earl grey pound cake

I’m a big earl grey fan. Like I’ve said before, Andrew thinks that it tastes like fruit loops… but he likes the flavor so it’s not a big deal apparently. This earl grey pound cake is definitely the way to go for tea and cereal fans alike though.  It’s moist, it’s dense in all the right places, and it’s not so sweet that you feel guilty eating a huge ole slice right in the morning. Lavender scented cream helps pull it all together and add an extra level of luxe. You could make it without the cream, but I hope you don’t. An important note – you can see both the toothpick mark, and where the cat took a chunk when I was setting up for pictures and I smushed it back in…no shame. We’re here for each other.

I’m getting ready for my last semester of school, and starting to think ahead for the rest of the year. It’s funny, because I find myself thinking that creating a whole list of goals can be unrealistic…. and then I go ahead and make a huge list of goals, which I go over and consider deeply while I inhale this cake warm out of the oven.

I want to learn how to properly make croissants, and I’d like to keep up with my Italian – or what’s left of it. I’d like to post on here and make delicious recipes and also actually learn how to use a camera. With any list of goals, we’ve got to give ourselves a few gimmes. At this point in the game, graduating from college is a gimme. Trying to do more yoga is relatively a gimme. We’ll get there. You’ll get there, with your tough ones and your gimmes. This earl grey pound cake will help.

This cake will be there for you when you can’t remember how to conjugate yet another irregular Italian verb, and it’ll be there to rub your back when you melt a pound of butter out of your best-looking batch of croissants. It’ll also be there to celebrate when you successfully do 20 minutes of yoga, and when you snatch your diploma from the giving hands of whoever’s in charge.

earl grey pound cake
makes 1 nine-inch pound cake. adapted from the fearless baker cookbook.

8 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup whole milk
4 earl grey teabags
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lavender

how-to:

First, we will infuse the milk with the earl grey tea. Put the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk up to steaming, but not boiling, and drop the four teabags in. Steep for 10 minutes, and remove the teabags. Re-measure the milk, and add back any any volume that you lost (I added back in probably about 50 grams, so don’t be worried if it seems like you lost a lot). Cool the milk to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium low until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Add the vanilla, and mix to combine. Scrape down the bowl well to catch anything on the side. In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Add 1/3 of this mixture on low speed. Once combined, add half of the infused milk. Repeat until all ingredients have been added. Scrape into prepared pan, smooth top with a spatula, and sprinkle generously with the turbinado sugar. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 more minutes, and turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the whipped cream, heat the milk til steaming, and steep the lavender until it tastes good to you….depending on your lavender it can take different amounts of time, and you can kind of smush it up a bit if you want to extract more flavor. I did mine for 15 minutes. Strain and put the cream in the fridge and when chilled, whip in a stand mixer with a generous pinch of sugar until stiff peaks.

Time For A Beer, 2!

Winter citrus is a great thing. It brings brightness to a dark and cold time. Don’t get me wrong, I love having snow on the ground, but it has just been so cold this year. Luckily, there are beers with winter citrus to help warm the cold days. A clementine gose by Two Roads Brewing Co. in Connecticut is a great place to start.

Beer Notes

Two Roads Brewing is a craft brewery founded like many others: two friends breaking out of their old jobs with the dream of opening a brewery! In 2012 they started the brewery that followed the road less traveled, hence their name. This clementine gose is tart, light bodied and finishes as a juice ale that leaves you desiring more.

Gose beers may not be for everyone. They pack a pretty tart taste, but end with a refreshing feeling of citrus. Not only is this great in the winter when citrus is at its peak, but also on those hot summer days when all you want is to quench your thirst! A fun little note on the brewing of this guy is that it gets soured in an old milk tanker (now used in to finish off a few of their beers) that sits out on the grounds of the brewery.

Pairing Notes

As I said, a gose may not be the beer for everyone. If it is up your alley, or you are game to try something new, then grab a pack of these and settle down. While it is widely believed those goses are a magically versatile beer, they do play better with certain things. For one, any citrus based tart or dessert is a great way to create balance of sweet and tart. If you go down the dinner route, clementine gose is great next to a flavorful fish with lemon.

Gose’s also make for a great drink during appetizers as they are light in alcohol content (about 4-5% abv) and don’t sit heavy at all. It will leave you feeling light and refreshed for the courses to come. Maybe give it  try with some cured meats and cheese, Pecorino Romano is my favorite!

This is a good place to start with a gose, as it has an extra layer of flavor, the clementine! If you find yourself really enjoying the flavor and funk, here’s a list of some other great goses out there: Lost Nation Gose, Six Point Jammer, and Baxter Brewing Good To Gose.

Enjoy the tart and refreshing punch this gose delivers.

Cheers,

– Andrew

peanut butter and jelly pull-apart bread

When I was a kid, I wasn’t that into peanut butter and jelly. Quick, call the kid police, they’d be sure to post-arrest me for this horrible sin.  Any sandwich seemed to be too sticky and there was always too much peanut butter to jelly. Looking back on that ratio, I’m sure it was my mom trying to rein in some sugar consumption, which doesn’t seem like the worst of ideas. Generally though, let’s talk about peanut butter and jelly pull-apart bread. It’s 2018 people, and some old habits (hating pb&j) die easily here.

When you wrap up peanut butter and jelly in buttery brioche even the most ardent of pb&j haters will jump on board.  It’s melty, it’s gooey, it’s buttery and soft. I imagine those people who liked Uncrustables would also like this. It’s for all levels of the pb&j experience.

The brioche recipe was from a new cookbook of mine – the Fearless Baker cookbook – and it was flawless. I had a bit extra after making the loaves, so I rolled it up into a ridiculously sized bun and popped it in the oven.  I almost (almost) wish that I had done that with all of it, since it was pure buttery perfection all on its own. But alas, we’re not here for simple brioche buns, we want them jam-packed (literally) and full of childhood nostalgia.

If you feel like a more breakfasty-eggy bread-brioche situation, check out this maple-bacon challah. It’s also sure to rock your world and maybe you’ll change your mind about bacon and/or maple syrup?? By that I mean you will only love them more.

In more news, I’ve been getting deep into Pinterest… I’m a little sad but a lot happy about it and I’d love if you joined me!! It’s spiraling out of control so come check in on me, here’s the link!

peanut butter and jelly pull-apart bread
recipe adapted from the fearless baker cookbook

5 cups bread flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
5 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
14oz unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but am intrigued by chunky)
1/2 cup jam of your choosing

Egg wash: 1 large egg, splash of water, pinch of salt.

how-to:

Mix the flour, granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast and mix to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs a bit until they’re all broken up, and add the milk and eggs to the stand mixer. Mix for 4 minutes.

Increase speed to medium and add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time, waiting patiently for the butter to be fully incorporated before adding the next bit. If butter rides up on the sides, scrape down the bowl to make sure it can be fully mixed in. Once the butter has all been added, knead in the mixer for another minute. Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, grease and line two 9×5 inch loaf pans with parchment paper. I used one normal size loaf pan, and made the rest in an assortment of smaller pans and ramekins. Just be aware that the bake time will likely be different. Divide the dough into two pieces, and roll each out to a 1/2 inch thickness. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut 3 inch circles out of the dough. Pat the circles down a bit thinner, and spread half with the peanut butter and half with the jelly. Fold the circles into half-moons, and nestle them (alternating) in the loaf pan, with the flat side of the half moon down. Once the pan is snugly filled, wrap it with greased plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes. Depending on the temperature of your house this can take a bit longer.

Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a thermometer reads 190F. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, and pop the loaves out with the parchment paper overhang. Enjoy warm.

 

 

 

your own blt

I know, I know, you know how to make a BLT.

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You know to toast up some good white bread and to slather with mayo. You know to pop on some crisp lettuce, and to layer with thick cut tomatoes. You know to go heavy on the bacon. You know it’s best eaten immediately. You don’t need me.

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Before I slink out of sight to wallow in my obsolete existence, let me pass on two things to you – the tip of a century and also variations. I like to think that in our lives where recipes tell you exactly how much of everything to put in, and exactly how long to bake it and exactly what it should look like… that we’re actually forgetting how to cook. We don’t learn to look in the fridge and make a meal – and not to be worried if it doesn’t look like it could get lots of likes on Instagram. All food isn’t beautiful. And all recipes could use a twist – and I’ll give you a few of my ideas but I know you’re also full of them.

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As far as a tip goes – bake your bacon! I’ve made many a mess with bacon on the stovetop, and ruined many a shirt. If you’re only making bacon for one, I’d still use the method that’s slowly whittling my wardrobe, but if you’re making BLTs for a crowd (which you should), this is the way to go. Simply heat the oven to 400°F, line a pan with foil and plop your bacon on, and bake for 15-20-more or less minutes until the bacon is the level of crispy you desire. Easy cleanup – thank god, and easy BLT eating. Also – butter lettuce was almost the star of the show here, and that’s really saying something.

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As far as twists, here’s what I got for you:

BELT it: Add an egg! Perhaps fried with a runny yolk… perhaps hard-boiled and sliced.
Chz it: I also don’t need to tell you to do this. Sharp cheddar is usually my go-to, but I’m not saying no to some gouda. Or Gruyere. Or Parm. Actually I’m not saying no to any cheese, ever.
Heat it up: Double meaning: if you chz it, maybe also panini it? BLT grilled cheese… yes. I’m saying yes. Second possibility, stir some sriracha into your mayo before you slather it on.

Here’s how to bake your bacon, in step form, for those of us that aren’t that great at following paragraph instructions (me):

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place bacon in a single layer.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you’d like your bacon to be!

Now – go forth and prosper. I know you will.