Arsip Tag: spread

why did my cookies spread? – smitten kitchen

This is the most frequent cry of despair I get from the comment sections of cookie recipes on Smitten Kitchen and the truth is that there are many, many factors that can cause a cookie to spread. But the biggest one? Temperature. Dough that is too warm or soft will spread more than dough that is cooler, so if you’re working in a very warm kitchen, putting your dough in the fridge for 15 minutes or longer before using it will help prevent spread. Butter that is too warm or soft is also a major culprit. When a recipe calls for “softened” or “at room temperature” butter, you’re looking for butter that you can make an impression in by poking it with your finger, but that impression shouldn’t stay. (Source). A baking sheet that is still warm from the last batch will encourage cookies to spread before they even begin to bake.

There are factors beyond temperature too. A greased cookie sheet promotes spreading; one tip is to flour it after you grease it to hinder spread, or to use silicone paper or a Silpat mat instead. Because sugar liquefies as it is heated, a more sugary cookie (with less flour and/or fat in it) is more likely to spread than one with a lower proportion of sugar. When a recipe says to “cream” your butter and sugar together, just beat it long enough to combine the ingredients — about 30 seconds on an electric or stand mixer, says David Lebovitz — so you do not whip too much air into your cookies, causing too much expansion as the air bubbles steam in the oven. (With cakes, there’s no such limit on airiness.) Finally, at higher altitudes, cookies with baking soda in them tend to spread more.

Lastly, it is worth noting that butter, which melts at your body’s temperature and is nearly one-fifth water, spreads more than margarine, and both spread more than shortening. Now, all cookie recipes on Smitten Kitchen are all-butter (because I like butter’s melt-in-your-mouth feel and flavor above all else), so making sure that your butter, dough and baking sheets aren’t too warm is especially key.

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chocolate-peanut spread – smitten kitchen

People, I’m no good. I’m terrible news, a bad influence and possibly everything that your nutritionists, cardiologists and mamas warn you about. There I was, like most people with a pulse, enjoying the heck out of some Nutella on a slice of bread at my in-laws last weekend and I thought, you know what would make this even better? Peanut butter. I mean, is there any question that the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is at the very center of American hearts, gullets and junk food aisles? And then I thought, But it’s January. You’re getting in a bathing suit in a month. This is terrible idea. But then I reasoned, Well, it’s not like I have to eat more than a spoonful. Surely, it’s possible so exercise some self-control around chocolate and peanuts. Guys, I’m really funny sometimes, aren’t I?

puny peanuts
toasted again

So I started looking at recipes for homemade Nutella — pardon me, the non-trademark-protected gianduja paste — which is the smooth and shiny combination of hazelnuts and cocoa loved all over the world. I was surprised to find approaches, as well, all over the map. Some used honey, some began with a caramel but two techniques in particular caught my eye: one in which ground nuts were mixed with just cocoa, sugar and oil, quite close to the ingredient list of jarred Nutella and a very simple one from Martha Stewart, which relied on sweetened condensed milk for its body. I decided to make the Martha version second, but never got there because my mother (who was hanging out for the afternoon) and I never got our spoons out of the food processor bowl from the first batch long enough to even consider if it was less than perfect.

grinding

powdered sugar + cocoa
mom helps me pour

Needless to say, I’m recommending the first method, which is to roast peanuts (or toast them further, if they’re already roasted) and then liquefy in them in a food processor. Yes, liquefy; that word came up in a few recipes I thought these writers were taking literary license. Sure enough, if you keep grinding beyond the paste that you’re usually trying to avoid when cooking with ground nuts, eventually, it becomes a puddle and peanuts, with their high oil content, even more so. It was sloshing and splashing up the sides of the food processor before I added cocoa, powdered sugar and salt and some oil to smooth it out and lo and behold: peanutella. I don’t need to tell you what happened next, do I?

this is dangerous
and then this happened

One year ago: Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter and Ricotta Muffins
Two years ago: Mushroom Bouguignon and Smashed Chickpea Salad
Three years ago: Fried Chicken
Four years ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

Chocolate-Peanut Spread [“Peanutella”]
Adapted from a bunch of sources, but closest to this from the LA Times

To say what is probably obvious, peanut qualities range. Cocoa qualities range. Salt preferences range. Flavor preferences range. This is an easily tweaked recipe. I ended up using a bit more sugar than I’d expected, and more oil (as in, I’d expected not to need as much as usually suggested due to the high fat content in peanuts but still used three tablespoons). I wanted more salt and wished I’d found better peanuts to start with, but you know, a balmy high of 20 degrees this weekend doesn’t exactly motivate one to hunt down the best ingredients. I can assure you that this is no less loved, despite it’s average peanut base, and no more likely to only be eaten in the moderate spoonfuls promised. Oops.

Probably makes 1 3/4 cups, but it was down to a scant 1 1/2 cups before I bothered to gauge the volume

2 cups shelled and skinned raw peanuts
1/2 cup of your darkest, richest unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt plus additional to taste (I used an extra 1/8 teaspoon)
3 tablespoons peanut oil

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the peanuts evenly over a cookie sheet and roast until they darken, about 10 minutes, rattling them around a bit halfway through to they toast evenly. (If you, like me, were unable to find raw peanuts, just toast them for a 5 minutes to deepen their flavor.)

Transfer the peanuts to a food processor and grind them for about 5 minutes. First they’ll become a paste and will cause any toddler in your midst to have a meltdown from the ruckus. Then they’ll become more of a paste and finally, they’ll liquefy. Scrape down the sides as needed.

Add the cocoa, sugar, salt and two tablespoons of the oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended, about 1 minute. Add more salt if needed. Add the last tablespoon of oil if the consistency seems too thick.

Store in refrigerator up to a week in a covered container. When it is full chilled, like peanut butter, it will become thick and swipe with a teaspoon will leave a telltale impression. Look, I’m just warning you, okay?

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sally lunn bread + honeyed brown butter spread – smitten kitchen

Four and a half years ago, I shared a recipe for white batter bread which I like to joke was the original no-knead bread for its lazy approach to assembly. I learned about this particular batter bread when I took a multi-weekend bread baking class (cue sigh over pre-baby levels of free time) and even though it was the least hearty, stretchy, hollow-sounding, craggy-crusted or rustic of the breads we made, it was unforgettable because it reminded me of a cross between a cake and a bread. [Also, it was unbearably delicious when sliced warm and slathered with salted butter. Don’t trust me on this, go find out for yourself.]

all mise-d up
adding yeast

Well, it was mostly unforgettable. In the 4 1/2 years since, there have been new jobs, new apartments, new people (hello!), new projects, less sleep, more work and well, even unforgettable things can go and get forgotten until one of my favorite commenters (oh yes, I pick favorites; bad blogger!) piped up on the batter bread post the other day and told me that it reminded her of a Sally Lunn bread, which I had never heard of and immediately had to drop everything to research.

adding butter and milk

a batter bread

Cooking-wise, I’m in what I consider the dregs of March, this itchy time before anything is growing in the ground where if I see another potato, strand of pasta or soup I might toss it out the window in contempt. But bread! Bread is always welcome, especially this one and even more especially for a luxurious weekend brunch. Like any food story worth tucking into, the story of Sally Lunn Bread comes with drama over its origins — Was it originally made by Protestant refugees, who called them “soleil et lune” or sun and moon cakes? Was it named for Solange Luyon, a pastry cook in Bath, England who for decades sold these buns on the street? Was knowing how to bake it truly essential to being a successful housekeeper, as this 1884 book, suggests? Because, if you were to look around my “house” right now, the fact that I’d never made Sally Lunn before would explain a lot about the lack of housekeeping “success” exhibited here.

ready to bake
bulging

Nevertheless, this is some fine, fine bread. It tastes like a light brioche but involves less butter, fewer eggs and significantly less of a time commitment. It differs from the batter bread that I made all that time ago by being even more dessert- and less sandwich-like; i.e. it’s even awesomer. And although I know a slice of this only needs a pat of butter and schmear of strawberry jam to make anyone you share it with — preferably at breakfast, or its luxurious twin, brunch — weep gently with joy, I got a little out of control and attempted a salted and honey-ed brown butter spread that I will not make the mistake of having forgotten 4 1/2 years from now.

salted and honey-ed brown butter spread
toasted, honey buttered, lunn bread

One year ago: Breakfast Pizza and Irish Soda Bread Scones
Two years ago: Migas with Tomato-Chipotle Coulis and Layer Cake Tips + The Biggest Birthday Cake Yet
Three years ago: Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake and Butterscotch Ice Cream
Four years ago: Italian Bread

Sally Lunn Bread
Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Cakes

This recipe makes 1 9x5x3-inch loaf of bread. For a more traditional shape, you can double the recipe and bake it in a 9-inch (10 cup) tube pan. My changes to Heatter’s recipe were halve the recipe, further reduce the sugar, halve again the yeast (yes, halve, there was a lot!), swap out some water for additional milk and to streamline the directions to hopefully keep them as simple as possible.

2 cups (250 grams or 8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams or 7/8 ounce) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
1 1/8 teaspoon (1/2 packet or 1/8 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4 cup (177 ml) milk
4 tablespoons (57 grams or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

In a large bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast by hand or with an electric mixer.

In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter together until the mixture is warm (105 to 110 degrees); don’t worry if this butter isn’t completely melted. Gradually pour the warm ingredients into the dry mixture and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or stir vigorously by hand with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk and another 1/2 cup flour and beat again for 2 minutes by machine or 3 by hand. Add the last of the flour and beat or stir until smooth.

Scrape down bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Let rise for one hour or until doubled. Meanwhile, butter and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Once the dough has doubled, scrape it into the prepared pan. Cover with buttered plastic wrap and let rise for a total of 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, however, remove the plastic and preheat your oven to 375°F.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Heatter says the bread should make a hollow sound if tapped with your fingertips but I haven’t weathered mine enough yet that I didn’t find it unpleasant.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn out to a rack to cool.

Just to note, Heatter suggests that the bread be cooled out of the loaf pan but upside down on the rack, I presume to square off the loaf, so this is an option for more perfectly square bread.

Salted and Honeyed Brown Butter Spread

1 stick (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, divided
1 to 2 tablespoons honey (use less for lightly sweet, more for a more traditional honey butter)
Few pinches flaky sea salt

In a small saucepan, melt half your butter over medium heat. Once melted, reduce heat to medium-low. The butter will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. While it is cooling, leave the other half of the butter out to soften slightly (semi-firm is fine).

Whip softened butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly drizzle in the room temperature browned butter, honey and salt continue whipping until combined. Chill butter in fridge until a nice spreadable consistency, or until needed.

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