18 January 2018

Lima Beans with Ham and Collard Greens - Butter Beans with Ham and Greens

Lima Beans with Ham and Collard Greens / www.delightfulrepast.com

Lima Beans with Ham and Collard Greens. Butter Beans with Ham and Greens. Maybe just Beans and Greens? It's a Southern thing, and my Southern half tends to come out in my cooking whenever I think of my paternal grandmother.

When I say lima beans, or butter beans, I always mean dried baby lima beans. I like them so much better than the big lima beans or the ones that are fresh or frozen rather than dried. My Southern grandmother always cooked dried beans. She would have thought canned or frozen beans a frivolous waste of money.

I had never cooked lima beans in the slow cooker, so this was a first. When I cook Pinto Beans in the slow cooker I never presoak, but for some reason decided to do the quick presoak on the lima beans, so that’s what you’ll see in the directions.

Ham is a classic addition to lima beans; and collard greens and Cornbread are the classic accompaniments. I decided to try cooking the collard greens right in with the beans instead of as a separate side dish because it would be so much easier and faster and wouldn’t dirty another pan!

I know Mr Delightful thinks I try to use every pan, dish and utensil in the house every time I cook; but I really do try to keep it down!

If you’re new to collard greens, this is how I like to cut them: Wash them, cut out the stems, stack the leaf halves, roll them up lengthwise like a big cigar and slice the roll into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.

What kind of soup warms you up when Soup Weather rolls in?


Lima Beans with Ham and Collard Greens - Butter Beans with Ham and Greens / www.delightfulrepast.com


Lima Beans with Ham and Collard Greens


1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) dried baby lima beans
1/2 pound (8 ounces/227 grams) ham, diced
3 carrots (about 7 ounces/198 grams), chopped
3 stalks celery (about 7 ounces/198 grams), chopped
1 small onion (about 4 ounces/113 grams), chopped
1 teaspoon ground dried chiles
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 quarts (about 1.5 liters) water
1 bunch (about 7 ounces/198 grams) collard greens, destemmed, rolled and sliced 1/4-inch wide strips

1 Put beans in 3-quart saucepan with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, cover and let stand for 1 hour. This is the quick soak method to replace the 12-hour “overnight” soak.

2 Drain the beans and put them in the slow cooker along ham, onion, celery, carrot, seasonings and water. Give it a stir. Make a top layer of sliced collard greens that will not be stirred in until later.

3 Cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning.

11 January 2018

Croissant Cinnamon Rolls

Croissant Cinnamon Rolls - (flaky, sticky rolls - perfect with a cup of tea) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Croissant Cinnamon Rolls (or Swirls) are amazing (and I don’t use that word lightly). Don’t get me wrong, I still love the pillowy soft “regular” Cinnamon Rolls. But, with their layers and crisp exterior, these Croissant Cinnamon Rolls are a whole different animal.

I have a lot of croissant dough in the freezer since I made multiple batches for last week’s How to Make Croissants – A Tutorial. Putting that post together I realized I hadn’t taken photos of all the steps I wanted to include, so I had to make another batch!

So I thought, Why not make some of this dough into something with cinnamon? My first experiment turned out so deliciously that I just had to share it with you.

And, in case you happen to subscribe to my six-teaspoons-a-day sugar limit, explained in my Sugar – Toxin or Treat? post, one of these rolls will just about take you to the limit.


Croissant Cinnamon Rolls (this photo - rolls baked and glazed) / www.delightfulrepast.com
Don't forget to Pin it!

Croissant Cinnamon Rolls


(Makes 9)

The Dough

1/3 piece (9x4 inches) of finished Croissants dough

The Filling

1/2 packed cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

The Egg Wash

1 egg
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon water

The Glaze

2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 firmly packed cup (3 ounces/85 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Transfer the frozen dough to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.

2 After the 9x4-inch (one-third batch) piece of dough has thawed overnight in the refrigerator, bring it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before you want to start rolling it out.


Croissant Cinnamon Rolls (this photo - finished dough third, ready to roll out) / www.delightfulrepast.com


3 Line a heavy-duty half sheet pan with parchment paper. In small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt.

4 On lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 16x10-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. With a short end of dough in front of you, spread the sugar mixture evenly over the dough leaving 1 inch clear at the end farthest away from you and 1/2 inch clear at the sides. Starting with the short end closest to you, roll the dough tightly into a log. Pinch the dough along the seam to seal.

5 Place the log on a cutting board. With a very sharp knife (I use my Wusthof Classic Extra Wide 6-Inch Cook's Knife, my favorite knife in all the world), trim off the uneven ends (you'll have very little to trim if you make your rectangle of dough nice and even) and slice into 9 1-inch pieces. Place on parchment-lined half sheet pan at least 3 inches apart.


Cinnamon Rolls (this photo - sliced rolls) / www.delightfulrepast.com


6 Set the baking sheet in the cold oven and place a pan of boiling water (just 3 or 4 cups) on the bottom of the oven. This will keep the rolls from drying out. Let rise until very puffy (they won't "double;" but if you gently poke one in the side with your finger, the dent should remain), about 2 to 3, even 3 1/2 hours. Be sure to take them out before you preheat the oven!


Croissant Cinnamon Rolls (this photo - rolls proofing in my makeshift proofing box) / www.delightfulrepast.com


OR If you have a half sheet pan with a lid and 4 little cups of some sort (these are 1.5 inch tall 2.5-ounce stainless steel sauce cups my mother got at a restaurant supply store decades ago), fill cups with boiling water and set them in the corners of the pan and put the lid on. Doesn't matter that the water cools off, it's just there to get some moisture, not heat, around the rising croissants.

7 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. In small bowl, whisk together the egg wash. Brush the risen rolls with egg wash and then again just before baking. As soon as you put the pan in the oven, reduce heat to 400F/205C/Gas6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until deep golden brown.

8 Allow to cool for 10 minutes before glazing. Whisk together the glaze and drizzle over the warm, not hot, cinnamon rolls. Serve warm or room temperature.

Note: To freeze baked cinnamon rolls, leave them unglazed, cool completely and wrap airtight. Then just unwrap and heat unthawed rolls at 375F/190C/Gas5 for 8 to 10 minutes; glaze.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

04 January 2018

How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial

How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - croissant and jam) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Croissants are a crazy-good cross between yeast bread and puff pastry, two of my favorite things. The buttery, yeasty aroma and flavor, the shattering flakiness you can actually hear, along with the contrasting textures and general gorgeousness make croissants a feast for all the senses.

Are they a lot of work? Well, they take a bit of time. But most of it is waiting time, not actual work. And a day or two of this doable amount of work and quite a bit of waiting will reward you with three batches of 9 croissants. Are they worth it? Yes! If you get as ecstatic over them as I do, definitely!

Croissants have been a French breakfast (petit déjeuner) staple since the 19th century, and there is actually a law about their shape. By law, only a croissant au beurre, made with 100% butter, can be straight. And a croissant ordinaire, made with margarine (or anything besides 100% butter), must be curved. 

Anyone who knows me knows I'm all about the butter, baby! So I just call them croissants because you know I wouldn't make them with anything else.


How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - croissants and jam) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Some people claim you must use the "European-style" (at least 82% butterfat) butters in croissants, but I can never find one of those that is organic*. Since American butter must have at least 80% butterfat, I'm sticking with the organic and just not sweating the two measly percent!

* There is one that I know of, Organic Valley European Style Cultured Butter with 84% butterfat, but it is never stocked where I shop.  

As always, I think the key to consistently good results in baking is to use the same products every time. So I always buy the same brand of organic unbleached all-purpose flour, the same brand of organic butter, etc. No use developing a croissant recipe with a butter I have to special order and wait for when the croissants made with my usual products are so good!

I've found this proportion of ingredients makes a dough of just the right consistency. And I've found, through my experimenting, that a preferment, or poolish, really doesn't add anything. The dough spends enough time resting in the refrigerator or rising (twice) on the counter to ferment and develop plenty of flavor.

What do you like on your croissants? I especially like raspberry jam, but I have been spotted putting butter on them as well. I know, coals to Newcastle, right?

Update 01/11/18: This croissant dough makes *the* best Croissant Cinnamon Rolls!

How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - baked croissants) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Croissants


(Makes 27 medium 2-ounce croissants)

According to Jacques Pepin, small croissants are about 1.25 to 1.5 ounces each and large are about 3 ounces each. So I decided to call mine medium.

The Dough

2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) 2% milk
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) cold unsalted butter
5 dip-and-sweep cups (25 ounces/709 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (13 grams) salt
2 teaspoons (0.25 ounce/7 grams) instant yeast

The Butter Sheet

4 sticks (16 ounces/454 grams) unsalted butter, each cut lengthwise into 3 slabs*

* A bench scraper works beautifully for this.

The Egg Wash

For each 1/3 batch of 9:
1 large egg
2 teaspoons water


1 In 1-quart saucepan, heat the milk just until tiny bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan. Add the chunk of cold butter and stir until melted. 

2 In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, stir together flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Using an instant-read thermometer, make sure the temperature of the milk-butter is not above 120 to 130F/49 to 54C before adding it to flour mixture. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, until ingredients come together into a shaggy dough. Increase speed to medium-low and mix just until dough is smooth, 1 or 2 minutes.

3 Place the ball of dough into an 8x8x2-inch baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Flatten it out to fit the square, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the dough has doubled or at least increased by half, about 1 1/2 hours.


How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - the dough) / www.delightfulrepast.com


4 Uncover the dough, lightly oil your hand and flatten the dough using the palm of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled through, about 2 to 4 hours.


How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - what you need to make the butter sheet) / www.delightfulrepast.com


5 When there's a half hour remaining, make your butter sheet. Fold a 26-inch length of parchment or wax paper in half widthwise and fold up the open sides to make a 12x9-inch package. Unfold it and place it on the work surface. Arrange the 12 slabs* of butter on one end of the paper within the "package" area; let stand for 15 to 20 minutes to come to room temperature. Refold the package and turn it over so that folds are underneath. With a rolling pin, roll the butter in an even layer to fill the package. Put it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to chill down and firm up a bit, but not too much.

* If your brand of unsalted butter comes in shorter, thicker sticks than mine, then you might cut your sticks into 4 slabs each instead of 3 and then arrange them a little differently on the paper. It doesn't matter; you'll even it all out with the rolling pin.



How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - making the butter sheet) / www.delightfulrepast.com


How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - the butter sheet) / www.delightfulrepast.com

6 Lightly flour* work surface. Unwrap the dough and roll it out to a 28x10-inch rectangle. Peel the parchment away from the butter and flip it, long edge in front of you, into the center of the rectangle of dough, leaving an 8-inch section of dough at each end. Fold those ends of dough over the butter sheet, meeting in the middle.


How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (first step in laminating the dough) / www.delightfulrepast.com


* Use only as much flour as you need and always brush off the dusting flour when you're folding so there won't be dry flour between the layers to ruin the pastry.

7
Give the dough a quarter turn so that one of the long sides is in front of you. Roll the dough into a 24x13-inch rectangle and fold it like a business letter, making a 13x8-inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. (That's the first "turn.")

8 On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 28x12-inch rectangle and fold it like a business letter, making a 12x9-inch rectangle. Repeat. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. (Second and third turns.)

Note: You may need to refrigerate dough between second and third turns if the dough is too warm. If at any point in the process the dough is too warm, stop what you're doing and refrigerate it. The butter must not be allowed to melt.

9 For the fourth and final turn, roll out the dough to a 28x12-inch rectangle and fold it like a business letter, making a 12x9-inch rectangle. At this point, I cut the rectangle into three 9x4-inch pieces and wrap them individually. I refrigerate one for baking 9 croissants the next day and freeze two. Frozen dough should be transferred to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.

Note: Croissants are best eaten the day they are baked, and this way I can have three batches of 9 fresh croissants.

10 Next day, bring the dough out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before you want to start rolling it out for croissants.

11 Form and proof the croissants. For each 1/3 of recipe to be baked, line a heavy-duty half sheet pan with parchment paper.


How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - the finished laminated dough) / www.delightfulrepast.com


12 On lightly floured surface, roll the third-recipe piece of dough into a rectangle a little over 9 inches wide, 20 to 21 inches long and about 1/8 to 3/16 inch (4mm) thick. Trim the width to an even 9 inches. With plastic pizza wheel (won't damage countertop), cut into 9 triangles 9 inches high and 4 inches at the base.


How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - cutting with pizza wheel and template) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Note: I know some people make their triangles by cutting 9x4-inch rectangles in half diagonally, but that makes right triangles rather than proper isosceles triangles with the point in the middle. (Hey, what can I say? Mr Delightful is a mathematician, and I may or may not be a little obsessive!). So I made a cardboard template and, because who knows where that cardboard has been, covered it with foil. 

13 To shape a croissant: Hold up a triangle of dough by the wide end and give it a slight stretch (making it perhaps 2 inches longer). Lay it on the work surface with the base closest to you and press down on the point to stick it to the counter. Starting at the base, roll tightly all the way to the tip. Transfer tip side down to parchment-lined half sheet pan. Repeat with remaining dough.


How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - shaped croissants ready to proof) / www.delightfulrepast.com


14 Set the baking sheet in the cold oven and place a pan of boiling water on the bottom of the oven. This will keep the croissants from drying out. Let rise until doubled, about 2 to 3, even 3 1/2 hours. Be sure to take them out before you preheat the oven!

OR If you have a half sheet pan with a lid and 4 little cups of some sort (these are 1.5 inch tall 2.5-ounce stainless steel sauce cups my mother got at a restaurant supply store decades ago), fill cups with boiling water and set them in the corners of the pan and put the lid on. Doesn't matter that the water cools off, it's just there to get some moisture, not heat, around the rising croissants.

How to Make Croissants - A Tutorial (this photo - my makeshift proofing box) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Note: Shaped croissants can be frozen. The night before you plan to bake, transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet, tent loosely with plastic wrap and thaw in refrigerator.

15 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. In small bowl, whisk together egg and water until frothy to glaze the croissants. Brush the risen croissants with egg wash and then again just before baking. As soon as you put the pan in the oven, reduce heat to 400F/205C/Gas6. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or room temperature.

Note: To freeze baked croissants, cool completely and wrap airtight. Then just unwrap and heat unthawed croissants at 375F/190C/Gas5 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

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