Monday, September 14, 2009

Pan Dulce

As I was flipping through the pages of one of my new cookbooks, the name of this bread caught my eye. It is a sweet bread made throughout Mexico. It has a dense bread-like texture with a sweet, crumbly topping. I would recommend everyone to try these simply because they are different. They are best served warm and in Mexico they are served with jam or marmalade for breakfast.

1/2 cup lukewarm milk
2 tsp. active dried yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. caster (superfine) sugar
2 tbsp. butter, softened
4 large eggs, beaten

For the topping:
6 tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour

1. Pour the milk into a small bowl, stir in the dried yeast and leave in a warm place until frothy.
2. Put the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl, add the butter and eggs and mix to a soft, sticky dough.
3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and dredge it with a little more flour. Using floured hands, turn the dough over and over until it is completely covered in a light coating of flour. Cover it with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave to rest for 20 min.
4. Meanwhile, make the topping. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, then gently mix in the egg yolk, ground cinnamon and flour. The mixture should have a slightly crumbly texture.
5. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each of them into a ball. Space well apart on greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with the topping over the breads and press it lightly into the surface.
6. Leave the rolls in a warm place to stand for about 30 min. until they are about one and a half times their previous size (mine weren't that large). Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and bake for 15 min.

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

With fall approaching I felt the impending desire to bake something involving the seasonal flavors: cinnamon, pumpkin, apple, etc. Thanks to the recent purchase of a few new cookbooks, I found a recipe that fit the majority of my "fallish" food cravings. These cinnamon and apple muffins are in fact supposed to be larger than pictured here, but I decided to make a few more smaller ones as opposed to six big I didn't have any paper muffin liners and I thought that they would bake and come out of the tin more easily if they were smaller. Perhaps that logic is twisted because now that I think about it, it really makes no sense at all. :) Oh well, regardless the picture in my recipe book is of course much prettier and the muffins look much healthier and meatier, but I like my emaciated muffins just the way they are thank you. :) Feel free to use any kind of apple in this recipe as well. I chose the Gala apple because it is in season (and on sale [yes I am a cheap college student I admit]). Although Granny Smith apples are my favorite to eat by themselves, I wouldn't recommend them for this muffin because I think they would be a little too tart and clash with the flavor of the cinnamon. That of course is my own opinion...feel free to choose whichever apple you like. Ok enough of my ramblings and on to the recipe. Happy September all!

1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp. caster (superfine) sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (I added a lot more)
2 small eating apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped

For the topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. (or more) ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large muffin tin with six paper cases (or in my case, not...)
2. Mix the egg, sugar, milk, and melted butter in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the chopped apple and mix.
3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cases. To make toping, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the uncooked muffins.
4. Bake for 30-35 min.