October 29, 2013

Apple Wreath

The sweet aroma of apples and spice filled my apartment as this lovely bread baked in the oven. The swirly appearance is created by rolling the dough up like a cinnamon roll, slicing it down the middle, and twisting the ends around one another (reminiscent of the basil bread I made a few weeks ago). It's as delicious as it is pretty! 

General idea from here

¾ cup milk, warmed to about 100 degrees F
3 tablespoons sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 to 3 cups bread flour
½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of allspice and cloves
¼ cup ground almonds, walnuts, pecans (optional)
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and grated (use a cheese grater)

In a 2-cup measuring glass, combine the milk, sugar and yeast. Set aside for about 10 minutes to proof.

Combine the egg and butter in a small bowl.

In a large bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and salt. Pour the egg mixture and the yeast mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir with a spoon until forms a dough that is not sticky, adding more flour as needed.

Kneed the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes; a smooth dough will form. Place the dough ball into a lightly floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for an hour or two, or until it has doubled in size.

Punch the dough down. On a floured surface, roll the dough to about an 18 x 24 inches rectangle (doesn’t have to be perfect). 

For the filling, mix together the sugar and spices.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush the dough rectangle with the melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon filling and the apple (and nuts if using).

Roll up the dough along the long edge. Use a sharp knife to cut the log in half length-wise, stopping short of the last half inch.

Twist the two pieces around each other, trying to keep the cut ends facing up (looks prettier that way). Bring the ends together to form a wreath and pinch to seal.

Transfer wreath to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise slightly for about 10 minutes.

Bake the wreath for 25-30 minutes.

Spreading the filling on the rolled out dough...

After rolling up, slicing the log of dough down the middle...

Twisting the two ends together...

Pinching the ends to form a wreath!

Fresh from the oven...look at the sugar sparkle! 


Slice into the loaf and enjoy! 


October 27, 2013

Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies

One of my favorite fall activities often turns into lots of fall baking! We went apple picking and ended up making several baked goods. These cookies hands down stole the show.

It was a lovely day full of apple sampling and after hours of apple baking, we created this product. It's like an oatmeal raisin cookie in consistency, but full of bits of apple and gooey caramel. 

My fellow chef cut these apples into perfect "dime-sized" apple slices but I'd imagine that chopping them into small bits and pieces would yield equally delicious results. We also played with varying amounts of caramel to yield a variety of cookies with just a bit of a caramel center to absolutely brimming with oozy caramel.

Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from beyondfrosting

For the apples:
1 1/2 cups chopped apples (about 2-3 apples)
1/4 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
For the cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teapoons vanilla extract 
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 package instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)
1 1/2 cups quick cook oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 package caramel squares

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees

Prepare your apples by peeling and cutting them into thin dime-size pieces as we did, or simply chop into small cubes. Toss the apples in sugar and flour until well coated and set aside. 

Cream your butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well combined. Add your eggs in one at a time followed by vanilla and maple syrup. 

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, vanilla pudding mix, oats, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Slowly add this mixture to your butter and sugar mix until well combined. Once the two mixtures are well incorporated add your apples! 

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Taking about 2 tablespoons of your dough, place a caramel in the middle and roll your dough around the caramel until completely covered (hands work best!). Place your cookie (with caramel surprise!) on your cookie sheet. Make sure to keep your cookie dough balls about 2 inches apart. They spread! 

Bake for 12-15 minutes and let cool for a few minutes before moving. These are best served warm with gooey caramel so you can always pop them in the microwave for a few minutes before serving to re-melt the caramel. 

Tip: If you don't want as much caramel, you can cut the caramel in half. Also, you can flatten the caramel to a disc shape and shape your dough around this - enabling you to start with an already flattened dough instead of a round mound of dough. Either way, it will be delicious. 



October 19, 2013

Apple Galette

I love the abundance of apples at farmers markets in the fall! Try this simple yet elegant apple galette…its very similar to apple pie!

Adapted from here

For the crust:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2 tablespoons cream cheese, cold (I used Neufchatel cheese)
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
4 apples, peeled, cored, sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg, allspice, cloves (any combination you like or have on hand)
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For finishing:
 1 egg, lightly beaten
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut the butter and cream cheese until only small (pea sized) bits remain. Using a fork, mix the ice water in until you have a dough (be careful to stop just as it starts coming together, and don’t over mix!). Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add dry ingredients and apples, stirring to coat. Cook about 10 minutes or until everything gets hot and the apples start to get tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Get the crust dough out of the refrigerator. Roll the dough out on a piece of parchment to a 12 inch diameter circle (doesn’t have to be perfect). Place on a baking sheet and return to the fridge for 10 or so minutes to firm back up.

Get the crust back out of the refrigerator.  Plop the apple filling on the center of the crust circle. Fold an edge of the dough towards the center, and continue doing so around the perimeter, pinching the pleats as you go.

Brush the crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.

Cover with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning. Bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool about 10 minutes and enjoy! Great with ice cream!

Rolling out the dough...

Pinching the seams and finishing with egg and sugar...

Fresh from the oven...

A la mode!