Monday, November 16, 2009


This weekend, while playing around on the computer and looking at various cooking sites, I came across a food blog with a baking challenge to bake all the recipes in a new cookbook featuring no-knead breads.  The book is called Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  They plan to start the challenge in January, but to keep things interesting are doing trial runs in November and December.

The November recipe is for Pumpkin Pie Brioche.  So I decided it sounds yummy and why not give it a go.  Plus you know what a big fan I am of Jim Lahey's original NY Times No-Knead Bread recipe.  I could use a few more good no-knead recipes in my repertoire.  I think our friends are getting tired of the same old delicious home-made bread every time they come over.  (Not!)  I also thought it would be a good time to break in my new measuring spoons my sister got me for my birthday last week.  They have chickens on them!

The PPB dough has to sit in the fridge overnight, so I made it up last night.  It was super easy to make.  I used my Kitchen Aid, being the lazy person I am.  I was glad I didn't double the recipe as I had originally considered.  The basic recipe pretty much filled the KA up.  I used canned pumpkin and melted butter.  I also doubled the spices, as so many others had recommended.  I think the original recipe sounds good, too, just much more subtle in flavor.  But because of the variations I planned to try, I wanted the full-blown pumpkin spice flavor to shine through.

The dough ends up with that shaggy look that you'd expect from a no-knead bread dough. 

After I got it in the fridge, I looked at some of the sites where others had made it and was really impressed by how creative everyone had gotten.  So many great ideas to steal!!!  While I really liked the idea of using cream cheese in some way (pumpkin and sweetened cream cheese is a super combo), I couldn't get the idea of pumpkin and chocolate out of my head.  Trust  me to turn a 'healthy bread' recipe into something fattening.  As I always say, "Fat is what they put into food to make it taste good," so I decided to go with some Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for my first recipe.  I topped them with the streusel topping from the Big Black Dog site .  I made a dozen, 9 with the streusel and 3 without.  I have to say that I prefer them with the streusel. No surprise there.  Here's the recipe for the muffins:

Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Mix about 10 oz of the Pumpkin Pie Brioche dough and a handful of chocolate chips together.  I sort of kneaded the chips into the dough.

I sprayed a mini muffin pan with some of that cooking spray in a can (which I really hate to use, it creeps me out, but again with the laziness) and divided the dough up into 12 pieces, which I put into the muffin pan.  Then I topped with the streusel.  I still have lots of streusel left over, but I have plans for that later today!

I left the pan to rise for about an hour.  Basically I waited til they looked like they had risen enough, and that was about an hour.

Then into the center of the Baking Oven (350 degrees) for 15 minutes, turning the pan halfway through.  After 15 minutes, Mr. Toothpick said they were perfect.

Now all I had to do was wait as long as I could for them to cool off before popping one into my mouth.  I lasted maybe 5 minutes.  They are delish!  Especially the ones with the streusel.  They're tiny; easy to just pop into your mouth in quick succession.  I think I'll  make them when the college kids arrive next week. (Next Wednesday, our two sons will be arriving home from college and bringing with them Jeff's girlfriend Danielle as well as two other girls.  Other college kids home on the break will undoubtedly come by.  I can't wait to have a houseful of noisy hungry kids around.)

I figured I should do up one batch as a loaf.  This way I could try the french toast others have posted and makes my mouth water every time I see it, as well as make Jesse some cinnamon and sugar toast when he comes home from school today.  He's such a picky eater.  I don't think he'd ever try the bread on its own, but he does love cinnamon and sugar toast!

So I plunked down 2 pounds of the dough into a greased loaf pan and set it to rise for the recommended time of 90 minutes. Then the egg wash, sprinkled with some sugar, and then into the Baking Oven (350 degrees) for 45 minutes, turning halfway through.  Pulled it out at 2:30 and let it cool.  It was ready just in time for Jesse getting home from school.   

Of course he wouldn't eat it.  But I did and it was really good.  It was so good, I forgot to take a photo of the C&S toast before I ate it! 

The rest of that dough was still in the fridge, calling out to me.  The cream cheese was also calling out to me.  Not to mention the remainder of the streusel.  I tried to ignore them, but they kept on calling, then shouting.  There was such a din, I couldn't hear myself think.  I knew what had to be done.  In fact, I had known it as soon as I saw those photos on the other sites...

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls.  With Frosting.  (Is there any other way?)

Using the remainder of the Pumpkin Pie Brioche dough, which ended up being 2.4 pounds, I rolled it out into a rectangle.  I spread it with softened butter. Then I sprinkled the leftover streusel topping evenly over the butter.

I rolled it up lengthwise, using a spatula to help me scrape the sticky parts up...

...cut it into about 1-1/2 inch pieces, and placed them cut side up in a greased baking pan, which was really too big for the amount of rolls I had, but I didn't want to dirty up another pan.  I figured they would rise and fill in more of the pan.  (Or I could just fill in those spaces with frosting.)

Covered with a towel and left for a 90-minute rise. They rose and filled in the pan nicely. 

Into the Baking Oven (350 degrees) for about 20 minutes.  While they were baking, I mixed up my cream cheese frosting (4 oz cream cheese, 3 T butter, 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 t lemon juice, and a capful of vanilla).  I spread the frosting over the still-warm cinnamon rolls.  I gained 3 pounds just looking at them.  Okay, so maybe it didn't end up to be exactly healthy bread in five minutes--it's good, though!

 Can you say yum?

Thoughts on this recipe:  I wish the ingredient quantities had been in weights.  I find it easier to weigh out flour than to measure in a cup.  This is really my only complaint.

I like that I could make a batch of this dough--and it made a lot!--put it in the fridge, and then leave it until I wanted to do something with it.  I love that the dough is so versatile and can be used for so many things, both savory and sweet.  I'm sure I haven't even begun to tap the possibilities.

Would I make this again?  I would definitely make the Mini Muffins.  They were super easy to make and quite a yummy treat to have on hand.  If you had a few of the muffin tins, you could make a bunch of these quickly.  I still plan to try making the sliced loaf into french toast tomorrow morning.  I think it would make a nice brunch dish.  It certainly made great C&S toast.  I'm thinking that it would also make a nice sandwich with Sonoma Chicken Salad on top of a toasted slice.  I probably would not go to the trouble of making them into cinnamon rolls again.  While very tasty, they're over-the-top filling, and I think I'd prefer to spend my time making, and eating, regular cinnamon rolls.

So I'm very happy to have a new no-knead recipe, and I'm looking forward to December's recipe!

“Men are like pumpkins. It seems like all the good ones are either taken or they've had everything scraped out of their heads with a spoon.”


Michelle said...

Love the idea of the chocolate chips in the PPB muffins! Great idea and I like that your muffins had such a nice high top. I used less dough in my muffin tin so mine were smaller and did not look as yummy as yours did.

Glad you have another bread recipe to add to your collection!

Michelle said...

I forgot to mention your gorgeous set of measuring spoons. They are beautiful and such a thoughtful gift. Heirloom quality for sure!

Joanne said...

I love your quote at the end of this. I may have to borrow it from you since I cook with pumpkin so very often (and have a love/hate relationship with men...don't we all!). All of your variations on this bread look delicious. I can't wait to try the muffins and the cinnamon rolls. I have to go buy some more yeast tomorrow!

AuthorM said...


Lu said...

Everything looks really delicious!
I agree with you on the fat thing. I always say "No fat, no flavor". I know that's not always true - only about 99% of the time :)

Danielle said...

I love your chicken spoon!!! Happy Belated Birthday. and I love everything you did with the dough. i'm going to have to learn how to be more creative in the future.

girlichef said...

Oh my gosh...Yum,Yum and more Yum!! Everything looks gorgeous :D ...and I, too luv your spoons.

Bread Over Heels said...

Now I can never say no to chocolate chip muffins, but with PPB they sound terrific! Thanks for the idea and the post!

Old Pop said...

Chocolate Chips!!

Now as to the men are like pumpkins . . .

Sabrina Moser said...

Sounds and looks like you have been quite busy at work! I ADORE the first book by the Artisan Bread duo but object a bit to the HEALTHY aspect of their newest so I haven't actually bought a copy yet... And yes, I too love the chicken spoons! Fabulous gift! My latest blog entry is on our family's chicken keeping exploits, you were in part my inspiration!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

You did some great things with the recipe! I love the sound of those pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!


Kim said...

Men are like pumpkins - I love it!! What a fabulous joke;D Everything you made sounds wonderful. Love the chocolate chips in the ppb muffins!

Cristie said...

Fun post, loved everything about it. Who could turn down your yummy muffins? They sounded really tasty!