Monthly Archives: October 2011

Daring Bakers: Povitica

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

This is my first month participating in the Daring Bakers Challenge. I tend to fall into ruts with my baking, often seeing challenging recipes that I want to make, but putting them aside for something easier like cookies. This challenge has so far been a lot of fun, and it has pushed me to try something I would never have done on my own.

I just want to say that this is the most amazing dough I have ever worked with. I don’t know what was different about this dough from other sweet dough that I have worked with before, but it was so easy to work with. I was worried when I started this project, thinking that there was no way I would be able to roll this dough as thin as it needed to be. It took only moments for this dough to be thin enough for me to see the wood grain of the table I was rolling it out on. I think I will end up using this dough around the holidays to make cinnamon rolls.

I changed up the filling because even though I love walnuts, they do not love me back! I decided to use up some extra peach jam that was sitting around in my fridge for one, and made a cream cheese and chocolate filling for the other. Otherwise I kept everything the same from the original recipe, and I am glad I did!

This looks like a lot of steps, but they are all very easy.


To activate the Yeast:
2 Teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) Sugar
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
½ Cup (120ml) Warm Water
2 Tablespoons (30ml/14 gm/½ oz/2 sachets) Dry Yeast

2 Cups (480ml) Whole Milk
¾ Cup (180 ml/170gm/6 oz) Sugar
3 Teaspoons (15 ml/18 gm/2/3 oz) Table Salt
4 Large Eggs
½ Cup (120ml/115 gm/one stick/4 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
8 cups (1.92 l/1.12 kg/39½ oz/2½ lb) All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

Cream cheese filling:

8oz cream cheese, softened

1 egg, beaten

½ cup sugar

4 oz chocolate, finely chopped


Peach filling:

1 pint peach jam

¼ cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

½ Cup (120 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
2 Tablespoons (30 ml/28 gm/1 oz) Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter

To Activate Yeast:
1. In a small bowl, stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, and the yeast into ½ cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes

To Make the Dough:
3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.
4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup (180 gm/170 gm/6 oz) sugar, and the salt until combined.
5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz) of flour.

6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.

7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Note: I did not use all 8 cups of flour

8. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (they will each weight about 1.25 pounds/565 grams)
9. Place dough in 4 lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.

To Roll and Assemble the Dough:
16. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.
17. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
18. Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (25½ cm by 30½ cm) in diameter.

19. Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons (5ml to 7 ½ ml/4 gm to 7 gm) of melted butter on top.
20. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer.
21. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking.
22. When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath.

23. Spoon filling (see below for recipe) evenly over dough until covered.
24. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.

25. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced.

26. Repeat with remaining three loaves, coiling each rope of dough in its own loaf pan.
27. Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture of ½ cup (120 ml) of cold STRONG coffee and 2 tablespoons (30ml/28 gm/1 oz) of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.

28. Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
29. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
30. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
31. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
32. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
33. Check the bread at 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to.
34. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, still in the bread pan. Remember, the bread weighs about 2.5 and it needs to be able to hold its own weight, which is difficult when still warm and fresh out of the oven. Allowing it to cool in the pan helps the loaf to hold its shape.
35. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife.

Chocolate cream cheese filling:

Finely chop chocolate. Mix together cream cheese, egg, and sugar until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture over the rolled out dough, sprinkle chocolate evenly over mixture.

Peach filling:

Mix jam, sugar, and cinnamon together. Spread over the rolled out dough.


Casserole Cook-off

I just found out that we are having a casserole cook-off at work in a couple of weeks! Since I won the one and only other cook-off that has happened since I have worked here, I would love to keep my record strong :). I was thinking a scalloped potato dish, but I would love to get some ideas! If you have a favorite casserole recipe, sweet or savory, leave it in the comments or email it to me. I look forward to seeing what you’ve got!

Biscoff Pinwheels (12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies)

Welcome to week 4 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies!

I think I finally came up with a fairly original idea for a recipe! I saw a recipe earlier this for Nutella pinwheel cookies, and it got me thinking about the mostly full jar of Biscoff spread in my cupboard. I did a quick google search, and I didn’t come up with anything! I’m sure there have been other people out there that have had the idea, and if they did, they know how great these cookies are.

I used the cookie recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures nutella pinwheels, and it was fantastic; super buttery, without being greasy, with a great crisp texture. The biscoff swirl was a great addition. The mild spice flavor was great with the cookie. I plan to use this cookie base for more pinwheel cookie flavors in the future.

I also am planning a biscoff whoopie pie creation, but that isn’t very original!

I also want to say a quick thank you to Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen for a recent giveaway. This is a great blog that I have been reading for a while now, and if you haven’t ever checked this blog out, definitely do it!

Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup Biscoff spread, divided

Whisk the flour and salt together in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla until well combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, beating until a soft dough comes together. Turn the dough onto your work surface and shape into a square. Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Working with one half of the dough at a time, unwrap and place on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top and roll the dough into a rectangle measuring about 10×8-inches – the dough should be approximately 1/4-inch thick. Remove the plastic wrap and use an offset spatula to spread 1/4 cup of the Biscoff spread in a thin layer over the dough, leaving just a tiny border around the edge.

With a long side of the rectangle facing you, use the parchment paper to help you roll the dough into a tight log (my dough cracked slightly at first, but once I got it going, it was fine). Wrap the log in plastic wrap and freeze for 15-20 minutes. Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unwrap the logs and slice them into 1/4-1/3-inch rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until golden around the edges and set in the center. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool the cookies for a few minutes before using a spatula to remove them to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining rounds (be sure to cool the baking sheet between batches). Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Apple Crisp

This past weekend my mother and I decided, after years of talking about it, to go to a great annual event in our area. Every fall Portland Nursery hosts an apple tasting event. Along with the tasting they have a bunch of other great activities including cider tastings, live music, kid’s activities, along with shopping through their great plants! We only ended up staying for the apple tasting, and of course bought a bunch of apples! They had a great variety, with close to 30-40 different apples, pears, and asian pears, most that I had never heard of before.

I really love looking through the plants they have, and I definitely found one that I want to get next spring. It was a hot pink blueberry bush! They taste like normal blueberries, but turn bright pink when fully ripe. I also found the cutest bonsai maple tree. Its little leaves were changing colors!

We came home with a little over 20 pounds of apples and pears, and will definitely be going back next weekend to buy even more. We are going to turn most into apple sauce and pear sauce next weekend, but I managed to snag a few to bake with! Every year we make a point to make apple crisp a few times, usually when fresh crops of apples start coming in, for Thanksgiving, and maybe another time or two throughout the fall and winter.

I like a sweeter apple when making apple crisp, we usually use golden delicious apples, but this year we used a variety from the tasting, called a gourmet golden. You can use a tart apple like a granny smith if you prefer, just up the amount of sugar you use. Since I love brown butter so much, I used it instead of regular butter, but if you want to use the same amount of softened butter, it will still be good. I have found that apple crisp is better once it has been able to sit for a few hours, or overnight.


Apple Crisp


8-10 medium sized apples, peeled and sliced

½ cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon


1 ½ sticks of butter

¾ cup all purpose flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour

¾ cups old fashion oats

¾ cup brown sugar

Cinnamon to taste

Pre heat oven to 350.

For the filling:

After peeling and slicing apples into ¼ slices, place in a bowl with the cinnamon and sugar, toss to coat. Put apple mixture in a pie dish, set aside.

For the topping:

Melt butter over medium high heat, let bubble until golden brown. Let the brown butter cool slightly. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon ( can be done in the same bowl as the apples). When butter has cooled enough to touch, add to flour mixture. Mix the butter and flour mixture until you can form small clumps.

Evenly spread topping over the apples. Place in the oven, and let it bake for 45-60 minutes, until juices bubble up from the apples, and the apples are soft.



Peanut Butter Marshmallow Brownies (12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies)

Welcome to week 3 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies! These brownies would make a great contribution to a cookie swap or a dessert spread. These keep well for a few days, and would be really easy to ship if you needed to send them to someone across the country.

These are also known as fluffernutter brownies. Can I be honest here for a minute? Something about the word fluffernutter really bothers me. I’m not sure why. Maybe is sounds dirty? Does anyone else have an issue with that word? I don’t think I had ever even heard of it until I started seeing it on food blogs. Is it regional? Generational? Anyway, it bothers me, so I will just call them peanut butter and marshmallow.

These brownies are really good. The brownie itself is not as fudgy as some, which is just fine with me. The marshmallow doesn’t add much flavor; rather it gives the peanut butter a chewy texture when baked. These were a big hit at work when I brought in the leftovers. I didn’t make any changes from the recipe I found, other than to double it. These doubled well.

I also want to say a quick thank you to Clean Eating Chelsey for picking me as a winner of a recent giveaway!

Fluffernutter Brownies

 Lauren’s Latest 

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup peanut butter
10 large marshmallows

In a large glass bowl, melt 1/2 cup butter in microwave. Stir in sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, stirring to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa,baking powder, and salt. Stir into butter mixture until completely incorporated. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, add 2 tablespoons butter, peanut butter, and marshmallows. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the marshmallows are melted and smooth. Drizzle over brownie batter in vertical lines. Use a knife to swirl peanut butter mixture into brownie batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until brownies start to pull away from sides of pan.

Browned Butter Brown Sugar Cookies

Welcome to 12 Weeks of Christmas cookies, week 2! I missed last week’s post, but I am very excited to join in time for week 2, and I may even do a bonus cookie when the original 12 weeks are over, to make up for missing one.

I am not a fan of sugar cookies. I don’t know what it is about them, but they are one of the few desserts I will pass on when offered. But when I saw this recipe a few weeks ago, I thought I would give sugar cookies another chance. These cookies were SO GOOD. The browned butter and brown sugar come together to make one of the best cookies I have had in a long time. They look like a standard sugar cookie, but they get a nutty, toasty flavor from the browned butter, and a deep caramel flavor from the brown sugar.

I took some of these into work, and sadly, they did not get the attention they deserved! I think it was because they just looked like cookies and my co workers are used to more exciting desserts. Those who tried them really liked them, and a lot of them came back for seconds!  I really recommend that you don’t make the same mistake and ignore these cookies. If you make them I know you will love them too!

You should go check out what everyone else has made this week. Go to to see everyone’s creations!

Browned Butter Brown Sugar Cookies

Slightly Adaped from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat 10 tablespoons butter until melted. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to the heat-proof bowl of a stand mixer. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter to melt; set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

While butter is cooling, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar until well combined; set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.

Add remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to bowl with cooled butter; attach paddle and mix on medium-low speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

Roll one tablespoons of dough into ball between your palms, roll the ball in the sugar mixture, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet spacing the balls about 2 inches apart.

Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone); 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.

Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

Yields: 36 cookies