Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Daring Bakers' April 2012 Challenge - Nazook

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.

We had the choice of making either the Nazook or the Nutmeg Cake or both. I wanted to try both but the garden has taken almost all of my time. If I didn't have the lights in the garden, I don't know how much more behind I'd be. So, I got the Nazook made with the intent of trying the cake, but just didn't get to it.

But Oh, am I glad I did the Nazook. This just might be my new favorite recipe. I hope you try it. It might sound like it makes a lot, and it kinda does, but it was all eaten in less than 18 hours of being made (this includes the time we spent sleeping!) So, please try it! Here is the recipe I had to work with:

 Makes about 40 pieces
Pastry dough
3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
2½ teaspoons (12½ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) softened butter (room temperature)

 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (210 gm) (7½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (340 gm/12 oz) sugar
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) softened butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

1-2 egg yolks (for the wash; alternatively, some yogurt, egg whites, or a whole egg)

 Make the Pastry Dough
1. Place the sifted flour into a large bowl.
2. Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
3. Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.
4. Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough.
5. If using a standing mixer, switch to a dough hook. If making manually, continue to knead for
about 10 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands. If it remains very sticky, add some flour, a little at a time.
6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.

Make the filling
7. Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl.
8. Add the vanilla extract.
9. Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.

Make the nazook
10. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
11. Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.
12. Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
13. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not
14. Spread 1/4 of the filling mixture across the rolled-out dough in an even layer. Try to spread the filling as close as possible to the edges on the short sides, but keep some of pastry dough uncovered (1 inch/2.5 cm) along the long edges.
15. From one of the long sides, start slowly rolling the dough across. Be careful to make sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Roll all the way across until you have a long, thin loaf.
16. Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
17. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.
18. Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

19. Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden
20. Allow to cool and enjoy!

This was my Nazook...

The pictures just don't do this justice. This is a fantastic treat that will soon become a staple dessert at our home.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Calling All Shoppers and Snackers!

I know this is last minute, and I apologize, but I wanted to let y'all know that Kylie will be selling homemade goodies at the Sand Flats Baptist Church tomorrow. It starts at 9 and goes till she sells out. She is raising money for the Marching Band's trip to Washington D.C. next summer. Whatever she sells goes towards her cost to go on the trip. This sale is part of Antique Alley.

For those that don't know, Antique Alley is the mother of all sales. There is stuff like yard sales and there is also really cool and nice things like you would find at a festival. This happens twice a year and is on Hwy 4 going through Cleburne, Grandview, and Maypearl. Did you catch that? This is a sale that is all along the road for three cities! If you've never been, you have to go. It is fantastic!

And go see Kylie. The Sand Flats Baptist Church is between Cleburne and Grandview across from Duke's Produce.

She'll have:

*Potato Bread
*Homemade Hand Painted Hamburger Buns
*Chocolate Cake
*Strawberry Cake
*Cream Cheese Mints
*Chocoalte Chip Cookies
*M&M Cookies

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter Bread

  Yes, I know that Easter was like three months ago, but I've been running behind on posting things. The grass and sunflowers have taken over my garden, the ants smell my veggies and are trying to take up residence, and I'm starting to see grasshoppers. I've been a little busy outside. Most days I've been going out to work in the garden at 7:30 when the kids leave for school and not sitting down in the house until after dark. (Thanks so much Pa for the solar powered lights in the garden and greenhouse. No, really. Thanks. You're a peach.)
  So, I haven't had time for much of anything except back pain and cursing under my breath. But before that, I did take some time off to work on my Easter contribution. I made the bread and the macaroni and cheese. The cheese for the macaroni was made by me from our Brindle milk (our dairy cow). I'm glad I did some practice on the Easter bread because I learned a lot from my practice run.
  The first try I made french bread dough, formed it into an egg shape and wrapped a bread braid around the center as a decoration. I then painted the bread. One thing I learned is that braids don't help a shape. The braid took away from the egg shape. I also learned some tips on painting the bread - specifically what didn't work. Here was my first go round:

I probably would have been happy with it if I hadn't put the braid on, but the coloring didn't turn out too well. By the time it was done baking, the yellow had browned up.
  So, Plan B.

Pa had been trying to get me to make a basket out of bread for awhile now and I kept putting it off because it seemed like too much work. It was too much work, but my Dad had a fit about it so in the end I was glad I'd gone to the trouble.

This is how I made the basket:

I made french bread dough because it rises less that regular bread dough. I wish I had made two batches of the dough, that would have made it easier and I could have made the basket a little bigger which would have looked nicer. I also skipped the second rise for the dough.  I used my rolling pin and on a lightly floured surface, I rolled the dough into a rectangle. I then cut the dough into long strips. I based the length of my strips on the basket size I was going for. In this case, I used a loaf pan that I turned upside down. After spraying the pan with butter spray (so the bread didn't stick), I laid the first strip down the middle of the pan. The next strip crossed that one in the middle. I then weaved each strip, one at a time, through the strips that were laying on the loaf pan. I went in a circle in the manner of placing the strips so that each side was even in length as the other side. I wasn't sure when my strips would run out, so I wanted it to be even. After all the strips were placed, I did my best to twist the ends together, sometimes the ends just got pinched together. The loaf pan with the bread covering it was put on a cookie sheet and baked. The inside of the basket cooked slower than the outside, so after the outside of the basket was done, I unmolded it and placed it in a 9 x 13 baking dish right side up and continued to bake. I hope this makes sense. I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures, I forgot. I got so carried away with trying to weave the strips that I completely forgot about my camera that was about 2 feet away.

The mini Easter eggs were made out of a simple roll dough. You could use any roll recipe you like. The trick is that when you shape the eggs, you really have to exaggerate the egg shape. The eggs that had the most elongated points were the ones that turned out the best after the second rise and bake. I changed how I painted the loaves along with my paint recipe and I think it turned out great.

How do ya like my Tecate can by the bread? Yeah, I was stressing. It took longer to paint and bake the bread than I had thought so I was scrambling as people started showing up. I painted most of the bread, but Kylie, Zach, and Wyatt helped some too. They had a great time with it.

Cute, huh?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Although I do try to feed my kids a nutritious breakfast every day, sometimes you just HAVE to have some syrup. And boy, does syrup make the kids want to give ya hugs! This waffle recipe is one of two that I use. One is a recipe that has been handed down from my husband's great aunt. It's good, but it is more involved and complicated. Since moving to the farm, I only use it on special occassions when there is more time. The recipe I'm giving you is fast, easy, tastes great, and is economical. This is my go-to-recipe when the kids want waffles. It makes 12 waffles. You can double it if you want. I usually double or triple the recipe in a giant bowl, make all the waffles, cool them on a wire rack, and freeze them in bags for future use.


2 eggs
2 c. all purpose flour
1 3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tbl. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Start with the eggs in a large bowl.

Oh, so pretty and the nutritious part of the breakfast. Beat the eggs with a hand mixer or whisk until fluffy. Throw the rest of the ingredients into the bowl. Beat them until just smooth. A few lumps won't hurt, though.
Spray your heated waffle iron with a little bit of nonstick spray (I like to use the butter flavored spray). Pour 1/3 c. of batter into each waffle compartment. *This 1/3 c. measurement is for a standard waffle maker. Please test your waffle maker to ensure that you don't come out with either batter running down the sides or a flat waffle with holes.* Cook the waffles until golden brown. If not putting immediately on a plate, cool the waffles on a wire rack so they don't become soggy.