Peach Leather Roll Ups and New Blog Design in the Works

I'm reposting this recipe for Peach Leather Roll Ups.  Peaches are beginning to pop up at fruit stands in my part of the world.  This recipe is for Peach Leather Roll ups are so simple with only a bit of honey added to sweeten tart peaches.  


I'm in the process of redesigning my blog.  I will be posting some of my favorite recipes for the harvest that you may have missed over the years while the transition is made.  I'm hoping you will love the new look and hope to be posting on a regular basis.  It's taking me some time to learn a new format and such so bare with me. 

Check out your local Farmers Market for wonderful seasonal and locally grown produce.  Such a marvelous time of year.  

Stay tuned.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Blackberry Buttercream


My garden is overflowing with zucchini, which is not surprise.  Anyone who plants just one plant generally has an abundance.  Zucchini Chocolate Cake is the greatest garden perk.  This recipe for Zucchini Chocolate cake is extremely moist and tender.  I wanted to create an earthly, botanical zucchini e cake so it only made sense to ice it with a Blackberry Swiss Buttercream made with local sweet blackberries.  Step-by-step photos and instructions will make this cake a breeze to make along with a fabulous tip for making all of your cakes extremely moist and delicious.




 You will need to click on the following links for the recipes.  You will find the step-by-step photos and instructions to make both of the recipes.  I have made just a few changes that I will walk you through along with printable recipes and the end of the post.  

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Swiss Meringue Buttercream



Instead of using a baking sheet, I am using three 6-inch round cake pans.  You may use two 9-inch if you don't have 6-inch pans.  Begin by greasing and flouring each cake pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.  Set aside.


Divide batter equally between the three pans.  I use a scale and measure in grams to evenly divide the batter.  This was my layers are equal is size.

Bake the cakes in a 350 F degree oven for 30 minutes or until cake springs back with lightly touched.


Remove from pans and allow to cool for 5 minutes.


Carefully remove the parchment paper.


TIP:  This little step will help you create extremely moist cakes every time.  While the cakes are still hot (YES! still hot) wrap each one in plastic wrap and place in the freezer.  I like to make my cakes ahead of time, so this tip works.  They will keep in the freezer for quite a while.  If storing for more than a few days, wrap in plastic THEN wrap in foil.  The cakes will keep for weeks.

If you want to use the cakes the same day, wrap in plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator for a few hours.  Make sure the cakes are completely cold before icing.


Each of my little cakes are a little less than 2-inches tall.  I sliced them just a bit more than 3/4-inch.



For the Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream substitute 6 tablespoons of Blackberry puree in place of the strawberry puree.

Here are some TIPS for making the buttercream:

  • Buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for several weeks.  Thaw frozen buttercream overnight in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature then beat until creamy.
  • If the buttercream happens to have a curdled look to it, that means it is too cold.  Take a warm wash cloth and place on the bottom of the mixing bowl while beating.  Continue this process just until the mixture is silky smooth.  Not melt the butter!  
  • This type of buttercream is the only icing one should put on a cake.  It's melt in your mouth creamy, silky smooth, rich but not sugary.  It's AMAZING!!!

You can pipe the icing in between the layers or measure out equal amounts of icing for each layer. Piping is quick and easy, as you can see I'm still challenged in the piping department, but no one will ever see between the layers.  Ice the top and sides.



I wanted to create a more rustic, botanical look for my little cake, so I quickly spread the icing to give it a more naked look.  Topped with Willard Bay blackberries and sprigs of thyme from my garden.







Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Blackberry Buttercream

Chocolate Zucchini Cake:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup light flavored olive oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups grated zucchini


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour three 6-inch round cake pans.  Line with a parchment paper.  Set aside.  In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand up mixer beat eggs,  With the mixer running, slowly add sugar and mix until light yellow in color. Slowly add olive oil, buttermilk and vanilla.  Mix until smooth and light in color.  Beat in flour and cocoa mixture until smooth.  Fold in grated zucchini then boiling water.  Pour batter into prepared baking sheet and place in preheated oven.  Bake for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.  Invert cakes onto a cooling rack until completely cool OR for a moister cake immediately wrap in plastic and wrap and place right into a freezer.  Can be frozen for several days, or place is a refrigerator until completely cool before using.


Blackberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
2/3 cup (150 g) egg whites
1 1/4 cups (250 g) sugar
1 1/2 cups (340 g) or 3 cubes unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbl. cubes or slices
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons blackberry puree, at room temperature, seeds removed through a sieve

In a very clean bowl of an electric mixer, add egg whites and sugar.  Place over a simmering pot of water, stirring constantly until temperature reaches 160 degrees F.  Rub a small amount of the mixture between two fingers to make sure the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Using the whisk attachment, beat until the mixture is a thick meringue and the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch. The bowl must be cool before adding the butter.

Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment.  With the mixture on medium-low speed add butter once slice at a time until all of the butter has been incorporated.  The mixture should be silky smooth and thick.  The mixture may begin to look curdled, keep mixing until it is smooth.  This can take 10 minutes or so.  Mix in salt and vanilla.  Add strawberry puree, if using.  Once puree is added keep mixing until mixture is silky again.

  • Buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for several weeks.  Thaw frozen buttercream overnight in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature then beat until creamy.
  • If the buttercream happens to have a curdled look to it, that means it is too cold.  Take a warm wash cloth and place on the bottom of the mixing bowl while beating.  Continue this process just until the mixture is silky smooth.  Not melt the butter!  
  • This type of buttercream is the only icing one should put on a cake.  It's melt in your mouth creamy, silky smooth, rich but not sugary.  It's AMAZING!!!







French Croissants


Happy Bastille Day!   The perfect excuse for baking French Pastry.  I generally don't do a lot of baking during hot summer months, but a fresh hot croissant was calling my name.  Making croissants really isn't hard, it's just labor intensive and takes a few days.  So Worth the effort.


My first Bastille Day celebration was when I was 12 years old.  My family had saved money for several years for a trip to Tahiti (French Polynesia).  My father served as a missionary in Tahiti in the early 1950's for 2 1/2 years.  He fell in love with the islands and the people.  When we arrived Bastille Day was in full celebration mode with parades and island dance competitions, which were amazing.

I was browsing through my instagram when I found this darling Bastille Day crown created by Brittany Jepson (partially pictured above) of the darling and crafty blog The House That Lars Built.  She has a free printable available on her site for this Paris Crown and invitations.  Just click on that link for instructions and while you're there browse around for some amazing ideas.


Hot homemade croissants...take a deep breath.  Let's do this!


Day 1:  You will need

1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) butter, at room temperature
1 cup cold milk


For making croissants I prefer to use active dry yeast over an instant or quick rise yeast.  I prefer the fermented flavor in breads that are refrigerated and proofed over a few days.

Place warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast on top and let sit undisturbed for approximately 5 minutes.  Stir to fully dissolve


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.



Pinch of small pieces of the 1/4 cup of butter, sprinkle them over the dry ingredients, then rub them into the flour by hand until they are almost fully dissolved.


Make a well in the flour mixture then add the yeast and cold milk.


With a wooden spoon or your hands, mix wet and dry ingredients just until evenly combined and all the dry spots have disappeared.  The dough will be of a medium stiffness.




Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for about 1 minute.


  Place dough on a floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or place in a resealable plastic food storage bag.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 5 hours; preferably overnight.


Day 2:
Remove the 12 ounces of butter from the refrigerator .  Allow to soften.  Line a baking pan with plastic wrap, add softened butter and press into a 7 x 7 inch square.  Refrigerate until firm but not hard.  


Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a lightly floured table, and roll it into a 16 x 8-inch rectangle.


I keep a dry pastry brush handy to brush off any excess flour that remains on the dough.


Place the cold butter on the right half of the dough, then fold the other half of the dough over the butter.  Pinch the edges to seal.




With the folded edge on your left, roll the dough out lengthwise so that it measures 22 x 10 inches.



Next fold the bottom third up


Fold top third down.  This is the beurrage.


Place dough on a parchment line baking sheet.  Always keep the folded side on the left.


Cover the dough and refrigerate for 45 minutes


For the turns, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Position the dough so that the fold edge running the length of the dough is on the left.  Make sure the pinched edges are still sealed.


Roll the dough out lengthwise so it measures approximately 22 x 10 x 1/2 inches.



Fold the dough in thirds, beginning with the lower third as before.  (You have completed one turn.)



Place the dough on a baking sheet.  With your finger, make one small indentation on an edge of the dough to indicate one turn has been made. (Keeping track of how many turns have been made is critical.)  Cover and refrigerate  for 45 minutes.

Remove dough from the refrigerator, transfer it to the lightly floured surface, and repeat the process to complete the second turn.  After another 45 minutes, repeat the process to complete the third turn, always making sure the dough remains cold but not too cold.

**Remember you will need to complete this process THREE TIMES before the dough is refrigerated over night. For more detailed instructions for all of these turns check out my post for Pain Au Chocolate

 Cover the dough and return it to the refrigerator to rest for at least 5 hours, but overnight is preferred.



Day 3:

To form the croissants, roll the dough out to exactly 25 x 16 x 1/4 inch.  Cut the dough in half lengthwise to make two 7-inch-wide strips.  using a pastry wheel , cut the strips into triangles, each with a base of 4 to 5 inches.




Starting with the base of one triangle, fold 1/4-inch of the dough over onto itself and begin rolling the triangle up to the point.  Gently stretch the dough by pulling on the strip as your roll it ; this will result in more rolls and make a prettier croissant.



At this point you can cover the croissants and refrigerate overnight.  This process means that it will take FOUR DAYS!  However, I really like the more fermented flavor of this process, but it's not necessary.



For the egg glaze you will need:
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

Whisk the egg and milk together to make the glaze.  lightly brush each croissant with the glaze and let rise, uncovered, in a cool place for 2-3  hours.  This will take longer if they are refrigerated overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  The croissants will be slightly puffing and have almost doubled in size and have the feel of a soft marshmallow when they are ready to be baked.

Brush the croissants with a second coat of egg wash.  Place the baking sheets on the center rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes or until golden brown.




 So worth the effort.


I love raspberry jam with my croissants.  If anyone has been to Paris it's more than likely that you have visited Angelina for amazing hot chocolate.  I had a fabulous breakfast and they served our croissants with raspberry jam.  I bought a jar to bring home and saved the jar because it was so awesome.  I just refill the jar each year with some fresh homemade raspberry freezer jam.


Related recipes for Bastille or any celebration...or no celebration at all:

Crepes
Peaches, Crepes, & Fat Sauce
Crepe Cake with Fall Stone Fruit
Honey Lavender Ice Cream
Pain Au Chocolat
Croque Monsieur



French Croissants

Croissant dough:
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) butter, at room temperature
1 cup cold milk

_________

1 1/2 cups (12 oz) cold unsalted butter

Egg glaze:
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk


Day 1:
Place warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast on top and let sit undisturbed for approximately 5 minutes.  Stir to fully dissolve

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Pinch of small pieces of the 1/4 cup of butter, sprinkle them over the dry ingredients, then rub them into the flour by hand until they are almost fully dissolved.  Stir the yeast mixture and add it to the flour mixture.  Add the cold milk.

With a wooden spoon or your hands, mix wet and dry ingredients just until evenly combined and all the dry spots have disappeared.  The dough will be of a medium stiffness.  The dough may be mixed in a an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook; just be careful not to over mix or it will be too elastic to roll out.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for about 1 minute.  Place dough on a floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or place in a resealable plastic food storage bag.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 5 hours; preferably overnight.

Day 2:

Remove the 12 ounces of butter from the refrigerator .  Allow to soften.  Line a baking pan with plastic wrap, add softened butter and press into a 7 x 7 inch square.  Refrigerate until firm but not hard.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a lightly floured table, and roll it into a 16 x 8-inch rectangle.  Place the cold butter on the right half of the dough, then fold the other half of the dough over the butter.  Pinch the edges to seal.

With the folded edge on your left, roll the dough out lengthwise so that it measures 22 x 10 inches. Next fold the bottom third up and the top third down.  This is the beurrage.

Cover the dough, place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

For the turns, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Position the dough so that the fold edge running the length of the dough is on the left.  Make sure the pinched edges are still sealed.  roll the dough out lengthwise so it measures approximately 22 x 10 x 1/2 inches.  Fold the dough in thirds, beginning with the lower third as before.  (You have completed one turn.)

Place the dough on a baking sheet.  With your finger, make one small indentation on an edge of the dough to indicate one turn has been made. (Keeping track of how many turns have been made is critical.)  Cover and refrigerate  for 45 minutes.  Remove dough from the refrigerator, transfer it to the lightly floured surface, and repeat the process to complete the second turn.  After another 45 minutes, repeat the process to complete the third turn, always making sure the dough remains cold but not too cold.  Cover the dough and return it to the refrigerator to rest for at least 5 hours, but overnight is preferred.

Day 3:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  To form the croissants, roll the dough out to exactly 25 x 16 x 1/4 inch.  Cut the dough in half lengthwise to make two 7-inch-wide strips.  using a pastry wheel , cut the strips into triangles, each with a base of 4 to 5 inches.

Starting with the base of one triangle, fold 1/4-inch of the dough over onto itself and begin rolling the triangle up to the point.  Gently stretch the dough by pulling on the strip as your roll it ; this will result in more rolls and make a prettier croissant.

Repeat with remaining triangles.  If this process takes more than 10 minutes, return half of the triangles to the refrigerator and remove them a few at a time.

Place the croissants at least 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Turn each end toward the center (the tip of the rolled-up triangle should be tucked under) and pinch them firmly together to form the croissant shape.

Whisk the egg and milk together to make the glaze.  Lightly brush each croissant with the glaze and let rise, uncovered, for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  The croissants will be slightly puffing and have almost doubled in size and have the feel of a soft marshmallow when they are ready to be baked.

Brush the croissants with a second coat of egg wash.  Place the baking sheets on the center rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes or until golden brown.

Note:
Croissants can be formed, proofed and baked the same day, or they can be formed and stored in the refrigerator overnight and baked the next day.  If you wish to bake the croissants the next day, place the formed but unrisen croissants on the bake sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and store overnight in the refrigerator.  The next morning, remove them from the refrigerator, uncover, and let rise, then bake as directed.  Croissants formed and baked the same day a a bold appearance and flaky crust. Next-day croissants are less yeast tasting, more buttery, and have the nuances of a richly fermented dough.

Recipe from The Village Baker's Wife , but I made a few changes.

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