Perfect Quiche Lorraine

Perfect Quiche Lorraine
A perfect recipe for the French classic, quiche Lorraine – a buttery pie crust filled with a savory custard studded with bacon, Gruyere cheese, and chives. 
READ: Perfect Quiche Lorraine

Perfect Quiche Lorraine

A perfect recipe for the French classic, quiche Lorraine - a buttery pie crust filled with a savory custard studded with bacon, Gruyere cheese, and chives. 

READ: Perfect Quiche Lorraine

Homemade Croissants Recipe

Homemade Croissants Recipe
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to make croissants, this step-by-step tutorial loaded with tons of pictures and a video will walk you through exactly how to do it.
READ: Homemade Croissants Recipe

Homemade Croissants Recipe

If you've always wanted to learn how to make croissants, this step-by-step tutorial loaded with tons of pictures and a video will walk you through exactly how to do it.

READ: Homemade Croissants Recipe

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe
This easy Swiss meringue buttercream recipe is a dream. It’s not too sweet, and whips up light and luscious. A perfect pairing to cakes and cupcakes!
READ: Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

This easy Swiss meringue buttercream recipe is a dream. It's not too sweet, and whips up light and luscious. A perfect pairing to cakes and cupcakes!

READ: Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cakes
Chocolate lava cakes are rich and decadent but only require six ingredients. Make this recipe for a date night dessert or to impress your dinner guests!
READ: Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate lava cakes are rich and decadent but only require six ingredients. Make this recipe for a date night dessert or to impress your dinner guests!

READ: Chocolate Lava Cakes

New York Cheesecake Recipe

This New York Cheesecake recipe creates a creamy, rich, and indulgent baked dessert. Make it for an impressive holiday dessert!

The post New York Cheesecake Recipe appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

This New York Cheesecake recipe creates a creamy, rich, and indulgent baked dessert. Make it for an impressive holiday dessert!

A slice of cheesecake on a pie server, being lifted out of the cheesecake.

Welcome to the April Bake-Along! This month we’re tackling one of my all-time favorite desserts!

Cheesecake is one of my great loves. In the past, I’ve given you recipes for brownie cheesecake, Oreo cheesecake, fig almond cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, and peanut butter fudge cheesecake (among many, many others).

Now it’s time to share the ultimate cheesecake recipe with you – a New York-style cheesecake. No fancy embellishments, just a humble graham cracker crust with a sky-high cheesecake filling.

This is a cheesecake purist’s dream.

Slices of cheesecake on the springform pan, cut away from the whole cake.

Is cheesecake difficult to make?

Some people feel that making a homemade cheesecake is time-consuming. But the truth is, it doesn’t require very much hands-on time, and the results are absolutely, 100% worth it!

The graham cracker crust is incredibly quick and easy to make, and you’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make the cheesecake filling.

For many recipes, the most important part of the process requires baking it in a water bath. This helps to ensure an even bake and it reduces the risk of cracks forming on the top of the cake.

The great news is, you won’t need to use a hot water bath to make this recipe!

What’s the difference between regular and New York cheesecake?

Almost every style of cheesecake has a base of cream cheese and eggs. The difference between regular cheesecake and a New York-style is, one bakes in the oven, while the other has a no-bake filling.

The process may be a little easier for a refrigerator cheesecake, but the consistency isn’t nearly as creamy and rich as that of a New York cheesecake.

This cheesecake is everything you would expect from a phenomenal New York-style cheesecake: it’s creamy, tangy and melt-in-your-mouth fantastic.

There are two variations of New York-style cheesecake…

The first relies on either heavy cream or sour cream in the batter to give it a richer flavor and a denser texture.

The second variation is one in which a mixture of sour cream, sugar, and vanilla is combined and spread on top of the almost-baked cheesecake, then returned to the oven to finish baking. The version I’m sharing with you here is the former; sour cream is mixed into the batter and creates a wonderfully decadent cheesecake.

Graham crust ingredients prepped + mixed + pressed into springform pan.

Baking Method Revised and Updated

Many of you may be familiar with this recipe in its original form that was published in 2013; that recipe required you to start the cheesecake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 200 degrees for the remainder of the baking time. I’ve received a total mixed bag of comments and reviews over the years, from it turning out perfectly to people saying the cheesecake was completely burnt and cracked on top. I couldn’t figure it out because every time I had made it in the past, it was never an issue.

So, I re-tested it (in a newer-to-me oven). And it burned… and cracked. I was stumped after so many successful runs with it, so I did a ton of reading and research.

As it turns out, ovens all vary in the amount of time it takes to drop in temperature, and in this particular recipe, we’re dropping 300 degrees. If your oven drops temperature quickly, then you likely would not have a problem. However, if an oven takes a long time to drop, then it’s baking at a higher temperature for too long, which results in a too-dark and cracked top.

Since a slightly toasted top is characteristic of a New York cheesecake, I wanted to figure out how to make this work. As it turns out, Cook’s Illustrated also re-visited this recipe and flipped the order of baking, STARTING with 200 degrees and getting the cheesecake finished that way, then a quick few minutes in a 500-degree oven to get that little bit of color on top.

This also provides another benefit – if you like a purely pale cheesecake without any color on top, you can completely skip the last step of browning, no other adjustments needed!

Three step-by-step photos of mixing cheesecake batter.

How to make New York-style cheesecake:

Complete instructions for making this delicious New York cheesecake recipe are in the recipe card, at the bottom of this post, but here’s a quick recap:

  1. Pre-Bake the Crust: A graham cracker crust is given some extra body with the addition of flour and is baked until fragrant, then cooled while the filling is prepared.
  2. Make the Cheesecake Filling: Cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and eggs are mixed together into a wonderfully smooth filling.
  3. Bake Low and Slow: The filling is poured over the crust and baked at 200 degrees F until it reaches 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, which will take anywhere from 2 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours.
  4. Brown the Top: Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F and pop the cheesecake back in for a few quick minutes to get that golden toasted look on top.
  5. Chill: The cheesecake must cool to room temperature (about 3 hours) and then go into the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, but overnight is best!

Topping Ideas

While a fabulous cheesecake can absolutely stand on its own, sometimes it’s nice to dress it up a bit when serving it to others. I have included a recipe for a fresh strawberry topping with the recipe below, and here are some other ideas:

Photos of cheesecake batter prepared in mixing bowl then in springform pan.

Notes and Tips

  • To make this New York cheesecake recipe, a springform pan is essential. The pan will give height to your cheesecake, and because the outer ring is separate from the base, the sides stay smooth when you release it after cooling. Also, it’s impossible to get a baked cheesecake out of a regular pan without it falling to pieces.
  • An instant-read thermometer is the absolute best way to ensure your cheesecake is done but not overdone. We’re looking for 150 degrees F; the cheesecake will continue to cook as it cools and baking to this internal temperature will give you the most amazingly creamy cheesecake. If you do not have an instant-read thermometer, gently shake the pan – you want a circular area of about 2 inches in the center to still jiggle slightly.
  • As mentioned above, you can skip the browning step completely if you’d like.
  • If you DO plan on browning, be sure to keep a close eye on it because it will brown quickly. I found that it even darkened a shade or two after cooling, so keep that in mind, as well. Err on the side of removing it earlier rather than later.
  • A thoroughly chilled cheesecake is best! While 6 hours is the minimum, overnight is even better. (Which is awesome, because cheesecake is the ultimate make-ahead dessert!)
  • Storage: Keep the cheesecake wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze the Entire Cheesecake: Chill overnight in the refrigerator, wrap in plastic, then wrap in foil and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
  • To Freeze Slices of Cheesecake: Wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap, then place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for approximately 45 minutes.

JOIN THE BEB BAKE-ALONG!

To tackle the New York cheesecake and bake along with me this month, simply do the following:

  • Make the cheesecake! I would love to hear what you plan to top it with, share in the comments below!
  • Snap a picture and either share it on social media (#BEBbakealong on Instagram or Twitter), upload it to the BEB Facebook group, or email it to me.
  • Check-in on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month to see everyone’s cheesecake and cheer each other on!

Slice of cheesecake on a plate with a fork.

If you make the cheesecake and love it, please take a moment to stop back and leave a review below; they help out fellow readers so much! Thank you! xo

Print

New York Cheesecake Recipe

This New York Cheesecake recipe creates a creamy, rich, and indulgent baked dessert. Make it for an impressive holiday dessert!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cooling and Chill Time 9 hours
Total Time 12 hours
Servings 16 servings
Calories 448kcal
Author Michelle

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs 7 whole graham crackers
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 40 ounces cream cheese at room temperature and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • cups granulated sugar divided
  • teaspoon salt
  • cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 eggs

For the Fresh Strawberry Topping:

  • 2 pounds strawberries hulled and cut into ¼-inch slices (about 3 cups sliced strawberries)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup strawberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and adjust racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, brown sugar, and salt. Pour in the melted butter over the mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until the entire mixture is moistened. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform pan and bake until the edges begin to lightly brown, 11 to 13 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees F.
  • Make the Cheesecake Filling: Beat the cream cheese, ¾ cup of the sugar, and the salt on medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the remaining ¾ cup of sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and beat on low speed until combined, 1 minute. Add the egg yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Scrape the bowl and beater well. Add the whole eggs two at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.
  • Pour the filling over the crust and place the springform pan on the lower-middle rack. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake until the cheesecake registers 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 2 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F (leave the rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack).
  • Once the oven reaches 500 degrees, place the cheesecake on the upper-middle rack. Bake until the top is lightly browned, 3 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Run a paring knife between the cheesecake and the side of the springform pan, then allow to cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 6 hours but ideally overnight.
  • Remove the sides of the springform pan and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
  • To Make the Fresh Strawberry Topping: In a large bowl, toss together the sliced strawberries and the sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to combine.
  • Process the jam in a food processor until smooth, about 10 seconds (or, whisk vigorously until the jam is completely smooth). Place the jam in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the jam is dark and no longer frothy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, then pour over the strawberries and stir to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours (the strawberry topping is best served within 1 day of making it).

Video

Notes

  • To make this New York cheesecake recipe, a springform pan is essential. The pan will give height to your cheesecake, and because the outer ring is separate from the base, the sides stay smooth when you release it after cooling. Also, it’s impossible to get a baked cheesecake out of a regular pan without it falling to pieces.
  • An instant-read thermometer is the absolute best way to ensure your cheesecake is done but not overdone. We're looking for 150 degrees F; the cheesecake will continue to cook as it cools and baking to this internal temperature will give you the most amazingly creamy cheesecake. If you do not have an instant-read thermometer, gently shake the pan - you want a circular area of about 2 inches in the center to still jiggle slightly.
  • As mentioned above, you can skip the browning step completely if you'd like.
  • If you DO plan on browning, be sure to keep a close eye on it because it will brown quickly. I found that it even darkened a shade or two after cooling, so keep that in mind, as well. Err on the side of removing it earlier rather than later.
  • A thoroughly chilled cheesecake is best! While 6 hours is the minimum, overnight is even better. (Which is awesome, because cheesecake is the ultimate make-ahead dessert!)
  • Storage: Keep the cheesecake wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze the Entire Cheesecake: Chill overnight in the refrigerator, wrap in plastic, then wrap in foil and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
  • To Freeze Slices of Cheesecake: Wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap, then place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for approximately 45 minutes.
Nutritional values are based on one slice of cheesecake.

Nutrition

Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 178mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 1234IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 1mg

Originally published in 2013, this has been updated to include a new recipe technique based on feedback and re-testing, new photos, a helpful video tutorial, and more in-depth recipe tips.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

The post New York Cheesecake Recipe appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

March Bake-Along: Danish Pastries

These Danish pastries are made completely from scratch, taste just like a bakery, and are easier than you’d think. Top with all of your favorite fillings!

The post March Bake-Along: Danish Pastries appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

These Danish pastries are made completely from scratch (no puff pastry here!), taste like they came straight from the fanciest of bakeries, and are easier than you’d think. The topping possibilities are endless; choose from cream cheese, fruit, chocolate, lemon curd, or a combination of those! A perfect baking project for overnight guests or special breakfast or brunch.

A plate of cheese and fruit Danish pastries.

Welcome to the March Bake-Along! This month we’re diving head-first into pastries and I couldn’t think of anything better to tackle than the iconic Danish pastries. They scream at me from behind the glass case in my favorite bakery and I’m not even ashamed to say I have a soft spot for the boxed Danishes from the grocery store; my grandma always had one or two on hand in case a neighbor stopped by for coffee and a chat.

I know you might be intimidated by homemade pastries, but believe me when I tell you that they are SO doable and you will be absolutely thrilled when you get to sink your teeth into the final product. I’m going to walk you through the process below and there are very detailed directions in the recipe.

Let’s get going on these gorgeous Danish pastries!

The Butter Block

The most important component of the Danish pastry dough is the butter block. You’ll roll out two rectangles of butter and layer them into the dough before it gets rolled out and folded multiple times. This is what allows those gorgeous (and delicious!) flaky layers to develop.

Side by side photos of a butter block being rolled out.

Laminating the Dough

In order to take full advantage of the butter block we made above, we need to make sure there are layers upon layers of that delicious butter throughout the dough. In order to do that, we roll the dough out, place two layers of butter block between the dough, then fold it up and roll it out.

Step-by-step photos of a butter block being folded into dough.

Step by step photos of a butter block in dough, then rolled out.

Then we fold and roll twice more, for a total of three times.

It may initially seem a little over the top, but once you bite into a finished Danish and see those flaky layers, you’ll be reaping the rewards big time!

Danish pastry dough folded and prepped for rolling out.

Assemble the Pastries

After a long chill in the refrigerator, the dough is ready to be divided up and the Danish pastries assembled. I experimented with some different sizes and shaping methods and kept coming back to this simple, delicious, and classic circle. It’s virtually foolproof and has a perfect ratio of flaky pastry to filling.

First, working with one-third of the dough at a time, you’ll portion it out into 12 pieces each, and then roll them into balls…

Danish pastry dough portioned out and rolled into balls.

Next, you’ll flatten them into discs, place on baking sheets and allow to rise for about 1 hour – they will puff up but will not double in size. Then it’s time to fill them!

Filling Ideas

My all-time favorite Danish flavor is cream cheese, so that’s obviously my recommendation, but most of the rest of my family love cherry, so I made some of those, as well ;-)  If you’re looking for ideas beyond those basics, here’s a list to get you started:

  • Cream cheese (recipe is below)
  • Fruit jam, preserves, or canned pie filling
  • Fresh fruit
  • Lemon curd
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Nutella
  • Feta and caramelized onions for a savory Danish!

You can also mix and match many of the combinations above! Cream cheese and berries or chocolate and orange would be fabulous together!

Side by side photos of Danish pastries filled with cheese and fruit before baking.

A Final Drizzle

Last but not least, we drizzle on a simple powdered sugar and milk glaze to make these Danish pastries really look like they just came from the bakery.

If you’d like, you could also sprinkle on some chopped nuts on top of the pastries before drizzling for a little crunch and texture contrast.

Cream cheeses Danish pastries on a baking sheet drizzled with a glaze.

Recipe Success Tips

Some notes to help you make the best Danish pastries ever!

  • When you make the butter block, be sure that your butter is on the cool side or it will be too warm to work into the dough. If it seems too soft when you start working with it, just pop it into the refrigerator to firm up before continuing with the recipe. Or, get it rolled into your rectangle then refrigerate your butter block rectangle until it firms up a bit before laminating the dough.
  • You can tackle this recipe all in one day, or split it up into a more manageable two-day project. Simply leave the laminated dough in the refrigerator overnight and continue with the shaping and baking the next day.
  • Feel free to experiment with different shapes if you’d like, but as I mentioned above, I had the most consistent success with these circular Danishes.
  • These are best enjoyed the same day they are made for optimal flakiness and freshness, however, they will keep in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing the Dough: If you’d like to freeze all or part of the Danish pastry dough, you can do so after Step #11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then wrap the portion you want to freeze in two layers of plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Freezing Assembled Pastries: To assemble the pastries and freeze before baking, complete the recipe through Step #17 (filling the pastries). Then, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer until they are completely frozen, at least 3 hours. Transfer the pastries to an airtight container or resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake from frozen (don’t forget the egg wash!), adding an extra 10 to 15 minutes to the bake time.
  • Freezing Baked Pastries: To freeze already-baked Danish pastries, allow them to cool completely to room temperature, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in a 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warmed through.

JOIN THE BEB BAKE-ALONG!

To tackle the Danish pastries and bake along with me this month, simply do the following:

  • Make the Danish pastries! I would love to hear how you plan to fill them, share in the comments below!
  • Snap a picture and either share it on social media (#BEBbakealong on Instagram or Twitter), upload it to the BEB Facebook group, or email it to me.
  • Check-in on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month to see everyone’s Danishes and cheer each other on!

An overhead photo of cheese and fruit danishes.

If you make the Danish pastries and love them, please take a moment to stop back and leave a review below; they help out fellow readers so much! Thank you! xo

Print

Danish Pastries

These Danish pastries are made completely from scratch, taste just like a bakery, and are easier than you'd think. Top with all of your favorite fillings!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, European
Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 5 hours 45 minutes
Servings 36 danishes
Calories 230kcal
Author Michelle

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2 cups unsalted butter divided
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • cups milk

For the Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Fruit Filling

  • 1 cup fruit jam, preserves, or canned pie filling

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Glaze:

  • cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • Make the Dough: Cut ½ tablespoon off the ends of each of the four sticks of butter (for a total of 2 tablespoons).
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add the 2 tablespoons cold butter and work it in with a pastry blender or your fingers until no large lumps remain. Add the vanilla, milk, and eggs.
  • Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed until a dough begins to form, then switch to the dough hook and knead until a cohesive, but quite sticky dough forms, about 5 to 7 minutes. The dough won't completely clean the bowl and will stick a bit at the bottom. (You can also complete this step in a bread machine on the dough cycle.)
  • Scrape the dough into a ball, and transfer it to a floured work surface. Cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the butter.
  • Make the Butter Block: Cut each stick of butter in half lengthwise, to make 8 long rectangles. On a piece of floured parchment or plastic wrap, line up 4 of the butter pieces side by side, to form a rectangle. Sprinkle lightly with flour, and cover with another piece of parchment or plastic wrap.
  • Gently pound and roll the butter until it's about 6" x 9". The pieces may or may not meld together.
  • Repeat with the remaining 4 pieces of butter. You should now have two butter rectangles, about 6" x 9" each.
  • Laminate the Dough: Roll the dough into a rectangle 12" wide x 24" long. Place one of the butter pieces onto the center third of the dough. Fold one side over the butter to cover it. Place the other butter piece atop the folded-over dough, and fold the remaining dough up over it. Pinch the open ends and side closed.
  • Turn the dough so a 12" side is closest to you. Roll the dough into a 10" x 24" rectangle. Fold each side into the center; then fold one side over the other to make a rectangular packet about 6" x 10".
  • Dust the surface of the dough with flour, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and again roll it into a rectangle about 10" x 24". Fold it into a packet as you did in step #9; it'll be about 7" x 12". Roll one final time, fold into a packet, and flour the dough lightly. Wrap loosely (but completely) in plastic, and chill it for at least 2 hours, or up to 16 hours.
  • Make the Cheese Filling (if using): Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until smooth.
  • Assemble the Pastries: When you're ready to make pastries, remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and cut off one-third. You'll work with this piece first; re-wrap and return the remainder to the refrigerator.
  • Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball, then flatten the balls into 3" to 3 1/2" rounds, making the center thinner than the edges. You want to build up a slight wall of dough all around the circumference; this will help hold the filling. Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Working with one-half of the remaining dough at a time, repeat the process; you'll finish with three baking sheets, each with 12 dough rounds.
  • Cover the Danish lightly with greased plastic wrap, and let them rise for about 1 hour; they'll become slightly puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Use your fingers to press the centers of the dough rounds as flat as possible, leaving the "sidewalls" puffed. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling into the well of each round.
  • Make the Egg Wash: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water. Brush the exposed edges of the pastries with the egg wash.
  • Bake the Pastries: Bake the pastries, one pan at a time, until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • Make the Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and milk to make a "drizzlable" glaze. If the glaze is too thick, add just a splash more milk at a time until the correct consistency is reached.
  • Drizzle the glaze atop the pastries. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Video

Notes

  • When you make the butter block, be sure that your butter is on the cool side or it will be too warm to work into the dough. If it seems too soft when you start working with it, just pop it into the refrigerator to firm up before continuing with the recipe. Or, get it rolled into your rectangle then refrigerate your butter block rectangle until it firms up a bit before laminating the dough.
  • You can tackle this recipe all in one day, or split it up into a more manageable two-day project. Simply leave the laminated dough in the refrigerator overnight and continue with the shaping and baking the next day.
  • Feel free to experiment with different shapes if you'd like, but as I mentioned above, I had the most consistent success with these circular Danishes.
  • These are best enjoyed the same day they are made for optimal flakiness and freshness, however, they will keep in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing the Dough: If you'd like to freeze all or part of the Danish pastry dough, you can do so after Step #11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then wrap the portion you want to freeze in two layers of plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Freezing Assembled Pastries: To assemble the pastries and freeze before baking, complete the recipe through Step #17 (filling the pastries). Then, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer until they are completely frozen, at least 3 hours. Transfer the pastries to an airtight container or resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake from frozen (don't forget the egg wash!), adding an extra 10 to 15 minutes to the bake time.
  • Freezing Baked Pastries: To freeze already-baked Danish pastries, allow them to cool completely to room temperature, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in a 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warmed through.
Nutritional values are based on one cheese Danish. 

Nutrition

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 423IU | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

(Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

The post March Bake-Along: Danish Pastries appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

Traditional Focaccia Bread

A traditional focaccia bread recipe with tons of topping ideas that bakes up crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. Perfect for serving with soups and stews, or even for making sandwiches.

The post Traditional Focaccia Bread appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

A traditional focaccia bread recipe with tons of topping ideas that bakes up crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. Perfect for serving with soups and stews, or even for making sandwiches.

A loaf of focaccia bread on a cooling rack.

Welcome to the first BEB Bake-Along of 2020! We’re going to flex our yeast muscles and make a delicious loaf of focaccia bread, which would be a fabulous accompaniment to all of the delicious soups and stews you’re no doubt making this month. January is the unofficial month of warm comfort food, is it not?

Focaccia has always been one of my favorite bakery splurges, with the crusty exterior and soft interior, plus tons of flavor from the herbs and garlic are just heavenly. The traditional Italian bread can also double as a flatbread or pizza dough but is most commonly served as an appetizer bread or side to soup or salad.

No matter how you choose to serve it, I can promise you with 100% certainty that making it at home is a thousand times better than buying it somewhere. Let’s do this!

Squares of focaccia bread cut from an edge of a loaf.

I’ve tried many, many recipes and always come back to this classic from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It bakes up perfectly every single time and is packed full of flavor. The olive oil creates a crisp exterior while the interior remains soft and fluffy.

When you look at this recipe, it will seem very time-intensive, but nearly all of the time is rest time with very little hands-on work. Let’s talk through the recipe…

How to Make Homemade Focaccia Bread

First things first – make the herb oil! This is what infuses the bread with tons of flavor and gives it that characteristic texture. There are lots of flavor modifications and additions you can make to suit your tastes, so be sure to check the recipes notes below.

Herb oil in a small saucepan.

Now, let’s make the dough! It’s a simple dough comprised of just flour, yeast, salt, water, and olive oil. You’ll mix it with a paddle attachment until it comes together and then knead until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.

An important note: this is meant to be a sticky dough; it should not be totally smooth, so don’t worry if it doesn’t clear the bottom of the bowl.

Focaccia bread dough in the bowl of a mixer.

Fold, rest, fold again! This next series of steps only take a few minutes of hands-on time but requires a rest period in between each folding stint. You will first stretch the dough, then fold it into thirds, like a letter, allow it to rest, then repeat twice more.

Focaccia bread shaped into a rectangle, and then stretched.

Folding focaccia dough into thirds.

Focaccia dough before and after resting.

Oil and Dimple – Once the dough has gone through its final rest period, you’ll spoon on half of the herb oil so that it covers the entire surface of the dough and use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it over the surface of the pan. It isn’t necessary that it covers it completely, as once it goes through its final rise before the baking, the dough will puff and fill in the edges and corners.

At this point, the dough goes into the refrigerator overnight to rest and develop all of those amazing flavors and textures.

Focaccia dough covered in herb oil mixture.

Rise and Shine! The next day, the dough should be removed from the refrigerator approximately 3 hours before you plan to bake it so that it has ample time to go through its final rise. First, you’ll pour on more herb oil and give it a final spread/dimpling and then let it do its thing until you’re ready to bake.

Focaccia dough fully risen in the pan.

And then, at last, a beautiful, golden loaf of focaccia bread comes out of the oven.

This is absolutely the best when it’s eaten the same day that it’s baked, but you can keep it airtight at room temperature and continue to eat it for a few days, it just won’t have the same crispness as it had fresh-baked. You could always revive it with a short stint in the oven or toaster oven.

Finally, Focaccia Bread Success Tips

Lots of tips and ideas below for embarking upon the focaccia bread journey:

  • Herb Oil – If using fresh herbs, use any combination of basil, parsley, oregano, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and sage. If using dried herbs, you can use a combination of any of the previous herbs, or use a blend such as herbes de Provence. You can substitute 1 tablespoon granulated garlic for the fresh garlic.
  • Herb Oil Extras – You can also add 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon onion powder, or 1 tablespoon dried, minced onions.
  • Herb Oil Storage – Keep any leftover herb oil in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (it makes a wonderful dipping oil!).
  • Bread Flour – Using bread flour gives the focaccia a chewy texture; you can substitute all-purpose flour without ruining the recipe, but your bread will be significantly lighter and missing that characteristic texture.
  • Make the Dough By Hand – The dough can be prepared without a stand mixer by mixing the dough with a large metal spoon in lieu of the kneading step. You will need to mix vigorously for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Gentle Dimpling – When dimpling the dough, be sure to use ONLY your fingertips and not the flat of your hands to avoid tearing or ripping the dough.
  • Pre-Proof Topping Ideas: 
      • Sun-dried tomatoes
      • Olives
      • Roasted garlic
      • Fresh herbs
      • Walnuts, pine nuts, or other nuts
      • Sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, or onions
  • Pre-Bake Topping Ideas:
      • Soft cheeses – Blue cheese, fresh mozzarella, and feta
      • Cooked ground meat
      • Strips of deli meat
      • Coarse salt
      • Coarse sugar
  • During-Bake Topping Ideas:
      • Dry or semihard cheeses – Parmesan, Romano, regular mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and Swiss
  • Freeze Before Baking – If you wish to prepare the dough in advance, complete steps #1 through 7. After the 1 hour rise, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • Freeze After Baking – Wrap individual slices of focaccia in plastic wrap, then in foil, and place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature and, if desired, reheat in a 325-degree oven for 5 minutes, or until warmed through and crispy.
  • Storage – The focaccia is best the day it is made, but it can be stored, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.

JOIN THE BEB BAKE-ALONG!

To tackle the focaccia bread and bake along with me this month, simply do the following:

  • Make the focaccia!
  • Snap a picture and either share it on social media (#BEBbakealong on Instagram or Twitter), upload it to the BEB Facebook group, or email it to me.
  • Check-in on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month to see everyone’s focaccia!

Focaccia Bread

A traditional focaccia bread recipe with tons of topping ideas that bakes up crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. Perfect for serving with soups and stews, or even for making sandwiches.

For the Herb Oil:

  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (OR 1/3 cup dried herbs)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)

For the Dough:

  • 5 cups high-gluten or bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups water (at room temperature)

For Preparation

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Pre-proof toppings (optional)
  • Pre-bake toppings (optional)
  • During-bake toppings (optional)
  1. Make the Herb Oil: Warm 2 cups olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat to 100 degrees F (this only takes a few minutes). Add the herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic; stir together, remove from the heat and allow to steep while you prepare the dough.

  2. Make the Dough: Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the oil and water and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until all of the ingredients form a wet, sticky ball.

  3. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. You may need to add additional flour to firm up the dough enough to clear the sides of the bowl, but the dough should still be quite soft and sticky.

  4. Sprinkle enough flour on a clean work surface to make a bed about 6 inches square. Using a dough spatula or bench scraper dipped in water, transfer the sticky dough to the bed of flour and dust liberally with flour, patting the dough into a rectangle. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.

  5. Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size. Fold it, letter style, over itself to return it to a rectangular shape. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil or nonstick cooking spray, again dust with flour, and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

  6. Stretch and fold the dough again; mist with oil, dust with flour, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

  7. Once more, stretch and fold the dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to ferment on the work surface for 1 hour. It should swell but not necessarily double in size.

  8. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Drizzle ¼ cup olive oil over the paper, and spread it with your hands or a brush to cover the surface. Lightly oil your hands and, using a plastic dough spatula or bench scraper, lift the dough from the work surface and transfer it to the sheet pan, maintaining the rectangular shape as much as possible. Spoon half of the herb oil over the dough.

  9. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it to fill the pan. If the dough becomes too springy, let it rest for 15 minutes and then continue dimpling. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to completely fill the pan, especially the corners. User more herb oil as needed to ensure that the entire surface is coated with oil.

  10. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days).

  11. Remove the pan from the refrigerator 3 hours before baking.

  12. Drizzle additional herb oil over the surface and dimple it in (you can use all of the herb oil if you want; the dough will absorb it even though it looks like a lot). The pan should be filled completely with the dough and the dough should have a thickness of about ½-inch. Add any other pre-proof toppings (see notes below). Cover the pan with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 3 hours, or until the dough double in size, rising to a thickness of nearly 1 inch.

  13. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Gently place any pre-bake toppings on the dough (see notes below).

  14. Place the pan in the oven. Immediately lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it begins to turn a light golden brown. If you are using any during-bake toppings (see notes below), sprinkle them on at this point and continue baking an additional 5 minutes or so. The internal temperature of the dough should register at least 200 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

  15. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately transfer the focaccia out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Allow the focaccia to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing or serving.

  • Herb Oil – If using fresh herbs, use any combination of basil, parsley, oregano, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and sage. If using dried herbs, you can use a combination of any of the previous herbs, or use a blend such as herbes de Provence. You can substitute 1 tablespoon granulated garlic for the fresh garlic.
  • Herb Oil Extras – You can also add 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon onion powder, or 1 tablespoon dried, minced onions.
  • Herb Oil Storage – Keep any leftover herb oil in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (it makes a wonderful dipping oil!).
  • Make the Dough By Hand – The dough can be prepared without a stand mixer by mixing the dough with a large metal spoon in lieu of the kneading step. You will need to mix vigorously for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Gentle Dimpling – When dimpling the dough, be sure to use ONLY your fingertips and not the flat of your hands to avoid tearing or ripping the dough.
  • Pre-Proof Topping Ideas: 
      • Sun-dried tomatoes
      • Olives
      • Roasted garlic
      • Fresh herbs
      • Walnuts, pine nuts, or other nuts
      • Sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, or onions
  • Pre-Bake Topping Ideas:
      • Soft cheeses – Blue cheese, fresh mozzarella, and feta
      • Cooked ground meat
      • Strips of deli meat
      • Coarse salt
      • Coarse sugar
  • During-Bake Topping Ideas:
      • Dry or semihard cheeses – Parmesan, Romano, regular mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and Swiss
  • Freeze Before Baking – If you wish to prepare the dough in advance, complete steps #1 through 7. After the 1 hour rise, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • Freeze After Baking – Wrap individual slices of focaccia in plastic wrap, then in foil, and place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature and, if desired, reheat in a 325-degree oven for 5 minutes, or until warmed through and crispy.
  • Storage – The focaccia is best the day it is made, but it can be stored, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  •  

[Recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice]

The post Traditional Focaccia Bread appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

December Bake-Along: Chocolate Babka

This chocolate babka is rich and decadent, loaded with a buttery chocolate filling and topped with delicious streusel. Perfect for celebrations and extra-special breakfasts!

The post December Bake-Along: Chocolate Babka appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

This chocolate babka is rich and decadent, loaded with a buttery chocolate filling and topped with delicious streusel. Perfect for celebrations and extra-special breakfasts! If you only know babka through Seinfeld references or have been intimidated to try making them at home, now is the perfect opportunity to church out a couple for the upcoming holiday season.

A loaf of chocolate babka with two slices laying in front.

Welcome to the December Bake-Along! This month we’re going to tackle an incredibly decadent, totally-worthy-of-the-holidays, chocolate-laced sweet bread.

I first shared the original version of this recipe nearly 10 years ago (!) and have revived it, updated it, polished it up, have tons of step-by-step photos and a video to help you through this amazing recipe. In the interim, I’ve tried many other chocolate babka recipes and I’ve found that they all came up short compared to this one, so let’s dig in!

All of those years ago, I couldn’t get the chocolate babka out of my head after seeing it in my Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook countless times. I hesitated time and again, then finally tackled it and was absolutely in love! However, the recipe made three loaves and I, like so many other people, only owned two loaf pans. The logistics of making all three wasn’t easy, and I wanted to scale it down to make it a more feasible recipe for most people’s kitchens.

An overhead photo of a loaf of chocolate babka out of the oven.

First Things First, What is Babka?

For years, my knowledge of babka came solely from an iconic Seinfeld episode during which Jerry and Elaine were attempting to buy a babka to bring to a dinner party. They wanted the chocolate babka, but someone else bought the last one, so they were stuck buying a cinnamon babka, a “lesser babka”, so they said. (Incidentally, I’ve made a cinnamon babka and, while different and not as rich, is certainly not lesser! And while we’re at it, I’ve also done an apricot cream cheese babka, which is fantastic.)

Babka (sometimes also called “krantz cake”) is a traditional Jewish sweet bread with fillings that can include things such as:

  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Nuts
  • Apples
  • Cream cheese
  • Dried fruit
  • Nutella

It is swirled and twisted, sometimes topped with sugar syrup and sometimes topped with streusel, and absolutely melts in your mouth. I omit the sugar syrup and run with the streusel instead!

An overhead photo of a loaf of chocolate babka with two slices cut off.

Chocolate Babka Components

There is zero shortage of chocolate, eggs, butter, and sugar in this recipe. Let’s embrace the deliciousness and celebration-worthiness and enjoy it this month!

  • Sweet Dough – The recipe starts with a fabulous dough that includes sugar, eggs, and butter for the ultimate in richness.
  • Chocolate Filling – Finely chopped chocolate is mixed with cinnamon, sugar, and then butter is cut in to make a chocolate crumble of sorts that melts beautifully into swirls in the finished bread.
  • Streusel Topping – Not every recipe I’ve tried includes this, but I find it to be a must! It’s a simple combination of powdered sugar, flour, and butter and adds a buttery crunch to the top that I adore.

Shaping the Babka

This was one of the biggest hiccups folks had with the original recipe; I’ve streamlined the instructions to help make it more clear and have included tons of photos below and a video to help you along. Once you see it done, I think you’ll have the confidence to know it’s not that hard at all. All of those twists and turns help tuck tons of chocolate into each and every bite!

Let’s take a look >>

#1: Roll the dough out into a square and top with the chocolate filling.

A collage showing dough rolled into a square and covered with chocolate.

#2: Roll the dough up into a log, twist it lengthwise a number of times, and sprinkle some reserved chocolate filling on top.

Photo collage showing dough rolled up into log and sprinkled with chocolate filling.

#3: Fold the dough in half into a horseshoe shape, then twist the right side over the left to make a figure eight, give it two good twists, and nestle it into the loaf pan.

Collage of photos shaping babka into figure 8 and placing in pan.

#4: Finally, sprinkle the streusel on top and get ready to bake!

A loaf of babka with streusel sprinkled in top, before being baked.

Recipe Success Tips

A run-down of all the things you need to know about ingredients, equipment, alternative mixing, storing and freezing:

  • Freezing Instructions – Unbaked: The babka can be frozen in the pan for up to 1 month before baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then in foil. When ready to bake, remove from freezer; let stand at room temperature for about five hours before baking as directed.
  • Freezing Instructions – Baked: Once baked and completely cooled, the babka can be wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil, and placed in a zipper freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature before serving. You could also slice the loaf and freeze the slices individually.
  • Milk: I use whole milk because I like the higher fat content for baking recipes, but you can get away with 2% here, as well.
  • Yeast: Instant yeast is sometimes also referred to as bread machine yeast or rapid rise yeast. If you use active dry yeast, please be aware that your rise times will be longer.
  • Chocolate: I recommend using baking bars that you chop finely for this recipe, as opposed to chocolate chips, which will hold their shape and not melt down as much as chopped chocolate. I like Ghiradelli and Guittard brands. You can substitute bittersweet chocolate if you’d like, but I would not use milk chocolate, as it would be too sweet here.
  • Cinnamon: It might be strange to see this much cinnamon mixed in with chocolate, but it is not pronounced and it totally elevates the flavor of the filling. I highly recommend leaving it in!
  • Loaf Pans: I use Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch loaf pans (the 1-pound pans for this particular recipe).
  • To Make By Hand: If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can still make babka! Mix the dough together as directed, using a wooden spoon, then knead by hand on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and slightly tackly, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • The Original Recipe: If you are interested in the original recipe that yielded 3 loaves, you can find those measurements here.

Slices of chocolate babka laying out on a serving board.

JOIN THE BEB BAKE-ALONG!

To tackle the chocolate babka and bake along with me this month, simply do the following:

  • Make the chocolate babka!
  • Snap a picture and either share it on social media (#BEBbakealong on Instagram or Twitter), upload it to the BEB Facebook group, or email it to me.
  • Check in on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month to see everyone’s babka!

Video Tutorial: Watch How to Make Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

This chocolate babka is rich, decadent and can be made at home in only a few hours.

For the Dough

  • 1 cup warm milk (warmed to 110°F)
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1 egg yolk (room temperature)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup unsalted butter (cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature)

For the Chocolate Filling

  • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate (very finely chopped)
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)

For the Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

For Streusel Topping

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)

Make the Dough

  1. In a 4-cup measuring cup or medium bowl, stir together the milk and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, whisk in the sugar, egg, and egg yolk.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed to combine, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and mix until most of the flour has been incorporated, about 1 minute.

  3. Add the butter a few chunks at a time and knead until the dough forms a soft, smooth dough that is just slightly sticky when squeezed together, about 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just a few times until the dough is smooth, then place in a greased bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Make the Chocolate Filling

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the chopped chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter into the mixture until completely combined.

Make the Egg Wash

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and heavy cream.

Assemble the Babka

  1. Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans with butter, then line with parchment paper; set aside. Gently punch down the dough, then turn out to a clean work surface and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

  2. Divide the dough in half and keep the half you are not working with covered with plastic wrap.

  3. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a 16-inch square. Crumble half of the filling over the surface of the dough, reserving 2 tablespoons of the filling, and leaving a ½-inch border around the edges of the dough.

  4. Brush the egg wash around the border of the dough. Starting at one side, roll the dough up tightly into a log, pinching the ends together to seal. Holding one end of the dough in each hand, twist the dough lengthwise five or six times.

  5. Brush the top of the log with the egg wash, then carefully sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of filling over the top of the log, pressing it into the egg wash. If any falls off the sides, pick it up and press it into the top.

  6. Fold the dough in half into a horseshoe shape, then cross the right half over the left half. Pinch the ends together to seal and form a figure eight. Holding one end of the dough in each hand, twist the dough two more times, then nestle it into the prepared loaf pan.

  7. Repeat steps #9 through #12 with the second half of dough.

  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in lower third of oven.

Make the Streusel Topping

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with larger chunks throughout.

  2. Brush the top of each loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle each loaf evenly with half of the streusel topping. Cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough has expanded and puffed a bit, about 30 minutes.

Bake the Babkas

  1. Bake the loaves, rotating halfway through, until a light golden brown, about 55 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and continue baking until deep golden brown and a digital instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaves registers 190 degrees F, about 15 to 30 more minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool completely. The loaves should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days.

  • Freezing Instructions – Unbaked: The babka can be frozen in the pan for up to 1 month before baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then in foil. When ready to bake, remove from freezer; let stand at room temperature for about five hours before baking as directed.
  • Freezing Instructions – Baked: Once baked and completely cooled, the babka can be wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil, and placed in a zipper freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature before serving. You could also slice the loaf and freeze the slices individually.
  • Milk: I use whole milk because I like the higher fat content for baking recipes, but you can get away with 2% here, as well.
  • Yeast: Instant yeast is sometimes also referred to as bread machine yeast or rapid rise yeast. If you use active dry yeast, please be aware that your rise times will be longer.
  • Chocolate: I recommend using baking bars that you chop finely for this recipe, as opposed to chocolate chips, which will hold their shape and not melt down as much as chopped chocolate. I like Ghiradelli and Guittard brands. You can substitute bittersweet chocolate if you’d like, but I would not use milk chocolate, as it would be too sweet here.
  • Cinnamon: It might be strange to see this much cinnamon mixed in with chocolate, but it is not pronounced and it totally elevates the flavor of the filling. I highly recommend leaving it in!
  • Loaf Pans: I use Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch loaf pans (the 1-pound pans for this particular recipe).
  • To Make By Hand: If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can still make babka! Mix the dough together as directed, using a wooden spoon, then knead by hand on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and slightly tackly, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • The Original Recipe: If you are interested in the original recipe that yielded 3 loaves, you can find those measurements here.

Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.

Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in January 2010. It was updated in December 2019 with a recipe formulated for two loaves instead of three, new photos, a recipe video, and extra success tips.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

The post December Bake-Along: Chocolate Babka appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

Classic Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

A classic pumpkin roll recipe with cream cheese filling – turns out perfectly every time and NO flipping a cake onto a tea towel!

The post Classic Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

Say hello to this full-of-tradition, it-wouldn’t-be-Thanksgiving-without-it pumpkin roll. Raise your hand if your family requires at least one (usually more) pumpkin roll on the Thanksgiving dessert table. They are way too easy NOT to make, they satisfy all of those anti-pumpkin pie relatives (I’m one), and who can resist all of that cream cheese filling? (Not me.) Let’s do this!

An overhead shot of sliced pumpkin roll with pieces laying cut-side down.

Welcome to the November BEB Bake-Along! I loved seeing you tackle sticky buns throughout October, and can’t wait for you to dive in on this month’s recipe, which, incidentally, would be a fantastic addition to your Thanksgiving dessert menu.

I love, love, love pumpkin rolls, but I most certainly do not love the heart-pounding anxiety that flipping a hot cake onto a tea towel dusted with powdered sugar incites in me. Then, if the cake flips out and doesn’t break (praise the Lord!), then it gets rolled up and I’m left crossing my fingers for however long it takes to cool that when I go to unroll it there aren’t eleventy bajillion cracks in it. Who’s with me?

I am thrilled to announce that I’ve found a new, BETTER way to tackle these beautiful roll cakes that cuts wayyyyyy down on the anxiety (as in, there was none!) and guarantees an absolutely gorgeous, crack-free pumpkin roll every single time.

Let’s discuss!

A mixing bowl with batter for a pumpkin roll.

I originally shared a pumpkin roll recipe seven (!!) years ago, but have tweaked it a bit into a new and improved recipe here. The ingredients are mostly the same, but I’ve upped the warm spices significantly (if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, be sure to check the notes for a link on how to make your own!), and added a bit of vanilla because nearly everything is better with vanilla.

The most significant change, however, is the technique used to roll the cake.

Pumpkin roll cake being rolled up in parchment paper.

Rolling Up a Pumpkin Roll

Traditional roll cakes are made by turning the hot cake onto a powdered sugar-covered tea towel or parchment paper and then rolled up immediately. Rolling up a hot cake will theoretically keep it from cracking and ensures that it’s pliable and can be unrolled, slathered with filling, then rolled back up.

The problem? Flipping out a hot cake is a tiny bit anxiety-producing (understatement there!) and I’ve always found that rolling it up in a tea towel, no matter how well sugared, causes the cake to stick a little bit and gives it a funky texture on top once it’s unrolled.

The solution? Line your jelly roll pan with parchment paper, then once the cake comes out of the oven, simply use the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan, and roll it right up in the parchment paper. Simpler, less mess, I find it creates a superior texture to the cake (a tighter, smoother crumb), and the exterior of the cake is smoother and more aesthetically pleasing.

A pumpkin roll slathered with cream cheese frosting before being rolled back up.

More Pumpkin Roll Tips

Let’s make these the best pumpkin rolls your Thanksgiving has ever seen!

  • If you do not have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can make homemade pumpkin pie spice using cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
  • This recipe only calls for ⅔ cup pumpkin puree; one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree will yield three pumpkin rolls, so you may as well bake them up and freeze a couple for holiday festivities.
  • If you do not have a jelly roll pan and don’t want to buy one, you can use a half sheet pan; just trace a 10×15-inch rectangle on parchment paper and spread the cake batter in that area only.
  • For a super pretty presentation, slice off the ends of the pumpkin roll before serving to showcase the swirl!
  • A large serrated knife makes for a nice, clean cut and keeps the pumpkin roll from getting smooshed when sliced.
  • Make-Ahead: Once the pumpkin roll is assembled, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated, it can be stored for up to 2 days before serving.
  • To Freeze: Wrap the pumpkin roll tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil and place in a freezer-safe zip-top resealable bag. Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin roll spread with cream cheese frosting and being rolled back up.

More Pumpkin Desserts You’ll Love

JOIN THE BEB BAKE-ALONG!

To tackle the pumpkin roll and bake along with me this month, simply do the following:

  • Make the pumpkin roll!
  • Snap a picture and either share it on social media (#BEBbakealong on Instagram or Twitter), upload it to the BEB Facebook group, or email it to me.
  • Check in on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month to see everyone’s pumpkin rolls!

A pumpkin roll with three slices cut off on parchment paper.

Watch the Pumpkin Roll Recipe Video:

Pumpkin Roll

A classic pumpkin roll recipe with cream cheese filling – turns out perfectly every time and NO flipping a cake onto a tea towel!

For the Cake:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup canned pure pumpkin

For the Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Garnishing

  • Powdered sugar
  1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, allowing a 1-inch overhang on the long sides of the pan. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla vigorously until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Gently whisk in the pumpkin puree to combine.

  4. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until no streaks of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

  5. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed, 13 to 15 minutes.

  6. Very carefully lift the edges of the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan and place on a flat, heatproof surface. Starting on a short end, roll the cake up with the parchment paper until completely rolled, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

  7. Make the Cream Cheese Filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until combined, then scrape down the bowl, increase the speed to medium, and beat for 1 more minute.

  8. Assemble Pumpkin Roll: Once the cake is completely cool, very slowly unroll it. Spread the cream cheese filling in an even layer, leaving a ½-inch border around all of the edges.

  9. Gently roll the cake back up without the parchment paper (it can now be discarded), then wrap the pumpkin roll tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  10. When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap, place the pumpkin roll on a serving platter and dust with powdered sugar. Slice and serve. Leftover pumpkin roll can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 5 days.

  • If you do not have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can make homemade pumpkin pie spice using cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
  • This recipe only calls for ⅔ cup pumpkin puree; one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree will yield three pumpkin rolls, so you may as well bake them up and freeze a couple for holiday festivities.
  • If you do not have a jelly roll pan and don’t want to buy one, you can use a half sheet pan; just trace a 10×15-inch rectangle on parchment paper and spread the cake batter in that area only.
  • For a super pretty presentation, slice off the ends of the pumpkin roll before serving to showcase the swirl!
  • A large serrated knife makes for a nice, clean cut and keeps the pumpkin roll from getting smooshed when sliced.
  • Make-Ahead: Once the pumpkin roll is assembled, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated, it can be stored for up to 2 days before serving.
  • To Freeze: Wrap the pumpkin roll tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil and place in a freezer-safe zip-top resealable bag. Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe slightly adapted from Libby’s.

Nutritional values are based on one serving

Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in November 2012. Updated in November 2019 with an improved recipe, new photos, and a video.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

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