Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Bread

Braided Easter Bread
Easter is coming and what better way to get into the spirit then baking some Easter Bread. This is a heavenly sweet bread with a soft and eggy taste. Just make sure you have some time to make it because the rising time of the dough is 12 hours. Well worth it!!!
This recipe is my adaptation of an Italian Easter bread. Usually, the use of anise (licorice flavour) is used but I'm not a fan. So, I just used citrus and vanilla for this recipe. I feel it gives it a nice light and refreshing taste. In addition, raisins or candied peel could be added if you desire. I also omitted the sweet icing and opted for sesame seeds....hello challah! 

1 package of active dry yeast + 1 teaspoon of sugar
1/4 cup warm water (100 degrees F.)

4 eggs
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons melted butter (85g)
1/4 cup milk (lukewarm)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

egg wash for brushing tops
sesame seeds

1.In a stand-up mixer bowl, combine yeast and warm water, sprinkle with sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and oil. Set aside.

3. Add milk to yeast mixture followed by the egg mixture and melted butter.

4. With the dough hook attachment, combine the mixture on a low setting.

5. Add the flour in 1 cup increments and mix for about 5 minutes. If the dough looks sticky or wet add a little more flour. You want the dough to not cling to the sides or bottom of the bowl.

6. Once the dough is ready, place it in a large oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and let rise for 6 - 12 hours. You could place a damp cloth over the dough as well. I did the cloth method and found it formed a crust. Oiling the dough should have prevented this but it happens. The remedy is to moisten the formed crust with water or milk and allowed to soften before kneading.

7. Once the dough as risen for 6-12 hours (this is a slow rising dough and can rise overnight), punch it down and divide it into 4 equal parts. 

8. Divide the portions into 3 strands and braid. Repeat for the other portions. Place braided bread on baking sheets lined with parchment or silpat. (2 per sheet running the width of the sheet).

9. Cover with cloth and let rise for 2 hours. 

10. Brush the tops with an egg wash (1 egg+ splash of water) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

11. Place in a preheated oven of 350F and bake for 20-25 minutes. Rotate pans after 10 minutes to insure even browning. Let cool on pans for 5 minutes then remove. Bread is suitable for freezing.

Easter Bread
Makes 4 small loaves.

Adapted recipe from Food Wishes

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sugar Cookie with Poppy Seeds

Little Star

Want to impress your co workers? 
Take the regular sugar cookie and ramp it up a notch with poppy seeds!


1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup  granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup  poppy seeds
4 cups flour all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp  baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt

In large mixing bowl using electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and poppy seeds.
In another mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Sift into sugar mixture in several batches. Stir with spatula until dough forms.
Roll dough until thin, about 0.6 inch (1/2 cm), on lightly floured board and cut into shapes, if desired. Place on ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake in preheated 375F (190C) oven until puffed but firm, about 9 to 11 minutes.
Cool 5 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.
Makes about 48 cookies.

Line them up!
Adapted recipe from the Toronto Star "Cookie Calendar" December 13, 20012.
Thanks to Patricia Warner for this recipe

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Date Drop Cookies

Date Drop Cookies

This Christmas cookie recipe hails from Germany. I made a few substitutions to the original recipe provided by Mr. Geoff Fleming of Mississauga. Thanks Geoff for adding to my list of favourite Christmas cookies. 

3/4 cup  light brown sugar
6 tbsp (85g)  butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pure vanilla extra
1/2 tsp  baking soda dissolved in 1-1/2 tbsp (17 mL) boiling water
1 cup  all-purpose flour
1/2 lb (225 g) pitted dates, finely chopped
6 tbsp  chopped pecans

In large mixing bowl using electric mixer, cream sugar and butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, vanilla and baking soda mixture. Beat in flour until just mixed. Stir in dates and pecans.
Drop by tablespoonful, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in preheated 350F (180C) oven until just firm and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Cool 5 minutes on sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.
Makes about 30 cookies.
Adapted recipe from the Toronto Star (Cookie Calendar) November 29, 2012.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blueberry Scones

I don't know about you, but there is nothing better than baking with seasonal fruit. And now in Ontario we have great tasting blueberries. So, I decided to put them into my favourite scones. They're sooo delicious!!! Go ahead and Bake My Day!!!

Blueberry Scones


1 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
zest of lemon
1 cup blueberries 
1 cup (226g) unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350F

Add sour cream to a bowl and mix in the baking soda. Set aside.

Using a whisk, combine flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Cut in the butter using a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.

Add the vanilla to the egg and beat slightly. Add to the flour mixture as well as the sour cream and mix well.
Carefully add the blueberries. 
Flatten dough with hands and cut out rounds using a biscuit cutter. Make sure to flour the cutter for easy release of rounds.

Place on lined cookie sheet and bake until golden ontop about 15-20 minutes.

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