Honey-ed Jalapeno Popper Toasted Sandwich

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No menu this week, I’m jet-setting to Sydney and the gang has to fend for themselves for once. The Boyfriend and I wanted toasted sandwiches for an easy lunch before I left, so I went to the undisputed king of grilled cheese over at Closet Cooking for filling ideas. The Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese stood out immediately and then things got out of control when I drizzled honey all over it. Jarred jalapeños aren’t particularly fiery but you can remove the seeds for a milder warmth. Jalapeno poppers usually have bacon wrapped around them but I substituted with ham to avoid adding another frying pan to the mix (it’s just occurred to me though, what about toasting the sandwiches in BACON FAT?!).

I haven’t included quantities for the fillings because it depends on the size of your bread, personal preference for cheese and spiciness from the jalapeños, so just fill in the blanks with what you like.

I’ll post again when I get back from Sydney next week, hopefully with lots of food photos!

Honey-ed Jalapeno Popper Toasted Sandwich

Inspired by Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich over at Closet Cooking.

2 thick slices sourdough

butter

cream cheese

sharp cheddar, grated

jarred jalapeños, sliced

smoked ham, thinly sliced

honey

Put a small frying pan on medium heat.

Butter the outside of each slice of bread.

On the non-buttered side of one piece of bread, spread on cream cheese then add the grated cheese, jarred jalapenos, ham and drizzle with honey.

Add a little more grated cheese then top with the other slice of bread (butter side out) and place in the pan, cooking 2-4 minutes each side, or until dark brown and the cheese inside has melted.

Cinnamon Bread + 100th Post!

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100 posts, woop woop! I’m loving this blogging thing and I hope you are, too. I was hoping to find a special recipe for the occasion and this one fell into my lap right on time.

Calling this ‘bread’ is a little bit misleading, it’s just cake baked in a loaf tin but as far as I can tell it’s an easier version of Amish Cinnamon Bread, a yeasted bread that takes a lot longer (but isn’t actually Amish and no one knows where the name came from?!). This recipe is all over the internet and originally made two loaves but I halved it because I wanted to save myself and you from eating two loaves of this stuff. It tastes like donuts in cake form and the sugar on top forms a little crackly crust that is just begging to be picked off and eaten. My sister got through a few slices before dinner as well as one after, she then decided that she needed to take it to her work in order to avoid eating the whole thing by herself. And apparently now I’m banned from making it ever again, we’ll see how long that lasts!

If you don’t have a loaf tin then bake it in a cake tin and call it Cinnamon Cake.

Cinnamon Bread

Adapted from The Amazing Amish Cinnamon Bread Alternative over at Red Fly Creations.

Cinnamon Topping:

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.

Bread:

110g butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

Preheat the oven to 175 C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer then beat in the egg, salt and vanilla.

Beat in the buttermilk, flour and bicarbonate soda into the mixture until just combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf tin, spread it out evenly with a spatula then sprinkle over 3/4 of the cinnamon topping.

Spread over the other half of the batter and sprinkle evenly with the rest of the cinnamon topping.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, allow to rest in the tin for 10 minutes before gently transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Zopf (Swiss Braided Bread)

swissbread

Having a whole weekend off is a bit of a rarity now that uni is over (for good, for ever, I graduated!) and casual work means days off here and there, rather than two sandwiched together. In my book Saturdays are for the markets, food shopping and organisation but I really value the elusive Lazy Sunday. Lie in, snacking so much that lunch isn’t necessary, baking and watching SBS Pop Asia. Have you ever caught an episode? It’s all the most popular songs from Japan, Korea and China and oh my, is it fun. They still have boy or girl groups with 10 members and there are video clips with at least 5 outfit changes for each member. Sundays at 4:00pm on SBS 2 if you feel adventurous.

The sister’s boyf was in town and I promised him ages ago that I would give this bread a go, he was so keen that he did the recipe hunting for me. There are no preservatives so it will stay soft for 2 days max, but slice it up and you’ve got some mad toast (I ate mine with cheese and honey, new favourite combo). It’s an easy loaf for beginner’s (except if you’re crap at braiding) and results in a soft white-bread texture that is great with jam or just plain, salty butter. For best results make sure that you’re watching Little Shop of Horrors while kneading. Steve Martin playing a sadistic dentist, what more do you need on a Sunday?

Zopf (Swiss Braided Bread)

Recipe adapted a little bit from Zopf (Zupf) – Swiss Braided Bread over at Chef in You.

3 3/4 cups bread flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp honey

1 cup milk

4 tbsp butter

1 tbsp dry yeast

1 egg

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan combine the honey, milk and butter, place over low heat until the butter has just melted.

Transfer to a small mixing bowl and whisk in the yeast, allow to rest until foamy.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the wet mixture as well as the egg, mix until it all combines to form a rough dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap, allow to sit for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Grease a large baking sheet to plait the dough on.

Punch the air out of the dough and divide into 3 even pieces, roll them into 3 ropes of equal length (about 60 com long).

Arrange the ropes parallel on the prepared baking sheet, press the ends of the ropes together then plait gently, press the other end of the ropes together and tuck the ends under the loaf (for step by step pictures have a look at the original recipe).

Cover loosely with greased cling film and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190 C while the dough is resting.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the loaf is lightly browned (brush the dough with egg yolk for a shiny crust or with milk like I did).

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

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This is the cornbread I’ve been waiting for. Crumbly, not too sweet and peppered with little green specks of jalapeño. The fact that there is a whole 1 1/2 cups of cheese in the batter sure doesn’t hurt either. I baked this for my Chilli con Carne spree so in the words of Latrice Royale, my favourite drag queen, SOP IT UP!

I baked my bread in an 8 X 8 inch slice tin that turned out to be the perfect size but use any kind of tin that you have, just reduce the cooking time for tins that are bigger than 8 X 8 inches. I never have buttermilk in the house so I make it as I need it by stirring 1 tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar into 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 10 minutes.

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Adapted from Piquant Cornbread over at Saveur.

1 cup polenta

1 cup plain flour

2 tbsp caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup milk

75g butter

1 egg

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

2 jalapeños, chopped finely (de-seeded if you like it mild)

Preheat the oven to 200 C and spray an 8 X 8 inch baking tin with oil.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the polenta, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cumin and chilli flakes.

In small saucepan combine the buttermilk, milk and butter, heat on very low until the butter has just melted then whisk in the egg.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Fold in the cheese and jalapeños then transfer to the prepared baking tin, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake for 30 minutes then allow to rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm.

Sweet Chilli Cheese Scrolls

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My sister goes banay-nays over these. She doesn’t have a sweet tooth and can easily resist chocolate (ARE WE EVEN RELATED?!) but if I bake something with sweet chilli and cheese I’ve got to watch it like a hawk, she’ll be picking at it as soon as I turn my back. Another favourite variation is adding feta and baby spinach but only when I happen to have them in the house. If you don’t like rubbing butter into flour like this moi, very gently heat the butter and milk together until the butter is just melted, then pour it into the flour mixture and mix into a sticky dough. I like to use a pyrex dish to bake them in so that I can monitor how caramelised the bases get but you can cook these on any king of tray. Don’t be afraid to let the sweet chilli on the base burn a little, that’s where the flavour at!

Sweet Chilli Cheese Scrolls

I’ve had this recipe for so long that I only vaguely remember getting it from a magazine. Thanks anonymous magazine!

2 cups self-raising flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

40g butter

3/4 cup milk

5-6 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 cups cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 200 C and spray a pyrex casserole dish with oil.

Mix the flour and sugar together in a large mixing bowl then rub in the butter.

Stir the milk in to create a soft, sticky dough.

Turn out on to a well floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle (about 40 x 20cm).

Spread the sweet chilli sauce evenly onto the dough (add more if you really like sweet chilli sauce).

Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the dough, then roll up into a large scroll so that you make a 40cm long scroll.

With an extremely sharp knife cut into 1.5cm thick pieces and place in the prepared tray with around 1 cm between each scroll.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned, then repeat until all the scrolls are cooked.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

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I’m not so far down the rabbit hole that I make tortillas from scratch every time but I really enjoy making them when I have a free afternoon and the inclination. They are soft, fluffy and are great as giant tacos or torn up and dipped in guacamole. I have even started using these tortillas as an easy flatbread to have with Indian food, I just brush them with melted butter and garlic. The great thing about flour tortillas is that you don’t need to own any specialised equipment, just a rolling pin. The Boyfriend had an epiphany about how to eat the leftover tortillas as a midnight snack. He reheated them in a pan on medium heat and sprinkled cheese on top to melt, then we topped them off with Tabasco. Best idea ever. Especially since I have rekindled my love affair with Tabasco after finding my long lost bottle during a pantry clean out. To the point of adding a drop to each chip when eating Doritos (HAVE YOU TRIED THIS?!).

I never seem to be able to roll my tortillas out to the full 8 inches, especially because the original recipe cautions overworking the dough. Make sure that your pan is completely heated before cooking your tortillas, they only need 30 seconds on each side if the pan is properly hot. Also, don’t get bent out of shape if they don’t puff up all the way. I did get bent out of shape the first time I made them and I left them in the pan for too long and they got a bit crispy, this isn’t a problem if you just want them for dipping but they can crack if you want to fold them up like a taco or burrito.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Barely adapted from Lisa’s Texas Flour Tortillas over at Homesick Texan.

2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

2 tsp vegetable oil

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan on low heat the milk until just warm, then add the milk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients.

Stir until it forms a loose, sticky ball.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is smooth.

Place the dough in a bowl and cover with clingfilm, allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Cut into 8 sections and roll each one into a ball, place on a plate (not touching), cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for another 10 minutes.

To form the tortillas, place a ball of dough on a well floured surface, pat out into a 4 inch circle then roll out to and 8 inch circle with a rolling pin.

As the tortillas are formed place them in a stack with clingfilm between each one to prevent them sticking.

Heat a dry pan on high, cook the tortillas one at a time for 30-40 seconds on each side, they should puff up a little.

Keep cooked tortillas wrapped in a tea towel until ready to eat.

Honey Wholemeal English Muffin Bread

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I thought that my first go at English Muffin Bread was a winner but I tinkered with the recipe, inspired by this post over at The Sugar Hit and I think that I’ve found my forever bread. It took me quite a few goes to get it right, they all tasted good but my loaves kept sinking in the middle. After a bit of googling I realised that it was because I put a whole 1/4 cup of honey in without taking out any of the milk (duh!). My only other issue was that when I baked the bread in my regular loaf tin it resulted in long and thin slices of bread that had to be grilled because they didn’t fit in the toaster. This resulted in quite a few ‘well done’ pieces of toast because I would get distracted and forget about it until I smelled it burning. Once I realised that this bread was here to stay I invested in a taller, narrower style of loaf tin to solve my First World toaster problem. This bread is so right up my alley, I have been baking it at least once a week and keeping it in the freezer for a quick snack or to dunk in soup. The sweetness of the honey goes so well with savoury flavours but would be just as nice with jam or marmalade. My favourite way to eat it is slathered in butter with a sprinkle of sea salt. Heaven, I tells ya! One of the reasons that I fell head over heels for this recipe is because it’s major flavour for minimum effort. Mix everything together, let it rest, scrape it into the bread tin, let it rest then bake. As far as bread recipes go it’s one of the easiest I’ve tried.

I’m glad I found this recipe because I don’t know how else to use all of the cornmeal in my cupboard. You can definitely make the recipe without it but it adds a very English Muffin-ey crunch to the crust. In Australia it’s sold as polenta.

Honey Wholemeal English Muffin Bread

Adapted from Tim’s English Muffin Bread over at Lottie + Doof and Sarah’s Honey Whole Wheat English Muffins over at The Sugar Hit.

1 1/4 cups wholemeal flour

1 1/4 cups bread flour

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 tsp table salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup honey

cornmeal for dusting

Preheat oven to 190 C.

Spray a loaf tin with oil then dust liberally with cornflour.

Mix everything together (except for the milk and honey) in a large mixing bowl until well combined, set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the milk and honey, heating on medium heat until it reaches 48 C/ 120 F.

Pour the milk mixture into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients, mix until everything is moistened and well combined.

Spray the top of the dough with oil and cover mixing bowl with cling film, allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Deflate the dough and transfer to the prepared loaf tin, using a greased spatula to push it into the corners.

Spray dough with oil again and cover with cling film, allow to rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes.

Discard cling film and bake for 30 minutes until the top of the bread is well browned.

Turn out immediately onto a cooling rack, allow to cool completely before slicing.