Friday, June 17, 2011

Pyrex Bread Pudding

Leah moved out a little over two weeks ago, and it is 2 more til we move back in together (Miss you, Leah!) When she was moving out, she asked me if I wanted her to leave any baking supplies. I furiously shook my head, mentioned something about not wanting the responsibility of any subletters damaging or breaking anything, and spouted off a line about probably not baking much anyway. Of course the next day was spent kicking myself for having had turned down the offer to hold on to: a muffin tin, cake pans, cooling rack, casserole dish, cookie sheet, loaf pan, measuring cups, etc.

Because I logistically could not bake anything, I had the overwhelming desire to do it. I frantically looked around for ANYTHING I could bake in. After contemplating some ceramic bowls (I don't recommend using them unless specifically oven proof - the glaze could melt and release dangerous chemicals into your food, not to mention it would heat very irregularly) I spotted the pyrex measuring cup. It is made from the same stuff as the baking dish, right? I did some research and decided to go for it. The beauty happens to be a 4 cup measuring cup, and I HIGHLY suggest getting one if you don't already have one.
I had made a few large boules of wheat bread a few days before and found my last one stale and hard as a rock. Instead of carrying it around as a weapon I decided to salvage it by making some bread pudding.

The following recipe is a basic one adapted from epicurious that can be dressed up in a ton of ways. It makes 5-6 servings.

4 Cups of stale bread (pretty much anything will work, you can even toast it a bit)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick) melted
3/4 Cup white sugar
3 Eggs
2 Cups milk
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract (I didn't have any, so I used amaretto again)
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg

Grease/butter a small casserole dish (in my case it was the pyrex measuring cup) and preheat the oven to 350 F. Saw the bread into bite sized pieces. If your bread is as stale as mine was, you may need a real saw... In a bowl combine the butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. Lay the bread in the dish and pour your mixture over the top, making sure to get the bread nice and saturated. Stir if you need to ensure it is all soaked. Bake for 40 min and serve hot or cold.

The pudding can be made more custard-y by adding additional eggs. You can also add in things like raisins or other dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. I kept mine pretty simple and polished it all off in 2 days...

So much for not baking!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Oh My God, We’re Back Again (Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread)


Which brings me to two points.

First. Um the Backstreet Boys are actually back? That’s like…wrong. I loved them-when I was thirteen!! As in, they are OLD. I’m not sure how I feel about this

Second, I definitely started this recipe a few days ago, yelling at Kai for never being present EVER on this blog. BUT he surprised me by posting!

Kai-Can we vow to post more? I vow to post more.

Readers-You should vow to comment more!

Now that we’re all vowed up. Let’s bake.

Cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread

Magic bread.


It’s a sweet  yeast doughy bread that is slathered with  browned butter and cinnamon and sugar.


The dough is then cut into long strips and stacked up, and cut again into squares. Then the stacks are stuffed into a loaf pan where it chills out and grows (ugh waiting sucks).


Then after 30 minutes of baking, this warm, soft, cinnamon sugar wonderland is released from the oven. Your house will smell good, your dog will smell good, even your dirty laundry may smell good.



Swimsuit season? Er…sorry, that one may need to wait a bit longer (especially with Kai over there posting Guinness cupcakes)

But this bread is warm, sugary-buttery-reminds me of cinnamon toast mornings good! It’s pull it apart (duh) and shove happiness into your mouth good. It’s roommate clean your damn dishes before I chuck them at you, but first have some bread  good. It’s boyfriend- I’m so sorry for doing whatever that stupid thing was that I did, here have some delicious bread and forget everything good

Swimsuit? psh.

Does your swimsuit hold you at night and solve all of your problems? …Neither does this bread, but it will make you forget about your troubles for a few minutes.


Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Makes: one 9x5x3-inch loaf

Recipe adapted from Joy the baker (go check it out…she takes much better pictures than I do)


· 2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

· 1/4 cup granulated sugar

· 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 2 ounces unsalted butter

· 1/3 cup whole milk

· 1/4 cup water

· 2 large eggs, at room temperature

· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


· 1 cup granulated sugar

· 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

· 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

· 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl mix  2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  

Place the dough is a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter, STIRRING FREQUENTLY until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan.  

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board. EAT


So good. Maybe I’ll start writing about all the light summery things I make too…


Happy baking!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spring Awakening

*yawn * Is it spring already? Wait, what? It’s almost summer?!!!!

Well, it seems I’ve fallen out of deep hibernation into the oppressive heat of late spring. I apologize for the delayed postings - though I do have some great news! Leah and I have officially finished our masters programs and are now sporting two fine degrees each from Clark University! Well… perhaps that wasn’t particularly exciting news to you, but for us it means moving to Somerville with our close friend and trying to make it in this terrifying challenging job market. While this means goodbye to the ease of college living, it also means hello to a disposable income! Err… after living costs and student loans, perhaps not quite so disposable.

To celebrate my first post in a while (read months), I decided I had to put forth something a little more flashy that would inspire a few ooohhs and aaahhhs. Thus, I present to you Guinness drunkcakes, I mean cupcakes.

The recipe came to me by strong recommendation of one of our loyal readers (you know who you are). It is a chocolate cupcake with Guinness, topped with a Bailey’s butter cream frosting. True bliss. The beauty of it is that not only do you get to impress friends and loved ones with the subtle tastes of Guinness and Bailey’s in a decadent chocolate pillow of goodness, but you also get to drink while you do it. There’s nothing to lose but your waist line, so what are you waiting for?

The recipe requires some unconventional ingredients so be prepared (idiotically, half way through step 1 I realized I was completely out of cocoa powder and had to run to the store). All in all it should also make approximately 24 cupcakes, though I apparently listened carefully in Sunday school and was able to perform a fish and loaves stunt and had enough to make at least 27. Be prepared to eat your way through the rest of the batter (I guess you could always just bake a few more, but who has ever resisted delicious chocolate batter from fear of salmonella? Not me!)

2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ Teaspoons baking soda

¾ Teaspoon salt

½ Cup neutral oil (sunflower, safflower, canola, etc.)

1 Cup butter

1 Cup Guinness

¾ Cup cocoa powder

2 Cups sugar

2/3 Cup sour cream

2 Eggs

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract (or if you are improvising like me, Amaretto)

2 Tablespoons Bailey’s

3 Cups confectioner’s sugar

Heat ½ cup of butter (1 stick) in a skillet w/ the Guinness. Make sure the butter is well melted and the Guinness ends up non-carbonated. Remove from heat and add in the oil and cocoa powder once cooled a little.

Heat oven to 350F and put cupcake liners in your tin (or if you are like me and think having

those are too easy, grease and cocoa powder your tin).

Sift together (or just toss) the flour, salt and baking powder. Then, in a separate bowl, beat together the sour cream and eggs. Add in the vanilla extract/amaretto and

beat in the sugar.

Once the Guinness mixture has cooled till just warm, beat in. Mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Fill each spot ¾ full and bake for about 17 min, rotating once in the middle.

Cool completely when a toothpick comes out clean.

Beat together the last ½ cup (stick) of butter, which should be at room temperature, with the sugar and Bailey’s. Slather copious amounts onto each cupcake, then enjoy.

Follow up with more Guinness.

With any luck more posts will come over the next few days, though I make no promises. Perhaps in the next post I might share some of my rather unique attempts at creative/innovative baking!

Bottoms up!