Soft Puerto Rican Sweet Buns (Mallorca) with Gold Medal Flour


For spring break my family visited Puerto Rico. It took me less than 24 hours to find myself an amazing local bakery with all kinds of tasty pastries and breads to try. My favorites, which I managed to sample several times during our stay, were the Quesitos and Mallorca buns. The buns are a sweet enriched dough that is wound up into a snail shell shape and dusted with a thick coating of powdered sugar. We ate them plain with coffee or split open, stuffed with eggs and bacon, as a breakfast sandwich. When I got back home, I used our brioche dough to recreate the sweet buns and they are delicious and easy to make.  Continue reading

Thanksgiving Leftovers Torta

Thanksgiving leftovers

No matter how big your Thanksgiving feast is or how many people are gathered around your table, chances are there’s more leftovers than you know what to do with. Here is a way to use the extra turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, plus anything else that graced your holiday table and make it into something new. We feature an Italian Torta recipe in Artisan Pizza in Five, but why not swap out the layers for all those leftovers? It is tasty and gorgeous and goes together in a flash if you are cleaning out the fridge of all those half empty tupperware containers. Continue reading

Grilled Sandwiches Three Ways

Hey all, we want to introduce Sarah Kieffer to you; she’ll be doing some photography for the site, including the shots in this beautiful post. Zoe and I met Sarah on the Web (where else), where she covered a class that Zoe had taught. When we ran through Sarah’s food blog, Vanilla Bean Blog, what we noticed first were the beautiful photographs, and so we connected and asked her to work with us.  We’re not the only ones who noticed; the New York Times covered Sarah and her shots that keep popping up on Pinterest. Sarah’s the reason that our Pinterest site has become another place where our readers can connect with us.  Thanks Sarah, and welcome!

So onto… what to eat.  Colder weather means comfort food, and while mashed potatoes, pot pies, and cheesy baked dishes may come to mind first, soup and sandwiches are a great, and possibly lighter alternative. This week we decided to bring you grilled sandwiches three ways, but really, the possibilities are endless. Continue reading

Baked Apple Doughnuts with Gold Medal Flour – updated

It is that time of year again in Minnesota, when the weather goes from 90°F one day, to 48°F the next. It is bittersweet to lose summer, but we enthusiastically head into baking season. This time of year also brings the apples, glorious apples. This week alone I have made pie, fritters, waffles and these baked doughnuts with all the apple varieties I found at the farmers market (or your favorite orchard). Baked Doughnuts? Many of you have requested a doughnut recipe that is not fried. I admit I was hesitant, since I am a doughnut fanatic and was afraid the baked version would be a poor substitute. I am, once again, thrilled to announce YOU WERE RIGHT! The baked apple doughnuts are tender, sweet and studded with pieces of tart apples. The trick is to coat the dough in lots of cinnamon sugar, then bake them so they are still soft on the inside and have a wonderful sugar crust on the outside. The Maple Glaze gives them an even more decadent feel, even though they are the healthy version of our favorite treat. You may never miss the fried version again, but if you are like me, you’ll make both.

Baked Apple Doughnuts:

Continue reading

Herb Crock-Pot Dinner Rolls – Summer Baking

crock-pot buns

Weather is something we Minnesotans take great pride in. We love our winters, mostly for the bragging rights of surviving them, and the fact that it can go from -40° to 90°F in a blink of an eye. This summer we add an unprecedented heat wave, which may rival the “Halloween snow” in weather lore. As the thermometer on my back door reads 95°F for what seems the entire summer, I find myself pulling out the crock-pot to bake. What was originally a lark, bread in the slow-cooker has become my go-to summer baking method. Yesterday I picked a bunch of fresh herbs, made them into a savory dough and then at dinner I baked up some dinner rolls. All the wonderful aroma, the delight of fresh bread, without the heat of the oven. Check with your crock-pot’s manufacturer before trying this, since some model’s instructions specify that the pot has to be at least partially filled with liquid to avoid safety or durability problems.  And never bake  in a crock-pot unattended. Continue reading

Hot Cross Buns!

hot cross buns

(This is a post that first appeared in 2009 – we hope it is fresh for some and a welcome memory for others!)

“Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, everybody loves hot cross buns!” are the words to the children’s song and it is so true. I made these buns at the request of many of you and my kids devoured them within minutes. They are the buns traditionally served at Easter time. A sweet dough, spiced, studded with dried (sometimes candied) fruit and decorated with a cross made of icing.

As I researched these delicious buns I realized that there are as many ways to make them as there are families who bake them. Some people slash the dough to make the cross, others use a flour and water paste to create the symbol and others use the sweet icing. Tell me how you make your buns, and if you don’t have a family tradition yet, you can start with these!

Continue reading

Balthazar 05

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizzette

The concept for these little pizza/tarts came from a family recipe. My cousin, Riad Nasr, is a world class chef and quite often the source of inspiration in my kitchen. He practices his craft in New York City at a line-up of crazy-popular restaurants including Pastis, Minetta Tavern and Balthazar. Several years ago he wrote the Balthazar cookbook and included a savory tart with herby caramelized onions and goat cheese. I made it and fell in love. When Jeff and I decided to write our Pizza book I knew this flavor combo would be fantastic as a pizza. I’ve made it in several classes that we’ve taught to rave reviews, so I thought I would make it with you here.

The key to this pizza is caramelizing the onions. You can speed up the process by using a slightly higher heat and adding a touch of sugar, but for this recipe we’re going the old fashion route and doing it slow. I admit this may take a few more than 5 minutes, but I think it’s worth it. For those of you looking for a speedier version you can find one on page 108 of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Continue reading

Roasted red peppers

Roasted Red Pepper: My Favorite Mediterranean Pizza Topping

(photo by Mark Luinenburg)  If you’ve read any of our books, you know that this particularly photogenic fruit (or is it a vegetable?) seems to have captured our imagination.  After a year of perfecting the basic tomato/basil/mozzarella topping, I did (believe it or not) get tired of Pizza Margherita.  Enter the smoky and savory roasted red pepper. Continue reading