Archive for: walnut
You can chop up apples and add them to a muffin batter if you want some apple muffins. I’ve done this on occasion, usually when I want the apples to really stand apart from the rest of the muffin. But this is also the problem with this method, because the chunks of apple don’t necessarily mesh well with the rest of the muffin and you don’t get that nice apple flavor in every bite. One trick I use to eliminate this problem is to shred the apples before incorporating them. You get just as much apple into the muffin that way, and it is spread evenly throughout the batter.
These Apple Walnut Muffins use the shredded apple trick to get lots of apple flavor from just one apple. I added in some cinnamon and nutmeg, and plenty of chopped walnuts, too. The buttery walnuts provide a nice crunch, but also go very well with the apple and spices. I left my walnuts in fairly large chunks, but you can chop them more finely if you prefer to get your crunch in smaller bits.
The finished muffins are very easy to throw together and smell delicious when the come out of the oven. The spices seem to flatter the apples and walnuts without overpowering them and turning this into a spice muffin.They are moist, tender and just hearty enough to be satisfying without being too heavy. I used bread flour in these to help promote that slightly hearty, muffin-y texture, but you can substitute all purpose flour in this recipe for a slightly more tender result (the results will be good both ways).
You’ll smell walnut cakes long before you see them. They smell like freshly baked cake and toasted nut. These traditional cakes are one of the best sweet Korean street foods out there – in my admittedly inexperienced opinion. They’re a cross between a donut hole and a pancake, and are filled with a small amount of walnut paste that makes them moist and flavorful.
The most interesting thing about them is how they’re made. Batter is pipped down from a large bag or funnel using a small hose into a hot pan made of circular holes. Of course, you could make these by hand without the fancy piping equipment, but as a street vendor, speed is going to give you something of an edge. It actually looks a lot like an aebleskiver pan, but with both a top and a bottom side. The circular molds also have a walnut shell pattern, so the finished cakes look like nuts. Once the batter is in place, the walnut paste is dropped in and the lid is shut so the cakes can brown evenly. Eat the while they’re hot and you can get the best effect of crisp outside and soft center.
I saw these morning, noon and night. They go great with coffee if you can find them for a quick breakfast! Also, I’m not sure what the Korean name for these are, as most of the signs I saw simply said “walnut cakes.”
“By cracky!” is one of those great, old-timey phrases that you don’t hear too much any more. Although if you have some older relatives it might come out once in a while in place of “by golly” or “by gosh” (or some similar euphemism). And, you might start hearing it around the kitchen if you add these to your repertoire because they’re By Cracky Bars! The recipe comes from the 1953 Pillsbury Bake Off booklet, and was the 2nd prize winner of the junior baker contest that year.
The bars are quite unusual in flavor and texture, but are easy to make and deliver a lovely presentation with all their stripey layers. They come in somewhere between a pound cake and a cookie in texture. Like a pound cake, they are fairly dense, but not heavy at all and quite tender when you bite into them. Like a cookie, they’re a little bit drier than a traditional cake would be, but have just enough of a crunchy texture that the whole combination works perfectly. They go very well with milk.
The batter/dough for the top and bottom layers of the bar is the same. To one portion of the batter, you stir in a small amount of melted chocolate and a generous amount of chopped walnuts. To the rest of the batter, you simply add chocolate chips. The middle layer is actually graham crackers that have been laid between the chocolate and vanilla batters. The graham adds a subtle crispiness, but is very subtle and seems to add more to the presentation than anything else.
These bars keep well and are easy to travel with. They’ll appeal to those who like cookies and those who like cake, and will definitely find fans with the chocolate-loving crowd thanks to all the chips in the top layer of batter. The bars are not nearly as tall as they appear in the photo above; the bars are probably no more than an inch high. I cut my batch into smaller squares, rather than longer bars, so that I could serve more people with it.
Baklava is a middle eastern pastry that is made with layers of filo dough, filled with chopped nuts and sweetened – or perhaps I should say drenched – with honey. The flavors are great, but it can be messy to eat, as your fingers inevitably get very sticky. That said, I still like to serve it around the holidays because it’s got a very unusual flavor compared to the cakes and cupcakes you might expect to see at a holiday party. This year I wanted to do something a little less traditional with baklava, and came up with a new way to serve it that delivers all the flavor but takes very little work.
I made a filling of chopped walnuts, sugar, honey, butter and spices and rolled it up into little pockets of puff pastry. Puff pastry bakes up into nice, flaky layers just like filo dough does, but is much less fiddly to deal with. It also delivers and extra buttery flavor, which goes nicely with the filling. The bite-sized treats take just minutes to put together and are ready to serve right out of the oven. When they’re fresh, the pastry is light any crispy. It’s a good contrast for the rich, crunchy filling – especially when the filling is still slightly warm.
Some puff pastry things require that they be bake right before serving to preserve the crispiness of the pastry. This is not one of those dishes and can be made a day or two ahead of time. When baked in advance and stored in an airtight container, the pastry keeps some of its lightness, but the butter and honey from the filling soaks into some of the pastry and gives it that same stickiness that traditional baklava has and seems to have a more intensely honeyed flavor.
I used Trader Joe’s puff pastry for this batch. You can either buy your favorite brand or, if you’re up for a project, make your own.
I will always be a fan of white-ish sandwich breads – not necessarily “white bread”, but buttermilk, potato and similarly pale and soft breads that are versatile and toast well – but I also like to get some variety into my sandwiches with whole grain breads, as well. One bread I particularly like right now is Oroweat‘s Oatnut Bread. As the name suggests, the bread has whole oats and nuts in it. The oats give it a nice sweetness and the nuts, a nice texture. Oroweat actually uses finely chopped hazelnuts in their bread, so the flavor is very unusual for a sandwich loaf.
My version of homemade Oatnut bread has more whole grain than the original bread it is based on, as I made it with white whole wheat flour. The store-bought bread has a fairly fine texture and, because white whole wheat flour is lighter than plain whole wheat, I used it in the hope of recreating that texture. Since whole grain flours don’t usually have as much protein in them as all purpose or bread flours, I also added some vital wheat gluten (basically wheat protein, sold at markets like Whole Foods) to help give the bread some additional elasticity. Wheat gluten keeps the texture of the bread from getting dense or crumbly. I also added in rolled oats (I used the quick cooking variety, but whole rolled oats are fine) and finely chopped pecans. Hazelnuts or walnuts are also good choices here.
The finished product was excellent, and similar enough to the original that the source of my inspiration was obvious. My bread was slightly sweet and the nuts provided some of the contrast in texture that I had hoped for. The loaf had a light and even crumb to it and was easy to slice into thin, sandwich-able pieces. If you can’t find the wheat gluten, you will be able to bake this bread without it. You may not be able to get such fine slices, however, as a bread made with only whole grain flour will probably be a bit more crumbly than this loaf was.
This bread makes great sandwiches and excellent toast. It’s hearty enough to stand up to a cheese, as well, so simply cut thick slices if you wish to put it out with appetizers as a pairing for dip or sliced cheese. +Continue Reading