Yeast Breads

Laminated Pumpkin Brioche topped with Cocoa Nibs

To the tune of Auld Lang Syne I say au revoir Project Food Blog Challenge and Bienvenue à nouveau le week-end.

This little venture has taught me so much and I am happy I decided to participate. I am proud I made it down to the last 46 contestants, an accomplishment in and of itself. Yet, I know I have much more to learn to become a more well rounded food blogger and look forward to growing with you.

Not knowing whether or not I would advance to the next round I decided to be proactive and make a delicious pumpkin post for you. I hope you enjoy it.

Along with me, these fabulous ladies are also some of the Project Food Blog Video challenge exiles, please stop by and check out their pumpkin inspired posts:

Asha from Fork Spoon Knife
Heena from Tiffin Tales
Linda from Salty Seattle
Lindsey from Hot Polka Dot
Liren from Kitchen Confidante
Meaghan from The Decorated Cookie
Paula from Bell’alimento
Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen

Have a Sweet Thanksgiving Day!



I have to say I’m still not quite comfortable working with yeast, I find it a bit intimidating… I’m not sure why.

This weekend however, feeling inspired from my recent trip to Mexico, I was determined to tackle my fear of yeast and make some Mexican sweet bread for you. I chose “Conchas” or Shells.

I also wanted to share with you something else, my mom sent me home with a few of her kitchen treasures from Mexico, here’s treasure number one:

Kitchen Treasures
Have you ever seen one of these before? Doesn’t it look like it just came out of the “Sales Resistance” episode of “I Love Lucy”? :)

Mexican Shells – Conchas

Makes 12 large or 24 small rolls

30 g yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 3/4 cups (600) g flour
1/4 cup (50 g) shortening
1/2 cup (100 g) butter
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup warm water
7 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place yeast and 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar in the warm water, stir to combine and let it rest until it blooms. Once the yeast has bloomed, combine it with 150 g of flour then kneed until a dough has form. Let dough rest for 10-15 minutes until it has doubled in size.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook combine the dough, with the remaining ingredients, beat on medium-hight speed for 5-7 minutes until well combined.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
Cover stand mixer with a plastic bag and let dough rest for 4-6 hours until dough has doubled in size. Once dough has rested you can form dough balls or place dough in refrigerator overnight.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, (dough will be slightly sticky) form balls and place over 2 lined cookie sheets making sure to leave room between each one. Let the dough rest again until they have grown and have soften.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Shell Topping

3/4 cup (100) g flour
1/2 cup (100) g granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) Shortening
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 egg yolks

Blend ingredients with a pastry blender until it forms a paste.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
Roll out rounds into a “tortilla”, make slight cuts with a knife to form shells. Place over the dough balls. Brush with a little egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
Place cookie sheets on lower rack and bake until a base has formed, transfer to 1 rack higher than the center of the oven until they have started to brown. Bake for 15-20 minutes

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
I couldn’t help not taking a couple of bites out of one as they came out of the oven…

Chocolate Mexican Shells - Conchas

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A very good friend of mine originally from the Czech Republic, who recently moved from California back to Canada (Toronto) suggested I give these a try.

She and her husband are quite the Gourmets… every single time we had dinner at their place everything was fantastic, from the conversations, multi-course meals, you name it! Good times… We miss you!!

Her favorite version of the Berliner is stuffed with Povidlen. (A plum reduction – something between a butter and jelly), the traditional ones she described are filled with a strawberry jam that is not too sweet.

Unfortunately Plums aren’t in season, and rather than filling them with strawberry jam, I decided to try something different… go figure.

It just so happens that I had a just a bit of dark chocolate spread, and a ripe banana that was just calling out to be consumed.

Oh… and one other very important thing to mention:

Chele from has been so kind to give me this Happy 101 award!


As part of the Award Acceptance, I must do the following:

List 10 things that make you happy:

1 – Family time, such as playing Rock Band with my boys
2 – Cooking and Baking, especially dreaming up new recipes
3 – Organizing & hosting parties (The clean-up after the parties – not so much)
4 – A clean house
5 – Ice Cream makes me very happy (A little too much… :/ )
6 – A good workout (Especially to counter the effects of item No. 6)
7 – Traveling
8 – Singing while driving to work (I have a long commute)
9 – Shoe shopping
10 – Hot sunny days

Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day. (Done)
Put a link to their blogs (Done)
Notify the award receivers. (Will do)
Award recipients need to link back to the sender’s blog. (Done)

1. Claudia from
2. Greg from
3. Bianca from
4. Sarah from
5. Alta from
6. Miriam from
7. Carli from
8. Jenny from
9. Jeanne from
10. Gera from

And now without further ado… I give you the

Dark Chocolate Banana Filled – Berliner
adapted from
Yields about 14 Krapfen:

500g all-purpose flour
21g fresh yeast (1 packet)
50g sugar
250ml lukewarm milk
3 egg yolks
100g butter, melted – lukewarm
a pinch of salt
about 750g clarified butter, lard or coconut oil for frying
1/2 cup dark chocolate spread
1 ripe banana, sliced
powdered sugar for dusting

Sift the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and make a well.

Add a tablespoon of sugar to the well and the yeast.

In a small pot warm up the milk to about 110-120 degrees F. and pour it into the well. Gently stir the milk once or twice, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes in a warm place.

Once the surface begins to look bubbly pour in the lukewarm melted butter, remaining sugar, salt, and egg yolks.

With a dough hook attachment, kneed the dough in the stand mixer just until it is no longer sticky and the dough releases itself easily from the sides of the bowl.

Once again cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Roll dough out and using a biscuit cutter, cut out your Berliner rounds place them on a cookie sheet, cover them with the same kitchen towel and let them rest for another 15 minutes.

When ready to fry preheat the oil to 345 degrees F and fry the berliner’s for about 4 minutes on each side, then place them on paper towels to drain.

Dark Chocolate Banana Filling

Place sliced banana and chocolate spread into a mini-food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

Place filling into a pastry bag fitted with a filling tip and go to town filling your Berliner’s. Finally, top with a dusting of powdered sugar and enjoy them with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea.

Dobrou chuť!

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Today as you may or may not know today is Epiphany it is also known as Día de Los Reyes Magos in Mexico.

When I lived in Mexico we would always celebrate this day with the traditional Rosca de Reyes at my aunts house, my mother’s only sister (out of 9 siblings) amazing huh? My poor grandmother… I can only imagine.

Well, I had never made a Rosca de Reyes before and instead of surfing the web for a good recipe, I decided to turn to one of my father’s old cookbooks. In case you didn’t know he was Cuban & also the cook of the house, and boy could he cook!

He absolutely loved Mexican food (just as long as it wasn’t too spicy) which is no surprise as to why this was one of his treasures which I share with you today.

Check it out…

Rosca de Reyes
adapted from Recetas para la Buena Mesa
by Virgina Ramos Espinosa

600 g all-purpose flour
150 g sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 tablespoon water
6 egg yolks
5 whole eggs
250 g unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
20 g yeast
200 g assorted dried fruits
1 small toy doll (optional)

Combine waters and warm up.

In a small bowl combine 50g of flour, yeast, warm water to form a soft and smooth dough; with a knife cut a cross on top of the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook combine the remaining flour, egg yolks, whole eggs, salt, sugar and half of the butter mix on medium speed until a lumpy dough has formed.

Add dough sponge, rest of the butter and continue to mix until well combined.

Place dough in a greased bowl cover with a napkin or plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 4 to 5 hours in a warm place. (The dough can be prepared in the evening and baked the following day).

Place the dough on a floured surface, beat it slightly and form a ring place the ring on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and stuff with chopped dried fruit and the toy doll.

Top with dried fig strips and granulated sugar if desired and finish with an egg wash.

Allow it to rest until it has doubled in size then bake in a pre-heated 400 degree F oven for 18-20 minutes.

Notes: I didn’t have any dried fruit so I just topped mine with M&Ms. I was in a rush when I made this and forgot to apply the egg wash and dust it with granulated sugar. And… it still turned out yummy.

Here is Virgina Ramos Espinosa’s Original Recipe:

600 gramos harina
150 gramos azucar
1 cucharada agua de azahar
6 yemas
5 huevos enteros
250 gramos de mantequilla
1/2 cucharadita sal
20 gramos levadura comprimida
200 gramos frutas cubiertas (o en mi caso M&M’s) :)

En 50 gramos de la harina cernida se mezcla la levadura con agua tibia a formar una masa suave y tersa; se le hace una cruz con un cuchillo y se deja reposar 15 minutos cerca del calor hasta que aumente al doble de volumen.

Con el resto de la harina se hace una fuente; en el centro se ponen las yemas, los huevos enteros, sal, azúcar y la mitad de la mantequilla; se amasa golpeándola, se le agrega la levadura ya fermentada, se golpea hasta que despegue de la mesa y se le agrega la otra mitad de la mantequilla dándole unos golpes; se pone la masa en una vasija engrasada, se cubre con una servilleta, y se deja reposar en un lugar tibio de 4 a 5 horas. (Puede prepararse en la noche y hornearse al día siguiente).

Se vacia en la mesa enharinada, se le dan unos golpes, se forma la rosca en un molde de corona engrasado y enharinado, rellenandose con las frutas picadas y las sorpresas que se cubren muy bien con las manos enharinadas; se barniza con huevo, se adorna con rajitas de higo cubierto y azúcar granulada.

Se deja reposar en lugar tibio a que aumente mucho de volumen y se mete al horno caliente, 400 grados F.

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Ahhh… who doesn’t love a fresh out of the oven cinnamon roll/bun? The scent alone will awaken anyone with a pulse.

Well, as soon as I saw this recipe in the November edition of the Food Network Magazine, I was determine to try it out myself and see how close it came to the original.

If you’ve never tried making cinnamon buns at home before, a side from requiring a little patience to let the yeast activate and the dough rise, the process is quite simple. Don’t be afraid to try this particular recipe out.

Not much else needs to be said about this recipe, other than you won’t be disappointed. It is definitely pretty close, some might even argue that these turned out better than the original. 😉

Almost-Famous Cinnamon Buns
November 2009 Food Nework Magazine

For the Dough
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4(.25)-ounce packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the bowl
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the Filling
All-purpose flour, for dusting
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the Glaze
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Make the dough: Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches about 100 degrees F. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the yeast and 1/4 teaspoon sugar (don’t stir). Set aside until foamy, 5 minutes. Whisk in the melted mutter, egg yolk and vanilla.

Whisk the flour, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the salt and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed with the dough hook until thick and slightly sticky. Knead on medium speed until the dough gathers around the hook, 6 minutes. (Add up to 2 more tablespoons flour if necessary.)

Remove the dough and shape into a ball. Butter the mixer bowl and return the dough to the bowl, turning to coat with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1 hour 15 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-by-14 inch rectangle with the longer side facing you.

Spread with the softened butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the far long edge. Mix the sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the butter.

Brush the unbuttered far edge with water. Roll the dough away from you into a tight cylinder and press on the long edge to seal.

Cut the cylinder with a sharp knife to make 6 equal size buns.

Roll out the dough, fill and cut into buns. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan; place the buns cut-side down in the pan, leaving space between each. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 40 minutes. You can refrigerate these overnight at this point or if patience isn’t one of your virtues proceed proceed to the next step.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Bake the buns until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl, then whisk in the cream and melted butter. Transfer the buns to a rack and spoon the glaze on top while still warm.


  • Yeast rising time… in my case it took 10-15 minutes, but I made a double batch.
  • I didn’t see the need to add any additional flour during the kneading process, the dough came together perfectly.
  • The recipe says to divide/cut the roll into 6 equal-sized buns, I decided to cut each of my rolls into twelve buns. I was happy with the portion size, not skimpy at all…(something to keep in mind)
  • Since I made two batches and divided the dough into twelve buns, I buttered two regular sized sheet pans.
  • In lieu of waiting the 40 minutes to let the cut buns rise, I placed the prepared pans in the fridge overnight. Took them out the following morning, and followed the directions from Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Roll Recipe picking up at “Remove the rolls from the refrigerator…” just for the proofing stage, I still baked them in a 325 degree oven for a little shy of 30 minutes. The recipe actually calls for approx 35 minute baking time. So just start keeping an eye on them at minute 29 to be safe.
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