Thanksgiving Photodump, Playing Catch-up, and a taste of something simple

Good afternoon, dear friends and gentle readers! Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s hoping your meal was festive and sating- gustatorially, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I apologize for the radio silence of the last few weeks- the past month has been pretty crammed with events personal and professional.

As amends, I offer- what else? Food porn.

Egyptian Cookies

Egyptian Tea Cookies- light, crispy, crumbly, and melt-in-your-mouth good!

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Gotta have shortbreads! Roasted Apple Chai on top, Chocolate Espresso on the bottom (or what remained of them!)

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Last but not least- Sea Salt Caramel Caracas Tart! A golden short crust filled with rich and smooth sea salt caramel, topped with velvety chocolate ganache (dosed with rum, of course!)

I’ll give you a few minutes to finish drooling.

….

There we go.

Apart from Thanksgiving festivities, the month has had me rather distracted with finishing school and filling the odd order here and there (by the by, holiday season is upon us! Take shelter and order a pie!)

Experimentation time has been cut somewhat since school has started, but there’s opportunity everywhere if you know where to look. I happened to look directly at my awesome friend Joe when she opened her house for a pub night.

My friend Joe’s house, affectionately called the “Pub House”, is a beautiful little 1920s manor tucked in one small corner of a fiveway intersection. Over the course of years, Joe slowly converted one small wing of the house into her own private pub which she opens up to friends periodically, making a wonderful impromptu salon of an evening. Her friends include travelers, gourmands, homebrewers, bicycle shop owners, musicians, qi-gong and reiki healers, historians, and others.

And, of course- one baker.

As important as the skill set for being a good host, is the skill set for being a good guest. You call ahead, you according yourself appropriately, you do not invite yourself, and you never come empty-handed. In Joe’s case, it is understood that donations of food and liquor to the bar are always welcome. So what could I possibly bring on Friday night besides beerbread?

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Mmmmmm…..

Inspired by the season, this beerbread was a marvelous experiment in flavor, texture, and spice. A wonderfully simple recipe, this bread took advantage of Magic Hat Brewery’s 2013 seasonal, “Seance”- deep, malty, with warming spicy notes and a little hop bitterness appropriate for a autumnal beer. From there, the use of cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a tablespoon of liquid barley malt lent their warming, complicated flavors to the bread. Using brown sugar over white leant depth, color, and a chewy interior with a crispy crust.

This recipe, however, is not the be all and end all. Basic in the extreme, it is one of the few formulas I know by heart:

Beerbread
Yield- one loaf

Ingredients
1 12oz. bottle of beer
3 cups AP flour
1 tbs salt
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 c sugar
Extra ingredients as you see fit
2 tbs butter (optional)

Method
1. Combine all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Preheat your oven to 375 F, and grease up and 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

2. Pour in beer and mix well. The mixture will form more of a thick batter than a dough. That is a appropriate, since this is a quickbread (similar to a muffin.)

3. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. If desired, melt the 2 tbs butter and brush on to the top of the loaf with 3 minutes remaining.

4. Let cool briefly in pan, then remove. Serve the same day if possible.

This recipe is marvelous because you can do almost anything you like with it.  My suggestion is to start by tasting some of the beer and look for particular flavors, then add spices or ingredients that could play off of them. Just be careful not to overload the bread!

That’s about all I’ve got for today. What would you all like to see here in the future? More recipes? Small business know-how? Dining philosophy? Cat pictures? Leave a comment, or shoot me an email at blackhatbakery@gmail.com. As always,

Stay classy,

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