Saturday, 22 January 2011

comforting rolly buns

These taste like ovaltine. Just the thing in winter.

Now, repeat after me: carob is yummy. It it not a chocolate substitute, but it is yummerific in it's own right. Just let it be carob, okay? The salt in the filling makes this taste a little like ovaltine and caramel apples. Breakfast win.

2c malthouse bread flour (or just use whole spelt). Also works great with half and half spelt and barley four.
pinch salt
1/4 cup fine polenta
1/2 cup teff flour
tbs gluten powder
2 tbs carob powder
2 small apples, grated
1 tbs quick yeast

2 tbs barley malt syrup in 1/2 cup hot water + 1/2 cup soymilk

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet into dry, and add more flour until you have a wet, but not sticky, dough. Let rise 1hr. Dump onto a floured surface and roll out (how thick is up to you, but I roll it out to about the thickness of my fingers). drizzle about 2-3 tbs of malt syrup over it, sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt and another 1-3 tbs of carob over that, and then top everything with 2 more chopped up apples. The moisture from the malt syrup and the apples will turn the carob powder into paste, worry not. Roll up. Cut into 4 - 6 buns and place them in the pan that you will cook them in. I find it best to schmear the pan lightly with coconut oil and then sprinkle that with cornmeal so that the buns don't weld themselves to it overnight. Let rise overnight in the fridge.

In the morning: take the buns out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 225C for 30 mins, preferably with a pan of water in there. It seems to work best if you preheat the oven with the fan assist, but then turn it off just before putting the buns in. Pop the buns in the oven and bake 40-60 mins (this will depend on size of buns and if there is any space between them... I like mine to squish up against each other, so it's basically the same as baking a loaf of bread, so it takes almost an hour. If the buns are well-separated, it takes more like 40 mins). Remove from oven and brush with soymilk. Cool briefly before eating.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

I wanna be a chocolate god post (large number): spiceh!

Okay, so you know how sometimes I make chocolate tea? Then I'm left with boiled nibs. Also, I make almond milk, leaving me with almond pulp. This uses up the nibs and pulp and is super yummy. And spicy. And fun. They're very, very coffee-dippable and highly addictive. Just warning you. For those of you who aren't plagued with leftovers from chocolate tea and almond milk: I can't help you. Work out your own substitutions. Or just get into chocolate tea and almond milk. Trust me, it's not a bad combo, especially if you have these cookies to dip in them.

So, I have this idea that there are three main lineages of cookies: persian, italian, and american. Persian cookies are the sweet, halvah-ish ones that are meant as rare indulgences. Italian cookies are dry and not so sweet and decidedly grown up, meant to be dipped in vin santo, or strong coffee. American cookies are child-like and moreish. If I had to vote, I'd go with italian. These cookies are what would happen if turkish coffee careened into chocolate biscotti. And frankly, I hope that such happy accidents happen more often.

1 and 1/3 cups simmered cocoa nibs, drained and ground
1 cup almond pulp (leftover from making almond milk, or just use ground almonds mixed with almond milk or water to form a paste)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 soy flour
1 tsp baking powder (not soda!)
pinch salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground anise
1 tsp pul biber or similar chili
1/2 cup finely chopped coffee-infused bitter chocolate (optional, or use plain chocolate and add a tbs of instant espresso to the batter)

Combine all ingredients. Using a teaspoon and wet hands, form into balls. For extra points, roll in sugar. I do not need extra points. Place balls on a greased cookie sheet. Smoosh carefully to desired thickness. The cookies won't change shape much as they bake. Bake at 200C for 15 mins, then drop the heat to 150, and bake for another 30 mins. Let them cool for a bit on the cookie sheet, then gently lift them onto a cookie rack and cool completely. They keep for frikkin' ever, in theory. In practice, they get eaten long before that.

kitchendancing along to: C is for Cookie, sung by none other than The Cookie Monster.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

persimmon rolly buns

I impulse bought many persimmons. I couldn't help it. They were perfectly ripe, and calling out to me, and really, really cheap. Soooo... persimmon rolls, anyone? On the weekends when I am home (or sometimes even when I'm at other people's houses and they don't mind me taking over the kitchen), I make rolly buns for breakfast. I have a made-up (and deeply silly) song that I sing while I make them. Every week is different (both the song and the buns), and I usually just make 'em up (both the song and the buns) as I go along. Anything, really: green tea, almond, red bean, pear, aniseed-fig, pumpkin, chestnut, date, olives and herbs, smoked tofu... nothing is safe from my rolly-bun plots and schemes. This week, it's persimmon. And because I love y'all, I actually wrote down the recipe as I went along.

I love persimmons, but I don't usually like persimmon bread. These fruits are so sweet and delicate, it seems overwhelming to add sugar to them, and then weigh them down with piles of oil. These buns are light and chewy, and the cherries make things interesting without falling into the realm of sticky-sweetness. You can easily substitute coffee for the tea, if you've only got coffee on hand. In that case, I'd recommend using cinnamon, or even a sprinkle of grated chocolate, in place of the rosewater. You could also add grated apple to the buns... just spread it on the dough along with the cherries if you want.

2 1/2 ww spelt flour
3/4 c chickpea flour (or soy flour)
1 tbs gluten powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbs assam tea leaves
1 tbs instant yeast
pinch salt

pulp from 5 very ripe persimmons (big ones)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup dried sour cherries (or 1/2c dried cherries and 1/2c walnut pieces)
soy or almond milk

Mix together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredient. Stir until you have a dough but don't bother kneading it. This will be a wet dough, and look more like a quickbread than a yeasted bread at this point. Cover with a clean dishcloth and leave to rise in a cool place overnight. For those of you who live in countries where it's actually warm, or have discovered the wonder of central heating and insulation, you may want to put the dough in the fridge.

The next morning, dump out your dough on a heavily floured surface. Knead briefly to incorporate enough flour that the dough holds together. This will be anywhere from 1/2 to 1.5 cups of extra flour. Roll into a rectangle. Mine was smaller than a standard rectangular cookie sheet, but just. I usually roll my dough out on a silicone baking mat, which saves me having to wash the countertop afterwards. Plus, then I know that to make 4-6 buns, I need a square of dough that just barely fits on the mat. See? Easy peasy. The important thing is that the dough should be about as thick as your thumb. Brush with rosewater and then sprinkle with cherries (the rectangle of dough, not yourself, unless you have extra rosewater and cherries). Roll up the dough so that you end up with the shorter, fatter cylinder rather than the longer, skinnier one (though you could always make tiny buns by ignoring me here). You can either make 4 ginormous buns, or 6 normal size ones, depending on where you stand on eating baked goods that are larger than your head. Personally, I find that eating anything larger than my head is a bad idea. Place rolly buns in a greased pan that you have then sprinkled with cornmeal (or flour), brush with soy or almond milk, and let sit for 30-40 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to damn hot (250C). When the oven is hot, put a metal cup of water in there, and then your buns. Disarm the fan assist if you have one. Learn from my mistakes (and burnt rolly buns). Bake at high heat for 10 mins, then drop the heat to 180C, and bake for another 25-35 minutes (depending on the size of your buns). When you take the buns out of the oven, brush them again with milk spiked with a bit of rosewater. Let cool for a few minutes, and then gently extract them from the pan. These are a real treat if you eat them still warm, and hold up well to toasting the next day.

singing: the rolly bun song. You'll just have to make up your own when you cook them. Go on. You know you want to.