Breakfast, Brunch, Classics

Hot Cross Buns with Raisins and Candied Orange Peel

In my mind, I cannot celebrate Easter without an Easter lily plant ( I get one every year) and Hot Cross Buns. One of my fondest memories from growing up in India, was to buy Hot Cross Buns with my mother, right before Easter and delivering them to my Grandma. While Hot Cross Buns are not that popular in the US and certainly not in my household, I still make them, afterall, it is tradition!! Last year during the COVID-19 lockdown, I tried a recipe without yeast (remember, everyone was making sourdough and there was no yeast in the stores!!), it served its purpose, but this year when I got my hands on yeast and high quality candied orange peels (please spend the extra money to get the good kind like the FRATELLI MOTTA brand), I had no excuse but to make the buns. In the past I used a recipe that made a huge batch and no one would eat them, so now, this recipe is going to be a go to since it yields approximately 9 buns. I hope, someone out there is a hot cross bun fan and will make these soon.

Ingredients

 1/2 cup whole milk

2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast

2 Tbsp warm water

1 egg

2 Tbsp white sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed

1/2 tsp fine salt, use 1/4 tsp. if using salted butter

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp of ground cardamom

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

Raisins and chopped, candied orange peel (I never measure these)

For glaze:

1 egg yolk

1 tsp water

For the icing:

1 cup icing/confectioners sugar

2-3 Tbsp milk (add a little at a time )

Instructions

Heat your milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until steaming with small bubbles around the edges. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Add your yeast to 2 Tbsp. warm water (about 110° F.). Stir, then set aside to proof.

Once milk has cooled to lukewarm, add egg and stir until well combined. (*Be sure your milk has cooled sufficiently, otherwise the egg will cook in the hot milk). Add the yeast mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl add the sugar flour, salt, spices, and butter to bowl. Using your hands or a pastry fork, work the butter in to the flour until it has broken down a bit.

Add flour mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and attach the dough hook. Add milk/egg/yeast mixer to bowl. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding a bit more flour if necessary.

Add raisins and orange peel and knead until incorporated.

Remove dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Remove dough to a floured surface and divide in to 9 equal portions. Form each portion into a ball and place in a greased 9×9 square pan. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until almost doubled and puffy – 60-75 minutes (note the rise in the picture on the right).

Preheat oven to 375° F.

When buns have risen, combine 1 egg yolk with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush tops and sides of buns well. Bake for 20 mins.

Allow the buns to cool completely before icing.

For the icing: Add icing sugar and milk.  Add more icing sugar (or milk) as needed to make an icing of piping consistency.  Pipe crosses on the bun and let the icing set.

Serve at room temperature or microwave for 30sec to achieve that “fresh-out-of-the-oven” feel.

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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Breakfast, Brunch, Cake

Honey Lavender Cake

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Here is another kitchen experiment that turned out quite well—you can have it for breakfast, brunch, tea or even a night time pick me up. It also happens to be gluten-soy and lactose free.
Ingredients:
¾ cup of oatbran
¾ cup ground almond flour
¾ cup coconut flour
½ cup liquid egg whites
1 cup of almond milk
1 tsp of baking soda
1tsp of baking powder
1Tbsp of crushed lavender
2 tbsp agave
2 tbsp of honey

Method:
Preheat oven to 375F
Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk eggs and milk and slowly add into the dry ingredients, whisking as you pour.
At the very end fold in honey and agave.
Pour batter into a greased 9”x9” round cake pan.
Bake for 20-25 mins till pale golden on the top.
Serve warm—this is would pear well it poached pears and a dollop of honey greek yogurt !

Breakfast, Brunch

Frittata of Ham, Mushrooms and Roasted Red Peppers

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Happy New Year ! With the holidays behind us, I am sure we all trying to eat a little better–however, our fridge is probably still full of leftovers.  Ham and eggs are sure to found in the fridge or positively on sale at the market.  With help a jar of store bought marinated mushrooms and peppers you can whip up this super healthy, speedy meal suitable for breakfast, brunch or lunch.

Ingredients:

16 oz of liquid egg whites

1 jar of marinated mushrooms and roasted red peppers

1 ham steak, cubed

1/2 tbsp of dried parsley

1 tsp of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Saute the cubed ham steak in oil till brown in a oven proof skillet

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Add the jar of peppers and mushrooms and sauté till most of the liquid is drained.

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Add the eggs, parsley, salt and pepper and finish the dish by baking in the oven, for 25-30 mins or till the eggs are set.

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Serve hot or room temperature !

 

Breakfast

Ham and Egg cups

 

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Hello everyone ! Long time no see ! Well, as all the other PhD students might sympathize with me, I will be qualifying this semester so I have not had a minute to myself.  I also realized that I have not been eating right too ! Lots of saltines, soda and microwave dinners—everything I dislike about being a student and why I started the blog a year ago in the first place !!!! Anyway, I am trying to cook again so the upcoming recipes will be super quick and super simple ! This is what I made for myself Easter morning since I did not have time to celebrate Easter !

You will need:

Ham slices–the thicker rounds cut in half.  You can you deli meat, just use 4 or 6 slices so that you can generously line the ramekins.

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Once the ramekins are lined, crack one egg into the center.

season with pepper and tarragon.  No salt since the ham tends to be salty.

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Place the ramekins  ( I made a batch of 6) in a baking dish and fill with water.

Bake in a 325 preheated for 15-20 min till the egg sets.

Enjoy hot or warm.

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Breakfast, Classics, Pastry, Sweet

Hot Cross Buns !

Nothing says Good Friday Breakfast like warm Hot Cross Buns. Whether or not you are familiar with the nursery rhyme or whether it is a long-standing tradition (as for me) this is a recipe that will bring back happy memories or help you create some new ones !!
My mother made these every Good Friday, and I did not realize how much I missed them until I did not get them for 4 years in college. But now with a fully equipped kitchen, I set out to bake and carry on a family tradition! I hope you like it!

Ingredients:

• 1 cup warm milk (105°–115°F.)
• 5 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup dried currants
• 1/3 cup raisins

Method:
In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.
Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cut butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Lightly beat 1 whole egg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, currants and raisins. Stir the mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and with floured hands knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Butter 2 large baking sheets.
On a floured surface with floured hands knead the dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bake buns for about 12 minutes. Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly.
Fill in the Milk glaze into a pastry bag ( or a make-shift piping bag made out of a Ziploc bag ) and pipe a cross onto the buns and let the glaze set. Serve warm!!!