Sunday, July 21, 2013

Burger Buns

I am flabbergasted that it has taken me this long to post this recipe.  I make these buns at least once a week and they are the most requested bread item from Mace and the rest of my family.  I think they are so ingrained in my brain and my daily life that they never hit my blog radar.  Utterly flabbergasted.

These buns are easy to make, requires ingredients you already have on hand (granted you are a frequent bread maker and have yeast), and so soft, supple and delicious you will not be able to eat just one. I make them often to go with turkey burgers and hamburgers, but the leftovers are great toasted the next day for sandwiches or breakfast with a bit of PB&J.

If you are anything like me and are obsessed with your kitchen scale, then you may take the extra step and weigh out each bun so they are exactly the same size.  Although, this isn't necessary (unless, as I said, you are scale obsessed and then this is absolutely necessary).  The only true advantage to weighing the rolls is that you won't have to worry about snatching the biggest roll for yourself because they are all the same size!

There have been studies done on the affect that fresh baked bread has on people's emotions.  I am not a scientist and don't really remember the actual results of this study, but I know that it makes people happy.  I know this to be true because we are always happy when we have fresh baked rolls in the house.  I never regret having homemade bread in the oven or in my mouth.  You won't regret it either...promise.

French Bread Rolls
Makes 12 rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water (approx 110 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast 
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water and yeast and allow to sit for approximately 5 minutes.  Once the yeast proofs (this is when it rises to the top and is slightly foamy) add the sugar, olive oil, salt and 3 cups of flour.

Mix on low speed until the dough comes to together.  Add the remaining one cup of flour a little at a time until the dough comes together completely and a ball forms (you may not need the entire cup).  Once the ball forms, continue to mix on low for another 4-5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Put the dough in a well oiled bowl and then turn the dough over once so the oiled side is up.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place for approximately one hour or until the dough is doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and divide into twelve equal pieces.  If you are weighing the dough they will be approximately 85 grams each.  Shape each piece into a ball (fine cooking has a great tutorial here) and then flatten each piece with the palm of your hand.  Flattening them will give them less height and more girth.

Put the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat approximately 1" apart. Sprinkle flour generously on top of the rolls and then cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile...preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Once the rolls have doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap, and then using a sharp knife cut two parallel lines in the top if each roll.  This is purely decorative, so if you want to make crisscrosses or nothing at all, it is perfectly fine.  Brush the top of each roll with olive oil and then bake for 12-14 minutes or until the rolls are light golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, or they are also delicious warm so you can also just go ahead and...


Friday, July 12, 2013

Maple Glazed Oatmeal-Pecan Scones

Better late than never, we got our Claire Bear baptized the last weekend in June.

At the drive-in movie theater.  Uh huh.

I'll fess up, it is no longer a drive-in movie theater, but a former one that our church has transformed into the funkiest, coolest, most eclectic Sunday morning worship locale around.

It may sound like an odd place for church, but oh, can you feel God's presence in so many ways...

And truly, how many people can actually say that they were baptized at a drive-in movie theater?  Well, at least one...our little Bear.

After the service we headed to my parents home for a brunch.  I made scones.  60 of them to be exact.  Scones loaded with pecans, oatmeal, cranberries and maple syrup.  They were divine. These scones were the right amount of moist so that they weren't dry and crumbly like a lot of scones, but not so moist they were muffiny.  I might go so far as to say these are my favorite scone of all-time.  They were darn good, and the perfect way to celebrate our Claire.

Maple Glazed Oatmeal-Pecan Scones
Adapted from flour

Makes approximately 10 scones

1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (125 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (50 g) pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup (80 g) dried cranberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/3 cup (80 g) cold cream
1/2 cup (160 g) pure maple syrup (don't even think about using the fake stuff, gross)
1 cold egg

Maple Glaze:
1 cup (140 grams) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons water

Heat the oven to 350F degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together on low speed the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pecans and cranberries for 15 seconds or until well combined.  Scatter the butter on top of the flour mixture and beat on low speed for 30 seconds or until the butter is slightly broken down and grape-sized pieces are still visible.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, maple syrup and egg until thoroughly combined.  On low speed, pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture and beat for 20-30 seconds or until the dough just comes together.  The dough will still be fairly wet.  

Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom to ensure all the ingredients are mixed into the dough.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes.  

While the scones are cooling, make the maple glaze.  In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, maple syrup and enough of the water to make a smooth and pourable glaze.  (The glaze can be made a week ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.)  Once the scones have cooled for 30 minutes, brush the tops evenly with the maple glaze and then...


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Catching Up

You haven't heard from me in awhile...but we made it.  We made it to Minnesota!  We loaded up a very small, and very tightly packed (thanks to my dad) Budget Rental truck and we left Montana June 1st. The girls and I flew, Mace and my dad in the moving truck and our car.

In some ways it feels like we've been here forever, and in others it feels like we're just on vacation and Montana is still waiting for us to come home.  It may always feel like that.  Its okay to have two place that feel like fact we're lucky we do.

We have been soaking up love into every crevice of our bodies from our families here.

It is thrilling to see my parents, sisters, brother, nieces, and Mace's aunt & uncle with so much regularity.  We all feel a bit spoiled.  We are all okay with that.

I will fess up about something.  I was over the moon at the prospect of moving so close to my family, but wasn't excited about living in Minnesota itself.  I embraced the small town life of Missoula with such a fervor I couldn't imagine living any place bigger.  The Twin Cities is much much bigger.  I was worried about all the driving, and all the people, and all the bigness of everything.  My biggest surprise about moving here is how much I love the place. There is a whole new world that has opened up for us.  There are so many things to do and see and so many opportunities that were not available in Missoula.  I am happy here.

My girls seem happy here too.  We got to play with 6 week old puppies at my parent's friend's house, the girls were sorta thrilled about it.

There are new parks to explore...

The Children's Museum had a Dora the Explorer exhibit.  WHAT?!?

Catching up with old BFFs and watching our children love each other...

Baking an obscene amount of goodies...

Slowly we are finding a groove here. I want to find a blogging groove and get back to posting more recipes here. Hold me to that okay?

Happy Saturday!  Enjoy this glorious day!