• Cinnamon Sugar Brioche Twists

    Well well well, if it isn’t me, back in action after 3 months. To be frank, I can’t even apologize for being gone because I don’t even know what I was up to, and for the record, time means nothing this year anyway. I sincerely hope that everyone reading this is doing okay, and that you’re taking some time to do what makes you happy, even though you’ve probably been in the same place for the last 8 months.

    A brief paragraph on today’s bake: I’ve been buying cookbooks like there’s no tomorrow, and one that I’ve been looking forward to for AGES is Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz, formerly of the BA Test Kitchen. It finally arrived last week and I have to say, I was a little overwhelmed by all the possibilities. But, because I know who I am as a person, I settled on these Brioche Twists first. Anything to get me out of bed on time for the workday, am I right? Now I won’t lie, these are a little challenging. I always say that bread is the scariest thing for me to bake, every time I make it feels like the first time in terms of the sheer panic that I feel. I will confess that I tried blooming four separate batches of yeast before I got one that worked, I very nearly quit before I had even started. However, all it takes is some patience (this is a two day project), and make sure you read the whole recipe through before starting, so you know what you’re getting into. You’ve been warned. Then, as a reward, you’ll have the most delightfully buttery, slightly sweet cinnamon breakfast pastry for days on end.

    I’ve been trying to figure out why I haven’t been as motivated to write as I have in the past, and the obvious answer is that like everyone else, quite simply doing anything in this pandemic can sometimes seem pointless and exhausting. For a while, cooking became something that we all had to do, rather than something I did for fun, and I always told myself that I would take a step back form Sweet D if it ever felt like a chore, rather than force myself and grow to hate it. I was afraid to go overboard at the grocery store, since I couldn’t spontaneously take a trip every time I was out of a single random ingredient, and I just wasn’t feeling very creative.

    BUT, eventually I had to reason with myself, and decided that I need to take advantage of all the little things that make me happy in a day. Especially now that I’m back in my apartment, I can sometimes go the entire work day without going outside, and I needed to find a way to break up my day and separate work time from free time. Soon enough, I found myself looking forward to the meals I’d be making for dinner again. I won’t go preachy on you all, but I think the best we can do right now is savor the little parts of the day that make you smile. For me, it’s cooking dinner and dancing in the kitchen, drinking a glass of wine and listening to some boyband music. You can get through this, and you can get through this cooking!

    Before we start, here are 5 things to be happy about:
    ONE. Buying a collection of decorative pumpkins to arrange on the coffee table.
    TWO. Switching out your summer scented candles with your fall ones.
    THREE. Watching the leaves change day to day and remembering that time is passing.
    FOUR. Discovering a new TV show to watch, that already has all its episodes out.
    FIVE. Taking this quarantine time to really finish decorating your house.

    Let’s bake!

    Brioche Dough Ingredients

    ¼ cup whole milk
    1 tsp active dry yeast
    1 tsp honey
    4 cups all purpose flour
    ¼ cup granulated white sugar
    2 tsp fine kosher salt
    6 large eggs, at room temperature
    2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

    Brioche Dough Steps

    Proof the yeast. In a small saucepan, heat the milk to around 105 degrees. It should be warm, but not too hot that it kills the yeast. Add the heated milk to a small bowl, stir in the yeast and the teaspoon of honey, then set aside to bloom for 5 to 10 minutes. You’ll know its working if the mixture gets foamy at the top. It’s important to note that if your yeast doesn’t do this, start over, as the yeast is dead.

    Combining the ingredients. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, and salt, then mix briefly to combine. Make a small well in the center of this flour mixture and add the bloomed yeast, then all 6 eggs.

    Mixing the dough. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on low speed until the flour is moistened. After about a minute, turn the mixer to medium and knead until the dough becomes cohesive, smooth, and sticks to the bottom of the bowl. Don’t panic, it can take up to 10 minutes for the dough to come together in the soft consistency you’re looking for. If need be, add a tablespoon or two of flour to the bowl if the dough continues to stick to the sides.

    Adding the butter. With the mixer still on medium, add the butter in, a tablespoon at a time, mixing fully before adding the next tablespoon. Again, don’t rush this, it will take up to 15 minutes to completely incorporate all the butter.

    First Rise and chill. Now that the dough is extremely soft and beautiful, gather it into a ball and lightly flour all sides. Place it in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature for 1 to 1½ hours, until the dough has doubled in size. Note: don’t let it rise someplace too warm, as the butter will start to melt back out of the dough.

    Once the first rise is done, place the wrapped bowl in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, up to 24. This will help make the dough more manageable when you’re shaping it! Now we get to the twist!

    Brioche Twist Ingredients

    ½ Batch of Brioche Dough (above)
    ½ cup granulated white sugar
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    ¼ tsp ground cardamom (optional)
    4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

    Brioche Twist Steps

    Make the toppings. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom (if using). Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Set aside.

    Divide the dough and prepare your baking sheets. Using half the batch of dough from the above recipe, divide into 8 equal (or mostly equal!) portions. Lay these portions on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Work with one ball of dough at a time, returning the baking sheet to the fridge in between. This will make sure that all the twists proof at the same rate, so don’t skip this!

    On a clean, unfloured work surface, roll each ball of dough into a rope about 10cm long. On a separate plate, brush the rope all over with melted butter, and coat generously in the spiced sugar. To fold, pick up the rope from the middle, and twist the tails once or twice around each other. Note: you can also make any shape you feel like, knotted or spiraled will taste just as good!

    Return the completed twist to the baking sheet in the fridge, and repeat with the remaining 7 pieces of dough.

    Proof the twists. Once all 8 twists are done, remove the baking sheet from the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for 55-65 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they’re slightly puffed, and when they bounce back but hold a slight indentation when poked.

    Bake the twists. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the twists for 20-25 minutes, until they’re puffed and golden brown. While you’re waiting for them to bake, bask in the heavenly cinnamon-sugar butter smell. Congratulations, you’ve made bread!!

    xoxoxoxD

    Want more bread content? Look here, here, and here!! Want a quarantine challenge? Try this!

  • Cinnamon Ice Cream

    Soooo this all started because of a little show called Gourmet Makes. You know it? I hope so. If you don’t, it’s a Bon Appetit YouTube series where Claire Saffitz of the BA Test Kitchen reverse engineers different popular candies and snacks, to make them less processed and even tastier. Last week’s episode? Gourmet Ben and Jerry’s! She tried a series of flavors like pistachio, cherry garcia, and coffee chip, and by the end of the episode I wanted ice cream more than I’ve ever wanted it before. But, since it was almost 11:30 at night and all stores were closed, I had literally no choice but to order an ice cream machine on Amazon. I don’t make the rules, that’s reasonable, right?

    You know what’s so great about making ice cream? Once you have a good base recipe, you can play around with it any way you like, steeping the cream with different aromatics, swirling jams or chocolate into the mixture while it churns, you name it! I myself can’t wait for summer corn season, so I can make a blueberry jam swirl with a sweet corn base.

    But today’s recipe is inspired by a gelato that I used to eat (almost) every single day while studying abroad. The Gelateria was called Edoardo, and I would get the same two scoops in every cup- honey poppyseed, and cinnamon. When I tell you I still think about that cinnamon gelato at least once a day, I’m not lying. Now I know this is ice cream and not gelato and they are slightly different, the flavor is just as good. Real cinnamon is such a delicate, warming flavor, and when combined with a thick, vanilla custard, you will never want to eat another flavor. So naturally, instead of doing any Super Bowl related anything on Sunday, I made ice cream! And watched Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for the third time! A weekend well spent if you ask me.

    Anyway, before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today!
    ONE. Remembering a memory that had been foggy for so long.
    TWO. The Notes app on your phone holding all your random thoughts.
    THREE. Wearing your favorite outfit and feeling the confidence boost.
    FOUR. Remembering your reusable bag for a trip to the store.
    FIVE. Taking a risk that pays off.

    Let’s do this! Beware the brain freeze!

    Ingredients

    6 egg yolks
    2 cups heavy cream
    1 cup whole milk
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla bean, sliced in half)
    1/8 tsp fine sea salt

    Steps

    Add all the egg yolks to a medium bowl. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar until combined. In a saucepan, heat together the cream, milk, cinnamon sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste (or split vanilla bean). Simmer this mixture until the sugar dissolves and remove from the heat.

    Whisking constantly, drizzle about a third of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, then transfer these tempered egg yolks to the saucepan with the rest of the cream. Return the pot to medium heat and cook slowly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Allow the cinnamon and vanilla to steep for 30 minutes at room temperature before straining.

    Cover the strained custard and chill for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.

    Churn the custard in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturers instructions. Once completed, it can be eaten immediately as soft serve, or store in the freezer for scoopable ice cream. Congratulations, you’ve made ice cream!! I’m gonna go eat some for dinner.

    xoxoxoxo

    Looking for more weekend projects? Look no further than here and here!

  • Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake Biscuits

    Well well well, another week into September, and I’m still alarmed at how fast this year is moving. Not so alarmed, however, that I didn’t leap wholeheartedly into Fall baking before the official start of the season. As far as I’m concerned, once September hits, it’s Fall. And what comprises fall baking? Apples! Cinnamon! Biscuits! Whatever your heart desires! This week’s recipe has a little bit of everything, some brown sugar cinnamon sauteed apples and some brown butter streusel, folded all cozy into a biscuit dough and slathered with cinnamon glaze. I give you, Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake Biscuits.

    I went on my first ever grown-up business trip this past week, which was a huge win for me since thinking about the airport usually strikes fear in my heart. It turned out to be really fun and interesting, and I feel like a certified adult now. I then ended up going back to my parent’s house for the weekend, and I knew I had to take advantage of having a big kitchen again. So, I got my coffee and took a quick walk around my favorite garden, and then got to work.

    A quick note to all, I know that my posts as of late have been not as consistent as usual, please know that I am trying my best, but it’s tough to photograph the things I make when we’re still eating off of paper plates. Rest assured things will be back to normal so soon, I am just settling in!

    Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about:
    ONE. Coming home from a long day, lighting a candle, and getting cozy.
    TWO. Halloween decorations.
    THREE. When your alarm goes off but then you remember that it’s Saturday.
    FOUR. Making plans for the weekend to motivate you through the work week.
    FIVE. Doing the “big grocery shop” late on a Sunday evening.

    Inspired in part by recipes from here and here.

    Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake Biscuits

    All of the best parts of baking for fall, folded into one little biscuit and doused in cinnamon glaze. Apples! Cinnamon! Brown sugar! Streusel! Let's bake!
    Prep Time 1 hr
    Cook Time 20 mins
    Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
    Course Breakfast, Dessert
    Servings 8 biscuits

    Ingredients
      

    Cinnamon Apples

    • 2 large baking apples; peeled and thinly-sliced
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    • Pinch of salt

    Brown Butter Streusel

    • 1 stick butter
    • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 tsp cinnamon

    Biscuit Dough

    • 3 cups flour
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ¾ cup butter; cold and grated on a box grater
    • cup whole milk; plus more for brushing
    • Raw sugar; for sprinkling

    Cinnamon Glaze

    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    Instructions
     

    Cinnamon Apples

    • Place the apples, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine all the ingredients until the butter melts completely. Allow the apples to cool in a bowl while you prepare the rest of the parts.

    Brown Butter Streusel

    • In the same pan as before, melt the stick of butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter becomes nutty and fragrant and golden brown.
    • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, white and brown sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Drizzle the brown butter over the flour mixture, and stir until it comes together in crumbles. Cool the streusel in the fridge while you make the dough.

    Biscuit Dough

    • Preheat your oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add in the grated butter and mix with your hands until it's about pea-sized and crumbly. Add a cup of the milk and stir until a dough begins to form, adding the remaining ¼ cup as necessary- you may not need all of it!
    • Dump the dough into a floured surface and work it gently with your hands into one cohesive ball. Roll out into a rough 9" x 13" rectangle, making sure nothing is sticking.
    • Spread the apples into an even layer on half of the dough, and then add a layer of the streusel on top. Fold the other half of the dough on top of the filling and gently seal the edges so that nothing falls out while you cut the biscuits.
    • Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 biscuits. Carefully transfer each biscuit to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle generously with the raw sugar.
    • Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool slightly before glazing and serving.

    Cinnamon Glaze

    • In a bowl, whisk together all the glaze ingredients until a thick but pour-able glaze forms, adding more heavy cream or powdered sugar as necessary until the desired consistency is reached. Cover each biscuit with a generous amount of glaze and enjoy!!
    Keyword apple, biscuits, cinnamon, coffee cake, fall baking

    Into more scones and biscuits? Look here, here, and here!