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Homemade Hot Cross Buns

I’ve got a great recipe for homemade hot cross buns.  Also, I have a ton of exciting news!

First: If you don’t feel like making 30 hot cross buns with this recipe I’m bringing to Fiesta Friday today, after a long and regretted absence on my part, you can make two giant hot cross buns and just bake them a little bit longer than for individual buns.

It’s wonderful to be back to this Friday gathering and thanks so much to Petra and Lin for hosting this week.

 

This Easter I had 15 hot cross buns and 1 hot cross loaf and both iterations of the recipe turned out delicious.  Since I nearly always use whatever flour I have on hand for baking, I’ve used half spelt flour which gave an added earthiness and detracted from the usually very sweet taste of hot cross buns, at least for my palate.

Next:  As many of you know, we moved to Vancouver, WA in August last year!

Ladd’s Addition Neighborhood, Portland, OR

Cathedral Park, St. John’s Neighborhood, Portland, OR

More pics at end of post . . . .

The weeks leading up to the move really socked it to my emotional equanimity but once we arrived, all turned out well.  Vancouver is just across the bridge, literally, from Portland, OR, where I work and where I’ve been eating my way through town.  My husband took a job in Amboy, WA, which is kind of in the middle of nowhere but wow is it beautiful country out there.  Stay tuned in the coming months as I share with you all about our move, how strange and fabulous Portland is, and what I’ve been up to in my kitchen and out at restaurants.  For now, I’ve got these awesome hot cross buns, some winter and fun Portland and Washington pics, and a giant hug to all my old friends who are a part of the Fiesta Friday community.

Finally: I’ve also begun writing restaurant reviews with the amazing ladies over at Female Foodie.  Another double-F for the win!  I’m beyond excited, and honored to be a part of this community that not only has the most delicious restaurant recommendation resources for anybody who loves to travel, but also some invaluable information and tools including photography and wordpress blogging tutorials for aspiring food blogger/photographer entrepreneurs.  I have truly learned a ton about photography, monetization, and social media as it relates to food blogging via these gals.  I especially want to mention that for the Female Foodie elite members, there is an upcoming (next Tuesday) webinar with Si Foster from A Bountiful Kitchen who has been a very successful food blogger since 2008.  She will talk to us about her experience growing a food blog/business dedicated to tried and true recipes for the at home cook trying to make practical and delicious food, and will be available for questions.  Since I am trying myself to navigate whether I want to put some more intention and business mindedness into my blog, I for sure will be attending.  Join me!!

Very finally, definitely hop on over there to read my bittersweet burger goodbye song review of one of my favorite places in Los Angeles:  The Apple Pan.

Now, for the homemade hot cross buns recipe:

For the Buns:

  • 300 ml milk (full fat)
  • 50 butter
  • 500 g bread flour:  250 g white flour; 250 g spelt flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 25 g corn syrup
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 packet fast-action yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75 g golden raisins
  • 50 g zested citrus
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped

For the Cross:

  • 75 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the Glaze:

  • 3 Tbsp apricot jam, thinned with 1/2 tsp water

Method:

  1. Bring milk to a boil, remove from heat and add butter.  Leave to cool until at room temperature.  Place flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl, making a well in the middle.  Pour in the milk and butter mixture, then add the egg.  Mix well with a wooden spoon, and gather the mix together with your hands until you have a somewhat sticky dough.
  2. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling wrap and leave to rise in a warm area for 1 hour.
  3. Mix raisins, peel, apple and cinnamon into the dough.  Leave to rise for 1 more hour, until doubled in size.
  4. Divide dough into 15 pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball.  Arrange buns on two baking trays, either oiled or lined with parchment paper, leaving a bit of space for the buns to expand.  Cover with oiled cling wrap, or a tea towel, and set aside for 1 more hour.
  5. Heat oven to 220/200C (400-425F).  Make the cross slurry with flour and 5 Tbsp water, adding the water 1 tbps at a time.  Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle.  Pile along each row of buns, and repeat in other direction to form crosses.  Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Heat the jam and water very gently and strain out chunks.  While still warm, brush over the buns.

Now for some fun pics:

Amboy, WA

Moulton Falls, WA

Cedar Creek Mill, Cedar Creek, WA

Amboy, WA

The Mill

Amboy, WA

Amboy

Burnside Bridge, Portland, OR

View From Office in Portland, OR

Upper Left Roasters, Ladd’s Addition Neighborhood, Portland, OR

Sweedeedee, Portland, OR

Red Sauce Pizza, Cully Neighborhood, Portland, OR

Cathedral Park, St. John’s Neighborhood, Portland, OR

Heirloom Cottage Cheese Pie

“This is the worst pie I’ve ever tasted.”  -my Dad.

How’s that for an enticement?  Do keep in mind that my Dad said this after eating a bite of my mother’s pumpkin pie which is always sublime, and keep in mind that my Dad is a little bit set in his ways.  I’m thinking if he sees a white pie, he’s thinking cheesecake, and that’s not what he got here.

My husband, however, ate his whole piece and proclaimed it delicious.  He is the best Santa’s elf ever!  Always such a good sport, will try any crazy thing I cook up.

This pie is an heirloom Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, with German, Quaker and Mennonite roots.  It is a very simple recipe and, I think, makes for a very delicious pie.  It sort of reminds me of a ricotta cheesecake but with more texture and without the graham crust.  You have to be prepared to taste a little bit of savory/sour, along with the sweet, and I think it’s best eaten on its own and not after a bite of pumpkin pie.

I made this pie for Christmas Eve dinner, and also to bring to Fiesta Friday #100.  Stay tuned because I’ll be bringing more!  Happy Anniversary to everybody who’s been a part of Fiesta Friday and as always I send my gratitude and thanks to Angie for making this all possible.

christmas eve (3 of 5)

christmas eve (4 of 5)

christmas eve 2 (3 of 3)

christmas eve 2 (2 of 3)

christmas eve 4 (3 of 7)

christmas eve 4 (4 of 7)

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christmas eve 4 (7 of 7)

Pie Filling: Adapted from Shockingly Delicious

  • 1.5 cartons cottage cheese (1 16-ounce regular size carton and half of another 16 oz carton)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • ¾-1 cup sugar
  • 2 well beaten eggs
  • Grated rind and juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Unbaked pie crust (see recipe below)
  • pinch nutmeg, either freshly grated or prepared ground

Read More

Lodge Bread Co.

#”Live Free and Bake.” – Lodge Bread Co.

more lodge (5 of 27)

I was going to title this post “Toast in Los Angeles” but for journalistic integrity I had to change it to because the only place (besides home) I’ve actually been having toast in Los Angeles is the wonderful new Lodge Bread Co. Read More

Donuts in Los Angeles

If you were wondering what I have been doing the past few months, the title of this post covers a lot of ground towards the answer.  In addition to visiting a slew of mostly newly-opened, but also older, donut shops in Los Angeles, I’ve also moved jobs twice which has compromised my commitment to blogging.

Donuts have a special place in my heart, even though I am not a true sweet tooth, but more of a savory tooth.  When I was a child, on Saturdays my mom used to drive a mile or so down Montana Avenue in Santa Monica to Carl’s Bakery, a small bakery that carried very basic donuts.  My donut of choice was the glazed twist.  Occasionally I would get a chocolate glazed, raised donut instead.  We were not cake donut eaters, we stuck with the yeasted, raised donuts.  So donuts signaled a departure from the normal daily breakfast which usually, at our house, involved either pancakes, french toast, waffles, date bread, biscuits, sometimes some bacon, and occasionally cold cereal with milk.  Fruit may have been offered, but I don’t remember much beyond orange juice.  Clearly, not bad, but still donuts were better!

As I got older I developed a fondness for Trader Joe’s bran muffins and into my later teens I was drinking smoothies and shakes for breakfast, with some fruit.  I spent one summer trying very hard to slim down before college by drinking Herbalife shakes (my mom tried them too) until my father, after watching a late night exposé on the company that revealed in his opinion some nefarious practices and possibly quackery, purged our cupboards of all the shakes and supplements and that was the end of that adventure.  But back to donuts.

These days our donut tradition is on Christmas Day.  Nearly everything is closed, but Stan’s Donuts in Westwood, CA, home to the UCLA campus, is not.  And so we go.  Some years my beautiful (and  . . . vegan!) neice Katy is in town and she accompanies us.  Stan has been making donuts for forever, and he’s 86 and still shows up to work every day.  What’s neat about Stan’s is he’s named various donuts after local icons, for example, the late Huell Howser donut is a VERY thickly peanut butter stuffed chocolate bar and the Bruin is glazed cake donut covered in blue and yellow sprinkles.

First let’s take a look at Stan’s and some other classic, iconic Los Angeles donut shops and their creations:

The Famous and Original Maple Bacon Donut

The Famous and Original Maple Bacon Donut from Nickel Diner

Ube Bacon Donut

Ube Bacon Donut from the apparent home of the original “Cronut,” DK’s Donuts in Santa Monica

Stans (1 of 1)

A Few Selections from Stan’s in Westwood

katie at stans (1 of 1)

Katie at Stan’s

stanz

Mike at Stan’s

bruin

The “Bruin,” Stan’s

Dec. 4 268

Buttermilk Bar at Primo’s Donuts in West Los Angeles

Now on to some newer donut emporiums:

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Maple Bacon Donut from Sidecar Donuts in Santa Monica

Dec. 4 106

Sugar Raised Donut and Crumb Cake Donut from Cofax

donuts-from-nicole-1-of-6_17126228733_o

Honey Sea Salt, my favorite, from Cofax

assorted cofax

Coconut Horchata, Lemon Pistachio, Chocolate Cake and I can’t remember what the bottom left is, Cofax

hibiscus

Hibiscus Cake, Cofax

green pantz

See what I did to my pants? Smart!

The best new donut shop in LA in my opinion is Blue Star Donuts.  They use brioche dough and fry in rice bran oil.  Yum.

Orange Olive Oil Donut, Blue Star Donuts

Orange Olive Oil Donut, Blue Star Donuts

Dec. 4 219

Lineup at Blue Star Donuts in Venice, CA

Dec. 4 251

Dark Double Chocolate Crunch Creme Filled Donut from Blue Star Donuts

Dec. 4 246

Closer

Dec. 4 087

The Duke of Donuts and his Diplomat

We met the “Duke of Donuts” on opening day at Sidecar Donuts in Santa Monica.  He explained that his mission in life is to eat and report on donuts.  I said, “what about biscuits,” and he said, ” . . . eh, peasant food.”

Dec. 4 309

Country Ham and Egg Donut from Sidecar Donuts

Dec. 4 314

Buche de Noel Donut with Callebaut Chocolate Glaze, Pistachio and Meringue Button

Dec. 4 316

Malasada with Huapia Creme from Sidecar Donuts

Dec. 4 318

Seasonal Gingerbread Cake Donut from Sidecar Donuts

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Cinnamon Crumbcaker, Sidecar Donuts

I’d love to hear from you and your donut opinions.  Are you a cake donut gal?  Raised?  Apple fritter?  What are some of your favorite donut shops where you live?  Have you ever made donuts at home?  Any tips or cautions?

Have a very happy holiday season, y’all!!

In My Kitchen February 2015

It’s been a while since I inventoried what was In My Kitchen, but my recent awesome success with the progeny of Celia@figjamandlimecordial’s sourdough starter Priscilla (Celia is the wonderwoman with a blog that’s a trove of cooking information, recipes and fun and who hosts In My Kitchen monthly), reminded me to pitch in. Read More