Archive for BREADS

Siopao

Siopao is a favorite snack on Guam that is of Chinese (Cha Siu Bao, or Chinese BBQ Pork Buns) or Philippine origin (Siopao Asado).  The Philippine version of these buns are normally steamed, while the Chinese version of these delicious snacks are also baked.

You can prepare siopao COMPLETELY from scratch, but there are a couple of shortcuts I take to make the preparation quicker and easier.  I do make the dough from scratch, but I save a whole lot of time by using leftover pulled pork from my Hawaiian Pulled Pork recipe.  Unless you are feeding a large crowd, you will most certainly have enough pulled pork leftover to make siopao (I use a 9-10 pound pork shoulder to make my pulled pork).  All I do is add a few more ingredients to the pulled pork to turn it into a sweet pork filling for my siopao. 

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Pork Siopao

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Dough:

  • A doubled batch of my yeast donuts dough recipe (find it here)

Filling:

  • About 4 cups leftover Hawaiian Pulled Pork (find my recipe here)
  • NOTE:  To make chicken siopao, use shredded cooked chicken (I like to use a rotisserie chicken) instead of pulled pork
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Optional:  6 hard boiled eggs, quartered (so you have 24 pieces of boiled eggs)

Materials:

  • Parchment paper, cut into 3-inch squares, 24-36 pieces (amount depends on the size of your siopao)
  • Steamer basket or pot

Directions:

Make my Hawaiian Pulled Pork recipe, then set aside about 4 cups of pulled pork.  Enjoy the rest of the pulled pork for your dinner.  In the next day or two, used the leftover pulled pork to make siopao. 🙂

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Prepare the dough using my yeast donuts recipe.  Ensure you double all of the ingredients required for my yeast donuts recipe.  Follow the directions up to step number 5 (letting the dough rise).

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While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the filling.  Place the leftover pulled pork into a medium sized pot.  Add the garlic, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce.  Bring the mixture to a boil then quickly stir in the water-corn starch mixture.  Return the mixture to a boil, cooking until it thickens.  Set the pork filling aside to cool (I placed the filling into a bowl and placed it in the freezer to cool while my dough was rising).

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Cut the dough into 24 pieces (for larger siopao) or 36 pieces (for smaller siopao).  I made 24 larger pieces that measured about 4 inches in diameter after it was cooked/steamed.

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Use a rolling pin to flatten each piece of dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.  Keep the center of the circle slightly thicker than the edge.  Place two tablespoons of filling in the middle of the dough.  Optional:  Add a piece of egg on top of the filling.

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Pull the dough up around the filling, pinching to seal.  The sealed part becomes the bottom of the siopao.

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Place the siopao on a piece of parchment paper, pinched side down.  Continue filling the remaining pieces of dough.

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After all the dough is filled, place in your steamer basket.  I can fit about 6 large siopao in mine.  Don’t let the siopao touch the sides of the steamer, and leave about an inch or two between each one.  Place a clean kitchen towel between the steamer pot and the lid to prevent the condensation from dripping back onto the siopao.  Steam for 20 minutes then remove from the steamer to cool.

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Enjoy while still warm. 🙂

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Freeze any uneaten (and already steamed) siopao.  To reheat, defrost the siopao in the refrigerator then reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds.

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Berry-licious Blueberry Muffins

I love blueberry muffins, but I absolutely hate the packaged blueberry muffin mix which turns the batter a bluish-purple after you add canned (and tiny) blueberries.

Blueberries are my favorite when it comes to fruit muffins, but you can easily make this into a loaded berry muffin by mixing you favorite berries — a combination of raspberries, cranberries, and of course, blueberries are delicious too.

I use frozen berries for this recipe. While fresh berries are delicious, frozen sweet berries are always available and “in season.”

I also top these muffins with a sweet mixture of lemon zest and sugar. The perfumy, aromatic oils in the lemon zest gives these muffins a hint of lemon flavor that compliments the berries so well.

This recipe makes a little more than a dozen muffins. You’ll have just a bit of batter leftover after filing the muffin tin. Make mini loaves or use a second muffin tin to use up the extra batter.

Berry-licious Blueberry Muffins

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Ingredients for the Muffins:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry Buttermilk Powder (you can find this in the baking section of your grocery store)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries plus 1 teaspoon white, granulated sugar
  • The zest of one large lemon plus 1/2 cup white, granulated sugar

Directions:

Make the toppings:

1. Make a blueberry sauce by placing 1 cup of frozen blueberries with 1 teaspoon sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the berries to a simmer. As the berries begin to soften, use the back of a cooking spoon to slightly mash the berries. Cook the mixture for about 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

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2. In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest and 1/2 cup sugar together. Set aside.

When you zest the lemon, make sure to get only the yellow lemon rind, not the white pith. After zesting the lemon, chop the zest into smaller pieces then mix with the sugar.

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Mix the batter:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with baking spray or non-stick (butter flavored) cooking spray. Or, line each cup with a muffin liner.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, buttermilk powder).

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3. In another mixing bowl, place the eggs and sugar. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until creamy. Mix in the butter, oil, water and vanilla extract.

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4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, mixing only until the batter is moistened (a few lumps are okay). Do not overmix.

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5. Fold in the blueberries.

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6. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. These muffins really rise high, so don’t overfill each muffin cup.

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7. Place a heaping teaspoonful of the blueberry sauce on top of the batter in each muffin cup.

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8. Using the handle of a spoon (a chopstick works really well here), swirl the blueberry sauce into the batter.

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9. Evenly sprinkle the lemon-sugar mixture over each muffin.

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10. Bake at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean (a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick is okay). Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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If you have a mini loaf pan, you can make mini loaves with the extra muffin batter. You should have enough batter left (after filling the muffin tin) to make 3 mini loaves. I doubled this recipe so I made 6 mini loaves with the extra batter (after filling 2 muffin tins).

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Serve and ENJOY!

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King Cake

King Cakes are part of a popular tradition that celebrates the 12th day following the birth of Christ, during which the 3 Wise Men or Kings visited the Christ Child.  The celebrations continue sometimes up to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras, in French), the day before Ash Wednesday when the Lenten Season begins.  The custom of baking these “cakes” is in honor of the Three Kings, hence the name, “A King’s Cake.”

The custom includes baking a tiny porcelain or plastic baby inside the cake.  King Cakes are usually served at parties, and the person who finds the baby in their slice of cake is supposed to host the party the next year.  Instead of having a party, you could bake several smaller King Cakes and give them to your neighbors.  The neighbor who receives the King Cake with the baby gets to bake them for the neighbors the following year.

King Cakes aren’t really cakes, but a rich danish (I’ll keep calling them cakes, though).  Some King Cakes are baked without adding a filling, but I like to make mine with a rich and luscious cream cheese and cinnamon filling.  After the cake is baked, the baby is inserted.  Then the top of the cake is covered with a rich glaze and decorated in the traditional colors of purple, green and gold.

These colors have a special meaning as well.  One explanation is that the official Mardi Gras colors were selected in 1872 to honor the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovich Romanoff, whose house colors were purple, green and gold.  Another explanation is that the colors purple, green and gold were used by Catholic Church throughout history, and the colors represent Justice (Purple), Faith (Green), and Power (Gold).

This recipe takes some time to make, but it’s worth it in the end. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

King Cake

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 Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (98-105 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white, granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

 Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Cinnamon Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

 Glaze Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice or milk

 Decoration Ingredients:

  • Green sugar sprinkles
  • Purple sugar sprinkles
  • Yellow sugar sprinkles
  • One tiny plastic or porcelain baby (about 2 inches long)

 Directions:

Make the dough:

In a small microwave-safe bowl, place the butter and sugar.  Cook for 1-2 minutes in the microwave until the butter melts.  Transfer to a small mixing bowl.  Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves.  Stir in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.

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In another small bowl, mix together the yeast, warm water and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside to allow the yeast to proof. It should be very bubbly after five minutes; if not, then discard the mixture and start over. NOTE: Water that is too hot will kill the yeast. The water should feel as warm as the temperature of your skin.DSC_0011

Place the egg into the bowl of a large stand mixer (such as a KitchenAid).  Use the paddle attachment to slightly beat the egg.

The photo below shows two eggs–I doubled my recipe when I made this so I had enough cakes to give away to friends.

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Mix in the sour cream mixture and proofed yeast.

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Slowly mix in the flour, one cup at a time. NOTE: If you live in a low humidity environment, you may need less flour, about 2 1/2 cups. If you live in humid area, you may need slightly more than 3 cups of flour.

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After the flour has been roughly mixed with the wet ingredients, switch to the dough hook.

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Turn your mixer to medium-high speed and knead for 5 minutes. NOTE: If you are kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. After kneading, place the dough into a greased bowl (clear works best so you can see if the dough has doubled in size); place in a warm place to rise until doubled.

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While the dough is rising, make the cream cheese and cinnamon fillings.

Make the Cream Cheese Filling:

In a small mixing bowl, beat together the egg, sugar and cream cheese. Mix on high until there are no more lumps and the filling is smooth and creamy. Set aside.

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Cinnamon filling: In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon filling ingredients together. Set aside.

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Make the Glaze:

Mix together the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and just half of the orange juice. Mix until smooth.

You want the glaze to be slightly thin but not runny. Add more orange juice if you need to thin it out more.

Set aside.

Put it all together:

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Place onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly 18×12 inches.

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Roughly mark lines in the dough to separate it into thirds (do NOT cut through the dough). Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the OUTER sections into diagonal strips about 1 inch wide; these strips are what you will use to create a woven or braided look for the top of the King Cake. NOTE: Make sure you do not cut through the middle third of the rectangle.

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Spread the cream cheese mixture down the middle of the rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top of the cream cheese mixture.

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Fold the strips of dough over the fillings, alternating sides. Overlap the strips to form a braided or woven look.

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Tuck the ends of the dough underneath the end; use any extra dough to ensure both ends of the King Cake are sealed (to keep the filling in while baking).

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This is how you’d make a round King Cake.

Roll out two pieces of dough about 16 inches in diameter.

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Cut one piece of dough into strips, like you’re cutting a pizza.

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Place the uncut round piece onto a baking sheet.  Place the cut pieces of dough underneath the edge of the uncut piece (pointed part facing out), going all around the side (it will look like a large sun with rays pointing out).  Press along the edges of the cut pieces to the seal them to the uncut circle.

Spread the cream cheese filling around the edge of the uncut circle of dough.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar filling on top of the cream cheese.  Fold each cut piece inward, pressing down at the pointed tip to seal the dough (you will have a small “well” of dough in the middle).

Into the small well, pour more cream cheese filling.  Top with cinnamon filling.

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Carefully lift the shaped dough and place onto a large baking sheet.  Spray the top of the King Cake (dough) lightly with butter flavored cooking spray, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise again until doubled.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until nicely browned.

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Glaze the King Cake and Decorate:

While the King Cake is still warm, spread a thin layer of the glaze on top.

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Decorate with the sugar sprinkles, alternating the colors.

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Slice, Serve and ENJOY!
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Pillow Soft and Fluffy Biscuits with Homemade Gravy

Biscuits and gravy is a classic breakfast dish. A serving (or two or three) of soft, fluffy biscuits topped with a savory, meaty gravy is a perfect way to start the day.

These biscuits are so soft, they practically melt in your mouth. Seriously.

These biscuits are so soft that you tend to smoosh them when trying to spread butter on them. That’s why I like making a Honey-Butter Sauce that you can just drizzle on top–there’s no need to spread anything on them! 🙂

Aside from serving these for breakfast, you can also serve ’em up with some fried chicken and a side of hot buttered corn for an absolutely delightful dinner.

Give my recipes a try. I think you’ll like them. 🙂

Be sure to scroll down for my Homemade Gravy and Honey-Butter Sauce recipes.

Soft Fluffy Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup corn starch
  • 10 tablespoons buttermilk powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Directions:

1. Place the flour, cornstarch, buttermilk powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine all of the ingredients.

2. Add the pieces of butter to the bowl. Use a pastry cutter (you can also do this in a food processor) to cut the butter into the flour.

3. Add the water to the flour mixture. Gently mix with your hands until a dough forms. Do not knead or over-mix the dough.

4. Place the dough onto a floured surface.

5. Roll the dough out into a rectangle or square, about 1/2 inch thick.

6. Use a dough scraper to cut the dough into evenly sized squares. I prefer to make square biscuits rather than round ones. Using round cutters leaves you with extra dough that has to be re-formed and rolled out again, causing you to over-handle the dough which turns out tough biscuits. By making square-shaped biscuits, you roll the dough out once, yielding incredibly soft, fluffy biscuits.

I rolled out the dough a little less than a 1/2 inch thick. They still bake up nice and tall if you roll the dough out less than a 1/2 inch, but if you like tall biscuits, keep the dough at 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Less than that and you’ll yield about 30 little biscuits, cut the way I did below. Thicker and you should get about a dozen or so biscuits.

7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the biscuit squares onto the baking sheet, about an inch apart.

Brush the tops of each square with milk. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. My oven runs hot, so mine bake up nice and golden brown after just 15 minutes. Again, this was 15 minutes for dough rolled out a little less than 1/2 inch. 20 minutes of baking should suffice for dough rolled out to between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick.

Serve these fluffy wonders with Homemade Gravy or drizzled with Honey Butter Sauce and ENJOY!

See how fluffy they are? Yum!!

Homemade Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (or you can use your favorite sausage)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dashida seasoning
  • 3 cups milk (I used 1 1/2 % reduced-fat milk)

Directions:

1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet.

2. Add the flour and all the seasonings to the skillet.

3. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. Turn the heat up to medium high.

4. Pour the milk into the skillet. I use a whisk that can withstand the heat and be used for cooking (see the photo above) to stir as I add the milk.

5. Stir constantly until the gravy thickens.

6. Serve with my soft and fluffy biscuits and ENJOY! 🙂

 

Honey Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Place all of the ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl.

2. Microwave in 30-second intervals until the butter melts.

3. Stir to combine the ingredients.

4. Drizzle over freshly baked soft and fluffy biscuits and ENJOY! 🙂

Try sprinkling some cinnamon over the warm honey butter sauce. Yum!

 

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Chocolate Chip Scones

I love scones.  My favorites are chocolate chip or blueberry scones.  They’re perfect for breakfast, along with a steaming hot cup of coffee.

You can buy really delicious scones at your neighborhood coffee shop, buy why waste your hard-earned money?  These scones take almost no time to make.  You can mix up a batch in just a few minutes and have them out of the oven in no time.

My recipe below turns out very moist and not-too-crumbly scones.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

 

Chocolate Chip Scones

 

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tablespoons Saco brand (powdered) cultured buttermilk blend (see note below)
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup chocolate chips (I use bittersweet chocolate chips, semi-sweet works well too)
1 large egg
1/2 cup water (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons milk, for brushing the scones before baking

NOTE:

If you can’t find powdered buttermilk, you can use fresh (liquid) buttermilk in place of the buttermilk powder and water in my recipe.  Just add the buttermilk along with the eggs and extracts, as described in the directions below.

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the flour into a large mixing bowl.

 

 Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt to the mixing bowl.

Add the brown sugar to the bowl.

 

Add the powdered buttermilk.

 

 Stir the mixture to combine all of the ingredients.

 Add the pieces of butter to the flour mixture.  Using a pastry blender (the tool pictured at the top of the photo below), “cut” the butter into the flour.

 This is what the mixture looks like after cutting the butter into the flour.  You want to see small chunks of butter in the mixture.

 Add the chocolate chips to the flour mixture.

 Stir to combine.  Set this aside for now.

 Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl.

 Lightly beat the egg with a fork.

 Mix the water, vanilla and almond extract with the beaten egg.

 Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture.

 Use a spatula to mix the ingredients together.  Gently fold the mixture until it comes together.

Using your impeccably clean hands, form the mixture into a large ball.  Do not knead or over mix.  You still want to see those little chunks of butter (see the photo below).

 Place the dough onto a large cookie sheet (I used a round baking stone).  Gently flatten the dough into a circle, about 10 inches in diameter, and about 1 1/2 inches thick.

 Use a knife or dough cutter to slice the dough into eight wedges.

 Brush the top of the dough with milk.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

 Let the scones cool on the pan for a couple of minutes then remove them to a wire rack to continue cooling.

 See how moist and flaky they look? Yum! 🙂

 Serve for breakfast, as a snack, or alongside your favorite warm beverage and ENJOY!

😀

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