Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD: BWJ - Irish Soda Bread

Round about March 17, everybody and their brother becomes Irish. I have no Irish blood in me, but I do love me some corned beef and (mini) cabbage, which is a traditional (American) Irish dinner for St. Patrick's Day.

This year I made baked corned beef (so so so good), shredded sauteed Brussels sprouts, pan roasted potatoes and Irish soda bread for our celebration. The stout chocolate brownies came today.

Back to the soda bread. This was a recipe that Julia baked with Marion Cunningham. This one is simple beyond simple. It consists of four ingredients - flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. It's a one bowl bread. I even did the minor amount of kneading in my bowl so I didn't dirty the counter. There's no rising time and no special pans needed. Mine baked in a glass 9" pie plate.

This came out a gorgeous golden color. I followed the recipe exactly, but I could see there being a zillion variations. I was gifted with a pound of European butter, and we used some on this bread. Heavenly. I added a small dash of sea salt as well. I could have easily eaten half the loaf with gobs of butter on it.

This will absolutely be added to my recipe rotation. There are nights when I'll take a soup or stew out of the freezer for ease. This is the perfect bread recipe to go along with it.

Clearly not my piece - not enough butter!

Go visit Carla of Chocolate Moosey or Cathy of My Culinary Mission for the recipe.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

TWD: BWJ - Rugelach

I am a huge fan of rugelach. (Pronounced at my house as roo-gah-lach with a little throat clearing on the last syllable) It's a staple at Jewish events that require baked goods, which, now that I think about it is just about any Jewish event... Anyway, the traditional style is a cream cheese pastry crescent that is stuffed with a fruit/nut mixture. This version was turned around a bit, and we made ours in a pinwheel.

This is not a difficult recipe, but there are a few steps. The good news is that the steps could be spread out over a couple of days. The first step is to make the dough. I did mine in the food processor. I like doing that because I can use cold dairy. In this case it was three sticks of butter and one brick of cream cheese. Not so low fat, this recipe. It calls for a minimal amount of sugar because the filling is sweet. Once the dough came together, I separated it into two disks and put it in the fridge overnight. This recipe calls for homemade filling called levkar. The traditional versions are apricot and prune. I'll fully cop to being lazy on this one, and I used jam for my filling. The dough rolled out pretty easily with only a small amount of flour. The key here is keeping it cold. I rolled a bitand put it back in the fridge. Then I rolled again and was ready to fill. This version is pretty quick because of the jelly-roll style of filling. I spread apricot jam on the dough and sprinkled it with a cinnamon sugar mix and toasted almonds. The second version used raspberry jam, cinnamon sugar, mini chocolate chips, and toasted pecans. The rolled up dough went back in the fridge for another chill.

Then it was slicing time. Dorie's version calls for a pretty substantial slice. I've made this style before following Smitten Kitchen's recipe. She uses a thinner slice. I like the thinner cookie as opposed to a thicker pastry, so that's how I sliced these. They got a sprinkle of coarse sugar and went into the oven. I had to watch my baking time.

These came out just great. I love the cream cheesy pastry swirled with the sweet jam and nutty fillings. I didn't venture out of my comfort to make these thicker, but I am sure they would have turned out really well. I will note that the Smitten Kitchen recipe uses one less stick of butter. I'm not sure that it was really necessary in the finished product for me.

Here they are side by side.

Here's the apricot/almond version.

And the raspberry/chocolate/pecan version.

Go visit Jessica of My Baking Heart or Margaret of The Urban Hiker for this week's recipe.