French Raisin Buns

French Raisin Buns

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These rolls must be started a day in advance but well worth the extra planning.

1/4 cup dark rum

1/2 cup raisins

Brioche dough:

1/4 cup warm water

1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. active dry yeast

4 cups flour

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 3/4 tsp. salt

5-6 egg, as needed

1 1/4 cups butter, cool

Pastry Cream:

2 cups whole milk

1 vanilla bean , split and seeded

1/2 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 egg, beaten for glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place the raisins into a jar with the rum, seal and let soak overnight.

Brioche Dough:

Place the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let stand until bloomed. Transfer yeast mixture to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the flour, sugar and salt; mix until combined.

Add 3 of the eggs. Mix on low until blended; add another egg. Raise the speed and mix until nearly blended. Add another egg and mix. The dough should be smooth and elastic; not too dry or too soggy but should stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too dry, add the remaining egg. Knead for about 10 minutes until dough is very smooth. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled.

Return the bowl to the mixer. Add the butter  2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until absorbed. Don’t over mix. You do not want the dough to become warm. Transfer the dough to a bowl ; cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pastry Cream:

Combine the milk , vanilla beans and scraped seeds in a saucepan. Bring the milk mixture to a boil. Remove from heat; cover for 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch. Place the milk back on the heat and bring to a simmer. Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk, adding about half, whisking in until combined. Pour the egg mixture back int the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture and whisk to combine. Continue whisking mixture until it begins to boil; whisk constantly 2 minutes . Remove from heat. Place pastry cream in a bowl. Cover the top of the pastry cream with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Strain the raisins from the rum; reserving the rum. Drain well.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of sugar; set aside.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a 14×14 inch square. Spread the cooled pastry cream evenly over the top of the dough, leaving a small clean edge of dough at one end. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the pastry cream. Sprinkle the drained raisins evenly over the pastry cream. Gently press the raisins into the pastry cream. Start rolling the dough up like a sausage ending with the clean edge of dough; seal together. Cut the dough into 12 pieces. Place evenly on the baking sheet. Press each roll down slightly. Brush the tops with beaten egg. Reserve extra beaten egg. Place the uncovered sheet pan to rise for 1 hour. Brush the tops with remaining egg. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven; leave oven on. Slide the parchment with the buns onto a wire rack. Allow to cool. Mix together the reserved rum and the powdered sugar. Brush tops of buns with the rum mixture and place cooled buns back in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove and cool. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Cherry Cream Scones

Cherry Cream Scones

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3/4 cup dried cherries

1 cup boiling water

3 cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cream of tarter

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks

1 egg, separated

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup half-and-half

1 1/2 tsp pure almond extract

coarse sugar (sanding sugar) for tops of scones

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Place dried cherries in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Allow to set for 30 minutes and drain well.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tarter.

With a pastry cutter or fork , cut in the butter until it resembles pea size. In another bowl whisk together the sour cream, half-and-half, egg yolk and almond extract.

Toss the drained cherries in the flour mixture. Pour in the liquid ingredients and lightly blend until the mixture begins to form a dough.

Divide dough in half. Form each half into a disk 1/2 inch thick. Cut each disk into 4 wedges. Place wedges on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with beaten reserved egg white and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until cook through.

Black Pepper-Cheddar and Bacon Scones

Black Pepper-Cheddar and Bacon Scones

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1 tablespoon black pepper

3 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 /2 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 lb. bacon, diced and cooked crisp

3/4 cup-1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 seeded and finely chopped jalapenos

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl place the flour,pepper,salt and baking powder and whisk to combine. Using a pastry blender or fork cut the butter into the flour until it resembles small peas. Toss together in the flour mixture the cheddar cheese, green onions, jalapenos and cooled crisp diced bacon. Add 3/4 of a cup of the buttermilk and mix by hand until incorporated. Add 1 tablespoon at a time , buttermilk until dough is pliable and can be formed into a ball. Be mindful not to overwork dough. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat the dough or roll into a circle of 1/2 inch thick. Cut circle into wedges depending on size preferred. Place on parchment lined baking sheet . In a bowl whisk to combine the egg and water. Brush the tops with the egg wash. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Serve warm.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

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1 pkg. active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup lukewarm milk(scalded then cooled)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 egg

1 egg yolk

3 3/4 -4 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup currents or raisins

1 egg white, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon water

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon. cloves, nutmeg, egg, egg yolk and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in currents and enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place until double in size.

Punch down dough; divide into 4 equal parts. Cut each part into 6 equal pieces. Shape into ball; place about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Snip a cross on top of each ball with scissors. Cover let rise until double.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix egg white and 1 tablespoon of water and brush tops of buns . Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly; frost crosses on buns with powdered sugar frosting.

Powdered Sugar Frosting

Mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla until smooth. Add more milk if needed.

Kouign Amann – My favorite breakfast treat.

Kouign Amann

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1 pkg. active dry yeast

1 3/4 cup warm water

5 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 cups cold, salted butter

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups granulated sugar

sea salt

In a medium bowl add yeast and warm water; stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, salt and melted butter on low speed. Add water/yeast mixture and continue to mix until well combined , smooth and elastic.

Place dough in buttered bowl, cover and allow to rise 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch down dough and recover, refrigerate for 2 hours. Slice chilled butter intil 1/2 slices length wise. Form butter in 8×8 inch square, wrap and refrigerate until well chilled and firm.

On lightly floured surface, roll out chilled dough to 18×18 inch square, place butter in center of dough, lightly sprinkle with some of the 2 cups of sugar and a dash of sea salt . Fold dough over butter and seal edges. Roll dough out in to 24×8 inch rectangle and sprinkle again with a bit of sugar and a dash of sea salt. Fold dough into thirds as you would a business letter, aligning edges and brushing off any excess flour. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or longer. This completes the first three turns.

Repeat the rolling and folding process two more times, starting with the dough positioned with flap opening on the right, as if it were a book. Refrigerate again at least 1 hour between the second and third turns. After third turn, wrap the dough and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line jumbo muffin tins with paper liners.

On a sugar work surface rather than floured, roll out chilled dough to 24×8 inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 12 squares. Fold the corners into the center of each square, working quickly so the butter doesn’t get too soft. Place each folded square into the jumbo lined muffin tins. Sprinkle with sugar, you should have used the rest of the sugar and a dash of sea salt.

Bake , rotating pans half way through, until golden and caramelized, 30 -35 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place on cooling rack. Remove paper liners quickly before they cool. You will need to wear oven mitts to handle if you don’t have asbestos hands. Best eaten the day they are made.

Chile Garlic Bread

Chile Garlic Bread

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1 medium- hot fresh red chile, such as jalapeno or red cherry

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 thyme sprig

1 tsp sea salt

12 tablespoons butter , softened

1 baguette

Remove leaves from thyme stem. Combine all ingredients except bread to food processor and pulse until a paste is created. Slice bread almost to bottom every 1 1/4 inches or so. Spread garlic butter on each slice. Put bread on baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes . Serve hot.

Sandwich Rolls

Sandwich Rolls

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1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups water , as needed

6 1/2 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Olive oil for brushing tops of warm rolls

Dissolve yeast in warm water and allow to bloom. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast mixture,oil,egg and sugar. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and blend until combined. Add the dry ingredients and blend until dough becomes a smooth ball. Add additional flour if dough is too sticky. Place dough on floured surface and knead until smooth. Place ball of dough in greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Punch down the dough and divide into 8 pieces. Shape into rounds or ovals . Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Cover and allow to rise until puffy. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and cook through. Brush the tops of hot rolls with olive oil. Cool.