Cinnamon Swirl Brioche

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One of the greatest challenges for me as a baker enthusiast is making bread. In my humble opinion, if you can make a good loaf of bread, you can make anything in your kitchen. I can’t say that I am an expert in this area, but as Julia Child said: “If you can read, you can cook.” This is absolutely true! With a little bit of patience and love, a good bread can be done.

Baking your own brioche takes a little effort but it is worth it. This delicious eggy and buttery swirl French bread filled with cinnamon & dark sugar is the perfect bread for a French Toast or simply with a hot cup of coffee. The best part is not only the flavor but also the smell. It’s like floating in the air! Is the best bread to bake during the fall season with all the sugar and cinnamon perfuming your house! If you like to bake and you love bread then this recipe must be on your bucket list!

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups of bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon of instant yeast
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoon of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Cinnamon swirl filling:

  • 1/2 cup brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter (optional)

 

Let’s bake!

Instructions with a stand mixer:

  1. Combine the milk, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a free-standing mixer and allow to stand for 5 minutes until the mixture is creamy and slightly frothy.
  2. Add the eggs and beat well until the eggs are well incorporated and the mixture is light and creamy.
  3. Slowly add the flour and salt with the mixer running until the flour has been incorporated.
  4. Allow it to knead at medium speed for a minute.
  5. Slowly add the cubes of butter one at the time and knead for another 5 minutes.
  6. The dough will begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl and will cling to the paddle.
  7. Remove the dough and place in a buttered bowl.

Instructions without a stand mixer:

  1. Wisk the flour yeast & salt in a large bowl.
  2. Melt the butter, and whisk it with the eggs, milk, and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
  3. With a rubber spatula gently fold egg mixture into flour mixture scraping up dry flour from bottom of the bowl until an elastic dough starts to form and no dry flour remains.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 30 minutes then using your fingers fold the dough over itself by gently lifting & folding edges of the dough toward middle repeat this process for 2 minutes.

Instructions continued:

  1. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.  In the same bowl and using your fingers fold the dough over itself by gently lifting & folding edges of the dough toward middle repeat this process for 2 minutes.
  2. Place in the fridge and allow to stand overnight.
  3. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
  4. Gently roll each part into a rectangle that can fit your 9×5 loaf pan. (About 8” x 5”).
  5. Spread the sugar and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over one side of the rectangle, then tightly roll. Seal the ends and place in a greased loaf pan, seam side down.
  6. Allow to rise for another 2 hours.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Brush the loaf with the egg wash.
  8. Bake the loaf for 40-45 minutes until it’s golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

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Lemon Bluberry Cake

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It’s summer!! That means it’s blueberry season! One of the things I love the most about living in the countryside is the I am surrounded by farms, and therefore a lot of farmer markets. On June we have the strawberry madness’s festival and on July starts the blueberry season, so we have the opportunity to pick fruit produce at a great price and is a great experience for the kids. You can get a whole bucket full of blueberries you’ll have a lot of smoothies, muffins, and cakes!!

So, let’s talk about this recipe.This madness cake is made with 1 pound of blueberries. Enough to satisfy your cravings! It’s not too sweet and it’s not too tangy, but just right. Made with fresh Mayer lemons which are a perfect match. It is so easy to make! The combination of sugar, lemon & and blueberries is sweet enough so powdered sugar is all you’ll need. And a good cup of coffee to finish it off!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream or whole milk yogurt ( I use sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil ( I use olive oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 medium lemon (zest and juice), I used 2 small lemons
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 16 oz fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Powdered sugar to dust the top, optional

 

Let’s Bake:

  1. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat Oven to 375˚F.
  2. Beat 2 eggs and 1 cup sugar with a whisk attachment on high speed 5 minutes or until lightened in color and thick.
  3. Add the 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt and whisk on low speed until well combined.
  4. Sift and whisk together the 2 cups flour with 2 tsp baking powder then add to batter 1/3 at a time, whisking to incorporate between each addition. Finally, add 2-3 Tbsps fresh lemon juice and 1/2 Tbsp of lemon zest.
  5. Rinse blueberries and drain well. In a medium bowl, toss blueberries with 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 tsp lemon juice, stirring until well combined. Note: If you are using frozen blueberries, thaw and drain then in step #4: toss with 1 Tbsp cornstarch and omit the lemon juice. Do not add more than 16 oz blueberries.IMG_0419
  6. Pour half of the batter into prepared springform pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Top with half of the blueberries. Spread with remaining batter then sprinkle the rest of the blueberries evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of sugar to caramelize the blueberries.
  7. Bake at 375˚F for 40 to 50 minutes (mine was perfect at 45 min), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake rest in the pan 15-20 minutes then remove the ring and cool until room temp or just warm.
  8. Serve dusted with powdered sugar and a cup of coffee, and enjoy this pinch of sugar!

Recipe adapted from Natashakitchen

 

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Carrot Cake with Walnuts & Dates

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April is my second favorite month of the year, after Christmas season of course. This month has a lot of meaning in my life. It was the month I became a mother to a beautiful baby boy, Ezi, and it is the month we celebrate Lent; two things that lead my life. It’s a time to be thankful for what God has done for me and his blessings over my life.

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Also, April is a month full of Easter and Lent recipes! A whole full month of baking fun! Here in the States is not Easter without a classic Carrot Cake. It’s the classic cake for Easter Sunday at Churches, and for the famous egg hunt.

I love this recipe because this carrot cake is so moist and full of flavor. Carrots, crushed pineapple, cinnamon, nutmeg, and dates. Yes, Dates! It’s the secret ingredient that makes this carrot cake a winner. Usually, southern cakes include raisins, but the sweetness of the dates will give a caramelized taste that takes this cake to the next level. You will thank me later!

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Bonus: This is a sheet cake, which means no intimidating frosting job! Which is perfect for me because I have no cake decorating skills. It’s also great for Easter family reunions since yields up to 16 people.  So, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup of chopped dates (optional)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3  cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Let’s bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13″ cake pan with baking spray and parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, white sugar, brown sugar, carrots, and crush pineapple until light in color.
  3. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; gradually beat into carrot mixture. Folds in walnuts and dates.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  5. Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • Combine the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and mix until fully combined and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Frost cooled cake with frosting and sprinkle the top with extra walnuts if desired. Enjoy!IMG_9943

Note: I like to refrigerate this cake and then make the frosting the next day. Carrots cakes have the particularity of having a better flavor after two days in the refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from Taste of home

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Liebster Award

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I want to give special thanks to Nena Baking Recipes for nominating me for the Liebster Awards.  Please feel free to check out her blog, she has great ideas in baking, cooking & cocktails. This is my First award since I started blogging and I really appreciate it. Blogging is one the best hobbies I have done, I love to bake and share my experiences.

The Liebster Awards requires 11 Facts About Me, so here are a few things so you can get to know me a little bit more:

  • I live in Northwest Indiana, but I come from Puerto Rico, a beautiful island of the Caribbean.
  • As you all know, I Iove baking, especially sweet breads.
  • My favorite thing in the world is playing and spending time with my little boy. He’s my greatest blessing from heaven.
  • I became a mom at my 40’s.
  • When I have free time I’m usually baking, and when I’m not baking I love to crochet & knit.
  • I like watching The Great British Baking Show. I think it’s a great show to learn baking techniques.
  • I love Baking Books! I think they are like shoes, you can have enough!
  • My favorite book is the Bible. It’s my guide.
  • I am follower of Jesus Christ.
  • I went to Uganda Africa as Missionary during the summer of 2010. It was one the best experience of my life.
  • And yes, I love shopping, like all women.

Questions For Me:

  1. What do you do during your free time? When I have free time I am usually baking, but if not, I love to crochet & knit.
  2. What is your favorite food? Do you like desserts? As I mention before, I came from Puerto Rico, so my favorite food is a traditional Mofongo (a fried green plantain mashed with butter garlic and bacon, then stuffed with seafood). There’s always room for dessert! Actually, sometimes is better to start with the dessert.
  3. What kind of sport you like? I am not a sporty girl, but I like to do Pilates sometimes during the week.
  1. Have you ever had a pet? What kind of animal you like? Yes, I had various during my childhood. A rabbit, two dogs, a cockatiel and even a rooster! I love dogs and birds.
  2. Which countries do you like to spend your vacation? In first place, my place, Puerto Rico. I also love Spain and Italy.
  3. Do you prefer to live in a cold place or a tropical place? Definitely a Tropical place! Life is better in the Tropics!
  4. What kind of books do you like? Any favorite authors? I Like Christian Books. Authors likes C.S. Lewis, Rick Warren, Lisa Bevere and Joyce Mayer.
  5. What do you prefer to wear, high heel shoes or flat shoes? Well, I am a 40 year old mom, so before my baby I always wore heels, but now I use flats most of the time.
  6. Do you know how to swim? What style do you like? Yes I know how to swim and I prefer freestyle swimming.
  7. What kind of vegetables do you always cook or include to your meals? Broccoli is the number one in my house.
  8. Which one you do like best, diamond or gold? Why? Both, why not!

11 questions for the for the Nominees:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. Assuming money was not an issue, what is the one thing you’re dying to do?
  3. What is one international food dish you would love to make or want to learn to make?
  4. What’s your favorite style of music?
  5. What is your favorite season and why?
  6. Do you have any pets? If no, are there any pets you would like?
  7. What’s the most important thing in your life?
  8. What is your favorite dessert?
  9. Can you bake? Do you like to bake?
  10. What are your hobbies?
  11. What have you read or listened to recently that touched you?

My Nominees

Soft Sugar Cookies

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A soft, chewy and flaworful sugar cookie that you will love! 

 

Is the most wonderful time of the year! Without a doubt Christmas is the best holiday! Is the time we’ve all been waiting for all year long. Even though sometimes it can be a little nostalgic, it’s full of hope and magic. Therefore, I think that the best way to start this holiday is by making a good batch of Christmas cookies.

I’ve been making these cookies for the last three years and I love them! What I like about this recipe is that you have two types of cookies in one. Yes, you read me right! Simple, if you like cookies buttery and crispy avoid the cream cheese and lemon zest, if you like a softer and chewy cookie with a balanced flavor then add the cream cheese. For sure you will love both versions, like I do. This recipe yields 2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on the cuter size. What I do is that I make the dough in advance, usually the first week of Christmas, then I divide the dough in three small portion. I bake one portion and I freeze the rest for Christmas Eve or to make a goodies gift. You can decorate these cookies however you want. Also, you can make cookie sandwiches with fruit jam or Nutella, or make them more festive with some royal icing, which is always fun for the kids!

Well, I think I have covered the basic, so let’s enjoy this pinch of sugar and Merry Christmas !!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the royal icing that I usually make, visit: Royal Icing Recipe & Video

 

Let’s Bake:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese with the sugar. Beat for several minutes, or until light and fluffy. Then add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and lemon zest.
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, then gradually add it with a spoon to the butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed.
  1. Divide the dough into 3 balls. At this point the dough can, and should be, chilled or frozen.img_4388
  1. Refrigerate the dough that you will baking for at least 1 hour. Then freeze the rest of the dough balls, wrapped in plastic wrap and into a freezer bag, for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight then proceed with the recipe.
  1. Once the cookie dough is chilled, roll it out onto a floured surface or between two parchment papers. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8). Note: When you take the chilled dough out of the fridge you may need to let it sit for a few minutes before is soft enough to roll out.
  2. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or a Silpat. Cut cookies out of the rolled dough and place on the prepared baking sheets.img_4820
  1. Bake cookies for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a wire rack.
  2. Cool completely before icing or decorating, and store in a tightly covered container. For Royal Icing Decorating Tips refer to the video mention in the ingredients list.img_6057

 

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Whole Wheat Bread

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This is the kind of recipe that is in constant development and is so easy to improve with other ingredients like grains, nuts, dry fruits or oats. It’s a basic and easy whole wheat bread recipe, but it has two things that I really love. First, it makes a single loaf, and second is a light bread. If you go over the web, most recipes for wheat bread makes two loafs, if you have a huge family go with these recipes, but for a small family like ours this recipe is just perfect.

I just recently made this blog, but I’ve been baking bread for three years now, and I have to tell you, I’m still learning. With bread you will always be learning, so don’t hesitate to start.

Making bread is so much fun and once you make your first loaf, you’ll never go back. Nothing like a homemade bread warm and fresh form the oven.

The key to success with bread is good yeast activation and patience. Bread is something that you can make over the day. For example, you can make the dough, let it rest to proof and then go to shopping or doing whatever task you have to. The more the bread is resting the better the bread will turn out! So, there’s no rush with this bread, he is a lazy guy!  Now, because of the bran and germ in whole meal,  the flour needs moisture to keep preserved, so personally, whole wheat is not a bread I’d love to keep on the fridge. So, try to keep it at room temperature and inside a zip-top bag.

Let me share my secret for this bread… The original recipe doesn’t have honey and gluten; these are my improvements. If there is something that I have learned is that yeast loves sugar and whole meal takes more time to develop gluten, therefore these ingredients enhance the quality of the bread. If you are not gluten intolerant and you don’t mind to having a pinch of sugar on it, go forward and enjoy this piece of bread!

 

Ingredients:

500 g (18oz) strong whole meal flour

400 ml (14oz) lukewarm water

1 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. brown sugar or honey (optional ingredient)

2 tsp. dried yeast

1 tsp. of gluten protein (optional ingredient).

 

Let Bake:

  1. Warm the water, then  add the sugar  and  yeast and leave for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
  2. Mix the flour, salt and gluten in a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast/water and the oil. Mix to form a sticky dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Don’t skimp on the initial kneading. You need well-developed gluten to help the dough rise well before baking.  Note: If you will be using a mixer for this recipe mix together all of the dough ingredients. Knead it until the dough is soft. Don’t worry if the dough is not elastic, it will reach its elasticity once the gluten is developed, after the first proof. 
  4. Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover and put in a warm place to allow the dough to double in size.IMG_0640
  5. Knock back the dough on a floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes. If you have time,  let dough have a second rise. Put it back in the greased bowl and cover as before. The more the dough develops the gluten the lighter is the bread will be.
  6. Press the dough out into a rectangle with the short side being the same size as the long side of your loaf tin. Roll the dough up starting from the short side. Tuck the ends under.FullSizeRender
  7. Place the dough in a lightly-greased loaf tin, cover with lightly-oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise until it just fills the tin.
  8. Bake the bread at 190°C/375°F in a fan oven, 210°C/420°F for a normal oven, for 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and serve with lots of butter and cup of coffee!! IMG_8200 

                                  You can find the original recipe at :  http://www.thebreadkitchen.com