Categories
Bread Breakfast Dessert

I ‘concha’ take my eyes off this gorgeous sweet bread

Manteconchas
Manteconchas are mini versions of the traditional Mexican sweet bread and are loaded with cinnamon.

Several weeks ago, over at our office, we were gifted something I’d never tried: conchas.

If you’re unfamiliar, like I was, a concha is a Mexican sweet roll. It gets its name from its crispy topping, which looks like a seashell.

Well, I was completely hooked after trying them. It was like getting to have bread and dessert all at once, and what midwesterner can resist such a combination?

I looked up how to make them, and of course, it’s an art form, but since I sometimes like a good challenge, I decided to try an easier version in the form of “manteconchas,” a mini version of the classic dish, and they did not disappoint.

The recipe I tried comes from the company website “Bread Stamps.” You can find the original at https://breadstamps.com/manteconchas. I added extra cinnamon and vanilla in my version and converted the amounts from grams.

Manteconchas
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Manteconchas

Manteconchas are mini versions of thetraditional Mexican sweet bread and are loaded with cinnamon.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword conchas, manteconchas, sweet bread

Ingredients

Bread Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 drops cinnamon oil flavoring
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Food coloring

Instructions

  • For the bread, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Combine the milk mixture, along with the butter, sugar, salt, egg, vanilla, cinnamon and about half of the flour into a mixer with a dough hook or start by mixing with a wooden spoon. Knead/stir for four to five minutes, and then add the rest of the flour and knead for seven to 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. It will be sticky.
  • Spray a bowl with cooking spray (spray your hands, too, to make handling the dough easier), and transfer the ball of dough into it. Cover it and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • For the topping, combine all of the ingredients, adding as much food coloring as you like at the end (you can split the mixture into several sections and get multiple colors, if you want). Knead the topping until it is smooth and then flatten it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for about 20 minutes.
  • Once the dough is done resting, line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and then separate the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball, and place them in the lined cupcake tin.
  • Now split the topping into 12 equal pieces (I rolled mine into a snake to do this, and it was super easy to split evenly). You’ll want to minimize how much you touch the topping, because it will get sticky quickly. I recommend working with it on a piece of waxed paper to make it easier to pick up.
  • Take each piece of topping and roll it into a ball. Using the heel of your hand, flatten the ball out to a disc about the same diameter as the cupcake tin wells.
  • Stamp the piece of topping with a cookie stamp or use another tool to make a shallow design in the top. Do not cut all the way through the disc.
  • Transfer the stamped discs to the tops of the bread, and let the manteconchas rest for another 45 minutes.
  • When the time is almost up, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 13 minutes. The bread that is peeking through the topping should be lightly browned and fully set.
  • Remove the manteconchas from the cupcake tin and let them cool before storing them in an airtight container.

These had a great, warm cinnamon flavor, and they were so pretty, too. The best part about these is that you can choose your color and design for any time of year.

I didn’t have a cookie stamp, so I used my biscuit cutter and just cut partway down to create a bunch of circles or curves. Just be creative with it.

Obviously, this is a bit of a time consuming recipe with having to wait for the dough to rise, but the excitement when you take these out of the oven and the bread has risen through the cracks in the topping is pretty palpable.

And now that I found this recipe, I might just stick to the mini version of conchas. It’s just as delicious but a little kinder to your waistline.

This piece first appeared in print on Sept. 10, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Bread Breakfast Dessert

Bread will ‘apple’solutely get you ready for fall

Apple butter bread has lots of fall spices and is a great breakfast or dessert.

I remember once spending an entire afternoon helping my mom make applesauce. My sister and I loved the apple-peeling machine that cut each apple into cool spirals, and we took turns manning the crank.

Mom was at the stove, cooking down the sliced apples and then ladling it off into containers as the applesauce was finished.

We thought it was so cool. I think our freezer was full of containers of applesauce for quite awhile—we were probably a lot more excited about making it than eating it, I’d guess. But I always remember that as such a fun experience, and the taste of any kind of baked apples has always been high on my list.

I’ve had an unopened jar of apple butter in my pantry for a few months now. If you don’t know, apple butter is really just super-concentrated applesauce. It’s cooked down even more to give it that pretty brown color. It’s fantastic on toast, but I kept thinking I could do something special with this jar, and that’s when I came across this week’s recipe.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “KJ and Company.” You can find the original at https://kjandcompany.co/2019/09/21/spiced-apple-butter-bread/. I added more vanilla and extra spices in my version.

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Apple Butter Bread

Apple butter bread has lots of fall spices and is a great breakfast or dessert.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword apple butter, cinnamon, cloves, gingerbread, quick bread

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper and spraying it with cooking spray (cut the parchment so it lines the bottom and goes up the long sides of the pan to hang out over the edges).
  • In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, apple butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the rest of the ingredients until everything is combined well.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the bread cool for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
  • Slice it (it’s easier to slice once it’s cooled completely) and store in an airtight container.

If it didn’t feel like September before I started baking this bread, it definitely did by the time I was finished. My whole kitchen smelled like warm, fall spices, and I was practically ready to go grab a cardigan.

This was a nice, lightly spiced quick bread that we ate both as a dessert and for breakfast, and we really enjoyed it. I actually doubled the recipe so we could share with the office, and it went over well there, too.

And it was also a lot easier to let somebody else make the apple butter instead of that long afternoon of applesauce-making with Mom all those years ago. I’m all for cooking completely from scratch, but sometimes a jar is a nice addition to a recipe.

This piece first appeared in print on Sept. 3, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Bread Breakfast Dessert

Bread perfect for leftover that was driving me nuts

Blueberry pie quick bread, as the name suggests, is a quick recipe that uses fresh blueberries, although frozen will also do.

I have had this block of leftover almond paste just sitting in the back of my refrigerator for weeks.

Every time I would open the fridge, I would just stare at the container, knowing I needed to use it up but not being 100-percent sure how.

But then there were beautiful, fresh blueberries sitting in the produce department at the grocery store, and I knew what I had to do.

So, if you’re wondering, the star in this week’s recipe, for me at least, is the almond paste, because that meant I finally got it out of my fridge and out of my head,. But let’s face it: the blueberries are really king, and this was so, so good that I may have to buy more almond paste and start the whole cycle all over again.

This recipe comes from the blog “Bunsen Burner Bakery.” You can find the original at https://www.bunsenburnerbakery.com/blueberry-pie-bread/. I doubled the vanilla in my version.

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Blueberry Pie Quick Bread

Blueberry pie quick bread, as the name suggests, is a quick recipe that uses fresh blueberries, although frozen will also do.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword almond paste, blueberry, quick bread, sweet bread

Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 cups blueberries fresh or frozen, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Bread Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk I used skim
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Crumble Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond paste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  • To make the pie filling, combine the filling ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mixture thickens. Remove it from heat and set it aside.
  • For the batter, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and milk, and then beat in the rest of the bread ingredients until it is smooth. Fold in the blueberry filling and pour the batter into the prepared pan. (Leave the mixture swirled rather than mixing it completely for a pretty finished look.)
  • In another bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumble, mixing with a fork. Break the mixture into pieces and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the bread.
  • Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a moist crumb but not unbaked batter.
  • Cool completely in the pan before removing. Slice it, and then store the bread in an airtight container.

The original instructions say to only let this cool 10 minutes before trying to remove it from the pan, but my bread broke in half when I tried, and I was lucky enough to get it to adhere back together before I tried again. So even though it’s really, really hard to wait, I’d recommend letting it cool completely.

This bread was full of gorgeous berries, and the almond flavor really paired nicely, as well. If you don’t want to do the crumble on top, you could easily skip it, or I’d recommend finding a cinnamon crumble topping from a Dutch apple pie recipe and trying that, instead, if the almonds don’t sound good.

I’m sure that empty spot in my fridge will soon feature another puzzle of a leftover for me to solve, but for now, at least I finally got that one checked off my list.

This piece first appeared in print on July 2, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Bread Breakfast Dessert

Sweet roll recipe is the only ‘bun’ for me

No one will be able to tell that you completely transformed a cake mix into these delectable chocolate sweet rolls.

When I first started going solo in the kitchen as a youngster, I was very concerned with cooking by the book.

Mom never minded me hovering over her shoulder (or if she did, she hid it really well), and I asked a lot of questions.

Once I felt ready to make meals on my own, I asked her to help me write out my own recipe cards, which I still have in my recipe box at home. My favorite one is for canned corn. She didn’t make fun of me when I asked her to help me write down the steps for how to heat it up and how much salt and pepper to add, and from the food stains on my notecard, I clearly used the “recipe” more than once over the years.

Nowadays, though, I’m a lot more adventurous and tend to tweak recipes regularly and without hesitation. Such was the case recently when I used a recipe for cake mix cinnamon rolls to make chocolate sweet rolls instead.

I actually used two authors’ recipes as my basis for this week. The rolls recipe comes from the blog “Norine’s Nest.” You can find her post at https://www.norinesnest.com/cake-mix-cinnamon-rolls/. The other recipe started as the filling recipe for some sweet rolls by Kate Wood on her blog “The Wood and Spoon.” You can find her recipe at http://thewoodandspoon.com/chocolate-sweet-rolls/. I made changes to each to come up with the concoction below.

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Cake Mix Chocolate Sweet Rolls

No one will be able to tell that you completely transformed a cake mix into these delectable chocolate sweet rolls.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword cake mix, chocolate, glaze, icing, sweet rolls

Ingredients

Rolls

  • 1 Dutch chocolate cake mix
  • 2 packages yeast instant or active
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2-1/4 cups hot water

Filling

  • 6 ounces dark chocolate chips or chop up a bar
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons espresso or instant coffee powder I used a mocha-flavored
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • about 1/2 cup sliced almonds or your favorite nut, chopped

Icing

  • 1-1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk you may need to add more
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • In a mixer with a dough hook (or you can start by mixing with a wooden spoon and switch over to kneading to bring it together), combine the cake mix, yeast, salt and two cups of flour.
  • Mix until it’s well combined and add the water slowly while the mixer continues to run.
  • Add in the rest of the flour, and mix until everything is well combined and the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl to form a ball.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well-floured workspace, sprinkle the top with more flour and knead five or six times with floured hands until it forms into a well-shaped ball.
  • Cover the dough with a clean cloth and allow it to rise until it’s doubled in size (mine took about 20 minutes).
  • When the dough is almost ready to work with, combine the chocolate chips and butter into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 10 to 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining filling ingredients except the sliced almonds and set aside.
  • Punch the dough down and roll out into a large rectangle about 1/4-inch thick.
  • Spread the filling out evenly over the entire rectangle of dough and sprinkle on the almonds.
  • Tightly roll the rectangle from the long side so that you get a nice, long, snake-like roll.
  • Cut the roll into 1-1/2-inch thick slices.
  • Grease two 9×12-inch pans and place the slices, with one of the cut sides up, into the pans. Space them out a bit to give them room to rise.
  • Cover both pans with a clean cloth and let them rise for about 30 more minutes or until they double in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until they are a golden brown.
  • Before serving, mix the icing ingredients together until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk until you get the consistency you like.
  • Let the rolls cool for about 10 minutes, and then drizzle or spread the icing over top of them.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

These were absolutely delicious. I immediately delivered them to friends and family to get them out of the house before we ate too many of them ourselves.

The best part of this recipe is that it’s super easy to customize. Just choose another cake mix and filling ingredients, and you have a completely new type of sweet roll to enjoy.

Younger me would have been amazed at how off script I went with this recipe, but we all start somewhere. Looking back, I’m just so thankful I had someone willing to patiently show me the ropes in the kitchen—canned corn recipes and all.

This piece first appeared in print on June 27, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Bread Main Dish

Get ready to bowl your guests over on soup night

Homemade bread bowls take some time to make, with waiting for dough to rise, but they come together easily.

When I was younger, our family frequented a local restaurant that served soup in bread bowls year round.

Even in the heart of summer, I would often order a big bread bowl of broccoli soup for lunch or dinner, while the rest of my family opted for their awesome sandwiches. There’s just something slightly irresistible about a bread bowl.

As we prepared for a potluck of soups with some friends a few weekends ago, I suddenly had a craving to eat whatever delicious concoctions ended up gracing our table in a bread bowl, so I turned to the Internet for help.

I discovered that they aren’t too difficult to make, although I continue to maintain that I don’t have the patience to wait on yeast to rise on a regular basis. Watching dough swell on the counter just makes me hungrier and hungrier for the finished product.

But the recipe I tried, which I found on the blog “I Heart Naptime,” promised to be easy, and the recipe’s author didn’t disappoint. You can find her post at https://www.iheartnaptime.net/bread-bowl/.

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Homemade Bread Bowls

Homemade bread bowls take some time to make, with waiting for dough to rise, but they come together easily.
Course Main Course
Keyword bread, bread bowl, soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast that’s three packets
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 to 6 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Instructions

  • Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and stir to dissolve. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. It’s ready when the plastic wrap puffs up.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine four cups of flour, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the sugar-yeast mixture. Beat on medium speed with a dough hook, if possible. Add the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is smooth and not sticky. (Don’t feel like you need to add all of it if you don’t need to, or add a bit more if it’s not coming together.)
  • Knead the dough with a stand mixture with a dough hook for three minutes on high, or knead on a floured counter by hand for about five minutes.
  • Coat the dough in about 1 teaspoon of oil and place in a large bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in size.
  • While the dough rises, prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  • When the dough is ready, punch it down and divide it into six even balls. Place three on each baking sheet and cut an X in the top of each with a sharp knife.
  • Let the dough rise for another 30 minutes or until they double.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the bread is golden brown.
  • To serve, cut a circle out of the top of the bread bowl and then hollow out the center. (To leave more bread in the middle and make more room for soup, press the insides down a bit with your fingers.)
  • Keep the bread bowls in an airtight container if not serving immediately.

These bread bowls were a huge hit for our get together, as was the pile of bread scraps sitting in the kitchen. I think everyone nibbled on those at some point during the evening.

They were the perfect size for a small bowl of soup to go with the other goodies on our table. Also, for a recipe that was only difficult because I spent a lot of time waiting, the pay off was huge. There are few things people get more excited about than fresh-baked bread.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 31, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Bread

Even old yeast can rise to the occasion

Making yeast rolls doesn’t have to be a long commitment. These come together and out of the oven in only an hour.

I was digging through our refrigerator last week, reorganizing and looking for hidden “treasures” that were stuffed into the back corners when I stumbled on some packets of yeast.

I cringed a little, because I didn’t really remember when I bought them, and they were well over their expiration date.

In a waste-not-want-not mood, I did some Internet searching on how long yeast would survive in the fridge and was relieved to find I wasn’t alone in my yeast abandonment. One lady said she had 13-year-old yeast in her freezer that she still used from time to time.

Mine was nowhere near being that antique, so I decided to give it a chance (and added an extra packet to the recipe for good measure).

Luckily, the little guys survived their neglect in the back of the fridge, and we enjoyed a fantastic, quick and easy dinner roll recipe.

If you’re not into making yeast dough because you don’t like waiting for things to rise, you’ll be very happy with this recipe. You should be able to get done in about an hour, start to finish.

I found it on the blog “All Things Thrifty” by Brooke Ulrich. You can find it at https://www.allthingsthrifty.com/homemade-rolls-in-1-hour-guaranteed/. I’m not going to give you her full recipe—I quartered it, and it still made 16 rolls, which seems like a much more manageable number than the amount the original recipe makes.

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Quick Homemade Rolls

Making yeast rolls doesn’t have to be a long commitment. These come together and out of the oven in only an hour.
Course Side Dish
Keyword bread, sweet rolls, yeast

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup milk I used skim
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3/4 cups flour plus more for counter
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • about 1 tablespoon butter to brush tops

Instructions

  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, milk, sugar and hot water and microwave for three minutes.
  • Meanwhile, set up a mixer with a dough hook (or get ready to do some serious hand mixing).
  • Add the microwaved mixture, eggs and 1-1/4 cups of the flour to the bowl and mix well.
  • Add the yeast and salt, mix again.
  • Add the remaining 1-1/2 cups flour, and keep mixing.
  • Now let the mixer go on high for about 10 minutes. (Or get to kneading pretty aggressively by hand for about the same amount of time. The dough will be super sticky, so have more flour on hand.)
  • Liberally flour your work space and be ready to keep adding to get the dough to a non-sticky consistency. Keep kneading and adding flour until it’s not going to stick to your counter when you roll it out.
  • Roll the dough out into about an 18-inch circle and use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the circle into wedges. (I cut mine into 16ths for perfect dinner roll size.)
  • Roll up each wedge, starting with the wider end and place on a greased baking sheet.
  • Put the sheet in a warm spot in your kitchen and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the rolls rise for 15 minutes. They should look nice and puffed up.
  • Bake at 375 minutes for about 10 to 12 minutes. They’ll be golden brown on top.
  • Right out of the oven, brush the rolls with a thin layer of melted butter and serve warm.

I will definitely put this recipe onto a card in my recipe box for regular use, and if I’m ever tasked with bringing rolls to a family event, you can bet I’ll do the full recipe and get a ton of rolls in very little time.

These had great flavor, and we might’ve spoiled our dinner a bit by enjoying a couple before we had food on the table.

I was glad my poor yeast got its chance to shine after waiting in my fridge for so long. I suppose I should clean out those shelves a little more often.

This piece first appeared in print on May 31, 2018.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.