Monday, September 17, 2018

Pumpkin Chestnut Flour Scones (grain-free)

I had leftover pumpkin and leftover chestnut flour, and thus these scones were born. I think I need a different flour combination because these were a bit overly moist, but better moist than crumbly, I suppose.  So this may not be final recipe but still passable!



Pumpkin Scones
(recipe adapted from Martha Stewart via Martha Bakes on PBS.org, which I made last year)

Ingredients 
 
1 cup chestnut flour
1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Coarse salt
1 stick (1/2 cup frozen unsalted butter, grated on large holes of a box grater; plus 1 tablespoon melted
2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together flours, coconut sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Stir in grated butter.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together cream, egg, and pumpkin; stir into flour mixture just until dough forms. Pat into a 6-inch round on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with cream. Using a knife or bench scraper, cut dough into 8 wedges, and pull 2 inches apart. If dough is too moist to do this, you may portion it into a scone pan or muffin tins.
  3. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until scones are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Zucker Pie (Sugar Pie)

I've been reading books from Canada and Alaska this year, and along the way I read a handful of books about Hutterites, a religious sect similar in belief to Mennonites and Amish, but different in the sense that they live communally.They are best known for their communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, although there are still some in the United States as well. They use a lot of traditional recipes, and after reading Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen by Mary-Ann Kirkby, I wanted to try baking a few. Most of the recipes included in that book are as originally written - enough quantities to feed the entire community. 110 eggs... 24 cups of poppy seeds... etc. Luckily the author worked with others to convert a few into a quantity appropriate for the home chef!


The first recipe I wanted to try was the Zucker (or Sugar) Pie, one that the author had a fond memory of from her childhood in the community. It reminded me a lot of the Hoosier Sugar Pie we used to make at the tearoom I worked at in Greencastle, Indiana. It would not surprise me if that pie had Amish origins. Hoosier and Zucker do kind of sound the same. The baker I worked with at the tearoom had an unusual way of making that pie - she'd sprinkle the sugar, spices, and flour into the crust and pour the cream over it, barely mixing it before baking. This recipe has you mix all the wet ingredients together and pour into the crust. And just like the Hoosier sugar pie, it is not full in the crust. I also overbaked the edges on this one (that's what I get for buying a storebought crust instead of making my own. My non-Hutterite but skilled baker grandmother would be horrified!)


The cinnamon is nice but phew, this pie is SWEET. One thing that became clear in reading the Kirkby is that most Hutterites have a flat-out sweet tooth. They even use their allowances to buy commercial sugar snacks to multiply their sweet pies and cookies. I have grown to prefer a little more balance to the sweet. But if you are a straight-sweet person, this is probably for you.

Zucker Pie (Sugar Pie)

1 cup thick cream
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon

Beat all the ingredients together and pour into unbaked pie crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Brownie Crinkle Cookies of Internet Fame

Well here I am again, making the cookie that has permeated the internet, but probably months after I first saw them. The brownie crinkle cookies from The Boy Who Bakes have popped up on many Instagram feeds and blogs since he first posted his how-to video (available at the link above.) I finally made them to bring to share with library faculty and staff on the day before classes start - it's a super busy day full of advising, hiring, and last-minute preparation for classes.


I can tell I don't have my gram to cup conversion quite right because I think the batter is supposed to be thinner than mine was. Pictures he and others have posted make them a lot flatter and spread out. Next time I'll start by not adding the extra 2 tbsp of flour. Truth be told I could measure in a scale but find it easier to try to just convert to cups. I know this makes me a bad baker, perhaps, but convenience is going to win out. I also noticed a distinct difference between pan 1 and pan 2, since I left the batter in the bowl instead of scooping it onto 2 baking sheets (because I only have 1 flat cookie sheet!) - even though the recipe specifically tells you to do it immediately, I ignored it. So my first batch are shiny and pictured as you see above while my second batch are more knobbly, closer to the double chocolate oatmeal cookies I loved in childhood than how these are supposed to look. Still, they are tasty and I will bring them to work.


I will post the recipe directly from The Boy Who Bakes blog, but all recipe development and instructions belong to him. I will not provide my conversions as they are not quite there. Hopefully I can try this again and see if a few tweaks get it closer to his pictures.

Brownie Crinkle Cookies
Makes 10

200g dark chocolate (around 65-70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
125g unsalted butter, diced
150g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
130g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder (dutch processed)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (plus flaked sea salt for sprinkling)

Temperature and timing is very important with this recipe so before you start get all the ingredients weighed out, two baking trays lined with parchment paper and the oven preheated to 180C (160C fan) 350F.

Place the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan and gently simmering water. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally until fully melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside for the moment. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using an electric hand mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugars for exactly 5 minutes. Once the eggs have been mixing for exactly 5 minutes pour in the chocolate mixture and mix for a minute or so to combine. Meanwhile mix together the dry ingredients, sieving the cocoa powder if it has lots of lumps. Add the dry ingredients and mix very briefly just until combined. Use your spatula to give one last mix, scraping the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is evenly combined. Use a ice cream scoop to form the cookies. The batter will be a little on the wet side, so invert the cookie scoop just above the baking tray to avoid spills. Make sure to leave plenty of space between each cookie as they will spread. Sprinkle each cookie with a little flaked sea salt before placing into the oven and baking for 12 minutes. The cookies will come out of the oven with that wonderful crinkled look and slightly domed. They will collapse a little as they cool but this helps form that perfect fudgy centre. The cookies will be very soft so allow them to cool on the baking trays for at least 20-30 minutes before removing from the tray to cool completely.

These cookies will keep for 4-5 days but will be best within the first 3 days.