1 Apt. 2B Baking Co.: February 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Anything Goes Granola

Homemade granola is where its at. It's one of those awesome, good for you foods, that is simple to make at home and infinitely better than the stuff you can buy at the grocery store (even the really expensive ones). You can easily adapt it to your tastes and it makes your whole house smell heavenly for hours afterward. I like a lot of mix-ins in mine, but if you would like yours to be more oat heavy feel free to cut back the fruit, nuts, and seeds by a few tablespoons. In this batch I used pecans, pepitas, flax seeds, raw buckwheat, cherries and golden raisins. Other great combos are almonds, cherries and vanilla (just add 1t of vanilla extract to the syrup mix) or try hazelnuts, apricots and a bit of chocolate. You could even add a bit of lemon or orange zest to the syrup mixture to lighten it up a bit, the possibilities really are endless. Go forth and make your own cereal!

Anything Goes Granola

2 cups rolled oats
1t cinnamon
1/4t nutmeg
1t salt
3T oil
1/4c honey. maple syrup, agave, or golden syrup (I used maple and golden)
1/4c brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, go wild)
2/3 cup dried fruit my faves are tart cherries and golden raisins
1/4 cup seeds (optional) I used flax, pepitas, sunflower and raw buckwheat, sesame seeds would be great too

Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat
In a large bowl combine the oats, salt, and spices
In a medium bowl (or measuring cup) combine the oil, syrups, and sugar
Pour mixture over the oats and stir well to combine, or just use your hands
Pour the oats onto a baking sheet and press with your hands
Bake for 15 min, then gently stir (the more you stir, the less clumpy and delicious your finished granola will be), then sprinkle the nuts over the granola
Continue to bake, stirring every 7 minutes or so until the granola is deep golden, about 20 minutes
Let the granola cool completely, then gently mix in the seeds and dried fruit. If you are using sesame seeds, mix them in the granola about 5 minutes before you take it out of the oven to toast them a bit.

Keeps in an airtight container on the counter for about a week, or in the freezer for about a month.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Soft Rye Pretzels

I think working with sweets all day has finally caught up with me because all I want to eat these days are salty, vinegary, spicy foods. When I flipped through my new favorite, Good to the Grain, these rye pretzels sprinkled with coarse salt immediately caught my eye. I used my favorite Maldon sea salt to finish off these burnished, dark golden beauties and I highly suggest you do the same. The combination of crunchy salt, crisp-chewy pretzel, and spicy mustard just can't be beat.

For the Dough 

1 package (2 1/4t) active dry yeast
1T honey
1 c rye flour
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1T kosher salt

1/2 c baking soda

To Finish
Maldon, or other coarse salt for sprinkling

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 1/2 cups of warm water, add honey, then stir in the flours and salt.
2. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead in up to 1/2c of all purpose flour until the dough is tacky, soft, and supple or about 10 min.
3. Brush a clean bowl with melted butter (I used oil so these pretzels would be vegan), place the dough in the bowl and cover with a towel until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. While the dough is rising, heat your oven to 450 degrees and oil or butter 2 baking sheets.
5. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured board and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin log with tapered edges about 17 inches long. You can find a great diagram to help you form the pretzels here.
6. Place the shaped pretzels on the oiled baking sheets and let them rise for 15-20 min.
7. Meanwhile, fill your biggest, widest pot with water. Once the pretzels are proofed and the water is boiling, add the baking soda. Be careful, the water will bubble rapidly when you add the soda.
8. To poach the pretzels, gently place them in the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Pat off any excess water and transfer back to the baking sheets. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt.
9. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. The pretzels should be very dark in color.
10. Transfer to a rack to cool and eat warm, with mustard. Then try not to have another, I dare you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mushroom Corn

Did you know that there are hundreds of vareties of popcorn out there in the world? Now, I'm not talking about movie theater butter, cheesy, and caramel here. I'm talking about the actual plant and kernels that come from it. The variety pictured above is mushroom corn which is sturdier and has more surface area than the traditional Jiffy Pop, butterfly kernel types, which makes it PERFECT for caramel corn.

So, we are switching it up and I am happy to announce that the Spicy Cashew Caramel Corn in the shop will now be made with this delicious stuff. More spicy caramel goodness in each bite!