St. Joseph’s Pastry (Sfinge)

St Joseph's Pastry (Sfinge) | Bakewell Junction  Delicious Italian Pastry that's traditionally made March 19th through Easter.

St Joseph’s Pastry (Sfinge) | Bakewell Junction

Happy Easter!  The day is almost over but I wanted to share this lovely recipe with you.  This pastry can be found at any Italian bakery throughout NY city and the surrounding suburbs on beginning on March 19th for the feast of Saint Joseph’s and usually through Easter.

The filling for the sfinge is either Cannoli Cream or a pastry crème that’s similar to a custard.  It can be vanilla or almond flavored but my family and I favor Cannoli Cream, so that’s what I made.  The shells are fried most of the time but I’ve seen them baked and I opted for baking to gain a small amount of health benefit.

At first I wasn’t happy with the results of the shells because they weren’t as tall as I thought they should be but they turned out to be quite delicious when filled.  My instructions will include details about how to get a better result.

For Palm Sunday and Easter this year I made my Easter Bread (one batch for Palm Sunday and one for Easter) and Chocolate Babka in addition to these sfinge.  What special Easter recipes did you make this year?

St Joseph's Pastry (Sfinge) | Bakewell Junction

St. Joseph’s Pastry (Sfinge)

Yield:  48 pastries                 Cook Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons lard (I used all butter)
  • 6 large eggs

Cannoli Cream Filling:

  • 2 lb container Polly-O ricotta cheese, drained overnight in a 2-ply cheesecloth (it drains best at room temperature, provided it’s cooler than 70 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 c mini chocolate chips; plus some additional for garnish

Topping:

  • powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • Maraschino Cherries (optional; I didn’t use these)

Directions:

Step 1:  For the filling: at least three days before serving, mix drained ricotta, vanilla and sugar together.  Move the mixture to a food processor (I used a small Kitchen Aid chopper) and mix until the filling is smooth and is the right consistency.  Depending on the size of your food processor or chopper, you may need to mix in small batches.

Step 2:  Fold in the mini chocolate chips, cover loosely and store at least overnight (better yet two nights) in the refrigerator.  When ready to fill, transfer the filling to a gallon size Ziploc bag make a 1/2 inch cut on one corner of the Ziploc bag.  Use as a pastry bag to fill the chocolate chip cookie cups.

Step 3:  For the dough:  Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside.  In a large saucepan or small stock pot, heat the water, butter and lard.  Let the mixture come to a boil and then remove the pot from the heat.  Add all the flour mixture at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until incorporated.  Return the pot to a medium to high heat for about 5 minutes while still mixing continuously; this will dry out the mixture and the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Remove the dough from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the dough to combine before repeating with the remaining eggs.

Step 4:  Using a pastry bag with a 1/2 plain nozzle (I substitute a Ziploc bag with 1/2 inch snipped off the corner), pipe 2 inch shells in circles onto a parchment lined (or greased and floured) cookie sheet and about 1 inch high, leaving 1/2 inch between each.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes until golden.  Repeat with the remaining dough until finished.  Cut a slit in the side of the shells so the insides don’t become soggy.  Transfer the shells to cooling racks.

Step 5:  For the assembly:  cut the tops from the shells and pipe the Cannoli Filling using a Ziploc bag with at least a 1/2 inch opening (so the chocolate chips don’t get stuck) into the center of the shell.  About 2 tablespoons depending on the size of the shell.  Top with the top of the shell and then add a small amount on the top of the shell.  Add a maraschino cherry if using and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with Espresso or coffee.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Ciao Italia by Mary Ann Esposito.

Tips:  Store assembled pastries in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.  The shells can be frozen in airtight Ziploc bags and then assembled at a later date.

This post may also be entered in these linky parties.  Click the here to visit the other great posts in the blog hops.

JWsMadeWLuvMondays

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts)

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts) | Bakewell Junction

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts) | Bakewell Junction

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts) | Bakewell Junction

Have you tried these Italian pastries?  They are a lovely addition to any dessert table and can be found at any Italian bakery throughout NY city and the surrounding suburbs.  Since Easter is just around the corner you may want to impress your family with this lovely recipe.

The filling for the tart is usually almond flavored but I used vanilla instead because I have some family members who won’t eat anything with almond extract.  The almond flavored filling is just as delicious as the vanilla, so feel free to use either based on your preferences.  You don’t even need to have tart pans to make these, you can make them in regular-sized muffin pans or mini muffin pans.

On another note, I’m so glad Spring has finally sprung.  How do I know, you might ask.  Some Crocus finally bloomed in the yard this week, I heard peepers in the distance and the last stubborn snow pile is almost gone – yay!  Are you ready for warmer weather and Easter?

 

Pastaciotti 

Yield:  12 tarts                 Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (I used the shortening in bar form)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (I substituted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Egg Wash and Sprinkle:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

Step 1:  For the filling:  Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan with a whisk until all lumps are gone.  Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk the mixture.  Add the butter to the mixture.  Place the saucepan on medium heat and cook  while stirring with a wooden spoon.  The butter will melt as the mixture heats up.  The mixture will thicken in about 7 to 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Let cool.

Step 2:  For the dough:  In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the shortening into flour mixture until it looks like a coarse cornmeal.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix with your hands to combine.  The dough should quickly come together into a smooth ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the filling cools completely.

Step 3:  For assembly:  You can prepare your tart or muffin pans by spraying them with cooking spray or line your muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.  I use the cupcake liners for easier cleanup.  Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour.  Divide the dough in half and transfer the dough onto the floured surface.  I usually flour the rolling pin too.  Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.  If you’re using 3 by 1 1/4 inch tart pans, use a 3 inch round or fluted  biscuit cutter to cut the dough for the tops and bottoms.  If you’re using regular-sized muffin pans, use a 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to cut half the dough for the bottoms and a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter for the remaining dough for the tops.  Reroll dough scraps as needed to cut out all the circles.

Step 4:  For each of the 12 tarts, press the 3+ inch dough into the bottom and up the sides of the tart or muffin wells.  If using the tart shells, place them on a cookie sheet.  Add about 2 tablespoons of the filling in each tart.  When using muffin tins, place the smaller 2 1/2 inch dough circles on top of the tarts and pinch the edges closed.  When using the tart pans, place the remaining 3 inch dough circles on the top of the tarts and pinch the edges closed  Mix the beaten egg and milk and use a pastry brush to spread some of the egg wash on the top of the tarts  Place the tarts in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Step 5:  Bake the tarts for 12 to 15 minutes in the middle of a preheated 425 degree oven until the tops are golden brown.  Cool on racks.  If making the miniature tarts (mini muffin pans; about 24 tarts), bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and coffee or espresso.

Recipe adapted from Celebrations Italian Style by Mary Ann Esposito.

Tips:  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

This post may also be entered in these linky parties.  Click the here to visit the other great posts in the blog hops.

JWsMadeWLuvMondays

Oreo Stuffed Monkey Bread

Oreo Monkey Bread | Bakewell Junction

Oreo Monkey Bread | Bakewell Junction

I have a bit of an obsession with Monkey Bread.  I love it and it’s just so easy to make.  This time I bring you Oreo Stuffed Monkey Bread.   I’ve seen Oreos stuffed in cookies, brownies, truffles and many other treats.  I like and appreciate all of those too but I wanted to incorporate the Oreos into my new favorite dessert.

Every bite of this Monkey Bread has Oreo in it.  I think you’ll love it as much as I do.  I used the mini Oreos in the recipe but Double Stuff Oreos are a favorite.  Next time I’ll use those cut into quarters.  What is your favorite Oreo?

Oreo Monkey Bread 2 | Bakewell Junction

Oreo Stuffed Monkey Bread

Yield:  6 to 8 servings                 Cook Time:  35 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1/2 cup water, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Coating and Filling:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 packed brown sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 8 to 12 tablespoons (1 to 1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 8 ounce bag of Mini Oreos or 16 Double Stuff Oreos quartered

Icing:

  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 or more tablespoons milk

Directions:

Step 1:  For the Dough:  Mix the milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast in a two cup measure.  I used a microwave safe glass measure and heated the milk and water a full power for 1 minute, 20 seconds to reach 110 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour and salt.  Using the dough hook attachment, start the mixer on low.  Add the milk mixture slowly.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed until the flour is incorporated.  Increase the mixer speed to medium (raised my KA to the 5 setting) and let it knead for another 6 to 7 minutes.  If the dough looks overly wet, add 2 tablespoons of flour at a time and continue mixing until the dough forms a mass.  Spray a large bowl with cooking spray.  Transfer the dough to the bowl and spray the dough also.  Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and use my tip below to aid the rise.  Let the dough rise until doubled.  If using my tip, it will double in 45 to 60 minutes.  If not, it may take 1 to 2 hours.

Step 2:  For the coating:  As the dough rises, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Place the melted butter in a small bowl.  If you would like to dial back the sweetness and gooeyness of the recipe, use the lesser amounts of sugar and butter.  Set aside.

Step 3:  For the shaping the dough balls:  Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour.  Transfer the dough onto the floured surface.  Spread and press the dough into about an 8 inch square.  Cut the dough into 8 by 8 slices with a bench scraper or knife.  This will give you 64 pieces.  Shape each dough ball around an Oreo and shape into balls and place back on the counter.  Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

Step 4:  Spray the bundt pan with cooking spray.  If any of the dough balls have reopened, pinch them together to fully enclose the Oreo and create a uniform ball shape.  Dip each dough ball into the melted butter mixture individually.  Then roll them in the brown sugar mixture until they are well coated.  Place the dough ball into the bundt pan.  Layer the dough balls so they are offset and the dough ball on top is placed on the seam of dough balls below.  Repeat preparing the dough balls until they are all in the pan.  If there’s any remaining melted butter, drizzle it over the top of the dough balls.  If there’s any remaining brown sugar, sprinkle it over the top of the dough balls too.

Step 5:  Cover the bundt pan with a clean dish cloth or plastic wrap.  Let rise until puffy and until they are about an inch or two from the top of the pan.  Mine rose to the top of the pan.  If using my oven tip below, let rise for 45 minutes.  If not, let rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Step 6:  Bake unwrapped 30 to 35 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven with a cookie sheet underneath the pan.  I’ve found that at least one or two dough balls try to escape during baking and the cookie sheet prevents them from burning on the bottom of the oven and causing a ton of smoke.  When done the top should be browned and the coating begins bubbling a bit.  Let bread cool in the pan for a maximum of 5 minutes.  Any longer and it may be difficult to depan.  Invert bread onto a large plate.

Step 7:  For the Icing:  While the dough cools a bit, add butter and mascarpone cheese to a large mixing bowl.  Beat 2 minutes.  I beat them on high using a hand-held mixer.  Beat in vanilla extract and cinnamon.  Mix in the powdered sugar at a lower speed (this prevents having powdered sugar everywhere).  Mix in the milk.  If you want a thinner icing, add more milk in teaspoon increments until you reach desired consistency.  While the bread is still warm, spread the icing on top of the bread – the icing will drizzle down the sides of the dough.  Serve warm or cold.

Recipe inspired by Cooks Illustrated.

Tips:  If your house is chilly like mine always is and your dough doesn’t rise, you can boil a pot of water while preparing the dough and place the water and dough in a cold oven.  The boiling water will create a warm moist environment in the oven for the dough to rise well.  Leave the oven light on and it will add to the warming effect.

This post may also be entered in these linky parties.  Click the here to visit the other great posts in the blog hops.

Pignoli Cookies

Pignoli Cookies | Bakewell Junction

Pignoli Cookies | Bakewell Junction

I tried two recipes of Pignoli cookies.  I wanted to compare an old recipe I’ve made before side-by-side with a recipe that I got from my friend Chris.  The recipes are similar so the end result is also similar.  I think my favorite of the two turns out to be the newer recipe (Pignoli Cookies 1) Chris gave me.  It produces larger cookies with more pignoli (pine) nuts.  I may add the flavorings from the Family Circle recipe (Pignoli Cookies 2) to my friend Chris’ recipe and make it my go to recipe for Pignoli cookies.

Many people make this cookie for Christmas but, since Easter is right around the corner, these would be a great to finish off a special Easter dinner.  I didn’t think my hubby liked these cookies but to my surprise, he says they’re really good with coffee.

 Pignoli Cookies 2 | Bakewell Junction

Pignoli Cookies 1 

Yield:  24 servings                 Cook Time:  25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces almond paste (the almond paste in the can is still 8 ounces)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 ounces pignoli (pine) nuts (I weighted the nuts on an old scale my Grandmother had and it was about 2/3 cup),
  • additional powdered sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Sift sugars, flour and salt into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Step 2:  Cut almond paste into small pieces.  I also run the almond paste pieces through my mini chopper, so that it looks like small grains.  This will help the paste mix better and there won’t be almond paste chunks in the cookies.  In separate medium bowl, beat egg whites and almond paste together until the mixture is smooth.  Add the sugar mixture to the almond paste and stir until combined.  Separate dough into 24 1 inch balls and place onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Press dough balls into 1 1/2 inch rounds.  Divide nuts 24 portions, remove skin on the tips of the nuts, if any, and press into the tops of the cookies.

Step 3:  Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden on the edges.  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.  Serve at room temperature.  You can sprinkle with additional powdered sugar if using.

Recipe slightly adapted from my friend Chris.

Pignoli Cookies  2

Yield:  28 servings                 Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces almond paste (the almond paste in the tube is 7 ounces)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1 teaspoon dried orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup pignoli (pine) nuts

Directions:

Step 1:  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Cut almond paste into small pieces.  I also run the almond paste pieces through my mini chopper, so that it looks like small grains.  This will help the paste mix better and there won’t be almond paste chunks in the cookies.

Step 2:  In a medium bowl, beat one egg white, sugar and almond paste together until the mixture is smooth.  Beat in the remaining egg white and extracts.  Add the flour and mix by hand until just combined.  Separate batter into 28 balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  This will be a sticky batter.  Remove skin on the tips of the nuts, if any, and cover each cookie with about 1/2 teaspoon of pignoli nuts.

Step 3:  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.  Serve at room temperature.

Recipe slightly adapted from Family Circle Bonus (12/12/00 edition) insert booklet by Michael Krondl.

This post may also be entered in these linky parties.  Click the here to visit the other great posts in the blog hops.

JWsMadeWLuvMondays

Pecan Pie Muffins

Pecan Pie Muffins | Bakewell Junction

Pecan Pie Muffins | Bakewell Junction

Yesterday I went to a 1st birthday party and met up with an old friend for a few hours.  I had a great time but I didn’t have an idea of what I would post today nor the time to really think about it.  I have lots of recipes pinned that I want to try, probably enough to last me a lifetime.

Pecan Pie Muffins is a recipe I wanted to try for a long time.  It’s a quick and easy recipe to whip up if you have pecans in your pantry.These muffins taste great and have lots of pecans throughout.  The hubby gave them the thumbs up.  They’re great as is or you can top them with whipped cream or ice cream just as you would with Pecan Pie.

Pecan Pie Muffins | Bakewell Junction

Pecan Pie Muffins 

Yield:  9 to 10 servings                 Cook Time:  25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 additional pecan halves for muffin topping
  • whipped cream or ice cream for topping (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  Line two muffin pans with 10 cupcake liners.  In a medium bowl, mix the pecans, flour and brown sugar until well combined.  Set aside.

Step 2:  In separate medium bowl, beat eggs and melted butter together.  Add the egg mixture to the pecan mixture and mix by hand until just combined.  Spoon into the muffin wells to about 2/3 full.  Place half a pecan on the top of each muffin.

Step 3:  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer muffins to a cooling rack to cool.  Serve warm or room temperature.  You can top with whipped cream or ice cream.

Recipe from Pecan Pie Muffins on Nuts About Food.

This post may also be entered in these linky parties.  Click the here to visit the other great posts in the blog hops.

Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior

Strawberry Monkey Bread #TwelveLoaves

Strawberry Monkey Bread | Bakewell Junction

Strawberry Monkey Bread | Bakewell Junction

I was introduced to Monkey Bread a few months ago when I made it for the first time and it was for #TwelveLoaves too.  I thought a Strawberry version would be perfect for this month’s #TwelveLoaves bread baking party.  The monkey bread cooled overnight, since I was working on it late last night, so the icing didn’t melt and smooth out like I would have liked.

I wanted to incorporate strawberries in every bite of monkey bread, so I put a little in the center of each dough ball.  This version has strawberry mascarpone icing instead of cream cheese icing.  Hopefully this recipe and the slightly warmer weather reminds you of the coming spring.  If you like super gooey and sweet treats, this one is for you.  You can definitely taste the strawberries but it’s not overpowering.

Strawberry Monkey Bread 2 | Bakewell Junction

Strawberry Monkey Bread

Yield:  6 to 8 servings                 Cook Time:  35 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1/2 cup water, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Coating and Filling:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 packed brown sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 16 ounce container frozen strawberries, thawed and drained and liquid reserved
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup reserved frozen strawberry liquid

Icing:

  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 or more tablespoons reserved frozen strawberry liquid or milk

Directions:

Step 1:  For the Dough:  Mix the milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast in a two cup measure.  I used a microwave safe glass measure and heated the milk and water a full power for 1 minute, 20 seconds to reach 110 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour and salt.  Using the dough hook attachment, start the mixer on low.  Add the milk mixture slowly.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed until the flour is incorporated.  Increase the mixer speed to medium (raised my KA to the 5 setting) and let it knead for another 6 to 7 minutes.  If the dough looks overly wet, add 2 tablespoons of flour at a time and continue mixing until the dough forms a mass.  Spray a large bowl with cooking spray.  Transfer the dough to the bowl and spray the dough also.  Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and use my tip below to aid the rise.  Let the dough rise until doubled.  If using my tip, it will double in 45 to 60 minutes.  If not, it may take 1 to 2 hours.

Step 2:  For the coating:  As the dough rises, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Place the melted butter in a small bowl and 1/4 cup reserved frozen strawberry liquid.  If you would like to dial back the sweetness and gooeyness of the recipe, use the lesser amounts of sugar and skip the 1/4 cup reserved strawberry liquid.  Set aside.

Step 3:  For the shaping the dough balls:  Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour.  Transfer the dough onto the floured surface.  Spread and press the dough into about an 8 inch square.  Cut the dough into 8 by 8 slices with a bench scraper or knife.  This will give you 64 pieces.  If there are any strawberries that haven’t been cleaned and the stem still remains, remove the stem.  I had two that were like this.  Flatten out the dough ball into a small square and rectangular shape and then pinch together dough ends, top to bottom corners.  This should create a well in the middle.  Place a small amount (about 1/4 teaspoon or less) of the defrosted strawberries in the center of the dough and then enclose in the dough by pinching the ends together.  Since the strawberries are moist keep a paper towel nearby, so you dry your hands and the dough will stick together better when pinching with dry hands.  Shape the dough into balls and place back on the counter.  Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

Step 4:  Spray the bundt pan with cooking spray.  If any of the dough balls have reopened, pinch them together to fully enclose the strawberry pieces and create a uniform ball shape.  Mix the butter mixture well and also periodically while dipping the dough balls.  Dip each dough ball into the melted butter mixture individually.  Then roll them in the brown sugar mixture until they are well coated.  Place the dough ball into the bundt pan.  Layer the dough balls so they are offset and the dough ball on top is placed on the seam of dough balls below.  Repeat until about half the dough balls are in the bundt pan.  Spread any remaining drained strawberries evenly on the dough.  Repeat preparing the dough balls until they are all in the pan and have covered all the strawberries.  If there’s any remaining melted butter, drizzle it over the top of the dough balls.  If there’s any remaining brown sugar, sprinkle it over the top of the dough balls too.

Step 5:  Cover the bundt pan with a clean dish cloth or plastic wrap.  Let rise until puffy and until they are about an inch or two from the top of the pan.  Mine rose to the top of the pan.  If using my oven tip below, let rise for 45 minutes.  If not, let rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Step 6:  Bake unwrapped 30 to 35 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.  When done the top should be browned and the coating begins bubbling a bit.  Let bread cool in the pan for a maximum of 5 minutes.  Any longer and it will be difficult to depan.  Invert bread onto a large plate.

Step 7:  For the Icing:  While the dough cools a bit, add butter and mascarpone cheese to a large mixing bowl.  Beat 2 minutes.  I beat them on high using a hand-held mixer.  Beat in vanilla extract and cinnamon.  Mix in the powdered sugar at a lower speed (this prevents having powdered sugar everywhere).  Mix in the reserved strawberry liquid or milk.  If you want a thinner icing, add more reserved strawberry liquid or milk in teaspoon increments until you reach desired consistency.  While the bread is still warm, spread the icing on top of the bread – the icing will drizzle down the sides of the dough.  Serve warm or cold.

Recipe inspired by Cooks Illustrated.

Tips:  If your house is chilly like mine always is and your dough doesn’t rise, you can boil a pot of water while preparing the dough and place the water and dough in a cold oven.  The boiling water will create a warm moist environment in the oven for the dough to rise well.  Leave the oven light on and it will add to the warming effect.

#TwelveLoaves March: Strawberries. February was a delicious month of Chocolate breads! We are ready for spring and chose Strawberries for our March theme! Choose a recipe featuring strawberries. (Your bread of choice could be accented with fresh or dried strawberries, strawberry preserves) Whatever you bake, (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, braids, flatbreads, etc) have fun and let’s have a delicious month of bread with STRAWBERRIES. Let’s get baking!

If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!

1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone’s posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!

2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.

3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this March, 2014, and posted on your blog by March 31, 2014.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the lovely Renee from Magnolia Days and this month the fabulous Alice of Hip Foodie Mom.

You are next… Click here to enter

This post may also be entered in these linky parties.  Click the here to visit the other great posts in the blog hops.

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookies

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

The last few days were unseasonably warm and a lot of the snow has melted.  Happy day!  The eight foot piles are down to about four feet.  Today the cold weather is back.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating…I love recreating recipes that are purchased from bakeries or pre-packaged from the supermarket.  A couple of weeks ago I shared Italian Butter Cookies with you and now I’d like to share Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookies.  The dough was a little thick for piping, although I did not puncture the Ziploc bag while piping the dough, my hands did get tired.

This is another recipe from The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo.  I think everyone has seen the sandwich butter cookies in bakeries.  Most of the time they are filled with jam or preserves but sometimes they are filled with chocolate which is what I chose to do because my hubby loves the chocolate version.  These are a tender and delicious cookie - you won’t be able to stop at just one.  Which version would you and your family prefer?

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookies

Yield:  80 individual cookies                  Cook Time:  7 minutes

Dough:

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, room temperature or softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 eggs (for 1/2 an egg, beat an egg in a small bowl; take 1 1/2 tablespoons to equal 1/2 an egg)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • green (30 drops), red (40 drops) or yellow (optional)

Filling and Garnish:

  • jam (about an 8 ounce jar)
  • coconut, shredded
  • chopped nuts
  • 3 ounces chocolate chips, melted with 1 to 3 tablespoons shortening (double if sandwiching with chocolate)
  • sprinkles
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
  • additional chocolate for drizzle (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes at medium speed.  Combine egg yolks, vanilla and food coloring (if using) with butter mixture and mix until completely combined.  Mix in baking powder and flour at low speed.

Step 2:  The original recipe specified “Using star tip #4 “s” tube, pipe out in 2″ bars on greased baking pan.” but since I don’t have those particular items, I used a Ziploc bag, cut off one corner (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch opening) and piped the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  My cookies were about 3 to 4 inches long and I got about 80 cookie bars which turned into 40 cookie sandwiches  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes.  I needed to bake for 7 minutes.  Cool completely on racks.

Step 3:  Filling and Garnish:  Melt 3 ounces of chocolate in the microwave in two or three 30 second increments.  Add shortening and microwave for 20 seconds. Mix thoroughly.  I found that 1 tablespoon of shortening was enough per 3 ounces of chocolate.  Place desired garnishes in small bowls.

Step 4:  Once cookies are completely cooled (it’s better to wait overnight because they are very tender), pair the cookie bars together based on length and shape.  Dip the flat bottom side of the cookie into the melted chocolate or spread with jam.  Top with the flat side of the paired cookie.  Dip one end of cookie sandwich into the melted chocolate on all sides.  While the chocolate is still soft on the end of the cookie, dip chocolate end into garnishes until covered.  Place on wax paper or parchment until dry.  Let garnishes set before storing.

Storing:  Store in a sealed plastic container for a few days.

Note:  The pastry star tube is the large commercial size and may be purchased at any restaurant or baking supply house.  4 “S” – 3/8 inch opening.  Use a No. 12 inch pastry bag; cut opening to fit large pastry tube.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe minimally adapted from The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo.

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Italian Butter Cookie Hearts

Italian Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Italian Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I found a recipe for Italian bakery butter cookies that I wanted to try, so I made them into heart shapes.  They’re topped with chocolate frosting and chocolate is always a must have on Valentine’s Day.

I must have made my cookies a lot larger than the original recipe called for because I only got 16 cookies.  I found the dough to be very thick and I needed to add a fourth egg yolk as described in the notes at the bottom of the recipe.  Even with the extra egg yolk, I had a hard time piping the dough.  I wound up puncturing the Ziploc bag with my finger while piping the dough.  While the frosting was a bit easier to pipe, it was pretty thick also.

I love recreating store bought treats at home, whether they are prepackaged snacks or store or bakery made.  While searching for a suitable recipe, I found resources on the internet saying that The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo is the best.  I searched for the book but there are none to be found.  Someone sold one on Ebay last year but that’s as close I got to finding a copy.  I’m so glad I found these wonderful cookies and shared them with you.  This doesn’t mean that I won’t by cookies from the bakery sometimes but now I can make them myself whenever I want.  What store bought treats have you tried to recreate at home?

Italian Butter Cookie Hearts

Yield:  36 – 41 small cookies                  Cook Time:  10 minutes

Dough:

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 ounces) flour

Rosette Chocolate Frosting:

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes at medium speed.  Combine egg yolks and vanilla with butter mixture and mix until completely combined.  Mix in flour at low speed.

Step 2:  The original recipe specified “Pipe with bag onto ungreased cookie sheet into rosettes with a #7 “S” tube (or roll into 1 ” balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly).” but since I don’t have those particular items, I used a Ziploc bag, cut off one corner and piped the dough into heart shapes onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  You can optionally top with colored sprinkles (jimmies).  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes.  Cool completely on racks.

Step 3:  Rosette Chocolate Frosting:  Sift together powdered sugar and cocoa and set aside.  Cream butter for a few minutes and then beat in 1 cup of sugar and cocoa mixture.  Mix in vanilla.  Mix in remaining sugar alternating with milk.

Step 4:  Once cookies are completely cooled, fill a pastry bag with half the frosting recipe at a time and pipe a large rosette in the center of the cookie.  Let frosting set before storing.

Options:  You may use yellow or pink frosting for rosettes by eliminating cocoa powder and increasing powdered sugar another 2/3 cup (or more if needed), until reaching piping consistency and adding desired color.

Note:  If dough is too firm to pipe through bag return dough to mixing bowl and beat in another egg yolk.

Storing:  Store in a sealed plastic container for a few days.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe minimally adapted from The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo.

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Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake | Bakewell Junction

Cinnamon Roll Cake | Bakewell Junction

I’d seen this Cinnamon Roll Cake on Danielle’s Hugs and Cookies XOXO site a few weeks ago and thought it would be delicious.  Due to the frequent snow events and a couple of viruses I hadn’t had a chance to make it to share with family and friends.  It’s a pretty quick and easy recipe, so you can whip it up for last minute guests.  I love cinnamon rolls and was curious about how this cake would taste.

I almost didn’t post this recipe because my sense of taste is off thanks to this sinus thing I’ve got going on and the swirl wasn’t evenly distributed throughout (I need to work on the swirling technique).  The hubby walked by and grabbed a slice.  He liked it quite a bit so I changed my mind because it’s all about the flavor – right?

Cinnamon Roll Cake 

Yield:  12 servings                  Cook Time:  40 minutes

Batter:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Topping:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Step 1:  For the batter:  Line a 9 by 13 pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, add all the batter ingredients except the butter and mix with an electric mixer until combined.  Add the melted butter and stir slowly until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Step 2:  In a large bowl, add all the topping ingredients and mix until combined and creamy.  Drop large dollops of the topping evenly over the top of the cake.  Using a knife, swirl the topping throughout the cake.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.

Step 3:  For the glaze:  In a medium bowl, mix together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cake while still warm.  Server at room temperature.

Storing:  Store at room temperature in a sealed plastic container for a few days.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe from Cinnamon Roll Cake on Hugs and Cookies XOXO.

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Sausage Stuffing

Sausage Stuffing | Bakewell Junction

Sausage Stuffing | Bakewell Junction

Hi there.  If you’re like me and you’re making a big meal for a holiday or any special occasions, you prefer eating the appetizers, sides and desserts rather than the main meal.  The picture doesn’t do this dish justice and quite honestly I don’t know how to make it better.  I don’t like gravy on my stuffing but you could always add it if you like.

The last few gathering I’ve had this Sausage Stuffing as a wonderful side dish.  My sister-in-law has been making this recipe for longer than I’ve known her (at the risk of dating myself, I won’t go into how long that’s been).  She gladly gave it to me and now I’m sharing it with you.  The recipe uses a store bought stuffing mix but you can substitute a homemade stuffing also.  This stuffing recipe is so good you’ll be going back for seconds and thirds.

Enjoy!

Sausage Stuffing 

Yield:  12 servings                  Cook Time:  45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds removed from casing and crumbled
  • 1 pound of your favorite stuffing package (it’s difficult to find a full 1 pound package, so a 14 ounce one will work)
  • 20 to 30 ounces chicken canned broth (I generally start with 2 15 ounce cans and add a couple of ounces of water if I need it)
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves (optional – I skip this ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, sliced in to 8 thin pats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  Brown sausage with oil, if using, in a large sauce pan.  The last time I made this I used the broiler to brown the sausage.  Turn the sausage crumbles so the pieces brown on all sides.

Step 2:  Add the onion, celery and garlic, if using, and saute a bit longer.  Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool a bit.

Step 3:  In a half size steam tray pan or a lasagna pan, add the stuffing mix and sausage.  Mix to distribute sausage throughout the stuffing mix.  Add chicken broth and mix to moisten throughout.  If you need a little more liquid, add an ounce or two of water.  Spread mixture evenly in the pan and place the butter pats on top of the mixture.  Cover with aluminum and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  About halfway through cooking, remove the aluminum covering to allow the stuffing to brown on top.  Serve warm.

Tips:  This stuffing is delicious cold out of the fridge or as warmed leftovers.  Also, you can prepare the stuffing the day before up to covering with aluminum foil and then store in the fridge until you’re ready to bake for the special meal.

Enjoy!!!

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