1.01.2015

Crusty Bread, The Movie

A few years ago I posted a recipe for Crusty Bread.  I have received over 4 million views on that recipe alone along with THOUSANDS of questions for a simple 4 ingredient recipe.  Thanks to my extremely talented son-in-law I now have an instructional video.  I hope this video will help with any questions you may have with the recipe.  

Now you can become a bread baker extraordinaire in just a few minutes.  Have fun and get creative with "mix-ins".  The sky is the limit.  You can do this!

And now I present a film years in the making, starring moi...

Crusty Bread, the Movie





You're Welcome.

xoxo
Janet

You can find the recipe along with FAQ on my blog here:  Crusty Bread, Artisan No-knead Bread
& Crusty Bread the Forum

12.30.2014

A Very Late Post for Chocolate Winners



Our holiday season was halted with a nasty flu bug and I'm just getting up and around.  Needless to say I neglected posting the winners of the chocolates giveaway.

I have to say that I just loved reading everyone's holiday traditions.  They just make my Christmas every year.  Thank you so much for sharing with me and for entering.  I'm sorry I couldn't send you all a box.  You warm my heart.

The winners were selected through random.org

The winners were:

Jennifer Clayton
Lindsey Roecker
Carolyn Hyslop
Dawn Walker

Here's to a happy and healthy New Year.  

I've got an exciting post coming for the new year.  Keep an eye out.  It will be up in just a few days.


12.22.2014

Homemade Marzipan



For years I have been wanting to make a great marzipan.  I have searched recipes and I haven't been happy with the results.  It seems like most of the recipes had powdered sugar in them and I didn't like the texture.  I didn't want a stiff marzipan.  Thank goodness I wanted to hone my skills with chocolate this season and purchased a book called "Chocolates & Confections" by Peter P Greweling.


 The book contains everything scientific about confections and chocolate.  I have been lying in bed reading this giant book every night for a month.  I have learned so much and there is so much that is going right over my head!  While going through the book page by page I found a recipe for marzipan.  THE recipe I have been searching for.  The marzipan is smooth and creamy without the powder sugar grit. It's a keeper and pretty simple to make.  By pretty simple I mean there is potential to mess it up.  Just follow the Chef Greweling's instructions and you will have success.  He's a master.



You will need:

15 oz (430 g) whole almonds, untoasted
12 oz (340 g) sugar
4 oz (120 g) water
4 oz (120 g) glucose syrup (I used corn syrup)


First the almonds need to be blanched.  That means the skins will need to come off.  I tried using purchased blanched almonds and I think the flavor was more stale, almost a rancid taste.  Blanching the almonds gave my marzipan a fresh bright almond flavor.


Place the almonds in a bowl and pour enough boiling water over them to cover the almonds completely.  Let the almonds sit for at least 5 minutes.


Take the soaked almonds one by one (yes a bit tedious) and pinch them and the skins will peel right off.  I had my husband helping and he got a little carried away with the task and he had almonds torpedoing across my kitchen.


Naked almonds.


Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.


Pulse the almonds until they are the size of roll oats.


Place the chopped almonds in a large bowl and set aside.


In a small sauce pan, combine 12 oz of sugar.


4 oz water


and 4 oz of corn syrup.


Bring to a simmer and clip on a candy thermometer. Cook to 245 degrees F/118 degrees C.


Pour hot syrup over ground almonds.


Stir to coat all of the almonds.


Pour out onto a lightly oiled marble slab.  You can use a baking sheet lightly oiled or a silicone liner can be used.


Let cool completely to room temperature.  I had to let this batch cool overnight because I was so tired.  I pressed plastic wrap to the surface and went to bed.


I was nervous that the mixture would harden or cool too much,but it worked perfectly.

Process the mixture in batches.  I divided the nuts into fourths processing one quarter of the mixture at at time.


Place in a bowl of a food processor.


Process until creamy.


Remove that portion and repeat with remaining nut mixture.


Once all of the nut mixture has been ground...


Put the entire batch back into the food processor and process the entire batch until very smooth.




Remove from food processor and shape into logs or whatever shape you desire.

Painting your nails red makes the process so much more fun, but completely optional.


Wrap marzipan with plastic wrap.


I weighted the finished marzipan and had exactly 29 oz/826 g.  According to Greweling the recipe should make 35 oz/1000g.  I divided the marzipan, marked the weight and placed them in the refrigerator for later use, but I kept slicing and eating it because it's so delicious.  I decided I had better freeze it so I'd stop eating it.


Best marzipan recipe I made.  I have given a few of my tubes away as gifts to those who would appreciate the wonderful confection.



Thank you Peter Greweling.

What I learned after 3 batches:

  • The first batch was sticky and hard to process. I let the marzipan sit overnight and then I put it back into the processor and re-mixed.  It turned out smooth.
  • You may have to play with the temperature depending on your altitude.  Make sure you know the temperature water boils at your altitude and adjust your candy thermometer accordingly.
  • Don't give up
  • Don't throw a batch out if it doesn't seem to work.  Keep it and mix it together with another batch.

Marzipan
15 oz/430 g Almonds, whole, untoasted
12 oz/340 g sugar
4 oz/120 g water
4 oz/120 g glucose syrup (I used corn syrup)

Place almonds in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Allow to soak for 5 minutes.  Pinch almonds between fingers to remove skins.  Place blanched almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Pulse until the size of oatmeal.  Set aside.

Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in a sauce pan.  Cook to 245 degrees F/118 C.  Pour hot syrup over chopped nuts.  Spread out onto an oiled marble slab and cool to room temperature.

Place 1/4 of the cooled nut mixture back into the food processor and process until smooth.  Repeat with remaining mixture.  Once all of the nut mixture has been ground and is smooth, place all of the marzipan into the food processor and mix together until smooth.

Wrap marzipan in plastic wrap until later use.

Makes approx. 35 oz

Print recipe



12.15.2014

Norwegian Pepperkaker


The Christmas cookies I remember most are those that were given to our family by my best friends mother.  In fact, the only cookies I make at Christmas are from Laila.  I'm so grateful I took the time one day to write down her recipes.  Her Norwegian Pepperkaker were always so crunchy and had a bit of spicy heat to them.  


Pepperkaker are perfect for shipping.  They will last stored in tins for weeks.  The flavor lasts as long as the cookie.


They are so simple to make.  You will want to add them to your Christmas cookie exchange list and that's why I decided to make them for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  The cookie swap brings food bloggers from around the world and creates a huge cookie exchange to raise funds for Cookies For Kids Cancer.  This is the third time I have been involved.  I send one dozen cookies to three selected food bloggers.  In return I receive a dozen cookies from three different food bloggers and end up receiving 3 dozen cookies.  How fun is that? 

Check out the recipes that I received from the following food bloggers:



Fleur Delicious: Confetti Cookies




The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014




You will need:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup or golden syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoons cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup sugar.


1/2 cup butter


1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar


1/2 cup dark corn syrup


Bring to a simmer over medium heat.


 stirring to incorporate the butter.


Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl.


Allow to cool for about 5 minutes or so.


Meanwhile, prepare dry ingredients.  Begin by freshly grinding 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

I'm sure you all know by now that I'm not a fan of canned black pepper.  Canned ground black pepper will over power the spice flavors in this cookie.  Try not to use it unless you absolutely have to.  The cookie should have a subtle pepper flavor.


Sift 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon soda, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cloves.


and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.




Add 1 egg to the slightly cool sugar mixture.


Add the flour spice mixture.



Beat until smooth.


Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap.


Wrap tightly.



Form the dough into a square to make roll out more simple.  

Place in refrigerator dough for several hours or overnight.


After dough has chilled for several hours, remove from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface.


I think putting a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the dough helps to roll the dough thing.






Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.


Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 7-8 minutes or until golden and browning on the sides.


Remove from oven and cool.

Layer Pepperkaker in tins and store in a cool place.






Norwegian Pepperkaker
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup or golden syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoons cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small saucepan add sugar, corn syrup, butter and vinegar to a simmer.  Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl.  Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Mix in egg.   Sift together the flour, soda, pepper, ginger, cloves and cinnamon.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Once dough has chilled, roll dough very thing on a floured surface.  Cut into any desired shapes.  Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 7-8 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheet immediately and allow to cool.  Store in airtight tins.