Pumpkin Bread

Right now its cold and cloudy here in Michigan and there is no better time to warm up the house and get busy with a little baking. I like quick breads like banana and zucchini, they are easy and quick to make. This time, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I decided to make pumpkin bread. You can make it in either a 4″ x 9″ loaf pan, muffin pan or a smaller cupcake pan. I like making individualized desserts and so this time I used 6″ baking cups.

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and position the baking rack to the lower 1/3 of the oven. Grease and flour two 4″ x 9″ loaf pans or muffin/cup cake pans.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs, mix at a low speed to incorporate. Slowly add in the flour mixture until combined. Place the batter into the loaf pans evenly. Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out cleanly in the middle top. Adjust a shorter time for muffin/cupcake pans. Allow to cool ten minutes then remove and place on a cooling rack. Top with your favorite sweet topping like whipped topping, meringue or buttercream.

Chef Brian Klauss

Gingersnap Cookies

Gingersnap cookies are a healthier alternative to other cookies. They are lower in calories than most cookies. This recipe will make approximately 40 cookies that average 60 calories per cookie. Ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and can help treat nausea and fight heart disease. Gingersnap cookies are dry and crisp great for dunking. They will stay fresh in an air tight container for up to 2 – 3 weeks, even longer in the freezer.

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and pepper. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add in the butter and brown sugar and mix until fluffy at a medium speed. Add in the egg yolk and the molasses until blended. Add in the flour mixture until combined. Empty the dough onto a clean work surface and knead to combine together and roll into a log 1 1/2″ diameter and approximately 10″ long. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and position the rack to the center shelf. Line two 1/2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Remove the dough log and slice into 3/16″ wedges and place onto the parchment paper 1″ apart. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove to a cookie rack and allow to cool completely.

Chef Brian Klauss

Almond Thumbprint cookies

Almonds, Peanuts, Walnuts, Pistachios, and Cashews are just some of the nuts we use at the bakery. I would also say that we use Almonds the most.
We store all our nuts in the freezer and they can last up to two years.

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whole almonds
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
(1/4 cup sugar to coat)

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
4 teaspoons unsalted butter

Place the sugar and salt in a food processor and blend to reduce to a powdery form. Add in the whole almonds and blend until finely chopped. In a stand mixer blend the butter, egg and extracts. Add the almond mixture until incorporated and then add in the flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough is formed.
Line 2 – 1/2 sheet trays with parchment paper and pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.
Scoop out about 2 teaspoons of the dough at a time and form a ball, roll into sugar and place onto the parchment paper approximately 1 1/2″ apart. Press your thumb into each dough ball to form an indentation. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the edges are slightly brown. Allow to cool completely.
To make the filling place the chocolate chips and butter into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 1 minute at a time until completely melted. Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of the melted chocolate into each cookie. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until set.

Chef Brian Klauss

Orange Cookie Stars

Right now, I’m sure you are like me and the first thing you do each morning is to check and see what’s happening on social media. It can drive you crazy, especially when you can’t tell what’s fact or fiction. The best thing we can do is change the things we can and except the things we can not change. With the pandemic still hanging around we are spending a lot of time in our homes. What a great time to start developing and sharpening your baking skills. Not only will you stay busy, but you will have some fantastic desserts for you and your family.

Today I decided to make a sandwich cookie. Simple ingredients, done in about an hour and they look and taste fabulous. You will need 2 – 1/2 sheet trays, parchment paper, pastry bag with a large star tip and a medium round tip.

Ingredients: (Dough)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup unsalted butter (soften)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest

Cream Filling
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon orange zest
3 tablespoons orange juice

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and position your racks in the middle. Line the two sheet trays with parchment paper. (To ensure that the paper stays down while positioning the cookie batter it is best to apply a little water between the paper and the sheet tray)

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle add in the butter, sour cream, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract and egg. Mix on a medium speed to form a fluffy texture, then gradually add in the flour about 1/2 cup at a time. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the cookie mixture. Push out the mixture onto the parchment lined sheet tray forming a 1 1/2″ star shape approximately 1 1/2″ apart. Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes until the edges turn slightly brown. Remove the cookies and allow them to cool completely.
To make the filling, add all of the ingredients to a stand mixer and mix on high until well incorporated. In a pastry bag fitted with a round tip apply about 3/4 teaspoon of filling to the flat side of one cookie then press a second cookie together to form a sandwich. Refrigerate for about an hour then dust with confectioners sugar.

Chef Brian Klauss

Blueberry Crostata

I love blueberries especially when they are in season. The problem is when they are not in season. A few days ago I picked up a couple of containers while I was doing a little shopping. Unfortunately after I opened them up they where a little soft and on the edge of their life expectancy. Not something I would sit down and eat right out of the container. I decided to make a Blueberry Crostata…….. You are asking what is a Crostata? This is an Italian baked, rustic free form tart which can be either sweet or savory. Unlike a pie dough which is flaky these are made with a short dough. I would say it’s a cross between a pie and a cookie.

Ingredients: (Dough) 9″ pie dish
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup unsalted butter (soften)
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle add the flour, sugar and baking powder and mix together. Add in the egg, egg yolk, butter and mix at a low speed to incorporate. Pull the dough and place on a lightly floured surface and knead to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

While the dough is chilling lets make the jam filling;
3 cups of blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch of cinnamon
In a small saucepan mix the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon over a medium heat until thickened. This will take approximately 30 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool.

Grease and flour a 9″ shallow pie dish and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take about 3/4 of the dough and roll out onto a floured surface to about 1/8″ thick and place it into the prepared dish. Place the blueberry jam filling onto the crust and spread evenly. Roll out the remaining dough onto a floured surface and cut into 1/2″ wide strips the length of the pie. Create a lattice finish with the strips, egg wash and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

Chef Brian Klauss

Basic White Bread

The idea of baking a fresh loaf of bread sounds intimidating, but believe me it is simple, creative and rewarding not to mention the fantastic taste of a fresh baked loaf of bread. This recipe can be baked either in a bread loaf pan free formed or divided up to produce individual serving sizes in a muffin pan.

Steps in the production of producing yeast breads;
1. Scaling the ingreident’s
2. Mixing and kneading the dough
3. Fermenting the dough
4. Punching down the dough
5. Portioning out the dough
6. Rounding the portioning sizes
7. Shaping the dough
8. Proofing the dough
9. Baking the dough
10. Cooling and storing the finished product

12oz Water (warm)
1 lb. 8 oz Bread Flour
1 1/4 oz. Dry Milk Powder
1 oz Sugar
2 Eggs
1 oz Unsalted butter
1/2 oz Active Dry Yeast
2 teaspoon salt

In a stand mixer add the water, milk powder, sugar, salt, yeast and half the flour and blend well. Add in the butter, eggs and beat at a medium speed for 2 – 3 minutes. Add in enough of the remaining flour until the dough pulls away cleanly from the bowl. Mix for approximately 8 – 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and flip so both sides are coated. Let stand in a warm area (Fermenting) for 1 1/2 hours until double in size. Shape the dough to a free form or place into a bread pan . ( I divided the dough in half and rolled it into two balls and placed them into baskets for fermenting only, then flipped onto a sheet pan for proofing). Proof to double in size, then sprinkle with flour or egg wash . Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. The internal temperature should be approximately 190 – 200 degrees. (should be lightly brown and hollow sounding) Remove from the oven onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before serving.
The best way to store your bread is to wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, place it in a zip lock bag and freeze it (up to 3 months). If you are going to use it over the next day or so place it into a plastic bag and close it up and leave it on the counter. The worst place is in the refrigerator, your bread will go stale 6 times faster.

Chef Brian Klauss

Chocolate Cookies

Making cookies can be fun and easy for the whole family. Most cookies ingredients can easily be found in your pantry. There are several types of cookie methods; Drop Cookies, Icebox Cookies, Bar Cookies, Cut-Out Cookies, Pressed Cookies, Wafer Cookies. Each cookie methods refer to the way in which the dough is prepared. The basic procedure for mixing cookie dough are as follows;

a. Cream the fat and sugar together until fluffy
b. Add in the eggs
c. Blend in the liquid ingredients
d. Blend in the flour, salt, spices, leaveners
e. Fold in and nuts, chocolate chips, etc.

Since my granddaughter loves chocolate I decided to make a chocolate cookie. (Icebox)

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick of unsalted butter soften (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (sifted)
1 large egg
6 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients, (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt). Set aside. In a stand mixer at a medium speed add the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Beat in the flour mixture until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Place the dough onto the center of a sheet of parchment paper and roll out to a 12″ log. With the parchment paper, cover the log tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two 1/2 sheet baking sheet trays with parchment paper. Slice the log into 1/4″to 1/2″ slices and place 1″ apart onto the baking sheet. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes in the center of your oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5 minutes, remove from the sheet pan onto a cooling rack.

Chef Brian Klauss

Almond Bundt Cake

Several years ago I inherited a bundt pan from my mother-in-law after she passed away. The pan which is marked Nordic Ware is made of thick aluminum and has the typical bundt shape. The definition of a Bundt cake is a cake that is baked in a Bundt pan, shaping it into a distinctive doughnut shape. The shape is inspired by a traditional European cake known as Gugelhupf, but Bundt cakes are not generally associated with any single recipe. Actually November 15 is national Bundt Cake Day. If you like almonds here is a simple Almond Bundt Cake recipe.

Ingredients: (Cake Batter)
1 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup powered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup toasted almonds

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your bundt pan (use shortening) spread the 1 cup of sliced almonds on a 1/2 sheet tray and place in the oven while it is pre-heating to toast.

Mix together in a medium bowl the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds. set aside. In a stand mixer add the sugar and butter, mix at a medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add in the extracts. Beat in the flour mixture and milk alternately until incorporated. Place into the bundt pan evenly.

Remove the toasted almonds from the oven, they should look slightly brown and smell toasted. set aside. Bake the Bundt cake for approximately 60 to 65 minutes until a toothpick comes out cleanly when inserted. Allow to cool for 12 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack. For the topping add the milk, sugar and extract together to form a smooth consistency (you may need to add more milk). Add in the toasted almonds. Spread over a slightly warm cake.

Chef Brian Klauss

Key Lime Pie

Just arrived in Florida and the key lime tree in my back yard was loaded with fruit. I don’t make a lot of pies but the most popular pie here in Florida is the Key Lime Pie. This is a very easy pie to make and it can be completed in less than one hour.

Ingredients: (preheat your oven to 350 degrees)

Crust: (9″ pie)
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
7 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)

2 – 14oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup key lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp key lime zest
3 egg yolks

To make the crust; in a small bowl add the graham crackers, sugar and butter until combined. Press the mixture into a 9″ pie baking plate. Place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes to pre bake the crust. Allow the crust cool.

To make the filling; in a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks at a medium speed until thick and fluffy. Add in the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, key lime juice, zest and mix at a low speed until smooth and incorporated. Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool at room temperature and then place the pie into the refrigerator until chilled overnight.

You can top with your favorite whipped cream, slices of key lime or zest

Chef Brian Klauss

Several years ago I purchased a home in Croswell, Michigan and along with that I aquired ownership of several well established Rhubarb plants. I enjoy the tart taste of rhubarb in a pie but adding in some strawberries makes it that much more flavorful. I’ll admit I’m not an expert on pie making but like everything else in life the more you do it the better you get at it.

PIE CRUST (double for 10″ pie)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil (cold)
approximately 1/2 cup ice cold water

I simply add all ingredients except for the water into a medium to large bowl and with a dough cutter mix everything together. Slowly add in enough cold water to moisten the dough. With your hands form the dough and then wrap into plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove and divide in half. Place onto a floured surface and roll each dough out to a 11″ circle.

2 cups of sugar
2/3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2″ peices
3 cups sliced strawberry’s
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Heat your oven to 425 degrees
Mix sugar, flour in a large bowl then add in the rhubarb and strawberries and coat well. Line your 10″ pie pan with the first rolled out pastry then place in the filling evenly, dot with butter. Roll the second pastry over the top and press on the rim to seal and flute. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Make several slits into the top pastry to allow for escaping air. To protect the top from burning cover with aluminum foil until the last 15 minutes, then remove. To protect your oven add a half sheet pan directly under the pie to collect unwanted drippings. Remove from oven when golden brown and allow to cool and thicken.

Chef Brian Klauss