Chocolate Studded Pull-Apart Bread

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Chocolate…..Check!  Easy…..Check! Messy…..Check! Outside may be frozen (ok I couldn’t resist!) but it does give me more of a reason to fire up the oven. Here is a simple pull-apart bread, which is made for easy sharing and filled with a buttery-chocolate-sugar mixture. You can share this. Or don’t….. they’ll let it goooooo.

Recipe:

+ 2 envelopes active yeast

+ 1/4 cup warm water mixed with a 1 tsp. sugar

+ 1 cup scalded milk, cooled slightly

+ 2 large eggs

+ 1/4 cup granulated sugar

+ 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

+ 1/4 cup vegetable shortening

+ 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

+ 1 tsp. cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar

Filling:

+ 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

+ 1/4 cup granulated sugar

+ 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate

+ Pinch of salt

+ 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over sugar water; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add milk, eggs, granulated sugar, salt, and shortening. Slowly add flour, mixing until combined. Knead for about, 3 to 5 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° & spray or butter a bread pan.

Make filling: Roughly chop up the chocolate. Pulse the chopped chocolate with the salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor, until the chocolate is very finely chopped. Add butter and pulse machine until it’s thoroughly distributed among the chocolate. Set mixture aside.

2. Lightly roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface, to a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Sprinkle on most of the filling and fold the dough, the upper half and bottom half. Cut into  6-8 strips. Place strips in coated pan with layers facing up, sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture and the remaining filling.

3. Bake 30–35 minutes. Remove from oven; let rest 5 minutes in pan, then transfer loaf to a cooling rack.

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From my kitchen to yours, wishing each of you a very sweet and merry Christmas! 

- Daniel xo

From my kitchen to yours, wishing each of you a very sweet and merry Christmas!

- Daniel xo

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Mint Milk-Chocolate Malted Sheet Cake

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Whether you’re making your way to a holiday potluck at the office or are celebrating with family at home this cake is a sure crowd-pleaser. Here a classic candy, malt balls, make a comeback on top of a rich later of malted milk chocolate frosting, flavored with mint extract. Cut up slices ahead and garnish with fresh mint leaves for a festive touch.

Recipe: Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cakes

For the cake:

+ 1 stick plus 1 Tbs, unsalted butter, plus more pan

+ 2-1/4 cups flour, plus more for pan

+ 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder

+ 3/4 tsp. baking soda

+1/2 tsp. salt

+ 1 cup + 2 Tbs. sugar

+ 3 large eggs

+ 1 cup buttermilk

+ 1-1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:

+ 3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder

+ 1-3/4 cups plus 2 Tbs. malted milk powder

+ 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. boiling water

+ 1-1/2 sticks + 1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature

+ 10-1/2 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled

+ 1/2 tsp. pure peppermint extract

+ pinch of salt

+ chopped malted milk balls & mint leaves (optional)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low and add the flour and buttermilk, alternating between the two. Beat in the vanilla, scraping the bowl as needed.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating halfway through, until cake is golden and puffed and springs to the touch, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  4. As the cake cools, prepare the frosting. In a medium bowl whisk together the cocoa and malted milk powders. Add the boiling water and whisk until combined, let cool. With the mixer on high speed beat the butter until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture, beat until combined. Add the melted chocolate, peppermint extract, and salt. Raise the speed to a medium-high until frosting is smooth and peaks form. Frost the cake, sprinkle with chopped malted milk balls and garnish slices with fresh mint leaves.

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Clementine Madeleines

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Clementines are one of my favorite fruits. Back in boarding school, I used to babysit the headmasters three children and at the end of the night, his wife would want to pay me. Well I couldn’t take cash from her, it seemed uncouth….but she knew of my love of clementines and she’d surprise me with crates of them. This citrus is fragrant and brightly colored, it’s a natural pairing with a Madeleine, a light sponge cake eaten as a cookie.

Madeleine Ingredients:

+ 1/2 stick unsalted butter plus more for pan

+ 1 Tbs. honey

+ Juice of 1 clementine plus the zest.

+ 3/4 cup flour

+ 1 tsp. baking powder

+ 1/2 tsp. salt

+ 1/4 cup granulated sugar

+ 2 large eggs

Glaze Ingredients:

+ 1-1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

+ Juice of 3 clementines

Sugared Peel Ingredients: (mix together in a small bowl)

+ 1/4 cup granulated sugar

+ Zest of 3 clementines

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Brush the Madeleine pan with butter, place aside in the freezer. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and add the clementine juice, zest, and the honey. Stir until fully melted and let cool.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder, set aside. In a medium bowl stir together the sugar and eggs. Fold in the four mixture, then the butter mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, tapping to release any air bubbles. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are golden along the edge and recede from the pan. Let cool on a wire rack.
  4. In a small bowl mix together the glaze ingredients. Place a piece of parchment on a pan and remove the Madeleines. Spoon the glaze onto each and sprinkle some of the sugared peel. Let set and enjoy with your favorite cup of tea.

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Sugared Orange Cranberry Muffins

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Fresh cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America and during the cold months I try to make use of them. With their lovely color and slightly tart nature, they make a perfect addition to a muffin. Here, spices, orange zest and a sugared top balance the berry’s tartness, and applesauce keeps the muffins tender.

Ingredients:

+ 1-3/4 cups flour

+ 1/4 cup sugar

+ 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

+ 1/2 tsp. baking soda

+ 1/2 tsp. salt

+ Zest of 1 medium orange

+ 1 egg

+ 3/4 cup milk

+ 3/4 cup sweetened applesauce

+ 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

+ 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries

Topping: In a small bowl mix together:

+ 1/4 cup sugar

+ 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

+ 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Toss chopped cranberries in the flour mixture. In another bowl whisk together the egg, milk, applesauce, melted butter and orange zest.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredient bowl and slowly add the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.
  4. Scoop the batter into the paper liners, sprinkle the tops with the reserved spice/sugar mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when tested in the center of a muffin. Serve warm with your favorite coffee or tea.
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Gingerbread Scones

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A wintery chill has finally hit the city. After finishing up all those Thanksgiving leftovers, it’s time to get back in the kitchen. Winter baking, to me, lends itself to decadence and deep flavors that highlight the season. Gingerbread scones, spiced and with a few options, are a yummy pairing with your morning coffee or as a late night snack.

Ingredients:

+ 2 cups flour

+ 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

+ 2 tsp. baking powder

+ 1/8 tsp. baking soda

+ 1 tsp. ground ginger

+ 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

+ 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

+ 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

+ 1/2 tsp. salt

+ 1/3 chilled butter, cubed

+ 1 large egg

+ 4 Tbs. molasses

+ 5 Tbs. milk

+ 1/2 cup raisins or 1/2 cup chocolate chips

+ Confectioners sugar for dusting

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  1. Preheat oven to 350° and lightly butter a 10-inch-diameter circle in the center of a large baking sheet, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Sprinkle the cold and cubed butter over the the dry ingredients and with a pastry blender or two knives cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In another bowl stir together the egg, molasses, milk, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together, it’ll be a little sticky. Stir in the raisins or the chocolate chips (heck or go crazy and add both)
  4. With lightly floured hands, pat the dough onto the prepared sheet and shape into an 8-inch circle, with a serrated knife cut into 8 pieces. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool and sprinkle with some confectioners sugar.

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It’s snowing here in NYC. So I figured it was as good as a time as any to make some bread pudding. (I might of had some for breakfast)

You’ll see the recipe for this Espresso-Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding, up soon!

I hope you are all safe and warm!

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