Honeyed Hot Cross Buns

Honeyed Hot Cross Buns | Korena in the KitchenI know, I know, Easter was so two weeks ago. But seeing as I’ve posted about hot cross buns every year since I started this blog, I couldn’t NOT post about this year’s version. Just bookmark this recipe for next year and call it advance preparation.  ; )

Honeyed Hot Cross Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

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Cocoa Cardamom Crunch

Cocoa Cardamom Crunch | Korena in the KitchenMy daily breakfast is Greek yogurt with fruit and homemade granola, and I look forward to it every morning. However, my last few batches of granola have been a little lackluster, so I was pretty excited to discover a new kind of yogurt-appropriate topping called “nutmeg crunch“, a combination of oats, almonds, honey, coconut oil, and a hefty dose of nutmeg blitzed in the food processor, the resulting crumbles of which are spread on a cookie sheet and baked until toasty and crisp. These little oatmeal clusters are totally delicious, not to mention incredibly addicting. One recipe makes enough for a week’s worth of breakfasts, but my first batch only lasted about three days because I was eating the stuff by the handful. I immediately began thinking of all the variations one could make to the recipe: vanilla bean and almond, cinnamon and pecan, cocoa and cardamom…

Cocoa Cardamom Crunch | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin | Korena in the Kitchen

For the March Daring Bakers’ Challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She challenged us to make a tarte Tatin from scratch.

This month I was excited to host another Daring Bakers’ challenge, for which I chose the tarte Tatin. This classic French dessert is basically the apple pie version of an upside-down cake: apples are caramelized in sugar in a saucepan, covered with pastry and baked, and then inverted on a plate to serve. It’s a great example of the magic of caramelized sugar: the apples take on a deep, rich mahogany colour and become infused with the complex flavours of a well-cooked caramel, and the crisp puff pastry base also becomes practically candied with caramel at the edges, resulting in a fantastic mix of soft, crunchy, and chewy textures.

The tart is named after the Tatin sisters, who ran a hotel near Paris in the 1880s. Apparently, one day one of the sisters forgot to put a bottom crust on her apple pie, but instead of the disaster she was expecting to pull out of the oven, she ended up with a dessert so loved by the hotel guests that it became the hotel’s signature dish. However, this sweet story conflicts with the fact that a similar upside-down apple tart called tarte Solognotte (named after the Sologne region in France) existed long before the tarte Tatin, suggesting that the Tatin sisters’ creation was actually just an updated and improved version of the tarte Solognotte. Either way, it is a stunningly delicious yet simple and rustic dessert….

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Brunch for Forty

Brunch for Forty | Korena in the KitchenLast weekend I had the opportunity to cater a day-after-the-wedding brunch for a friend’s family. I love this kind of thing because not only do I get to bake and cook to my heart’s content, but I also get to do a lot of figuring out: coming up with a menu, researching recipes, scaling them up and down, and writing out list after list. Calculating exactly how many eggs I will need to make a dozen quiche plus four dozen cinnamon brioche buns is the kind of math I can get behind. I found a great resource in Ellen’s Kitchen for estimating quantities for large gatherings, although it doesn’t say much for my math skills when my estimates, in most cases, ended up being about twice what they should have been! But it’s better to have more food than not enough, right?

Cinnamon Brioche Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Asian Coconut Custard Buns

Asian Coconut Custard Buns | Korena in the KitchenThe February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.

This month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge recipe is known by many names – bao, mantou, nikuman, siopao and others – but the common denominator is that is it an Asian-style bun, stuffed with a filling (often Chinese bbq pork) and baked. At first I wasn’t too excited because I had so recently made the steamed version of this recipe with the Sourdough Surprises group, but then I remembered Suz’s custard-filled steamed buns, and suddenly I knew that I wanted to make a baked version.

Asian Coconut Custard Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

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Melissa Clark’s Devil’s Food Cake with Black Pepper Buttercream

Melissa Clark's Devil's Food Cake with Black Pepper Buttercream | Korena in the KitchenI’ve been trying to write this post about this Devil’s Food Cake with Black Pepper Buttercream for three days now but seem to be experiencing writer’s block, so in an attempt to get something down on the page so that I can share it with you in time for Valentine’s Day (because nothing is more appropriate than chocolate cake on Valentine’s Day), I give you the following Reasons You Should Make This Cake:

1) It has not one but two kinds of frosting: Swiss meringue buttercream filling laced with vanilla and cracked black pepper (yes, pepper), and the most divine whipped chocolate fudge frosting on the outside. Black pepper might sound like an odd thing to pair with classic chocolate and vanilla, but it’s not odd – it’s very, very good.

Melissa Clark's Devil's Food Cake with Black Pepper Buttercream | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Esterhazy Torte

IMG_8028Esterhazy Torte | Korena in the Kitchen

For the month of January Jelena from A Kingdom for a Cake invited us to start this year with a dreamy celebration cake. She challenged us to make the Esterhazy cake a.k.a the Hungarian dream. What better way to start the year than with a sweet dream?

A sweet dream? I could not agree more. The Esterhazy torte is a Hungarian pastry made of five layers of hazelnut sponge cake and hazelnut buttercream, all topped off with a gorgeous starburst of chocolate. If you like hazelnuts (or Nutella, Fererro Rocher, or Frangelico), then this is the cake for you!

Esterhazy Torte | Korena in the Kitchen

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Chinese BBQ Pork {Sourdough} Steamed Buns

Chinese BBQ Pork Sourdough Steamed Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

Despite the fact that I have a notification on my phone that pops up every Sunday at noon reminding me to “Feed sourdough!!!”, I still manage not to do it for weeks on end and that poor little culture of yeasts ends up grey and lifeless in the back of my fridge. Luckily for me, I realized this while I still had enough time to revive it to use in this month’s Sourdough Surprises project: Chinese steamed buns. Sourdough isn’t a traditional ingredient in steamed buns, but many recipes incorporate “old dough”, so sourdough fits right in.

Chinese BBQ Pork Sourdough Steamed Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

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A New Year, A New Look {Alice Medrich’s Chocolate Truffles}

Alice Medrich's Chocolate Truffles | Korena in the Kitchen
My blog turns four years old this month, and instead of a cake, I decided on a complete overhaul. I moved from WordPress.com to a self-hosted platform (apologies to anyone who tried to access my blog last Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday – I was having some technical difficulties) and as you can see, I installed a new theme (which includes a functioning recipe index!!). I’m still figuring a few things out and making some tweaks here and there, so if you run into any issues, please let me know. Otherwise, I hope you like the new look as much as I do!

Now, on to more important matters: these chocolate truffles. I make truffles every year as part of my Christmas baking, but this year I decided to a try an unusual recipe. Instead of a classic ganache made with chocolate and cream, the base for these truffles contains chocolate, butter, and – here’s the weird part – tempered egg yolks and water! The recipe and technique come from chocolate legend Alice Medrich, so I was confident that the truffles would be good despite their unorthodox ingredients. I wasn’t quite prepared for just how good, though: so chocolatey, so silky smooth, so melt-in-your-mouth amazing.

Alice Medrich's Chocolate Truffles | Korena in the Kitchen

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Lemon Curd Macarons

Lemon Curd Macarons | Korena in the Kitchen

Happy New Year, friends! Here’s to 2015 being the sweetest year yet, and what better way to start a sweet year than with a lemon curd macaron? Given that you can buy lemons and oranges year round in any grocery store, it can be easy to forget that citrus is in fact a winter fruit. However, the explosion of different varieties of lemons, oranges, and grapefruits during the colder months of the year proves that nature still works on a schedule, and that schedule clearly states that citrus coincides with winter, making a lemon curd macaron a perfectly Christmas-y (I made these as part of my Christmas Baking) or New Years-y thing, indeed.

Lemon Curd Macarons | Korena in the Kitchen

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