Monday, January 6, 2014

pumpkin maple swirl butter

Waiting for word on whether or not school is out with fingers and toes crossed.  You'd think after two full weeks of vacation for the holiday, I'd be OK going back.  But, oh my.  These sweet moments with family are hard to let go.  And the mornings... how I love the mornings of lazy days.  Especially when they're not planned ones.  

I'm visualizing a mid-morning breakfast following my first cup of coffee (Sumatran Reserve, to be exact), biscuits and gravy, country ham, eggs (scrambled for Daniel, over-easy for John), Luke's pancakes...

And this butter.  This butter, I adore.

Last year I blogged about my Berry Butter.  At nearly 40,000 hits, it has - by far - been the most popular post of the blog.  I really have meant to come up with another one before now, but good things are worth waiting for, right?  

Complete with a dash of Kosher salt and swirls of pure maple syrup, this creamy pumpkin treasure is smooth and balanced.  I've thoroughly enjoyed it on the Pecan Wheat Bread I featured in my last post, but it's also a wonderful accompaniment to pancakes, sourdough, yeast rolls, you name it!

I hope everyone stays warm and safe over the next few days.  Stay tuned to the blog... more great posts coming your way!

Pumpkin Maple Swirl Butter
makes one cup
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
~ Whip butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

~ Gradually add pumpkin, scraping sides periodically.  Cream until fully incorporated.

~ Add syrup, spice and salt.  Mix well.

~ Seal in airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks or freeze up to 
   three months.

Friday, January 3, 2014

pecan wheat bread

I really think I could be perfectly happy spending day after day just experimenting with different bread recipes.  Call it weird, but I can't tell you the excitement that builds when I'm getting ready to give a new one a try.  And the excitement goes overboard when the trial results in a great success.  This recipe was just that!

A couple of months before Christmas rolls around, I begin to think about what goodies from our kitchen I'll be sharing with loved ones.  Loaves of bread are always at the top of the list, and I usually have to narrow down favorites to finally decide on one.  After baking a few of these tasty loaves, and loving the unique flavor of the featured pecans, I definitely knew this one was the one.  AND, I knew it would pair beautifully with the homemade butter I made for the give-aways as well (Pumpkin Maple Swirl Butter, to be exact... I'll be sharing that with you next).  

Although this makes a great sandwich bread, especially for chicken salad, I think I've enjoyed making toast with it more than anything.  When you do so, the pecans get toasted and the flavor is deepened immensely.  If you are a fan of nutty, chewy yeasted breads, you will love this. It will make one 9x5 loaf or three good-sized mini loaves ~ just perfect for gift-giving.  

Happy New Year!

Pecan Yeast Bread
makes one 9x5 loaf
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water (approximately 110 degrees)
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup diced pecans
~ Pour water into stand mixer and add sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Add yeast and stir.

~ Let mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

~ Add butter and salt and stir.

~ In separate bowl, whisk flours together.  

~ Place dough hook on mixer and gradually add flours to water mixture, scraping the bowl 
    periodically.  Continue to mix until smooth dough is formed, or remove dough and knead
    by hand about 10 minutes.

~ Place dough in greased pan/pans, cover and let rise in warm place until about one inch 
    above pan, approximately one hour.  

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place uncovered dough in oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes, 
    or until loaf reaches 190 degrees.  Remove from oven and turn out on cooling rack.  

Recipe from King Arthur Flour.