25 November 2021

Malt Loaf - A British Teatime Classic

Malt Loaf - A British Teatime Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Malt Loaf originated in 19th century Scotland and was featured in this season's first episode, Cake Week, of The Great British Bake Off (GBBO), called The Great British Baking Show in the US. 

I hadn't thought about malt loaf in years, but after seeing episode one, I began digging through my old recipes. It's not a light and airy cake; more of a dense and squidgy tea bread. Not too sweet, and served with soft butter.

All malt loaf recipes are very similar. Two of the ways mine differs from Prue's GBBO loaf, besides different amounts, are:  1. I skip the black treacle so as not to detract from the flavor of the malt extract.

And 2. I drain the soaked fruit and coat it with flour before adding the wet ingredients, a step that helps keep the fruit from clumping together and sinking to the bottom of the loaf.

If you like a sweeter loaf, use 1/2 packed cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) dark brown sugar rather than my 1/3 cup. But do try it my way!

So ... now that the season has ended, and long after all those who like to "bake along" with GBBO have baked it, here is my recipe for Malt Loaf. 

Do you make malt loaf? Or did you try it for the first time with "bake along" fans? If not, maybe you'll be inspired to try it now! Do let me know.  

Malt Loaf - A British Teatime Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Malt Loaf

(Makes one 2-pound/900 gram/9x4x4-inch loaf)

3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) just-boiled water
1 teaspoon (or 1 tea bag) strong black tea
1 packed cup (5 ounces/142 grams) raisins
1/2 packed cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) soft pitted prunes, chopped to raisin size
1/2 cup (6 ounces/170 grams) malt extract*
1/3 firmly packed cup (2.33 ounces/66 grams) dark brown sugar
1 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (8.75 ounces/248 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (medium, in UK), lightly beaten


1 Pour boiling water over the tea. Let steep for 5 minutes. Pour over raisins and prunes in a bowl. Partially cover and microwave for about 2 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid.

2 Grease (and sometimes I also line bottom and ends, but not the sides, with a piece of baking parchment) a 9x4x4-inch loaf pan or 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325F/165C/Gas3. 

Note: I love the square shape of the 9x4x4-inch loaf pan that I initially got for baking my gluten-free yeast breads but use (without its lid) for nearly everything that calls for a 9x5x3-inch pan. 

3 In a 1-quart saucepan over low heat, cook the malt extract and brown sugar together, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.

4 In 2- to 3-quart mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisking vigorously for a half minute or so is what passes for sifting around here on most days. Put the thoroughly drained fruit on top of the flour, and stir gently until the pieces are coated with the flour and not clumped together. This keeps the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.

5 Make a well in the center; pour in the malt mixture, eggs, and reserved liquid from the fruit (about 1/3 cup), breaking up the eggs and mixing them with the malt and liquid. Then bring in the flour from the sides, and stir gently until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape into prepared loaf tin. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, until skewer inserted in center comes out with just a few soft crumbs (but not raw batter).

6 Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack. Continue cooling on wire rack until completely cool, an hour and a half or so. Wrap tightly in foil and let it mellow for a day or two. Cut the loaf into slices and serve with soft butter.

Note: Some people brush the top of the hot loaf with about a tablespoon of malt extract as it cools. Some brush the top and sides. I usually skip that step, but did the top this time.

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. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

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11 November 2021

Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte

Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte / www.delightfulrepast.com


Snickerdoodles have been around for about half a century longer than the Snickers candy bar, which came out in 1930 and has nothing at all to do with the classic cookie snickerdoodles! 

You'll find a lot of recipes that call for baking powder rather than cream of tartar. Ignore them. Cream of tartar is not just a leavening agent, it is what gives snickerdoodles their characteristic tang.

There are also a lot of snickerdoodle recipes that call for half butter and half shortening. Ignore those, too. There is nothing to be gained by using the shortening, so why dilute the wondrous flavor of butter? Baked until just the edges start to brown, the cookies are crisp on the outside and soft, kind of cakey, inside.

Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte / www.delightfulrepast.com


Need I tell you, these cookies are fabulous with a nice cup of tea! The chai latte variation does not call for tea in the cookies, just the use of the spices found in chai lattes rather than the solo cinnamon.

Since the variation is only in the coating, why not try half with cinnamon and half with the chai latte spices?

Are you a snickerdoodles fan or one of the surprising number of people who've not yet tried them? Either way, I hope you'll give my recipe a try—the classic cinnamon or the chai latte variation—and let me know how you like it. 


Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte


(Makes 32 3-inch cookies)

The Dough

2 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (13.75 ounces/390 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature (2 1/2 hours)
1 1/3 cups (9.33 ounces/265 grams) sugar
2 large eggs (medium, in UK), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


The Coating*

3 tablespoons (just under 1 ounce/28 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
 
* For Chai Latte Variation, use just 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus 3/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ginger,  and 1/8 teaspoon each cloves and allspice.

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt.

Note: I've given the directions for using a stand mixer, but I've made these many time
s with a hand mixer or just a spoon.
 
2 In stand mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture and beat on low speed just until dough comes together. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until dough is easy to handle.

3 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape #40 scoops (0.8 ounces or approximately 1.5 tablespoons) of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls; roll in sugar mixture. Place 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Using a flat-bottomed glass (or a stainless steel measuring cup), slightly flatten the dough balls. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.


Note: I use a gigantic baking sheet, called a 3/4 sheet pan, sometimes called a 2/3 sheet pan. It is the maximum size pan that will fit in my oven (in a 30-inch gas range). With it I can bake 24 cookies this size (4 rows of 6) or 35 smaller cookies (5 rows of 7) all in one batch. Since this recipe makes 32 cookies, I froze 8 cookies to be baked another day. (My all-time favorite timer: ThermoWorks TimeStack)

4 Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute, and then remove to wire racks to cool completely. May be stored in airtight container for a week.

 
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. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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28 October 2021

Swedish Meatball Meatloaf

Swedish Meatball Meatloaf - all the flavor of Swedish meatballs without all the fuss / www.delightfulrepast.com

When a craving for
Swedish Meatballs - Svenska Kottbullar struck during a time when it seemed too much of a faff, I worked that recipe into this Swedish Meatball Meatloaf. It gave me all the flavors I was craving, albeit without the "cuteness" of the meatballs.

It was such a doddle, I may never make the meatballs again! Of course I will, when I need that cuteness, but now I can get my Swedish meatball fix even when I need to cut a few corners. Add it to my "streamlined cooking" repertoire. You can even put it together in the morning, then pop it into the oven after work.


Swedish Meatball Meatloaf - all the flavor of Swedish meatballs without all the fuss / www.delightfulrepast.com

Of course, a meatloaf is open to all sorts of variations and substitutions. But please don't skip the allspice and dill. Without those two ingredients, it just couldn't be called Swedish Meatball Meatloaf. Even if you bake with allspice, you might feel a bit hesitant to use it in a meatloaf; but just do it. Trust me, you're going to love it.

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post and kindly tolerated that I was unable to respond or reciprocate at that time. I'm trying to get back in the saddle now and get back to some sort of normal (awful word, isn't it?).

For those who don't eat red meat, here's my Turkey-Mushroom Meatloaf.


Swedish Meatball Meatloaf - all the flavor of Swedish meatballs without all the fuss / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Swedish Meatball Meatloaf


(Serves 6)

The Meatballs

About 4 slices (4.75 ounces/135 grams) good sourdough or white bread for 1 1/2 packed cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork

The Sauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups lower sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt (you'll likely add a bit more after tasting)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream

The Garnish

Sour cream
Chopped dill, fresh or dried (NOT optional, dill MAKES Swedish Meatballs or Meatloaf!)


1 Use a food processor to make perfect fresh breadcrumbs. Cut four slices (you might need another slice or two, depending on your bread) of good sourdough or white bread into four to six pieces. You only need to remove the crust if it's coated with seeds. Process until it becomes breadcrumbs. Don't worry about overdoing it; it's pretty foolproof. You should have 1 1/2 cups,* fairly firmly packed. Add crumbs to a 4-quart mixing bowl.

* And the weight of my 1 1/2 packed cups of fresh sourdough breadcrumbs was 4.75 ounces/135 grams, so next time I will know to use that amount of the same bread so as to not have any leftover crumbs.

2 In small skillet or saucepan, heat oil and cook onion until softened, about 10 minutes. Add to crumbs in mixing bowl.

3 Add salt, pepper, allspice, milk, egg and Worcestershire sauce to bowl. Mix well. Add ground beef and ground pork, and mix well (but do not overmix). Just use your impeccably clean hand to mix, if you like.

4 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Line a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan (or, if you don't have a quarter sheet, a 15x10x1-inch baking sheet pan) with foil or baking parchment paper (you will regret it if you don’t!). Form meatloaf mixture into a 9x5- or 10x4-inch loaf on the lined pan.

5 Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until it reaches a temperature of 165F/74C on an instant-read thermometer. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. While the meatloaf is baking, start the sauce.

6 In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, cooking and stirring to make a smooth, browned roux. Don't rush it; get the roux browned. Add beef broth and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and allspice; simmer for 10 minutes, then set aside. Ten minutes before serving, stir in cream or sour cream. Heat on low for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

7 Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkling of dill. Of course, fresh dill is prettier (I used dried, which as you can see is not as photogenic, because I have no dill in the garden just now), but the dried tastes wonderful as well.

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. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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14 October 2021

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Golumpkis

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Golumpkis / www.delightfulrepast.com

Golumpkis, or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, is something I always make in huge quantities with a certain friend. But I recently decided I couldn't wait till the pandemic is over to do that, so I reduced the recipe to a "normal" amount.

It made enough for three dinners for two—one right away and two in the freezer. If you'd like to make my usual triple batch of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, just hit that link. That post also tells my golumpkis "story."

Had this post standing by for when I needed a break, and this is the week; but I won't write about that. Just know that I appreciate your comments and I hope you will forgive me if I don't respond to them right away.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Golumpkis / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Golumpkis

(Makes 20 to 22)

The Cabbage 

1 large head cabbage

The Filling

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound lean (15% fat) ground beef
1 cup raw long-grain white rice
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

The Sauce 

1 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 Fill a large, deep pot with water. Bring to a boil. Core cabbage and set in hot water, one at a time if pot is not big enough for both, until leaves are pliable. Peel the softened outer leaves off and place them in a colander to drain. Return the head(s) of cabbage to the hot water until the next layer of leaves are pliable. Repeat as needed.

2 Meanwhile, in small skillet, saute chopped onion in oil until softened. Set aside to cool. In large bowl combine cooked and cooled chopped onion, ground beef, rice, eggs, salt and pepper. Mixing lightly with one impeccably clean hand is the easiest way to do it.

3 In 1-quart glass measure, stir together sauce ingredients. Pour half the sauce into a 3-quart casserole dish with glass lid or a similar baking dish or pot of that size. The depth of the particular dish I used allows two layers of golumpkis. You could also do a single layer in a 13x9x2-inch Pyrex dish and cover it with foil while baking.

4 As you work with each cabbage leaf, cut away the tough core. Cut very large outer leaves in two. Using a #30 scoop or a 1/8-cup measuring cup, place a scoop of filling on the leaf near the stem-end, fold in the sides and roll (rather like a burrito); no need to tie. Place seam-side down in pan. Toward the end, preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.

Tip: Do all the scooping at once. Scoop mounds of filling onto a quarter sheet pan.

5 Pour the remaining sauce over the cabbage rolls. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil if your baking dish has no lid and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F/180C/Gas4, and continue baking for 2 hours.

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. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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30 September 2021

Stuffed Shells - Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno

Stuffed Shells - Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno / www.delightfulrepast.com

It had been several years since I last made stuffed shells, so I wanted to do a little research as to quantities. As my regular readers know, I hate food waste. I wanted to make 20 stuffed jumbo shells, and so I wanted to make exactly the amount of sauce and filling for those 20 shells. My research proved disappointing.

Most recipes I saw, including ones from companies that make jumbo shells, made far more filling than needed for the number of shells indicated. I remember one that made an enormous quantity of filling and then said to fill each shell with a level tablespoon! Well, I knew what I wanted to put in the filling, so I did my own math and got it right the first time.

Stuffed Shells - Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno - perfect for make-ahead freezer meals / www.delightfulrepast.com

I scaled down my basic marinara sauce to make exactly 3 1/2 cups so that there would be no leftover sauce either. Funny thing, too, was that the math on the Barilla box was wrong, too! The nutrition label on the 12-ounce box said "about 7 servings per container, serving size 5 pieces." On my planet, that adds up to 35 shells; there are actually 45 shells in a box.

Anyway ... This is my usual cheese-stuffed jumbo shells, which I really love. But next time I'm going to experiment with a sausage filling. What sort of fillings have you tried?

Stuffed Shells - Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Stuffed Shells


(Makes 20 stuffed jumbo shells)

The Shells

1/2 12-ounce box Barilla jumbo shells (about 44 in a box)

The Sauce

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (1.5 ounces/43 grams) finely minced onion
1/3 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) finely minced green bell pepper
1/3 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) finely minced peeled carrot
1 14.5-ounce can organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) drinkable dry red wine
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

The Cheese Filling

1 15-ounce container ricotta
1 firmly packed cup (4 ounces/113 grams) finely shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup (2 ounces/ grams) grated parmesan
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/44 ml) milk

The Top

1/2 firmly packed cup (2 ounces/57 grams) finely shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup (1 ounce/28 grams) grated parmesan


1 Put the salted water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 quarts water, on to boil for cooking the shells according to package directions.

2 In 2-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion, bell pepper, and carrot until soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil; reduce heat to very low and simmer, loosely covered, for 45 minutes.

3 When shells are done, drain and place them on a quarter sheet pan to cool. When sauce is done, remove from heat and let cool.

4 In 1-quart glass measure, stir together the cheese filling ingredients; cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4.

5 To assemble: very lightly oil a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Using a #40 scoop (2 tablespoons, slightly rounded), fill shells, handling them carefully. Place in baking dish, open side up. Pour remaining sauce evenly over shells. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and top with a sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Note: I like to use these Pyrex 3-cup rectangular storage dishes (shown in second photo) for my make-ahead freezer meals for two.

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. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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