I got to read once that baking is a stress reliever. Maybe this is not an absolute truth, but sure it works for me. First of all because my mind just clears up when it is up to start baking: I focus on what I am doing and nothing else matter. Secondly, the fact I am going to share my treats makes me feel good. That said, today I really felt like I needed to bake a tray of wonderful muffins to make my peace with the world. So when I woke up (very early this morning, even if I didn’t set an alarm ugh!) instead of making me some orange juice I decided to bake some super quick muffins with orange and almond! Yeah well…ok being super healthy and all…but I added also some choco chips cause I thought they would have helped me being a bit more cheerful (I could have used rum for this purpose, but it was definitely too early in the morning lol). Muffins turned out great and by the time I was done morning sadness was just a vague memory…to the delight of my parents who got to eat them for breakfast! 🙂
– 1 cup baking flour
– 2/3 cup brown sugar
– 1 cup whole wheat flour
– 1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup cream cheese
– 2 little oranges (juice and zest)
– 1/2 cup choco chips
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350° F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
2. Whisk together flours, sugar, almonds (previously crumbled) and baking powder in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add the eggs slightly beaten and orange juice and zest; beat at medium speed for 1 minutes then add cream cheese and mix until smooth and satiny. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth. Toss in chocolate chips and stir them with a spoon just until combined.
3. Divide batter among cups of prepared tin, leaving half to 3/4 of them empty. Bake until muffin tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into batter comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let set muffins in their tin for another 20 min and transfer to wire rack.
I was raised thinking that if one eats just a little of everything that’s the best way to have an healthy life (my grandad is 97 and he’s the living proof of this theory!). There’s to say though that it depends on what you choose to eat and back in the day it wasn’t as easy to bump into GMO, trans fats and so on. I got to read bread can be one of the worst products under this aspect cause it can be added with hydrogenated fats, alcohol (as a preservative), sugar, shoddy quality flour, etc. That’s why I decided to bake my super healthy bread loaf 🙂 I used whole wheat flour, which is healtier than AP flour (higher content of protein, so more nutrient) and walnuts, that are considered a ‘superfood’ (if you are new to this topic start reading this article here
It takes a while to make it but the result is totally worth it…and the smell won’t leave your kitchen for hours, just like if you were in an old-time bakery.
– 9 oz strong flour
– 9 oz whole wheat flour
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp instant yeast
– 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tbsp maple syrup
– 3/4 cup water*
– 2 cups walnut kernel
- Add the olive oil, maple syrup and 3/4 water and start mixing with a dough hook, at low speed. Slowly add the remaining water and keep on mixing for 4 minutes, then increase speed to medium for 5 minutes. Add walnuts and mix at low speed for 1 more minute.
- Cover the bowl and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size (at least 1 hour, but 2 or 3 would work even better).
- Cover a tin with parchment and set aside. Sprinkle your countertop with some flour, take the dough and knock the air out of it by folding inwards repeatedly. Knead the dough into a rectangle, roll it into a log, then knead and roll it again into a tighter log. Place your dough in the prepared tin, making sure the join is underneath.
- Place the tin inside a plastic bag and leave to prove for about one hour, or until the dough is doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it with your finger. Preheat the oven to 410 F.
- Dust the risen dough with flour and slash the top with a sharp serrared knife, designing a grid pattern. Bake for 35 minutes or until the loaf is cooked through. Check by tipping the loaf out of the tin and tapping the base – it should sound hollow. Remove your loaf from the oven and cool out of the tin on a wire rack.
* The amount of water depends on several conditions. It can occur you need a bit less than 3/4 cup. Add water slowly when indicated and stop pouring it when dough consistency looks good (elastic).
Yesterday morning I went to the bakery shop to get some bread and while I was waiting I saw some mini-loaves with raisins. Only 4 were left and I was thinking to get one to bring home and eat during the afternoon, as a snack. It was with my great displeasure I saw a lady who was standing in front of me buying them all 😦 I came back home craving some kind of sweet bread and I decided to bake it myself. As always, I started skimming through cookbooks and internet, when I saw these amazing Danish Pastries in an old italian food magazine of mine (called Sale&Pepe – Salt&Pepper). I couldn’t resist and I started making them immediately! The recipe calls for some saffron, which adds a little colour and a different twist in the taste. But the real yummy touch I enjoyed the most is the honey poured on the hot pastries (or maple syrup, if you prefer)…They can be stored up to three days in an uptight container. Make sure you heat them a bit before serving, either using the oven or a microwave (20-30 sec is enough).
– 1/2 tsp saffron
– 2 tbsp boiling water
– 1 cup milk, lukewarm
– 1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
– 1 egg
– 2 1/2 cups flour (I used Pastry Flour)
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/4 cup caster sugar
– 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
– 1 egg, beaten for washing
– 2/3 cup raisin
– Running honey (or maple syrup)
- Put saffron in a glass with the water and let it set for 2 hrs. Pour the lukewarm milk in a bowl, add yeast and egg, beating them slightly.
- Put flour, salt and sugar in a bowl of an electic mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix them for 10 seconds then add the milk mixture, saffron water (filter it if you used threads instead of powder) and melted butter previously cooled down. Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Take a new bowl and put the dough in it, covering with some cling film and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. In the meantime let the raisins soak in some warm water.
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Transfer the dough to the kitchen counter, knead it for 1 more minute and then divide it into 8 or 10 equal pieces. Roll each one of them finto little logs, add some raisins (previously drained) on the external part and then roll the log on itself, forming 8 or 10 roses.
- Beat an egg and wash each rose, then transfer on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Bake for about 25 minutes, till the look golden but not too dark.
- Once they are out of the oven and still hot, pour some running honey or maple syrup on each rose. Don’t be shy…they have to be littlerally covered!