Sparkling Gingerbread Pear Muffins

We are definitely feeling a desire to bake everything holiday-inspired these days! Give us gingerbread, sugar cookies, and all things egg nog! Have you started any holiday baking yet?

In particular, we’ve been drawn to things ginger and molasses inspired. Check here for a delicious example of how amazing this combination can be! When we came across a recipe for gingerbread muffins we knew that we had to give it a try, with our own spin on it of course!

While this recipe has ½ cup of molasses in it, these muffins do not come out tasting bitter or overly of molasses. We added some crystallized ginger to the recipe as well, because well, if you can add ginger twice it is always better than adding it once.

The pears add a lovely touch of sweetness and offset the gingerbread flavours perfectly. We used an Anjou pear but you could really use any variety. We also didn’t peel it! When you need muffins, you need them stat, and in those times there is no time for niceties like peeling. If you’re serving them to company you might consider it, but really, these are just as good with the peel on!

These muffins would make a fantastic addition to a holiday plate of breakfast goodies or as a sweet addition to a holiday brunch spread. They’re a fun twist on a traditional recipe, and one that we will absolutely be making again!

Go bake.

Sparkling Gingerbread Pear Muffins

Ingredients:

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup (178 g) plain yogurt (ours was 3%)

1/2 cup whole milk (or 2%, non-fat, almond, etc.)

1/2 cup (114 g) coconut sugar (or sub light brown sugar)

1/2 cup fancy molasses

1 large egg

2 1/ 2 cups (313 g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 pear, finely diced

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely diced

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, coconut sugar, molasses, and egg. Let rest 5 minutes for the coconut sugar to dissolve slightly. Add the oil, and stir to incorporate.
  3. In a separae medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and cloves.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until 3/4 incorporated. Add the chopped pear and crystallized ginger and mix until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, then sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar. Bake the muffins for 16-18 minutes, until the tops are dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire wrack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

Bourbon Glazed Pumpkin Spiced Cinnamon Rolls

You guys… we baked you the most delicious fall dessert/snack/breakfast today. These cinnamon buns take things to a whole new level, and are definitely not for the faint of heart!

Cinnamon buns have been a long-standing tradition in our family and no Easter, Christmas, or birthday morning would be complete without them. They’re one of our favourite things to bake! Although we generally stick with more traditional recipes, we decided to branch out this time and make something a bit more seasonally relevant!

The dough for these cinnamon buns is enriched with butter, egg nog, and eggs and flavoured with pumpkin and the perfect blend of fall spices. This produces a dough that is so soft and tender that no one will be able to resist eating one!

We didn’t have any pre-made pumpkin pie spice on hand so instead we used this recipe from our friend Martha. All you need to do is combine the spices together in a bowl, and then measure out the amount required for the recipe. We halved Martha’s recipe, but if you have lots of pumpkin-spiced things to be made in your baking future, making the full recipe would be totally worthwhile!

These cinnamon buns are filled with more pumpkin, cinnamon, butter, and dark brown sugar to really play up the fall flavours. You could also substitute light brown sugar, but we like the extra molasses flavour that dark brown sugar brings things.

Finally, these gorgeous pieces of breakfast confectionary are topped with a bourbon glaze that will knock your socks off. To be honest, this is the first time that we’ve used bourbon in a glaze or baked goods, but it will definitely not be our last. The bourbon glaze makes these cinnamon buns special occasion worthy, and perfectly complements the spicy pumpkin goodness of the buns.

These cinnamon buns are ooey, gooey, soft, and everything that you could possibly want a cinnamon bun to be. The addition of pumpkin and spices makes them perfect for fall and the changing weather!

Go bake.

Bourbon Glazed Pumpkin Spiced Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

3 cups (380 g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (66 g) granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/3 cup egg nog (or milk; whole or 2%)

1/4 cup (57 g) unsalted butter

1/4 cup water, lukewarm

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup (116 g) pumpkin puree

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Filling:

6 tablespoons (84 g) salted butter, melted

3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 cup (106 g) dark brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

Bourbon glaze:

1/2 cup bourbon

2 cups icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups (250 g) of the flour, granulated sugar, and the yeast.
  2. Place the egg nog and butter in a small pot and heat over low heat, just until the butter melts. Remove from the stovetop and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the water and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the milk and butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well combine. Add the salt and the pumpkin puree and egg, beating well after each addition. Beat in the pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.
  4. Add the remaining 1 cup (125 g) of flour, beating and mixing for another 2-3 minutes until the dough comes together again (we added an extra 2-3 Tbsp. of flour to achieve the right consistency). The dough should still be pretty sticky at this point. Transfer the dough into a bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  5. Make the filling. Whisk together the melted butter and pumpkin puree. After one hour, punch the dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a large rectangle, about 12-14 inches. Brush the dough with the melted butter pumpkin mixture, then sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Roll up the dough starting at the shorter end, as tightly as possible, until you have a pinwheel of dough and filling. Cut the cylinder into 8 equal slices then place into a pie plate or other similar-sized baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place again for 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pan in the oven and bake the cinnamon buns for 25-28 minutes until the tops are beginning to brown.
  8. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Place the bourbon in a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Cook until it reduces by about half, so you’re left with 1/4  cup of bourbon. Whisk together the bourbon, icing sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until a smooth glaze forms.
  9. Once your buns are finished cooking, drizzle the glaze over them while they’re still warm. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

Roasted Pear and Dark Chocolate Chunk Scones

Today we’re going to pair together an unlikely combination of ingredients. Pears and chocolate. We’re not sure why this pairing has not made it to the mainstream, but we’re hoping that you’ll give these scones a try and become a convert like us.

We unexpectedly came across some pears one evening when a neighbour stopped over with some overflow from her pear tree harvest. We didn’t complain.

Thankfully, a couple of years ago we stumbled across Deb’s recipe for Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones and the recipe has been lingering in our minds ever since. We were as curious as we’re sure you are about what the combination of pear and dark chocolate tastes like. Spoiler alert: It’s a winning combination!

Roasting the pears allows for some of the moisture to be reduced and also intensifies the flavour of the pear. We found that using dark chocolate (at least 70%) cut down on some of the sweetness and made these perfectly palatable at breakfast time. Although, who are we kidding, we probably could have used milk chocolate and still eaten them for breakfast!

What did we change from Deb’s recipe?

  1. We upped the chocolate. Obviously. Chocolate tends to be sold in 100 g bars so rather that trying to painstakingly weigh out 85 g we just tossed the whole thing in.
  2. We got rid of the egg wash. To be honest, while it leaves a lovely shine on the scones that would be perfect if you were serving these to guests, it just wasn’t worth the hassle to us. You still end up with gorgeous, flavourful scones without it.
  3. We sprinkled with turbinado. We had to make up for the lack of egg wash somehow so we decided to sprinkle the tops of the scones with turbinado sugar (also known as Sugar in the Raw). It provides some sparkle and a bit of crunch to the final product.
  4. We used salted butter. This is standard in our kitchen. We know that baking purists will insist on using unsalted butter when baking to allow for maximum control of salt content, but we love the flavour when using salted butter and typically use it over unsalted butter whenever we bake.

Overall,  this is a delicious scone recipe to add to your fall baking repertoire and sure to leave whomever you share them with impressed by your amazing ability to combine flavours!

Go bake.

Roasted Pear and Dark Chocolate Chunk Scones

Indredients:

3 bosc pears (about 1 pound or 454 g- ours came closer to 500 g)

1 1/2 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons (85 g) cold salted butter, cut into small cubes

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup (100g) dark chocolate, chopped (We used a 70% Lindt chocolate bar)

1 large egg

Tubinado sugar/Sugar in the Raw for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Peel and core the pears and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the pear chunks on the parchment in a single layer and roast until they feel dry to the touch and look a little browned underneath, about 20-22 minutes. Transfer the pear chunks to a plate and place in the fridge or the freezer to cool down until they’re lukewarm.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt toghether in a large bowl. Add the cold butter and using a pastry cutter or two knives break up the butter into pea sized pieces.
  3. Add the pears, heavy cream, and egg and mix until just combined. Add the chococlate chunks and mix until evenly distributed.
  4. On a well floured counter, pat the dough out into a 6-inch round. Cut into 6 generous wedges and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment, placing them at least 2-inches apart.  Sprinkle each scone with a genours amount of turbinado sugar.
  5. Transfer the scones to the oven and bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

Fatso Granola Bars with Cranberries and Chocolate Chips

It has been super busy here at Fancy Dough headquarters! We’ve been looking after 2 puppies instead of one, had some of our busiest days at work, and been trying to get in some work-life balance at the same time (aka, finally getting around to watching Season 7 of GOT).

We’ve created an easy snack that you can whip up in a matter of minutes because we know that you’re busy too! Fatso Granola Bars are the perfect snack when you need something quick and healthy when you’re on the go whether that’s to school, work, or extracurricular activities.

We used Fatso in this recipe which is a type of hybridized peanut butter made by a local supplier here in Victoria. The aim of the company is take the fear out of fat and look at it more as something that is vital to our health as a form of fuel and energy, instead of something taboo. Fatso is an all-natural peanut butter hybridized with “superfats” including coconut oil, avocado oil, MCT oil, macadamia oil, chia and flax. You can find out more about the company and its founder here.

However, if you don’t have access to this type of nut butter, you can definitely substitute natural peanut butter or almond butter and still get awesome results!

We’re not sure about you guys, but we like some other “stuff” in our granola bars besides just oats. We added dried cranberries and chocolate chips to ours, but the possibilities are really endless. You could add anything from almonds and raisins, to cocoa nibs and peanuts so let your imagination run wild!

These granola bars provide everything that you could want in a healthy snack- texture, chew, a pop of sweetness, and healthy fats and proteins. They’re sure to be a hit with whoever you make them for!

Go bake.

Fatso Granola Bars with Cranberries and Chocolate Chips

Ingredients:

1 large egg white

1/2 cup (125 g) Fatso (or other natural nut butter)

1/3 cup (70 g) packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup (80 g) honey

1/2 cup (115 g) salted butter, melted

2 cups (174 g) old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup (40 g) chocolate chips

1/3 cup (40 g) dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with tinfoil or parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Stir in the Fatso (or nut butter), brown sugar, and honey. Add the melted butter, oats, and cranberries. Stir to combine, then add the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the oat mixture into your prepared pan and using a spatula or large spoon, spread the mixture out pressing lightly to form an even layer. Bake until the edges of the mixture begin to brown, about 15-17 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 1 hour.  Cut into squares or rectangles and enjoy! P.s. We found that storing in them fridge provided the best texture and longevity.

Inspired by this recipe.

Skinny Nutella-Swirled Pumpkin Bread

Okay, we went there. We pulled out the pumpkin spice and made this delicious pumpkin bread with it. We also made it skinny so you can feel good about eating it. Less sugar? Check! Less oil? Check! Tons of flavour? Check!

Nutella goes amazingly well with pumpkin, in case you didn’t know. The combination of spice, earthiness from the pumpkin, hazelnuts, and chocolate is absolutely to-die-for. The idea comes from a pumpkin pie we used to make in years gone by that had Nutella swirled into it. It worked with pie and now it works with bread!

This pumpkin bread is really similar in method to the banana breads or zucchini breads that you’ve made in the past, except for the inclusion of pumpkin puree and fall spices. Make sure to buy pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling though! We want to make sure that we have complete control over what’s going into our pumpkin bread.

Another great thing about this bread is that it makes two loaves. So, you can make this recipe and eat a loaf and freeze a loaf, or keep one and pass one along to a friend. Sharing is caring.

No matter who you share it with, the Nutella swirl is sure to put a smile on someone’s face. We can’t think of a yummier way to welcome fall!

Go bake.

Skinny Nutella-Swired Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

4 large eggs

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

2/3 cup water

2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar

3 1/2 cups (438 g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup (120 g) Nutella

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray two 8×4 or 9×5-inch pans with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, applesauce, water, and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  4. Drop your nutella in small dollops evenly over the batter in both the pans. Gently run the tip of a knife through the batter to create a swirl pattern. Less is more here for more defined swirls.
  5. Transfer the loaf pans to your preheated oven and bake for about 50-55 minutes depending on the size of your pans. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and allowing to cool completely on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

Bakery-Style Blueberry Crumb Muffins

Corey and I disagree on the virtues of muffins. I (Alyssa) believe that they are one of the more perfect foods in the world. Muffins can take on a number of different roles- as breakfast, snack, or lunch, as well as a number of different flavours. You can make them healthy or you can make them gut-bustingly indulgent, but at the end of the day, you’re still eating a muffin and not a cupcake. Cupcakes have icing. Obviously.

Corey believes that muffins are too dry and not worth it. He’d rather have cheesecake or toast with peanut butter. Anyways… Thankfully, we could both agree that these muffins were just plain yummy whether you are a fan of muffins or not!

The focus of these muffins is definitely the big, gorgeous, pieces of “crumb” that sit on top of them. In case you’re curious, crumbs differ from streusel in that they don’t contain any oats and generally, contain a good dose of flour. This results in almost a cookie like texture, although they’re not as sweet.

The muffin batter itself is fairly standard incorporating canola oil, buttermilk, sugar, flour, and both baking powder and baking soda. If you’re more partial to muffins made with butter, you could easily use an equal amount of melted butter in place of the oil, but we find that butter is harder to work with for muffins.

If you’re using cold eggs, buttermilk, etc. you run the risk of the butter re-solidifying when you mix everything together which results in a curdled-looking mess. If you’re going to use butter, just make sure that your other ingredients are at room temperature!

Finally, these muffins are studded with fresh blueberries to add a burst of flavour. Frozen would work just as well! No need to thaw them, just add them to the batter frozen. The addition of cardamom adds a slight citrus flavour, but if you don’t have it, they will be just as good without it!

Perfect for a brunch, school lunches, snack-time, or a special breakfast, these muffins are sure to please even the pickiest eaters!

Go bake.

Bakery-Style Blueberry Crumb Muffins

Ingredients:

For the crumb topping

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (106 g) light or dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (142 g) salted butter, melted

1 3/4 cups (219 g) all-purpose flour

For the muffins

2 1/2 cups (313 g) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (140 g) fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. Make the crumb topping. Whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the butter until well-combined. Stir in the flour until the mixture just resembles a thick dough; set aside. (Full discloure: We added the flour to the sugar mixture before adding the butter and it worked just as well!).
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients for the muffins- flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the canola oil, butter milk, eggs and yolk, and vanilla until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a large spoon or rubber spatula until almost combined (you’ll still want some floury bits), then add the blueberries. Gently fold them in until the dry ingredients are just combined; some lumps are fine.
  6. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups (they will be quite full) then, divide the reserved crumbs among the muffin wells, gently pressing them into the batter. It will look like you have a ton of crumbs, but as the muffins rise the crumbs will separate, so don’t be afraid to pile them on.
  7. Transfer the muffins to your preheated oven and bake until the muffins are just golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20-24 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

French Toast made with Apple Cinnamon Raisin Challah

We have been going through a serious heat wave here on the west coast of Canada. Temperatures have been up near 30, which means that everyone has been doing their best to survive in a world largely without air conditioning.

Ironically, the entire retail world is trying to tell us that it’s actually fall even though we’re all sweltering. This has resulted in some unique late summer pairings including venti iced coffees and iced teas with pumpkin scones at Starbucks. When life gives you pumpkin flavoured baked goods, you eat them, we think is the moral of the story!

With that being said, we’re bringing you a simple recipe that could easily bridge the gap between summer and fall. We used the Apple Cinnamon Raisin Challah we made on Tuesday, and repurposed it to make the most perfect French toast.

Let’s go over some things. There is French toast made using normal white bread, there is even French toast made using regular challah, but there is also French toast made using challah that has apples, cinnamon, and raisins in it, and believe us, it makes all the difference!

Our apple and raisin studded challah is dipped in a rich and cinnamony custard mixture and then fried to perfection in pools of butter. There really isn’t any better breakfast when you don’t have too much time in the morning, but are still feeling indulgent.

Maybe you’ll make this for your kids this weekend to celebrate their first week back at school, maybe you make it for the next brunch you host, or maybe you just make it for yourself, because heck, you deserve it!

French Toast made with Apple Cinnamon Raisin Challah

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

1 cup milk (we used 2%)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

8 slices of apple cinnamon raisin challah or other similar, enriched dough bread (challah, brioche, etc.)

Salted butter for frying

Maple syrup for serving

Directions:

  1. In a large, shallow bowl (we used a pie plate), whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Place bread slices, one at a time, into the egg mixture and flip to make sure both sides of bread are well-coated.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pan or griddle over medium heat. Place the bread slices in the pan or on the griddle and cook until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately or keep warm in an oven until ready to serve (set at around 300 degrees F). Serve with butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit, etc. Enjoy!

 

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Challah

Hey guys! Let’s talk about bread today. Bread sometimes gets a bad wrap in a lot of baker’s minds for being something that is hugely labour intensive and difficult to make. While we agree that there is a bit of an art to it (and some time investment involved for rising), we think that it’s well worth the effort of adding to your baking arsenal!

Homemade bread is out of this world. The stuff you can buy at the grocery store pales in comparison, and because you’re making it in the comfort of your own home, you can feel free to make it however you like it. Love raisins? Load them up. Hate them? Leave them out. Want to make things a bit healthier by adding some whole wheat flour? Go for it. The bread world is your oyster.

The very first bread recipe that we’re bringing to you is the stuff of our bread dreams. Tender, lightly sweetened dough swirled with raisins, chopped apples, and cinnamon for a loaf that screams to be toasted and slathered with butter.

Challah is a traditional Jewish bread, served on the Sabbath and at special events, often times with the addition of apples and honey for the Jewish new year which falls in September. It’s generally made with a dough that’s been enriched with eggs and either butter or oil, similar to a brioche dough if you’re familiar with that. This leaves it with a soft crumb and richer flavour than your average white bread.

Often times, challah is braided into a long loaf like sandwich bread. We took our inspiration from Deb at Smitten Kitchen though, and braided ours into a round instead. It looks impressive, but it’s actually very easy to create. You only need 4 lengths of dough and it only really gets braided twice. We’ve included lots of pictures, since we found that looking at the process visually was the easiest way to learn how to do this.

We took our flavours a step further as well and added raisins and cinnamon to the tradtional apples and honey since cinnamon, raisins, and apples go together like pumpkin and spice. Think cinnamon raisin bread, but better.

This bread would be absolutely brilliant toasted with butter and/or jam, it’s also great with peanut butter or almond butter slathered on it. We were thinking that French toast would be absolutely phenomenal when made using this bread, but you’ll have to check back in here on Thursday to get the recipe for that?

Go bake.

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Challah

Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 standard packet) active instant dry yeast

1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon honey

1/3 cup neutral oil (we used canola oil)

2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

4 1/4 cups (530 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for your working surface

For the filling:

1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (we used Granny Smith)

1/2 cup (80 g) Thompson raisins

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Squeeze of lemon juice to keep the apples from browning

Egg wash:

1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. Start by whisking together the yeast, 1 teaspoon honey, and 2/3 cup warm water in a large bowl. Let stand until foamy, about a 4-5 mintues.
  2. To your yeast mixture, add the oil, 1/3 cup honey, eggs and yolk and give it a good stir. Add the flour and and salt all at once and stir until you get a shaggy mess of uneven dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lighly floured counter and knead it into a smooth, elastic dough, about 5-8 minutes. Try to use as little flour as necessary when kneading the dough to avoid a tough bread.
  4. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for 1 hour, or until almost double in size. It’s important that you let your bread rise in a draft-free area. If you’re concerned, a safe place is always a turned-off oven.
  5. While you’re waiting, combine your chopped apples, raisins, cinnamon, and lemon juice and mix until well combined.
  6. Turn your dough onto a lighlty flour surface and gently press it down into a flat, oblong shape. The shape doesn’t matter! Spread 2/3 of the apple/raisin mixture over 1/2 of the flattened dough. Fold the other half over the filling and press the dough down around it, flattening the dough and sealing the edges. Spread the remaining 1/3 of the filling over half the folded dough. Fold the other half over the filling, pressing the dough down again. Your dough packet will probably look square-ish at this point.
  7. Fold the corners under using the sides of your hand and form the dough into a round. Place back into the bowl, cover, and let rise for another 30 minutes.
  8. Weave your bread: Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll and stretch each one as carefully as you can into a rope, about 12-inches long.
  9. Arrange two strands in each direction, perpendicular to each other, like a plus sign. Weave them so that one side is over, and the other is under, where they meet in the middle. So, now you should have 8 legs coming out from the center. Take the for legs that come from underneath the center and move them over the leg to their right, i.e. jumping it (it’s really easiest to look at the picture here!). Take those legs that were on the right and again, jum each over the leg before, this time to the left. If you had extra length to your ropes, you can repeat these jums until you run out of dough. For us, this was enough.
  10. To finish off the shaping, fold each of the ends of dough underneath and into the center using the sides of your hands so you’re left with a round loaf. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Let the challah rise for another hour but 45 minutes into this rise, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  11. Before baking, brush your loaf one more time with egg wash and then transfer to the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes. If you feel like the top of your bread is getting to brown, cover with tinfoil for the remaining bake time. Place the bread on a cooling rack to cool down completely before serving. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

Fresh Blackberry Ricotta Scones

Here in Victoria, it’s serious blackberry picking season. Our city is infiltrated with these prickly bushes that seem to sprout up just about everywhere. Along the sides of highways, country backroads, in people’s backyards, along bike paths…

Because of this, you see people picking blackberries wherever and whenever they have a chance. Whether that’s just popping a few in their mouth as they’re walking along the road, or a more serious approach involving buckets, multiple people, and some thorn-avoiding strategies, Victorians love their blackberries.

The good news for us is that blackberries are amazing in baked goods. So good. Especially, when they’re freshly picked and taste exactly like summer and sunshine.

Today, we decided to bring you blackberries in breakfast format, although they are equally scrumptious in things like crisps, cobblers, and cakes. But for now, we’re going to focus on how great they are when combined with ricotta and butter to create rich and buttery scones.

Ricotta isn’t just for lasagna! If you’ve never baked with ricotta, these scones are the perfect introduction. It’s a great complement to the sweetness of the blackberries and adds another dimension of flavour beyond the butter.

Besides the ricotta, these scones follow a fairly standard procedure for baking, starting with combining cold butter with your dry ingredients and then mixing in the wet ingredients. You should be able to easily whip these up for a weekend breakfast or brunch with little to no fuss. And, if you make them on Sunday, you may even have some left over for snacking during the week!

Go bake.

Fresh Blackberry Ricotta Scones

Ingredients:

2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

6 tablespoons (85 g) salted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup (135 g) fresh blackberries

3/4 cup (190 g) whole-milk ricotta

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) for sprinkling the tops

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. Using a pastry blender (or two knives) cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are no bigger than the size of small peas. Toss in the blackberries, and use the blender or knives again to break them in into smaller pieces.
  4. Using a large spoon or spatula, add the ricotta and heavy cream to the butter mixture and stir them in untila a dough starts to form. Then, use your hands to knead the dough gently into an even mass, in the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Transfer the dough to a well-floured counter or surface, flour the top of the dough, and pat into a circular disk about 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick. With a floured pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges. Sprinkle with tubinado sugar if using.
  6. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden at the edges. Cool on the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with butter and/or homemade jam!

Inspired by this recipe.

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cherry Poppy Seed Loaf

Lemon Cherry Poppy Seed Loaf surrounded by cherries.

Guys, can you believe it’s almost mid-August? Which means that September is right around the corner!! Where did the summer go?

Cherries and lemon zest.

On the radio today they were talking about Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Costco has their Halloween merchandise on display already, and so by next week, I’m sure we’ll have to start thinking about hanging Christmas lights.

Lemon poppy seed batter with cherries.

Even with all the focus on future seasons going on around us, we still wanted to pay one last tribute to one of our favourite summer fruits. Cherries! We’ve brought you a cherry recipe before in the short time that we’ve been friends here, but they are so good we couldn’t resist bringing you one more before we say good-bye to them until next year.

This recipe is slightly more reserved on the sugar side than our previous one, but it’s definitely no wallflower when it comes to flavour! Packed with juicy cherries, lemon zest, poppy seeds, and a cinnamon cardamom streusel, this loaf is the perfect ode to BC summer cherries.

Now, we’re going to be honest here, and mention that the original recipe labels itself as a cake, but if you bake it in a loaf pan, and it looks like a loaf, then chances are you’ve got a loaf on your hands and therefore, something that is perfectly acceptable to eat for breakfast. Right?

In actual fact, this loaf does have a fairly reasonable amount of sugar in it, and gains added moisture from Greek yogurt not oil, so it’s not a complete right-off in the breakfast department. You could totally leave off the streusel, but we thought that the crunchy topping perfumed with cardamom and cinnamon was the perfect finish.

If you’re looking for a baked good to have with your next cup of tea or coffee, or just a way to re-purpose some old cherries that you have hanging around in your kitchen, this is the perfect recipe! Ok, we’re off to research pumpkin spiced baked goods (just kidding!).

Go bake.

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cherry Poppy Seed Loaf

Ingredients:

Streusel:

1/4 cup (35 g) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and cardamom

pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Loaf:

1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

grated zest of 2 large lemons

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 cup (225 g) plain 2% Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from roughly 1/2 a lemon)

1 1/2 cups (210 g) pitted fresh sweet cherries

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. Make the streusel by mixing 1/4 cup flour, oats, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons poppy seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and stir together until the steusel is in small bits. Set aside.
  3. To make the loaf, whisk the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds and salt together in a small bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest with a spoon, encouraging the lemon oil to saturate the sugar (it should smell heavnly at this point). Whisk in the oil, eggs, yogurt, and lemon juice. Add the flour mixture all at once, stirring with a large spoon or rubber spatula until it’s almost completely incorporated. Fold in half of the cherries and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Dot the remaining cherries over the top of the batter and then sprinkle with the streusel. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown on top and it feels set in the center, about 45-55 minutes.
  6. Let the loaf cool on a wire rack. When cool, run a knife almong the outside of the cake to help it release from the pan and tip the loaf gently out of the pan.

Inspired by this recipe.