I saw these beautiful concord grapes in the market the other day and I stopped dead in my tracks. I never see concord grapes. I love the contrast in flavor of concord grapes. The skin is tart but the inside flesh is super sweet. I have been hanging onto the thought of making this grape and rosemary focaccia for some time. The rosemary, no problem as I have an enormous rosemary plant growing in my backyard that is out of control. I should say it’s really a rosemary bush. In a weird way I’m kind of proud of that rosemary plant as it started out as a tiny plant, and now it has aggressively taken over major real estate in my backyard. Everyone knows I cannot grow anything worth a darn, but the exception is my rosemary plant. Quite frankly I don’t even try; it has taken on a life-force of its own. With all the fog here I don’t even water it. That’s why I love it, it’s like the big green monster that self feeds. When you enter the garden it makes a statement. As soon as you get 3 feet from it you can smell the piney fresh scent. This bread is a lovely contrast between sweet and savory. If you can’t find concord grapes you could use black grapes also.
My beloved Rosemary bush-note the white dense sky- San Francisco fog in the background….
concord beauties- once they bake they turn an amazing deep purple color
Concord Grape and Rosemary Focaccia
recipe adapted from Epicurious
3/4 Cup very warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
3 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil + more for brushing dough
2 1/4 Cup bread flour
one large bunch concord grapes
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar and whisk to combine with a hand whisk. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, olive oil and bread flour and mix with a spatula by hand. Attach the dough hook and on medium high speed knead the dough for about 2 minutes. Oil a large bowl with extra virgin olive oil and turn out the dough into the bowl, turning the dough so it coats all sides with the oil. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
2. Spread olive oil over a large sheet pan. Take the dough and press it into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick. Conversely you can spread the dough into 2 round loaves; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled about one hour. Brush the dough with olive oil and dimple the dough using your fingertips. Scatter the grapes and rosemary leaves over the dough. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar.
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let bread cool about 15 minutes then sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve warm.
Years ago we vacationed in New Orleans and it took us all of one bite to become addicted to beignets. Sweet, fluffy fried dough showered with mountains of sugar. I think we ate beignets every day; or almost for a whole week when we were there. Soft pillowy dough fried to perfection. What’s not to love? Equally addictive is the coffee you drink with it; but that’s a story for another time. Today I’m going to walk you through the steps of how to make them and heads up; you need to let that sacred dough rest in the fridge overnight, but don’t let that deter you as the dough is super easy to pull together and then you cover it and let it go night night. In the morning, you just wake up, make some good strong coffee and then get down to serious beignet making. Yeah, it’s pretty much a weekend event. Make sure to invite some friends over [or not] as the dough makes quite a bit. Yep, let the good times roll….
recipe adapted from Southern Living
yield: ~ 3 dozen beignets
1/2 pkg. active dry yeast ( 1 1/4 tsp. or 4 gms)
3/4 Cup warm water
1/4 Cup + 1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 Cup evaporated milk
1 Lg. egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter flavor shortening
3-3 1/2 Cups bread flour
sifted confectioners sugar
- 1. Make the yeast mixture: Combine yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, and 1 tsp. granulated sugar in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Add milk, egg, salt, and remaining granulated sugar. Whisk to combine.
- 2. Form a dough: Microwave remaining 1/2 cup water until hot (about 115°); stir in shortening until melted. Add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed, gradually adding 2 cups flour, until smooth. Gradually add remaining 1 to 1 1/2 cups flour, beating until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours.
- 3. Roll and cut: Turn dough out onto a floured surface; roll to a generous ~ 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2-inch squares.
- 4. Fry until golden: Pour oil to depth of 2 to 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 360°. Fry dough, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack. Dust immediately with powdered sugar.
Every Christmas morning I like to make something a little special for breakfast, but at the same time not too fussy. Something you can eat that is casual. Cinnamon rolls are perfect for such an occasion. If you plan ahead, you can make the rolls the night before and shape them, and in the morning all you have to do is bake them off so they are nice and hot. You know the kids are going to be waking you up at 5:30 Am or so to open presents, right? Well, by the time they rip open those presents and pictures are taken the rolls will be baking. They will either be hungry or they will be ready to crawl back into bed. Either way you will be set for some nice warm rolls. This buys you some much needed coffee time so you can sneak in a cup or 2, or 3….while the rolls are baking. Hey it’s 5:30 Am, you need 3 cups of Joe. You can also make the icing the day or night before and keep in the fridge. If you want to make the rolls in real time I have included the original directions as well.
Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls With Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Sweet Yeast Dough
1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 Cup whole milk
1/2 C sugar
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 lg. eggs
5 Cups all purpose flour, as needed
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
optional: 1/2 Cup raisins, toasted chopped pecans
1/2 Cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Directions: In a bowl mix together the ingredients until combined. Set aside
To prepare dough:
In a glass measuring cup with the 1/4 cup of warm water; add the yeast and sugar and stir to dissolve. Let the yeast mixture sit for about 10 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, sugar, butter, eggs and yeast mixture. Add 4 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt. Place the bowl on the mixer and with the paddle attachment mix on medium-low speed, add as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl.
2. Remove the paddle attachment and place the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium-low adding in more flour if needed until the dough is smooth and still soft, about 6-7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
3. Butter a large bowl. Add the dough and turn to coat with the butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, about 1 1/2-2 hours. To use at once; punch down the dough and roll out and shape rolls and follow directions for 2nd rising after rolls are shaped and cut.
4. If you are going to shape rolls and have them rise in the fridge overnight; punch down the dough, roll out the dough; fill as directed and place cut rolls in pan and cover with plastic wrap to let rise in fridge overnight. Rolls should rise overnight in the fridge for 8-12 hours. [Follow this version of 4 A]. If you want to make them in real-time follow Version 4B.
(Rising in fridge overnight- 4A Version):
Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll out into a 16×14 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Spread the filling* evenly over the dough leaving a 1 inch border at the top and bottom. (If using raisins or nuts sprinkle over the filling at this point). Starting at the long side of the rectangle farthest away from you, roll up the rectangle into a log. Pinch the seam to seal. Roll the log a few times back and forth gently to help seal the seam. Cut the log crosswise into 12 equal slices with a sharp knife. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan. Arrange the slices cut side up in the pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight until doubled in size, 8-12 hours. Remove from the fridge 1 hour before baking to let the rolls come to room temp. Bake at 350 degrees until rolls are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Spread the icing [see recipe below for icing] over the warm rolls, and spread it out evenly. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve warm.
4. If you want to make rolls in real-time: Follow this Version; 4 B.
(Baking rolls same day with warm rising-Version 4B)
Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured surface and follow directions above up to the step where you have cut the rolls and placed them in the pan. To rise: cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 75-90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake until rolls are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Ice with icing and let the icing sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
Orange Cream Cheese Icing
3 Cup confectioners sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp
1 tsp. vanilla
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
2 Tbsp. whole milk, + more as needed
Cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Mix in the vanilla, zest and milk until combined. Spread over warm rolls.