Monday, October 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Red Velvet Filled Croissants

I'm a bad food blogger I suppose, seeing how many pictures of recipes I've made are on my computer with no corresponding blog post. It's one of the things I love about Sourdough Surprises. Once a month at least, I need to sit down at my computer and blog. Oh, that and I am challenged to make something either a). I've never heard of or b). Would never intend to make in a million years.

This month's Sourdough Surprises falls into the latter category. While I can't say I've taken completely after my nothing-from-scratch mother, I'm also not one to put hours of effort into one project. Still, a challenge is a challenge...and I am up for that task.

I've made several recipes from Sourdough Recipes from Richard Packham and can honestly say I've yet to be disappointment. I chose to start with his croissant recipe (modified, since despite the recent cold front I inevitably need less liquid and more flour for any bread recipe). And since I seldom approach Sourdough Surprises with plain in mind, I found some Wilton Red Velvet Candy Melts I had bought on clearance after Valentine's Day that I thought I should use up.

Sourdough Red Velvet Filled Croissants
Adapted from Sourdough Recipes
Makes 12 croissants

Ingredients:
1/2 cup starter
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
36 pieces Wilton Red Velvet Candy Melts

Combine starter, water, 2 tablespoons sugar and 3/4 cup flour. Let sit, covered, overnight.

Slice butter onto wax paper. Cover with more wax paper and press into 9x9” square. Chill at least one hour.

Add remaining ingredients to starter mixture. Chill for about 1/2 hour.

On a well-floured surface, quickly roll out the cold dough into a
rectangle about 15" x 10". Cut the cold butter in half and place
one slab of butter across the center one-third of the dough. Fold
one end of the dough over the butter, and then place the other half-
slab of butter on it. Then fold the last third of the dough over
the butter, forming a package of dough-butter-dough-butter-dough,
about 10" x 5". Pinch the edges together so that there is no butter
showing.

Quickly roll out this package of dough and butter into a rectangle
about 10" x 15". Fold it again into thirds, forming a package about
10" x 5"; roll it out one more time, fold into thirds, and chill in the
refrigerator at least an hour.

Repeat the previous step once more (roll out to 10" x 15", fold in thirds,
roll out and fold again, roll out, fold, chill).

Prepare a large jelly-roll pan by greasing lightly. (Do not use rimless
cookie sheets.)

Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 10" x 15". Cut the dough
into six 5" x 5" squares, then cut each square diagonally forming
twelve triangles, 5" x 5" x 7". Flatten each triangle to about 1/8 thick-
ness, by rolling from the longest side to the point, stretching it until
the point is about 8" from the longest side. Place 3 candy melts along long edge. Starting at the longest side, roll it up tightly. Turn so that the point is underneath the roll, then bend the two ends so that they curl around toward the point. Place each croissant on the pans. Let rise in a warm place about
one hour.

Preheat the oven to 360 degrees. Bake the croissants 20 minutes,
then turn off the oven and let them sit in the warm oven an additional
10 minutes.
This ranks as one of the most intensive and messy recipes I've ever made. Again in spite of the cold front, the dough was still getting warm by the time I was rolling them, getting butter all over my kitchen counter and causing them to fall apart. And in spite of their bad looks...it was worth it. They were absolutely delicious. Unfortunately the rest of my family thought so too. They were gone within a day.

So perhaps I will have to do this again...both to use up the rest of the candy and so I can get more than two!

Check out our other awesome croissant creations!



 

Monday, September 29, 2014

White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter Biscuits

When my aunt is in town, I must bake breakfast bread.

While my Mocha Cappucino Hazelnut biscuits were in the category of “pretty good”, I've also been eager to do more experimentation with Peanut Butter & Co's flavored peanut butters. With an open jar of White ChocolateWonderful calling my name, I wanted to do some playing around.

I used the same Fabio Viviani recipe as I did for my Mocha Cappucino Hazelnut biscuits, only this time swapping the White Chocolate Wonderful for the Nutella JifMocha Hazelnut Spread

White Chocolate Wonderful Biscuits

Adapted from Fabio Viviani
Makes about 8-3” biscuits
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 3 Tsp butter at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate Wonderful
  • ¾ cup milk

Start by combining all the dry ingredients. Cut in butter and spread. Then add milk.
Mix until well combined. Drop into greased muffin tins. Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes.

The first thing I noticed is the dough was a lot wetter than the previous incarnation (which is why I made the last minute decision to make them drop biscuits). Once baked, they took on a similar texture to the Mocha Cappuccino Hazelnut version.

My favorite thing about this recipe is its sheer simplicity. Most people have the ingredients handy. It only takes a few minutes and a few steps. Someone who is a little better at functioning than me could easily get up a half hour earlier than everyone else and get a fresh variation of biscuits out for breakfast.

Oh, and these even got a little attention from Peanut Butter & Co themselves!


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Honey Walnut Swirl Cornbread

Cornbread falls into the category of “one of those” foods. Although my dad loves it, my mother doesn't care for it much and I can only take or leave it. I made it early on in my sourdough adventures and it was okay, but not something any of the family would eat over and over. So the recipe sat in one of my massive binders until Sourdough Surprises picked it for the September challenge.

There is one particular cornbread even my mother loves, and that's the skillet cornbread at Smokey Bones. Since the nearest location is one of the busiest in the country, we don't get it often. It's not even necessarily the cornbread, but the honey nut butter that goes with it. With that in mind, I took my old cornbread recipe and made a honey walnut caramel topping.

Honey Walnut Swirl Cornbread
Adapted from Cooks.com
Makes 12 servings
Ingredients
Cornbread

  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Topping
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
Topping
Directions
  1. Spray a well seasoned, 9 or 10 inch iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray, add a small amount of oil and place in oven while it preheats.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Heat topping ingredients over low to medium heat and set aside
  4. Combine the cornmeal, sugar and salt in medium bowl.
  5. Scald milk and pour over cornmeal mixture.
  6. When mixture is room temperature, add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  7. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Add topping and swirl through with a spoon. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Unfortunately, the swirl topping kind of got lost within the cornbread. On the other hand, with my more advanced knowledge of sourdough baking and the use of my fairly-newly-seasoned cast iron pan, it turned out to be better cornbread than my first attempt.

Does that mean I'll make it again? Well, I've still got half a package of cornmeal to use...

Check out our other awesome cornbreads!




Monday, September 15, 2014

Turkey Noodle Surprise

Here's to nostalgia and simplicity...

When I was young, before we gave up and started eating out almost every night, my dad would attempt to cook. He wasn't much of a cook – he notoriously used powdered sugar instead of flour as a thickener on more than one occasion – so one day he created this recipe. Some random veggies, ground turkey, and prepared gravy over noodles.

My mother has very few foods she won't eat, so when she's out of town, it's harder to make things special. Mushrooms will always be a staple, usually with chicken wings or shellfish. This time, I decided to go back to old times.

My recipe:

Turkey Noodle Surprise:


Serves 2
1/2lb ground turkey breast
1 8oz can mushroom stems and pieces
1/2 onion, diced
1 15oz jar homestyle turkey gravy
1 cup cooked pasta

Brown ground turkey and onions over medium heat. Add gravy and mushrooms, continue cooking until heated through. Serve over pasta.

Incredibly simple, right? We need simplicity in this world. Against the nostalgia, I did serve it with a breadstick:



Brings me back to the good old days...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Monkey Bars

(Apologies for the late post – my computer spent 10 days in repair and blogging from my phone wasn't feasible).

Why had I never made granola bars?

I'm on a high protein diet and I have a major sweet tooth. My local Vitamin Shoppe knows me by name and knows I'll never leave without protein powder or bars. I eat some sort of protein bar every day. I love to cook and bake. Seems like it's easy to put two and two together, right?

I have my reasons (convenience, mainly), but Sourdough Surprises challenged us to make granola bars. It was a curious possibility (I'd never heard of using any flour based binders before). Still, especially as I have my sourdough protein project that I occasionally get to working on, it seemed like something I should take head on.

I'm actually not a fan of true granola bars (I frequently take them to work, where the Florida heat melts the binder and turns them to a sticky crumbly mess), and with the flour in the sourdough starter, it made sense to make them more cake like – sort of like the Kashi Soft Baked bars. Not having a whole lot of similar recipes to go on (and a half-empty jar of Peanut Butter & Co White Chocolate Wonderful calling my name) I got inventive:
Sourdough Monkey Bars


Makes 8 bars

1/2c sourdough starter
1/4c Peanut Butter & Co White Chocolate Wonderful
1 large banana
1 scoop (1/3 cup) vanilla whey protein  powder
1 cup quick cooking oats

Mix everything but oats in a blender. Pour over oats & toss to coat. Spread in a greased 8" square pan & bake for 10 minutes at 350.
Simple enough (although the peanut butter flavor got lost behind the vanilla and banana). They also were not pocket friendly, meaning I couldn't take them to work. As far as taste goes, though, they were definitely on par with some of my favorite commercially produced bars. I will probably be playing with this recipe for the Sourdough Protein project.





On the other hand...why would I make my own when I can find things like this?
Check out our other awesome Granola Bars!



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Cranberry Siracha Golzme

Way back when I started blogging (not that I do too well with it, by a folder full of half-written posts), when I started my sourdough starter, I put some in a baggie in the freezer. There are times I don't have time to bake, and sometimes my sourdough gets put by the wayside. Sourdough is a colony of living animals, and they may not live forever.

This past month has been a lot of my taste-testers being out of town and me working 12 hour days. The name of the game has been cleaning out the freezer and pantry. I made a mini-cheesecake (which will be posted after I perfect the recipe), but the cookies I promised my coworkers, perfecting my sourdough protein waffle recipe, and most meals that require effort has been put by the wayside. So when I pulled out my sourdough starter, I let out a yelp. Mold covered it. There was nowhere to even get a spoonful from to re-start it. Well, that's one more thing I can get out of the freezer, right? And while I'm at it, why don't I use Sourdough Surprises to continue my spring cleaning?

The challenge this month was gozleme, which is possibly best put as a Turkish quesadilla. The difference is pretty much that the “tortilla” is raw when it's placed on the griddle. It's supposed to be savory, with similar fillings to my all-too-familiar perogies. Of course, there's the gray area there, and spicy fruit seems to be big lately. So I thawed and fed my frozen sourdough starter, grabbed an extra can of Thanksgiving's cranberry sauce, and with just a little guidance from an easy recipe, made my gozleme.

Sourdough Cranberry Siracha Gozleme
Serves 4

Dough:
1/2 cup Sourdough Starter
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt

Filling:
1 cup prepared cranberry sauce
1 tblsp Siracha

Mix salt and flour into a small bowl. Slowly cut in sourdough starter, adding more flour as necessary. Cover and set aside.

Microwave cranberry sauce in 30-second increments until melted. Stir in Siracha.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each piece out thin. Divide filling among dough pieces, placing in the center. Fold dough over filling.

In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, grill each piece, starting flat side down, for about 1-1/2 minutes each side until dough begins to blister. Enjoy while warm!

The only thing I have to say is these had quite a kick to them. I use Siracha quite a bit now (yes, I've fallen for the craze), but it seemed stronger in these. But the pairing worked very well. Plus, other than warm cranberry sauce dripping out, they were compact and portable. Something (with a different filling) that I could see taking to work for a portable and friendly mini-meal.

And that just might keep me using the starter this time around...

Check out our other cool gozleme!





Friday, June 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Lemon Parmesan Squash Oven Fries

I have a confession to make:

I have never deep fried anything.

This has nothing to do with eating healthy – it's not the deep frying that adds calories, it's the batter. Anyone who knows me well knows my love of chicken wings, and I was about to give in to the local food truck that was serving deep fried Cadbury eggs (fortunately or unfortunately, they ran out before I got there). It's the fryer itself. I'm careful in the kitchen, but that does not prevent me from getting grease splatters every time I cook bacon, and then there's the spaghetti squash knife incident that has left me with no feeling in the side of my pinky finger. So a pot full of hot oil is a danger zone. But Sourdough Surprises picked fry batter this month...what was I going to do?

Then one day I was putting chicken wings on a broiler pan, ready to bake...and it hit me: almost everything that is fried can still be done in the oven. And it just so happens to be zucchini/yellow squash season, which is also one of my favorite vegetables. The zucchini selection at the market was a tad picked over, but there was a pretty straight yellow squash that clocked in at a full pound, ready for the taking.

I completely winged this recipe:
Sourdough Lemon Parmesan Yellow Squash Oven Fries
Serves 3-4


Batter:
1/2 cup ripe sourdough starter
2 tblsp mayonnaise
2 tblsp grated Parmesan
2 tblsp flour
2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
2 tsp salt

  1. Cut 1 lb zucchini or summer squash into fry shapes and set aside. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk all batter ingredients together. Dredge squash through batter. Place on cookie sheet
  3. Bake at 350 until desired level of doneness, about 20-25 minutes (Mine were roasting with chicken and took about 24 minutes)

I can't say these turned out exactly as I hoped (oven squash fries are normally breaded, not battered). But the taste was amazing...the sourdough and Parmesan complemented the gentle squash flavor perfectly. Even my father, the one who prefers familiar food, loved them. I could have eaten the entire batch myself (although, going back to the batter being what adds calories, a mere third of this recipe still clocks in at 132 calories using light mayo).

It was still all the mess of frying (without the danger of hot oil splatters!), and quite a bit of trouble. But the taste was tempting...I just might have to make these again.

Check out our other awesome fried (and oven fried!) delights: