Category Archives: Bread

Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Some days simply require flour, eggs, butter and sugar. Non-fancy, nearly plain, delicious cake. Original pound cake recipes that date back to the 1700’s got their name from the ingredient list: one pound of flour, one pound of sugar, one pound butter, and a pound of eggs. When you start getting into recipes from the 1800’s, other ingredients are often added: brandy, rose water, nutmeg, mace, grated lemon peel, cinnamon… And then you get to this day and age and ingredients go haphazard. (In a delicious, creative, delightful way of course.)

When I saw the following recipe, I knew it had to have a place in my kitchen. While the initial thought of chocolate and orange threw me somewhat for a loop, I recalled a dark chocolate bar I had once that included crystallized orange peel, which was completely delicious. The orange in this pound cake isn’t overwhelming, but its slight presence works nicely with the chocolate ganache topping.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Slightly modified from Joy the Baker

Makes one 9×5-inch loaf.

Ingredients:

For the cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons orange zest
one 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate pieces

For chocolate ganache
3 oz chocolate (chopped)
½ cup heavy whipping cream

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Directions:

Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch baking pan, then dust lightly with flour. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside until needed.

Place the granulated sugar in a bowl. Add in two tablespoons of the orange zest. Use the back of the spoon to work the zest into the sugar. Set aside.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together softened butter and cream cheese. Occasionally scrape down the bowl, until the butter and cream cheese are evenly mixed. Add the orange-sugar to the butter-cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy (3-4 minutes).

Add in one egg at a time, beating at medium speed for one minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the vanilla extract.

Add your dry ingredients all at once, then beat on low speed until dry ingredients are completely incorporated. Fold in the chocolate pieces.

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Scrape the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes, rotating once or twice during baking. The cake is done when a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs.

Make the chocolate ganache while the cake is cooling. Melt the chocolate in a double broiler, then slowly whisk in the heavy whipping cream until the mixture become silky. Spread it over the cake. Before the ganache sets, sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of orange zest over the cake.

Cake will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to four days.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

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I’m not usually one for sweet cravings. I’ll take a salty bag of potato chips over chocolate nearly any time the opportunity arises. However, one day a couple weeks ago, I woke up with a HUGE desire for cinnamon rolls. As in I almost rolled myself out of bed and immediately went into the kitchen in a near-panic on the hunt for yeast, flour, cinnamon, and sugar. Almost.

The more likely version of what followed after I awoke with this devouring, insatiable desire for cinnamon rolls, is my non-morning-type self lazily flopped my head over, pulled my hair up into a waaay-messy bun, trudged downstairs towards the kitchen, grunted lovingly at the two dogs waiting at the bottom of the staircase to bombard me with licks anywhere they could, said good morning to my husband, then poured an enormous cup of coffee. Cinnamon rolls became an afterthought.

Later in the day, however, I remembered Joy Wilson’s cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread recipe I had seen many times before, but hadn’t yet tried. The best part about a cinnamon roll is definitely the center. Its soft, ooey-gooey-ness, delicious caramel-y cinnamon-laced sugar. This bread, which you can pull apart in sheets, has the equivalent of the magical cinnamon roll center, but in larger quantities. The real trick though, is not eating the whole loaf of bread by yourself in one sitting. Good luck.

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Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Makes one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

Recipe slightly modified from Joy the Baker.

Ingredients:

For the Dough
3 tablespoons warm water (105-115 degrees F)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

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Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside until the mixture is bubbly and looks frothy. Stir in 2 cups of flour and the salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and then set them aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together the milk and butter, until the butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the temperature reduces to about 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour/yeast mixture, stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. The eggs will seem soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs aren’t going to come together… just keep stirring. Add 3/4 of the remaining cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky.

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Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Set aside. Melt 2 ounces of butter in a saucepan until browned. Set aside. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan then line with parchment paper, so any extra length hangs over the edges. Lightly spray or brush with oil, then set that aside too.

Deflate the risen dough and knead the remaining 1/4 cup of flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be about 12-inches wide and about 20-inches long. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

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Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

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Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.

The bread is best served the day it’s made, but it can also we wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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Ethiopian Food, Part 1: Injera and Berbere Spice Blend

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One benefit of having kids around who are adventurous eaters is it often means trying new foods. Two summers ago, we were in Berkeley, California and decided to go out for sit-down-style dinner. There was an Ethiopian restaurant down the street and both kids were eager to check it out. I was hesitant, as I didn’t even know what “Ethiopian food” meant as far as cuisine — would there be enough vegetarian options to make it worth the effort? I was pleasantly surprised.

When you enter an Ethiopian restaurant, there is no silverware involved. The entire meal is eaten with your hands. Likely, the dishes will be served on a platter lined with injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread made with teff flour. Injera looks like a big, spongy pancake, about the size of a pizza, but tastes like a mild sourdough bread. Essentially, it’s a large sourdough crepe. The food will be served in a ring of mounds on the injera like a painter’s palette, accompanied by more injera which you tear off into pieces, then use to pinch the different stews on the platter.

Injera is a source of protein and vitamins, but also your serving utensil. The flatbread made from teff is incredibly high in fiber, iron and calcium. It has all the amino acids required to be a complete protein, but it’s also gluten-free. When eating Ethiopian food, it’s expected that you’ll simply tear off a piece of injera, grab some food with it, roll it up, pop the whole thing into your mouth and repeat until finished.

Another quintessential part of Ethiopian cuisine is a spice blend referred to as berbere. Berbere is an integral spice blend in Ethiopian cuisine. Full of both flavor and fiery heat, this brightly colored, highly aromatic seasoning blend is a staple in any Ethiopian kitchen. It’s used as a rub for meats, poultry, or fish, as well as a seasoning for stews, soups, grains and vegetables.

Here are two recipes — one for a homemade berbere spice blend and another for homemade injera. Coming up shortly, I’ll share with you a few different Ethiopian dishes you can serve with the injera, which uses the berbere spice blend you can find here.

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Berbere Spice Blend

Yields about 1/2 cup spice blend.

Ingredients:
4 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 whole allspice berries
seeds from 8 whole cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
10 dried red chiles, seeds removed (Thai chiles work well)
6 tablespoons sweet paprika (NOT smoked)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons turmeric

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Directions:

In a heavy bottomed skillet, toast the whole spices and chilies (the first 8 listed ingredients), over high heat, shaking the pan to prevent scorching. Toast until fragrant, 3 or so minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let the mixture cool completely.

Once the spices are cooled, grind them in a spice or coffee grinder. Add all remaining ground spices and salt, then grind everything together.

Store in an air-tight container until needed.

……………………………………………………..

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Injera

Ingredients:
1/2 cup teff flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Put the teff flour in a large mixing bowl, then sift in the all-purpose flour. Slowly stir in the water, trying to avoid any lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 3 days.

The mixture should become bubbly and frothy over the few days. If it doesn’t appear to ferment on its own, you can add a teaspoon of yeast after the first day.

After three days, stir the salt into the batter.

Heat a nonstick pan (make sure the surface of the pan is smooth) or lightly oiled cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, until a water drop will dance on the surface.

Spoon about 1/4-cup of batter into the center of the pan. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. Injera should be thicker than a crêpe, but not as thick as a traditional pancake. Cover the pan and cook briefly, until holes form in the injera and the edges lift from the pan (2-3 minutes).

Remove the injera and let cool. Place plastic wrap or foil between successive pieces so they don’t stick together. Continue until all the batter has been cooked.

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Apricot and Pecan Scones

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It’s true that I am not much of a morning person.  Every now and then, however, I find myself wide awake at the ass-crack-of-dawn. As a long-term insomniac, it’s rare that I find myself asleep before 1 AM… but on some occasions, despite this, I am very awake at 4 or 5 AM.  What does a person do that early, having slept only for a couple hours?

I’d tell you the answer. Keep in mind, this likely isn’t the answer for sane, non-insomniacs… In the wee hours where sun hasn’t broken yet, when everything is quiet and you can’t fall back asleep, obviously you reach for your iPhone and google some shit. Preferably breakfast ideas, although you know you aren’t really going to get out of bed to do any cooking. Not for another 5 hours, minimum.

Alas, that is where the following recipe came from. A lot of google-idea-storming, based on knowing I had a bunch of fresh apricots nearing their expiration. These scones are soft, tender, moist enough to balance the crumb.

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Apricot and Pecan Scones

Yields 8-10 scones.

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into bite-size cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6-7 fresh apricots, pits removed then cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

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Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper and set it aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar, mixing until well combined.

Cut in the cold butter, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, until mixture resembles a coarse meal. In another bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to flour mixture all at once, stirring until you form a ball of soft dough. Fold in the apricots and pecans.

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Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it 10-15 times. Work the dough into a round that is about 1-inch thick. Cut the dough into 8-10 pizza-style triangles. Place each triangle on the prepared baking sheet(s), keeping them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the scones are golden brown on top. Cool for a few minutes, then eat while warm for best flavor.

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Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

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One of my favorite things about cooking is creating foods wherein the smell of whatever’s on the stove or in the oven infiltrates my nostrils instantly. If I leave for an hour, come home and open my front door — the smack in the face with deliciousness to come — YES, please. Things like the smell of slow cooked beans that sit on low heat for hours and fill our home with warmth and something hearty or the scent of overnight oats that creeps upstairs while I’m half asleep and half awake, filled with brown sugar and sweet apples, those are the best.

Another homemade delight that instantly leaves a person feeling invited and at home the second it passes their nose is the scent of fresh baked bread. For some, myself included, homemade bread has always seemed tricky or challenging. It’s one area of baking I forced myself into learning to not be afraid of. Yeast? They’re just little microorganisms. Nothing to fear when you learn some basic things about working with them. My foster father taught me, when I was 17, that one — yeast are most happy being proofed in liquids that are 75-80 degrees F. And two, adding sugar to that warm liquid gives the yeast something to feed on, speeding up their reaction, causing quicker proofing for the dough.

When I saw the following recipe, my first reaction was one of awe at the beauty of this bread. The fresh berries and cinnamon swirl are both visible in the final product, offering a pop of color. The other thing I genuinely loved was how all the ingredients could be worked by hand and didn’t require my stand mixer and a dough hook. This bread isn’t overly sweet so it’s easy to enjoy as part of breakfast, or a mid-day snack. When I made it, just my husband and I were around. Between the two of us, we ate nearly 3/4 of the whole loaf in one day. If you want, you can lightly dust the top of the bread with powdered sugar once it’s completely cooled, and serve.

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Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Recipe from Joy the Baker.

Yields 1 loaf.

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to lukewarm
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
a bit of olive oil for greasing the bowl

For the Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh sliced strawberries,
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 large egg, beaten for egg wash

Directions:
Stir the yeast and sugar together in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the warm milk, egg yolk and melted butter. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Allow mixture to rest for 5 minutes. It should froth as the yeast works.

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Whisk together the flour and salt in another large bowl. Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and start kneading until it pulls away from the edges of the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured counter and knead by hand for about 10 more minutes. The dough should be smooth, but not too sticky. Shape dough into a ball. Grease a large bowl with a bit of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turn once, then cover. Allow the dough to rest at warm room temperature until doubled in size (about an hour).

While the dough rises, whisk together the butter, sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Set aside.

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After the dough has doubled in size, place it on a lightly floured counter and knead twice. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a rectangle of about 18×12 inches. Spoon the cinnamon filling over top, spreading evenly, leaving a clean 1-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the fresh berries over the cinnamon filling.

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To roll up the dough, start by rolling the longest side of the dough. The roll will be a bit lumpy because of all the berries. Do your best. Use a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise, leaving 1-inch of the edge uncut, then carefully turn the cut side face-up.

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Start braiding the two pieces, by carefully lifting the left strand over the right strand. Repeat this motion until you reach the bottom of the dough. Press together to seal. Join the two ends, creating a circle with the dough and press together.

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Swiftly lift the dough with both hands and transfer the dough ring to the prepared cast iron skillet. Brush with the beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

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Allow to cool for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving.