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Cooking for a Delicious Life: A Lauren Groveman Kitchen Instructional Video Series

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Easy Cinnamon Buns

This recipe is so easy and produces tender cinnamon buns that are golden brown and so delicious! Although, in my show, Baking Made Easy, I say that this dough can be made the night before and chilled overnight, for best texture, I do suggest making the dough first thing in the morning. This is one of the few times I use a fast acting yeast –so the process of making and serving fresh-baked cinnamon buns first thing in the morning, really is doable. The night before, just have your fillings all measured out, your egg-wash made and chilled, as well as your powdered sugar sifted and ready for the glaze. Lining your baking sheets with parchment, the night before, also helps to make things go seamlessly in the morning.

Just to get you in the mood…

Ingredients for the Dough

  • Up to 3 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 envelope rapid rise yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 / 2 cup milk
  • 1 / 4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature

For the Cinnamon-Raisin Filling

  • 1 / 4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup raisins (mix light and dark)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the Maple-Egg Glaze:

  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

For the Powdered Sugar Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk, or as needed

 

To assemble the dough: In a large bowl, combine 2-1 / 2 cups flour, sugar, un-dissolved yeast, and salt. Heat water, milk, and butter until very warm (120o to 130oF). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer (with the paddle attachment), scraping the bowl occasionally. Add the egg and 1 more cup of flour; beat 2 minutes at a moderately high speed. Using a wooden spoon, stir in just enough remaining flour to make the dough leave the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. Cover with a towel and; let rest 15 minutes.

Assemble the fillings:  In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon with a whisk. Put raisins in another bowl.

Assemble the cinnamon buns and let them rise: Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions; roll each portion to approximately 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Brush each liberally with melted butter; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (use fingers to help coat dough evenly), then scatter the raisins on top (use half of each for each half of dough) Beginning at short end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal. With a sharp serrated knife, cut each roll into 7 pieces. Place, cut sides up, on prepared baking sheet(s). Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Or, for morning buns, cover the buns with a clean kitchen towel, and then again with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. In the morning, preheat the oven to between 350Fand 375F and allow the buns to sit out of refrigeration for 1 to 1 1/2 hours before glazing.

Glaze and bake: Mix the egg with the water and maple syrup. Strain into another bowl. Brush the buns with the glaze and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through (rotate the sheet front to back once during baking and, if becoming overly brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil (shiny side up). Remove from the oven and let buns sit on the sheet for 5 minutes.

Prepare the powdered sugar glaze: While the buns bake, assemble the powdered sugar glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and enough milk to make a glaze that’s thick but able to be drizzled luxuriously. Remove to a wire rack that sits over wax paper. Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze. (Alternatively, you can spoon and then spread the glaze over the warm buns.)

 

Comments (11)

Pumpkin-Currant Loaves or Muffins

If you love pumpkin, you’ll adore these loaves–and muffins! If you have any questions about any tools mentioned, please visit the Kitchen Management, for clarification.

Tools needed:

  • Whisk (regular)
  • Whisk (batter whisk) or use a wide blending fork
  • 10 to 12-inch skillet
  • Two loaf pans (preferably nonstick), only if making loaves
  • One 12-muffin tin and one 6-muffin tin (preferably nonstick)
  • Muffin liners

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable spray
  • ½ cups dried currants, plumped in 1/2 cup very hot water or apple juice for 10 minutes and drained
  • 2/3 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds (if making muffins, increase the seeds to 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, to sauté the pumpkin seeds (increase to 3 tablespoons if making muffins)
  • Kosher salt, to taste (optional)
  • 2 cups pure pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, for the batter, plus 2 tablespoons for the topping (if making muffins, increase the sugar for the topping to ½ cup)
  • 2/3 cup (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
  • 3 1/2 cups Assorted Muffin Mix or see the end of this recipe
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus some for the topping, if desired
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly grated) for the batter, plus some for the topping, if desired
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch ground cloves

1) To set up the tins and preheat the oven: Spray the tops of a nonstick 12-muffin tin and a 6 cup tin with vegetable spray and line the cups with paper liners. If making loaves, brush two 8 x 4-inch nonstick loaf pans with vegetable spray. For muffins, preheat the oven to 400oF or for loaves, preheat to 375oF. Both are baked with the rack on the center shelf.

(If baking loaves, they can sit side by side in one oven but, if making muffins, and if not working with a double oven, each tin will need to bake successively. Regardless, the oven rack should be in the center position.) After plumping the currants, drain them and set them aside.

2) To sauté the pumpkin seeds and to make the topping: Sauté the correct amount of pumpkin seeds in the butter, stirring constantly, until very fragrant and deeply toasted, about 5 minutes. Drain the seeds on doubled paper towels and, if desired, sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt. Allow them to cool. Chop the toasted seeds into small but irregular pieces and, if making loaves, take two tablespoons of the seeds and place them into a plastic bag with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and, if desired, add a few shakes of cinnamon and a bit of ground nutmeg. Roll over the sugar-nut mixture to crush the nuts and to combine with the sugar and spices. (If making muffins mix ½ cup of the seeds with ½ cup of sugar, some cinnamon and nutmeg, then roll over them to crush.)

3) To assemble the batter and make loaves or muffins: Whisk together the dry mix and the listed spices in a 5-quart mixing bowl and set aside. Using a whisk, combine the pumpkin, buttermilk, oil, eggs, white and brown sugars, maple syrup and the vanilla and maple extract. When well mixed, add the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and, using either a batter whisk or a wide blending fork, combine the mixture gently but thoroughly (check for dry pockets, using a rubber spatula). Using a large, sturdy rubber spatula, fold in the drained currants with the remaining ½ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds.

4) If making loaves, divide the batter between both pans and smooth the top with an off-set spatula. If making muffins, use a medium-size ice cream scoop or a large spoon to divide the batter between the cups, filling to the top, mounding slightly (use all of the batter). Sprinkle the tops of the loaves or muffins generously with the topping.

5) To bake loaves: Place the pans into the preheated oven, with 2 to 3 inches in between them, and immediately reduce the temperature to 350F. Bake the loaves for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the golden and a tester comes out clean.

6) To bake muffins: Working with one tin at a time, place the 12-muffin tin into the center of a preheated 400oF and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375oF and bake for 5 minutes. Insert a tester deep into the top center of a random muffin and, if it comes out clean, remove the tin from the oven. If there are still moist crumbs clinging to the tester, reduce the temperature to 325oF and bake 5 to 7 minutes more (when done, in addition to a tester coming out clean, the tops should be golden and crisp). Remove the tin from the oven and place it on a rack. Before placing the second tin into the oven, increase the oven temperature to 400F and wait 10 minutes.

7) To cool and unmold: When done, remove the muffins or loaves from the oven and place their pans on a wire rack for a few minutes, then use a knife to run down the sides of the loaf pans to help free them. For muffins, either carefully lift each one out of the tin and place on the rack or, if any muffins tops have merged during baking, use a knife to cut in between them. To unmold the loaves, place a piece of wax paper on top of each loaf and invert it onto another wire rack. Invert once more, so the loaf is right side up. Discard the paper.

8) To store cooled muffins or loaves: Wrap each loaf or each muffin in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Both will stay perfectly moist for several days and can be frozen, well wrapped, for 2 months.

If you don’t have the pre-assembled muffin mix:

Per each batch (of loaves or muffins) you’ll need: 3 1/2 cups bleached flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon all spice and a pinch of cloves. Combine these ingredients well, using a whisk, then follow the previous instructions.

Timing is Everything:

• If you’ve made your muffin mix ahead of time, you’re well ahead of the game!

Comments (1)

Blueberry Muffin Recipe: These Muffins are Loaded with Blueberries!

These muffins are extremely light, tender and not too sweet! And when baked within insulating paper liners and wrapped individually in pliable plastic wrap, they stay soft and tender for days after baking. To enjoy these blueberry muffins throughout the year, flash-freeze fresh blueberries at the end of July and beginning of August when they are most abundant and voluptuous–some are so large, they resemble grapes! And because there’s nothing like the taste of a freshly baked blueberry muffin first thing in the morning, follow my Timing Tips and provide yourself and family with a delectable (and aromatic) way to start your day! Oh, and if using frozen blueberries, don’t thaw them first. You will need to bake the muffins a bit longer to account for the colder temperature of the batter when entering the oven.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • 12-cup standard-sized muffin tin, preferably nonstick
  • Paper muffin liners (optional)
  • Nutmeg grater (optional)
  • Batter whisk or wide blending fork

For the muffin batter:

  • Melted butter or nonstick vegetable spray, for muffin tin (use vegetable spray if setting your tin up the night before baking)
  • 3 ½ cups bleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1 1/4 cups cultured buttermilk
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups plump fresh blueberries or unthawed frozen berries
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar or vanilla sugar, for topping

1) To set up: Preheat the oven to 400o F. If not using paper liners, brush with melted butter or spray the interior of a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin. Even if using paper liners butter or spray the tops of the tin, in between each muffin cup.

2) To assemble batter: Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl and combine thoroughly using a whisk. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, brown and white sugars and vanilla. Mix well, making sure that there are no lumps of brown sugar). Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and, using either a batter whisk or a wide blending fork, combine the mixture gently but thoroughly. Gently, fold in the blueberries using a rubber spatula and take care not to overwork the batter or rupture the berries.

3) To bake: Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup and mounding the top (using all of it). Sprinkle tops generously with some granulated sugar. Place the tin into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325F and bake for 5 to 7 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center and the tops are golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and place the tin on a wire rack. Cut in between each muffin (where the edges merged during baking), carefully lift out the muffins and stand them on a rack to cool. Allow muffins to settle for 10 minutes before enjoying warm.

4) To store: Muffins to be served on the day of baking should be placed on a tray and, once cool, covered with aluminum foil. Those to be stored for the next day should be wrapped individually in pliable plastic. Either way, they should be stored at room temperature.

Freshly Baked Muffins for Breakfast

The night before, combine all of the wet ingredients, cover well and refrigerate. Whisk together all dry ingredients and leave at room temperature. Line tins with paper liners and spray tops of tins.

In the morning, preheat oven, re-mix the wet ingredients and then gently combine this with the dry ingredients and then fold in berries. Fill tin, pop into the oven and set your timer for 20 minutes.


SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the muffin batter :

Ingredients

  • Melted butter or nonstick vegetable spray, for muffin tin (use vegetable spray if setting your tin up the night before baking)
  • 3 ½ cups bleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1 1/4 cups cultured buttermilk
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups plump fresh blueberries or unthawed frozen berries
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar or vanilla sugar, for topping

From the refrigerated section

  • Extra-large eggs

From the dairy case

  • Buttermilk
  • Butter (if not using vegetable spray to spray the tops of the tin)

From the produce aisle

  • 1 dry pint, plus ½ pint fresh blueberries

From the supermarket shelf

  • Vegetable spray
  • Paper muffin liners
  • Bleached, all-purpose flour
  • Double-acting baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Table salt
  • Light brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Flavorless vegetable oil

From the spice section

  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg (preferably whole, to be ground by you)

From the frozen food section

  • Frozen blueberries (only if fresh is unavailable), you’ll use these straight from the freezer. Secure the bag shut and store any unused berries in the freezer.

Watch the Video.

Comments (4)

Savory Pita Chips

Here’s a great way to enjoy some delicious chips without the guilt! Use these to scoop up your favorite dips and spreads (try them with my silky, smooth and oh-so-savory White Bean and Garlic Dip!), or just enjoy them out of hand, as a mid-afternoon snack.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Large shallow baking sheet
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Pastry brush

For the Pita Chips:

  • 2 large pita rounds (with pockets), cut in half and each half opened, for a total of 8-half moons.
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 generous tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon aromatic dried oregano, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated best-quality Parmesan cheese

1) To set up to bake pita chips: Preheat the oven to 375° F. Press 2 cloves of garlic through a garlic press directly onto your cutting board. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt over the garlic. Using the blade of a sharp 8-inch chef’s knife, mash and scrape the garlic with the salt until you create a paste. Scrape the garlic paste off the board and place it into a small bowl with 2 generous tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon crumbled oregano and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Mix well with a fork.

2) To season the pita wedges: Use a pastry brush to brush the mixture lightly on the outside surface of the bread. Stack them (seasoned side up) and cut the stack into 3 wedges for a total of 24 seasoned pita triangles and arrange (seasoned side up), on a wire rack within a shallow baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bake until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.

3) To serve and store: Let the chips cool on the rack until just warm, and then pile them into a bowl and serve. Store any leftover chips in an air-tight tin.

Timing is Everything

  • The pita chips can be made 2 days ahead and kept at room temperature in an air-tight tin

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 2 large pita rounds (with pockets), cut in half and each half opened, for a total of 8-half moons.
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 generous tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon aromatic dried oregano, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated best-quality Parmesan cheese

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bag large pita rounds (white or whole wheat)

From the spice section:

  • Dried oregano
  • Crushed red chili flakes
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper (preferably whole, to grind at home)

From the produce section:

  • 1 head garlic

From the cheese section or dairy case:

  • 1 wedge best-quality Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano)

Comments (0)

Prune and Raisin Refrigerator Bran Muffins

These muffins are small, incredibly moist and absolutely the best-tasting bran muffins I’ve had yet (and I’ve never met anyone, at any age, that didn’t adore them). This recipe is purposely large so you can keep the batter in the refrigerator for (at least) three weeks and create fresh-baked muffins in the morning, afternoon or anytime you choose. As a matter of fact, this batter seems to bake even better when it’s cold–straight from the fridge! And, although most muffins are at their best on the day of baking, the texture of these stay perfect for days… This recipe is a real winner.

Special Equipment

  • 6 and/or 12-cup standard-sized muffin tins, preferably nonstick
  • Paper muffin liners
  • Electric mixer
  • Batter whisk or wide blending fork
  • Medium-sized ice cream scoop, holding 1/4 cup liquid (optional)

Ingredients

  • Vegetable spray, for the muffin tin
  • 4 cups bran cereal with raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups unprocessed wheat bran
  • 1 quart (4 cups) cultured buttermilk
  • 2 generous cups bite-sized pitted prunes, halved or quartered, or larger pitted prunes, cut into the size of large raisins
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 level tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 (rounded) teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the optional topping:

  • Mix granulated sugar with toasted wheat germ, in the ratio of 1 to 2 (use half as much sugar to wheat germ). Per each 12 muffins, you will need about 1 scant tablespoon sugar with 2 scant tablespoons of wheat germ.

1) To set up: If planning to bake some or all of the muffins right away, preheat the oven to 400 F. (If using a black muffin tin or a convection mode, preheat to 375o F.) Spray the tops of one or more 6- or 12-cup nonstick muffin tins with vegetable spray and line the cups with paper liners.

2) To assemble the batter: Place bran cereal, wheat bran, buttermilk and cut prunes into a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Set aside so the cereal has a chance to absorb the buttermilk. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream shortening with brown sugar and molasses. Add eggs, 1 at a time, combining well after each addition. Add vegetable oil and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and mix once more. Scrape this mixture into the bowl with the swollen bran mixture. Stir well. Pour the flour mixture on top of the wet ingredients and, using either a batter whisk or a wide blending fork, gently but thoroughly combine the batter.

3) To bake: If including the topping, mix the granulated sugar with wheat germ and set aside. (I often make a larger batch and store what I don’t use in the refrigerator, covered. That way, when I want to make more muffins, using the cold batter, I already have my topping made.) Generously fill a medium-sized ice cream scoop with the batter and place uniform portions into each muffin cup, filling just to the top. Alternatively, use a spoon to fill each cup. Sprinkle the topping generously over the muffin batter. Place into the preheated oven and bake 22 to 25 minutes; if using a black muffin tin, after 20 minutes, reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for 2 to 5 more minutes, covering loosely with aluminum foil (shiny side up) if the tops are becoming overly brown. If using a convection mode, bake at 375F for the entire time. Muffins are done when they reach just a bit past the top of the tin, are a deep brown color, and a toothpick will come out just clean when inserted into the center. (Don’t over-bake; the muffins will continue to cook from residual heat, once removed from the oven.)

4) To invert, cool and serve: Remove tin to a wire rack and place another rack on top. Invert muffins onto the wire rack and let them cool upside down (These muffins will not have large domed tops.) Serve warm or at room temperature.

5) To store the batter: If not baking all the muffins at once, place the remaining batter into a heavy-duty container with a tight-fitting lid. Label and date the container and refrigerate. Spoon directly from the refrigerator into prepared muffin tins and bake as directed. The batter should remain good for at least 3 weeks under refrigeration. Also, if you ever run out of batter when filling your tin, just fill the empty cups 3/4 full with very hot tap water and your muffins will bake just fine.

6) To store leftover muffins: Once cool, the muffins can be placed on a tray and covered with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature (they will stay moist and perfect for days, but won’t last that long!)


SHOPPING LIST for Prune and Raisin Bran Muffins

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Vegetable spray, for the muffin tin
  • 4 cups bran cereal with raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups unprocessed wheat bran
  • 1 quart (4 cups) cultured buttermilk
  • 2 generous cups bite-sized pitted prunes, halved or quartered, or larger pitted prunes, cut into the size of large raisins
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 level tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 (rounded) teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Comments (3)

Orange-Scented Currant Scones

As far as my family and friends are concerned, this recipe produces scones that are unsurpassed. The biscuit mix has been specifically designed to make scones that are lighter than most with a very tender, slightly cake-like crumb. If you use my timing strategy at the end of this recipe, you’ll see that making scones is truly a snap!

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

For the pre-baking glaze:

  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the scones:

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice (or thawed frozen orange juice concentrate)
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons minced orange zest (the colored part only)
  • 2 cups prepared Baking Powder Biscuit Mix (or see below for single recipe)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 rounded cup dried (but supple) currants
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed, for dusting
  • Powdered sugar for dusting or for making a post-baking glaze, optional

1. To set-up: Prepare the glaze: Using a fork, combine the egg, cream, sugar and vanilla. Pour this through a medium-mesh sieve into another bowl and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a flat (not cushioned) cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. To assemble the scones: Combine the cream, orange juice, egg, vanilla and zest in a 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Whirl the biscuit mix and sugar in the work-bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, to combine well. Add the currants and pulse to distribute evenly. Drop the cold diced butter into the work-bowl and use the pulsing button to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse meal.

Uncover the bowl and pour in most of the liquid ingredients (reserving only about 2 tablespoons) and, after attaching the cover, pulse just until the batter seems cohesive (don’t overwork it). If the mixture seems at all dry, add the remaining liquid and pulse it in. (Scone dough should be moist, but not overly wet. If your dough is uncomfortably wet, just use a bit more flour on your hands and work surface.)

Turn the mass of dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, with lightly floured hands, knead the dough gently, about 8 or 9 times. Use a scraper, when necessary, to help lift the dough off the work surface, if wet in certain areas.

Pat the dough into a 1-inch thick round and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.

Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the dough into 6 or 8 wedges. Wipe off the knife, after each cut, and sprinkle the blade with some flour. Repeat this cutting procedure, going into the original lines and, when the blade reaches the bottom, rock the blade (by its handle) back and forth to widen the space in between each wedge. Do this several times, if necessary, until there’s between 1/8 and 1/4-inch between the wide part of each wedge. Of course, this space will be much narrower at the center.

Use a pastry brush to remove any excess flour on the dough, then brush the tops with the prepared glaze. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for 20 minutes.

Then remove the sheet from the oven and, using a clean, sharp chef’s knife, cut in between each wedge, wiping off the blade after each cut. If necessary, go over your cuts until sure that all the wedges are completely separate. One by one, place a narrow metal spatula underneath each wedge and pull it away from the rest, giving them all total exposure to heat.

Place the sheet back into the oven and reduce the temperature to 375°F. Bake for 5 minutes more. Cool the wedges completely, on a rack.

3. To garnish and store scones: Before serving, if desired, give the tops of the scones a light dusting of powdered sugar. Or, to make a glaze, place 2 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar in a bowl and whisk in a couple of tablespoons of water—just enough to make a very thick mixture that falls back on itself in a ribbon, when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. If too thin, add more sugar and if too thick, add a few droplets more of water. Using the whisk, drizzle the glaze whimsically over the tops of the fully cooled scones. Allow the glaze to set for 1 to 3 hours, uncovered. After that, when no longer sticky, the scones can be individually wrapped. Store scones at room temperature, in an airtight container or individually wrapped with plastic wrap.

4. If you don’t have the pre-assembled Baking Powder Biscuit Mix:

For each batch of scones:

  • Mix 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour with
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Whisk well and follow the rest of the recipe

5. Timing is Everything

For fresh-baked scones first thing in the morning:

The night before: Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the biscuit mix and sugar in the bowl of your food processor and leave it there, with the lid on. Place the currants in a bowl, on the counter. Cut the butter into dice and leave it in the refrigerator, covered. Mix the cream, orange juice, zest, egg and the vanilla together and leave it in the refrigerator, covered. Assemble your egg glaze and refrigerate it, covered. Place a few tablespoons of sugar in a little bowl, for sprinkling, and leave it on your counter.

In the morning: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the butter into the dry mixture, mix in the currants, add the wet ingredients, and follow the remaining instructions.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the mix:

  • 14 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
For the pre-baking glaze:
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the scones:
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice (or thawed frozen orange juice concentrate)
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons minced orange zest (the colored part only)
  • 2 cups prepared homemade Baking Powder Biscuit Mix (or see ingredients list above)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 rounded cup dried (but supple) currants
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed, for dusting
  • Powdered sugar for dusting or for making a post-baking glaze, optional

From the supermarket shelf:

  • 1 10-pound bag, plus 1 5-pound bag unbleached, all purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Fine table salt
  • Baking powder
  • Vanilla extract
  • Dried currants
  • Powdered sugar

From the refrigerated section:

  • Extra-large eggs
  • Orange juice (only if not using frozen orange juice concentrate)

From the frozen food section:

  • Frozen orange juice concentrate (I prefer this to using orange juice)

From the dairy case:

  • Heavy cream
  • Unsalted butter

From the produce section:

  • Navel orange

Comments (7)

Great Banana Bread

I hope you’ll become very familiar with this banana bread recipe; it’s probably the best there is and, when made in its simplest form, it’s one of the easiest recipes for banana bread. You’ll notice several ingredients listed as “optional.” This is to accommodate your mood, timing agenda or particular audience. I’m also hoping that this recipe will encourage you to use those “now or never” bananas. You know—the ones that are probably sitting in some cozy corner of your kitchen, right now, ready and waiting!

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information. Enjoy.

Special Equipment

  • Food processor to make the optional topping (or use a plastic bag and a rolling pin)
  • One 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, preferably nonstick
  • Nutmeg grater (only if including nutmeg)
  • Electric mixer with a paddle attachment
  • Blender to purée bananas (or use a wide blending fork or a potato masher)

For an optional topping:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup finely chopped toasted nuts (blanched almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts and/or pecans)

For the banana bread batter:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter for the loaf, plus 1 generous tablespoon butter, melted, for brushing
  • 1/2 cup raisins (mix light and dark); optional
  • 1 cup hot tea (use a regular tea like Tetley); only if using raisins
  • 2 cups bleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup sugar (all granulated or mix half packed light brown sugar and half granulated)
  • 2 extra-large eggs, made tepid by steeping them, whole, in hot tap water for 15 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large, very ripe bananas

1. To set up: If you want to apply a topping to the banana bread, place those ingredients in either the bowl of a food processor or in a plastic bag and pulse to combine or roll over the ingredients, using a rolling pin. Set the topping aside, for now. Unwrap the stick of butter, cut it into cubes and put it in the bowl of your electric mixer. Cover the bowl and let the butter sit at room temperature, so it can soften. (To hurry this along, you can put a hot, wet, folded kitchen towel underneath the bowl. Don’t melt the butter, however.) Brush a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with melted butter and set it aside. Place the raisins in a bowl, if using, and pour the hot tea over them. Let them steep until supple, about ten minutes, then lift the raisins out, lay them on paper towels to drain. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. To make the banana bread batter: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices, if using them. Cream the butter with the sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. When very light in both color and texture, add one of the tepid eggs and, while beating on a medium speed, let the egg become totally homogenous with the creamed mixture, before adding the next egg (give it at least 2 minutes of continuous beating after adding each egg). Beat in the vanilla. Leave the machine on while you purée or mash your bananas. Purée the bananas or mash them well with either a wide blending fork or an old-fashioned potato masher. When smooth, pour the purée into the batter while the machine is continually running. Stop the machine and, using a large rubber spatula, scrape the batter off the sides and up from the bottom of the bowl. Beat briefly again, then stop the machine. Add all of the flour mixture and, while mixing on a slow speed (pulse at first to avoid flour flying out from the bowl) combine the ingredients well without over-mixing. If using raisins, fold them in now, using the rubber spatula.

3. To bake the banana bread:Pour all of the batter into the bowl and smooth the top with a table knife or a small off-set icing spatula. If using the topping, sprinkle all of it over the top of the batter. Bake the banana bread in the preheated 350°F oven for 50 to 55 minutes. (See the note below this step.) Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run the dull side of a table knife around the sides of the pan. If you’ve used a topping, place a piece of wax paper on top of the loaf and then place another wire rack on top and invert the banana bread. Lift the pan off the loaf, then invert the loaf again, right side up, discard the paper and let it cool. (If not using a topping, the wax paper is not necessary, just place the rack directly on top of the loaf and invert, as directed.)
Note: When the banana bread is done, a tester will come out clean when inserted deeply into the top-center of the loaf.

4. To serve and store: Banana bread is best if left to cool completely before slicing. To store, once cool, either place on a platter under a domed lid, or wrap the loaf well in pliable plastic wrap and slip the loaf into a large heavy-duty plastic bag. Either way, store the banana bread at room temperature.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For an optional topping:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup finely chopped toasted nuts (blanched almonds, walnuts and/or pecans)

For the banana bread batter:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, for the loaf, plus 1 generous tablespoon butter, melted, for brushing
  • 1/2 cup raisins (mix light and dark); optional
  • 1 cup hot tea (use a regular tea like Tetley); only if using raisins
  • 2 cups bleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup sugar (all granulated or mix half packed light brown sugar and half granulated)
  • 2 extra-large eggs, made tepid by steeping them, whole, in hot tap water for 15 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large, very ripe bananas

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Small bag nuts (blanched almonds, pecans or walnuts: only if including the nut topping)
  • Tea (regular and only if including raisins)
  • Raisins: light and/or dark (only if including them)
  • Bleached all-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Table salt
  • Pure vanilla extract

From the spice section:

  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Nutmeg (preferably whole, but this is an optional ingredient)

From the produce section:

  • Really ripe bananas (buy in advance and let sit at room temperature until they reach a very ripe stage.

From the refrigerated section:

  • Extra-large eggs

From the dairy case:

  • Unsalted butter

Comments (3)

Garlic Toasts

To me, this garlic toast recipe is like a favorite pair of shoes. I always pull it out when I want to feel comfortable. In addition to serving them before dinner, with cocktails, they are also a wonderful partner for a salad, a soup meal or a casual supper. When serving these toasts for cocktails, broil them about five minutes before your guests are due to arrive, since the aroma from both, the sizzling garlic and the parmesan cheese provides an awesome way to welcome your friends. Also, if planning to serve the toasts on a platter with further embellishments on top (try my Savory Mushroom Spread, a real family favorite!) don’t apply them until your guests arrive. Usually, after pre-broiling the toasts on both sides, I turn them over so the cheese side is up and I just keep the broiler on. That way, when my guests arrive, I can just run them under intense heat, to freshen things up.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment:

  • Large shallow baking sheet
  • For the garlic toasts:
  • 1 stick butter, softened or use ½ cup Garlic Confit oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 10 slices of best-quality, crusty Italian bread with sesame seeds, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • About ½ cup freshly grated best-quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. To assemble your garlic butter or oil: Combine the softened butter or oil with the garlic, parsley, basil, if using, and crumbled oregano. Season with pepper.

2. To assemble the garlic toast, in advance of broiling: Spread a thin layer of the compound butter on both sides of the bread slices and lay them on a shallow baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops, only, with the grated cheese and grind on more pepper.

3. To broil the garlic toasts: Position the oven rack close to the heat source and preheat the broiler. A few minutes before you’re ready to serve, broil the bread, turning once, until golden on both sides. After broiling the second side, turn the slices over, so the cheese-side faces up. Serve hot, piled and passed in a linen-lined basket as an accompaniment to soups or salads, or as a bed for a savory toppings.

Timing is Everything

  • The garlic butter can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator, well covered, for a week. If using oil, three days. If using butter, you can also freeze it for up to 1 month.
  • Thaw the butter until very spreadable before using.
  • If your bread is very fresh, the garlic toasts can be fully assembled, but not toasted, two days ahead, and stored in the refrigerator, securely covered. Let the slices come to room temperature before broiling

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter, softened or use ½ cup Garlic Confit Oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 10 slices of best-quality, crusty Italian bread with sesame seeds, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • About 1/2 cup freshly grated best-quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Crusty Italian bread or a French baguette, or pocket-less pita bread, for the garlic toast
  • Dried oregano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (if not using Garlic Confit oil or butter)

From the produce section:

  • Garlic (2 heads)
  • Flat-leaf Italian parsley

From the dairy case:

  • 1 stick butter (if not using extra-virgin olive oil or Garlic Confit oil)
  • Wedge of Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano)

Comments (1)

Fried Indian Bread Puffs

Your kids won’t be the only ones who instantly gobble up these chubby, slightly sweet, airy puffs of golden dough. In most cases, the first bite will expose a deep pocket, which becomes the perfect scoop for the luscious sauce of curried dishes. Now, the tricky part: The oil must be hot enough or the dough won’t puff correctly, and if the oil is too hot, the dough can easily burn because the sugar makes it sensitive to heat. A few darker spots, though, add to the overall flavor. After you make these once or twice, you’ll get the hang of it. And, whether or not they puff, these taste great. Oh, and I don’t use a cast iron skillet to fry these, because I find the darker heat-retentive interior makes it more likely to cause the dough to scorch.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Sifter or triple-mesh wire sieve
  • Wooden surface, for kneading
  • Pastry scraper
  • Tapered rolling pin
  • Frying thermometer (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup very warm tap water (almost hot)
  • Flavorless vegetable oil or light peanut oil

1) To assemble the dough: In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the water and oil. Whisk to lighten and thoroughly mix. Sift into another bowl. Slowly pour in the water, while using the fingertips of your other hand to blend the wet and dry ingredients.

2) To knead the dough: Begin to knead dough (inside the bowl) until it forms a mass. Turn out mass onto a lightly floured wooden board and continue to knead in a push, fold and turning motion until smooth, elastic, and not sticky. If necessary, as you work dough, lightly dust board with additional flour to prevent sticking. If dough sticks during kneading, use a pastry scraper to remove it cleanly from the board. Cover dough and allow it to rest and relax for 15 to 30. If desired, dust the dough with a bit of flour and wrap in un-greased plastic wrap. This way, the dough can rest for up to 1 hour, without forming a skin.

3) To cut and roll the dough: Using a pastry scraper, cut dough into 4 equal sections. Shape each section into a smooth ball and cover the remaining balls while you work with 1 at a time. Flatten 1 ball of dough and roll it out on a lightly floured board until 5 to 6 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick (not too thin or thick). Using a pastry scraper, divide the circle of dough into 4 equal wedges and cover while you roll and cut the rest. When completed, you will have 16 pieces in all.

4) To set up for frying: Line a tray or shallow baking sheet with a double thickness of paper toweling. Line a serving basket with a pretty napkin. Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet until 365o F. If not using a thermometer, the oil should shimmer but never smoke; add a small piece of bread and, if it quickly sizzles and turns golden, the oil is ready. Adjust oil while frying to avoid burning.

5) To fry: One at a time, ease some of the triangles (in batches) into the hot oil, allowing each to sit free without touching another. Within 30 seconds, the dough should begin to puff through the center (the size of each puff will vary). Cook on the first side until uniformly golden but not burnt, 1 or 2 minutes, then turn triangles over and fry on the other side, going for the same color.

6) To drain and serve: Remove each batch and drain on prepared paper towels. Continue to fry the remaining triangles of dough and serve hot.

Timing is Everything:

• Although, for best enjoyment, these puffs should be served soon after frying, you can combine and sift your dry mixture early in the day (or days before needed). Give the mixture a good swish with a whisk before adding water.

• The dough can be fully assembled an hour ahead of being cut, rolled and fried, and kept covered with un-greased plastic wrap, at room temperature.


SHOPPING LIST


At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup very warm tap water (almost hot)
  • Flavorless vegetable oil or highly refined peanut oil

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Fine table salt
  • Double-acting baking powder
  • Flavorless vegetable oil or highly refined peanut oil (like “Planters”)

Watch the Video.

Comments (4)

Baking Powder Biscuits

Unlike yeast dough, which requires tough and persistent kneading by the cook, hands that touch biscuit dough have to be much gentler. For the tenderest biscuits, each kneading movement must be lighthearted and superficial, with the goal of just making the dough cohesive enough to be rolled (or patted) out. Homemade biscuits are usually a bit irregularly shaped after baking. Resist the temptation to work the dough aggressively, in the hopes of making the dough smooth. Most people would take a lopsided biscuit over a tough one any day. Whether sitting next to a mound of hot scrambled eggs at breakfast, or sharing the spotlight with a succulent roast chicken at dinner, these biscuits quickly become a family tradition, and one that always instills a wonderful sense of comfort and warmth.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

For the biscuits:

  • 2 cups prepared Baking Powder Biscuit Mix (or see below for single recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • About 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • Additional all-purpose flour, as needed, for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, to glaze biscuits
  • Softened butter and/or jam, for serving

1. To set up: Line a thin, flat cookie sheet with ungreased parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. To assemble the dough: Place the biscuit mix into either a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the cubed butter and, if not using a machine, cut the butter into the dry mix, using a hand-held pastry cutter or your fingertips. If using a food processor, pulse the diced butter with the dry mix. Either way, blend until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour 1 1/4 cups of the heavy cream into the bowl of dry ingredients.

If working with a food processor: add the cream to the work bowl and give it several quick pulses, just until the dry mix is thoroughly moistened and able to be turned out and handled.

If making biscuits by hand: Use a wide blending fork to, gently but thoroughly combine the wet and dry ingredients without overworking the mixture. As some of the flour becomes moistened by the cream, push that section of the dough to one side of the bowl and continue, until the dough resembles a moist, shapeless mass. (If dough seems too dry, add the remaining tablespoon or so of cream.)

3. To cut biscuits: Turn the mass out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it very gently, about 8 or 9 times, until it holds together (see the introduction of this recipe for more information.) Using a wooden rolling pin or a lightly floured hand, roll or pat the dough out to a thickness of about 1 1/2-inches. Using a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible, using a “straight down, up and out” motion. Lay the rounds on the prepared baking sheet and gather the scraps so you can gently knead them just to smooth the surface. Pat or roll the dough out again and cut out more rounds.

4. To bake: Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter and place the sheet into the center of the preheated oven until they have risen high and turn light golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot, with softened butter and/or jam.

5. If you don’t have the pre-assembled Baking Powder Biscuit Mix:

For each batch of biscuits:

  • Mix 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour with
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Whisk well and follow the rest of the recipe

Timing is Everything The unbaked biscuits can be prepared 24 hours ahead and refrigerated, covered well with plastic wrap. For best texture, bring the chilled dough close to room temperature before brushing with butter and baking.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the mix:

  • 14 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

For the biscuits:

  • 2 cups prepared Baking Powder Biscuit Mix (or see below for single recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • About 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • Additional all-purpose flour, as needed, for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, to glaze biscuits
  • Softened butter and/or jam, for serving

From the supermarket shelf:

  • 1 10-pound bag, plus 1 5-pound bag unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Fine table salt
  • Baking powder
  • Jam (for serving)

From the dairy case:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Heavy cream

Watch the Video.

Comments (1)

“Everything” Fried Chinese Noodles

Although this dough is very quick to put together, I’ve attached 2 ½ muscles for this recipe is because I want to stress to you that each quarter of dough needs to be rolled very thin before being cut and then fried. Don’t worry, though, since the added flavoring ingredients (the seeds, ground minced dehydrated onions, etc.) all help to sever the tough strands of gluten developed while kneading. If new to making and rolling dough, I suggest you watch the Video of me making these fried noodles which are, by far, the best I, or anyone who’s had them, have ever eaten

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Spice grinder
  • Wooden surface, for kneading
  • Pastry scraper
  • Large pot or electric deep-fat fryer
  • Deep-fry thermometer
  • Large perforated utensil (called a “spider”)

Ingredients For the Chinese noodles:

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 rounded teaspoon salt
  • 2 rounded tablespoons each: beige and black sesame seeds
  • 1 rounded tablespoon pan-toasted dehydrated minced onions, cooled and finely ground (toss in a hot, dry skillet, over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until golden but not burnt)
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated minced garlic, finely ground
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup cool tap water
  • 3 to 4 quarts flavorless vegetable oil or a highly refined peanut oil, for frying

1) To make the Chinese noodles: Whisk together the flour, salt, sesame seeds, ground dried onions, garlic, and pepper in a medium-sized mixing bowl. While combining the ingredients, with your working hand, add only enough water to create a moist (not wet) shaggy mass of dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured wooden board and knead it, using a firm, brisk and deliberate push-fold-and-turn motion, until the dough is firm, smooth and elastic. If the dough ever feels sticky, add a little additional flour. Cover the dough with a clean, dry kitchen towel and let it relax for 30 minutes, for easier rolling.

2) To set up to fry, if using a saucepan: Pour in enough oil to half fill a wide, heavy-bottomed 8-quart saucepan and attach a deep-frying thermometer securely to the side of the pan. Don’t allow the mercury tip to touch the bottom. Heat the oil over medium-high heat, to 375oF. If using a frying basket, let it heat in the oil.

3) If using an electric deep-fryer: Pour oil to the designated line and heat according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Line a large wire-mesh rack and a deep roasting pan with paper towels and place them near the stove, but at a safe distance.

4) To roll, cut and fry the noodles: Uncover the dough and, using the blade of a pastry scraper, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Keep the rest of the pieces covered, as you work with one piece at a time. On a lightly floured board, roll out one piece of the dough into a very thin (not more than 1/16-inch thick) rectangle. As you roll, occasionally turn the dough over and dust both the board and the dough with flour. When very thin, lay dough in front of you with one of the short ends closest to you.
Dust the top lightly with flour, spreading it out evenly with your hand and roll up the dough (going away from you) into a loose jelly-roll. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the roll into 1/4-inch slices. Lift each slice and let it unravel, draping it over the inside of your nonworking hand. When finished, if the oil is not hot enough, lay those noodles to the side, in a loose pile, covered with a clean kitchen towel. Roll and cut the remaining dough this way.
When the oil reaches the desired temperature, carefully ease a single pile of raw noodles into the hot oil and immediately (and gently) stir and separate them, using a long two-pronged fork. The noodles will quickly “balloon up,” and little blisters will appear on their surfaces. Fry the noodles until they’re golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes (a little longer in an electric fryer), and then carefully turn them over with the long fork to fry on the other side, about 2 minutes more. When done, the noodles should be golden, light textured and perfectly crisp. Don’t let them get overly dark, or they can taste burnt. Using either the fry basket or a long-handled wire-mesh tool, such as a spider, transfer each batch of cooked noodles from the oil to the paper-lined rack. Shake to remove excess oil, and then pile them in the prepared roasting pan.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the Chinese noodles:

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 rounded teaspoon salt
  • 2 rounded tablespoons each: beige and black sesame seeds
  • 1 rounded tablespoon pan-toasted dehydrated minced onions, cooled and finely ground (toss in a hot, dry skillet, over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until golden but not burnt)
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated minced garlic, finely ground
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup cool tap water
  • 3 to 4 quarts flavorless vegetable oil or a highly refined peanut oil, for frying

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Fine table salt
  • Beige and black sesame seeds (look in the Asian section for the black ones)
  • Dehydrated minced onions (preferably toasted)
  • Dehydrated minced garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Flavorless vegetable oil or a highly refined peanut oil (like “Planters”)

Watch the Video.

Comments (2)

Crispy Skillet Cornbread

This recipe is pretty basic, except for the addition of sautéed chopped onions. But to this, you may add a myriad of other ingredients, depending on your mood and who you are feeding (see variations). For the most interesting texture, use medium-ground (not fine) cornmeal. And cultured buttermilk is the secret ingredient to making the best-tasting, crispest, (yet incredibly tender) cornbread. (Buttermilk is the secret to so many different recipes that I’ve lost count!) Using an old-fashioned, well-seasoned cast iron skillet ensures the crispest, most authentic results. Today, you can even buy pre-seasoned cast iron pans. In a pinch, a heavy round cake pan will do. Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Wide blending fork or batter whisk
  • Sifter or triple-mesh wire strainer
  • 10 1/2-inch (1 1/2-inches deep) well-seasoned or pre-seasoned cast iron skillet or heavy 10-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep)

For the cornbread batter:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups medium-ground yellow or white cornmeal
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups cultured buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter or solid vegetable shortening
  • Softened butter, for accompaniment

1) To set up: Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet or heavy cake pan on the center shelf of the oven. (If using a cake pan, brush or spray the sides with flavorless vegetable oil.) Preheat the oven to 425o F.

2) To sauté the onions: Heat a small skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon butter. When melted and bubbling, add minced onion and sauté until softened and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add some freshly ground black pepper, remove from heat and set aside.

3) To assemble the batter: Place cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using a whisk, combine well and then sift into another bowl. Pour buttermilk into a separate bowl; add lightly beaten eggs and cooled sautéed onions and mix well. Pour buttermilk mixture and sautéed onions into the bowl with the dry mixture and add melted butter with another grind or two of fresh black pepper. Using a wide blending fork or a batter whisk, gently combine mixture until there are no dry pockets.

4) To bake: Place clarified butter or solid shortening into the preheated pan while it remains in oven. Close oven door and allow the fat to liquefy and become hot (1 minute). Open the oven door and carefully (using oven mitts!) pull the rack holding the skillet toward you. Using a rubber spatula, somewhat quickly (so the oven doesn’t cool) pour cornmeal mixture into the hot skillet (the batter should sizzle furiously). Push the pan back into the oven and close the door. Bake until firm but not overly dry and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the bread, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile warm your serving plate.

5) To invert and serve: Carefully remove pan from oven and run a knife around its circumference. Place a flat cookie sheet or a wire rack over the top and invert bread onto rack. Immediately invert once more onto a warmed serving plate so bread is right side up. Cut into wedges and serve hot with softened butter.

Timing is Everything

  • The dry ingredients can be mixed, sifted and left in a covered bowl days before needed. Just give a good swish with a whisk to combine and lighten before assembling.
  • Although batters leavened only with baking soda should be baked soon after being assembled, this batter can be fully combined, covered and left at a comfortable room temperature for up to 1 hour before pouring into the preheated skillet. Or, for best results, simply combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another and refrigerate the latter–hours ahead. Add the sautéed onions to the wet ingredients and allow them to sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before combining wet and dry ingredients (along with melted butter) just before baking.

Cornbread Variations

The sautéed onions can be omitted. Or, while sautéing the onions, add 1 or more of the following: 1/3 cup minced red or green bell pepper; 1 chopped, stemmed and seeded jalapeño chili pepper and/or 1/3 cup chopped hard sausage (andouille, or pepperoni, or chorizo, with the casing removed); you can also sauté 3 pieces bacon, until crisp, drain and coarsely chop. Then sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings instead of the butter and add chopped bacon when assembling butter. Another variation is to sauté 1/3 cup crumbled fresh sweet or hot Italian sausage in a bit of olive oil until golden; pour out any accumulated fat and add onions and 1 clove of minced garlic.

Clarified Butter
To clarify butter, slowly melt 2 or more sticks of unsalted butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (preferably one with a spout) over low heat, without stirring, until totally liquefied and the milky residue that’s fallen to the bottom of the pan becomes light golden and gives off a nutty aroma. Remove the pan from heat and let the butter settle for 15 minutes. Using a fine-mesh skimmer or a small shallow spoon, remove any white foamy substance that sits on top of the butterfat. When no milky solids remain on top, carefully pour the pure, yellow butterfat through a fine-mesh skimmer or a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, leaving any toasted residue behind. Expect to lose up to a quarter of your original volume, after straining. Store clarified butter in the refrigerator in a securely shut container for up to 6 months.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the cornbread batter:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups medium-ground yellow or white cornmeal
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups cultured buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter (see recipe) or solid vegetable shortening
  • Softened butter, for accompaniment

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Medium-ground yellow cornmeal
  • Baking soda
  • Fine table salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Black pepper

From the produce aisle:

  • Yellow onion

From the refrigerated section:

  • Extra-large eggs

From the dairy case:

  • Buttermilk
  • Unsalted butter (for the batter, to clarify and for serving)

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