Friday, August 23, 2013

Hazelnut Pain au Chocolat....Yum

Okay, so I came across this recipe in one of my many excursions around the internet (several months ago). I decided to finally try it out. I figured it was fairly risk-free. How can you go wrong with hazelnut an chocolate, right? These are definitely winners. My family fell immediately in love... The bread is light and fluffy, fragrant with hazelnut flavor, and the chocolate is the perfect touch. They are a wonderful treat without being incredibly sweet. And with a substantial amount of whole wheat flour, they're nutritious, too. Right?

The recipe is here I used a Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate candy bar, rather than the semisweet pain au chocolate sticks sold here: Mostly I just wanted to save money since it was a new recipe experiment. Also, since it's August in Texas, the temperatures are a bit prohibitive to mail order chocolate... I couldn't find coarse ground sugar, so I used some sugar cubes I crushed up with a rolling pin. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly, grinding my own whole wheat pastry flour just before whipping them up. Delicious! Tasty treats and the whole house smells heavenly. The chocolate will eventually firm up a bit, but can quickly be softened up with a few seconds in the microwave.
These will not last more than an afternoon, I promise.

Friday, August 16, 2013

There's Nothing Like Fresh Homemade Bread...

Whoa! It's been a loooong time since I posted anything. Time to get back on track... My family loves homemade breads, and especially "symphony of crackle"--aka French bread (credits to the Disney movie Ratatouille). I regularly make it to serve with pasta dishes or soups; it goes together quickly and compliments most meals. Sometimes, though, I like to make bread with lots of flavor. While I'm savoring the whole grain goodness and thinking how nutritious it is (and what a great mom I am to feed this to my family), my kids are telling me that while it's really yummy, they like the basic French bread the most.

I recently came across this tantalizing recipe and decided to try it out. Amazing! So much flavor and texture! This is a perfect bread to serve with a light salad on one of these hot summer days.

I used the recipe found here with some minor alterations. First, I added about two tablespoons of honey, I used malt powder, rather than extract, and I added about 1/2 cup of Harvest Grains Blend. Just before the loaves were ready to place in the oven, I brushed the tops with a cornstarch wash, cut a cross hatch pattern on the surfaces, and sprinkled a few pinches of malted wheat flakes over the tops.Also, I shaped the loaves into rounds and placed them on parchment lined cookie pans, rather than using loaf pans.  Mmmm. The fragrance as the bread baked was wonderful; as soon as the loaves cooled we sliced one up and spread it with maple butter and horked it down. I often make maple butter instead of honey butter. I just whip the butter with pure maple syrup instead of honey. It won't incorporate as much maple syrup as it would honey, as the syrup is a little thinner. It's a really nice flavor and for those with small children, safer than raw honey.

Have a wonderful day!