Breakfast, Classics, Quick-breads, Sweet

Hot Cross Buns-no yeast

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This was a Good Friday/Easter tradition for me when I was growing up.  My mother would make them when we lived here in the United States–you can find that recipe here.  When we moved back to India, we would get them from Nahoum’s,  Kolkata’s first Jewish bakery in  Hogg Market, or better known as “New Market.”  This year, amidst the COVID19 crisis, finding yeast was impossible.   After reading a few “no-yeast” recipes, I combined a few different recipes and came up with this.  I was pleasantly surprised with the results!  Please make these buns, this week and here is hoping that next year I will have access to yeast, to make a huge batch and share with loved ones.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus an additional 2-4 tbsp of flour for the kneading process
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, make sure it’s not expired, or it won’t rise
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Zest of 1 small mandarin orange (any orange will do, the amount of zest should be approximately 1/2tsp)
  • Zest of half of 1 lemon (1/4 tsp of lemon)
  • 1 egg, the egg white goes in the dough, save the yolk for the egg wash
  • 3/4 cup 0% Greek yogurt, not regular yogurt, it will be too sticky
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 3 tablespoon raisins (but really, should you measure raisins? Just add as much as you like, but know that some might fall out of the dough during the kneading process)
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk or water

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place parchment paper or a silpat on a baking sheet. If using parchment paper, spray with oil to avoid sticking.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, spices, zest, raisins and salt and whisk well.

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Add the yogurt, milk, and egg white in a bowl, mix with a fork or whisk until well combined.

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Using the additional flour, lightly dust flour on a work surface and remove dough from the bowl, knead the dough a few times until dough is tacky, but not sticky, about 10 to 15 turns (it should not leave dough on your hand when you pull away).

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Divide into 8 equal balls. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

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Top with egg wash (leftover egg yolk with a few drops of water).

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Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before icing.

 

 

For the icing,  whisk the powdered sugar with milk, in a bowl, until smooth. Transfer to a small ziplock bag and cut the tip. Ice the tops of the rolls in a cross pattern.

 

 

I was not patient enough to wait as you can see from the pictures, my icing started to melt off when I applied it.  No worries, it still tastes delicious!!!

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Brunch, Cake, Quick-breads, Sweet

Lemon, Rosemary, and Olive oil cake

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The last social thing I did before the lockdown, was to go out to dinner with some close friends at the Blue Heron.  That night, for dessert we had lemon rosemary shortbread cookies.  The cookie was flakey and buttery, but the lemon and rosemary added a lovely lightness and freshness.  I have used lemon and rosemary to roast a chicken, but I have never tried to incorporate it into something sweet.  I have been thinking about this flavor combination for a couple of weeks and finally, I created this recipe.  The best part is that it is low in the sugar content and is gluten-free, which means, I can have cake for breakfast–right?  Please try this recipe and let me know if you liked it or not.

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Ingredients:

1.5 cups of quick-cooking oats

1.5 cups of almond meal or almond flour

4 springs of rosemary

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp of baking powder

2 tsp of baking soda

2 eggs

1 cup of yogurt

2 tbsp of lemon juice (fresh)

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of honey

1 tbsp of sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

In a food processor, add the oatmeal and rosemary leaves and pulse (or grind) till it resembles “flour”.

Mix the oatmeal “flour” and rosemary mixture with almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest.

In a glass measuring cup, add eggs, lemons juice, olive oil, and honey.  Whisk till it forms a smooth emulsion, almost like salad dressing.

To the dry ingredients, add in the oil mixture and yogurt and fold gently to combine.

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Coat your baking pan ( I used a mini bundt pan with 6 cavities) with cooking spray.  Take 1 tbsp of sugar and sprinkle it onto the baking dish–this will create a beautiful caramel-colored top to your cakes, which also means that you will be flipping the over the cake once it comes out of your baking dish.

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Divide the batter amongst the 6 cavities of the mini-bundt pan and bake for 20 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean when you prink the center of the cake, after 20 minutes.

Let the cakes cool completely at room temperature before you invert them out of the pan.

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Cakes are ready to be eaten!  They taste good at room temperature, but even better if you warm them up in the microwave for 30 secs.

For a fancier presentation, you can glaze the cakes with a lemon drizzle.  The recipe for lemon drizzle is below, but I skipped that part since I had every intention of eating the cake for breakfast; lemon drizzle might be a little too sweet for first thing in the morning.

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Optional: 1 small drop yellow food coloring

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Quick-breads, Sweet

Banana Bread

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I absolutely hate bananas.  I hate the taste and worst of all I hate the smell.  I can smell it as the 108th student in the back of the lecture hall opens up a strawberry-banana yogurt for lunch.  Thus, it is a tremendous act of love for me to make this recipe, and that is exactly what my husband wanted for his birthday breakfast.  He also wanted cheesecake and roasted sweet potatoes, but that another story.  So here goes, my recipe for birthday boy’s banana bread.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

1½ cups sugar

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)

¾ cup of vegetable oil

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9x5x3” loaf pan with nonstick spray. I have a four, mini-loaf pan that I prefer to use.

Whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large bowl until smooth.

Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

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Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

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Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the bread (breads in this case) comes out clean, 60–70 minutes.

Let bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around inside of the pan to release the bread. Turn out onto rack and let cool completely.

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Slice and enjoy!

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