Smaller is always better – Cinnamon brioche bites

Cinnamon brioche bites

Most bakers love bite-sized things. They’re just irresistible to make. There’s something about seeing a small army of pastries, all properly lined up on baking sheets waiting for their time in the oven. And when dressing, rolling, cutting or stuffing, there’s a strange pleasure to be found in doing the same thing for each one of the small baked goods, trying to get them as even as possible. (Or maybe I’m slightly obsessive and find this satisfying…). But who can deny the appeal of a basket filled with bite-sized treats? No one. And I’ll tell you why; if you had a basket of regular-sized croissants sitting on your breakfast table, the most you could grab in one sitting, without losing face in front of your breakfasting companions, is one lonely piece. And pushing it,  you could eat half of this piece with one topping and the other with a different one. But if you have a basket full of mini-croissants… the possibilities are endless! Because no one will judge you if you spread nutella on one, take another one and smear some butter and marmalade on it, take a third one and dip it in your milk, or even if you take a fourth one to accompany a little bit of ham and cheese you had left over on your plate. That’s the beauty of bite sized. Small pastries just keep telling you to eat them because they know they’re so small that what could be the harm in just one more?  And they’re absolutely right. Such is the case with these fluffy, buttery, cinnamon stuffed mini-brioches. It’s like just eating the center of a brioche-a-tete several times over. Because once you have one you will have to have a second one and quite possibly a third one. And that’s ok. No one will judge you.
Read more for the recipe!
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For a spotty friend – Almond and chocolate scones

Almond chocolate scones

I’m a huge Dr. House fan. I’m also a huge scone fan. And how might these two relate? (apart from Hugh Laurie being british) Well, I was watching an episode about two weeks ago in which a family went scuba diving to an old shipwreck and got infected with what appeared to be smallpox. Which was eradicated quite a bit ago. and as I was watching the show, I was also getting a few spotty-faced snapchats from a friend who’d been infected with…wait for it…..chicken pox! Which is almost eradicated even in little kids…so how she got it was also a mystery worthy of House. And so while watching the family slowly die in isolation, I thought up these scones to bring to my friend who was also in isolation (though thankfully not dying, just quite itchy) and who, like me, also finds solace in crumbly pastries which you can have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. (because scones are just awesome like that). So if you have a friend in need, or just want a snack to munch on while you watch House re-runs, go read more for the recipe. Continue reading

Indulge every morning – Chocolate rye bread

chocolateryebread

Second warning of the day: This might be the best bread I’ve ever baked. And I know bread is one of those things (like cookies) which you can’t say there’s an absolute winner, because that choice will always depend on what you’re eating it with, whether it’ll be eaten cold or warm, what time of the day you’re having it, etcetera, etcetera. But this recipe turned out to be so rich in flavor, with a slightly bitter bite from the rye and cocoa, balanced out with sweetness of the cranberries and raisins, and soft and fluffy on the inside but crusty on the outside. What more could you ask for?? Nothing I say. Plus, you can bake it as a sandwich loaf, as baguettes, as diner rolls, whichever way you like! Because the dough is so easy to manipulate once kneaded, you don’t have to struggle a lot to get it to stay perfectly shaped.
And then once you bake it, you can have a thick slice with gouda, spinach, and a poached egg on top. And if you cover that with creamy mustard sauce, then you might just forget it’s monday and that you have to hurry up to get to work on time.
Read more for the recipe!

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Crispy rounds of deliciousness – Nutella thins

crispy nutella thin cookies

So I know it hasn’t been that long since I rambled about nutella. And I know that the last time I didn’t just use nutella once in the same recipe, nor twice. It was three times (Yes, because how else would you get nutella cupcakes stuffed with ferreros and nutella frosting?). And yet here I am with another recipe. Our love for each other isn’t special, I know a lot of people out there share the same passion for chocolate-y spread. Our love isn’t secret, I’ve been known to eat spoonfuls of the stuff in front of small crowds. It isn’t fleeting either, I have always loved it and always will. It isn’t moderate…and I don’t need to explain that bit. The one thing our love is, is delicious. Because yes. That’s what nutella is and there’s no amount of elaborate words I or anyone else could say to explain it better. So why not channel that delicious love into a thin, crispy cookie? The kind you put on a scoop of vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream. The kind you store in a tin and when you open it you say “only one” but they’re so thin and crispy that you end up having three (or four). Yes, that kind of cookie. Because apart from being delicious, nutella is so incredibly versatile. From creamy to crispy and all the colors in the rainbow in between. So here’s another recipe for all you nutella nuts (no pun intended) out there. Read more to find it. Continue reading

Secret ingredient – Sour cream 100% whole wheat bread

Sour cream whole wheat piloncillo bread

From the title of this post you might think that I’m talking about sour cream as the super star here… but you’d be wrong. I’m actually talking about piloncillo. That awesome, very mexican unrefined sugar which you’ll find in cafe de olla, atole, capirotada (mexican bread pudding), calabaza en tacha…. or in most barns. (Because I’ll let you in on a little secret: mexican horses don’t eat sugar cubes, they eat tiny piloncillos).  Piloncillo is great because it’s unrefined…but unlike sugar, it has a lot more flavor. It’s sweet and smokey and caramel-y. And it comes in little cone shapes. The only downside to it is that it has to be dissolved before you can use it in most recipes, but that’s not really a problem since all it takes is a little bit of hot water. So I went ahead and used it in a delicious and easy recipe for 100% whole wheat bread, with a dollop of sour cream, which resulted in a moist, rich, slightly sweet loaf. The perfect breakfast bread, with a couple slices of smoked ham and a little bit of butter, or as toast to accompany a creamy soup. (And on the plus side, if you don’t have, can’t or won’t find piloncillo, you could always use maple syrup, molasses or agave nectar!) But I won’t bore you anymore with the details about little cones of sugar, instead why don’t you go and read more the recipe?

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Simple pleasures – Rustic mini baguettes

rustic bread mini baguettes

Those who enjoy life know that the true spirit of it is found in simple pleasures; waking up to birds and trees outside your window, having a good talk over coffee with a close friend, sunny afternoons on a terrace, silly jokes that make your stomach hurt from laughing, ceviche on hot days, feeling the sea breeze on sunset, going out for a walk after its rained, flowering bushes…you name it. It’s the simple things that keep us content and give meaning to our day to day lives. And one of those excruciatingly delicious simple pleasures is bread. I think very few people can deny it, unless you’re allergic or on a diet…bread, particularly when warm from the oven, will never fail to give you a satisfied smile, even if its just from smelling it and thinking…yuuuum, that looks delicious, and then letting your mind wander with all the possibilities of toppings or accompanying goodness that can go with it. At least I can’t deny it. And for me one of the simplest, but most enjoyable of breads, is rustic bread. There’s just something about the soft and perfect butter-absorbing interior, full of flour flavors and smells, and the crunchy crust combination. There’s no way to eat it that’s not delicious. With butter. With butter and jam. With butter and ham. With mustard. With soup. With nutella. With cheese. With sugar. With olive oil and balsamic vinegar. And the sandwich-ing possibilities are endless..there are no ingredients that can taste bad in between two slices of it right? And if you happen to have a roast turkey breast laying around (because that’s what normal people do) then your life might almost be complete.  (Read more for the recipe)

mixing rustic bread doughOlive oil on rustic bread mixquick kneading rustic bread Continue reading