Plum crumble courtesy of Ina Garten

With winter fast approaching, I’m finally getting around to blogging about the tangy-sweet plum crumble I made during the height of summer. The neighbor’s tree was showering the ground with plums, so we helped ourselves to several dozen juicy fruits off the low-hanging branches. Some are still sitting in our freezer, waiting for their turn to go into a homey dessert. A bunch though got baked right away — in a riff on Ina Garten’s plum raspberry crumble recipe.

Ina Garten plum crumble

The recipe:

  • 2 lbs red plums, cut in 1/2, pitted and cut in 1-inch wedges
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided (I cut back to about 1/2 a cup)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (skipped this as I figured my plums were super juicy and would make up the difference — they did)
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries (I left this out and went with more plums)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (passed on the salt since I opted for salted butter)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced (I used the salted kind and cut back a smidge — to about 6 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for sprinkling (I had whole almonds on hand, so just chopped them up to use for the crumble)

Ina Garten plum crumble  Ina Garten plum crumble  Ina Garten plum crumble
First off, I cleaned the plums and got to splitting them in half with my knife, extracting the pit and then slicing and throwing them into a big bowl.

Ina Garten plum crumble
This took a bit of time, but was well worth the trouble. Once I was finished slicing, I turned on the oven to 350 degrees F. I then tossed the fruit in 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of flour.

Ina Garten plum crumble  Ina Garten plum crumble  Ina Garten plum crumble
The sugar and flour-coated plums went into a large baking dish, and I moved on to make the topping. I combined 1 cup of flour, brown sugar and the remaining granulated sugar in a bowl. Then I added the cold salted butter and worked it in using a couple of butter knives. In went the oats, which I incorporated with my hands to form large crumbles. The almonds were the last thing to go in. Once complete, I spread the topping on the plum crumble and sprinkled an additional handful of almonds over the whole thing.

Ina Garten plum crumble
After baking for about 40 minutes,  the fruit got all bubbly and the topping had turned golden brown. I pulled it out of the oven and let it cool for about 20-30 minutes before serving it with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Absolutely divine.

 

Irish brown bread from Framed Cooks

Now that I’ve gone to work for a nutrition start-up, I’ve become even more aware of what I’m eating these days. More fruits, vegetables and whole grains among other things. So I had a bit of time this past weekend and decided to try my hand at this Framed Cooks Irish brown bread, which looked to be relatively healthy and tasty.

Of course, there was still some room for improvement with the whole grain to white flour ratio — so I increased the amount of whole wheat and dropped the white flour used in the recipe. And it worked out pretty well, if I say so myself. See this and other substitutions (based on what I had in my pantry) below.

Framed Cooks Irish brown bread

The recipe:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I dropped this to 1 cup and opted for more whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder (didn’t have this at home, so went with 2 1/2 tsp baking soda)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I upped this to 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran (went with 1 cup of oat bran since I didn’t have wheat germ)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats oatmeal (increased this to 1 cup and skipped the steel cut oatmeal)
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oatmeal
  • 2 cups buttermilk (made this with 2 cups low-fat milk plus 2 tbsp of white vinegar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup honey

Framed Cooks Irish brown bread  Framed Cooks Irish brown bread  Framed Cooks Irish brown bread
Since I didn’t have buttermilk in my fridge, I made some by adding vinegar to my milk, letting it sit for 5 minutes. I turned the oven on to 350 degrees F and then combined the dry ingredients, holding back 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, in a bowl. In another bowl, I added the now-soured milk along with an egg and honey.

Framed Cooks Irish brown bread  Framed Cooks Irish brown bread  Framed Cooks Irish brown bread
After whisking the liquids together, I then added it to the dry ingredients and stirred them together, making a sticky dough.

Framed Cooks Irish brown bread  Framed Cooks Irish brown bread  Framed Cooks Irish brown bread
I turned the dough out onto my well-floured countertop, divided it in half and proceeded to lightly work the dough into two rounds, adding whole wheat flour as I went. Once I created the two loaves, I placed them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I also slashed the top of each loaf with an X.

Framed Cooks Irish brown bread
After baking for about 40 minutes, including a rotation halfway through, this is what came out.

Framed Cooks Irish brown bread
A healthy and delicious Irish brown bread that goes well with soups and stews.

Tartine’s soft glazed gingerbread

Two dear friends were coming to dinner, and I decided to go the distance and not only cook the main meal, but finish off with a tasty dessert. So I turned to my Tartine cookbook and found just the thing: soft glazed gingerbread—they looked to be the perfect vehicle for vanilla ice cream. … And indeed, they were.

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread

The recipe:

GINGERBREAD DOUGH (make this the day before and refrigerate until ready to use)

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap or dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

GLAZE

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Plus 1 pint vanilla ice cream

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread
I started by combining the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and pepper in a bowl. Then I cut the butter up into large chunks and nuked it just enough to soften. The now uber-soft butter was easy to cream with my rubber spatula in a separate bowl. (Tartine says to use a stand mixer, but since I don’t have one, I did everything by hand.)

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread
Once I was satisfied the butter was creamy, I added the sugar and mixed it in until smooth. I then added the egg and gave the butter a few good stirs.

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread
In went the molasses and the corn syrup. After I’d mixed those in really well, I added the flour mixture and proceeded to beat the dough.

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread
I kept on beating until all of the ingredients were well incorporated and the dough had come together into a glossy ball. Time to take it out onto a big piece of plastic wrap, where I flattened the dough into a rectangle that was a about 1 inch thick.

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread
After wrapping the dough in the plastic wrap, I stuck it into the fridge and left it there overnight. The next day I took the dough out of the fridge and unwrapped it onto my well-floured counter. I also threw a dusting of flour on top.

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread
After flipping the oven on to 350 degrees F, I rolled the dough out to about 1/3 inch thick. Tartine calls for using cookie molds or a patterned rolling pin, but I decided to keep it super simple. Using a pint glass, I proceeded to stamp out a bunch of circles. Any of the remaining dough outside the circles were then rolled up and flattened out again so that I could punch out more circles.

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread
I tried crimping the edges of one gingerbread cookie using a fork. It looked good so, after placing all of the cookies on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, I went ahead and crimped the rest. While the cookies were baking, I made the simple version of the glaze: Sifted confectioner’s sugar, then added water and whisked them together.

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread Tartine soft glazed gingerbread
The cookies stayed in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, just until they’d firmed up on the edges but were still soft in the center. I also swapped the baking sheets (top to bottom, bottom to top) halfway through so they’d cook evenly. I cooled the cookies down on wire racks. Then while they were still warm, I brushed on the sugary glaze. Once they’d cooled completely, I stored them in an airtight container until it was time for dessert.

Tartine soft glazed gingerbread
Tartine’s soft gingerbread cookies are great by themselves, but they’re ever so delightful when a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream comes sandwiched in between ‘em.

Oatmeal raisin muffins from theKitchn

I admit it. I’ve been slacking. Hung up the proverbial baking apron since the holidays. Today though, I had a hankering to make bread. Since I only had a little time, I decided it should be a quick bread. And since I had oatmeal and raisins in my cupboard, I chose an oatmeal raisin muffins recipe I found on theKitchn.

The recipe:

OATMEAL RAISIN MUFFIN BATTER

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I sub’d 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon canola oil)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk

CINNAMON TOPPING (I cut this amount in 1/2, and there was still plenty to go around)

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I sub’d butter)

oatmeal raisin muffins
TheKitchn’s “quick and homey oatmeal raisin muffins” are adapted from the More-with-Less Cookbook. And yes, I can confirm they’re quick and homey.

oatmeal raisin muffins oatmeal raisin muffins oatmeal raisin muffins
I started by greasing a muffin pan with some canola oil and cranking the oven on to 425 degrees F. Then I whisked together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, topping the mix off with oats and raisins.

oatmeal raisin muffins oatmeal raisin muffins oatmeal raisin muffins
In a small bowl, I melted the butter, then whisked that together with an egg and the milk. I quickly combined the wet and dry ingredients, and poured the contents into the muffin pan. In another bowl, I mixed together a small pat of butter with brown sugar, cinnamon and flour, then sprinkled the tops of the muffins with the buttery sweet crumble.

oatmeal raisin muffins
After about 15 minutes in the oven, out came these fragrant, springy muffins. Because they’re diminutive in size, a two-per-person minimum would be called for to go with your morning coffee. Next time, I’ll double the recipe and fill the muffin tin cups more generously.

Chocolate babka from Epicurious

The first time I tried chocolate babka was in grad school … a long time ago. I filed away its wonderful goodness so deep in my memory banks that I didn’t try it again for a really long time. Yep, that’s right. Not until now.

Better late than never. And heck, this buttery brioche-like bread—compliments of Epicurious—shot through with veins of semi-sweet chocolate was worth waiting for.

Epicurious chocolate babka

The recipe:

BABKA DOUGH

  • 3/4 cup warm milk (~105–115°)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast (or two 1/4-oz packages)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting (I used ~1/2 cup more)
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

CHOCOLATE FILLING

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (I used about 4)
  • 2 (3 1/2- to 4-oz) bars fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar

EGG WASH

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk (I went with the latter)

Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka
I started by combining the warm milk with 2 teaspoons of sugar, followed by the yeast. Epicurious recommends using a stand mixer with a paddle, but since I didn’t have one, I just threw it all into a medium bowl and let stand for several minutes until the mix got foamy. In went a 1/2 cup of flour, and then I beat in the whole eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt and 1/2 cup of sugar.

Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka
I added the rest of the flour a 1/2 cup at a time, topping off with ~1/2 cup more than the recipe called for; otherwise, there was no way I’d be able to get the super sticky dough off my hands once I’d added the butter and got to kneading (The tradeoff: a slightly firmer bread vs. one that would come apart at the seams).

Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka
As for the butter, I added a few pieces at a time and kneaded ‘em in, working on the whole thing for ~4 minutes. I then scraped it all together into a ball and placed it into a well-oiled bowl, which I covered in plastic wrap. With the dough set aside to rise, I lined a couple of loaf pans each with 2 pieces parchment paper (1 lengthwise and 1 crosswise). I also hacked the chocolate up into a million little pieces.

Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka
An hour and 1/2 later, I punched the dough down with an oiled rubber spatula, then split the dough in half. I rolled a piece of dough out on a well-floured surface to about 18×10 inches. I spread 2 tablespoons of softened butter making sure to leave a 1/2 inch border, then brushed the egg wash on one long end of the dough. On went half of the chocolate as well as the sugar. Once the filling was on, I started rolling until I reached the other side, then pinched along the egg-washed border to seal the log at the seam.

Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka Epicurious chocolate babka
I brought the ends of the log together to seal into a ring, then twisted it twice to form a double figure eight. The loaf then got dropped into the pan. I did the same thing with the other piece of dough. Both went through another hour and a 1/2 rising in a warm place, covered loosely with buttered plastic wrap.

Epicurious chocolate babka
With the second rising almost complete, I turned the oven on to 350 degrees F. Once the oven was ready, I brushed the tops with the rest of the egg wash and slid the loaves onto the middle rack, baking until golden brown—about 35-40 minutes.

Perfect for breakfast or a mid-afternoon sweet treat, the chocolate babka was a hit over the Thanksgiving holidays.

Zuni corn bread from Sunset

My 20-plus-year-old, well-worn and much-referenced Sunset Breads cookbook says: “From the Zuni people of the Southwest comes this coarse-textured bread, lightly flavored with corn. The village women bake the bread in domed outdoor earth ovens.” Not sure if this tradition continues, but I really liked the look of this highly textured corn bread, not to mention the stuff—cornmeal, molasses—that goes into it. So what the heck. I decided, why not give it a try.

The recipe:

  • 1 package active dry yest
  • 2 cups warm water (~110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup each canola oil and molasses
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup each polenta (coarse-ground Italian-style cornmeal) and yellow cornmeal; or 2 cups yellow cornmeal (I went with the latter with good results)
  • 6 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour

Zuni bread Zuni bread Zuni bread
First, I poured a package of dry yeast into a bowl of warm water and let it dissolve. Then I stirred in the oil, molasses, salt and cornmeal. In went about six cups of flour, one cup at a time. Once I got a stiff dough going, I turned it out onto a well-floured surface and kneaded it for about 15-20 minutes, adding a little more dough as I went until I’d formed a fairly smooth and satiny ball.

Zuni bread Zuni bread Zuni bread
I then placed said ball into a well-oiled bowl, turning it over once to oil the top. On went plastic wrap, and I let the thing sit in a warm place for about an hour and a half. With the dough now doubled in size, I took it out and punched it down, kneading it just a bit on a floured surface and then dividing it into 2 parts. I rolled each half into a ball and flattened each ball into about a 9-inch disc. Next, I folded the disc in half, slightly off-center so you could see an inch-worth of the bottom half peeking out below the top half. Using a sharp knife, I slashed through the dough from top to bottom in four places.

Zuni bread Zuni bread Zuni bread
I repeated this process to the second disc, then placed both loaves on an oiled baking sheet, covered the whole thing and left them to rise for about 45 minutes until almost doubled in size. About 10 minutes prior to the end of that rising, I got the oven preheating at 375 degrees F. I placed the loaves in the oven and baked ‘em for about 30-35 minutes til they took on a light golden brown hue.

Zuni bread
The result: a really lovely corn bread spiked with the right amount of sweetness, sporting a delightfully crisp exterior that perfectly complements a wonderfully springy and chewy interior.

Peach and raspberry crostata from Locanda Verde

A recent expedition through past issues of Bon Appetit magazine resulted in a gold mine of recipes including one for a rhubarb and raspberry crostata (aka a rustic fruit pie) from award-winning pastry chef Karen DeMasco of Locanda Verde (which is seriously one of the best restos in NYC). Of course, rhubarbs aren’t in season right now, but no matter. With summer still hanging on, I had plenty of fruits to choose from as a replacement for said rhubarb. I settled on peaches and threw in a smattering of blackberries as well. Here’s how it went down.

The recipe:

CRUST

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (regular works just fine)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk

PEACH AND RASPBERRY FILLING

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups 1/2″-thick slices rhubarb—about 1-1 1/4 pounds (4 cups of peaches, peeled and thinly sliced plus a handful of blackberries worked just as well)
  • 1 6-ounce container fresh raspberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • topping: 1 large egg, beaten
  • topping: raw sugar (I left this off my crust)

Peach and raspberry crostata
According to Karen, “This dough, with its addition of whole wheat flour for a nutty taste and tender texture, is a must in your baking repertoire.” I agree. I’m picturing apple and pear pies for the fall, not to mention savory crostatas using maybe a tad less sugar in the crust.

Peach and raspberry crostata Peach and raspberry crostata Peach and raspberry crostata
I started by whisking together the all-purpose and wheat flours with the sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, I beat a large egg into a bit of milk.

Peach and raspberry crostata Peach and raspberry crostata Peach and raspberry crostata
I then added the cold cubed butter into the dry ingredients and started cutting them together using two knives until pea-sized pieces had formed. In went the egg-and-milk mix. Using a spatula, I worked the liquid in until the dough was moist and clumpy.

Peach and raspberry crostata Peach and raspberry crostata Peach and raspberry crostata
I scraped the dough together to form a ball which I then flattened into a disk and rolled in plastic wrap to throw in the fridge for an hour and a half. While the dough was chilling, I washed, peeled, pitted and sliced the peaches. In a separate bowl, I dissolved the cornstarch in water. I stirred the peaches, raspberries and blackberries with sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat until the juices started oozing and the sugar had dissolved.

Peach and raspberry crostata Peach and raspberry crostata Peach and raspberry crostata
After about 5 minutes, I stirred in the cornstarch-and-water mix, then brought the fruit medley to a boil. I took the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool. Once the fruit had cooled, I flipped the oven on to 400 degrees F and got to rolling the dough out on a floured piece of foil (the recipe says to use parchment paper but I didn’t have any on hand) to roughly 12 inches in diameter. I scooped the fruit onto the dough, making sure to leave a 1 1/2″ border.

Peach and raspberry crostata
I then carefully folded the edges of the dough over the fruity filling. Karen says to brush the border with a beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar. Since I had some egg white left over from a savory dish I was making for dinner that night, I combined it with a bit of water and brushed that on instead.

Peach and raspberry crostata
After about 45 minutes in the oven (or 35 in a convection oven), out came this rustic and delicious free-form pie. Vanilla ice cream makes a sublime pairing. (Note: I’ve made this crostata with pears as well. Yummm.)

Carrot and zucchini bread from Bon Appetit

As far as quick breads go, this zucchini bread from Bon Appetit is a goodie. The original recipe calls for sweet potato instead of carrot (to pair with the zucchini), but since I had a bunch of the latter on hand, I figured a substitution would work just fine. I was right.

The recipe:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar (I cut this amount in half)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I backed this off to maybe about 1/3 of a cup and added 4 oz of apple sauce)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (I probably added 1 2/3 cups zucchini)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated peeled sweet potato (I subbed carrots here)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

carrot and zucchini bread
The result: a sweetly fragrant, uber moist loaf.

carrot and zucchini bread carrot and zucchini bread carrot and zucchini bread
First I got the oven preheating to 350 degrees F, then buttered and floured a loaf pan. Next up, the veg: I made quick work of the carrots and zucchinis, running them across the large holes of a box grater. Setting them aside, I sifted together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and powder in a bowl. In another bowl, I beat together the sugar, oil, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla.

carrot and zucchini bread carrot and zucchini bread carrot and zucchini bread
I then mixed in the carrots and zucchini. Once incorporated, I stirred in the dry ingredients and the toasted walnuts. After pouring the batter in the pan, I popped it in the oven for about an hour and 10 minutes, until the chopstick I inserted in the center of the loaf came out clean.

carrot and zucchini bread
I let the hefty carrot and zucchini bread cool on a rack … though I couldn’t resist cutting into it while it was still piping hot to take a test taste. Yummm. A delicious and healthy breakfast bread or pick-me-up snack for the middle of the afternoon.

Tartine’s strawberry buttermilk scones

My friend LC inspired me with talk of her hubby baking heavenly breads from the Tartine cookbook. I told her I had one too, but hadn’t yet had a chance a crack it open. It was high time I did. After rifling through the pages filled with decadent carbolicious goods, I decided on the buttermilk scones.

The recipe:

  • 1/2 pint strawberries, frozen, then hulled & coarsely chopped
  • 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I used 1 cup buttermilk, plus 1/2 cup milk)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • topping: about 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • topping: large crystal sugar or granulated sugar for sprinkling

Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones
Tartine’s buttermilk scones recipe typically calls for 3/4 cup Zante currants, but since berries are in season, I opted for my fave: strawberries.

Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones
About an hour before I started the recipe, I first cleaned, hulled and sliced the strawberries. Then I spread them out on a baking sheet and popped them into the freezer (getting them frozen will prevent the berry juices from oozing when they get rolled into the dough later).

I flipped the oven on to 400 degrees F and lined a baking sheet with parchment. Then I got started by grating the lemon zest and setting it aside. I sifted the flour into a large bowl.

Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones
I then added the baking powder and baking soda along with the sugar and salt, and stirred well. I sliced the super chilled butter and added them into the bowl. Using two knives, I cut the butter into the dry ingredients.

Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones
According to Tartine, the goal is to get a coarse mixture with pea-sized lumps of butter. Once achieved, I added the buttermilk and milk as well as the lemon zest and frozen chopped strawberries, and proceeded to mix as gently as possible with my rubber spatula just until the dough held together. My mixture was a tad dry, so I sluiced it with a bit more milk as I combined all the ingredients together. I ended up with a dough that was pretty moist (and admittedly messy) so I made sure to generously flour my work surface.

Tartine says to use your hands to pat the dough into a rectangle about 18 inches long, 5 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick. I didn’t have a ruler, so I’d say my rectangle was roughly that size, though I ended up with several more triangles than the Tartine recipe says you’ll have (15-16 vs. 12).

Tartine strawberry buttermilk scones
Before you cut the rectangle into triangles, brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 25-35 minutes (I think mine only needed 25) until the tops are light golden. Eat for breakfast, a snack, whenever the mood strikes.

Sunset’s pebble-top oatmeal bread

I was in the mood to make a couple of wholesome loaves of bread, something I could toast up and slather with butter and jam for breakfast. So after rifling through Sunset’s Breads cookbook, I settled on the simple and straightforward pebble-top oatmeal bread.

The recipe:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (~110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups regular or quick-cooking rolling oats
  • 1 cup each boiling water and cold water
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Pebble top oatmeal bread Pebble top oatmeal bread Pebble top oatmeal bread
I started by adding the yeast in a bowl with the warm water and a tablespoon of the molasses and let that marinate for about 15 minutes. Then, in a large bowl, I mixed together the rest of the molasses with the butter, salt, sugar, 2 cups of the oats and boiling water until the butter had melted.

Pebble top oatmeal bread Pebble top oatmeal bread Pebble top oatmeal bread
In went the bubbly yeast mix (see left) as well as the cup of cold water. Once incorporated, I started in on adding the flour one cup at a time. Once I’d stirred in four cups, I turned it out on my well-floured work surface.

Pebble top oatmeal bread Pebble top oatmeal bread Pebble top oatmeal bread
Adding flour as I went, I kneaded the dough until smooth and satiny, about 15-20 minutes.

Pebble top oatmeal bread Pebble top oatmeal bread Pebble top oatmeal bread
I placed the dough into a well-oiled bowl, turning it over to oil the top. I covered it and left it to rise for an hour and change. With the dough ball nearly doubled in size, I punched it down and kneaded it just enough to release the air. Then I divided it in half and shaped them into 2 loaves, dropping each into its own oiled 9×5-inch pan.

Pebble top oatmeal bread
The oats, which were soaked in milk, went on top of the bread. One final rising, covered in a warm place, for about 45 minutes, and they were ready to go in the oven. About halfway through this rising, I flipped on the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pebble top oatmeal bread
After about an hour in the oven, out came these crusty, crunchy, springy loaves. Mmmmmm …. fresh baked oatmeal bread = deeRishous.