Tag Archives: Pecans

Holidays Baking-Cinnamon Morning Buns w/Orange Zest and Pecans

1 Jan

Happy New Year!!!!! What a way to ring it in. Dim sum with family. Actually today was rather quiet. New Year’s Eve was better. Why? I spent the last day of the year snow shoeing on Cypress Mountain. It would be my first time and I enjoyed it. There was something about the glistening snow covered trees and the crunching of snow underneath my feet that brought me smiles. Perhaps it was the serenity and peacefulness that only nature could bring. I didn’t even mind the cold. All that was missing was a cabin in this winter wonderland.

The night before the actual adventure, I was all in a tizzy. Being a beginner, my mind was racing in all directions. Would I cramp up and have an accident? My nerves were a bit calmer on the day of. I was excited as my friends and I started up the trail. It was absolutely spectacular being on the mountain. The air was crisp, clean and cold and I marveled at the beautiful surrounding. Up and down we went admiring nature’s wonder. When we reached the look out point, the view was breathtaking

Nothing could be complete than something to nibble on the way to re-energize. In this case, it was my favourite bread of all time, the cinnamon bun. I had remembered a recipe that captured my attention before and decided to make it. Unlike most cinnamon buns whose components were fresh brioche, cinnamon and sugar and cream cheese frosting. This recipe added a warmth to it. It called for orange zest and honey. The orange zest added complexity to the brioche’s flavor profile and honey made the brioche less sweet. One bite and I was in love.

Cinnamon Morning Buns w/ Orange Zest and Pecans (adapted from here)

2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup honey
4 large eggs and 1 egg yolk
4 cups flour (I used all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter

Filling
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 sticks butter
find sanding sugar for sprinkling

Notes: I had used a mug to measure the milk thus had a softer liquidy dough. As a result I increased the flour to approx 7 cups and by doing so, I approx. doubled the other ingredients with the exception of the eggs. For the filling, the butter was only softened and mixed with the honey, cinnamon, cardamon and sugar to make a creamy mixture in order spread onto the dough. Proofing required approx 3 hours. Results were fabulous. ***Make sure the dough is pliable and not sticky. A keeper of a recipe!

Christmas Cookie Project II-Pecan Turtle Cookies

26 Dec

I dream of a White Christmas!!! What a lovely Christmas it has been. I have been praying for a White Christmas over the last few years. I finally got my wish yesterday. Tired eyes opening from a hectic week filled with chocolate making, cookie baking, I was pleasantly surprised by the seeing little white flakes gently floating down. Clothed in a flash, I hurriedly made my way to the living room window. There I felt my heart scream with joy. The entire street almost white, YIPPPEEEE!!!! My prayers were answered. Weeks and weeks of praying finally paid off. I know I may sound looney but nothing thrills me more than a beautiful peaceful white landscape with Christmas trees and ornaments glistening. When I was young, my happiest days where celebrating Christmas with family and gift exchanging. I remember skating on the ice in Central Park. It was fabulous as those holidays were filled with love and laughter. Not that these days weren’t. White Christmas were also frequent. Nowadays, family get togethers are less frequent and with individuals getting older and passing away, it became a quiet Christmas. Not that it was bad but I still remember those Christmas days when spent throwing snow balls at each other. Now can you see why I love White Christmas? Ha ha.

This Christmas has indeed been a special one, I got to share it with friends and family. My friends and I went to events like the Singing Christmas Tree. This year marked its 50th Anniversary which made it especially worthwhile to go.

Broadway Singing Christmas Tree 014

A few friends and I also went to see Star Wars-“The Last Jedi.” To culminate it was the Christmas Party in which I made some chocolates and cookies to share.

Speaking of cookies, I made some Pecan Turtles.

Voila!!!

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Cookie Recipe:

1/2 cup toasted pecans (plus more for rolling in)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (softened)
1 large egg

Caramel Recipe:

Sugar
Whipping Cream
Butter

Results: These are a fantastic addition to any cookie exchange. Buttery and crispy and gooey. A keeper.

~Happy Holidays~

Christmas Baking Project 1-Bouchon Bakery Pralined Eclairs

18 Dec

As you all may know from my previous post, there was a new addition to my baking book family :). That sounds weird now…but really I really love this book. I finally decided to purchase Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery Book and haven’t looked back eversince.  Prior to buying it, I would be caught at Chapters on a constant basis in the dessert section and like an ant to sugar, or bee to honey, I would be found combing through the delicious recipes of the book while restraining myself from devouring the pages like a savage beast.   Mmmmm, the recipes were to die for.  While intricately written, the recipes were easy to follow as there was an abundance of photographs and methodically written out.

What better time to practice those recipes than Christmas!!!

The second recipe that really caught my eye was the eclair with the pralined pecans and the chocolate sheet.  Boy oh boy were the photos mouth-watering.  Yes I am weak and can’t resist 🙂 but hey it was for a good cause and it will find a good place, in our tummies that is.   While reading the recipe carefully, I found that there was a subtle difference between the Bouchon recipe and other Choux Paste recipes.  Keller uses sugar in the choux paste batter.  He also suggested to cool the piped eclairs in the fridge prior to baking and spray them with water to encourage even rising.  At first I was like ???? then chemistry came to mind as I thought about expansion and steam.  Thus went right ahead in preparing the paste.  A french star tip was used to piped out the eclairs and then they were  inserted into the fridge for cooling.  This was how mine looked like.

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,Water was then  misted over the eclairs and baked in the oven at 380F for 18 minutes.  Please note:  Every oven is calibrated differently thus you may need to adjust the oven temperature and time.  I had to tweak mine by trial and error.  Watching them rise was exciting.  I guess the fridge and water played a significant part in the success of the eclairs.  Once the 18 minutes were up, I gradually decreased the temperature to approx 340F and baked the eclairs for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Again, I can’t emphasize that these were only guidelines.  The reduction in temperature allowed for the puffs to dry out while preventing them from being burnt.

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Next came the decorating and assembly of the eclairs.  First came the creme patisserie next came the chocolate tempering.  As an decorative twist, the tempered chocolate was spread over a stenciled design.  The dry caramel method was used and pecans were added to the caramelized sugar.  When the nuts were coated, they were allowed to cool down.  With the custard cooling, chocolate setting, I then whipped the cream.  Time for assembling.

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Pipped out the custard first and then placed the pecans on top of the custard.

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Pipped on some whipped cream on top of the pralined pecans and custard.

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Next came the chocolate rectangles.

Overall, I was quite happy about the result of the eclairs; in my opinion they looked stunning.  Course, fillings could be changed and fruits could be added but nothing tastes more devine than a freshly baked light as air eclair.  As for the recipe…you could find tonnes of eclair recipes on the internet…just need to try them and tweak them to your own preference.

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