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Baking Craze


My store-bought lemon bar disaster!

Hannah Jack grew up on a farm in northwest Kansas, 30 miles from the closest town. Since her family was so far from town, they grew up baking what they needed. She moved to Joplin in 2018 and started Farmhouse Bakery in January 2019. You can find her at farmhousebakeryjoplin.com and at Empire Market. I asked Hannah about current events, and she had this to say:

“The pandemic has definitely affected my business quite a bit, however, as a cottage food operation it hasn’t affected it as badly as some businesses. I don’t have rent to pay on a building, or employees to worry about, so I’m thankful for that. I couldn’t find ingredients for a week or so because people were buying up all the flour. Luckily, I had a stash of yeast stored up! I heard that was scarce too!  Also, between money being tight for most people and people experimenting with baking, I’m not selling as much bread as I had. 

I think the current baking craze is great. Baking was becoming a lost art, so it’s fun to see it making a comeback! I hope people are enjoying baking with their families. There’s something really special about making food together with people you love, and sitting down together to enjoy that food. I’m hoping more people are having time to do that.”

Following are two recipes I tried to make recently. “Tried” being the operative word. Thank you for your skills, Hannah. I’m going to leave most of the baking up to you! Bon Appetit.

 




Sour cream and onion biscuits

Makes 8

Ingredients

8 scallions
12 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, divided
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1¾ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ teaspoons sugar
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1¼ cups sour cream, plus more for serving
Flaky sea salt

Instructions

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trim root ends from 8 scallions. Thinly slice crosswise (not on a diagonal); set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter by whatever method is easiest for you; set aside. Whiskkosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and 2½ cups all-purpose flour in a large bowl to combine.

Cut remaining 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter into ½” pieces. Add to dry ingredients and toss to coat. Using your hands, work butter into dry ingredients, smashing it between your fingers and flattening it between your palm until there are lots of thin shards and pea-size bits. Add reserved scallions and toss to evenly distribute.

Create a well in the center of mixture and add sour cream to the center. Using a fork and working in circles, mix until large shaggy clumps form. If your bowl is wide enough, fold dough over itself a couple of times inside it until it comes together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice until it comes together; flour your hands if needed. If there are any loose bits, add them to center of dough and knead once more to incorporate. Pat dough into an 8x4” rectangle about 1” thick.

Working from a short side, fold dough in thirds as you would a letter. It doesn’t need to overlap perfectly. Pat dough into another 8x4” rectangle, then fold dough in thirds like a letter one more time. (You'll have done the folding procedure two times total.) Pat dough back into an 8x4” rectangle and straighten up with your hands and/or your bench scraper. (This folding method is what will create those nice flaky layers in your final biscuits.)

Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 4 squares for a total of 8 biscuits. Transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheet. Brush tops gently with melted butter; sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

Bake biscuits until golden brown, 18–22 minutes. Serve warm with sour cream (or more butter!) for slathering.

-Bon Appetit Magazine








Spinach and artichoke puff pastry

Serves 8

Ingredients

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions) 
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves) 
2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted 
1 (12-ounce) jar marinated or plain artichoke hearts
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions) 
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese 
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten 
1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs, plain or seasoned 
2 teaspoons kosher salt 
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375.

Heat the butter in a saute pan and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a bowl. Drain and chop the artichokes. Add the onion mixture, artichokes, scallions, Gruyere, Parmesan, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix well.

Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the spinach mixture in the middle of the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash. Roll out the second piece of puff pastry on a floured board until it's an inch larger in each direction. Place the second sheet of pastry over the spinach and seal the edges, crimping them with a fork. Brush the top with egg wash but don't let it drip down the sides or the pastry won't rise. Make three small slits in the pastry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and serve hot. 

-adapted from Ina Garten


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