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Entries in Breakfast (31)


Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

There are some recipes that I return to over and over, that never get old, and that I can almost make without the recipe at all.  This Cinnamon-Raisin Bread is one of them.  Ali introduced me to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which is indispensable if you enjoy making homemade bread.  The technique is simple and the end result is tasty homemade bread baking in your oven with relatively little work. 

I usually start the day with a slice of this bread slathered with butter, but this weekend I used it for peanut butter sandwiches for an awesome mountain bike ride we did through the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness.  If you ever find yourself in Steamboat Springs, its worth driving a little farther north to check out this area - it's filled with wildflowers, lakes, rivers, and craggy mountains... and we even saw two moose.  The bread tasted even better when looking at views like the one below!

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread
Adapted slightly from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day 
Yield = Three 1½-lb. loaves

For the bread:
2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk
1½ tablespoons yeast
1½ tablespoons sugar
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
6½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
butter for greasing the pan
For the filling:
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1½ cups raisins
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)


1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt and sugar with the water and buttermilk in a 5-quart mixing bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment) or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook. If you’re not using a machine, you may have to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.  I find that the easiest way to do this is in my stand mixer.

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses or flattens on top, approximately 2 hours.  The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 7 days.

4. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3-inch non-stick loaf pan and line it with parchment paper (this isn't absolutely necessary but I always bake with parchment - it makes it much easier to remove the bread after it bakes). Set aside.  Measure out your raisins, place them in a bowl, and cover them with just enough hot water to cover the raisins, and then cover the bowl (I like to reconstitute the raisins, which this does).  Set aside.  Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1½-pound (grapefruit-size) piece.  Dust the piece of dough with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.  Elongate the ball into an oval.

5. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to an 18×16-inch rectangle about ¼-inch thick, dusting the board and rolling pin with flour as needed. 

6. Using a pastry brush (this is my favorite), cover the surface of the dough lightly with the egg wash.  Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the dough.  It seemed like a lot to me, but do use it all! Drain the water from the raisins and then sprinkle them evenly over the dough.

7. Starting from the short side, roll it up jelly-roll style. Pinch the edges and ends together, tucking the ends under. Place the loaf seam-side down in the prepared pan. Allow to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

8. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool before slicing.


Apricot Almond & Cherry Almond Muffins

The one problem I've found with my new job is that my route to work passes directly by my favorite bakery in the city, The Wooden Spoon.  If you live in Denver and haven't been in, its a must visit in the Highlands.  It's the only bakery I've found in Denver that rivals Flour in Boston.

But I digress.  The problem with passing The Wooden Spoon twice a day is that it is hard to resist the siren call of freshly-baked muffins, scones, croissant, and cookies.  Who wants to eat a Greek yogurt at their desk for breakfast when they could eat a mixed berry scone instead?  

After one to many visits to The Wooden Spoon, I took matters into my own hands and made muffins at home.  I wasn't looking for the healthiest muffins (if you want healthy and SUPER delicious, make these Carrot Quinoa Muffins), but something that I wouldn't feel guilty eating for breakfast and that tastes great.  This recipe is based on a Flour recipe from this cookbook, but I've made it healthier by substituting 0% Fat Plain Greek Yogurt and buttermilk for whole milk and creme fraiche and decreasing the sugar.  I don't think you sacrifice flavor at all and still have what Joanne Chang declares in her cookbook as "The muffin recipe to end all muffin recipes."  

I went a bit overboard at the farmer's market and had both apricots and cherries that needed to be used, so I made a double-batch of muffins.  You could omit the almonds, but they are a wonderful compliment to stone fruit such as apricots and cherries.  It turns out that this is because amonds and stone fruit are related -- if you crack open the pits of stone fruit, you'll find a soft, small kernel that looks, smells, and tastes like almond! However, don't eat the kernels as they may release a very small amount of cynanide into the body!

Apricot Almond and Cherry Almond Muffins
Adapted from The Flour Bakery cookbook 
Yield = 18-24 muffins 

A few notes.  First, this recipe is easily adaptable.  I made it both with cherries and almonds and you could easily subsitute other fruit.  For example, the original recipe is for a raspberry-rhubarb version (1 cup raspberries, 1 cup rhubarb).  Second, with the Apricot Almond Muffins, I filled the muffin tin as instructed to almost overflowing.  With the Cherry Almond Muffins, I filled each to about 3/4 full.  This yielded about 24 muffins and I liked the slightly smaller size.  However, if you want a big muffin with a huge mushroom-esque top, fill them to the brim!

3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cups non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups diced apricots (approximately 5 apricots) OR 1 1/2 cups pitted, chopped cherries

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins (if you have 2), coat the non-stick cooking spray, or line with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk until thoroughly mixed.  Slowly whisk in the sugar, butter, buttermilk, Greek yogurt, and almond extract until well combined.  Pour the butter-sugar mixture into the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold gently just until the ingredients are combined.

3. Gently fold in the almonds and the apricots or cherries until evenly distributed.  The batter may seem lumpy, but don't try to smooth it out.  The batter can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

4.  Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing it evenly and filling the cups 3/4 full.  This yielded 18 muffins for me.  The original recipe asks you to fill the muffin cups until almost overflowing.  I did this the first time around and it create quite a mess - I thought 3/4 full and getting a few extra muffins was the better way to go. 


Apricot Jam & Nuts, Seeds & Grains Loaf of Bread

I love bread in any and all forms and am constantly trying to find a way to make it a healthier habit.  At bakeries, I tend to pick out loaves with lots of grains, seeds, and nuts, but I've never attempted to replicate a loaf like that at home.  
The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread as it is called on My New Roots caught my eye for a number of reasons and Jackie's ringing endorsement confirmed that I had to make it.  First, it looks delicious.  Second, you mix the bread in the loaf pan itself so you really only create one dish in making this bread.  Third, the bread doesn't need to be kneaded, nor does it need to rise at a certain temperature for hours on end.  While you may need to track down a few ingredients to make this, it will be worth your while to do so.  I ordered my psyllium husk powder on Amazon.  My only complaint about the bread is that with a standard toaster, it's a bit hard to toast because you lose hazelnuts and seeds into the toaster... a toaster oven would be a much better bet.
This is actually rhubarb jam - also a delicious option to spread on this bread.
The nutty, seedy, grainy slices of bed are even better with a little dollop of apricot jam on top!  I went a bit overboard with my apricot purchasing at the farmer's market last weekend and didn't want them to spoil.  This jam is light on the sugar, but the apricots are sweet enough that you really don't need much.  The jam is also great on plain yogurt and atop ice cream.  Apricots will be out of season before you know it - make this while you can!
Nuts, Seeds & Grains Loaf of Bread
Recipe from My New Roots as recommended by Dessertification
Yield = 1 loaf
Note - If you are looking for variations on this bread (e.g., sugar free, nut free), check out the comments after the recipe here.

1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds (I used hazelnuts)
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup 
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
1 ½ cups / 350ml water

1. If you have a flexible, silicon loaf pan, I'd recommend using that.  If you don't, a regular loaf pan will work just fine - I greased mine and inserted a piece of parchment paper for easy removal from the pan.  Combine all of the dry ingredients in the loaf pan, stirring well.  In a measuring cup, whisk maple syrup, oil and water together.  Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable).  Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.  Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight (I let mine sit overnight).  To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.

3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).

4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!  

Apricot Jam
Yield = approximately 4 cups
By the way, I love my Weck jars!  

7 cups of sliced apricots (approximately 15 small apricots)
2 cups sugar
1/4 fresh lemon juice

1.  In a medium saucepan,combine the apricots, the sugar and the lemon juice and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often so the jam doesn't stick or burn.  Simmer the jam until it’s thick but some chunks of fruit remain, approximately 30 minutes.  

2.  Remove the pan from the heat. Let cool, transfer to a plastic container with a tight fitting lid or jars, and refrigerate.  The jam will keep in the refrigerator for approximately a week.


Toasted Muesli

I've mentioned this before, but I have a lot of trouble getting my act together in the morning.  I blame the fact that I started working in New York City where 9:30 AM is the respectable time to arrive at work.  My next stop was Boston where 9:00 AM was more appropriate.  Then we arrived in Denver where 8:00 AM is the norm and it isn't unusual to find people in the office beginning at 7:00 AM.  Plus, they probably went for a bike ride or run beforehand.  Honestly.
It isn't that I can't get myself up in the morning, but there seems to be a time warp during the first 45 minutes I'm awake... somehow the time passes and I'm dressed for work but I haven't managed to eat breakfast and it's really time to head to work.  Does anyone else have that problem?  I can't remember the last time I sat down for breakfast in our house on a weekday!  Instead, I usually eat at my desk at work while I go through e-mail and reading the news.  Enter this Toasted Muesli.  Thanks to Talley, I've got a new breakfast option in my repertoire.  I make homemade granola regularly, which I love.  But the muesli is different in that there are fewer oats and they are balanced by the puffed grains, the nuts, the millet and the dried fruit.  I think what sets this recipe apart is the mix of textures.  You can eat it with milk or yogurt... which is what I've been doing at my desk!
Toasted Muesli
Recipe from House to Haus (via Whole Living October 2012)
Note - This recipe is meant to be adapted to your tastes and what you have in your house.  Use whatever nuts or grains you have on hand.
1/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup whole millet
2 cups oats (not instant)
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup mixed chopped nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup mixed assorted dried fruit chopped (I used apricots, apples, and peaches)
1/2 cup puffed millet (puffed quinoa would work, too)
1.  Preheat the oven to 325ºf.
2.  In a small bowl, pour boiling water over millet, cover with a plate and let sit for 30 minutes. 
3.  In a large bowl mix the drained millet, oats, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds and the chopped nuts with the maple syrup, olive oil and salt. Stir to coat. 
4.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the muesli mixture out on it. Place it in the oven and bake, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the mixture is lightly toasted, about 20-30 minutes. 
5.  Let the muesli cool and then add the cranberries, chopped assorted dried fruit and the puffed millet. Stir to mix. Store the muesli in an airtight glass container for up to 2 weeks. 



Molly Wizenberg's Cinnamon Rolls

The month of March really snuck up on me.  February certainly didn't feel short with its chilly, dark days and falling snow, but somehow the month flew by.   We took a much-needed trip to warmer weather for a wedding in Miami and spent a weekend with friends at a remote ski area in southwest Colorado called Wolf Creek.  We cozied up in a rustic cabin called the Lonesome Dove, wore ourselves out on the slopes during the day, and curled up with tea and a movie at night.
One of my favorite things about getting away for the weekend is that the time is spent together - there are no chores to get in the way or other social engagements to keep.  You can really focus on whatever you are doing, whoever you are seeing, or wherever you are that weekend.  
On the flip side, we've been away three weekends in a row and the laundry and mail are piled high and I haven't cooked in weeks.  I am looking forward to just being home this weekend. 
You know what would be perfect for our first weekend morning home in weeks?  Molly Wizenberg's Cinnamon Rolls.  You can't go wrong with cinnamon rolls and these are soft and sticky and the frosting is the perfect complement to the sweet dough and cinnamon sugar filling.  I've been meaning to make these since Molly's recipe appeared in Bon Appétit and now that I know they are easy to make and SO good, I'm kicking myself for having waited so long.  

Molly Wizenberg's Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
Bon Appétit March 2008

Notes:  Read this recipe through before beginning to allow yourself enough time to make the rolls.  The dough must rise twice so you have to allow appropriate time for that to occur.  I actually made the dough the night before (through step #2 below), let the dough rise in the fridge overnight, and then continued with the recipe in the morning.  Ali also blogged about this recipe and she made the rolls through step #5, refrigerated them overnight, and baked them in the morning.  Either way, just don't plan on starting these at 8 AM and having cinnamon rolls one hour later.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 2 envelopes yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Non-stick vegetable oil spray
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For dough:
1.  Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.

2.  Lightly oil large bowl with non-stick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

For filling:
3.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

4.  Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).

5.  Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with non-stick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

6.  Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.

For glaze:
7.  Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.