There’s still time to enter the Nosh With Nash 2nd Anniversary Giveaway! Win a copy of Chef Michael Smith’s “FAST FLAVOURS” right here!! Just follow the link below!
Don’t forget, when it says “leave a comment on the blog” it means here, not on facebook! You can also earn additional entries every day by tweeting about the giveaway – be sure to follow instructions and post the link to your tweet in the right spot!
I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I began this journey! So hard to believe. Well, officially it will be 2 years on February 2nd. Ground Hog Day! Hmmm, I wonder if I’m supposed to live that day over and over again? Snap out of it!!
Well, this weekend I’m in Niagara Falls participating in a FAM tour (FAM = familiarization). I’ve had more ice wine to drink today than I’ve had in the last 2 years! Ice wine, if you are unfamiliar, is like liquid gold! The grapes are left on the vines after the harvest and protected with netting. When the temperature dips below -10 for a few days/nights consistently then the grapes are harvested by hand, picked lovingly one grape at a time. They are then pressed, again while still frozen, and what results is one precious drop of nectar! This is then turned into the sweetest wine you’ve ever had. Also the most expensive! I love it!
Today we participated in the Journey Behind The Falls. This is a lovely thing to do…. in SUMMER! It was pretty cold! You can imagine how much ice was present, with our current Polar Vortex. Usually you can see the water flowing in front of you, but not today! There was so much ice! I could hear the water, I just couldn’t see it! The entrance to the tunnels was completely encased in ice.
Following our trip behind the falls we were treated to a spectacular lunch at Elements, operated by the Niagara Parks Commission. Fabulous! No other words!
But now that I’ve shared where I am, I’d like to share something else that’s almost as exciting as seeing Niagara Falls FROZEN! Okay are you ready? Nosh with Nash is turning 2! True! So frozen Niagara Falls aside, I’d like to share a fantastic giveaway with you to celebrate! If you know nothing else about me, you know that I am a huge [massively huge] fan of Chef Michael Smith.
Here’s the deal! Enter to win a copy of Chef Michael Smith’s cookbook “Fast Flavours” right here! Simply follow the rules on the Rafflecopter link on our Facebook Page. The contest is open to residents of Canada and the U.S. only. One winner will be drawn randomly by Rafflecopter on February 2nd! Get the word out! Enter today!!!!
I am pleased to present – finally – our first Hot Cross Bun challenge! Guest blogger, Lynne Baker (The Measured Baker) has provided our first recipe in the challenge and her thoughts (below). Last minute entry into our challenge features a recipe from Nik Snacks. Your job – read through the three recipes (yes, mine is here too!), look at the pictures, and tell us which you like best!
Lynne Baker – The Measured Baker
Well here we go ……
Hot Cross Bun’s bring back such fond memories of growing up. Every Good Friday we would have HCB’s prepared for us as we arrived at the kitchen table for breakfast! When choosing the recipe I chose one that was chock full of fruit …. something my mom loved.
I chose a recipe from Bouchon Bakery …… it uses a brioche dough base which required a little more prep time but I thought it would be wonderful.
here is what I discovered…..
1. very time-consuming but delicious in taste
2. although the icing on buns were flavorful (cardamom) I missed traditional powder sugar icing
3. chocked full of fruit raisins and cranberries …. just like mom would love
OVER ALL will try the recipe again …… to master the roundness and fullness of buns …… overall ……. happy with first attempt.
Hmmm, I just read Nikki’s profile – she may have an edge! 😉
Nosh with Nash: (aka “the underdog”)
Like Lynne’s story, I would absolutely love Easter and the smells that would be wafting through the house from my mother’s baking. She could bake just about anything, and do it very well. I still love her pie pastry the most. But when she started making Hot Cross Buns, she really ratcheted up the flavour experience for me! These delightful buns were a family favourite, loaded with fruit and raisins or currents, and spiced just right, who could resist? So, when Lynne challenged me to this Hot Cross Bun bake off, I had to scour books to find just the right recipe.
If you follow me on twitter, or facebook you probably read of my first disaster! Really, I thought, how hard can these be? Hmm, harder than I thought. Well, not so much difficult, but learning how long to knead was my challenge. I’m impatient! My first batch of hot cross buns sure smelled wonderful, but they turned out more like hockey pucks! These suckers could break a window, smash ceramic tiles, and break your teeth! Nasty things! They went into my compost bin. I’m sure they will take years to break down! Sigh. FAIL!
Try number two was way more successful! I kneaded them (well, my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer did!) a little less (actually a lot less!) until the dough reached that desired stage of ‘elasticity’ and the rest worked just fine!
Adapted from two different recipes that I re-worked and combined to get the desired results….here’s my entry:
Combine together in a large bowl (I used the bowl for my stand mixer, it makes it easier… you’ll see!)
These two should stand together until the yeast dissolves and looks a little foamy on top!
1 cup warm milk – define warm? about 105-115 F)
5 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 c white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
Mix this by hand, or low speed on your stand mixer using the flat paddle, for about a minute. Gradually stir in:
2 c all purpose flour (or bread flour if you have it!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
and the fruit…. I used:
1/4 c dried currents
1/4 c mixed peel
Change to the dough hook and mix only at speed #2… gradually add until the dough is still moist but it’s not ‘sticky’
1 1/2 – 2 c all-purpose/bread flour.
Now, this is where I screwed up the first time… i didn’t knead long enough! So, knead the dough for about 10 minutes by hand until it is smooth and elastic. If you are using your mixer and the dough hook, it “looks” done at a few minutes, and I thought I needed to knead longer… and so over-kneaded it… so watch! It should be about 2 or so minutes – when the dough cleans the sides of the bowl it’s done! I forget sometimes just how powerful my stand mixer is! So… seriously… 10 minutes by hand, or 2 by my amazing kitchen best friend – my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!
Transfer the ball of dough (as wonderful as it is beginning to smell) to a greased bowl. Make sure you turn it to cover it in the oil. Cover the bowl and place it in a draft-free warm place to rise. It should double in size and should take about an hour to do so.
When the dough is ready, punch it down and shape it into 12 equal sized balls and space about 1 1/2 inches apart on a baking sheet (lined with parchment – it makes it much easier, trust me!) If you are not using parchment, you will have to grease your baking sheets. Cover and let rise again until double in size. It may take a bit longer on the second rise, so plan for 1- 1 1/2 hrs.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Brush the ‘buns’ with an egg wash* and bake about 15 minutes (watch!) until they are a delightful golden brown. Cool. Decorate with the traditional cross using a milk glaze.
*egg wash. One egg, beaten, with 1/2 ‘shell’ measure of water.
Milk glaze: This will give you about a 1/2 cup of glaze and is super simple: just beat together 1/2 c icing sugar (aka confectioners) with 2 tsp hot milk and 1/4 tsp vanilla.
SO, for me… overall happy with the 2nd attempt. I’d make them again to, like Lynne, master the roundness of the buns and the fluffiness. Overall, pleased. Overall, ticked that Lynne could do it in one try, and it took me two! Kidding!
None of these three entries have preservatives so they do not keep long – but then again, when you have HOT hot cross buns fresh out of your oven, did you really expect them to hang around long? Enjoy!
Your job – read through the recipes, comment below to place your vote on who you think should win the title “Hot Cross Bun Champ”