Lemon, Coconut Sweet Bread

I have a little bone to pick … with life that is.

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Why is Meyer lemon season seriously .0823123 seconds long?!?! And how the heck to I get my hands on some without them going bad?!

See, originally I wanted to make this recipe using Meyer lemons – because they’re so little and cute and lemony, but not super tart. So I bought a bag ( I could have bought a car for less … by.the.way. – not the point) I ended up keeping them on my counter for a couple of days – and poof – they turned.

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Heartbreak.

So I used regular lemons. And this bread came out spectacular however if you have Meyer lemons, please use them instead and kindly send me a slice of bread … and a box of tissues.

Rant over.

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Also, why do people say, I have a bone to pick .. that’s gross – I’m kind of wishing I didn’t say that now. But what’s done is done – when life gives you lemons – make bread … okay, now I’m definitely wishing I didn’t say that. Although, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t on the floor laughing.

….

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Normally, I share what I bake for the blog with family, friends and co-workers – this bread though, it didn’t even make it out of our home … the top gets so crusty and it smells so lemony as it bakes. I’m clearly welcoming spring with open arms with the combination of lemon and coconut – it was a gamble with the citrus and sweet coconut buuuttt Daaaamn, Daniel!

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Lemon, Coconut Sweet Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • ½ cup dried coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp Malibu rum
  • 2 c milk
  • ⅔ c olive oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine brown and granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, sea salt, lemon zest and dried coconut.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs, lemon juice, milk, Rum and olive oil.

Combine, the wet and dry ingredients.

Pour into a well-greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour ( it should pass the crumb test by this point)

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Making Dough — Cookbook Review … and I made Croissants

When I first got the e-mail to review this book, I thought it was a joke. I thought it was spam … but i wanted it to be real soooo badly that I provided all of the required information, and remained hopeful.

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When the book Making Dough by Russell Van Kraayenburg showed up at my door step, again, I thought it was a joke. Hah, me? – review a cookbook, an actual cookbook with amazing pictures, and recipes, test out, and give my opinion on someones labour of love – stepping into their shoes and experimenting with their baking journey. Me, are you sure?!?!  

I knew i had a great task at hand.

I was honored.

Humbled.

So first, thank you Quirk Books, Pinguin Random House Canada and Russell … can I call you Russel, like we’re friends?!?!

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I cracked open the book, loving the sound of that spine cracking and the smell of fresh pages. In the most ironic possible way … the book was “recipes and ratios for perfect pastries” hahaha … good joke. Remember how I’m crazy scared of pastries … again, was someone playing a joke on me?!?!

I thought though, this was my chance, this would actually be a true test of this book. I’m not a dainty baker, ask me to dump cake batter in a pan and bake it, done — ask me to scoop out cookies on tray suuuuurrreee … ask me to make a soufflé-fra-li-lah … yea, no, not happening. I normally put pastries/ doughs under that “ soufflé-fra-li-lah” category.

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As I skimmed through the book, divided by 12 key dough recipes I realized, I’m actually a big huge liar … I’m not actually scared of pastires, according to Russell’s book, I’ve actually made tons of pastries!! Scones, done it – Biscuits, nailed it … and the idea that Gnocchi is a type of Pate A Choux excited me … I thought, you know what, I can totally do this.

And then I decided to make croissants.

And not just any old kind of croissants, but poolish croissants – promised as a more “yeasty flavoured” croissant.

Review of the book:

My first reaction was, its beautiful. I flipped through the pages drooling and intrigued by recipes like Bourbon-Maple Glazed Cheddar Bacon Biscuits, Blueberry Mascarpone Hand pies and Salted Caramel Eclairs topped with Salted Caramel Popcorn … 2 words: I.DIE.  I knew it would be tough to narrow down exactly what I was going to bake.

As I continued reading, I realized this wasn’t just a cookbook – and in fact if I were to give it an alternate title – I would call it “ The Theory of Dough” the time, patience and detail included in each of the steps, the explanations included in how your dough should look as you progress through a recipe, the attention to explaining each component of your masterpiece it definitely gave me a new perspective on baking.

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Quite often, baking is compared to science – and I suppose it is ( although i was NEVER good at science) Russell’s book is a true testament to the science of baking. I wouldn’t say it’s overly technical, but it is extremely detailed. I would deem it a baking textbook, one that every ambitious baker should have on their shelf. There is a lot to learn, and Russell makes it easy to do so.

I would definitely refer Making Dough to a seasoned baker; while the steps included are clear and easy to follow – I found that a lot of the required tools ( a kitchen scale, candy thermometer, marble slab) just aren’t tools a home bakers like myself have on hand ( hehe … this could DEFINITELY be a hint to that Santa!!). I also found it challenging to work with weight measurements as opposed to cups, tablespoons and teaspoons.

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For those who are new to the baking game, I think this book could serve as a great method to learn the ins-and-outs of how to be a great baker … I would definitely package this book with a couple items – a food scale, thermometer, pastry brush and ruler … hhheeellllloooo foodie gift basket!! 

Baking from the book:

First … look what I made!!

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Croissants are NOT an easy feat – I must say, this recipe has taken my baking ambition to a whole new level. I’m going to deem this a win, as a first time try but honestly, I probably won’t be making croissants again in a while.

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They.take.SO.long. either that, or I just lack any sort of patients!! The result was a flakey pastry and buttery center – worth the 26 hours …. Mmmm … for the smell of my home; yes – for how they actually turned out, not so much. I must have done something wrong ( and it’s very possible …) my croissants were heavy, not light and fluffy as I hoped. They also baked a lot faster than the suggested 45 minutes. While the tops were golden brown, the bottoms were toasted – not burnt, but definitely more cooked than probably necessary.

Baking from the book was relatively easy – the instructions provided are clear, and detailed. One thing that definitely stood out ( and maybe this was based on the recipe that I choose) I continuously had to flip back and forth to reference other information; as well, as I mentioned before, some of the tools required, I just didn’t have and I ended up improvising.

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There are a ton of other recipes I would like to try. Overall, I would say Making Dough is a keeper – ideal for any seasoned baker as a Christmas present; and a new adventure for novice bakers such as myself.

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Sloppy Skulls

I don’t do Halloween.

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What I mean is, I don’t do the dressing up scaring the cheese doodles out of myself and others kind of Halloween.

I do the eat tons of candy, make themed treats watch movies all night with the lights on kind of Halloween, still holding on tightly to Mr. LTSL….

You never know, evil ghosts and creepy things can still appear in the light.

What are you guys doing for Halloween?!? Is anyone hosting a party, dressing up, stealing your kids candy?!?

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Will anyone else be eagerly awaiting the Jimmy Kimmel I stole your candy video?!?! Hahahah so good … yet, so evil.. but so good.

The last couple of years I’ve focused on snack-ish items with my Halloween Chocolate Funfetti Cookies and a healthy dose of Halloween Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispy Squares … this year though I have something not just spooky but so delicious and savory, because let’s be honest, as much as I’d like to live on cookies and cakes and doughnuts ( oh, my) – I can’t.

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I need sloppy joes. Ooooorrr in this case, sloppy skulls.

Sloppy Skulls

Dough

3 Cups Flour

1 Tbsp Instant Yeast

1 Tbsp Sugar

2 Tsp Salt

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 1/4 Cup Water

Sloppy filling

1 pack dried sloppy Joe Mix

1 can tomato paste

1 lb medium ground beef ( you can totally sub in ground chicken, turkey or pork)

1 1/4 Cup Water

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Directions:

In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt and olive oil.

Slowly add water and knead until dough comes together.

Cover and allow to rise for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough rises, on medium high heat, brown the ground beef – should take about 10 minutes.

Add sloppy joe mix, tomato paste and water.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 425 oc.

Once dough rises, punch down and empty onto a lightly floured surface.

Separate the dough into 4 even pieces.

Roll each dough piece into a 1/4 inch circle, place into  greased skull cake pan.

Carefully fill each with sloppy filling and cover with remaining dough.

Repeat with 3 other dough pieces.

Bake for 30 minutes.

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Have a happy Halloween!!

Pumpkin Walnut Pumpkin Spice Swirl Bread

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all of my Canadian Buddy-old-pals!!

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This long weekend ( like many long weeks) to me is the official kick off of fall … warmer clothes, my heat goes on in my condo (yippee)..it’s also the official kick off of hockey? YEEESS!! Hahaha .. you can take a girl out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canada out of a girl.

Do you guys remember making hand turkeys when you were younger? … I’m pretty sure I did in elementary school … and then things got a lot more sophisticated when we began making placemats in grade 5. Those were the cool days!!

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This weekend Mr. LTSL and I will be spending it with family, there’s sure to be lots of food and probably a few post-turkey naps tossed in.

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend, filled your loved ones … and a little (or a lot) of turkey doesn’t hurt either. And while the focus maybe on dinner, I have a breakfast that will blow your family away.

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Almost too pretty to eat. Almost. And then you take a bite, and you’re in love.

Pumpkin Walnut Pumpkin Spice Swirl Bread

Dough

 1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons butter

2cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

n a medium sized bowl, heat milk and butter in microwave for 1 minute should be warm to the touch. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add 2 cups flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Mix until well combined. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 table spoon of flour at a time, until you get a firm dough. On a lightly floured surface, place dough and knead until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours.

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Filling

 ½ cup Pumpkin Puree

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon pumpkin spice

¼ cup walnut halves

1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar and pumpkin spice. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately an 11 x 15-inch rectangle. Spread the pumpkin  mixture uniformly on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Starting lengthwise, roll the dough like you would a cinnamon roll. Pinch together the edges to seal.

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Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough in half lengthwise. Pinch together one end of the dough and braid the two long strands. Pinch together the remaining end. Form the dough into a circular shape and pinch together the pinched ends. To create a pumpkin swirl wreath.  Transfer the circle to a lightly greased cast-iron beaten egg. Gently tuck in walnut halves sporadically around the dough. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

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Enjoy, remember to take a moment this weekend to remember how lucky we are to live in such an amazing country – with all of the opportunities presented to us. Take a moment to be thankful for great friends, your health and you’re happiness. It’s the simple things … like how amazing your house now smells😉

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Apple Cinnamon Beer Bread

It seems we’re having a boozy week over at LTSL!!

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Cheers to eating your alcohol.

Cheers to October ( also .. WHAT?!?!)

Cheers to fall fashion and carbs.

Thank all that is warm and cozy for carbs!!

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I think I also deserve some what of a medal ( or an extra slice of this booze laden bread) for not having a Pumpkin Spice Latte for the year … yet. I’m actually seeing how long I can hold on … at least to thanksgiving?!

With me writting this, I’ll probably get a whiff on my way home and cave.

But for now … wooo hooo goooo me!! The ironic part is I’ve had my fair share of pumpkin/ pumpkin spice goodies.

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And because you’re probably sick of all of the pumpkin pizzazz I’m brining you another fall favourite … beer. Kidding … apppppplllleeesss … even though there’s no actual apples in this recipe … okay … let’s just go back to beeeeeeeerrr then.

Apple beer.

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Not drunk … I promise.

Apple Cinnamon Beer Bread

Ingredients:

3 cups flour (sifted)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1-teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon apple sauce

1 teaspoon apple juice

¼ cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups bottle Apple Beer

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sift flour into large bowl with baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and sugar, making sure they’re mixed well.
  3. Add apple sauce, apple juice, and beer. Stir until just combined.
  4. Pour into greased loaf pan and pour melted butter right over the top.
  5. Bake for 1 hour  minutes or until gold brown.

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Also, because we have a friendship based on trust … I trust that you will toast a slice ( or 7) slater it with butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar.

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Your life is now complete.

S’Moreo Banana Bread with S’Moreo Cookie Butter

You’re about to win.

Win breakfast that is … or life – because technically you can eat banana bread anytime.

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Especially when said banana bread is slathered in cookie butter. Homemade cookie butter with coconut oil, and everyone is saying coconut oil is good for you and things – which means, this cookie butter is pretty much celery.

You’re winning. I want you to win.

I’m about to have a crazy-fun-food filled weekend and I’m sooooooooooooo excited!! Toronto’s Front Street Foods; which I have to say has been such a huge success – I vote that it becomes an annual summer shindig the city holds – the Kensington Krawl; which I plan to blog about – but pretty much is a stroll through Toronto’s Kensington Market learning about the History and tastes offered annnnnnndddd Sweetery Toronto … which I think is the FIRST EVER all sugar coma induced foooood faaaiiiiiirrr!! You’ll be sure to find a zillion-trillion-billion pictures on instagram; im trying to go easy.

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I can’t wait! Tell me, tell me , tell me what are you doing this weekend? Is it summery? Are popsicles involved? Ice cream? S’mores, sunshine and barefeet in the grass?!?! Dear Summer, please never end – except fall  I love your comforting spices, tastes and fashion. But I’m not ready to let go of you summer!!

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While holding on to every inch of summer, have you guys tried the S’more flavoured oreos .. which I’ve coined S’Moreos( … go ahead Christie you can claim the name) – they’re goooooooooooood! I really like them, sweet but not crazy sweet.

So I threw it in banana bread and called it breakfast aaaaaaaaannnnnddd I made butta with it. Not just butter, like in proper English butter … this is seriously butta … it’s so good I was tempted to lick my blender risking getting cut.

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S’moreo Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea Salt
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 very ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 5 Crushed S’more Oreo Cookies

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  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a bread pan with non-stick cooking spray
  • In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients; flour, sugar, baking soda and salt
  • Add oil and eggs, one at a time.
  • Add mashed banana and vanilla, beat well
  • Fold in your cookies
  • Pour into pan and bake for 60 minutes

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S’moreo Cookie Butter

  • 16 S’more oreo cookies
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil at room temperature

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Combine both the oreos and the coconut oil in a food processor or blender. Pulse for 3 minuets – the butter will seem really thin ( that’s okay!!) as your butter cools, it will solidify.

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Wiiinnniiinnngg!!

Roasted Grape Red Wine Muenster focaccia

I want to wine and dine you.

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All in one meal .. snack?… appetizer?

Bread – Gooey cheese – and red wine, and grapes .. so it’s also health food … all in one!!

 YES YES YES .. dooo it, dooo it , dooo it!! …. Seriously, peer pressure of the best kind.

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 Cheese, bread and red wine may be my choice last meal. Ever.

I lie. For my last meal, I want fruitloops. No, no I don’t.

I want chocolate chip cookies … or macaroni and cheese – but not the boxed kind.

Or a smokey brisket sandwich would do me right – but so would a healthy (read : huge-mongous) slice of carrot cake …. But I can’t forget home-made bread … or pretty much anything my granny makes.

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It’s a good thing, I’m not going anywhere – I’m not ready to make my last meal decision quite yet – it’s too much pressure, and plus I have waaaayy to much to still eat ( that should say do/travel/learn … but no, eat)

 Ladies and cheeseheads … heh. I called all the boys cheeseheads … I feel like you need this focaccia. Either you need it, or you need to rescue it out of my sight because I can totally see myself ( read: have) polishing off the ENTIRE thing.

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 Real life.

Red wine Muenster focaccia

 INGREDIENTS:

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet quick rising Yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided ( 1 tsp x 1/2 tsp)
1-1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided ( 2 tbsp x 2 tbsp)
1 cup fresh seedless grapes

¼ cup red wine

1 tablespoons dried rosemary

2/3 cup cubed muester cheese

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DIRECTIONS:

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 In a small bowl, combine grapes and red wine – allow to marinate while you prepare other ingredients.

In an other bowl, add flour, dry yeast, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and stir until combined.

Using a Microwave safe bowl, combine water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Microwave on high for 30 seconds

Add oil mixture to dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until well mixed.

Spread into greased 9×13 inch pan. Cover with towel and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

 Gently poke holes about every inch in the dough going nearly to the bottom of the dough.

Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and evenly top with  rosemary and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Let rise, uncovered, an additional 15 minutes. Make indents one more time and scatter your marinated grapes and parmesan cheese. Allow to rise one last time while oven preheats to 400 degrees.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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 Buon appetite!!