Tuesday, January 17

Honey Buns




When I was a kid, during the winter weekends, my dad and I would wake up super early, and hit the road by 5am to go ice fishing for the day. On our way out to the frozen lake, we'd stop at the Irving gas station on the way, and stock up on snacks to get us through the day. He would grab a pack of hot dogs, some rolls, chips, soda... I would grab banana muffins, gas station cappuccino... and lastly , Dad always grabbed a $.50 honeybun for his breakfast.

Now that I have my own kids that love fishing as much as I did at that age, I bring them on fishing trips the same way he did when I was a kid. The difference is, I am anal about food, and plan some healthy snacks. But one of the treats I always grab at the store, is a box of honey buns. My kids love those cheap, sickly sweet and sticky treats so much. It has become a staple for our outings.



Another major difference between my dad and I, is that while I love fishing, and I love bringing my kids with me. I truthfully despise the cold, so we do not venture out onto the ice in the winter. Our fishing trips are during the summer when I can work on my tan at the same time.



Needless to say, it's been a while since I have treated my kids to their beloved gas station quality honey buns. When my oldest asked me if I'd pick some up at the grocery store, I did one better... I made a homemade version of them instead. On a cold snowy day stuck inside by the fire, these honey buns were everything my kids wanted.



These buns are slightly sweet, rolled with a hint of cinnamon and topped with a glaze made with local raw honey. Defiantly 100 times better than .$50 gas station honey buns. I'll have to treat my dad to a batch real soon!




Honey Buns
Ingredients:
1 tbs dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup warm milk
1 large egg, room temp
1 egg yolk, room temp
1/4 honey (raw if you have it)
1 tbs kosher salt
3.5-4.5 cups bread flour (AP if that's all you have)

Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbs ground cinnamon

For the glaze;
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup raw honey

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl, combine yeast, warm water and granulated sugar. Mix well, and set aside until the mixture becomes foamy.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine yeast mixture, melted butter, warm milk, eggs, honey, salt and half of the flour. Mix with the dough hook until it is all combined.

Turn the mixer to medium/low speed, add remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is shaggy and only slightly sticky.  Allow the dough to "knead" with the mixer on medium/low speed for about 4 minutes, or until it is elastic and smooth. If at any point the dough appears to be too sticky, add in a little more flour, until it is pulling away from the bowl while kneading.

Turn dough out into a large buttered mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to rise.

Leave the dough to rise until it has doubled in volume, this could take a couple hours.

Once the dough has risen, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface into a rectangle. Should be about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Spread butter all over the dough, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Roll into a log, and cut into 1 inch thick rolls.

Place rolls onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and set aside to rise until they have doubled or tripled in volume. They should appear to be cloud like.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they are golden.

Allow the buns to cool for about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl whisk powdered sugar with raw honey together, drizzle over the tops of the warm buns.

Best when served warm, but will last for 2 days in a air tight container.

Friday, January 6

Hot Chocolate Cheesecake


If any of you have been following me this week on Instagram, you see that I am documenting my newest round of Whole30. In the last year, I have tried to do it a handful of times. Some more successful than others... the three things I was never able to kick for a full 30 days, were cream in my coffee, wine, and chickpeas.



Knowing that I wanted to complete this cleaning eating challenge in the worst way, I decided I was going to spend some time preparing for it. So over the last couple of months, I have completely cut cream from my coffee, and prefer to take it black. I have also cut way, way, way back on alcohol, going weeks between drinks.



The only battle I think I will face this round of Whole30, is my love affair with legumes. I flipping love chickpeas and black beans. I eat a cup of one of them each day either in my lunch or my breakfast.

Meanwhile..... everyone else is like, sweets...bread! I can not cut out my sweets! Well lucky for them, because I have a month of over the top fattening desserts to be posted on my blog. Pull out your stretchy pants! Or if that is not your thing... come check out my pretty pictures of veggies and meat on the Bakeaholic Mama IG!


This cheesecake is ridiculously dark and rich. A classic dark chocolate cheesecake topped with dark chocolate ganache and topped with a homemade toasted marshmallow topping. Inspired by this Hot Cocoa Cheesecake I saw on Pinterest back in 2013!



Hot Chocolate Cheesecake
Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 9 0z package of chocolate Graham crackers
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt

For the filling:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
4 eggs, room temperature

For the ganache:
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

For the marshmallows:
2 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water + 2 tbs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dusting
non-stick cooking spray


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap the outside of a 9 inch  springform pan in tinfoil.

Spray inside with non-stick baking spray.

In a food processor, pulse graham crackers butter, and salt together until it forms a crumbly mixture.

Press into the bottom of a  springform pan, and about 1/2-1 inch up the sides.

Bake for 5 minutes, remove from oven.

In a double boiler, melt 2 cups of chocolate chips until smooth. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whip attachment, mix cream cheese, sugar and cocoa powder until light and fluffy.

Mix in one egg at a time until it is smooth.

With your mixer on low, slowly drizzle in melted chocolate. Once it is all incorporated and it's fully mixed in. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl down with a rubber spatula.

Pour and scrape the cheesecake filling into the springform pan.

Place a roasting pan in your preheated oven filled with boiling water. The water should be about 1 inch deep.

Place cheesecake into the water filled roasting pan.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until it the center of the cake is set, and just barely jiggles a bit (like jello).

Turn oven off, and open the door. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven until it is room temperature.

Once it has cooled, prepare the ganache.

To make the ganache, place chocolate and cream into a double boiler and heat and mix until smooth and melted.

Pour on to the top of your cooked cheesecake.

Place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or until you are ready to serve.

Before serving, prepare the marshmallow top.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, add powdered gelatin and half of your water. Mix with a fork until it's combined. Allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes for the gelatin to dissolve.

In a sauce pan add renaming water, sugar and corn syrup, bring to a low boil and let it simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved and you are left with a syrup.

Using your whip attachment, turn mixer to medium speed and start whipping the gelatin with the vanilla extract, slowly pouring in the syrup.

Once all of the syrup has been added, turn mixer to high and leave it to whip for about 7-10 minutes, or until you have extra stiff peaks.

Remove cheesecake from oven.

Using a greased rubber spatula,  add marshmallow into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe dollops of marshmallow onto the top of the cheesecake. *This can be a messy job*

Once you've covered the cheesecake, using a cooking torch, toast the top of the marshmallow.

Allow to cool for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator, and then serve.







Thursday, December 29

Champagne Jello Shots


I am not huge on celebrating New Years Eve. Normally we keep it low key, stay in with the kids and eat food all day... and then go to bed far to early for a 32 year old couple.  But just because I don't go crazy, dress up and go out for a night of parties on New Years.. doesn't mean I don't enjoy some early bird special partying on occasion.



This year, if you are unlike me, and hosting a get-together, I highly recommend that you bring back the jello shots of your youth, but instead of being chocked full of booze and juice, keep it classy with a good bottle of sparkling wine.



These jello shots are not only festive, and pretty to look at. They will get you to that buzz quickly. But be careful... because just like those jello shots you did as a 21 year old  kid, if not careful... you can over do it with these easily.

I speak from experience.....



Champagne Jello Shots
Ingredients:
3 cups dry champagne
1/2 cup simple syrup ( I use rosemary syrup)
1/2 cup vodka
4 packages unflavored powdered gelatin

Directions:

In a mixing bowl combine simple syrup, vodka and gelatin together, mix with a fork unit the gelatin has softened, and your are left with a jelly.

In sauce pan bring champagne to a low boil. (Careful it foams over quickly.)

Remove from heat, and add it to the gelatin mixture.  Set aside and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Line a 9x13 baking dish with plastic wrap.

Pour gelatin mixture into the pan, and chill for 4 hours , or overnight.

Cut into squares, sprinkle with sparkling sugar and serve.



Tuesday, December 27

IPA Mimosa



Hallelujah! Christmas is over... and 2016 is coming to an end. 


Not a fan of champagne on New Years Eve? No worries I have you covered, a  bubbly cocktail that is made out of a citrusy IPA. Or if you wish you could crack open a beer at breakfast or brunch without being socially shunned.... this IPA mimosa is what you need. 

I am typically a huge fan of a citrus pale ale, especially when it has a lot of strong grapefruit notes. When I picked up a pack of Harpoon's seasonal spring pale ale, I knew immediately I wanted to cut it with some juice and try it as a "mimosa". It's a golden ale, with citrus and pine notes. It's pretty light, and the perfect beer to pair with fresh squeezed juice.



IPA Mimosas
Yields 4 cocktails

Ingredients:
2 bottles of IPA ( I like Harpoon's Fresh Tracks)
The juice of one grapefruit
The juice of one orange

Directions:

Divide juice into 4 champagne glasses, top off with IPA, and serve with fresh grapefruit or orange wedge. 

Friday, December 16

Walnut Roll

 The following post was sponsored by my friends at Red Star Yeast. With the help of brands like theirs, I am able to take time out of my week to bring you all new recipes!

It's been insanely cold in New Hampshire the last couple of days. Just a couple weeks ago, we had some 60 degree days, in which we were outside playing in short sleeves. Today, it's -2 without the wind chill factor. I will be spending my day making sure our furnace, and fireplace can keep the house up to temperature to avoid any frozen pipes. Oh the joys of living in an old  house with little insulation during the winter, in New England.


Growing up we only had wood heat, so the struggle during the winter was real. It was a daily occurrence having frozen pipes, and cold floors. Every morning you could hear my dad in the bathroom or kitchen with my mom's blow-dryer thawing the sinks. Even if you kept the water flowing all night, they eventually would freeze anyways.  One year we had such a deep freeze, my parents could not keep our bedrooms warm, it didn't help that the only wood they could afford that year, was not fully dry. Anyone who has a wood stove knows that you can't keep a good fire going with green wood. So imagine the struggle of heating your home when it's -20 outside on green wood, with 3 little kids inside. Pure stress. 


My dad at that point, had no choice but to go into our attic to find dry things to burn. He got that fire cranking by burning boxes of old books, and furniture that was in the attic. They then  moved their big bed into the dinning room (where the wood stove was), nailed blankets around the large doorway into the living room to close it all off, just heating the kitchen, dinning and bathroom. All five of us slept in their bed by the wood stove until the deep freeze passed. Now as a mom of 3 kids, I can't even imagine the stress my parents were under trying to keep their family warm that winter, but as a kid I remember thinking it was an adventure of sorts, and what little kid doesn't like sleeping in bed with their parents? It was a treat to us!



That story is the equivalent to our grandparent's "I walked to school 3 miles, up hill in the snow, with no shoes!" story. My kids roll their eyes when I give them the lecture on how poor some families are... how poor I was growing up... and how lucky they are to have this cozy warm house with plenty of food in their bellies. When I think back on it, it also gives me an appreciation for my parents. They did what they had to do, and kept us kids warm and stress free that winter.


*FYI the following year they installed a new heating system, we were never that cold again!*



It's days like these I welcome the chance to bake all day long. Running the oven helps keep the house toasty and warm. Not to mention the smell of fresh baked breads and cookies might be the most comforting cozy smell of all time. So while it may be so cold outside that your face starts to hurt, and your nose hair and eyelashes freeze together. Inside my home we'll have plenty to eat, and a fresh pot of coffee going to warm our bones.


This time of year there is an Eastern European bread that is traditionally made at Christmas time called a Walnut Roll. It's a sweet bread, rolled with a walnut mixture, baked in a large loaf, and then sliced and served with powdered sugar, alongside coffee.


It is possibly one of the best sweet breads I have ever made, and I can't wait to share this recipe with my family during the holidays. It will undoubtedly keep us warm all holiday season!

Walnut Roll
Recipe from Red Star Yeast

For the dough:

  • 2 packages (4½ tsp, ½oz, 14g) RED STAR Platinum Superior Baking Yeast
  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature

For the filling:

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 cups walnuts, freshly ground
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla
For the topping:
  • Melted butter for brushing on baked rolls
  • Powdered sugar

 Directions:


Combine yeast, 1½ cups flour, sugar and salt. Heat milk, sour cream and butter to 120-130°F. Add to flour mixture; blend on low speed. Add egg yolks and egg; beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. By hand stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. 

Knead on lightly floured surface 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl; turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe.


Prepare Filling: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine slightly beaten egg, milk, walnuts, sugars and butter. Cook on medium heat until mixture resembles a paste, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool. Stir in vanilla.


Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. Cover; let dough relax for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 2 parts. On lightly floured surface, roll each half to a 12x12-inch square. Spread half of cooled Filling to within 1 inch of edges. 

Roll up tightly. Pinch edges to seal; turn ends under. Place seam-side down on greased baking sheet.* Repeat with remaining dough. 

Prick top of roll every 3 inches with fork to eliminate air bubbles. 

Cover; let rise in warm place until indentation remains when lightly touched. 

Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Cover lightly with foil to prevent over browning. 

Brush with melted butter to maintain a soft crust. Breads are very fragile when warm. Using two spatulas carefully lift Walnut Roll from baking sheet onto rack to cool. 

Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool; slice to serve.


*Using parchment paper to line baking sheet makes it easier to transfer rolls to cooling rack.
(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation to write this post on behalf of Red Star Yeast. However, as always... all opinions are 100% my own!)

Tuesday, December 13

Salted Milk Chocolate Nutella Cups


Up until about 2 years my husband, kids and I had an insanely busy Christmas Eve. We started our day off loading the car up with gifts, food, diaper bags, and headed up to my Parent's home in Wentworth, NH (1.5 hours north of us) we did our Christmas celebrations with them and my siblings, then quickly packed up to stop to see my Nana, who would then load us up with tins of her homemade candies.

We packed up leaving Nana's and drove 45 min south to Ashland and visited my husband's grandparents and his Dad. Did a quick celebration with them.... then packed up for a 3 time that day and drove all the way down to the Boston area (2 hour drive from our 3rd holiday stop)

Our 4th stop of the day (Dinner time at this point) was always to my husband's sister or brother's house. We'd do dinner with them, and exchange gifts. Put pajamas on the kids, and then leave at about 9 to drive 1/5-2 hours north to our home.

After arriving at home, we put the kids to bed and then we played Santa, fineally going to sleep around 2am before being woken up at 5 by 3 anxious kids.

This holiday routine went on for years, and each year we were left feeling completely stressed out and exhausted. Two years ago, I said enough is enough, and we stopped traveling to see everyone.



Now everyone comes to see us, we do travel a bit here an there throughout the week of Christmas. But it is nothing compared to the hellish schedule and travel we did in years past.

Since I entertain so many family members during the holidays, I always like to have tins of homemade treats to gift to whoever may pop in to visit. This year, I have whipped up a big batch of these peppermint marshmallows, and I've also done some tins of these Salted Milk Chocolate Nutella Cups. 4 ingredients, and they only take about 4 minutes to make. They are a fun twist on the classic peanut butter cups my Nana stuffed in those candy tins every Christmas.





Salted Milk Chocolate Nutella Cups
Ingredients:
2 cups of milk chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil
6 heaping tablespoons of Nutella (Or other comparable chocolate hazelnut spread)
Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:
In a microwave safe bowl melt chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave, heating it in 15-30 second increments until it is smooth.

Line muffin tin with 6 muffin wrappers.

Fill them about 1/8 of the way full with the melted chocolate.

Drop table spoons of Nutella in the center of each muffin cup.

Top each up with the remaining melted chocolate, and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Place in the refrigerator for one hour before serving/gifting!



Monday, December 5

Peanut Butter and Grape Curd Doughnuts



When I started blogging about six years ago, I was pregnant and housebound with two little boys. I started sharing stories about being a mom, being pregnant, and of course sharing my love for food. It was a social and creative outlet that I so badly needed at the time.

About six months after I started my blog I started to make connections with other food obsessed people out there, and it was around that time that I started following a  blog named Savory Simple. The creative mind behind the blog, was a girl by the name of Jennifer. I immediately was drawn to her photos, and her gourmet twist on everyday foods. 

Fast forward another year, Jen  and I met at a blogging conference in Virginia. She and I started chatting after the event, and quickly became friends. 



I keep a small circle of close friends, I have a couple women that I've known my whole life, my family, and Jen. I joke that she's my work wife. Some days I chat with her more than I do my own husband. She's my go to for advice with recipe development, social media tactics, photography, and sometimes she's basically my therapist lending advice and listening to me complain about life. We can both be slightly sarcastic, dry, snarky.... no room for BS personalities, so she gets me!

Over the last few years we've traveled together, met up at blogging events and she even convinced me to eat oysters! Which by the way, they are now my favorite thing ever. She's a true friend I am so grateful for.

Jen and I in Prince Edward Island, May 2016

Well over a year ago, she started writing a book called the Gourmet Kitchen, I feel like I've been apart of it from the beginning, talking to her daily during the writing and recipe testing process. So when it was released in October, and I received an advance copy, I was THRILLED. I have received  a lot of cookbooks to review here on my blog, and I know a lot of people who have written them. But I can honestly say I have never been as excited to thumb through a cookbook as I was with this one. 

I have tried a few of Jen's recipes from her blog and a couple in her new book, like her Cheese and Broccoli Baked Potatoes, No-Bake Toasted Coconut Bars, Cauliflower Bacon Soup, and Parmesan and Rosemary Shortbread..  Being passionate about food and even attending culinary school, this girl knows her stuff. With her direction, the everyday home cook (like me!) can transform their meals into gourmet dishes. 



One day last month my Nana gave me some jars of grape concentrate that she made and canned using wild grapes she picked. At first I figured I would make a couple batches of jelly to put up. But then I remembered Jen's recipe for Concord Grape Curd, and I knew what I needed to make it. Three batches of curd so far in the past week...... and I can tell you for a fact that it's amazingly addictive. We have been eating way too much of it! Paired with peanut butter, it's pretty much mind blowing. 



Of course when making anything, I always think of ways it can turned into a donut. I immediately knew I had to make a batch of yeast doughnuts and fill those babies to the brim with curd and peanut butter. Not going to lie... I am a complete genius for going this route. Peanut Butter and Grape Curd Doughnuts are the bomb. 



Peanut Butter and Grape Curd Doughnuts
Curd recipe from Jennifer Farley's book, The Gourmet Kitchen 
Recipe yields about 10 donuts


Ingredients for the donuts:
1 tbs active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbs kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup whole milk, room temperature
About 4 cups  bread flour (or all purpose)
2 qts vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I recommend NOT using natural peanut butter)

For the curd:
1 lb Concord Grapes
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tbs cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 oz unsalted butter, (8 tbs) cubed at room temperature

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water and sugar, mix with a fork just until it is all combined. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until it's foamy.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, using the dough hook, mix salt, eggs, butter, milk and 1 cup of flour until combined.

Add in yeast mixture and the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time with the mixer on medium low speed, until the dough is starting to pull away from the edges of the bowl.

Turn the mixer to medium speed, and allow it to "knead" the dough for about 4 minutes. Or until the dough is nice and elastic.


Turn the dough out into a large buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot to rise until it doubles in volume. 

Meanwhile prepare your grape curd. 

Place the grapes and water into a sauce pan over medium low heat. Allow the grapes to heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the grapes start to break down, use a potato masher to press them gently, juicing them. Once there is a decent amount of liquid in the pan, remove from heat and allow it to cool for a little bit. Press the grapes through a food mill, to separate the juice from the seeds and skin. Discard the seeds and skin. Reserve 1 1/4 cups grape juice for the curd making. 

In a medium sauce pan, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, a sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl whisk cornstarch with about 1/4 cup of the juice and create a slurry. Whisk in the remaining grape juice and lemon juice. 

Combine the juice mixture with the egg mixture in the sauce pan. Place it over medium heat and whisk until it's smooth. Make sure to get the bottoms and sides to prevent the curd from sticking. It should take about 10 or 15 minutes to thicken. 

Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the butter, 1 tbs at a time until it is all combined and melted in. 

Transfer the curd to a a bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap over the top, and place it in the fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes. 

Once the donut dough has doubled in volume, punch it down removing any air bubbles. Fold it out onto a floured surface and roll it with a rolling pin to be about 1/4-1/2 an inch thick. Cut dough scraps into small pieces and fry for doughnut holes.

Using a 3-4 inch biscuit cutter, cut the dough into circles, placing them on a floured surface to rise until they double, or almost triple in volume. 

Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven on your stove top or in an electric fryer until it reaches 350-365 degrees. Careful not to crowd them, my 10 qt fryer only allows me to fry 3 donuts at a time

Once the doughnuts have finished rising, fry them on each side until they are golden brown. Remove from oil, and drain on paper towels or a paper bag.

Allow them to cool completely before filling. 

When ready to fill, heat peanut butter for about 20 seconds or until it's soft and pipe-able like frosting.

Cut a small hole on the side of each doughnut the size of your piping tip. 

Add peanut butter into one piping bag, and 1 cup of curd to a second bag. 

Place both bags into a 3 piping bag that is fitted with a round tip. 

Fill each donut with the filling. 

When you are finished filling them, lightly dust them with powdered sugar.



GIVEAWAY!!!!

Jennifer and her publisher would also like to give one of my lucky blog readers a copy of her book. To enter follow the directions on the Rafflecopter widget below. 




a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Gourmet Kitchen for review but received no monetary compensation to write this post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own!)