Tag Archives: baking

Empanada Dough Recipe

empanada 2This week was the first time I have made empanadas.  I was hoping that I could get Max to eat them because I thought empanadas would be the perfect little packages of food.  He liked the package aspect and the flavor of this dough.  He did not go for the filling.  But we did.  That recipe will follow.

I based my recipe on one I found in the cookbook “The Latin Road Home” by Jose Garces.  It’s got some of the flakiness of pie dough but is more sturdy.

Empanada Dough Recipe

24 small empanadas

Empanada Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Instructions

  1. Put the flours, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse to blend.
  2. Cut the butter up into pieces and add to the flour. Pulse until the butter pieces are roughly the size of peas.
  3. Crack the egg into a small bowl and scramble it with a fork before pouring slowly into the processor while it's running.
  4. Add the ice water to the mixture by the tablespoon while the processor is running until the dough forms a ball. You may not need all of the water, depending on the humidity of your kitchen.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a smooth clean surface and knead just enough to bring the dough together smoothly.
  6. Shape it into a flat round disc and refrigerate for an hour or up to a day.
  7. Preheat oven to 375° when you're ready to make your empanadas.
  8. Roll out the dough to 1/8" thick. Using a round cookie cutter - cut out rounds and fill, crimping the edges shut with a fork. Continue to roll out scraps until you've used up all of the dough.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes.

Notes

I used a 3" cookie cutter to make my empanadas. I got about 30 appetizer sized empanadas out of it but I made a few ugly ones from the scraps that were too hard to roll out and cut. Your yield will vary depending on the size you make yours.

Optional: whip up an egg with a little water to brush over the empanadas. I did this with mine so that the cajun seasoning I sprinkled on top would stick.

You can fry these too.

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Cinnamuffin Recipe

cinnamuffinI first made this muffin when Max was a toddler and he loved them until the great food rejection began.  I got the recipe from The Bed & Breakfast Cookbook by Martha W. Murphy.  It’s a great little muffin full of oats, low in fat and sugar, and has a maple glaze.  I decided to make it for Max to try again but I knew the whole oats would be texturally repugnant to him so I came up with a revised version of this muffin by pulverizing the oats in the food processor until they were as fine as I could get them and this worked well for Max.  The result went like this:

“This tastes just like a cinnabun*!  You should give this recipe to them to make and sell.  Seriously mom, it’s THAT good!”

*I don’t think it tastes like a cinnabun but I’m perfectly happy to have him think it does.

For Max’s sake I have been making the glaze into more of a frosting and I make it fresh each time and don’t measure at all.  I will provide instructions for making the glaze how the recipe was originally meant to be (thin) and I will tell you how I have perverted it to suit Max’s needs.

Cinnamuffin Recipe

8 -ish muffins

Cinnamuffin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, pulverized in food processor to a coarse flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • butter or oil for greasing the muffin tin
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Grease a muffin tin.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients, except for the sugar, in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Mix the sugar and all the wet ingredients together.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, avoid beating the crap out of it.
  6. Fill the muffin tins about half full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, then cool for a few minutes before removing the muffins.
  8. Make the glaze by madly stirring the three ingredients until they become super smooth. If you want a thicker glaze (as shown in the image) add more powdered sugar until it reaches the thickness you want. If you make a thick glaze it will cover fewer muffins, so make MORE. Capisce?

Notes

About the yield: my square muffin tin yields between 8 and 9 muffins depending on how I've divvied up the batter. If using a standard sized round muffin tin you'll be more likely to get 12.

This recipe is adapted from The Bed & Breakfast Cookbook by Martha W. Murphy.

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Gingerbread Recipe

In my search to find things my son will eat that I can make from scratch I’ve tried all sorts of recipes for tea breads and quick breads.  He likes cornbread, which is great, but nothing else passed muster until I made the gingerbread cake from “The Family Baking Book” by America’s Test Kitchen.  This surprised me, actually, but pleased me.  I made changes to the recipe based on my own tastes such as omitting allspice which I don’t care for.  I reduced the sugar a bit and also used blackstrap molasses instead of light molasses because blackstrap is more nutrient dense.  I also played around with using whole wheat flour but the result was not good – it was slightly bitter, so I went back to using all purpose.  The original recipe calls for buttermilk but I never have that sitting around so I use regular milk.  I offer you my version of gingerbread, Max approved.

Gingerbread Recipe

Makes 2 Loaves

Gingerbread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 Tbsp butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk (I usually use 2%)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Generously grease two small loaf pans.
  3. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  4. In either a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer (I use my stand mixer for this one) beat the molasses, sugar, and melted butter together. Beat in the egg until well incorporated. Add the milk and mix until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until well combined, don’t beat into a pulp. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans and shake gently to distribute the batter evenly.
  6. Bake the bread until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Let it cool completely before removing from the pan.
  7. If you’d like to ice the gingerbread, as I have done in the picture above, put 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar into a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of milk, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and stir vigorously until the sugar is completely dissolved, . If it gets too thin, add a little more sugar, if it’s too thick add small amount of milk to thin it.
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Basic Pie and Tart Dough Recipe

I learned to make pie dough first from my mother using barley flour and for years used the one she published in her cookbook “Honey and Spice”.  The next pie dough influence was Deborah Madison‘s recipe in “Vegetarian for Everyone”.  Some of her tips proved useful in increasing my success with making a really good dough.  The last influence was Martha Stewart.  I find her instructions aren’t as good as my mom’s and Madison’s, but I like using her proportions of ingredients.

I make a really good pie dough.  This is one of my few baking talents.  Some people use slightly different butter to flour ratios for tart doughs but I use the same dough for both pies and tarts.  One way in which I disagree with almost everyone is that I don’t believe it matters whether you use salted or unsalted butter.  I dislike unsalted butter on my toast so I use what I keep on hand.  I still add salt to the flour.  Trust me, this dough is not too salty.

I also never add sugar to my crusts regardless of whether I’m making a savory or sweet pie.  Most recipes say you can add an optional teaspoon of sugar and I see no reason for it.  There are even sweeter versions of pie dough (pâte sucrée) but I never make this kind of crust because I don’t have a great sweet tooth and if my crust is full of something sugary I don’t need the crust itself to also be sugary.

Some people are intimidated by pie crusts and I don’t understand why.  As long as you have a food processor it’s both fast and easy.

Basic Pie and Tart Dough Recipe

Basic Pie and Tart Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks of cold butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water

Instructions

  1. Measure the flour and salt into your food processor bowl and pulse a few times to mix. Cut the sticks of butter into cubes and arrange evenly around the flour as shown below:
  2. Pulse the butter until the butter pieces are well broken up (many say “the size of peas” but the pieces will be uneven so I don’t find this useful). The photo below shows about how your flour butter mixture should look right before adding water:
  3. With the processor running add the water one tablespoon at a time in a trickle. After about 3 tablespoonfuls check the moisture of the dough to see if it’s ready or if it needs a little more water.
  4. Check the dough by taking out a small handful like this:
  5. Then squeeze it in your hand. If it retains the shape you squeezed it into when you touch it, the dough is ready to be rolled out. If it breaks apart easily then it needs a little more water, only just a little at a time. See how it looks when it’s ready in the image below:
  6. Now dump the dough onto a pastry board or clean counter top. It will be very crumbly. As quickly as you can, gather it all in a heap and press it into a ball. Do not knead it.
  7. Now you can divide it in two and roll it out.
  8. I shape each half into a flat disk, put it between two layers of wax paper and roll it out until it’s large enough to fit a 9? pie pan, I lay it over the pan, gently press the dough into it and then flute the edges. Or, I may divide the dough into different sizes to use for individual pies or tarts, but I still make flat discs of them. If you aren’t going to use the dough immediately, store in the fridge between the wax paper in a plastic bag (the plastic bag will prevent the dough from drying out).
  9. Here are some tips I follow that I find very useful in making successful pie and tart crusts:
  10. I roll out my dough into their pans right after forming the dough, I don’t wait for it to chill in the fridge. When the dough is rolled out in the pie pan and the edges are crimped I put it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes before filling and baking. I do this step even if I’m planning to pre-bake the shell. Freezing it first prevents shrinkage of the dough. I also find it helps prevent the bottom of the crusts from getting soggy if you don’t pre-bake.
  11. For pre-baking I usually use kidney beans as pie weights. I keep a jar of them for this purpose. Once you’ve used the beans for pre-baking I don’t think they’re good to cook, but you can use them over and over again.
  12. Many people like to trim their tart crusts level with the top of the pan. I don’t like to do this. I prefer to build the crust up a bit higher than the tart pan. This is a rustic approach. It also prevents shrinkage of the crust and a spilling of the contents over the top. I do sometimes trim the uneven or excess dough off with scissors to get a more consistent crust thickness.
  13. If you only need enough for one pie crust you can, of course, halve the recipe. But why do that? You can wrap the extra dough tightly (or vacuum seal it) and freeze it for later.
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Tomato, Pesto, Ricotta Tart Recipe