Pumpkin cafe au lait

Oh yeah baby, let the pumpkin feast continue!  Better Half is probably grateful he’s away so he isn’t constantly subjected to my pumpkin love, but I just can’t help it.   I rarely drink coffee in the afternoon, but it was chilly and I was knitting (what, am I 90?) and it was a tad early for a hot toddy, so coffee it was!  Hum, pumpkin coffee.  Sure, those fancy-schmancy coffee shops sell pumpkin lattés, but just to be different (and add more calories), I decided a pumpkin café au lait would be so much better!  Mmm–it was!

Pumpkin café au lait

¾ cup hot strong-brewed French coffee
½ cup milk
⅓ cup half/half or heavy cream
3½ tablespoons puréed pumpkin
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
Dash cinnamon
Dash ground cloves
Dash nutmeg
1 tablespoon brown sugar (opt.-for sweet drink)

While coffee is brewing, stir remaining ingredients together in small saucepan and heat until hot (not boiling).  Mix coffee and milk mixture together.  FYI:  if you are not fond of spices loose in your drink, brew your coffee together with the spices.

Now if I just had a pumpkin beignet. . . .

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

Ahhhh, la, la, la  (I’m singing, can’t you tell?).  The weather is cool[er] and my pumpkins are off the vine, and this makes me happy, happy, joy, joy!

These little gems are my gift to you.  Well, not really, because I’m not up to sharing. . . .   But the recipe is my gift to you.  Bonus:  the pumpkin replaces most of the fat in the roll recipe without sacrificing flakiness or tastiness!  Thank you pumpkin!  Start puréeing those pumpkins kids and get busy.  Fall has arrived!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

3¼ teaspoons dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 cup milk, scalded
½ cup puréed pumpkin
⅓ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
4 to 5 cups all-purpose (unbleached) flour

Filling:

1 tablespoon water
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of cinnamon
2-4 tablespoons milk or half/half

In measuring cup, mix yeast with water and allow to proof 10 minutes.

In large bowl (I used my trusty, beloved KitchenAid) mix milk with pumpkin, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Add yeast and egg.  Using kneading paddle, add flour, one cup at a time, mixing and then kneading for approximately 6 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.  Let dough rise, in an oiled bowl, until doubled in size (approx. 1½ hours).

Punch dough down and roll into a rectangle approx. 18″ x 14″.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.  Sprinkle water on your hands and rub onto dough.  Sprinkle dough with sugar mixture.  Roll up jelly roll style, starting with the long side.

Cut into 12 pieces using scissors or string and place into a lightly greased 13″ x 9″ pan.  Cover with clean towel and let rolls rise for approximately 1½ hours.

Prepare frosting by mixing all ingredients together.  You can tweak the milk and sugar to reach the consistency you desire.  Set aside.

Preheat to 350° and bake approximately 20 minutes or until rolls are done.  Ice the rolls and let the fun begin!

Note: I tried putting the rolls, once sliced, into the refrigerator overnight for a rise in the morning.  I didn’t like what happened to the filling.  However, I also put slices in the freezer for a later time, and they froze beautifully.

As always, for more yeast love, check out: YeastSpotting!

French Baguettes

Mmm, I love me some homemade bread.

Yes, it’s true; I have a yeast love affair.  When I was a child (seriously, a kid, not a teenager) I would bake amazing bread for my family every week.  I have no idea what kind it was, only that it was from a starter that my mother received from a friend.  I baked bread every week until finally I rebelled.  No more bread.  I needed time to torment my little sister and bread making was getting in my way!

Now my house is quiet.  Other than Better Half and our cat, I have no one to torment, so I bake more frequently.  Better Half adores bread, homemade pizza, etc., so I try to do something yeasty at least once a week or so.

Last night we had dear friends over for wicked card playing and Frogmore Stew (OMG-love shrimp and tators!) so I baked two trusty lovely, crunchy baguettes.  My baguette pan holds two loaves, therefore, that’s the recipe I devised.  Two lovely fresh loaves.  Enjoy!

French Baguettes (two)

3½ cups KAF Artisan Flour (or all-purpose)
2¼ teaspooons active dry yeast
½ rounded teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup warm water
Optional for shiny crust: 1 egg white beaten w/ 2 teaspoons water

In mixer (again, I’m using my trusty KitchenAid), mix together 1 cup flour, yeast, and salt.  Add water, honey, and olive oil and beat for approximately 2 minutes.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Switching to kneading blade, add remaining flour and knead on low speed for approximately 6 minutes (scraping side of bowl to incorporate flour, if needed) until the dough is stiff, smooth and elastic.  Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning dough over to coat.  Cover with clean towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled (approx. 2 hours).

Lightly oil baguette pan.  Punch down dough and knead by hand for approximately 30 seconds.  Divide dough in half and roll each half into a long rope almost the size of your baguette pan and place in pan.  Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size (approx. 1 hour).

Preheat over to 375°.  If you would like a shiny crust, brush the egg white/water mixture lightly over your dough.  Using scissors or sharp knife, cut slashes into dough.  Bake loaves approximately 40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and does not yield to pressure.  Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.  Or in my house, remove from pan, break open loaf, slather with butter and place in pie-hole.

For more yeast love, check out the über cool blog: YeastSpotting!

Blueberry Lemon Biscuit Scones

I have a secret.

I’m a lousy breakfast cook.  I don’t know why, but eggs, pancakes; basically all traditional breakfast food, seem to elude me and my spatula.   I do have a few things that I cook well, like amazing homemade waffles in my 50 year-old waffle maker, breakfast casseroles are easy, and seriously, my sausage gravy rocks (when I don’t curdle it).  But ask me for an omelet or scrambled eggs, and good luck.  Better Half makes the omelets and pancakes in our household.  Yum.  When lovely daughter was little he would make her Barbie pancakes—not for her, for Barbie!

This little gem is one of my no-fail, always impresses recipes.  I make it from start to finish in my KitchenAid mixer (no hand kneading for me!), but I realize most people make biscuits or scones without the need of a machine.  I just love my KitchenAid!

These are so darn good with lemon curd.  I’ve even varied the recipe to make orange coconut biscuit scones, but that’s another recipe for another blog post.

Blueberry Lemon Biscuit Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached)
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon
⅓ cup shortening
1 beaten egg
¾ cup milk
½ teaspoon lemon extract
¾ cup blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
2 tablespoons turbinado (raw) sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.  In large bowl or mixer, combine first 6 ingredients and cut in shortening.  Add egg, milk, and extract to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Add blueberries and knead about 6 times.  Place dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and pat into a circle about 9” wide.  Using pizza cutter, cut into wedges (but do not move the wedges).  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Re-cut wedges and serve with lemon curd.

Asian Glazed Salmon

I’m a big-time salmon snob.  Can’t help it—that’s what happens when you have lived near Alaskan rivers where catching fresh salmon is a given (and a privilege).  Before that sweet life experience, I bought canned salmon in the grocery store and never gave it a second thought–shudder!  The summer before Better Half and I moved back to what we thought would be civilization (better known as the Lower 48), we fished like maniacs that last bittersweet Alaskan summer, and I canned (not the same as grocery store canned) over 12 cases of fresh and smoked salmon (I told you in an earlier post I love fishing!).  We ate on it for about 3 years.  Alas, no more.  Sad.  So very sad.  On a recent trip to the big city I packed a cooler and was thrilled when I found sockeye (aka red) salmon fresh from Canada.  It’s not Alaskan, but eh (Canadian pun- I crack myself up!), they’re neighbors!

Asian Glazed Salmon

1 pound fresh Alaskan (or Canadian) salmon
⅓ cup brown sugar
1½ tablespoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon Mongolian fire oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
⅛ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
Garnish: sesame seeds and chopped green scallions

Preheat oven to 350° (these are also yummy grilled).  Cut salmon into four fillets and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Mix next 6 ingredients together.  Spread about 2 tablespoons glaze over fish and place fish in oven.  After approximately 10 minutes, spread additional 1 tablespoon glaze over fish.  Continue cooking until fish is done (about 10 minutes per inch thickness).  Arrange fish on platter and drizzle remaining glaze over fish.  Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.

I served this over a nice steamed Jasmine rice along with spinach sautéed with sesame oil and then drizzled with a smidgen of rice wine vinegar.  The next day I used chunks of the salmon in a nice green salad.  Delish, eh?!

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