Dubai: Why are we baking so much during self-isolation? Are we stress eating? Or is it more the feeling of control that we desire? Measuring flour, sugar and butter. Mixing together all the ingredients to get that final perfect baked good.
We’ve put together 5 recipes you can make that will a) calm you down and b) taste amazing.
1. Banana Bread
2. Simple Bread Pudding
3. Classic Cheesecake
4. Chocolate Babka
5. Cinnamon Roll Bread
Let’s get started:
Here is an easy way to use up the bananas on the countertop, or brown ones thrown in the back of the freezer. Don’t overmix the ingredients, and make sure the bananas are very ripe.
For the bread
• ¼ pound cool butter (1 stick), more for greasing pan
• ¾ cup dark brown sugar
• 2 eggs, at room temperature
• 2 ⅓ cups very ripe bananas (about 5)
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
For the topping
• 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans
• 1 tablespoon granulated or coarse sugar
• ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Using electric mixer, cream butter until smooth and fluffy. Add sugar and cream together 2 minutes more. One at a time, mix in eggs. Mix in bananas until only small lumps remain.
2. Stir dry ingredients together and mix into banana mixture just until combined. Pour into prepared pan. If making topping, stir ingredients together and sprinkle over batter.
3. Bake about 55 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and let cool completely before wrapping tightly for storage.
Simple Bread Pudding
This recipe is proof-positive that leftover bread can easily be converted to dessert without much work.
There’s room for customization here: consider adding fresh or dried fruit or a combination of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom.
It makes a great brunch dish, served with fresh fruit compote. Or add a handful of chocolate chips before baking for a decidedly more decadent outcome.
• 2 cups milk
• 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ⅓ cup sugar
• Pinch salt
• ½ loaf sweet egg bread like challah or brioche, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 5 to 6 cups)
• 2 eggs, beaten
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm milk, butter, vanilla, sugar and salt. Continue cooking just until butter melts; cool. Meanwhile, butter a 4-to-6-cup baking dish and fill it with cubed bread.
2. Add eggs to cooled milk mixture and whisk; pour mixture over bread. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until custard is set but still a little wobbly and edges of bread have browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If there’s one dessert that would least benefit from innovation, it would have to be New York-style cheesecake. No tricks, no twists; just a crumbly graham cracker crust and lots of lightly sweetened cream cheese. Baking a cheesecake without a water bath might seem like you're tempting fate, but if you do so at a low enough temperature, it will cook the filling gently and evenly without the risk of curdling or scorching. While cracks on the cheesecake's surface won’t affect the taste, they can be unsightly and are most likely to occur when there’s a sudden temperature change (say, from the oven to the fridge). To reduce the chances of cracking, let the cheesecake rest in the oven a few minutes before transferring to the counter to cool completely.
For the crust:
• 18 whole graham crackers (about 10 ounces/284 grams)
• ¼ cup/55 grams light brown sugar
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
• ¾ cup/170 grams (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
• 2 pounds/904 grams cream cheese (four 8-ounce/226-gram packages), room temperature
• ½ cup/113 grams sour cream
• 1 cup/201 grams granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 4 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
• ¼ cup/32 grams all-purpose flour
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine graham crackers, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon (if using) and process until you’ve got fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and add melted butter. Using your hands, mix well until no dry spots remain (crumb mixture should not be sandy or dry, but hold small clumps when pressed together).
3. Press crust evenly into the bottom and at least 1 1/2-inches up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to make sure the bottom is as even as possible. Bake on the middle rack until crust is set and just starting to brown around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Remove pan from the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling. Reduce heat to 300 degrees.
5. Prepare the filling: Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, beat on high until mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary, about 4 minutes.
6. Reduce speed to medium and 1 at a time, add eggs and yolk, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each egg is added. With the mixer on low, add flour and beat just to blend, until no lumps remain.
7. Pour filling into prepared crust (if filling goes above the crust that is O.K.). Bake until the edges of the cheesecake are completely set and the 2-inch inner circle of the cheesecake wobbles just slightly, 60 to 70 minutes.
8. Turn heat off and let cheesecake remain in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and let sit on a wire rack to cool completely at room temperature. When cool, transfer to refrigerator until totally set, at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
Baking a chocolate babka is no casual undertaking. The Eastern European yeast-risen coffee cake has 14 steps and takes all day to make. But the results are worth every sugarcoated second – with a moist, deeply flavored brioche-like cake wrapped around a dark fudge filling, then topped with cocoa streusel crumbs.
If you want to save yourself a little work and love Nutella, you can substitute 1 1/2 cup (420 grams) of it for the homemade fudge filling. Also note that you can make this over a few days instead of all at once. Babka freezes well for up to 3 months, so if you need only one loaf now, freeze the other for later.
For the dough:
• ½ cup/118 milliliters whole milk
• 1 package (1/4 ounce/7 grams) active dry yeast
• ⅓ cup/67 grams granulated sugar, plus a pinch
• 4 ¼ cups/531 grams all-purpose flour, more as needed
• 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
• ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
• 10 tablespoons/140 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing bowls and pans
For the fudge filling:
• ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar
• ¾ cup/177 milliliters heavy cream or half-and-half
• Pinch kosher salt
• 6 ounces/170 grams extra bittersweet chocolate, preferably between 66 and 74 percent cocoa, coarsely chopped
• 8 tablespoons/112 grams/1 stick unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
• 2 teaspoons/10 milliliters vanilla extract
For the chocolate streusel:
• ½ cup/60 grams all-purpose flour
• 3 tablespoons/45 grams granulated sugar
• 1 ½ tablespoons/11 grams cocoa powder
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 4 ½ tablespoons/64 grams unsalted butter, melted
• ⅓ cup/60 grams mini semisweet chocolate chips
For the syrup:
• ⅔ cup/135 grams granulated sugar
1. Prepare the dough: In a small saucepan or a bowl in the microwave, warm the milk until it’s lukewarm but not hot (about 110 degrees). Add yeast and a pinch of sugar and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until slightly foamy.
2. In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, or in a food processor, mix together flour, 1/3 cup sugar, the salt, the vanilla, the lemon zest (if using) and the nutmeg. (If you don't have a mixer or processor, use a large bowl and a wooden spoon.) Beat or process in the yeast mixture and eggs until the dough comes together in a soft mass, about 2 minutes. If the dough sticks to the side of the bowl and doesn’t come together, add a tablespoon more flour at a time until it does, beating very well in between additions.
3. Add half the butter and beat or pulse until the dough is smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Beat in the rest of the butter and continue to beat or pulse until the dough is smooth and stretchy, another 5 to 7 minutes. Again, if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
4. Butter a clean bowl, form the dough into a ball and roll it around in the bowl so all sides are buttered. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place (inside of a turned-off oven with the oven light on is good) until it puffs and rises, about 1 to 2 hours. It may not double in bulk but it should rise.
5. Press the dough down with your hands, re-cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight (or, in a pinch, for at least 4 hours, but the flavor won't be as developed).
6. Prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cream and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Scrape mixture into a bowl. Stir in chocolate, butter and vanilla until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. Filling can be made up to a week ahead and stored, covered, in the fridge. Let come to room temperature before using.
7. Prepare the streusel: In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Stir in melted butter until it is evenly distributed and forms large, moist crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. Streusel can be prepared up to 3 days ahead and stored, covered, in the fridge.
8. Prepare the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 2/3 cup/158 milliliters water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
9. Butter two 9-inch loaf pans, then line with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches of paper hanging over on the sides to use as handles later.
10. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. On a floured surface, roll one piece into a 9-by-17-inch rectangle. Spread with half the filling (there's no need to leave a border). Starting with a long side, roll into a tight coil. Transfer the coil onto a dish towel or piece of plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
11. Slice one of the dough coils in half lengthwise to expose the filling. Twist the halves together as if you were braiding them, then fold the braid in half so it’s about 9 inches long. Place into a prepared pan, letting it curl around itself if it’s a little too long for the pan. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until puffy (it won’t quite double). Alternatively, you can cover the pans with plastic wrap and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight; bring them back to room temperature for an hour before baking.
12. When you're ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Use your fingers to clump streusel together and scatter all over the tops of the cakes. Transfer to oven and bake until a tester goes into the cakes without any rubbery resistance and comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. The cakes will also sound hollow if you unmold them and tap on the bottom. An instant-read thermometer will read between 185 and 210 degrees.
13. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, use a skewer or paring knife to pierce them all over going all the way to the bottom of the cakes, and then pour the syrup on top of the cakes, making sure to use half the syrup for each cake.
14. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Cinnamon Roll Bread
This stunning bread is made from 16 small cinnamon rolls that are arranged in a loaf pan, creating a swirled pattern that’s surprisingly easy to achieve. The bread is delicious served slightly warm, but if you want to see precise spirals in your slice, let it cool completely before slicing. The icing is meant to be quite thick; if you apply it while the loaf is still warm, it will remain soft and gooey. If you apply it once the bread is fully cooled, it will harden to a thick, glossy frosting. Both are equally delicious, and which one you choose may depend entirely on how patient you can be once the aroma permeates your kitchen.
American, Breads, Butter, Cinnamon, Instant Yeast, Milk, Breakfast, Brunch, Snack Mark as Cooked 247 ratings
For the dough:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup/240 milliliters whole milk
3 cups/385 grams all-purpose flour
⅓ cup/65 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
For the filling and finishing
8 tablespoons/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
⅔ cup/145 grams light brown sugar
¼ cup/30 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
For the glaze:
1 cup/125 grams confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with a parchment paper sling, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the long sides.
Pour the milk into a small pot and heat over low until it’s just warm to the touch (about 95 degrees). If needed, let cool to the correct temperature before using.
While the milk heats, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour, granulated sugar, yeast and salt to combine. Add the warm milk, butter and egg and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl well, and mix on medium speed for another 3 minutes.
Transfer to a lightly greased medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until puffy and almost doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
While the dough rises, make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Whisk in the flour, cinnamon, vanilla and salt until well incorporated.
When the dough has risen, roll it out into into a rectangle (about 12 by 20 inches) on a lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin. Spread the filling over the dough in an even layer all the way to the edges. Starting on one of the long sides, tightly roll up the dough crosswise into a 20-inch log. Gently stretch the log to make it about 24 inches long.
Use a sharp or serrated knife to cut the dough into 16 1 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Arrange the cinnamon rolls in the loaf pan: Place two rows of six pieces each at the bottom of the pan, side-by-side, seam-side down and tightly packed with the swirls facing the ends of the pan. Arrange the remaining four pieces in the center on top of those on the bottom.
Loosely cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough comes about 1 inch over the top edge of the pan, about 1 hour (it can be more if your room temperature is cooler). Toward the end of the rise time, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make an egg wash by lightly beating 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water together. Brush the loaf with the egg wash, then bake until the loaf has an internal temperature of 200 degrees, about 50 to 55 minutes. The loaf will brown quickly; tent it with foil after 20 to 25 minutes for the remainder of baking time.
While the loaf bakes, make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, cream and vanilla to combine. The mixture should be thick, more like a frosting than a glaze. Add more cream if needed to achieve a smooth texture. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap into the surface of the frosting so the surface doesn’t harden.
Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Use a small offset spatula to loosen the loaf from the short edges of the pan, then lift out the loaf using the parchment paper and cool for at least 30 minutes on a cooling rack before applying the frosting. Spread the frosting in an even layer over the surface of the loaf.