Easter (Bread) Coffee Cake 2014

 

rhubarbcoffeecake

I know, I know I haven’t blogged for months but it is Easter bread day and it feels like a tradition and I was able to go outside and take a photo with lovely lighting.  It was also very delicious,…but is not really bread. It is strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake (this recipe is basically the same one I used).

This breaks some of my rules; luckily they are my rules so I can break them. I don’t really buy strawberries or rhubarb off-season and I also don’t buy them from the supermarket. To me they are the bounty of early spring/summer to be anticipated, eaten to exhaustion while found each week fresh and delicious from the farmers market, then forgotten about until the following year. But I wanted this coffee cake today! It just tastes like spring to me and we all need a little spring around here. I found some fresh, although really really large, rhubarb and then used a combo of fresh and frozen strawberries, all from the store.

Even with the inferior fruit, it was still very delicious (btw coffee cake is all butter)… still not really bread. I ate a lot of it. Rob and Ron ate some but I really ate the lion’s share. I just can’t say no to strawberries and rhubarb! To be extra spring-tacular it was so nice outside we ate our Easter brunch on the porch. Happy.

food words

zuchinibreadI chose to use my box grater rather than my food processor. Lately it seems like the grating disc kind of purees my veggies instead of grating them, which goes badly in the end product. I feel like the little added effort of some manual labor paid off. But I love zucchini bread with cinnamon and pecans! I think you will too.

Now some people don’t like zucchini. He They say it is a texture thing. So s/he didn’t like this zucchini bread. (I don’t want to name any names.)

Preposterous!

Little children who scorn all vegetables love zucchini bread. It tastes nothing like zucchini. It does not have the texture of zucchini. If I had called it cinnamon-pecan bread (because it has both cinnamon and pecans in it) they would probably love it.

But I suppose word associations are powerful things. McDonald’s salads may be delicious and nutritious but they have the word “McDonald’s” attached so I won’t be eating any of them if I can help it. So..well….NAH it’s different.

Easter Bread 2012

This year’s Easter bread: Easter rings Bolognese. They are kind of like very large bread bagels. They do contain eggs, sugar and have a topping of toffee, almonds, sugar…but it isn’t horribly sweet or sticky.  It is still bready. Good stuff. Not that I have a lot a skill at bread baking. I may have overworked the dough a little or cooked it too long. They are delicious just not perfect.

again this time… I can’t find the recipe online for you so I will do my best here:

Easter Rings

1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon (It says optional. How could cinnamon be optional?)
1 pkg  active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp,  lots of people must bake Easter bread because the store was out of packets and I got the last jar left on the shelf.)

1.  Combine in a bowl

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

2. Heat in a sauce pan until sugar is dissolved, and butter is almost melted, temp about 120 degrees F to activate but not kill the yeast.

2 eggs

3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and add eggs. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds then on high for 3 minutes. Go back to low and add the other 1 1/2 or 1 3/4 cups of flour. (I included just 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour) Switch to the dough hook and knead for a few minutes. I then pulled it out and kneaded it a few times by hand to pull the sticky dough together before putting in an oiled bowl. Cover let rise for until double in size about 1.5 hours

4. Punch down, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Now divide dough in half and roll each into a 20 in rope.  It was more like “pull” into a rope for me… rolling didn’t really work. Break rope in half and pinch each into a ring. Place the 4 rings on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise for another 40 minutes.

3/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/4 cup almond toffee pieces (the only ones I could find where Heath and it said “artificial toffee”…sigh)
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks

5. While the rings are rising, (I think you should say that out loud, with an accent maybe, like Alan Cummings or as if it is the first line of a very dramatic poem: “While the rings are rising….”  Wonderful! Thank you. Let’s continue.) Toast and cool your almonds if you haven’t yet. Mix together with the above for the topping.

1 egg white

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the rings are done rising (You don’t have to say it again unless you would like to) brush with the egg white and carefully press the topping on.  Bake for about 25 minutes.

7. Eat warm. I just spread on a little bit of butter.

xmas presents in action part 5 – GGma’s Rolling Pin

piece of cheese flamicheI made flamiche with stinky French cheese. Flamiche is a kind of a bready tart or quiche.  It can also be made with leeks… but I could not find any leeks that week.

I used the rolling pin my aunt gave me for xmas, that had been my great grandmother’s rolling pin. Flamiche is common in northern France and Belgium. So I pretend that this is not the first flamiche this rolling pin has made. That great grandma Rose, whose family was Luxembourger, really the same group of people… there where the border moved and meant little to nothing…so I pretend that her mother Anna who was born in Belgium a few miles from the modern Luxembourg and French borders once taught my great grandmother Rose to make the same or a very similar recipe in a kitchen somewhere in New Belgium, Wisconsin. It may have been difficult though, because I have never seen stinky French-style cheese, or leeks or anything like flamiche in Wisconsin. I pretend anyway.

Easter Bunny Bread

bunnie bread

So my Easter bread this year is an herb bread shaped into bunnies. I made them with fresh rosemary, thyme and sage and with sage sugar on top. They were good; moist, sweet and savory bread made with buttermilk.  I did cut the ears a bit too much on a few of them and they slid down over the front of the body and ended up looking a little more like hammerhead sharks than bunnies.  They did not get very golden brown. I was at my parents’ house and my mother thought I didn’t put enough egg wash on them. It may also be all the sugar on top.  We ate them with just some scrambled eggs and bacon.

breakfast

Sometimes getting messy is the best part…

… Although the flatbread is also delicious. (Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain)

It includes amaranth flour, a grain that supposedly was used by the Aztecs and I dusted it with Mexican oregano. The oregano and griddle baking bread smell was excellent.

It is actually a yeast risen flatbread :) so it takes some time to complete. It really was lovely dough to work with, sometimes a little sticky but it moved gracefully through my fingers, lithe and languid.

I and my entire kitchen was covered in flour by the time I was done, of course, but then it was actually kind if fun to clean up. I like it when I can really see the results of my effort.