Olive Tomato Garlic Bread

Olive Tomato Garlic Bread 2
Olive Tomato Garlic Bread 3
Olive Tomato Garlic Bread 5
Olive Tomato Garlic Bread 6
Olive Tomato Garlic Bread 4

THIS BREAD. THIS. BREAD. OH MY.

OK, we’ve found something wonderful in including sundried tomatoes in our olive bread. And, no, there’s not a recipe – go play with bread, that’s what it’s for.

This bread includes garlic-stuffed green olives, olive oil, Kalamata olives, minced garlic, a bit of crushed red pepper (what else do you do with leftover pizza toppings?), and a couple of handfulls of sundried tomatoes chopped coarsely. It’s primarily white whole wheat (in case you didn’t know: there’s a mutant strain of wheat which has a white hull, so you can have whole wheat that looks like white flour) but also includes about a cup of actual all-purpose flour (the end of the bag, from making carrot cake).

The fantastic rise on this isn’t from anything special – I think it’s because I didn’t weigh this down with flaxseeds and rye berries. It’s also because I decided that 4 cups of water gives 4 rather meager loaves, so I went with 3 loaves instead. It also might be because I left them sitting on top of the oven while the carrot cake was baking, so they were kept nicely warm throughout the rise.

The tomatoes add a wee pop of sweetness, offsetting the saltiness of the olives. This is awesomely tender (due to the olive oil) and makes fabulous toast. Next time I’ll opt to add the olives and tomatoes by hand, rather than throwing them into the stand mixer, because they’re a bit broken up from having been kneaded in with the dough hook. On the other hand, this is just so tasty that maybe it doesn’t matter that the olives are broken.

It may be time for lunch, now, and some sandwiches made on this bread. Or maybe just some cheese, so as not to obscure the flavor of the bread itself.

-D

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake 1 Carrot Cake 2
Carrot Cake 3 Carrot Cake 4
Carrot Cake 5 Carrot Cake 6
Carrot Cake 7 Carrot Cake 8

Of all the cakes I bake to take to my coworkers, the King Arthur Flour, Everything But the Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake has to be the one that disappears the fastest. I used dried pineapple this time, instead of using canned and crushed … and I think I prefer the canned, believe it or not. Yes, the bursts of sweetness from the dried fruit are nice, but I think that I prefer the slightly tart bursts of raisin (or currant, in this case) with the pineapple more evenly distributed throughout.

Since this one started out to be a double recipe but ended up being a quadruple recipe (I doubled the flour in my head … and then doubled it again), I decided to play a bit with the sugar and only include 3/4 the amount of sugar. I find that this actually worked out quite well – that the cake is not so over-the-top sweet this way. I adjusted the spices a wee bit, as well, with more nutmeg than called for, and less allspice.

I pre-sliced it before frosting it (it’s a 14″ x 14″ cake pan, so I went with a 6 x 6 slice). This is the first time I’ve tried this, and I think it’s something I’ll do again, particularly with such a large cake. This cake isn’t going anywhere, it’s so dense, and this will definitely make life easier when trying to serve pieces at work. I had initially thought to leave it in the cake pan, but that’s been problematic in getting pieces out, and this way I could put chopped nuts around the edges (to let people know, very clearly, that there are nuts in this cake).

We’ll see how long this lasts, tomorrow. With 36 pieces, I’m guessing it’s going to last until lunch … but I’ll make a point of emailing around to let people know that they can can come visit for cake.

Carrot Cake 9

As always, when using this pan: this is a huge cake. It’s always rather surprising (although it shouldn’t be, when considering that the pan won’t even fit in any of our cabinets).

-D

Planning Ahead

When you have a deep-freeze, you can plan ahead. For us, that means we can make up four casseroles and about four loaves of bread (one pan is double-length and is really for making angel-food-cake, but who does that?).

Peachtree 26

Three of the casseroles went into the deep freeze, where they’ll stay until we’re not feeling like cooking dinner. The fourth was baked immediately after the bread came out of the oven. The bread will, likewise, mostly be put into the deep freeze, where it will stay until we’re in dire need of raisin bread

We’re really enjoying that there’s a tortilla factory about a mile down the road from us, and have been experimenting with making “enchilada casseroles.” This batch contains several layers of crookneck squash, as well as beans, cheese, TVP, corn tortillas, and green or red enchilada sauce.

The raisin bread contains a heap of raisins and currants, plus our spice blend, some whole rye-berries (steamed), and a few whole fennel seeds to add that random element of surprise to things.

Now that we’ve figured out that the oven needs to be preheated for about 30 minutes, we’re happy to be able to plan ahead for the week (and beyond).

-D & T

Nearly Settled

Another week! Another pile of collapsed boxes! As of today, all we have left to unpack are the art supplies and to hang what mirrors and paintings are going to go up. Everything else is unpacked and has a permanent home and/or is sorted into donation boxes, awaiting pickup on Wednesday. Less clutter = more peace, and that’s really helpful to T getting creative work done. This is a very quiet neighborhood (except when someone gets the odd urge to mow something, or the train blows its whistle), even on the weekends, and the wind whistling through the house works as natural white noise. It makes for good napping conditions – and we are still exhausted enough to take advantage of them. Well, we think about it, anyway…

On D’s work front, his first week at the new job was immensely enjoyable – so much so that he neglected to come home until after seven, occasionally. There’s much to be done, and much chaos to organize, and he’s enjoying the challenge (or the chaos, one or the other. Not clear which just yet).

To those who’ve complained we’ve gone radio silent and feel as far away as we did when we lived in Scotland: apologies! You’ve asked what the house looks like. Here’s part of downstairs. A glimpse of upstairs to come next time.

Peachtree 3

Above is what we’ll call “the den,” simply because the living room / dining room is the next space over. As you can see, we’re still sorting a few things, organizing the kitchen space, using a folding table. That table will get tucked away until holidays or some other need, soon.

Peachtree 4

If you’re in the den, you’re looking into the kitchen. Yes, those are sticky notes on the cupboards – we had to decide what went where, and haven’t quite gotten it down to memory yet. Things are still shifting around (the flour moved all the way across the kitchen, just last night, to find a home in a cabinet next to the sink, rather than next to the fridge). We’re still trying to get the cupboard space to work well, which is odd, since they’re so narrow and some of them are so deep. As large as the ones next to the fridge are, they’re still too narrow for our largest mixing bowls, so those have had to relocate to the closet next to the garage door.

Whole Wheat Flax Bread 8

We have done our first proper baking here, though, 10 days after moving in (the quiche last weekend doesn’t count, really). A gas oven is miles off from an electric, and there’s an adjustment of all the senses, especially sound (that whoomp as the pilot lights), and smell (that little whiff of gas). Touch is the one sense that doesn’t fare quite as well here… because the oven thermostat is so far off, we had to order an external thermometer. It takes about 45 minutes to get up to close to full heat (set it at 390°F and it’ll get to 350°F in that time), and then gradually slides even hotter, so you have to adjust the temperature down when you put your baking in. We notified the invisible property management people, who report that the owner insists that this is what an oven is supposed to do, and we’re just going to live with it until it falls over.

We are not amused.

At least the bread turned out superbly.

Onward into the new week, with its goals of placing the last mirrors, rugs, and artwork, figuring out the irrigation system and finding a home for the last odds & ends. Until next time,

-D & T

Sweet Potato Snaps

You know what’s problematic? Vegan cookie dough.

Sweet Potato Cookies 11

In the fourth grade, T went to play at a friend’s house, and while the mother was diligently ironing, she was watching Days of our Lives, and eating, with a small spoon, from a bowl. Curious (nosy) T was offered some. And she was horrified. It was chocolate chip cookie dough – with raw eggs in it.

Being that awful know-it-all child, T gasped that raw eggs were BAD for you, and didn’t indulge. But, vegan cookie dough on a rainy afternoon… is another problem altogether. What’s worse? Is sweet potato cookie dough. If you already like sweet potatoes, baker, you may be doomed…

*cough*

Sweet Potato Cookies 12

We have used surplus root veg to make cookies and muffins before, and it can be a great idea. Lots of vitamins and high fiber, and with minimal sweetener – honey or molasses – it’s a good way to use farm box veggies. This recipe uses sweet potato puree, so if you have a couple of baked yams sitting around, it’s a great way to use leftovers.

We revised a traditional Southern cooking show recipe and doubled everything but the sugar, and we still think it could maybe be cut a little, but your mileage may vary. Your baking time may also vary; we had to shorter ours quite a bit, or have black-bottomed cookies, which aren’t that tasty.

Sweet Potato Snaps

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar 2 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 egg, room temperature 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add sweet potato and mix until incorporated.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients and vanilla.
  6. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie.
  7. Bake 18 minutes.Bake 10-12 minutes unless you’d like to eat cinders.

These actually taste – in dough form – like a cross between pumpkin pie and gingerbread – but once baked up, the spices create a subtler seasoning, and the sweet potato flavor really shines out. Be sure to let the cookies sit a bit after baking – not only are these little nuclear furnaces to bite into, the starches need to settle in order to give them that chewy gingersnap texture. Five-to-seven minutes should do the trick, and yes, you can wait that long.

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As you can see, we used a scoop to make these cookies the same uniform size (until some of us got bored with that *ahem*) but if you have a cookie press, the cookie dough is a great consistency for that.

Originally, the cookies were meant to be finished with an orange glaze, but we really feel like a.) there’s already quite enough sugar going on there, and b.) the orange might be better added as extract, just before baking. If you were making these for a party, and not just for at-home snacking, by all means, use a powdered sugar and orange juice glaze and a zest an orange to give it a bit of color, but the sweet potato flavor really doesn’t need the extra help, and if you use too much sugar, you really run the risk of losing the subtle play of flavor. Definitely use more orange than sugar here!

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Enjoy – and enjoy these rainy, hazy, crazy days of winter.

FauxOreos, Redux

Back in 2010 we made fauxoreos, and don’t know why we haven’t made them since. Possibly because they’re so fabulously addictive?

Well, we decided that, rather than baking a carrot cake (which seems to be the most favorite thing of all things, at D’s work), we’d try the oreos again. We have decided that they are so awesome that they need to leave the house first thing tomorrow, if they survive that long (they will – there’s no way we can eat more than a few bites and stay sensible about sugar intake).

Homemade Oreos 2.06

We had set out to roll these out as we did last time, but D wasn’t happy with them being oval for some reason (he’d forgotten that last time we didn’t roll them out, but smooshed them with the bench scraper – the bench scraper that’s gotten lost somewhere along the way, and was perfect for smooshing things). So, instead, we made the best use of our sushi press/mold ever, and used it as the thickness guide for rolling these out to a perfect 1/4 inch thickness.

Homemade Oreos 2.14

Of course, in addition to the more reasonably-sized oreos, D had to make one that’s about 6 inches in diameter. Just because. And then we got down to the icing things portion of the exercise, and realized that we didn’t have any icing sugar in the house … so we used granulated instead, sent for a spin through the cuisinart for long enough to at least be finely ground.

Homemade Oreos 2.17

Tomorrow morning, some of these will be going to the Honda dealer in Vacaville, because they’ve been so good to us. Some others will be going to D’s work, possibly to be handed out to a few special people, ’cause there really aren’t all that many in this batch. As to the huge one … we’re not sure. That may just have to stay home.

-D & T

‘I’ll to thee a Simnell bring,’ Part i

A great deal can change in a short time. Contracts can be changed, lives or health can be lost, and vacation plans altered mid-stride. We’ve all lived it.

What’s weird is how rarely that impacts our daily world. Most of the time, things change realllllly slowly. At the speed of glacial snails. We’re dying for Something To Happen, and …nothing much does. That, too, is life.

Culinarily, change is never swift. A recipe from the 15th century still today can bear the echo of its roots. Take, for example, the Simnel cake. This is an old, old English Easter cake, mentioned in a 17th century Herrick (1591-1674) poem from 1648. ‘I’ll to thee a Simnell bring ‘Gainst thou go’st a mothering, So that, when she blesseth thee, Half thou’lt give to me.’ The narrator (we assume Robert Herrick) confides that he’ll bring his friend a Simnel cake, so that, on the festival day of Mothering Sunday, which is the fourth Sunday of Lent, he’ll receive half of her blessing. Interestingly, Mothering Sunday can allegedly be traced back to the Greeks celebrating a three-day festival of the goddess Cybele, mother of all gods. Rather than celebrating motherhood, the festival apparently celebrates the Mother Church. Used as part of Mothering Sunday celebrations through Britain and beyond, it’s a specialty because Mothering Sunday, or “Refreshment Sunday” as it’s also called, relaxes the strict fasting rules for Lent. Thus: cake!

Simnel Cake 1

Sounds good to us.

More information we ferreted out: the word simnel is from Old French simenel, or spelled seminel, based on Latin simila, meaning fine flour. In Greek semidalis means finest wheaten flour, and an old Assyrian word, samīdu and the Syriac word sĕmīdā, mean fine meal. (Semolina, anyone? It’s the same root. Also semmel in German means a bread roll.) Thus, we know that this Simnel cake is made with finely milled flour, probably white, or as close to white as a household could get. It was studded with dried fruits – what was available at the beginning of Spring, leftover from winter – and heavily seasoned. Some recipes call for it being both boiled AND baked. Of course, boiling is traditional for many Scottish cakes, as boiling was all some households had. Few working people had ovens in the 18th-19th century, and cooked in a kettle over a fire, or on a hearth. However, there’s a goofy legend attached to this — a man called Simon and his wife Nell argued over whether the cake for Mothering Sunday should be baked or boiled. Too keep peace, they did both, so the cake was named after both of them: Sim-Nell. Aaand, we don’t believe that at all, but it’s convenient fiction to explain why some recipes call for both methods of cookery.

Our first shot at this cake comes from England. We used the hand-written recipe recorded between 1705 and 1726 blogged at Cooking in the Archives. The recipe is held at the University of Pennsylvania library, and calls for ingredients like “a peck of flour” “a race of Ginger” “Balme,” which was the wild yeast found floating atop fermenting beer, and “sack,” which is kind of like sherry. We didn’t have spirits or fermenting anything in the house, so skipped that step. We noticed that this old recipe did not call for marzipan or peel or anything like more modern Simnel recipes call for, but we made sure to honor the “fine flour” aspect of it by using a strong white bread flour. We substituted the “boyl” – er, boiling for a long, slow rise in a slightly warmed oven. This was a necessity, as it’s still pretty cool here of an afternoon and evening, and the nights are crisp, and this bread just didn’t otherwise want to raise. This could also be blamed on the absolute stuffing of raisins and currants. This stuff is LOADED.

Simnel Cake 3

The Unprepared Chef, or, How To Make An Imperfect Cheesecake

Blueberry Chevre Pie 4

Can you bake a cheesecake without cream cheese? T. asked the internets at large on a Wednesday afternoon. She was treated to dubious silences and a chorus of “NO” by well-meaning strangers when she perused the goods in her fridge and found a log of Laura Chenel chèvre – a mild and fresh Sonoma goat cheese. “It’s too bossy,” she was warned. “Too much flavor.” That’s as may be, but when you’re stuck on a writing project and have been cooking just because a.) you’re cold and cross, and b.) you’re craving an excuse to eat blueberries, and c.) did we mention cross? you just… go ahead and make that thing. Because, cheesecake. Sometimes life is less about if you could do a thing, than if you should

Normal people have… food on hand, in the house, and don’t need to make lightning raids on the pantry to create things out of odds and ends, but somehow, the end of the week always brings us to this weird pass. Maybe it’s just that we haven’t yet gotten into the habit of doing “big shops” for more than a few days at a time, a relic of our time in the UK when we went to the tiny market up the road daily. Maybe it’s just that we rarely have desserts that we make for ourselves (though D. frequently makes ginormous cakes and …carries them off to work) and we don’t think to have ingredients on hand. Maybe it’s just that SOMEONE is altogether too fond of cream cheese frosting for their ginormous work cakes. At any rate, T was determined to thaw some blueberries, and needed something to go with them. Enter the chèvre.

Possibly a traditional West Coast American cheesecake (sans eggs, unbaked) might not have worked out as well, but this was T’s usual kitchen sink veggie hybrid, which uses a box of Mori-Nu silken tofu to replace the additional protein and creaminess that eggs would have provided. A tablespoon of vanilla, together with half (4 oz. from an 8 oz. log) of a Laura Chenel chèvre cheese – no salt added, because chèvre is already salted – three tablespoons of castor sugar, and we were good to go. The ingredients she simply creamed together with a stick blender, and set aside.

Blueberry Chevre Pie 3

The unprepared chef traditionally never has digestive biscuits, gingersnaps, or anything else helpful — or homemade — but there’s always that stale packet of graham crackers she got for the nephews ages ago — they’ll do in a pinch for the crust. They won’t add much flavor, so freshly ground dried ginger and/or cinnamon to the dry crushed crackers is essential. One and a half cups of blueberry mixed with a half tablespoon of King Arthur Flour dried lemon juice, two tablespoons of sugar and 3/4 tablespoon of cornstarch was stirred to a thickening boil, and set aside for later… and then T put it together, baked it – sans water bath, just in a plain oven at 170°C/350°F for thirty-five minutes until the middle still jiggled but there were signs of tightening all around the edges.

T could hardly wait for the stuff to cool. Enquiring minds now wanted to know if it was any good… and it was! The slight tangyness provided by sour cream in many cheesecake recipes for more prepared chefs is provided by the chèvre. We actually wish we had used more than half the container; the Chenel is such a mild cheese and not so assertive that we couldn’t have used more of that piquancy (conversely, we could maybe have gotten the same effect with a tablespoon less of sugar – we’ll have to fiddle with it). Maybe we’re just on a late autumn citrus kick, but T. really wished she’d added more lemon in the form of zest to the berry topping, which she added to the room-temperature cooled pie. Next time. Next time.

Blueberry Chevre Pie 1

Until then, here’s to finding random things in the cupboards and the fridge and beating them into culinary submission.

In lieu of the pie…

Not every use of pumpkin this time of year ends in pie or a hideously over-sweetened “spiced” coffee drink of red cup fame. (There’s no pumpkin in those things, actually, so never mind…) D’s friend, Rainer, who emigrated from Germany, recently enjoyed some of D’s carrot cake and reminisced about a cake he ate growing up, made with Hokkaido pumpkins. It was, he described it, rich, dense, and spiced similarly. He then gave D. the recipe in …German. Fortunately, there’s Google.

The first thing we had to decipher is what a Hokkaido pumpkin is… and where to find one. The name easily enough identified it as yet another varietal of Japanese pumpkin, but it’s known in this part of California as a Red Kuri (or kari) squash. At our usual market we found something that looked … KIND OF like a red kuri in shape, but it was too large, and the color was more butternutty… and the grocery store brilliantly labelled it “Winter Squash.” Um. Yes. Full of detailed, helpful information, that name.

Red kuri – or Hokkaido squash – as you see in this cheater picture from Wikimedia Commons – are beautiful. Their small size and intensely colored rind are notable, and their inner flesh is kind of …pink. They’re on the sweeter side, and are carried locally at various farm markets, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and the like, though with the before-Thanksgiving run on hard squash and gourds, we couldn’t source any this time. We bought our “winter” squash for Tuesday soup and grated a kabocha instead. Another Japanese favorite, used in tempura, kabocha are hard and sweet and have the same bright orange flesh, so we figured it was a decent substitute.

Rainer’s Kürbiskuchen

200g soft butter —> 7/8 cup
150 g sugar —> 3/4
100 g of honey or maple syrup —> 1/3 c honey
4 egg yolks
500 g pumpkin flesh —> 17 oz
300g Hazelnuts —> 2 c. hazelnut flour
100 g flour —> 1 c. AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt,
1 teaspoon cinnamon,
nutmeg
some black pepper.
4 egg whites

200 g chocolate —> 1 c
dried pumpkin seeds for garnish

This recipe records the equivalents which we used – please note that they are not exact, nor did we entirely follow the recipe, though we were as faithful as we could be.

The what-to-mix-first portion of the recipe didn’t translate very well, but once you’ve made carrot cake, you can pretty well make this. As we had a few hopeful vegans around this holiday, we opted to make the cake vegan — so we made flax eggs and used Smart Balance. We cut the butter called for by half because …well, it just seemed like a lot, and there’s really nothing worse than a greasy cake. We baked it in an angel food cake pan and were astonished at how much oil there was left still in the pan afterward. We were actually a little worried, but it all came right …

German Pumpkin Cake 1

The instructions mentioned something about having chocolate flake scattered on the top of this cake. D. made a deep, rich ganache instead, and we skipped the pepita garnish because if you didn’t see pumpkin seeds, you’d have no idea that pumpkin was the flavor of the cake! Though too soft for T. – she’d like to try the recipe again with the right kind of pumpkin, with eggs, and with a different balance of hazelnut flour to AP flour, just to test some hypotheses – the cake was a hit with the guests over lunch on the weekend, and the remainder was quickly snarfed up by workmates. The ganache contrasted amazingly well with the bland sweetness of the pumpkin. This was a “ten minute cake,” it was literally gone before Rainer even got to taste any! Oh, well. Good excuse to make it again.

Anyone weary of the traditional uses of pumpkin during the holidays might swap out carrots (and raisins) in a traditional carrot cake recipe, and enjoy the results!

German Pumpkin Cake 2

Baking Like the Babes: Russian Chrysanthemum Bread

When you bake bread every week, or every-other, you lose the ability to really… blog anything interesting about it. Oh, yes, this week the dough had a GREAT gluten! This week we used a little more White Whole Wheat, and a pumpernickel instead of a blended rye…. Yeah, we know we have the ability to gabble on endlessly about that sort of thing, but at the end of the day, we love you too much to expose you to our sheer nerdishness. I mean, we’re the people who peruse the King Arthur Flour catalogue over breakfast! So, we bake – a great deal – and it’s usually wholemeal bread which we use for absolutely everything – toast to sandwiches. Sometimes we’re inspired to branch out by seeing images of some wonderful thing, and that was the case this time. Blogging Baker Babe Lien is rounding up the Bread Baking Babes this month, and while we’re rather short on babe-ishness around here this week, we happily played along with this gorgeous looking bread.

Whole Wheat Maple Bread 6

Russian Chrysanthemum bread seems like one of those holiday breads that is just perfect for this time of year. The simple dough calls for using strong flour, which is simply a high gluten flour, and the recipe follows. The filling for the original bread Lien (and many others) made is savory, which you know we’ll have to try before winter is over, but you know we mavericks can never simply follow a recipe properly the first time — we made ours of tartly sweet cranberries and clementines with dark chocolate — basically leftovers from the cranberry sauce T. had just made, with shards of dark chocolate thrown in. It is a TASTY filling – not terribly sweet, not too tart, smooth and richly chocolaty. T. thought this looked like a pull-apart bread to us, but a lot of the Baking Babes – and D. – thought it made more sense to actually slice it. This bread is open to a great deal of variation – it’ll be interesting to see where it lands in our whimsy next! And we do look forward to trying it in a springform pan, or with some more flower-y shapes.

500 g strong flour/bread flour (with some extra for dusting the board when you roll out the dough)
7 g dry instant yeast
125 ml milk, lukewarm (1/2 cup)
125 ml kefir or yogurt (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
90 ml olive oil (3 oz.)

We used whole wheat flour and instead of sugar, maple syrup. We also forgot the yogurt and skipped out on the egg in the glaze and in the dough, as several guests this weekend are vegan. We’ll give it another try at some point as written.

Whole Wheat Maple Bread 9

When making her bread, Babe Elle wisely rolled her dough all out and used a biscuit cutter to get the perfectly sized rounds. Would this have made our lives much easier? Oh… sure. *cough* Maybe. Probably. However, D rolling the dough out individually suited the graduated sizes of the petals on his mums.

Whole Wheat Maple Bread 10
Whole Wheat Maple Bread 11

Overfilling the petals is really the worst thing you can do, with a loose filling – you need just a schmear of filling to show, and just enough so that it won’t squish out when you’ve pinched the dough together… it should stay in place, allegedly. T. started filling with a tablespoon initially, but switched to about a teaspoon full of filling – enough to taste, not to make a meal on (sadly). And the round of dough is simply folded in half and then the folded edges pinched together to make a petal. This would be a great job for small children with clean hands and a need desire to avoid other work and participate in the making of the treat.

Whole Wheat Maple Bread 14

We topped our bread with sugar crystals, colored with saffron, just to add a little crunch and color. Though T. really did kind of over-do it on the filling, the dough turned out to be very excited about proofing, which made the whole thing a bit more forgiving than it could have been. The tender, toothsome dough baked up looking golden-brown and delicious and was really well received by eaters of all ages this past weekend.

Whole Wheat Maple Bread 16
Whole Wheat Maple Bread 18

It’s too easy to be busy lately, and the holiday throws its own craziness into the mix of the daily things we have to do. We’d lately forgotten the fun of baking with others, so we’re grateful for the Babes for being the first to try this easy – yet complex – frilly bread. Can’t wait to try it again!