Sunday, October 31, 2010

Snapshot Sunday : Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween readers! We're currently getting ready here at 1313 for our Halloween soiree which commences in only a few hours. I wanted to share this amazing punch bowl that our dear ex-roommate and favorite friend, Asher, created for it. How crafty is he? Taping leaves to a paper bag and then making a sleeve out of said paper bag for a large metal bowl? How Martha of him! With the addition of dry ice it's over the top amazing, right?! 

Hope you're all having a delightful holiday. We're making roasted squash soup, mini gruyere/caramelized onion grilled cheeses, caramel bacon popcorn (a recipe I will be sharing with you next week, so stay tuned!) and that amazing bowl you see will be filled with champagne punch or 'drink' (as Asher refers to it)! Later we'll grab our goodies and our drinks, and head outside for a backyard Halloween bonfire. Good times! 

Be safe, have fun, and don't forget to be a little ghoulish! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers : October 2010 : Donuts

If these donuts are any indication, I've officially lost my mind. 

I planned to make and blog about donuts sometime this October. You could say they were on my 'to blog' list. So imagine my surprise and excitement when I opened the Daring Bakers announcement folder only to read that we were being challenged to fry up a batch of donuts. Serendipitous, truly. Donuts? Check. Daring Bakers? Check. The classic two birds, one stone scenario.

What you see here is my spin on this months challenge. Yeast raised donuts, schmeared with a brown sugar maple/cinnamon/cayenne glaze, topped with pepper bacon & candied oats (or as I refer to it, bacon granola). Yes, you read that correctly. Donuts, maple cinnamon glaze, bacon granola. Miss mallory has gone and lost her marbles. . . 

Now, I've tried a few maple bacon donuts in my day. Each of which proved to be disappointing, even at my favorite donut haunts. Why is it that most donut shops, even the great gourmet ones, insist on using some form of microwave or other less-than-stellar bacon product? Why in the world would I want to eat thin, limp, dry bacon? I want thick, crispy edged, fatty fried, true blue bacon. So, for these donuts I used thick slices of pepper encrusted bacon, fried to perfection. I then chopped my slices up to bits, I was gunning for meat sprinkles, which is what I got. The night I fried and assembled these donuts also landed on a night we were having a few friends over for dinner. The candied granola originally had no intention of being mixed with the bacon, it had been created as a gluten free (as one of our guests is gluten intolerant) topping for a batch of delicious lemon cream ice cream I had planned for dessert. Mid day my lovely boyfriend, in a fit of hunger, scooped up two handfuls, one bacon the other granola, and popped them in his mouth. Let's just say, something magical occurred. Bacon granola? It's genius. So much so I feel like I should be marketing it!

I could not resist. Sure I'd heard of a maple bacon donut. But a maple bacon granola donut? 

 Thus the bacon granola donut was born.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Nuemann, and Epicurious. 

Alton Browns Yeast Donuts

makes 20-25 donuts 

1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 oz vegetable shortening (about 1/3 cup)
2 packages instant yeast
1/3 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
23 oz flour, plus additional for dusting
vegetable or peanut oil for frying (at least enough for 3 in depth in dutch oven)


1. Warm milk until just hot. Place shortening in a bowl, pour warm milk over shortening.
2. In a small bowl pour yeast over warm water. Allow yeast to stand & dissolve 5 minutes.
3. Pour yeast mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the milk/shortening to the yeast, being sure the milk is only lukewarm.
4. Add eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and half of the flour to the mixing bowl.
5. On low speed beat until ingredients are incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until ingredients are well combined.
6. Reduce speed to low again and add the remaining flour. Increase speed one last time, and beat well.
7. Remove paddle and attach dough hook. Knead dough on medium speed for about 4-5 minutes, or until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
8. Cover bowl and allow dough to rise for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.
9. On a well floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick.
10. Cut out donut circles, one larger one smaller (I used a large round cookie cutter, and a very large icing piping tip for the middle hole, my donuts were thinner, but I loved the way that looked).
11. Set cut donuts (and donut holes) on baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and allow to proof, for about a half an hour. (when you poke the dough with your finger and it bounces back almost immediately, your dough is sufficiently proofed). 
12. Heat oil (enough for 3 inch depth) to 365 F in a dutch oven. 
13. Using a metal slotted spoon or other slotted kitchen gadget, gently place 3 donuts and a few holes at a time in hot oil. Cook for 1 minute or so per side, until golden brown, and removing from oil and placing on a baking rack set above paper towels.
14. Allow to cool about 20 minutes prior to glazing and decorating. 

I swear, the only thing better than a warm donut, is a warm donut hole. . . they're the perfect bite size. No?

Monday, October 18, 2010

30 Layer Cinnamon Loaf

I've been hit with a few serious cravings lately. Major, pregnant lady-esque cravings. I know their root, and no, it's not a growing baby belly (promise, I'm so not anywhere near ready for that, we're talking years down the road), it's a my newly adopted, generally healthier lifestyle. Small meals every three to four hours. Healthy snacks. Low fat dinners, high fiber breakfasts. You get the idea, same old same old stuff we've heard a million times over, and the way I've attempted to eat most of my adult life, (but falter on here and there). While I don't crave 'bad' foods, like this delicious sugary loaf, everyday, I did wake up Tuesday of last week dying for a few slices of cinnamon bread. An odd craving for me, one that followed me through the day. Something needed to be done, I needed to honor this one.

First, I considered going out and purchasing your standard $2.99 grocery bakery loaf. Then I thought to myself, 'mallory, why in the world would you do something like that?'. You see, I quickly realized that I had a big jar of yeast in my freezer, plenty of flour, cinnamon, butter, eggs, sugar. . . . you see where I'm going with this? Why not go to the effort to make my own amazing loaf of cinnamon bread instead of buying a boring, bland loaf a the store. So worth the calorie/sugar splurge, far more so than anything  I can buy. This loaf did not disappoint, how could it not? Look at this beauty. 

This loaf is inspired by a post I found via Tastespotting at Bittersweet Baker , which was in turn inspired by Elissa's Lemon Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake over and 17 and Baking. I used the same sweet dough, which was a dream to work with. I have a weakness for doughs. I love their smell and the way they feel as they get smooth under the pressure of kneading hands. Dough makes me giddy. It's true. This dough did not disappoint, it was absolutely lovely; soft, warm, and yeasty. Baked it was even better; pillowy, a little chewy, and soft, basically perfect. My filling was a lot different than the other two though. It was straight cinnamon roll filling, plenty of butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of nutmeg. Slathered between layer upon layer of sweet dough, as the filling bakes up it creates this caramelized cinnamon sugar crust at the top of each layer. Unfortunately, slathering the cinnamon cream cheese frosting all over the top covered up that gorgeous crust. I believe this to be the perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas morning treat. Definitely a recipe I'll be baking again, and one I suggest you try, particularly if you're craving any variation of cinnamon bread, this will surely quell such a craving.

30 Layer Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread
Makes a 9x5 pan


Sweet Yeast Dough
About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

pinch nutmeg
zest of one lemon

Tangy Cream Cheese Icing
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Mix two cups (nine ounces) flour, the sugar, yeast, and salt in a mixer bowl with a rubber spatula. 2.Meanwhile, in a small saucepan or in the microwave, combine the milk and the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and let rest a minute until just warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]). Stir in the vanilla extract.
3. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. 
4. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. 
5. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.
6. Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about one minute. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of flour only if the dough is too sticky to work with. 
7. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. An indentation made with your finger should keep its shape.
Make your cinnamon sugar mixture. 
8 .Gently deflate the dough with your hand. Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 20 by 12 rectangle. Use a ruler to get the rectangles as accurate as possible for a prettier loaf that will fit better in the pan. Also sure both sides are floured, so that the dough will be easy to lift up later. 
9. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter evenly and liberally over the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
10. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough crosswise in five strips, each about 12 by 4
11. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
12. Slice this new stack crosswise, through all five layers, into 6 equal rectangles (each should be 4 by 2.) 13. Carefully transfer these strips of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side. it might be a little roomy, but the bread will rise and expand after baking. 
14. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. When you gently press the dough with your finger, the indentation should stay.
15. Bake the loaf until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cover the top with foil if it is browning too quickly. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.

Time to make the cream cheese frosting: Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth. Then add the milk and lemon juice. Stir until creamy and smooth.

16. Flip the loaf over onto a cooling rack, then flip onto another rack so that it’s right side up. Spread the top of the warm cake with the cream cheese icing.

I recommend eating it warm. I also recommend that you to eat some before your housemates or guests gobble it down. This loaf lasted less than 12 hours in my house. I wonder how long it will last in yours?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gnarly : Vanilla Bean Tequila Sunrise

Okay, confession time, this may not technically be a tequila sunrise. Sure there is fresh orange juice and tequila, but that's basically where the similarities end. So, why have I dubbed it a tequila sunrise? Well, it's far more sunrise colored than it's more traditional twin brother, which is laced with grenadine that lends the drink an orange red hue (tequila sunset anyone?). That, and I'm lazy. I didn't want to come up with a new name. Hey, at least I'm honest. 

This cocktail is simple, quite tasty, and absolutely perfect for Halloween, which is a mere 18 days away. Light orange in color, peppered with black vanilla bean dots, and garnished with a long twisting, curling, sleepy hollow-esque branch-like vanilla bean. What more could you ask for in a Halloween drink? So this year reconsider the black vodka, the sticky red sugar blood dripping down the side of your martini glasses, or the floating grape eyeball garnish business (as fun and impressive as that stuff is). An easy drink paired with a simple yet effortless garnish will give you the effect you're after, along with more time to drink up and enjoy your guests.

Other than the october appropriate color and garnish, this drink is filled with 100% agave tequila, fresh squeezed orange, grapefruit, and lime juice, the innards of half a vanilla bean, topped off with a splash of sparkling water, and finished with a dash or two of lemon bitters. The aroma that fills your senses as you tip the glass up to your mouth cannot be beat, sweet, citrus, vanilla, a little floral, the heavenly scent is almost better than the drink itself. 

The True Tequila Sunrise
serves 4


8 oz agave tequila (I used silver Patron)
16 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
8 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
4 oz. lime juice
2 vanilla beans scraped (an additional two for glass garnishing) (our co-op sells them for $1.25 a bean)
 sparkling water
lemon bitters


1. Mix all ingredients, except for sparkling water and lemon bitters, in a pitcher. Whisk to break up the vanilla bean. 
2. Fill tall glasses with large ice cubes, pour equal amounts over ice, leaving enough room at the top to add desired amount of sparkling water. Add a dash or two of lemon bitters. And finally, garnish with your wonderful vanilla beans.

*Don't just keep this one in your halloween cocktail file either. Substitute (or for a true lush, leave it in) the tequila for champagne and you've got one lovely little vanilla bean mimosa on your hands.*

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Snapshot Sunday : Scarpetta, Manhattan

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Comfort as the Cold Sets In : Honey Laced Panna Cotta

You will be hard pressed to make or enjoy a better dessert than Panna Cotta. If you read my blog, or you know me, you are aware that I'm an avid cake and cookie lover, yet, there is something about this creamy dessert that's stolen my heart. It's like a cup of pudding and a slice of cheesecake had a little baby and stuck her in a glass ramekin. Panna cotta is incredibly easy, fairly low on sugar (well, this particular recipe is), decadent, and can be paired with so many flavors, from stone fruit, to berries, to cookies (imagine!), to coffee, to chocolate. . . my goodness the possibilities are numerous, limited only by your imagination!

I made this particular dessert for a dear friend of mine who has recently cut down a lot on her sugar intake. While I realize this recipe has a tinsy bit of white sugar and even more honey (and I do realize that honey converts to sugar once inside of our complex bodies), it's far lower than most cake, cookie, or other sweet confection recipes you'll find out there, without sacrificing on richness and flavor. Plus, this dear friend of mine is a fiend for all things creamy.

I'm a huge fan of the classic combination of milk and honey. Both flavors are quite delicate on their own, making the task of combining the two, while still being able to decipher their unique flavors, a bit of a challenge, not here. I topped each one with vanilla bean brown sugar poached pear slices, and fresh blackerries. An ode to the end of September here in the northwest, and quite the ode at that. 

So, bring on the Panna Cotta I say!

Honey Laced Panna Cotta 
serves 6


1 cup of whole milk
3 cups whipping cream
1 Tablespoon gelatin
1/2 Tablespoon white sugar
1/3 cup clover honey
garnish of your choice


1. Pour just the milk into a medium heavy bottom saucepan on the stove. Sprinkle gelatin over the top and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes (no heat). 
2. Turn your burner onto medium/low heat, stirring often, cook the milk and gelatin for about 3-5 minutes until gelatin has fully dissolved and milk is hot, but not bubbling. 
3. Pour your heavy cream, honey, and sugar into your milk mixture. Cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until honey and sugars have dissolved. 
4. Pour into desired vessels, I've used decorative glassware, stemware, and pictured are mini trifle dishes. 
5. Allow to cool a few minutes on the counter, then wrap them and place them in your refrigerator overnight, or no less than 5 hours. I made mine same day around 4pm, served at 11pm, and they were perfect. 
6. Once chilled garnish with desired fruit, and serve!

For brown sugar poached pears: 

I didn't use a recipe for this one ladies and gentlemen, I flew by the seed of my pants as they say, but I'll share with you my process. First, I peeled, sliced, and pitted two anjou pears. I then threw them in a small pot with about 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup of water, scraping one vanilla bean and adding the bean husk to the whole shabang. I brought the whole mixture to a light bubble, covered it (to keep liquid in the pan and slowly poach the pears) and cooked for about 15-20 minutes. I then removed the pears from (then tossed) the brown sugar liquid and kept them stored at room temp in a small tupperware until I was ready to serve them atop the panna cotta! Pretty simple!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Easy Street : Butternut Squash, Carrot & Leek Soup

A simple post for a simple soup. As the evenings grow short, the nights get cold, and the days grayer soup is on the forefront of my weeknight menu, and my mind. It doesn't get much quicker or tastier than this soup. The flavor is complex, but boasts only a few ingredients, most of which I guess are in your autumn stocked fridge or cupboard at this very moment. Butternut squash, carrot, and leek are sauteed in a large skillet with a bit of butter, until softened and a bit caramelized. Then, into a large pot they go with a bit of fresh thyme, stock, a bit of nutmeg and cayenne (a spice that lends more warmth than spice to this soup). At the end of a quick bath in broth and spices everything is pureed up with a quick wave of a hand blender. Smooth, nutty, sweet, salty, and a little spicy. Almost as quick as a can of soup, but packing way more nutrition and a flavorful punch. And as an October bonus, it's pumpkin orange, perfect snuggled for a cozy evening at home, or on the table served to guests as an autumn dish.

Butternut Squash, Carrot & Leek Soup


1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cups of carrots, diced
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
2 medium sized leeks, thinly sliced
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 generous tablespoon fresh thyme
2 fresh sage leaves, sliced up
pinch of nutmeg
healthy pinch (healthy now) cayenne
salt and pepper to taste 


1. Place butter in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Once melted and hot, throw in the carrots, squash and leek. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sautee until vegetables are softened, and the squash/carrot has picked up some caramelized color. 
2. Move veggies into medium/large stockpot, cover with stock, thyme, sage, nutmeg, and cayenne. Cover and cook 25-30 minutes. 
3. Turn heat off and carefully blend with a hand blender. Season with any additional salt and pepper if it needs it, to taste.
4. Serve hot, garnish with a few fresh herbs. 

Note to readers and to self: This bowl of soup would be incredible with a sharp cheddar/bacon biscuit. . . 

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Daring Bakers : September 2010 : The Sugar Cookie

I'm late. I'm beyond late. For a very important date, indeed. My Daring Bakers entry is due on this blog the 27th of each month. As you know, it's nearly three days into the next month. Whoops. I have good reason though. You see, I took a trip east, to New York City, and upon my arrival home (a few days shy of my DB due date, mind you) I contracted my second cold flu in two weeks. Therefore, I feel I had good reason to be late. Sheer exhaustion. My butt required to be relaxed in my sofa, sipping tea, snuggled in with a blanket, recovering. Not rolling out sugar cookie dough.

During my trip I missed a dear friends 26th birthday. So, being the multi-tasking daring baker that I am, I combined her much deserved birthday cake, with my daring bakers challenge. It wasn't intentional, at first I simply intended to spend the day baking, both cookies and cake. But as they both neared the finish line, I could not help but put the two together. It turned out quite beautiful, if I do say so myself! 

The cake is a 6 inch, tall, 4 layer best chocolate cake ever with a generous schmear of brown butter cinnamon frosting which I stumbled across at the always lovely My Kitchen Addiction. Each cookie was cut with a very small tart tin, I loved the scalloped look. Every other cookie got a dusting of sanding sugar and itty bitty white sprinkles, baked up, and then gently placed around the bottom edge. Two cookies were left, one plain, one sprinkle, so I quickly wrote 26 on the plain cookie and supported them against each other atop the cake. Couldn't have been a bigger hit, more delicious, or elegant but fun (and what an oh so easy way to decorate a cake while squeezing in one more baked confection to the mix). 

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies

200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

• Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
creamy in texture.
• Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during
baking, losing their shape.
• Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.
• Tip: I don’t have a stand mixer so I find it easier to switch to dough hooks at this stage to avoid
flour flying everywhere.
• Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.
• Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch)
• Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
• Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an
hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and
then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.
• Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.
• Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife.
• Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour.
 Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.
• Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.
• Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
• Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
• Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in
some cookies being baked before others are done.
• Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.
• Leave to cool on cooling racks.
• Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
• Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated
cookies can last up to a month.