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Authors: Joanne Chang

Baking with Less Sugar (7 page)

BOOK: Baking with Less Sugar
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4.
Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl. Cover the bowl loosely with a piece of plastic wrap or a damp lint-free cloth. Place the bowl in a draft-free, warm place (78 to 82°F [25 to 28°C] is ideal; an area near the stove or in the oven with only the pilot light on is good) for about 2 hours. The dough should rise until it is about double in bulk. (This is called proofing the dough.)

5.
When the dough has doubled in size, dump it out onto a well-floured work surface and stretch it into a long rectangle about 12 in by 4 in [30 cm by 10 cm]. Using a bench scraper or a knife, divide the dough the long way into four narrow strips, each about 1 in [3 cm] wide. Then divide each dough strip into eight pieces so that you end up with thirty-two little nuggets total.

6.
Butter and flour an 8-in [20-cm] round cake pan with sides that are at least 2 in [5 cm] high.

7.
Put the melted butter in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Roll each dough nugget into a little ball and dip into the melted butter, shake off any excess butter, and then roll around in the cinnamon sugar. Place the nuggets in the prepared cake pan, close to each other, but with a little space in between each nugget, to cover the bottom of the pan. When you fill up the bottom of the pan, continue by stacking them on top of each other. When all of the nuggets have been buttered and sugared, drape a piece of plastic wrap or a damp lint-free cloth over the cake pan and let sit in a draft-free, warm place for another 1 to 1
1
/
2
hours. When the nuggets have proofed—that is, when they have grown in size and feel soft and puffy—they are ready to bake.

8.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F [175°C]. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining butter and cinnamon sugar and then whisk in the cream. Pour this mixture evenly over the top of the nuggets (it will drown the nuggets) and place the cake pan in the oven. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the tops of the nuggets have turned light golden brown, rotating the pan about halfway once during baking.

9.
Remove the monkey bread from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Invert the bread onto a serving plate. If there is a little bit of goo on the bottom of the cake pan, scrape it directly onto the monkey bread with a rubber spatula (or whisk in 2 to 3 Tbsp cream or water to thin it out and pour it over the monkey bread). Serve warm.

10.
The monkey bread is best enjoyed the same day you bake it, but it can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days. If desired, rewarm the bread in a 300°F [150°C] oven for about 10 minutes.

BETTER THAN FLOUR FAMOUS BANANA BREAD

If there is one item that I eat the most of at the bakery it would be our banana bread. I'm completely addicted to the ends of each loaf that the bakers trim off before they slice it up to sell on the pastry counter, and often the morning baker will put the day's ends into a little container for me so that when I make the rounds, they are ready for me to start snacking. Except that it's not quite such a little container. Nicole, my executive pastry chef, once put all of the ends together, one on top of another, and it was almost half a loaf. This was when we just had two locations; I don't want to think about how big the ends all add up together now that there are four Flours.

In creating a low-sugar version, I knew it had to have that same super-banana-y taste and tender texture that I love about the full-sugar version. I fiddled around with the sugar amount, getting it as low as I could so that the texture was still moist, while keeping the taste plenty sweet by making sure to use super super-ripe bananas. I also cooked some of the bananas to ensure that the sugars really broke down and came shining through. This recipe will not work with picturesque sunshine-y yellow bananas—you need the brown spotted mushy ones that are full of natural sugar. You will be rewarded with banana bread that rivals the original with less than one-third the amount of sugar.

MAKES
ONE
9-IN [23-CM] LOAF

  • 75 g/
    3
    /
    4
    cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 175 g/1
    1
    /
    4
    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1
    /
    2
    tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1
    /
    2
    tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 75 g/6 Tbsp sugar
  • 70 g/
    1
    /
    3
    cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large or 4 medium super-ripe bananas (really ripe—I mean it! Black and spotty on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside)
  • 90 g/6 Tbsp crème fraîche
    (see page 24)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F [165°C]. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-in [23-by-13-cm] loaf pan, or butter and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

2.
Put the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.

3.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

4.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. (Or whip by hand with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes.)

5.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil. Be sure not to pour the oil in all at once; add it slowly so it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn't deflate the air you've just beaten into the batter.

6.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, mash all but one of the bananas thoroughly with a fork and microwave on high power for about 60 seconds, or until they are hot. (If you don't have a microwave, cook the bananas in a small saucepan on medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they break down and get soft and mushy.) Using a small whisk, whisk in the crème fraîche and vanilla until thoroughly combined into a purée. Mash up the remaining banana and stir into the banana mixture. Add the banana mixture to the egg mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and nuts by hand with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined, so there are no more flour streaks in the batter.

7.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the banana bread is pale golden brown and springs back when you poke it in the center. If your finger sinks when you poke the bread, it needs to bake a little longer. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, then pop the bread out of the pan and slice.

8.
Banana bread can be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 2 days. Or store in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks; thaw overnight at room temperature.

FUDGY MASCARPONE BROWNIES

The chocolate-y, rich, indulgent brownies that we make at Flour are made with 400 g/2 cups of sugar for 16 brownies. That's 2 Tbsp of sugar per brownie: go right now and measure 2 Tbsp of sugar and imagine swallowing all of that in one sitting. It's a lot more than you think. All of that sugar is what makes the brownie decadent and luscious.

I wasn't sure if I could pull off a low-sugar version. How would I create that characteristic dense fudgy-ness of brownies without loads of sugar to introduce moisture and richness? How would the brownies bake enough to hold their shape and not just taste like a mass of goo, but not bake so much that they became dry? It turns out that you don't miss the sweetness of sugar in these brownies if you increase the actual chocolate. In fact, you end up with a treat even more chocolate-y (sounds like a good thing to me). And to help the brownie bake moist without coming across as underdone or gooey, we beat in some rich mascarpone cheese that brings the whole thing together to make these brownies just as splendid as the original.

MAKES
12
BROWNIES

  • 175 g/1
    1
    /
    4
    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1
    /
    2
    tsp baking powder
  • 1
    /
    2
    tsp kosher salt
  • 390 g/14 oz bittersweet chocolate, at least 68 percent cacao content or higher
  • 170 g/
    3
    /
    4
    cup unsalted butter, cut into 5 or 6 pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 115 g/
    1
    /
    2
    cup mascarpone cheese
  • 140 g/
    2
    /
    3
    cup sugar

1.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F [165°C]. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-in [23-by-33-cm] baking pan.

2.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

3.
Bring a saucepan filled partway with water to a very gentle simmer over medium heat. Place the chocolate and butter in a metal or glass bowl. Place the bowl over (not touching) the barely simmering water in the saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Alternatively, microwave the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted and smooth.

4.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with an electric hand mixer; if using a hand mixer, use a large bowl to accommodate all ingredients), beat the eggs and mascarpone on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sugar and beat for about 1 minute, or until the sugar is mixed in. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate mixture.

5.
Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg-chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined. (If the bowl you used for the egg-chocolate mixture is too small for folding, transfer the mixture to a larger bowl and then fold in the flour mixture.) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread in an even layer with the spatula (the batter will be thick).

6.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (but check every few minutes starting at 15 minutes to make sure the brownies don't over-bake), or until a knife slipped into the center of the pan comes out with a few wet crumbs on it. If the knife comes out with liquid batter on it, the brownies need more time in the oven; if the knife comes out with nothing on it, the brownies are probably a bit over-baked and no longer fudgy, but they will still be delicious. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 2 hours, or until completely cool. (Because these are so moist, they need time to cool and firm up enough to cut.) Cut into 12 pieces.

7.
The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or store in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks; thaw at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours.

CAMERON'S LEMON-POLENTA-PISTACHIO BUTTONS

Full of bright lemon flavor and crunchy with cornmeal and green pistachios, these button cookies are a wonderful pick-me-up treat. Keep the batter on hand for baking up a quick snack, or bake a bunch and pack them in a pretty cellophane bag for a lovely housewarming gift. My young nephew Cameron and I are always talking about planning more time to bake together (we don't see each other as much as I would like), so I created these with him in mind for our next baking project.

MAKES ABOUT
12
COOKIES

  • 115 g/
    1
    /
    2
    cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 50 g/
    1
    /
    4
    cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 140 g/1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 40 g/
    1
    /
    4
    cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1
    /
    2
    tsp kosher salt

SUGAR DIPPING MIX

  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 30 g/
    1
    /
    4
    cup finely chopped, roasted and salted pistachios
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest

1.
Pour the butter into a medium bowl and add the sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and egg. Stir together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

2.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. Add the butter-egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 1 hour or up to overnight. If refrigerating overnight, store in an airtight container.

3.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F [175°C]. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

BOOK: Baking with Less Sugar
4.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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