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10.24.2014

Pumpkin Challah

The following post contains sponsored content. 

One of the big parts of my job as a mother it to make sure my family is well fed. The idea of them going to bed hungry makes my heart hurt. We are so fortunate that we don't have to worry about a vital necessity such as food. 
Though that is not the case for many families across the globe. One in every eight people on earth goes to bed hungry each night. Seriously, read that statistic again. One in eight people goes to sleep at night with no food in their belly. That's a staggering number. Some even scarier numbers, is that  each day more than 25,000 people die abroad of hunger and hunger-related causes.   Every 10 seconds a child dies because they are severely underweight or lack essential nutrients, and about  842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat.  You guys, this is 2014, why are so many people still without food? 

Food is something most of us take for granted. We eat it because we enjoy it, it's fun, it tastes great. While we do so, there is a child (or adult) somewhere in this country starving to death. I find that unacceptable. 



This month Red Star Yeast has teamed up with Stop Hunger Now. In 2013, Stop Hunger Now sent more than $9 million worth of donated goods to people in need world wide. More than 125,000 volunteers worldwide packaged more than 42 million meals for recipients in 30 countries.  Each of those meals contained 23 essential vitamins and minerals, feeding 6 people. 

So when Red Star Yeast asked me to develop a bread recipe as part of their“ Bake the World a Better Place” campaign, how could I say no? 

The idea was to develop a recipe that is large enough to feed you and your family, and share with friends, family or perhaps someone in need. 



This Pumpkin Challah is the perfect seasonal yeast bread, great for breakfast, to serve with dinner and to use the leftovers in French Toast or Bread Pudding. It is sweet, filled with pumpkin, maple syrup and lots of spice.  Not only does the recipe make a large batch (4 loaves), it is delicious and looks gorgeous too. 
I was a little intimidated on the idea of braiding my own challah. So I set myself in front of YouTube and started watching tutorials and practiced braiding on several batches of dough. It's quite easy to braid actually, and so worth the extra steps because it creates a loaf that will wow people. Though it is completely optional. This bread could be baked as rolls or in loaf form as well. 





I highly encourage you to test this recipe out and to give the round 6 braid a try! 
Pumpkin Challah

Ingredients:
2 packages of Red Star Platinum Yeast (4 1/2 tsp yeast) 
2/3 cup warm water
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree 
12 large egg yolks
1 tbs salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tbs pumpkin pie spice 
8-10 cups bread flour (or all purpose) 
Additional 4 egg yolks to brush finished loaves with
Sesame seeds for topping  (optional) 
Directions: 

  1. In a small mixing bowl combine yeast, water and granulated sugar. Give a quick stir, and allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until the yeast becomes nice and foamy. 
  2. Mix yeast mixture together with pumpkin, egg yolks, salt, maple syrup, olive oil, pumpkin pie spice and 7 cups of bread flour. 
  3. Add in additional flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. 
  4. Pour dough out onto a floured surface, and start to knead the dough, adding more flour as needed until the dough is nice and elastic. About 6-8 minutes. 
  5. Place dough into a greased mixing bowl and allow to rise until it has doubled in size. About 15-30 minutes if using Red Star's Platinum Yeast or 90 minutes if using regular active dry yeast. 
  6. Once dough has doubled. Pour out onto a floured surface again. 
  7. Cut the dough in to 4 pieces.  
  8. Pick one piece to start working with, and then cut that  into 6 equal pieces. 
  9. Roll each of the 6 pieces into a "snake" as my kids call them, they should be about 1/2-1 inch thick.
  10. Weave the pieces together, and then braid the four corners, tucking the ends in creating a round braided loaf. (As pictured above)
  11. Repeat the braiding process with the remaining 3 loaves. 
  12. Place each loaf in a greased baking dish ( I like to use class pie plates). 
  13. Heat oven to 350 while you set the braided loaves aside to rise until they double in size. 
  14. Once the bread has finished rising, brush each one with one egg yolk and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. 
  15. Bake for about 40 minutes or until they are golden brown. 
  16. Enjoy warm, and share the baked goodness with someone you love or someone in need!
Also, you can help me win a pair of airline tickets in this  Pinterest contest by pinning THIS pin here!  You can pin daily! Also be sure to vote for any of your other favorite blogger pins! 

Check out some of the other great recipes created for Red Star Yeast's “ Bake the World a Better Place” campaign


(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation from Red Star Yeast to develop this recipe. However, as always all opinions are 100% my own.) 

10.23.2014

Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Cake


The following post contains sponsored content. Without the support of brands like Chef’n, I would not be able to take the time to create new recipes to share with you all!

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I’ve often said on my blog, how I love to bake and create new treats in my kitchen, however I am NOT a professional cake decorator by any means. Though I may not have the talent many of my friends do when handed a pastry bag filled with buttercream, it does not stop me from trying my hardest anyways! In the end, does it matter if it’s perfect? No, as long as it tastes great, and was made with love.

Baking is something I truly enjoy doing, and I use it as a way to show my love and appreciation to my friends and family. That is why I invite my kids in to help me as often as possible. So I can teach them how to express themselves through a creative outlet like baking.

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When Chef’n sent me their new Cakewalk, I knew right away that it would be a fun item to use when the kids are in my kitchen working with me.

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The Cakewalk, includes 15 different sized and shaped tips, a coupler, two pastry bags, an organizing tray and a rotating cake stand. With it, you can create beautiful cakes and cupcakes on your own! The tips come neatly organized inside of a fun rotating cake stand that is both handy to use while decorating, but it also cuts down on the clutter in my baking drawer where I have dozens of old tips floating around. This way, all of my tips are in one compact spot that I can easily store away until I make my next Chef’n Cakewalk Creation. If you already own a lot of tips and don’t want to part with them, you are in luck because the coupler will fit those as well as the tips that come with the Cakewalk. The tips and tray are both dishwasher safe, the roatinging stand can easily be washed by hand, so cleaning up after a day filled with sticky frosting is no hassle.

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The rotating stand, makes decorating so much quicker and smoother, the kids also had a blast turning it while I piped and crumb coated the cake.

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Recently, one rainy afternoon I had two kids home who were too sick for school, yet not quite sick enough where they could not have a little fun at home. So we baked a cake, and of course used our Chef’n Cakewalk to help us decorate. My oldest son (pictured below with my daughter) thinks he is a professional cake decorator. In fact the thinks he is the master of all things these days. When I gave them a little tutorial on how to use the Cakewalk, and then let my daughter have at it, he looks up at me like, “Ma, seriously? This is SO easy!”

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And you know what? It is! The Cakewalk makes cake decorating that much simpler for both professional bakers and beginners.

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As always, I was blown away by my kid’s talent. Together we made the cakes from scratch. I crumb coated it, and then they piped the frosting. THEN I hand my son my big clunky DSLR, because he thought he could take better photos than me. So, I put the camera on auto (he’s only 7 after all…) and I let him have at it. He took the above photo of the frosting…. and then he took all of these! Seriously, my kid can decorate cakes and is a professional photog.

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I love my Chef’n Cakewalk so much that I am also giving one away on behalf of Chef’n here today! PLUS my recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Spice Cake. Be sure to snag that recipe AND enter in the giveaway!

Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider

For the frosting:
  • 1 cup of Nutella (or any other chocolate hazelnut spread)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2-4 cups confectioners sugar
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and sugar. 
  3. Fold in  pumpkin puree, eggs,vanilla, oil and apple cider. 
  4. Divide cake batter into 2, greased and floured 8 inch cake pans. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. 
  5. Allow cakes to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile prepare frosting. In the bowl of your electric mixer using the whip attachment. Whip Nutella and butter together until combined.
  7. On medium/ low speed add in vanilla extract, salt and heavy whipping cream.
  8. Slowly add in 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar at a time, continuously whipping the mixture. Stop whipping and adding sugar when you have a light fluffy frosting.  
  9. Using your Cakewalk, decorate cakes as desired. 
  
For more info on the Chef'n Cakewalk or to purchase your own from Sur La Table, click here. 

To enter in the Chef'n Cakewalk giveaway, follow the directions on the widget below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation from Chef’n to write this post, however as always all opinions expressed are 100% my own.)

10.20.2014

Pumpkin Dumplings


You guys, I have dropped the ball on #30DaysOfPumpkin. I have recipes ready to go, but no time to get online and post the darned things. 

I remember thinking when my kid were younger, "Just get through these years, as they get older life will be less chaotic." Boy was I wrong. Somehow now that I have one kid in school full time, one in half day and just one at home full time, I'm busier than I ever was. So much has changed in just the last year it is crazy. Last year I was able to make the time to blog and to bake for thirty days straight, my house was relatively clean, and my family was happy. Today, the family is still happy, but my house is a whole lot messier and I have less time to blog and bake. What the heck?!

I figure, even if I don't post 30 recipes in 30 days like I did last year, I have still blogged more in the last couple of weeks than I did in the three months prior. So Who cares? I may not reach the goal, but I'm still challenging myself and having fun in the process. 

A couple of weeks ago, I made what most Italians would call Pumpkin Gnocchi, I however being the American I am, just call them dumplings. Served with bits of shredded meat, thick and creamy gravy these dumplings are the epitome of comfort.

Dumplings start out like most pastas, liquid (or in this case pumpkin puree) and some flour. Knead it into a pasta or "dumpling" dough roll into what my kids call snakes, cut in to pieces and then boil and serve with your favorite shredded meat and gravy. In my case, I chose to use some leftover turkey, carrots and turkey gravy. These dumplings are a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers!


Pumpkin Dumplings 

Ingredients: 

1 lb pumpkin puree ( I used fresh, but you can also used canned) 
About 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Directions:

In a mixing bowl, add pumpkin puree, salt and about 1/4 of a cup of the flour and mix. 
Add in more flour until it comes together into a slightly sticky dough. 

Pour dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead (adding more flour as needed) until it is no longer sticky.

Divide dough into four pieces, and roll each into a long "snake" that is about 1/2 inch thick. Using a sharp knife cut into  3/4 inch long pieces. 

Lay dumplings in one layer on a baking sheet until ready to cook.

Toss dumplings into your favorite soup and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes or until they float to the top. OR just toss dumplings (about 15-20 at a time) into boiling water until they float to the top. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and serve as desired. We like ours served with gravy and meat. 

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