These sugar cookies are courtesy of our friend and colleague, Sarah Kieffer, who’s been part of our BreadIn5 family since 2012. You can grab the recipe for these on The Vanilla Bean Blog by clicking here, or you can buy the whole book that it comes from, click here! The year our pizza book came out, Sarah photographed an event where Zoe was doing a demo. We saw the shots on her website, and they were terrific. I’d been looking to scale back my own blogging, so I had coffee with Sarah. We hit it off right away, and I decided to turn over my part of the bread-blogging to Sarah, so this post is part of my way of saying THANK YOU for that. Eventually Sarah started doing Zoe’s too.
Here’s what impressed me: I’ve been tinkering with photography since I was 12, in my own darkrooms and then using color labs, but I struggled to create great shots for our website, because this isn’t the easiest craft to master. Well, Sarah mastered it. Juggling hobbies and avocations with the demands of caring for young children (sound familiar?), she bought a good camera and taught herself digital photography and food blogging, with phenomenal results. In addition to blogging on BreadIn5, Sarah shot and styled some of the photos in our later books. Through all this, she was perfecting a very fun and delicious cookie-baking technique. Her pan-banging chocolate chip cookies became an internet sensation, and were covered in the New York Times. She has two books of her own now; this week releasing 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen. It’savailable on Amazonand everywhere else.
More beautiful cookies from Sarah’s book (and of course, all photos are by Sarah Kieffer):
Well, we’ve made our Master recipe in a crock pot, our brioche in a crock pot, dinner rolls, and even our gluten-free dough in the slow cooker. It seemed a good time to add to the list, and so we took on crock pot cinnamon rolls. I’m happy to report that they work just as well; it’s as easy as rolling out dough, brushing some butter and sprinkling sugar, shaping rolls, and then letting them bake for an hour. My family couldn’t tell they weren’t baked in the oven, and my kids had the best after school snack of the year.
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend (you remembered, right?) and if you are celebrating your Mom or any other women in your life, we have a lovely (and easy!) coffeecake for you to put together. It is made with our 5 minute no-knead brioche and a delicious strawberry-rhubarb filling, but in a pinch you can use your favorite store-bought jam to substitute. We also have a coffeecake in Blueberry if that is more your jam (pun intended).
1 cup rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces 3 ounces strawberries 1/4 cup granulated sugar (if your rhubarb is really tart, you can add up to 1/2 cup sugar total, however the streusel and icing will add a lot of sweetness, so it’s better to keep the jam slightly on the tart side) Pinch salt
Icing 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 2 tablespoons milk Pinch salt 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 to 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Prepare the streusel topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the all-purpose flour, sugars, almond flour, salt, and cinnamon on low. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together but still is quite crumbly.
Prepare the fruit filling: Place the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and salt into a medium pan and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often, until the rhubarb and strawberries have broken down and the jam has thickened. The jam will cling to a wooden spoon when it is done. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the jam until ready to use. (Taste your jam – if it is a little flat, you can add a squeeze or two of lemon juice – about 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until it brightens the flavor.)
Grease an 8-inch springform cake pan with butter and dust with flour. Set aside. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece. Divide the piece in two, dust with more flour, and quickly shape each piece into a rough ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
Roll the balls out into two 1/4-inch thick rounds, about 9 inches across. As you roll out the dough, add flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place one of the dough rounds in the bottom of the prepared pan.
Top with half of the fruit filling and and sprinkle half the streusel topping over it. Repeat with the remaining dough round, fruit filling, and streusel.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.
While the cake is baking, prepare the icing: In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, milk, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Add 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and mix again until smooth. If the mixture is too thin, add more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
Move the cake pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Pour the icing over the cake, and then let it continue cooling for 20 minutes.
Remove the cake from the springform pan while it is still warm.
Full parent confession (because Easter season is the perfect time for coming clean): Weeks before our state issued a Stay-At-Home order, I had already done my Easter basket shopping. I was feeling terribly proud of myself: I had purchased a small gift for each of my two children, plus a guilt-free amount of candy (made up of mostly Reese’s peanut butter eggs, because then I can steal one, two). However, three days into our stay-at-home, I had already handed out the presents to keep my children entertained (distance learning hadn’t started yet! I’m trying to finish a manuscript!) and yesterday I realized I had eaten the last of the Reese’s peanut butter cups without sharing any with my kids. My conscious smote me (even though the candy was supposed to be free from guilt). I wondered what I would do in place of baskets, as we are trying to keep our grocery shopping to a minimum. I remembered this beautiful Easter bread recipe we have in our Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five book, and hoped it’s brilliant white icing and colorful sprinkles would make up for a lack of candy Sunday morning. (It won’t. But we’ll eat it together and focus on grace, because that’s what this holidays is about, right?)
Kulich (cool-ich) is an Easter bread that is scented and colored with saffron threads and topped with a sweet layer of icing. It is often made with St. Lucia Bun dough, but we took our favorite no-knead brioche dough from our New Artisan Bread in Five book and added a little saffron to it to make this version. We also include a recipe for ‘Cinnamon Roll Kulich’ – which is this same dough made with a cinnamon swirl center and baked in a popover pan to help keep its tall shape. Icing and sprinkles are also included, of course.
And, because we know that yeast is sadly becoming impossible to find on the grocery store shelves, we have partnered with Red Star Yeast and are giving away some of their yeast along with copies of our books!
GIVEAWAY! We’ll give away a copy of our book & Red Star Yeast to TEN lucky winners! You can choose from these titles if you are one of the randomly selected winners– CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED, WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED:
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), for brushing the dough
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cream (or more as needed for a thick but pourable consistency
To bake: Generously grease a panettone mold with butter (the mold I use in the photos is currently unavailable but it is a 6 x 6 inch panettone pan with a removable bottom. Many people also bake them in large, empty, parchment lined coffee cans to achieve the high domed loaf.) Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound (cantaloupe-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Place the ball in the greased panettone mold, seam-side down.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. Brush the dough with egg wash. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack.
Make the icing: Mix the confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream together until smooth and thick enough to cling to the cake. You don’t want it to drip off the sides (like the very first photo shows) but if it does (like the one directly above) it will still taste good. Drizzle the icing over the cake and cover with colorful sprinkles.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cream (or more as needed for a pourable consistency)
Grease a 12 cup (or two 6 cup) large popover pans. (If you don’t have popover pans, you can use a greased 9×13 inch baking pan.)
Roll the dough into 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Brush the entire surface with the melted butter. In a small bowl mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Spread the mixture over the butter topped dough. Use your hands to make sure you have an even coat of the sugar. Then roll the dough up, starting at the long end.
Loosely cover the buns and let them rest between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The long rest will insure that you have a fluffy bun. (You can set these up the night before
and let them rest overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning take
them out and let them sit on the counter for about 45 minutes to an
hour.) You may get away with slightly shorter rise, but the buns will not be quite as soft.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, just until the centers are set when poked with your finger (they should be caramel colored). Turn the buns out of the pan (if using the popover pans). Let them cool on a wire rack.
Make the icing: Mix the confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream together until smooth and thick enough to cling to the cinnamon rolls. Drizzle the icing over each roll and cover with colorful sprinkles.
Red Star Yeast provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.
Making cinnamon rolls is hands down one of the most popular ways that folks use our brioche dough. Not only is this an easy dough to prepare, but since it can be used for up to five days after being made, there is the potential to eat cinnamon rolls every day of the week. Of course, we stand by the phrase “all things in moderation,” but it’s still nice to know that there’s a way to make every Monday morning more enjoyable.
Truck stop cinnamon rolls are not much different than our regular buns, they are just significantly bigger (each one can serve two. Or more?). They are perfect for brunch or company; a special indulgence.
We are big fans of sweet dough (especially around the most wonderful time of the year), and while we often choose gigantic cinnamon rolls, we will never say no to monkey bread. Over the years we’ve made Classic Monkey Bread, Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread, and even Crock Pot Monkey Bread, and now we are adding Panettone Monkey Bread to the list. The Panettone dough comes from our Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five book (a fabulous Holiday gift, wink wink), and works well in this adaption; it’s studded with orange, lemon, and dried fruit, coated in sugar and butter and then more sugar and butter. It’s the perfect way to start out Christmas break (or even just Monday morning).
1 1/2 cups (340g) lukewarm water (100F or below) 1 tablespoon (10g) Red Star Platinum Yeast 1 tablespoon (17g) kosher salt 1/2 cup (170g) honey 8 large eggs, room temperature 1 cup (2 sticks | 225g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled 1 teaspoon lemon extract 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated 2 cups (340g) mixed dried and/or candied fruit (I used a mixture of dried cranberries and candied orange peel, but golden raisins, dried pineapple, dried apricots, and dried cherries are all good options.) 7 1/2 cups (1065g) all-purpose flour
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons Triple Sec (optional)
Generously butter a 9 x 4 x 4-inch Pullman Pan or 10-cup Bundt pan.
Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 pound (cantaloupe-size) piece. Divide the dough into about 30 equal pieces. Roll the dough into small balls. If the dough is sticking to your hands, coat your palms with a small amount of soft butter. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a bowl. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a second bowl. Drop the dough balls into the butter and then coat them with the cinnamon sugar.
Place the balls in the prepared pan.
Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed int he center of the oven.
Just before putting the pan in the oven, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, and then add any remaining cinnamon sugar, the brown sugar, and the salt. Add the triple sec and stir to combine.
Set the pan on a baking sheet, just in case the caramel bubbles over the top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until caramelized and set.
Allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes.
Invert the loaf onto a serving tray.
Lesaffre Yeast Corporation (Red Star) provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.
A popular recipe on our site is the Raspberry Brioche Braid, a pastry Zoe came up with to mimic a Danish braid without quite as much work. Since berries are now behind on us and we look forward to cold days and even colder nights, I decided to try my hand at an Apple version of Zoe’s creation. Since my children devoured the braid in moments I can assure you that is it in fact, quite delicious, and a perfect way to start a day, or end one.
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water) for topping braid
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
To make the jam: Place the grated apple, apple cider, sugar and salt into a pan and stir together. Simmer over a medium/low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until most the juice has cooked into the apples. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. (The mixture will still look very ‘grated’, but the apples will continue cooking as the bread bakes.)
To make the cream cheese filling: mix the cream cheese, zest and sugar in a bowl until smooth.
Take a one pound piece of dough from the dough bucket (weighing on a scale is the easiest way, but if you don’t have one, a grapefruit-sized piece will do) and roll the dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Make sure to use enough flour that the dough doesn’t stick to the surface or the rolling pin. TRANSFER THE ROLLED OUT DOUGH TO A SHEET OF PARCHMENT. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center of the dough, about 1 inch wide.
Top the cream cheese with about 1/2 cup of the apple filling. You can add more, but some may leak out of the braid as it is baking. There may be a little jam left over to serve with the baked braid.
Cut 1/2-inch thick strips of dough with a pastry or pizza cutter. (Try to get an even amount on both sides, but it’s okay if it doesn’t happen.)
Lightly twist the top two strips of dough, then cross them over the top of the filling. Do not pull the dough too thin or it may break as it rises and bakes. Continue that same routine of twisting the pieces and crossing them over each other on top of the filling, until you are at the bottom. If you find an odd piece of the dough, that doesn’t have a mate, just twist it and place it over the filling. When you get to the end, tuck the loose pieces under the loaf, so they are secure and won’t pop out when baking.
Place the braid and parchment onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic and allow to rest for about 1 1/2 hours.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Just before baking, brush the loaf gently with the egg wash.
Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes or until golden brown (I like to bake this braid on two layers of baking sheets, to keep the bottom from browning too quickly). Allow to cool before topping with the icing.
To make the icing: place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Combine the melted butter, water, brandy, and salt together, and pour it over the powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. It should come off a spoon in a thin drizzle.
Red Star Yeast sponsored this post, and provided yeast samples for recipe testing.
We had such a good response to our Chocolate Bread that we decided to make some Nutella swirl buns to go along with it. The no-knead chocolate dough is not overly sweet, and it balances the Nutella and sugar coating quite well. We made them in individual molds, but you can also bake them free form in a 9 x 13 pan if you don’t have them.
Butter ten 3 x 2-inch soufflé molds, ramekins, or other straight-sided molds (note: you can use regular muffins tins, but you will need to cut the buns smaller; into more pieces. You can also bake them free form in a 9 x 13 pan like traditional cinnamon rolls). Line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper, and then generously coat with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess. Place the molds on a baking sheet.
Using a rolling pin, the dough out to an 1/8-inch-thick rectangle, and then spread the Nutella over the dough (you can use more than 1/2 cup, but I found that less is more here, both for taste and ease of cutting the dough into slices). If your dough is really soft and hard to work with, you can place it (filled and rolled) on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill for 20-30 minutes before slicing.
Use a kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Transfer the pieces to the prepared molds and place them cut side up. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Adjust the oven rack to the middle lower position. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Remove the plastic and bake 18 to 26 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the rolls are set (You can test for doneness by tapping the top, if it feels firm in the center, then it is done).
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for a few minutes. Use a kitchen towel or oven mitts to pick up each soufflé mold, then run a knife carefully around the edges of the pan, and flip the roll onto a wire rack. Carefully put the roll right side up, and repeat with the remaining rolls. Let cool for a few minutes, then toss each roll into sugar and cover.
As you all know by now, at BreadIn5 we take our sweets very seriously and chocolate is an essential food group. So we wanted to share one of the great pleasures of The New Artisan Bread in Five: Chocolate Bread. It has an intense chocolate flavor without being too sweet. This bread is equally as good with a sweet cherry jam as it is with a sharp cheddar; it all just depends on your mood. There will rarely be leftovers (but just in case there are we’ve also got a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding, page 362 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, that is out of this world!)
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is such an iconic image of Christmas. If you’ve never had roasted chestnuts, they are one of the sweetest and creamiest of nuts and the absolute perfect pairing with chocolate. This elegant chocolate chestnut bread is from our new Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day book and is super easy to make. If you have a tall panettone mold, it makes a really festive loaf for the holidays or a great gift, along with our newest book. You can also bake this in a loaf pan or even muffin cups.
I also used this loaf to make a wonderful bread pudding (recipe link at the end). Watch our video on instagram of how we made the bread and tips for kneading ingredients into dough you have stored in the refrigerator. (more…)