Annette’s Focaccia Recipe

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend. We had a rare snow day yesterday in Atlanta (trust me, we use the phrase “snow day” very loosely in these parts). I spent the day snuggled in front of the fire, needlepointing, reading, and catching up on television shows.

While it was a lazy day for me, I know many people took to their kitchens to do some baking, and I know bread is always a popular baking choice. The next time you find yourself wanting to bake bread, why not give Annette’s focaccia recipe a try?

You can find the story behind focaccia in Annette’s book, Cocktail Italiano.

Focaccia
Serves 4

You will need:
– 3 cups double zero flour (super fine flour)
– 1 package dry yeast
– 1/3 cup warm water
– 1 cup water
– ½ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon for the cookie sheet + 3 tablespoons for finishing before baking, 1 tablespoon to finish after baking
– 2 tablespoons coarse salt + 1 teaspoon for finishing

To prepare:

Place the yeast in a small bowl with 1/3 cups water and let proof in a large bowl. put flour and oil and salt and water, combine until it forms a sticky dough, it should be very sticky. Flour your surface and turn the dough onto floured surface. knead gently for a minute until dough forms a soft dough.

On an oiled cookie sheet with a lip, spread the dough out to fit the cookie sheet. With your index fingers poke dimples into the top of the dough.

Let rest for 30 minutes, then repeat by poking dimples into the risen dough, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Before placing in the oven, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil cool and eat warm or at room temperature. The key is to let the oil soak in as the focaccia cools.

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Traditional with a Twist: PANFORTE ICE CREAM AFFOGATO

Today I’m sharing a recipe from the archives: panforte ice cream affogato. Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert that is super popular this time of year. Translated quite literally to mean “strong bread,” panforte is a dense, spicy, flourless fruitcake. While there are loads of varying reports of where this dessert originated historically, it has strong ties to Siena, and specifically, Tuscany.

Loads of stores carry panforte this time of year making this recipe for panforte ice cream affogato a real treat. Give it a try!

Panforte Ice Cream Affogato
serves 8

You will need:
– 1 cup whole milk
– 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
– 1 cup of sugar
– 5 egg yolks
– 2 cups of cream
– 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
– 4 ounces panforte (an Italian sweet dessert “bread” found in specialty stores or online)
– 8 ounces espresso

To prepare:

In a small saucepan, warm the milk, sugar and vanilla bean over medium low heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove a ¼ cup of the milk and sugar mixture and add to the egg yolks to temper, so the eggs don’t curdle. Add the egg mixture back to the milk and continue to cook, while stirring, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the mixture into the cream, scraping any bits of vanilla bean into the mixture. Add the vanilla extract. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and chill until ready to churn. This recipe can be made a day ahead.

In a food processor, chop 4 ounces of panforte until ground, but not pulverized. (Reserve a Tablespoon for garnish)

Churn the ice cream, adding the chopped panforte and continuing to churn until evenly distributed into the ice cream. Freeze until ready to serve.

To make the affogato, scoop the ice cream into glasses. Pour strong, freshly brewed coffee or espresso over the ice cream. Garnish with a sprinkling of the chopped panforte. Serve with the Italian almond cake topped with a dusting of confectioners sugar.

Recipe: Alisa Barry

Photo Credit: John McDonald

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

This is the season of all things pumpkin. In fact, you’ve seen it often on the blog over the past few weeks. With that in mind, I love to whip up these pumpkin cupcakes each year.

These cupcakes are moist, rich, and decadent. The decadence comes from the thick, creamy brown butter frosting. Trust me, it’s as good as it sounds. ‘Tis the season to put pumpkin in and on everything. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll love these. The recipe for both the cupcakes and the frosting is below. I hope you enjoy it!

Pumpkin Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

You will need:
– 1 cup of sugar
– 1 stick butter softened
– 3 eggs, room temperature
– 1/2  teaspoon vanilla
– 1 1/2  cups flour
– 1/2  teaspoon baking powder
– ½ teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1/4 cup milk
– 1 cup of pumpkin puree

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Fill two, 6-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, place butter and sugar and combine until creamy. Approx. 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture on low speed, finally, add milk.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, 3/4 way up the liner. Bake for 20 minutes until inserted knife comes out clean, cool for 30 minutes

Brown Butter FrostingYou will need:
– 1 1/4 sticks butter
– 5 cups of powdered sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1/4 cup milk

To prepare:
Brown butter on medium heat until lightly toasted. Pour sugar, milk, and vanilla into the bowl of a standing mixer. Turn the mixer on slow and add browned butter slowly until the frosting comes together.

*note this frosting has a tough consistency so you will need to apply to the cupcakes with a firm yet gentle touch.

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Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Hi everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. Coming off of pumpkin week last week only made me crave the fall flavor even more. I’ll be the first to say that pumpkin pie is my least favorite fall dessert but pumpkin bundt cake? Sign me up.

This bundt cake recipe is from the archives. A bundt cake always gives me a dose of vintage nostalgia. Bundt cakes were a staple in my house growing up, and I really think we should bring them back. Plus the word “bundt” is just funny. Do you always think of that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding like I do?! I love that part.

Without further adieu, meet the pumpkin bundt cake. Be sure to add it to your fall menus! I know I will!

Layered Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Serves 12

For the cake, you will need: 

– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ground ginger
– 1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
– 1 cup canola oil
– 4 large eggs
– 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Note: 2 fluted bundt pans.

To prepare the cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter bundt pans; Butter and dust pans with flour. Sift 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients into medium bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat both sugars and oil until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporatedDivide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks, then turn cakes over on to a platter.

For the frosting, you will need:

– 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
– 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 tablespoon dark rum
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
– 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

To prepare the frosting: 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dark rum and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating just until frosting is smooth after each addition (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft to spread).

For the chocolate icing, you will need:

– 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
– ½ cup cream

To prepare the chocolate icing:

In a small sauce pan heat chips and cream whisk until smooth.

To assemble the cake: 

Place 1 pumpkin cake layer, rounded side down, on platter. Spread the of cream cheese frosting over top of cake to edges. Top with second pumpkin half. Drizzle with Chocolate icing using a fork in a zig zag splatter pattern.

Note – Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Photo credit: The Raftermen

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Pumpkin Week:: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

There’s nothing like starting a crisp fall day with an espresso and a slice of pumpkin bread, especially gluten-free pumpkin bread. This one is delicious for all the reasons you can imagine. It’s sweet. It’s seasonal. It’s festive. And it’s gluten-free.

Feel free to use your gluten-free flour of choice. You’ll get the same results no matter your choice.

Try different variations to really up the ante. Think a sprinkle of chocolate chips throughout the batter or some pumpkin seeds on top. What a perfect way to kick off the season!

Pumpkin Bread

You will need:

– 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
– 3/4 cup granulated sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2 cups gluten-free flour
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 t salt
– 1 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp allspice

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 F

Grease 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan

Mix flour, soda, & salt, cinnamon, and allspice together. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and beat. Alternately add dry ingredients and pumpkin puree to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry (dry-wet-dry-wet-dry).

Pour mixture into greased 9″x 5″ loaf pan. Bake 50-60 min, or until cake tester comes out clean (I look for a few mini moist crumbs).

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then on a baking rack.

Enjoy!

xx Annette

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