English Muffins

IMG_2688Makes 6

  • 1 c milk
    1 T butter
    1 T honey
    2 t (1 pkt.) instant yeast
    2 c all purpose flour
    1/2 t salt
    For dredging
    2 T cornmeal
    1 T flour

In a large bowl (I used my mixer bowl) whisk together flour, yeast and salt.

In a pan, heat milk until just warm, remove from heat and add honey and butter.  Stir until melted.  Add to flour, and mix with dough hook until dough is smooth and elastic.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free location overnight or for 12 hours.

Put a cast iron griddle on the burner over medium heat.  Turn oven on to 350°F.  In a small bowl, mix cornmeal and flour.  When the griddle is hot enough to sizzle water dripped on it (350°-375°F), dip a serving spoon in water, then gently scoop out 1/6 of the dough.  Place dough in cornmeal mixture and turn over.  When evenly coated, gently shape dough into a round and place on griddle.  Repeat until all the dough is used, and turn the heat to low (this should make 6 muffins).  Cook for 10 minutes, lifting muffin halfway through to assess browning.  Muffins should be a deep golden tan at the end of 10 minutes — you may need to adjust the flame.  When muffins are nicely browned, gently flip and cook for another 10 minutes,  then remove from griddle to a baking sheet and finish in the oven for another 10 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

I found this recipe kicking around in the pantry.  I’d printed it from somewhere, sometime, but I now don’t know where I found the recipe.  It is simple and easy.  I used 50% Sifted Whole Wheat Flour from Maine Grains, a new local grist mill in Skowhegan, Maine.  The verdict?  Delicious, but they were not as holey as I would like, so I need to do some research to see if I can solve that problem.  Look for more about Maine Grains and my recent tour of the mill on Henbogle.

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My favorite scone recipe

3 c flour
1/3 c sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
1 c buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl.  Cut in butter. Add buttermilk,stirring gently until clumpy. Turn out onto floured board and knead until dough comes together. Form into a round for large wedges, or a rectangle for smaller wedges. Cut into wedges and bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.  Parchment paper is great for scones if you can find it.

Variations

Zest of one orange or lemon
3/4 +/- dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips, dried cherries, pecans, currants, etc.

Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti

This recipe came to me from my friend Joe, via a friend of his. The recipe was originally from Gourmet magazine, but I upped the cheese content a bit to compensate for using a milder American produced parmesan, rather than delicious but spendy improted Parmigiano.
1 1/2 T whole black peppercorns, ground in pepper or spice grinder
4 c flour ( plus some for the board)
2 t baking powder
2 t salt
6 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (1/4 c reserved)
3/4 c cold unsalted butter, cubed
4 large eggs
1 c whole milk

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir flour, baking powder, salt, cheese, and pepper in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat 3 eggs with milk, stir into flour mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured bread board and divide dough into 4 pieces. Flour hands and form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log about 3/4 inch high. Transfer logs to 2 ungreased large baking sheets.

Beat remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Transfer 1 warm log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.

Yum.  Great with a white bean purée.

Favorite Cornbread

This is my favorite corn bread recipe.  I prefer a coarsely ground cornmeal for the texture it gives the bread, but finely ground will also work.  It is endlessly variable, just use your imagination.

1 c stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
1 c plain yogurt, sour milk or buttermilk
1/2 c milk
1 T honey
2 eggs
3 t unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425°F.  While oven preheats, measure dry ingredients and stir together.  Melt butter in cast iron fry pan in the oven.  While butter melts, mix eggs, buttermilk, milk and honey in small bowl.  Pour out butter into egg mixture, being sure to coat the sides of the pan well with butter, and beat together, then stir mixture into dry ingredients.  Pour back into the hot fry pan and bake until edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan and the top is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve.

Variations

Pumpkin Corn Bread:  Add 1/2 -3/4 c mashed pumpkin or winter squash.  Reduce the amount of milk to 2 T unless pumpkin is very dry.

Corny Corn Bread:  Add 3/4 c thawed, drained, frozen corn kernels to batter with the wet ingredients.

Bacon Corn Bread:  Cook 3 slices of bacon in cast iron fry pan.  Pour off 3 T of bacon fat and reserve, coating pan well with fat.  Replace the butter with the bacon fat as above.  Crumble bacon and sprinkle the top of the batter with bacon just before putting in the oven.

Jalapeno Corn Bread:  While oven preheats, roast a jalapeno pepper in the cast iron pan.  When the chile is browned and blistered, remove and mince.  Add to wet ingredients, and follow the recipe as above.

Base Scone recipe

My favorite basic scone recipe.  Start with these and add whatever catches your fancy for some delicious scones.

3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter
1 cup chilled buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk gradually, mixing until moist clumps form.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly until dough comes together. At this time, add extras such as dried fruit.

Pat into 1-inch-thick round and cut into 8 wedges. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet until tops of scones are golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Extras:

2/3 c finely chopped candied ginger or apricots, craisins, etc.
Zest of 1 orange or lemon
chocolate or cinnamon chips
Brush the scone with cream or buttermilk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar crystals

Cheddar Olive Wafers

  • 1/2 lb extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t cayenne
  • 1 small jar pimento-stuffed green olives

Drain olives in a colander.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and cayenne.  In mixer, blend cheese and butter.  Add flour mixture and mix until well combined.  Add drained olives, stirring to distribute.

On floured board, roll into a 2″ diameter log.  Refrigerate 30+ minutes until firm.  Slice thinly and bake in 350°F oven for 15 minutes.  Makes about 72 wafers.

Savory Corn Pancakes

  • 1 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c grated Cheddar or Jack cheese
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2-1  c  sweet corn cut from the cob
  • 1/4+ t ground chipotle chile
  • 3 T veg oil

Scald milk. Remove from heat and add butter; allow to melt.

Mix cornmeal, cheese and chile powder in a bowl. Add milk and stir until a thick batter forms. Stir in the corn.

Allow batter to rest until the dough thickens.

Heat oil in large skillet and fry pancakes until browned and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side.

These would probably be delicious with chives or scallions added to the batter.  They are terrific served with chili or spicy bean soup.