These days you’ll likely find me shuffling around the kitchen (possibly still in my pajamas), coffee in hand, flour across my brow and a smile on my face. Because there is nothing better than fall baking.
This year I’m determined to get more comfortable baking with yeast. Quick breads, scones, muffins and biscuits I can do with my eyes closed. No problemo. And I can make a pie crust LIKE A BOSS. But yeasted breads have always intimated me a bit. So I’m going to step up my bread-making game the next couple of months and master this. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
I was initially attracted to this recipe because of the flavors. Big hunks of tart cherries and toasted hazelnuts are a pretty unbeatable combination. But I was also drawn in by the technique, which involves making and using a sponge-starter. This was something new to me, so I figured if I’m ever going to “master” this whole yeasted bread thing then I better get out of my comfort zone (and maybe get out of my pajamas too).
A sponge-starter is like a lazy man’s version of a sourdough-starter. It’s a mixture of flour, water and yeast that is freshly made and then allowed to ferment overnight. It gives your bread some of the nuances that are characteristic of a sourdough loaf, but without all the babysitting and dedication required for a true sourdough-starter.
The recipe makes two good sized loaves. You can freeze one away for later or pass one along to your neighbors and rack up the karma points. Your choice. It’s excellent toasted with butter and makes great sandwiches as well.
One year ago: Chocolate Lovers Pecan Pie
I am apparently devoid of all creativity when it comes to pumpkin recipes. History would suggest that the only thing I can think to do with pumpkin is mix it with cream cheese in some form or another. Evidence here and here. And this recipe today.
Maybe it’s because pumpkin just isn’t really my thang. I don’t know. I have problems.
But even though pumpkin isn’t the love of my life, chocolate and I have been in a romantic relationship for many years. One that I hope will continue indefinitely. You hear that chocolate. You better put a ring on it or I’m OUT!
What am I saying right now!!! AHHHH!!! Send help!
OK, let’s get back on track.
Brownies with a pumpkin-cream cheese swirl. That’s what we are really here for today. These brownies are super moist (had to do it, sorry) and fudgy. But not overly sweet. The cream cheese and bourbon help take the sweetness down a notch. And they look kind of Halloweenie (I said “weenie!) so they would be perfect for any upcoming festivities you may have planned for the end of this week.
I think I’m going to end here before any more weirdness comes out of my brain. Happy baking!
Recipe slightly adapted from The Bojon Gourmet