23 July 2020

Banana Nut Cookies

Banana Nut Cookies - Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies / www.delightfulrepast.com

Banana nut cookies, or more specifically, banana nut oatmeal cookies, popped into my head a few days ago when I noticed the bananas ripening much faster than usual. So I quickly mashed them, measured them into portions for this recipe, and popped the half-pint jars in the freezer. 

Then I moved a jar from freezer to refrigerator the night before to thaw. I always bring out the cold bananas along with the eggs and butter an hour before making the dough so that all ingredients are at cool room temperature.

Banana Nut Cookies (this is my watercolor painting of the bananas) / www.delightfulrepast.com
I've been painting the groceries again!


Mr Delightful, who also loves my regular Oatmeal Cookies, says these are the best cookies he's ever had in his whole life! So I hope you'll give them a try and let me know what you think.

Pairing beautifully with a cup of tea, they are perfect for elevenses; with coffee, for a coffee break; with milk, for a more-wholesome-than-most lunchbox or afternoon snack. 

Banana Nut Cookies - Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies / www.delightfulrepast.com

Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies


(Makes 3 1/2 dozen)

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups (10.5 ounces/300 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cool room temperature
3/4 firmly packed cup (5.25 ounces/149 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
2 large eggs (medium in UK)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (6.5 ounces/184 grams) mashed very ripe bananas

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in oats and nuts.

2 In large bowl with electric hand mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Use a wooden spoon if you need to; mixture must be smooth and well creamed. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then the mashed banana. Stir in the flour-oat mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to a few days. (Very cold dough will need to sit at room temperature for a bit to become more scoopable.)

3 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Drop #40 scoops* (0.8 ounces or approximately 1.5 tablespoons) of dough 3 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. With a glass (I use a 2 1/4-inch diameter flat-bottomed 1/3-cup from my stainless steel measuring cup sets), press each scoop into a 2 1/4-inch round. Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, or until brown around the edges but still a little soft in the center.

Banana Nut Cookies - Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies / www.delightfulrepast.com

4 Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container. I use these Pyrex 11-cup rectangular storage dishes with lids as cookie jars, among other things. One holds half a batch of these cookies.

* If you don't have one of these #40 scoops, you need to get one now! How do people make cookies without it!

To freeze dough: Drop scoops of dough on foil-lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly, as directed above. Freeze, then wrap.

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

16 July 2020

Quick and Easy Toaster Oven Dinner Rolls

Quick and Easy Toaster Oven (or Regular Oven) Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls / www.delightfulrepast.com

Quick and Easy Toaster Oven Dinner Rolls can, of course, be made in a regular oven as well.

We love homemade dinner rolls all year round, but in hot weather I hate the way running the oven heats up the kitchen. So that's when it's time to break out the toaster oven.

As I was trying to decide which part of the counter to give over to it for the summer, Mr Delightful got the brilliant idea of not bringing it into the kitchen at all. Instead, he said, just bring it out of the garage as needed and bake on the covered patio between the garage and kitchen. Is he brilliant or what?!

My kitchen would look like an appliance showroom if I kept them all on the counters, so I keep all but the electric tea kettle and toaster in the garage. I have a dozen appliances lined up out there, to be brought in only when needed. I call the area my Butler's Pantry!

We always cook bacon out there as well, in the Cuisinart Griddler. Bacon might smell wonderful as it is cooking, but nobody likes it stinking up the house for three days afterward! Anyway, back to the rolls.


Quick and Easy Toaster Oven (or Regular Oven) Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls / www.delightfulrepast.com


I've always baked my Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls in a 13x9x2-inch Pyrex baking dish, but Pyrex is not meant for toaster ovens (though many people have done it without incident) and that size Pyrex dish won't fit in even my huge toaster oven.

So I scaled my recipe down to work in an 8x8x2-inch baking tin. And, because "it's summertime and the livin' is easy," I made changes to speed up the whole process so you can get these rolls on the table in just a couple no-muss-no-fuss hours. 

No need for a stand mixer; just stir up the dough with a spoon. No need to knead. Just let it rest in the bowl, then shape the rolls and let them rise for about 30 minutes, then bake.

If you're gluten-free, try my Gluten-Free Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls.


Quick and Easy Toaster Oven (or Regular Oven) Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Quick and Easy Toaster Oven Dinner Rolls


(Makes 9 2.5-ounce rolls)

2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons (0.875 ounces/25 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (7 fluid ounces/207 ml) water, or half water half milk
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/43 grams) unsalted butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten

1 In a 2- to 2.5-quart mixing bowl, measure or weigh the flour. Take out 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) and set it aside for later. Whisk in the sugar, yeast and salt. 

2 In a 1-cup glass measure, measure the water, or water and milk; heat in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Stir in the butter until it is melted. Check that the temperature of the mixture is very warm (120 to 130F/49 to 54C).

3 Make a well in the center of the flour, then add warm liquid and egg to the well. With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, slowly stir until soft, shaggy dough comes together. Stir vigorously for a minute or two.

4 Cover the bowl and let rest for 20 minutes. Grease well an 8x8x2-inch square metal pan with butter. Line the bottom and two sides with parchment paper; butter it as well.

5 Now's the time for the reserved 2 tablespoons of flour. Scrape dough onto lightly floured work surface and use more of the reserved flour as needed to make the sticky dough easier to handle. With a bench scraper, divide dough into 9 equal portions and roll each into a smooth ball. Place in prepared pan. 

Note: To turn a piece of dough into a smooth ball, roll it between your palms and then on the counter with your hand cupped over it, making a motion like moving a computer mouse around. 


Quick and Easy Toaster Oven (or Regular Oven) Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls - in this photo, shaped and rising / www.delightfulrepast.com


6 Cover (I use my Nordic Ware Microwave Splatter Cover and a towel) and let rise until they are crowded together and puffy, 30 to 45 minutes or so. During last 10 or 15 minutes (you know your oven) preheat toaster oven (my toaster oven takes about 5 minutes) or oven to 350F/180C/Gas4.

Note: If using my regular gas oven, I go with 375F/190C/Gas5. The lower temperature for the toaster oven ensures that tops won't overbrown before rolls are done. Bake for a shorter time at the higher temperature. I've baked the rolls in the toaster oven at 375F for 18 to 20 minutes, and they were perfect. But, like every oven, every toaster oven is different. Experiment!

7 Bake for about 25 to 28 minutes, or until well browned. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Turn out of pan, pull apart and serve. 

Note: To freeze the rolls for a later date, remove rolls from baking dish in one piece and cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Double-wrap with foil (probably one layer of heavy-duty would be sufficient); freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, remove from freezer 2 1/2 hours before serving time. Defrost, wrapped, at room temperature for 2 hours. During last 15 minutes, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place foil-wrapped rolls on a cookie sheet and bake about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

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

02 July 2020

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse Revisited - A Traditional German Cookie

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse Revisited - A Traditional German Cookie / www.delightfulrepast.com

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Cookies came to my attention four years ago when our friend Bill, who may well be our most uncookingest friend ever, sent me the recipe, which he got from a friend of his from Hildesheim, Germany, who sends him a batch every year at the holidays.

He said, "I'm not really sure what it is about them that's gotten such a hold of me, or whether this is just yet another eccentricity on my part ..." (I am a huge fan of eccentricity!), but he eagerly awaits the annual shipment from Brigitte. And with an introduction like that, I simply had to try them. 

Though Bill has never made either Brigitte's recipe or my translation of it, or even tasted mine, he knew from my photo that something was off. Mine were pale, tiny diamonds. He said his cookies were darker, larger and, rather than perfect diamonds, parallelograms. Go ahead, I'll pause while you look that up!


Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse - A Traditional German Cookie (this photo is of the "not quite right" version / www.delightfulrepast.com


So four years later Bill sent me a link to an in-German recipe with photos. Just as I suspected, the paleness of my cookies resulted from using a smaller amount of the dark spices and skipping the egg wash. Also, perhaps, because my almond flour is made from blanched almonds.

So this is my Hildesheimer Pumpernickel do-over, though I still stand by the quality of my first less authentic version!

This was only my second German recipe on the blog--the first was Golumpkis. So I didn't know whether to call them cookies, as in the US, or biscuits, as in the UK; so I Googled it and came up with "kekse." 

Have you ever even heard of this cookie? I'm sure you'd like it. Guten Appetit! Or, as Bill signed his last missive, Semper Famelicus!


Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse Revisited - A Traditional German Cookie / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse 


(Makes about 4 to 5 dozen ) 

2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed anise seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces/71 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5.25 ounces/149 grams) sugar
2 large (2.19 ounces/62 grams in shell) eggs, divided
3/4 packed cup + 2 tablespoons (3.5 ounces/100 grams) ground hazelnuts or almonds (nut flour/meal) or half of each (I used Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour)

A little water, only if needed (See Note below Step 2) 

* For gluten-free: use 3/4 cup sorghum flour, 3/4 cup potato starch, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum in place of flour. 



1 In small bowl, whisk together flour (or gluten-free ingredients above), baking powder, spices and salt. 

2 In a large mixing bowl, with either a wooden spoon or electric mixer, cream butter well. Add sugar; continue creaming. Beat in 1 whole egg and 1 egg white (reserving the yolk for the egg wash) until well mixed. Beat in almond and/or hazelnut meal, then beat in flour. If dough is too dry, mix in a little water (see Note below) just a teaspoon at a time. Scrape out onto piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, shape into a rectangle about 5x7 inches/13x18 cm, wrap and chill for about an hour. 

Note: Even when the dough is "right," it won't be a cohesive dough without using your hand; so don't be too quick to add water. Squeeze it with your hand to see when it will hold together. My dough was a bit dry, so I added just a teaspoon of water, working the dough with my hand, getting up all the dry bits. The dough should be quite stiff and leave a clean bowl. 

3 When the dough has chilled for an hour, preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. On very lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll dough into 1/8- to 3/16-inch/3 to 4 mm thick rectangle, about 11x16-inch/28x41 cm (trimmed; you can reroll the trimmings or leave them in place to bake rough "cook's treats"). Cut lengthwise into 9 or 10 strips 1.125- to 1.25-inch strips (but don't get too fussy about the measurement since these aren't going to be perfect little diamonds!), then cut across strips diagonally to form parallelograms 2.5 inches long. Slide the sheet of cut dough onto an 18x13-inch half sheet pan.

Note: I just made the strips 1.125-inch wide because that happens to be the width of my 18-inch metal kitchen ruler. I think that just makes life simpler, don't you?!

Hildesheimer Pumpernickel Kekse Revisited - A Traditional German Cookie / www.delightfulrepast.com


Note: I love my OXO Good Grips Pizza Wheel for Nonstick Pans for tasks like this. It doesn't cut through the parchment paper and doesn't mar countertops or pans.

4 Beat the reserved egg yolk with a teaspoon of water. Brush the top of the cut dough. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. While still warm, cut again, if necessary. Cool completely on wire rack.

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

18 June 2020

Olive Oil Carrot Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting

Olive Oil Carrot Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting / www.delightfulrepast.com

Olive Oil Carrot Cake can, of course, be made with another oil; but I only ever have on hand extra virgin olive oil. I use it for everything, even frying (not deep fat). This isn't the place for a sharp, bitter, or super expensive oil; use a nice fruity extra virgin olive oil. 

My recipe calls for a different technique than you usually find in carrot cake recipes. Instead of mixing completely by hand, I use an electric hand mixer for part of the recipe (as in Olive Oil Apple Cake). 

It is an easy cake, but special care must be taken when mixing in the olive oil. Be sure to add it in a slow, steady stream, fully incorporating it as you go. This eliminates the thing some people don't like about carrot cake, the oiliness of it.

Olive Oil Carrot Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting / www.delightfulrepast.com


Cream Cheese Frosting is the classic frosting for any carrot cake, and there's a reason for that--it's really good! I don't go crazy with the cream cheese, though. Just a little 3-ounce package gives the frosting plenty of cream cheese flavor.

Olive Oil Carrot Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting (this picture - a quick watercolor sketch of carrots) / www.delightfulrepast.com
Found a "practice" sheet of carrots done a year ago and thought it would be fun
 to crop it for this post.

It would have been delightful to show you a picture of a beautifully frosted layer cake here, but I frosted the two layers separately so that I could drop one off for friends who are without an oven just now.

When we're out of lockdown and attending large gatherings again, you might want to make my easily transportable, serve-it-from-the-pan, feeds-a-crowd Carrot Sheet Cake. Happy summer!

Olive Oil Carrot Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting / www.delightfulrepast.com

Olive Oil Carrot Cake - Cream Cheese Frosting


(Makes one 13x9x2-inch cake or two 8-inch round layers)

The Cake

2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (5.6 ounces/160 grams) raisins
1 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces/298 grams) sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml or 7.5 ounces/213 grams) extra virgin olive oil

2 firmly packed cups peeled and coarsely shredded* carrots (from 12 ounces/340 grams carrots)

* Peel and shred the carrots just before making the cake so that they do not lose moisture. Don't buy pre-shredded carrots for this; they are too dry to use in cakes.

The Frosting

1 3-ounce (85 grams) package cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 firmly packed cups (12 ounces/340 grams) unsifted powdered sugar

About 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) milk

1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Grease and flour one 13x9x2-inch baking dish or two 8-inch round layer pans.

Note: You need 2-inch-deep 8-inch round layer pans; this is too much batter for shallower pans.

2 In 1.5-quart bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In small bowl, measure out raisins and nuts. Remove a tablespoon of the flour mixture to mix into the raisins and nuts, being sure to separate all the raisins.

3 In 4-quart mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

4 With hand mixer running on medium speed, gradually pour the olive oil in a thin stream into the egg mixture, so that it is completely incorporated. This can take up to 7 minutes; don't rush it.

5 By hand, fold in the flour mixture. Then gently stir in the carrots, raisins and nuts. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake single cake about 45 to 55 minutes, layers about 40 minutes. Cool in pan(s) on wire rack(s) about 10 minutes; remove from pan(s) and continue cooling on rack(s). Must be completely cool before frosting.

6 In bowl of stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and salt. Gradually add powdered sugar (no need to sift) and mix until thoroughly combined, adding milk at the end. 

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

04 June 2020

Fig Rolls - Fig Newtons

Fig Rolls - Classic British Biscuit - In US, Fig Newtons / www.delightfulrepast.com

Fig Rolls were something I hadn't made since I was a teenager, and they popped into my head one day when I was painting a pair of figs. But I didn't want to "waste" my fresh figs on a recipe that is best made with dried figs, so it went on the backburner for a while.


Fig Rolls - Fig Newtons (this photo - my watercolor sketch of two figs) / www.delightfulrepast.com

In recent months, during "all this" (and that's all I'm going to say about the pan*em*c), many grocery items have been hard to find. I was so happy to get my hands on some lovely organic soft dried figs last week, so at last, fig rolls. 

So many recipes out there have grossly mismatched amounts of dough and filling. What's the point of having massive amounts of filling left over? My recipe uses all the filling, and I make three round cookies out of the pastry trimmings, so there's no waste.


Fig Rolls - Classic British Biscuit - In US, Fig Newtons (in a lovely tin)  / www.delightfulrepast.com


My dough recipe is adapted from Paul Hollywood's, but I was on my own for the filling because his and so many other recipes make too much for the amount of dough and are not to my taste in one way or another

If you're used to Fig Newtons, you'll find these are not quite as sweet (and they have no corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, unhealthy oils or additives). A trivia question for you: Were Fig Newtons named after a) Sir Isaac Newton, b) another person named Newton, c) a town in Massachusetts?


Fig Rolls - Classic British Biscuit - In US, Fig Newtons / www,delightfulrepast.com

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Fig Rolls - Fig Newtons


(Makes 12)

The Dough

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
3 firmly packed tablespoons (1.31 ounces/37 grams) dark brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten (medium in UK)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Filling

3/4 packed cup (5 ounces/142 grams) coarsely chopped soft dried figs
1 firmly packed tablespoon (0.44 ounces/12 grams) dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/3 cup (2.67 fluid ounces/79 ml) water

1 tablespoon lemon juice


1 In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

2 In medium mixing bowl with electric hand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar well, about 2 minutes. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until combined; it will look curdled. 

3 On low speed, add the flour mixture in two or three batches until thoroughly combined. Scrape dough out onto a square of plastic wrap (clingfilm), forming it into a smooth square as you wrap it. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

4 Make the filling. In a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring chopped figs, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover (lid slightly ajar) and simmer for 10 minutes, until mixture is thick and water is absorbed. Transfer* to a 2-cup glass measure, use an immersion blender to make a paste, stir in lemon juice, and let cool.

* The mixture will not be sufficiently deep even in the small saucepan to use the immersion blender, so you need to transfer it to a deeper, narrower container, such as the 2-cup glass measure. 

5 Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. On a lightly floured piece of baking parchment paper, roll out chilled dough to a rectangle over 10x8 inches (25x20 cm) and 1/8 inch (1/3 cm) thick. Trim* rectangle to 10x8 inches (25x20 cm). Cut in half lengthwise to make two 10x4-inch (25x10 cm) strips of dough. Also, cut the parchment paper in half because you'll be using it to help you fold over the dough after filling. 

* I save the trimmings and make them into 3 round cookies.

6 Spread half the fig filling down the center of each dough strip and carefully fold in one side of the dough, using the parchment to help you; run a wet finger over the edge of the dough over the filling. Using the parchment, fold over the other side of the dough, overlapping the first side a bit and pressing to seal. Turn the two logs over, seam-side down. Trim the ends and cut each into 6 equal slices. Place them on the baking sheet on their parchment. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Note: Before trimming the ends and cutting the slices, you can press the two logs down a bit to make a flat top, as I do, or leave them round as some do. 


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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