Corn Bread Stuffing and More

What happens when I get a four-day weekend with no plans but to bake, eat and be with family?- A lot of baking...
(Click the captions for recipes).

Cornbread stuffing

Corn Bread Stuffing
(I completely forget which magazine I found this in while at the gym!)
  • 7-8 Cups cornbread  diced 1/2" cubes 
    • Use a southern corn bread recipe. Northern Corn bread is more cake like, while Southern corn bread is denser
    • Usually stale cornbread is used, but I baked it the same day, then cut it into pieces for stuffing after it had cooled- it was great!
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1-1 1/2 onions (diced or minced) 
  • 1 Cup chicken stock
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tbs minced marjoram or oregano
  • 1 tsp pepper
Saute peppers and onion in  some of the butter. Combine with cornbread and the rest of the melted butter in a large oven-proof bowl. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350F.

Mom's breakfast

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dying For Chocolate blog

....and some very happy people.


Tartine Morning Bun Recipe

I got extremely ambitious last weekend, partly driven by the fact that it is not that easy to get your hands on the full Tartine Morning Bun recipe. But after some serious sleuth work, I got it (...I'm pretty sure...if anyone has the Tartine cookbook with the croissant recipe, please talk to me immediately so we can corroborate recipes). Finally, the uber buttery croissant dough and the sugar mixture, bursting with flavor. So my fine friends, here it is for you, all in one place!

For Tartine Morning Buns, start with two pounds croissant dough. Tartine's dough calls for a preferment (which I started Saturday night, before I went out and stuck it in the fridge until I got started in the morning...

Croissant Dough
(Tartine, discovered at The Way the Cookie Crumbles blog)
Instructions on croissant dough are my own, based from my instructions at Baking Arts
  • KitchenAid with paddle attachment and hook attachment
  • pastry cutter or pizza wheel
  • rolling pin
  • parchment paper
  • plastic wrap (or cheese cloth)
  • zester or microplane grater

  • ¾ cup non-fat milk (6 ounces/150 ml)
  • 1 tbls active dry yeast (15ml)

  • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour (6¼ ounces/175g)

Dough (makes 2 lbs)
  • 1 tbls + 1 tsp active dry yeast (20ml)
  • 1¾ cup whole milk (14 ounces/425 m)
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour (28 ounces/800g
  • ⅓ cup sugar (2½ ounces/70g)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt (20 ml)
1 tablespoons unsalted butter (15ml)

Roll-in butter:
  • 2¾ cup unsalted butter (22 ounces/625 g)
  • * 3 tbls floor (My addition)

To Make the Preferment:
In a small saucepan, warm the milk to take the chill off (between 80° to 90 °F). Pour the milk into a glass bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk, stir just to dissolve the yeast with a wooden spoon. Allow yeast to proof for a few minutes. Add the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon until a smooth batter forms. Cover the bowl with cheesecloth or loosely fitted plastic wrap and let the mixture rise until almost double in volume (2 to 3 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator).

To Make the Dough:
Measure out all your ingredients. Put the preferment into the mixer and the yeast. Mix with a dough hook on the lowest speed until the yeast is mixed into the preferment (less than 1 minute, stopping to scrap the sides of the bowl, as needed). When the mixture has come together into an even mass, increase the speed one notch. Slowly add half of the milk. Continue to mix until the milk is fully incorporated.
Reduce the speed and slowly add the: flour, sugar, salt, melted butter, and the rest of the milk. Mix until the dough loosely comes together (about 2 minutes). Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest (about 20 minutes).

On the lowest speed, mix until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 2 minutes). If the dough is too firm, add a milk 1 tablespoon at a time ( I needed to add 2 tablespoons to the dough pretty much immediately). DON’T OVER MIX- This dough will be worked and worked again as it is rolled out several times. Mix as little as possible to achieve a smooth-ish dough. Cover the bowl with a loosely fitted plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a cool place until the volume increase by half (about 1 ½ hours).
Before Rise

After Rise

Transfer the dough to floured parchment paper. Roll and shape into a square about an inch thick (I think about 14X14 inches). Wrap in plastic wrap on a sheet pan and place in fridge for 30-60 minutes.

To Make the Butter Patty
Work the flour into the cool butter on the lowest speed with a paddle attachment for 30 seconds. Scrap bowl and mix 30 more seconds. Do not aerate. Transfer to parchment paper and using the paper as a tool, quickly shape the butter into a square, the same thickness as the dough. Wrap in the parchment and chill for 30 minutes.

If necessary, roll the dough out to the same size as before on a floured work surface as it may have shrunk a bit in the fridge. Place the chilled butter square diagonally on the dough and bring up the corners. (If the butter sticks, rip the paper off like a Band-aid). Pinch the dough firmly along the seams to seal in the butter completely.
* I had a bit too much dough so I trimmed off the edges and put the extra dough in the fridge for flat bread

The First "Double Turn"
Using your rolling pin, start tapping the dough down, starting at the center and working your way toward the left ad then the right to lengthen the square and soften the butter. Start rolling gently to about a 16 inch square, checking often to make sure the dough is not sticking and putting more flour down as necessary. Starting from the left or the right, fold the square in thirds like a business letter. Then fold into thirds again forming a square shape.  Tap down gently with your hands. Wrap and refrigerate(30 minutes or up to 2 hours) The ideal rolling temperature for this dough is 60F. * The dough gets put in fridge to relax the gluten.

The Second "Double Turn"
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. As before, tap the dough out and then gently roll to a 16 inch square, adding flour to prevent sticking. Fold in thirds like a business letter and then into thirds again. Wrap and refrigerate (30 minutes up to 2 hours, or overnight).  

* 1/2 of this dough will be used for the morning buns and the other half...for what ever you want! I rolled croissants, wrapped them individually in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months.

Morning Bun Inside
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 medium oranges
  • 2 tbls ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted * You'll have a lot left over
  • extra white sugar for coating muffin cups and for rolling finished buns

In a small bowl combine everything except the butter. Mixture will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or in the freezer for a month

Prepare a 12-muffin capacity muffin tin by generously brushing bottom and sides of each cup with melted butter. Put a teaspoon of sugar in each muffin cup and swirl around to evenly coat. Tap out excess sugar.

*Alright here's where my dough recipe doesn't quite add up because your supposed to role the dough to 6X18 inch rectangle that is 1/4-inch thick (This can easily be fixed by rolling it out the long way to 2 more inches long, though my dough was still thicker than 1/4 inch).

Roll out croissant dough into a 1/4-inch thick, 6X18 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Brush the dough with melted butter, and sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over the whole rectangle0 the sugar layer should be about 1/8-inch thick. You may have some mixture left over.
Before Rise

After Rise
To bake buns that are frozen: Prepare pan as above, let buns defrost in the prepared cups (this will depend on how warm your kitchen is,a bout 45 minutes), then continue with the next step.

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Let rolls rise in warm but not too hot place until they rise approximately 1 1/2 times their original size. Place muffing tin on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or foil to catch any drips while baking.

Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour or longer (mine took about 35 minutes!) When done, the tops should be well browned and the sugar melted. Remove pan from oven and immediately turn buns out into a cleaning baking sheet or work surface. Let the buns set for 5-10 minutes, then toss in a bowl with some sugar to coat

Buns are best eaten the day they are made. If eating the next day, heat them up first in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes before serving.


(My) Tartine morning buns

It's been a long Sunday! Here are beautiful pictures of my fruits of labor, Tartine's famous morning buns.

If your in the Berkeley area, come get them while they're hot ;)

(recipe to follow).


Birthday Cupcakes

These little cakes of fluffy love are inspired by the birthday cake my mom made for me and my brother every birthday. But now that we're grown, my brother doesn't get a cake and I apparently, make my own! And I was just as excited to make "birthday cake" for my friends and me as I used to be for mom's birthday cake. Her cake was a classic white cake with fudgy Hershey's cocoa frosting with fabulous "Happy Birthday Joanna" colored lettering. These cupcakes use the same white cake with a fluffy vanilla cream filling and chocolate ganache. This recipe is from the 975 edition of The Joy of Cooking. My mom has the original 1964 edition-and it's so wonderful to flip through the batter-stained pages.

White Cake
Preheat oven to 375. Have all ingredients at room temp. (70 degrees)

Sift before measuring:
   2 1/4 cups cake flour
Resift it twice with:
   2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream well:
   1/2 butter
Add gradually and cream until very light:
   2 1/4 cups sifted sugar
In a separate measuring cup combine:
   1 cup milk
   1 teaspoon vanilla

Add the sifted ingredients to the butter mixture in three parts, alternating with the liquid combination. Stir the batter until smooth after each addition.

Whip until stiff, but not dry: 
    4 egg whites

You want the egg whites to make peaks like this!
Fold them lightly into the batter and bake in: two 9-inch round pans or in cupcake tins. Cake pans should be greased with butter and a bit of flour. If you bake cupcakes, turn the heat down 25 degrees. Both will bake for about 25 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Cream Filling
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk- any percent fat will work
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium/low heat until thick (a few minutes) Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring to a boil. Once thick (like custard consistency), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.

When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until light. Add in the  milk mixture and vanilla and beat at high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about seven minutes).

Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.

For maximum filling, cut a funnel-shaped hole with a very sharp knife

After the filling is added, the top fits back on concealing the filling

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
sprinkles for decoration (optional)

Melt the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring constantly . Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache. Decorate with sprinkles. Do not refrigerate.