I mentioned a few posts ago that I love making breakfast foods. I mean, really love. I also mentioned that I’m not a big fan of eating it but sticky buns are the exception. I adore them. I could eat a sticky bun for every meal and never get sick of them. You know what else I love? Figs. So can you guess how excited I was when I saw that Cooking Light had a recipe for Fig and Walnut Sticky Buns?

This was such a simple recipe. Honestly. The last sticky bun recipe I used involved brioche dough which was a giant pain in the butt to both me and my stand mixer but this dough I actually made in the bread machine. Gasp!

Since this was a Cooking Light recipe, they were nearly as amazing as others I’ve made but they did the job. They weren’t as saucy (?) as other recipes but I guess next time I could just double the sauce and cancel out the whole light thing. And the figs? Perfection.

Fig and Walnut Sticky Buns

from Cooking Light

Ingredients

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
2/3 cup warm water (100F to 110F)
5 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups), divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cooking spray
3/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup finely chopped dried Black Mission figs
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Dissolve granulated sugar and yeast in 2/3 cup warm water in a small bowl; let mixture stand 5 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons melted butter.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 6.75 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) flour, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to hands. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85F), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, syrup, and milk in a small saucepan; bring mixture to a boil. Remove pan from heat; stir in figs. Sprinkle walnuts evenly into a 13 x 9Ã-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray; spoon fig mixture evenly over nuts in bottom of pan.
  4. Combine remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F.
  6. Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons butter over dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon mixture. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends). Cut into 12 (1-inch-wide) slices. Place slices, cut side up, into pan. (Slices do not fill pan but will once dough rises.) Cover pan with a damp towel; let rise in a warm place (85F), free from drafts, 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
  7. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes or until buns are lightly browned. Cool buns in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Place a serving platter upside down on top of pan; invert buns onto platter. Serve warm.
http://fakeginger.com/fig-and-walnut-sticky-buns/

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I’m making my return to Tuesdays with Dorie! woohoo!

This week’s recipe was chosen by the lovely Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater. She chose the Devil’s Food White Out Cake which is actually the cover picture of Dorie’s book. I’d never paid attention to the picture until Stephanie chose the recipe and after that, it was all I could think about.

I had a few problems while making it. See, when I went to flip the cakes onto a cooling rack and disaster struck.

One was perfectly fine, the other fell apart almost completely. But instead of throwing it out, which is my usual method of dealing with things, I took a biscuit cutter to them and came out with 4 tiny cakes. We were supposed to cut the layers into 4 thin ones but I decided not to risk it after the first disaster.

This cake was truly amazing. I am not a chocolate cake fan but holy geez best cake ever. The frosting was light and marshmallow-y and the crumbled cake on top was the perfect finishing touch.

If you want the recipe which I know you do, head over the Stephanie’s blog and try not to break your cake layers like some people did.

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Okay, I have to admit that I have no idea what chilaquiles are but when I saw the recipe in Vegetarian Classics I needed to make it. If only because it calls for corn chips and I <3 corn chips.

It was SO easy. I was expecting to come home today and have to boil a sauce on the stove, etc. but none of that. You just have to mix the sauce together and layer everything and bake.

It was really good. Even Spencer said it was a keeper and normally he just tolerates my meatless meals. I will make a few changes next time. Another can of beans is definitely needs, maybe some black beans. Also, less cheese and save some corn chips for the top to have some crunch. Otherwise, perfection.

Ten-Minute Chilaquiles

from Vegetarian Classics

Ingredients

For the sauce:
1 cup salsa
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 (14 ounce) can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed well
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
The fixings:
1 (11 ounce) bag corn chips
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese

Instructions

  1. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Pour half the sauce in a shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish, and top with half the corn chips. Drop little spoonfuls of half the sour cream all over the chips then sprinkle on half the cheese.
  3. Top with the remaining chips, sauce, sour cream, and chees. Bake 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
http://fakeginger.com/ten-minute-chilaquiles/

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This is by far my favorite chili recipe ever. It’s filled with a ton of beans, which is what I expect out of a chili. Plus it’s got pumpkin! You should know by now that I love pumpkin more than just about anything. You can’t really taste the pumpkin in it (Spencer can’t tell and I don’t tell him) but just knowing it’s there makes me feel healthier.

My original plan was to do this without meat (normally I do chicken or turkey) but Spencer said he’d prefer at least a little meat. I had about 1/2 pound of ground beef in the freezer so I browned it up to throw in the chili. It was just enough meat to know it’s there, but not so much that’s it’s the only thing you see/taste.

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili

adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, and garlic in olive oil. Drain off fat and transfer mixture to crockpot. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook on low 4 to 5 hours.
http://fakeginger.com/black-bean-pumpkin-chili/

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Yeast bread is by far my favorite thing to make.  Something about it makes me feel powerful.  Like if I can conquer the mighty yeast, then I can do anything.  And yes, I do realize that this makes me a weirdo.

Anyway, whenever I do a pasta with red sauce I always make some kind of yeast bread. Usually just french bread that I slather with garlic butter. This past week I was doing a spinach lasagna and wanted a fun bread to go with it.  My husband loves focaccia (he’s been known the make a special trip to Fresh Market just to pay $8 for a small round of it) so I gave it a go.

I was intimidated at first but the recipe I used was so simple. Instead of kneading, you simply stretch the dough and fold it over itself.  Do that a few times and then press it into a pan with your fingertips. Brush with some herb oil and bake. Really too simple for good bread. But boy was it good. Husband and little man both loved it and between the two of them went through the entire pan in 2 days.

Herbed Focaccia

Ingredients

For the dough:
5 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant yeast
6 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups water, at room temperature
½ cup herb oil (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Stir together the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the oil and water and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the ingredients form a wet, sticky ball. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. (You may need to add additional flour to firm up the dough enough to clear the sides of the bowl, but the dough should still be quite soft and sticky.)
  2. Sprinkle enough flour on the counter to make a bed about 6 inches square. Using a scraper or spatula dipped in water, transfer the sticky dough to the bed of flour and dust liberally with flour, patting the dough into a rectangle. Wait 5 minutes for the dough to relax.
  3. Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size. Fold it, letter style, over itself to return it to a rectangular shape. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil, again dust with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  4. Let rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough again; mist with spray oil, dust with flour and cover. After 30 minutes, repeat this one more time.
  5. Allow the covered dough to ferment on the counter for 1 hour. It should swell but not necessarily double in size.
  6. Line a 17x12" sheet pan with baking parchment and proceed with the shaping and panning (instructions below).
  7. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight (or for up to 3 days).
  8. Remove the pan from the refrigerator 3 hours before baking. Drizzle additional herb oil over the surface and dimple it in. (You can use all of it if you want; the dough will absorb it even though it looks like a lot.) This should allow you to fill the pan completely with the dough a thickness of about ½-inch. Add any other pre-proof toppings desired. Again, cover the pan with plastic and proof the dough at room temperature for 3 hours, or until the dough doubles in size, rising to a thickness of nearly 1-inch.
  9. Preheat the oven to 500F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Gently place any pre-bake toppings on the dough.
  10. Place the pan in the oven. Lower the oven setting to 450F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking the focaccia for 5-10 minutes, or until it begins to turn a light golden brown. If you are using any during-baking toppings, sprinkle them on at this point and continue baking an additional 5 minutes or so. The internal temperature of the dough should register 200F (measured in the center), and the cheese, if using, should melt, not burn.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately transfer the focaccia out of the pan onto a cooling rack. If the parchment is stuck on the bottom, carefully remove it by lifting the corner of the focaccia and peeling it off the bottom with a gentle tug.
  12. Allow the focaccia to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
  13. To shape the focaccia:
  14. Drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil over the paper and spread it with your hands or a brush to cover the entire surface. Lightly oil your hands and using a plastic or metal pastry scraper, lift the dough off the counter and transfer it to the sheet pan, maintaining the rectangular shape as much as possible.
  15. Spoon half of the herb oil over the dough. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it simultaneously. Do not use the flat of your hands - only the fingertips - to avoid tearing or ripping the dough. Try to keep the thickness as uniform as possible across the surface. Dimpling allows you to de-gas only part of the dough while preserving gas in the non-dimpled sections. If the dough becomes too springy, let it rest for about 15 minutes and then continue dimpling. Don't worry if you are unable to fill the pan 100 percent, especially the corners. As the dough relaxes and proofs, it will spread out naturally. Use more herb oil as needed to ensure that the entire surface is coated in oil.
  16. To make the herb oil:
  17. Warm ½ cup olive oil over low heat in a small saucepan. Add about 4 tsp. of dried herbs, such as basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, or sage. Add about ¾ tsp. of kosher salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, and 1-2 finely minced cloves garlic. You may also add paprika, ground cayenne pepper, fennel seeds or onion powder to taste. Allow to remain on low heat for about 1-1½ hours to allow the oil to become infused with the flavors.
  18. Store any leftover herb oil in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
http://fakeginger.com/herbed-focaccia/

 

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