optional sprinkle of powdered sugar.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This dough is wonderful to work with… smooth, elastic, easy to shape. Do not be afraid of letting it sit overnight at room temperature, unless you live in a super warm climate without air-conditioning. This rich type of dough tends to proof a lot slower than regular sourdough. For the final proofing, I used these brioche pans. They are a bit pricey but excellent quality. Love the way they look… But as Elaine mentions in the recipe, you can simply shape them as round little balls instead.

You can fill them with any jam you like. I used Morello Cherry preserves and it was absolutely delicious… A little bit leaked from the bottom of some of the rolls, but no harm done.

I don’t think I need to say much more, right? The picture is worth 1,000 words… They actually freeze well too. Just wrap them, and when you are ready to enjoy them, bring to room temperature for 20 minutes or so, then place in a warm oven to heat through. They will be as good as freshly baked!

Now let me walk you through Elaine’s new book, “The Sourdough Whisperer.” And in the end of this blog post you will see another bread I baked from her book, as a teaser recipe..

The book is organized in two parts, the first deals with everything you need to know about making sourdough: making a starter from scratch, maintaining it, ingredients, tools, her master recipe and timing your bread baking to suit your schedule. The essence of it all is exactly what we’ve seen in her first book: simplicity. I tell you one thing, in this first part she covers EVERY single question a baker might have as far as tweaking recipes, or changing proofing time and/or temperature. A must-read even if you are a seasoned sourdough baker.

Part Two is devoted to recipes, and you’ll find eight sub-chapters in it.

#1 – The Master Recipe Sourdough Collection. In this chapter she shows how versatile her Baby Master Recipe can be, adapting it to make different shapes, Wedge Rolls, Sandwich Loaf, a beautiful concoction using a Bundt Pan (yes, that is right, and the photo of that one is worth a prize), a Pullman Loaf, and she closes it with a cute little method to use up “ends of bags” of flour. Every single bread in the whole book has a picture, so keep that in mind. I love that.

#2 – The Enriched Sourdough Collection. I love this section! Normally I do a straight sourdough bread, so to me playing with enriched dough is not very common, which is one of the reasons why I chose the featured recipe. Elaine uses her default Enriched Sourdough in some formulas, and also offers a lighter alternative. The chapter opens with a total beauty, Enriched Sourdough Pesto Babka. Stunning! The Jam-Filled Rolls are part of that chapter, and I almost chose the Cinnamon and Raisin Enriched Bundt Pan Bake to showcase here.

#3 – The Spiced Sourdough Collection. I love bread with spices, if you follow my blog you’ve probably noticed. I definitely will be trying some of her versions like Smoked Paprika, Rosemary and Sun-Dried Tomato Master Loaf, and her Turmeric and Onion Seed Sandwich Loaf.

#4 – The Softer Sourdough Collection. Super interesting chapter. It centers on methods that will produce a sourdough with a much softer crust, something she achieves by adding milk into the formulas. She starts with a “Half-Milk, Half-Water Baby Master Loaf”, and moves to variations using different proportions and different liquids such as buttermilk (Buttermilk and Spelt Loaf with Pine Nuts and Oats, another thing of beauty). I made the teaser recipe from this chapter, “Olive Oil and Herb Master Loaf”, so check it out in the end of this post.

#5 – The Filled Collection. Maybe my favorite chapter, I just don’t know. In this section, she really shows her creativity, joining interesting ingredients together. First comes a Cheese, Fig and Walnut Sandwich Loaf, absolutely gorgeous and mouth-watering photo… Apricot and Almond Babka Loaf with very detailed pictures of the shaping. I absolutely MUST make the “Chickpea, Barberry and Lemon Pantry Loaf”.

#6 – The Flat Sourdough Collection. Elaine uses her master recipe to make focaccia, pizza, ciabatta, and fougasse. In other words, she covers all the classics. Pictures are wonderful, including once again quite detailed shots of shaping ciabatta, which can be tricky.

#7 – The Shaped Collection. Another super fun and creative chapter, she shares techniques for special shaping. Braided Loaf is the first example, but don’t think about challah, this braid decorates the top of the bread, super cool. Looks intimidating but the pictures show you exactly how to do it. A Chocolate and Nut Sourdough Crown follows, would be just amazing at a party. The one I intend to try soon is… Pull-Apart Sharing Sesame Sourdough. The chapter closes with baguettes, in my opinion the trickiest bread to shape correctly.

#8 – The Same Day Collection. Sometimes we want to speed things up, right? This series gives recipes to have sourdough prepared and baked the same day. It is all a play with amount of starter and proofing temperature. Sourdough Pizza and Pita are two examples, but my favorite might be Same Day Poppy Seed Sourdough Rolls. They are adorable.

If you bake sourdough bread, or if you flirt with the idea of venturing into it, you need this book. The tone is always friendly, supportive, positive, and again, reading the book and browsing through the wonderful pictures, I just wanted to stop and start baking right away. The mark of a captivating cookbook!…

And now, as I always like to do when reviewing cookbooks, I share…

A TEASER RECIPE

OLIVE OIL AND HERB SOURDOUGH

Isn’t that amazing? The crust is a lot softer than a regular sourdough, and the bread stays fresh longer. A pleasure to work with, great flavor with the herbs spread inside the crumb.

ONE YEAR AGO: Monet’s Glazed Carrots

TWO YEARS AGO: Brownies, Three Ways

THREE YEARS AGO: Berry Rebellion Tarts  (one of my favorite blog posts)

FOUR YEAR AGO: Emilie Raffa’s High Hydration Sourdough

FIVE YEARS AGO: Short-Ribs with Chickpeas and Chard

SIX YEARS AGO: Asian-Style Short Ribs 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Herbed Goat Cheese Souffles

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Barley Risotto with Peas

NINE YEARS AGO: Jammin’ Blueberry Sour Milk Pancakes

TEN YEARS AGO: Scallops with Black Pasta in Orange Cream Sauce

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Stir-fried Chicken with Creamed Corn

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Torpedo

MASALA SMASHED POTATOES: MUMBAI MODERN COOKBOOK REVIEW

I am not sure how long ago I’ve started following Amisha through her food blog and IG page. But definitely it’s been a long time. She is one of those people who is good at everything, from cooking savory meals to baking spectacular desserts. When I heard she was going to publish a cookbook – Mumbai Modern – I pre-ordered it right away. And today I share a wonderful recipe from her book, a small review and as I always like to do, a teaser recipe with just the photo and a short description. If you are into colors and “fusion cuisine”, this book has your name written on it. Amisha is not only a superb cook, photographer and writer, but one of the sweetest human beings out there! I am thrilled to share this review with you.

MASALA SMASHED POTATOES
(slightly modified from Mumbai Modern)

for yogurt sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt

for Masala potatoes
12 baby potatoes
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chaat masala

Heat the oven to 400F.

Make the sauce by mixing all ingredients in a high-speed blender. You should have a drizzle consistency. Adjust with a little bit of water, if needed.

Add the potatoes to a pot with water to reaching a level 1 inch higher than the potatoes. Add the 2 tsp salt. Boil for 20 minutes until tender. Drain and reserve to cool so you can handle them for the next step.

Make the olive oil sauce by mixing all the spices into the 1/2 cup oil. Whisk well. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, add them to a baking sheet sprayed with oil. I used a non-stick aluminum foil to protect the baking sheet. Place the potatoes over and, using a flat-bottomed glass, gently press each potato to flatten until each one is no thicker than 1/2 inch.

Brush each potato generously with the olive oil mixture. Place in the oven and roast for about 25 minutes. I flipped the potatoes and let them roast for 5 minutes longer. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes or so. Serve with the yogurt sauce drizzled all over them.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These were absolutely WONDERFUL. Hubby said – well, your potatoes stole the show. And that they did. But of course, they were not really “mine”. They were Amisha’s… Nothing else got much attention at the table. I advise you to make more than you think you’ll need… They will be part of our dinner on a regular basis. The mixture of spices is perfect, not too hot, and very complex. If you don’t have chaat masala, add a little amchur powder, which is part of the mix, and will add a bright flavor.

And now for the teaser recipe…

SAMBHAARO
Cabbage and Carrot Salad

When I told you that if you like color you will love this book, that’s one tiny example of what you’ll get. I loved this salad so much that I was close to tossing a coin to decide which recipe to feature here. What makes this salad special is that you temper the spices in oil and they VERY briefly toss the veggies in the hot, spicy mixture. It changes their texture, mellows everything considerably. Brilliant!

Without further ado… let’s start a virtual tour of Amisha’s book…

To order the book, visit amazon.com with a click here

The book is organized in 7 chapters.

Pantry and Refrigerator Staples… She shares recipes for goodies that will be part of recipes in other chapters. For instance, her Apricot and Saffron Jam is one of her favorite concoctions, that of course stands on its own, but wait until you see the masterpiece Peacock macarons she fills with that jam… Like jewels, I tell you! I am making her Avocado, Cilantro, and Poblano Pepper Dressing this weekend.

Breakfast… Color opens the chapter: Apple, Fennel and Cardamon Tarts. Her description of being fascinated by things she saw in grocery stores in the US as someone arriving from a foreign country made me smile. I felt EXACTLY the same. My love-affair with TV dinners was something I cannot quite comprehend today. But her fascination with Pop-Tarts led her to make her own version, and that was a perfect outcome. More beautiful color in her Chocolate Cardamon Pastry Cream, Halvah and Pistachio Danish. Exotic (to me) and intriguing Sooji Dhokla (Semolina Savory Spongy Cakes).

Appetizers and Salads… Masala Smashed Potatoes opens this chapter and you know how I feel about them. Sambhaaro follows along. I would love to try the Dahi Wadas (Lentil Fritters in Yogurt Sauce), and her version of Arancini ( Aloo Tikki Arancini). They look amazing! Other serious temptations for me are Corn Mushroom Tomato Chili Cheese Danish, Handvo (Savory Rice-Lentil Vegetable Cake), and Khaman (Chickpea Flour Savory Cake).

Mains… Undhiyoo called my attention right away because it is a vegetable stew that includes bananas, and that of course reminds me of Brazilian cooking. Moqueca is originally made with shrimp and/or fish, but there is a version that uses a particular type of banana, and it is delicious. Vegetable Koftas in Tomato Cashew Curry almost made the cut to be featured, and I intend to make it very soon. Perfect for this time of the year. Same goes for the Ultimate Mumbai-California Veggie Burger. I simply must make it.

Desserts… Let me just say I would like to make them all. Period. Just choosing a few to mention here: Blood Orange and Hibiscus Tart (gorgeous!), Thandai Shortbread Cookies Dipped in White Chocolate with Pistachios and Rose Petals (swoon!), Carrot Halva, Chai Masala Creme Brulee with Cashew Cardamon Shortbread (OMG), Mini Maple Sandwich Cookies with Pear and Spice Buttercream, PEACOCK MACARONS (my heart flipped, I kid you not, they are masterpieces), Coffee Cardamon Mini Cheesecakes, Eggless Chocolate Fudge Cake (worthy of a Parisian boulangerie).

Drinks… Well, I don’t drink, but she has many non-alcoholic options like a Ginger Masala Chai, and Brazilians out there will be pleased with her version of “caipirinha” using Kumquat and Ginger. She also shares shrubs (I am quite fond of those) like one with Nectarine, Star Anise and Ginger. And a version of Turmeric Milk I might try soon: Haldar Nu Doodh.

Accompaniments and Snacks… Pass me the whole lot, and I want to make them all. Just a few to include here: Spinach Puri, Plain Rotli, Triangle Paratha (so so cute), Masala Puri, Masala Potato Chips, and Turmeric Rice (have I mentioned I am a Turmeric Cheerleader?). Chorafali Crackers are also adorably cute and I bet super tasty.

As most people who read my blog should know, I am not vegetarian, but I eat meatless meals often. Amisha’s book is a wonderful source of ideas, whether you are vegetarian or just flirt with that style of cooking sometimes. It is clear she put a ton of love, and attention to every little detail in the making of her book. The photography is outstanding, the tone of the book very conversational, as if she is standing next to you. I love it!

Amisha, thank you for allowing me to publish a recipe in my blog! I wish you all the success in the world, and I hope you already have a second cookbook “in the making”.

ONE YEAR AGO: Lessons from Tanya: Sugar Cookie Silhouettes

TWO YEARS AGO: Cherry-Chipotle Chicken Thighs

THREE YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Mini-Mousse with Sugared Cranberries

FOUR YEARS AGO: You Say Ebelskiver, I say Falafel

FIVE YEARS AGO: Happy Thanksgiving!

SIX YEARS AGO: Two Takes on Raspberries

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Spice Cake with Blackberry Puree & The Global Pastry Review

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Own Your Kitchen with Cappuccino Panna Cotta

NINE YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmigiana, the Thriller

TEN YEARS AGO: Wild Mushroom Risotto

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Tartine Bread:  Basic Country Loaf 

TWELVE YEARS AGO:  Pugliese Bread

ALMOND RASPBERRY TRIANGLES & A VERY SPECIAL COOKBOOK REVIEW

If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you might know that I have my Baking Gurus, and by far the baker I respect the most is Helen Fletcher. I’ve faithfully followed her blog since 2014 (check this old blog post) and have made many of her recipes. Never a single disappointment. One of my favorites of a recent past is Sarah Bernhardt Cookies. She has decades of professional experience and was actually responsible for developing baking recipes using a food processor, back when that gadget was not very common in the home kitchen. Before the pandemics hit, she told me she was working on a new cookbook, all about cookies, and asked me if I would write a foreword for it. It was the greatest honor, the greatest gift online blogging provided me with. Her book, just released, is called CRAVING COOKIES: The Quintessential American Cookie Book. I adore it, and having witnessed all the love and effort she put into it, I am thrilled to share with you one amazing recipe from it, and a little review of the book.

ALMOND RASPBERRY TRIANGLES
(reprinted with permission from Craving Cookies)

for the cookie base and filling:
210 g all-purpose flour
140 g unsalted butter, very cold
65 g granulated sugar
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam

for the topping:
170 g almonds, toasted lightly in a 350F oven, then cooled
150 g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoons Amaretto
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
60 g butter, melted
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Heat the oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 13 x 2 pan with foil, being sure to also cover the sides of the pan. Spray well with non-stick baking release and set aside.

Butter should be cold and cut into small pieces. Place the flour in the food processor, add the cold butter and process until indistinguishable. Add the sugar and process again. It will be very powdery. Turn the dough into the prepared pan, and spread it out evenly. Press in firmly to compact and completely cover the bottom of the pan. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until medium brown and completely baked.

As soon as it comes out of the oven, use the back of a spoon to press the base firmly against the sides of the pan to fill any gaps. This will make sure no jam leaks under the baked base. Spread the jam over the base and set aside.

Make the topping: process the toasted almonds and sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until completely combined. Pour the mixture over the raspberry jam. Place back in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and set. Cool completely.

To facilitate removal of the foil, chill or freeze the pan until very cold. Turn upside down, remove the foil, being careful around the edges. Turn right side up. Cut 4 across and 5 down to make 20 squares, then each square diagonally to make 40 triangles. Dust with powdered sugar if you so desire, just before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I have to tell you these were one of the most delicious cookies ever! The combination of raspberry with almond is a winner, and the triangles look every elegant. They would brighten up any cookie table. I left some as squares, some as triangles, some I dusted with powdered sugar, some I left plain. They were a huge hit. One of the things I love about Helen’s recipes is precision. You know they will work, the amounts will be right for the dimension of the pan, and all her little tips for success are spot on.

TEASER RECIPE

CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD HEARTS

And now let me walk you through
CRAVING COOKIES: THE QUINTESSENTIAL AMERICAN COOKIE BOOK
(available to order here)

The book starts with an introduction to equipment and ingredients, which will be helpful particularly for those in their beginning stages of cookie baking obsession. Then she offers a full chapter on Techniques and I urge you to read it very carefully because she shares every single little tip that she’s learned in her professional career and most will have a huge impact in your baking.

CHAPTER ONE

Cut-Out and Sliced Cookies. The first cookie in this chapter is Cardamon Black Pepper Snaps. I will definitely make them because to me nothing beats a cookie that goes into the spicy territory. Chocolate-Dipped Cappuccino Rounds look amazing with a quick-tempered chocolate coating, so they make my list of favorites to bake soon. Limeaways are a classic, and I must mention Chocolate-Dipped Sweet and Salted Butter Cookies (picture is amazing).

CHAPTER TWO

Drop Cookies. Nineteen choices for you. Baileys Chocolate Crinkles make my list for sure. Chocolate Snowballs coated with Swedish pearl sugar are a must. A version of Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies is calling my name because Helen said it is one of the recipes she is most proud of. I can imagine it will be perfection, so keep that one in mind. She also has two other choc chip cookies, including a big Levain Bakery Style. Chocolate Awesomes are a one bowl-concoction that her grandson made himself… In this chapter you will find the Oatmeal Cookies I’ve blogged about in the past, as she had them in her blog. They were to die for. Harlequins is a cute concoction, three color, which I made in the past also.

CHAPTER THREE

Meringues. Three recipes in this chapter, with a very nice introduction to pull these tricky cookies perfectly, no cracks, no problems. Anise Meringues flavored with LorAnn oil is a very intriguing twist. If you’ve always been instructed to avoid oils in meringue cookies, you will learn something new. I always do when I am around Helen. Cafe au Lait Meringues and Peppermint Meringues, they all seem great to me.

CHAPTER FOUR

Shortbread Cookies. Well, those speak straight to my heart, I simply LOVE shortbread. I fell in love with all of them, and the Chocolate Hearts made it here as the teaser recipe. It is spectacular and so very simple to make, particularly using the food processor. Double Ginger Shortbread, Nutmeg Baton Shortbreads, and Black and White Filled Shortbreads are all in my list of favorites in this great chapter.

CHAPTER FIVE

Stuffed and Filled Cookies. Can I say outstanding? The first cookie blew my mind away: Peppermint Ravioli. OMG. I am making it for the holiday season, but you can conceivably use a different square of chocolate and bake it anytime. Well, who cares, actually? Why would we reserve Peppermint and Chocolate for the holiday season only? Caramel-Filled Chocolate Gems are thumbprint style cookies that made my heart miss a beat. Creme de Menthe Patties are another masterpiece in cookie shape. Inside-Out Oreos, Almost Oreos, Neapolitan Cookies, my list is big.

CHAPTER SIX

Bar Cookies. Twenty amazing choices, each one of them very tempting. The featured recipe – Almond Raspberry Triangles – is part of it. With a great deal of struggle, I offer you just five top favorites: Banana Split Bars, Chocolate Raspberry Squares, Hermit Bars (so so cute), Lemon-Steeped Gingerbread Squares (OMG), and Creamy Lime Bars.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Brownies. Nine different brownies, including one I’ve made in the past and might very well be one of the best ever: Santa Fe Brownies. But next on my list might be her Macadamia White Chocolate Lightening-Fast Brownies. Or maybe her Frosted Brownies. We shall see…

Helen, I cannot wait to bake more and more recipes from your beautiful book, and I hope my readers will get a copy and join the fun. You did an outstanding job, but I knew you would. I am so lucky to have “met” you in the virtual world!

ONE YEAR AGO: Sweet and Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

TWO YEARS AGO: Roasted Cauliflower Salad over Hummus

THREE YEARS AGO: Queen of Sheba

FOUR YEAR AGO: Brunch Burger

FIVE YEARS AGO: Mango Salsa with Verjus

SIX YEARS AGO: Raspberry Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Brownies

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Scary Good Pork Burgers

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Review of exercise program Focus25

NINE YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

TEN YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

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

DUTCH MACARONS, AND WILLIAM CURLEY’S NOSTALGIC DELIGHTS

If you are a follower of my blog, you know I suffer from a macaron condition. Cannot stop baking them, and when I go into daydreaming mode, macarons flavors and colors are often part of it. One day, I was relaxing in my favorite armchair with a beautiful cookbook (Nostalgic Delights), when all of a sudden a recipe popped up… Dutch Macarons. Cute beyond description. They look like a macaron gone a bit wild, feet not as well-defined, instead their shells open on the top, revealing a similar inner structure. I could not wait to bake a batch. If you are afraid of baking macarons, these are in many ways easier. No macaronage stage to worry about, you mix the batter, pipe, and then exercise patience. They must dry for 12 hours before baking, which is a major difference. The outer skin has to be really dry, so that it can be cut with a sharp knife (I used a brand new razor blade) right before they go into the oven. That gives them the characteristic opening. I share this unusual recipe after getting permission from Chef William Curley. He is not only a fantastic patissier, but a very sweet person who patiently answered some annoying pressing baking questions I had for him. He owns a shop in Soho, so if you are in London, pay him a visit. I am kicking myself for not doing that last year when I was busy upsetting Paul Hollywood. Bottomline is: I must go back. I meant to Soho, not the tent.

DUTCH MACARONS
(printed with permission from William Curley)

for the shells:
175g powdered sugar, sifted, and divided (125g + 50g)
125g ground almonds, sifted
75g egg whites
50g superfine granulated sugar
20mL water

for praline paste:
100g hazelnuts
100g almonds
200g sugar
1 tsp hazelnut oil (I used grape seed)

for the praline ganache:
150g heavy cream
125g bittersweet chocolate (I used Lindt 70%), chopped in small pieces
12g butter, softened
40g almond praline paste

Ideally the day before, make the praline paste (you will make more than you need, but it keeps well). Heat the oven to 400F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a heavy-bottom saucepan.

Cook over medium heat while gradually adding the sugar and stirring non-stop. Cook until the sugar turns into a caramel, it will take from 15 to 18 minutes. Pour the mixture over a baking sheet and allow it to cool. When the nuts are cold, place in a food processor or Vitamix and blend until it forms a paste, adding the teaspoon of oil to help emulsify.

Prepare the ganache: put the cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Put the chocolate in a mixing bowl and add the hot cream over it. Mix until emulsified, add the softened butter and the praline paste. Leave to set at room temperature for 2 hours, when it will reach a nice piping consistency.

Make the shells: Place 125g of the powdered sugar, the ground almonds and the egg whites in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid type mixer, and whisk for a minute or so, as  you start preparing the syrup.

Make a syrup with the granulated sugar and water, cooking it to 240F (116C), then pour the syrup over the mixture in the KitchenAid bowl while it is whisking at medium speed.  Beat for 5 minutes, then add the remaining 50g or powdered sugar.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 10mm round piping tip, and pie ovals of 3/4 inch x 1+1/4 inch.  I made a little template to help me with consistency. Leave in a cool, dry area for about 12 hours to fully dry the macarons.

Heat the oven to 350F. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in the center of each macaron, then bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until they have puffed up and turned golden. Allow them to get fully cool.

Spread ganache on one shell, top with another of similar size (hopefully they will all be very similar in dimension), leave to set for 30 minutes so that the ganache sets.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: This was a super fun and exciting bake for me, because the recipe was familiar and unusual at the same time.  I was in mild hyperventilation mode up to the moment I opened the oven and marveled at those cute babies all plump and ready for the filling. Speaking of the filling, it is pretty spectacular:  almond/hazelnut praline with chocolate. Need I say more? Addictive, truly.

As to the taste, they are indeed very similar to macarons, but with more substance, let’s say that in a regular macaron the filling definitely speaks louder than the shells. In the Dutch version, they share center stage as equal partners. I loved the texture.  They reminded me of a sweet I used to enjoy as a child in Brazil called “AMANDITAS.” Interestingly enough, you can still buy those  which proves I am not that old. HA! The filling in amanditas is harder, but there is a resemblance there for sure.  I can tell you I’ll be making Dutch Macarons on a regular basis from now on.

TEASER RECIPE

Before I take you for a virtual tour of Chef Curley’s book, let me show you another recipe I made from it. These are called Rout Biscuits (I laugh inside imagining how badly I butcher its pronunciation). Just like Dutch Macarons, it is a recipe from a couple of centuries ago, and rarely seen these days. William Curley brings it back to life adding quite a few touches of elegance. A delicate hazelnut-almond biscuit base holds a hazelnut cream piped in a circle, and after baking, a dollop of jam is added to the center. I loved it so much that I made it twice in the same weekend.  The second time around I used a bit of orange-chocolate ganache in the center instead of jam.

I took both batches to our department for my “Mondays with Sweetness”, and people were raving about them. Delicate, delicious, beautiful, just the right size… were some of the comments I got back. The biscuit base is wonderful on its own. I will share soon some cookies I made with that dough.

And now, time to review Nostalgic Delights….


 

First of all, I adore the name… Nostalgic Delights gives me a nice warm feeling inside, anticipating beautiful bakes of the past. And here’s what William himself has to say about it:

“The definition of nostalgia is – a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past”.  Every individual has their own interpretation of nostalgia, and of course their own fond memories of food. I hope that within the recipes I have created for this book there is going to be a little something enabling every reader to capture their own bit of nostalgia” 

Isn’t that beautiful? The book is just a complete delight (pun intended), and it was written with passion not only for the art of baking but for teaching it even to those of us without professional training.

The book is divided in 7 chapters, as follows…

Chocolate Confectionery… Being an award-winning chocolatier, you can expect that his recipes in this chapter will take your breath away. It starts with a nice explanation on tempering, casting in moulds and dipping, which you will need to be comfortable with. The chapter opens with his Hazelnut Rochers, the recipe at the very cover of the book. His mother used to serve those at Christmas. Talk about nostalgia! He shared step by step photos of the process of making this beauty, which one day I shall take a deep breath and tackle myself.  I have to say that every single recipe in this chapter had me dreaming. He starts from simple recipes (like Australian Cartwheels, popular in the 1940’s) and turns them into morsels of chocolate-coated art. His Matcha and Yuzu Teacakes are definitely something I will bake in the near future. But truly everything is just amazing and every recipe has detailed photos of the whole process so that even common mortals can attempt them. He closes this chapter with the really fun Curley Wurly, a 1970 classic made in a Bournville factory in an attempt to use leftover toffee. It is basically a braided toffee coated in tempered chocolate, and I tell you, the day I get rid of my braces I will celebrate indulging in a full batch. Mine, all mine.

Bakery Favorites… The chapter starts with tips for lining tins with pastry, blind baking, working with yeast, and rough puff pastry. Then he shares bakes in which these techniques are employed.  His Chocolate Cherry Bakewells are just gorgeous, but you don’t have to take my word for it, here is a shot of that page. I am also quite smitten by the Marignons, because the basic component is a savarin, which intrigues me. I need to try and make it.

In this chapter, the classic Jam Tarts, Custard Tarts which most people are familiar with, but also some interesting bakes like one called Black Bun, a Scottish concoction to be enjoyed on the Twelfth Night of Christmas, much like Galette de Rois in France. Have you heard of Bee Sting? It is a German dessert with a ton of history behind it, and William shares his version, based on a recipe from the 15th century!  I cannot tell you how much I love this type of stuff….

Patisserie Modern Classics… The introduction covers mousses, and I go immediately weak in the knees. This might very well be my favorite chapter.  It starts with my most beloved type of dessert, a mini entremet type cake, this one called Tropical Snowball. If that does not have my name all over it, I don’t know what does. Mango, Passion Fruit and Coconut with a snowy white mirror glaze.  In this chapter he does exactly what you expect, bakes the classics but all with a modernized twist. Black Forest Gateau, Charlotte Russe, Charlotte Royale, a Blackcurrant Cheesecake that is beyond showstopper lavel, a Chestnut Roll equally stunning, the most elegant presentation you can dream for Strawberry Shortcakes… Jaffa Cake Tarts, and a dessert I’ve been meaning to bake for a while now, Pont Neuf, designed in 1860’s to celebrate my favorite bridge in Paris (I am hopelessly romantic).

Ice Cream and Gateau…As William put it, desserts involving frozen components are always decadent, and associated with banquets and real fancy occasions, but they have gone out of fashion. In part because they do demand a lot of skill and attention to detail. Come to think of it, some of the most epic disasters in the Great British Bake Off involved frozen desserts. The initial tutorial in the chapter brings Ice Cream Anglaise and fruit sorbet. He starts with a bang, of course… Baked Alaska, in a Neapolitan fashion. Then Viennetta, his version is yet another masterpiece. Many wonderful things to try, but I would probably settle for his Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream. Prune and Armagnac was one of my favorite little desserts to order when we lived in Paris. So simple, and so delicious.

Afternoon Treats… The inspiration for this chapter was his Grandma, who taught him to bake and was the reason why he became a chef. In his words: “Even with all the decadence and luxury within my industry, you can’t beat a freshly baked homemade cake for a tasty afternoon treat”. I would gladly bake every single item of this chapter. I am totally fascinated by a trio of cakes called “Othellos, Desdemonas & Iagos”.  They are a combination of sponge cake, custard, and fondant, what changes is the main flavor, Othellos are chocolate, Desdemonas are vanilla, and Iagos are coffee. I will take one of each, please and thank you. Rout Biscuits are in this chapter, Empire Biscuits (OMG they are adorable!), and the Dutch Macarons I shared the recipe with you.

Frivolities… These are those little petit-fours that fancy restaurants might bring you at the end of a meal. One adorable bake after another, I am definitely going to make his Allumettes a concoction made in Brittany in the last century. Allumettes mean matchsticks and his version joins almond praline and chocolate. Rocher Noix de Coco, Turkish Delight, Nougat and Marshmallow are all in this chapter, as well as something new to me, a concoction called Mou, a soft caramel that can be flavored in many different ways. Another delicious treat that was designed in Brittany. Those people know a thing or two about sweets, right?

Basics… The final chapter. It is pretty much a big lesson on patisserie, covering all the basic recipes you might need, from pate sablee to filo pastry, the three types of meringue, creme patissiere and its derivatives, frangipane, curds, glazes, icings, and even how to make chocolate decorations.

That’s it, my friends! I cannot praise the book highly enough. The amount of work that went into making Nostalgic Delights is hard to imagine. Many of the recipes have step by step photos, in addition to the finished product. Chef Curley truly wants you to succeed and bake at home the wonderful things that bring him joy. The book gives me peace, I think it does transports me to past times, in which life was far less complicated and stressful than it seems to be today.

Mr. Curley, thank you so much for allowing me to share the recipe for Dutch Macarons with my readers, and for your patience helping me figure out a few issues here and there in my Bewitching Kitchen.

To order the book, click here (I make no profit from your purchase)

ONE YEAR AGO: Yogurt Tart

TWO YEAR AGO: Grilled Lamb-Stuffed Pita Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Elderflower Macarons

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Duet of Sorbets

FIVE YEARS AGO: Sobering Peach Sorbet

SIX YEARS AGO: Spiralizer Fun

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Secret Recipe Club: Corn Chowda

NINE YEARS AGO: Page-A-Day Calendar (Pits and Chief 5 minutes of fame…)

TEN YEARS AGO: Home Sweet Home (our beloved Pits in one of his last photos)

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Marbled Rye