Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cranberry Spice Biscotti - Crazy Ingredients Challenge

I am the worst cookie baker in the world. Yet knowing this, I forwent my initial plan to make biscotti for this month's Crazy Ingredients Challenge and tried my hand at shortbread. Big mistake. I know what you're thinking. Biscottis are cookies and shortbreads are the easiest cookies to make. Right on both counts. But you see, biscotti, doesn't mind being in the oven a little long. It doesn't need to come out before it's done. It's OK for biscotti to be hard. This is my kinda cookie. As for the shortbread being easy? I don't want to talk about that. There was a cupcake plan too but to be honest, after eating half a cake in fewer days than anyone should eat half of an 18000 calorie cake, making cupcakes just seemed like a bad (but oh so delicious) idea.

But let's rewind a bit. I have not actually introduced you to the ingredients for this month. This month cranberries and gingerbread spice won the poll. Festive! And so much easier than last year's gingerbread spice and onions. That one had me scratching my head and ready to quit. I didn't even know what gingerbread spice was. But thanks to our then host - Jutta - and Google, I learned. The mix really varies a lot but I decided to keep it simple. I went with 2 parts cinnamon, 2 parts ginger, 1 part nutmeg, 1 part allspice, 1 part cloves. Other mixes include other spices such as anise, cardamom and even black pepper.

I really enjoyed this biscotti and hope you do too. Within hours of baking and cooling, I had already eaten a significant number. I still have those cupcakes on my mind and think I may try to fit them into my schedule in the upcoming week.  Scroll down to see what festive dishes others came up with for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge!

Cranberry Spice Biscotti

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup - 1 cup of chopped dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line one large or two small baking sheets with parchment, non-stick foil or baking mats. 
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt
Whisk spices and brown sugar into melted butter then whisk in egg and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix just until the flour streaks disappear. Stir in chopped cranberries. Don't over mix. Dough will be very sticky.
Divide the dough into two. With floured or wet hands, pat each piece into an 11" x 2.5" smooth rectangle.
Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for another 25 minutes then slice at 1/2 inch intervals on a slight diagonal.
Place the slices cut side up and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the cookies and bake for another 5 minutes or until both sides are golden.
Cool completely.

You'll note that my ratio of cinnamon/ ginger to other spices is a bit more than 2 parts. I thought the biscotti could do with an extra cinnamon and ginger kick so I added an extra half teaspoon of each but didn't increase the other spices.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mint Tea Mini Bundts - #BundtBakers

I struggled with what to make for this month's Bundt Bakers. I knew that I would be baking myself a huge birthday cake and wondered if I should use the same batter for one of the layers of my cake and the Bundt. Laura, our host, chose mint for this month's theme  But that meant a mint chocolate layer and while I absolutely LOVE mint chocolate, I just wasn't feeling a mint chocolate layer this year. I was sipping a cup of tea when an idea struck. Perhaps I could use tea in my Bundt.

 I am not much of a hot beverage drinker. This is a fact that makes all my Jamaican friends give me the side eye. Poll several Jamaicans, and I can guarantee you that 99% of them will tell you that they always start their days with a hot beverage. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate (made from balls of pure chocolate), porridge. They just do not feel good without it. Pass me a cold beverage. Don't put porridge near me. However, if I am not feeling well, I will make myself some tea. I usually choose one of three options - mint, ginger or lime leaf. I know someone is raising his/her eyes at lime leaf. Hehe. Considering that most of the first page Google results for "lime leaf tea" are Jamaican, this might be a Jamaican thing.

The tea infusion worked better than I expected. The cake is has a light mint flavour and also a slight green tinge. I left the leaves in because my dried mint leaves were pretty small and I liked the look. but you could strain if you wish. I can't wait to try this with other teas. I meant to add an orange tea to this but opted to try just mint for now. orange and chai will come later.

There are lots of minty cakes and bread for you to drool over this month. Scroll down to see the list!

Mint Tea Bundt                                 
Recipe by: Kelster    Adapted from: Holy Vegan
Yield: 3 one-cup size mini Bundts
1/2 cup hot milk
1 teaspoon dried peppermint leaves
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 cup butter
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
Thoroughly grease and flour 3 one cup capacity mini Bundt pans. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the tea leaves to steep in the hot milk. When cool, strain milk, if desired, and add the vinegar.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Alternate adding the flour and milk to the butter mixture and mix until well combined. Pour into prepared pans and bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a cake comes out clean.
My peppermint leaves were pretty small so I left them in. You could strain the milk and add leaves that have been processed finely to the flour mixture. You could also place the leaves in a cheesecloth but squeeze well and you may need to add more milk after.
#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling or Frosting

Every year, for the lat few years, I bake myself two special cakes - one for the anniversary of my brain surgery and the other for my birthday. Each year I tell myself that I am going to document the process (or the final result) on my blog but it never happens. Sometimes there's a minor hiccup with the cake that I just don't have time to fix (like an extremely sweet frosting in 2012). But most times it's because I am in a deep sugar coma and just can't get around to sorting through my endless cake notes.

This year after the annual "post on Facebook" ritual, someone asked for a recipe. So here I am, sorting through my notes. The cake has 4 layers - 2 brownies, one blondie and a cookie dough layer. These are then covered in a brown sugar Italian meringue buttercream. I'm going to take it one layer at a time. I know myself better than to try to write this up all at once. So first up is the chocolate chip cookie dough.

I adapted the recipe from Sprinkle Bakes. I used softened butter instead of melted butter and reduced the sugar a bit. I also did not add milk. See the recipe/notes for more information on that. Also, I opted for 2/3rds of her "I love a LOT of cookie dough" recipe. I do love a lot of cookie dough but there is a lot of cake here (18110 calories of it to be exact!). This made an approximately 0.8"  high layer when pressed into a 9" pan.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling or Frosting                                 
Recipe by: Kelster    Adapted from: Sprinkle Bakes
Yield: 1 batch

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
milk, as needed


Whisk together the flour and salt and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined and no flour streaks remain. Add milk by the tablespoon to get dough to preferred consistency. For a layer in a cake, you may only need about 4 tablespoons or less. For frosting, you may need up to 12 tablespoons. After desired consistency has been reached, stir in chocolate chips.
For a layer in a cake, spread the cookie dough into a plastic wrap lined 9" cake pan. Cover and freeze. To use, simply place the frozen cookie dough on a layer of cake.

  • One can also use mini chocolate chips.
  • I was happy with the consistency of my filling and did not use any milk.

    post signature

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

    Garlic Multigrain Bread - #BreadBakers

    Talk to me, fellow bakers. Talk to me about your oven mitts. I've been using pretty standard oven mitts - nothing fancy. And they functioned well enough - until last Saturday morning when I removed this bread from the oven. Well, it was when I removed the cloche. I won a beautiful Emile Henry bread cloche and knew before it arrived that I wanted to use it for this month's Bread Bakers. Our host, Mirelle, chose quinoa as our theme and I knew pretty quickly that I would make a simple no knead loaf to test the cloche.

    Of course, when it was time to start baking, I started having second thoughts. Maybe I should try something else. I am in the midst of a serious chocolate craving and adding chocolate and making the bread in a loaf pan just seemed like the right thing to do. When one craves chocolate, one should make any and everything chocolate. It took several cookies and a huge brownie to talk me out me of that. But the chocolate craving rages on. (Two more days until a choclatey cake. A few hours until more brownies. I can make it. I hope.)

    I like adding things to no knead loaves. Let's be honest, if you have ever made a no knead loaf, you know that they can be pretty blah. I knew the quinoa would add texture but not a ton of flavour so I threw in some chopped garlic. Flax seeds were in my line of sight so they got added too. Then finally, I added a 5 grain cereal mix. Party in the mixing bowl! If I had beer, I would have added that too. Seriously. Cook's Illustrated recommends it. After a long rest, it was time to bake and time to test the cloche. I could have used a cold cloche (the instructions booklet mentioned several recipes starting with a cold one) but I wanted to test it preheated. And oh man was it heated.

    When I removed the cover some minutes into baking, my oven mitts threw up the white flag. I have taken a vessel out of a 450 F oven before but clearly, that was just pretending to be hot. The cloche was HOT and I felt it through the mitts.The mitts even scorched a bit.  So this is where I need some help. Clearly, I need new mitts. Mitts that can really stand the heat. My first thought was to get some silicone ones. Have you tried them? Do you have specific brand recommendations? I would hate to grab some that claim to be resistant up to 450 F and then find out that they really aren't. Because this cloche holds on to every bit of heat in that oven. Great for bread, not so for fingers.

    Here's my recipe for this garlicky loaf. But be sure to see how my fellow Bread Bakers used quinoa below. I even spy a loaf with chocolate!

    Garlic Multigrain Bread                                 
    Recipe by: Kelster    
    Yield: 1 loaf (~ 690 grams)
    400 grams all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
    43 grams quinoa, rinsed
    35 grams 5 grain cereal
    20 grams flax seeds
    15 grams garlic, finely chopped (~4 cloves)
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    300 grams water

    In a large bowl mix together flour, yeast, quinoa, 5 grain cereal, flax seeds, garlic and salt until evenly distributed. Add the water and mix until all the flour is moistened. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours. The dough is ready when it's risen and very bubbly. 
    Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form it into a ball. Place the ball in a parchment lined (our heavily floured cloth towel-lined) bowl or skillet. Cover loosely and let rise until doubled in size - up to 2 hours. 
    At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 F. Place a heavy covered baking vessel such as a dutch oven, crock or cloche in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully transfer the dough to the hot vessel. You can simply place the dough in the vessel on the parchment paper or carefully turn the dough out into vessel.
    Bake covered for 25 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes or until the loaf is well-browned and registers 200 F. Cool completely before slicing.

    • I used Bob's Red Mill 5 grain cereal. 35 grams is approximately 1/3 cup. You could substitute rolled oats or a mix of your choice. 
    • Don't feel like chopping garlic? I completely understand. Try garlic powder.
    • If you do not have a vessel with a cover, foil can be used to cover the vessel.

    Bread Bakers

    What is Bread Bakers? It’s a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Bread Bakers Pinterest Board. Links are also updated after each event on the Bread Bakers home page. How is the monthly theme determined? We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Would you like to join in the fun? If you are a food blogger, send an email with your blog name and url to Stacy at

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

    Eggnog Kringel - Foodie Extravaganza

    I have a confession to make. Up until last week, I had never tasted eggnog. No, no. I promise that I'm not (that) sheltered and eggnog is enjoyed in Jamaica. It's just that I don't drink milk and that "embargo" extended to all milky drinks. I'm not lactose intolerant either. I just have zero interest in the substance . Well, not zero, I do bake with it but otherwise it's never used.

    My mother said that I stopped drinking milk when I was a baby. I loved it. Then one day I would scream bloody murder if it was brought near me. She suspects that my nanny is responsible somehow. But she never made a big deal out of it. She doesn't drink milk or milky drinks either so she wasn't about to force her daughter. This means there was never milk around. Well, that's not true. There was always condensed milk available for coffee and hot cocoa. I don't think you'd ever find a Jamaican fridge without condensed milk. There are stories of children eating the stuff on bread and there's a desert made with just fruit and condensed milk. I can't vouch for the taste though because I pretty much ignored the condensed milk too.

    But back to eggnog. December is eggnog month and Foodie Extravaganza (through our host, Alexis) chose eggnog as the theme this month. So it was time to drop my eggnog "embargo" and have a sip. Luckily, the day I was brainstorming ideas, my grocery store had eggnog trifle samples. That was some good stuff. I was tempted to just replicate that until my bread baking side reminded me that I've been meaning to make another kringel for a while.

    The Estonian kringel is a beautiful braided bread that's filled with sugar, spices and often dried fruit. I took some liberties and used eggnog as the liquid and added nutmeg to the filling.Oh, this was some good bread. The eggnog flavour shone through and there was a lovely hint of rum. That's right - you really want to use a spiked eggnog. Plain eggnog will be good. Spiked eggnog will be amazing. This is best enjoyed warm and is at it's best on the first day. I probably will never pour myself a glass of eggnog but I'd be happy to use it as an ingredient in dessert. If you're looking for ways to use eggnog, be sure to scroll down and check out all the amazing recipes this month.

    Eggnog Kringel                                
    Recipe by: Kelster    
    Yield: 1 loaf
    375 grams all purpose flour
    7 grams active dry yeast
    28 grams oil
    24 grams sugar
    1 large egg yolk
    5 grams salt
    200 grams eggnog (See notes)

    3 tablespoons softened margarine
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 teaspoon cornstarch
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


    Combine all the dough ingredients except the eggnog in the bowl.Start adding the eggnog and kneading. Add enough eggnog  to form a soft, non-sticky dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rest until dough has doubled. This could take from 1 to 2 hours.

    After dough has risen, remove dough from the bowl and roll out into a 15" x 13" rectangle. If dough resists, let rest for a few minutes then continue rolling. Spread the dough with softened butter. Mix the remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the dough.

    Starting along a longer edge, roll up the dough into a tight log. Gently, stretch the log out a bit. Using a sharp knife, split this log lengthwise. With the cut sides facing up, twist these two new pieces into a rope then form the rope into a circle. Seal the two ends together.

    Cover and let rise until almost doubled (30 minutes - 1 hour).

    Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 325 F. Bake for another 20 - 30 minutes or until the kringel registers 190 F. If the kringel is getting dark too quickly, cover with foil.

    • Some eggnogs will be thicker than others. Start with approximately 3/4ths of the suggested amount and add as needed.  

     If you would like to participate in the next Foodie Extravaganza, just go to the Facebook page to join.  We would love to have you!
    Enjoy these 17 Eggnog Recipes!

    Gingerbread Eggnog Cookies - A Day in the Life on the Farm
    Nutty Nog Caramels - Culinary Adventures with Camilla
    Eggnog Rice Pudding - The Joyful Foodie 
    Peppermint Eggnog Hot Chocolate - Trial and Eater
    Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cake - Fearlessly Creative Mamas
    Eggnog Cookies - Sew You Think You Can Cook
    Fruity Eggnog Bread Pudding - Cindy's Recipes and Writings
    Chewy Eggnog Cookies - We Like to Learn as We Go
    Eggnog Waffles and Syrup - Making Miracles
    Eggnog Pound Cake with Eggnog Glaze - Food Lust People Love 
    Eggnog Kringel - Passion Kneaded
    Banana Chocolate Chip Eggnog Coffee Cake - The Sweet {Tooth} Life
    Eggnog Cupcakes - Baking in Pyjamas
    No-Bake Eggnog Cookies - Rhubarb and Honey
    Eggnog Mexican Flan - Pantry Friendly Cooking
    Eggnog Fudge - Mrs. Penguin
    Eggnog Creme Brulee - The Freshman Cook

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Tangerine Screwdriver Mini Bundts - #BundtBakers

    Growing up there was hardly ever any alcohol in my house. We drank the occasional Shandy as kids. (My mother bought it for us. We weren’t hiding and drinking. I‘m actually not sure what the legal drinking age is in Jamaica. I think I read recently that it‘s now 18 instead of 16(?) but I really do not know nor think it‘s enforced.) However, at Christmas, rum, red wine and stout were bought for the Jamaican Christmas cakes. (Note to self: Bake a cake this year AND blog it.) Even our favourite Christmas drink - sorrel (made from the sorrel/roselle/hibiscus/flor de Jamaica plant) - was alcohol-free.. That is pretty much unheard of in Jamaica. Sorrel is usually LOADED with rum. Instead, my mother loaded it with spices and we did not miss the rum. At least, I didn’t. (Another note to self: make and blog sorrel.)

    Now, while I rarely pour myself a drink, I definitely love alcohol in my cakes. I’d probably add liquor to every single cake if left to my own devices. Every microwave mug cake that I’ve made has had a splash or two of rum or wine. Every single one. I’ve been known to bake a boozy cake for a friend’s birthday and then eat half the cake before the pick up. Oops.

    So basically, boozy cakes as a theme for Bundt Bakers is PERFECT for me. Since I don’t drink much, I rarely explore different cocktails and pretty much stick to the ones that I know - screwdrivers, fuzzy navels and strawberry daiquiris. Two of my friends in undergrad liked screwdrivers and fuzzy navels so I adopted those two as my drinks. Strawberry daiquiris joined the list when I moved to Miami and tried one at Flannigans. I wanted to make a fuzzy navel bundt back when we did stone fruits but thought I’d wait for a booze theme. Now that it’s here, I’ve switched to the screwdriver. Peaches aren’t in season and I wasn’t in the mood for jam.

    You’ll see from the title that I’m using tangerines instead of oranges. This isn’t because I wanted to add a twist - OK, that is part of the reason. However, the main reason is that oranges (used to?) trigger my migraines. I can get away with drinking some brands of orange juice but I don’t try too often. But I can’t get away with orange zest/rind and I wanted to use some here. It’s been a while since I’ve had a migraine(*knock on wood*) and I really wanted to test it. But I thought I’d leave well enough alone.

    So tell me, do you like alcohol in your cakes or solely in your glass? I have a friend who does not like alcohol in her cakes. I’m not sure how we’re still friends. I hope you like boozy cakes though because there’s an amazing list of boozy cakes below. Thanks, Lauren for choosing a great theme!

    Dark and rainy day = Worse than normal pictures. I'll rebake and retake soon.

    Tangerine Screwdriver Mini Bundts for Two

    1 egg
    3 tablespoons of sugar
    1 tablespoon of tangerine juice
    6.5 tablespoons of cake flour
    tangerine zest
    Glaze 1
    2 tablespoons tangerine juice
    3 tablespoons vodka
    2 tablespoons powdered sugar. 
    Glaze 2 (optional)
    powdered sugar plus enough tangerine juice and/or vokda to make a pourable icing.
    tangerine zest for garnish


    Preheat oven to 325 F.
    In a metal bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar. Place this metal bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
    Whisk until the mixture is warm, has lightened in colour and is frothy. 
    Remove from heat, whisk on medium speed then add the tangerine juice. Whisk mixture until the bottom of the bowl has completely cooled.
    Add tangerine zest then fold in the cake flour until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.
    Pour into thoroughly greased mini bundt pans
    Bake 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
    Whisk together the ingredients for glaze 1 and pour over warm cakes. Cool then remove from pans.
    If using the second glaze, pour over cooled cakes.


     #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

    If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

    Tangerine Muffins with Breadcrumb Topping - Crazy Ingredient Challenge

    I had a really difficult time deciding on a recipe for this month’s Crazy Ingredient’s Challenge. The ingredients this month are not even “crazy” but I decided to make it hard on myself. No savory dishes. No bread pudding. No Brown Bettys. Uhm. So what does that leave? Not much apparently. My initial plan was to make a dessert dumpling - perhaps one filled with chocolate. But then one day that changed to pop tarts. That was partly influenced by current need to turn everything into a pop tart after making some here. I was all set to make the tarts. And then two days ago, I found myself craving muffins. I couldn’t shake the craving.

    Oh I tried. Were muffins really going to be as good as that buttery tart crust? Was I really that happy with my tart plan? Were muffins just an easy way out? I went back and forth for a while. I almost made both things. Luckily, the busyness of this week forced me to make a decision. Muffins won. Sorry, tarts. Your time  will come again soon.

    These muffins are a work in progress. The flavour is fine. But the batter was really thin. Next time I'll use yogurt or sour cream instead of buttermilk. Because of the thin batter, my breadcrumbs topping simply sank down. I wanted crunch! Ah well - next time.

    Tangerine Muffins with Breadcrumb Topping
    (Yield 7 high top or 12 regular muffins)

    3/4 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon oil
    1/2 cup tangerine juice
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons tangerine zest
    1 teaspoon cinnamon 
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    pinch of nutmeg
    pinch of cloves
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
    2 tablespoons melted butter
    3-4 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    For high top muffins, preheat oven to 425 F. For "regular" muffins, preheat to 350.
    Combine all the topping ingredients and set aside.
    Whisk together sugar, egg and oil then stir in tangerine juice and yogurt. 
    In another bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg cloves and salt. Add to liquid ingredients stirring only until just combined.
    Pour into greased muffin wells. For "high top" muffins, fill the wells to the top.Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake at 425 F for 6 minutes then lower heat to 350 F. Do not open oven. Bake for6-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Pumpkin Pani Popo - #BreadBakers

    Joining Bread Bakers was probably the best decision that I made this year. It's definitely shaking me out of my bread baking rut. I have bookmarked several bread recipes but seem to just scroll past them when looking for something to bake. Take for example, pani popo. A friend sent me a link to this bread some time ago. I loved the sound of it. Pani Popo is a Samoan bread baked in sweetened coconut milk. (Pani means bun and popo means coconut.) When finished, there is a coconut jelly/jam type mixture at the bottom of the baking pan. It's often served for upside down with extra coconut sauce scooped on top.

    Sounds great, right? So what was I waiting for? Why didn't I bake it immediately?! I suspect that it was the roll factor. Soft sourdough rolls are difficult for me and at the time, I only used my sourdough starter. Thankfully, pani popo sounded just perfect for this month's Bread Bakers' theme - Thanksgiving/Celebratory Dinner Bread. Let's celebrate with some delicious rolls!

    I added some fresh pumpkin to make it more seasonal. Oh and some spices. Let's be honest, depending on the variety of pumpkin that you use, pumpkin by itself can be pretty bland. The flavour can definitely get lost in a bread dough. The spices liven things up. Feel free to use even more than I did. Now as I said, I used fresh pumpkin. Fresh pumpkin has a much higher water content than the stuff in a can. It was also a different variety.  If you use canned pumpkin, you will need to add milk to get the dough to the right consistency - soft and tacky.

    This may be my new favourite bread. It's unbelievably soft and fluffy. The coconut sauce is amazing - I actually wanted more of it. I will definitely use more coconut milk next time. And there will definitely be a few more times. I can't wait to try the original plus other additions. Sweet potato, perhaps? My mother visits me in a week and I still haven't decided what kind of bread I am making for her. Sweet potato pani popo could be it.

    My pani popo is just one of the many rolls that would be great at your Thanksgiving dinner table. Be sure to scroll down to see the list. Thanks for hosting, Holly!

    Pumpkin Pani Popo                                 
    Recipe by: Kelster    
    Yield: 10 servings
    320 grams all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon active dry yeast
    160 grams cooked and pureed pumpkin
    28 grams oil
    24 grams sugar
    1 large egg
    5 grams salt
    ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    ½ teaspoon ginger
    ¼ teaspoon cloves
    milk as needed (see notes)

    Coconut Sauce
    ¾ cup coconut milk
    ¼ cup sugar, or to taste

    Combine all the dough ingredients, except milk, in the bowl of a stand mixer. Knead on low speed for 7 – 10 minutes. Dough should be soft and tacky but not sticky. It will clear the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom of the bowl. If necessary, add milk by the tablespoon.

    Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover and allow to rest at room temperature until doubled. This could take 1- 2 hours depending on the room temperature.

    After dough has risen, divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. My pieces were approximately 57 grams each. Roll each piece into a tight ball and place in a greased round 9.5” baking pan.

    Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until almost doubled. This may take as little as 30 minutes. While dough is rising, blend the coconut milk with the quarter cup of sugar and preheat the oven to 350 F.

    When dough is ready, use a tablespoon to pour coconut milk over each individual roll.

    Bake for 18 – 25 minutes or until the rolls have reached 190 F.

    • I used fresh pumpkin which has a higher water content than canned pumpkin. As water content of pumpkin may vary, it's best to wait and add milk only if the dough seems dry.
    • Here's a great visual for tacky vs sticky dough


    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

    If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Pop Tarts

    Welcome back to our monthly Foodie Extravaganza!
    If this is your first time joining us, the Foodie Extravaganza is a monthly party hosted by bloggers who love food! Each month we incorporate one main ingredient into recipes to share with you and this month that ingredient is a classic family favorite...PEANUT BUTTER!
    Which means you can see 18 more delicious and unique peanut butter recipes at the end of this post. 

    When peanut butter was chosen for this month's Foodie Extravaganza, I immediately knew what I would make. A couple months ago, I made a peanut butter pie with an oatmeal crust and it was amazing. I ate it for breakfast, with lunch and dinner and as a snack. I meant to write a post about it but just never got around to it. Here was my chance. I particularly loved the oatmeal crust. I have always had difficulties with traditional pie crusts and this oat crust was simple with an extra boost of whole grains and fibre. 

    But as today drew closer, I changed my mind. I didn't want an entire pie anymore. That would probably be dangerous. I ate that last one perhaps I shouldn't say how few days it took. So what to make? I asked a couple friends and one suggested a tart. She was thinking in the style of Jamaican plantain tarts which are puff pastry pockets filled with plantain cooked in sugar and spices. I was still hesitant about laminating dough when making pop tarts popped (pun so unintentional) in my head. Time to face the pie crust demon.

    This was actually my most successful pie crust attempt. It just worked. I don't know if the pie crust gods were just on my side. Or if it was the fact that South Florida was experiencing record low temps. (It was in the 50's on Sunday morning!) Maybe I just had more confidence and patience. Who knows. I just know that these pop tarts were good. Very, very, good. I want to "pop tart" everything. Don't be surprised if pop tarts show up again for the next few posts. The pumpkin and peanut butter combination is different. The peanut butter slightly overwhelms pumpkin. Maybe next time I won't use equal amounts so it will  be pumpkin with a nutty undertone. I loved having that hint when I made carrot soup with peanut butter. I didn't use a lot of sugar. Feel free to increase or use a sweetener of your choice. Maple syrup should be good. Play around with the spices too. 

    Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Pop Tarts


    6 oz all purpose flour
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    4 oz cold butter, in half inch cubes

    2 tablespoons cooked and pureed pumpkin
    2 tablespoons peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
    1.5 tablespoons sugar, to taste
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ginger
    pinch ground nutmeg
    pinch ground cloves

    1 cup powdered sugar


    In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Toss in cold butter cubes then place the mixture in the freezer for ten minutes. 
    Empty the contents of the bowl onto a baking mat. Using the heel of your hand or a rolling pin, flatten the cubes of butter into the flour. Repeat until all the flour seems to be buttered.
    Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture and add just enough milk to get the dough to start clumping together. It should not be wet. It may even seem dry. Press everything together, flatten into a rough rectangular shape, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
    Blend together all the filling ingredients. 
    On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to a 8" x 12" rectangle. Cut into 8 4" x 3" rectangles. 
    Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of 4 of the rectangles leaving a half inch border around the edges.. Poke vent holes in the remaining rectangles. Top the filled rectangles with a vented-top. Use a fork to seal the edges.
    Place the tarts in the fridge while the oven preheats to 350 F. 
    When the oven is heated, bake the tarts on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

    When cooled, mix the powdered sugar with just enough milk to make a thick frosting. Spread on tarts.

    Don't miss the rest of these delicious peanut butter recipes!

    To see more delicious Foodie Extravaganza treats or learn how to join the party each month visit us here!

    Savory Dishes
    Sweet Treats