Tag Archives: orange

Orange Cardamom Morning Buns

Orange Cardamom Morning BunsThere’s little rhyme or reason as to what I choose to blog—it’s usually just whatever I’ve felt like making lately. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a breakfast kick. I’m not exactly sure how many fall breakfast options I think you need, but it’s at least three: waffles, a pumpkin-spiced oven pancake, and these Orange Cardamom Morning Buns.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsI mean, look at these sticky, swirly things! You need them. I need them. Preferably on Saturday morning alongside my daily French press.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsThey’re flaky and fluffy, filled with a fragrant orange-cardamom sugar, and twisted to perfection. The crowning glory is a brush of orange-cardamom glaze as soon as the buns come out of the oven, which gives them an extra layer of flavor and their gleaming appearance.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOh, and they take two hours start-to-finish—a rarity in the from-scratch breakfast bun realm. And their twists? Much easier than they look. My motor skills are seriously lacking (I am comically bad with scissors), so if I can shape them, anyone can.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsJust twist a strip of dough and tie it in a knot. Boom, done.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsEven if you do it “wrong” (which is near-impossible), I promise they will still turn out beautifully. And even if they don’t (which is also near-impossible—can you see that I did this with one hand?), call ‘em rustic. That’s what I do. If anyone complains, eat theirs. That’s also what I do.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsWhat?! You don’t need that negativity at breakfast.Orange Cardamom Morning Buns

Orange Cardamom Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
4 teaspoons ground cardamom
pinch of fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Make the dough. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together. A shaggy dough should form and be pulling away from the bowl. Gradually add flour in 2 tablespoon increments until the it pulls away a bit.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine sugar and orange zest in a small bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release the oils in the zest. Use a fork to stir in cardamom and salt.

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Mentally divide the dough into thirds, like an unfolded letter. Place half the sugar mixture in the middle third of the dough—it’ll be a 12×6-inch section surrounded by two buttered sections of the same size.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12×12-inches. Brush the top of the folded section with more butter and scatter on the remaining sugar mixture. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12×6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14×8-inches.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I can get 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with wax paper (or parchment) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove wax paper (or parchment). They will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place oven racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 10 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown.

While buns are baking, make the glaze. Combine orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cardamom and butter.

Use a pastry brush to brush warm buns with glaze. Buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning Buns

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Orange Cardamom Cake

Orange Cardamom CakeI don’t know if I’ve mentioned before that I do all my blog photo shoots in a corner of my bedroom. I’ve got wide windowsills and my carrara marble pie board, so it’s a pretty sweet deal…except when it’s gray outside for days on end and my viewless east-facing window gets terrible light. I’ve made it work in the past, but just couldn’t bear the idea of taking grainy, sub-par photos of this Orange Cardamom Cake.Orange Cardamom CakeSo, uh, hello from my make-shift photo set-up in the living room! Look at this cake I made for you!Orange Cardamom CakeIf early autumn could be baked into a cake, it would be this Orange Cardamom beauty. It’s got plenty of brightness and tang from a triple hit of fresh orange, a little warmth from ground cardamom, and a moist, tight crumb that’ll have you going back for seconds.Orange Cardamom CakeIt’s like the joyful feeling you get when you finally get to break out your chunky sweaters after a long, hot summer. You’re so happy to be wearing a sweater that you don’t even care that you’re wearing it with cut-offs and sandals.Orange Cardamom CakeBut you know, it’s cake. Really, really good cake. The sort of cake you eat when you’re not ready to go all-pumpkin/apple/pear all the time, but if you have to eat one more berry anything, you’ll scream.

Maybe that’s just me. Anyway…Orange Cardamom CakeOrange Cardamom CakeOrange Cardamom CakeThis cake is stupid easy to make. Yesssssss. It requires a mixer, but just one bowl and three steps.

  1. Put all the ingredients in one mixing bowl.
  2. Mix ‘em on low for 30 seconds.
  3. Turn up the speed to medium and mix for another three minutes.

Orange Cardamom CakeOrange Cardamom CakeOrange Cardamom CakeSeriously, that’s it. Put the batter in the pan and bake it for a little more than an hour.Orange Cardamom CakeOnce it’s cool, paint the cake with a fresh orange glaze.Orange Cardamom CakeOrange Cardamom CakeTop it with a thick orange icing. That’s the stuff.Orange Cardamom CakeMake yourself a pot of tea, cut yourself a slice, cozy up, and enjoy.Orange Cardamom CakeOrange Cardamom CakeChunky sweater optional, but encouraged.Orange Cardamom Cake

Orange Cardamom Cake
makes one 10 cup capacity bundt

Cake:
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature

Glaze:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 orange)
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 325F. Heavily grease a bundt pan with softened butter (or shortening) and dust with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around all exposed edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let cake cool completely. Cake may be made up to a day in advance; it will keep double-wrapped in plastic wrap.

Set the cooled cake, still on the rack, over a rimmed baking sheet. Make the glaze. Combine orange juice and sugar in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, just until the sugar granules dissolve. Alternatively, this may be done in a small pot on the stove.

Use a pastry brush to paint glaze all over the cake. Continue brushing until you’ve used all the glaze. Some will run off onto the rimmed baking sheet—that is okay. Let cake sit for 30 minutes to absorb the glaze.

Make the icing. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, and salt. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more orange juice by the teaspoon up to 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon). Pour over cake. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to five.
Orange Cardamom CakeOrange Cardamom Cake

Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadToday is the sixth day of holiday treats here on E2 Bakes. As far as baked goods go, I’ve posted recipes for Chai Shortbread Snowballs, Lindor Truffle Peanut Butter Blossoms, Gingersnaps, and Eggnog Bundt Cake. I’ve also posted this seriously easy Hot Chocolate Mix, which is great for gifting. Another great food gift idea? Today’s Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread.

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadI know that this may not seem much like a typical holiday cookie, but hear me out:

  1. Everybody loves shortbread this time of year. People go crazy for those classic blue tins of the stuff! 
  2. Orange and cardamom are extra delicious in the winter. Warming flavors, y’all.
  3. Pistachios. That is all.
  4. Who doesn’t love homemade cookies? Pair a little tin of these with a box of good tea and hand them out to teachers, coworkers, and others who help make your day-to-day easier. They can keep them for themselves or put them out for guests!
  5. These shortbread are ridiculously easy to make.

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadThese little tea cookies are perfect for these last two weeks before Christmas. They’re orangey, nutty, and super buttery. The dough comes together in just a few minutes and is slice-and-bake, so you can make as many or as few cookies as you please. The most difficult part is chopping up the pistachios, but you can skip the cutting board all together and just pulse them in the food processor a few times…although I would much rather wash my knife than the bowl of my food processor 😊

Once the dough is mixed, form it into two logs and wrap them in plastic. Let them chill for a couple of hours before slicing and baking. The pistachios can make this dough a bit challenging to slice, but I’ve got a method that seems to make the process a bit less frustrating.

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadFirst of all, use a large, sharp chef’s knife–a sharp blade is crucial to slice-and-bake success. Holding the knife in your dominant hand, use your other hand to gently hold the cookie you are slicing (this will help prevent any breaks). Slice directly down. If the edges of the shortbread rounds crack a bit, just smooth them with your fingers. Lay the sliced cookies on parchment-lined pans and bake for 14-15 minutes, until golden at the edges. Then just let them cool, make yourself a cup of tea, and dunk away!

You and your loved ones will love these Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread! You’ll flip for the warm flavors, crunchy pistachios, and buttery cookie base. When a holiday cookie is this delicious, who cares if it’s traditional?!

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadLooking for more shortbread? Check out my Chocolate Chip Shortbread, Vanilla-Almond Shortbread, and Whipped Shortbread Snowballs!

Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread
makes about 4 dozen

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted pistachio meats

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add sugar and honey and mix until combined. Add in the orange zest and vanilla extract, and combine. With the mixer running on low, add in flour mixture in two installments, mixing until it is just incorporated. Fold in pistachios. Dough will be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched.

Divide dough in half. Take one half and lay it on a piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap and clean hands, form the dough into a log. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Refrigerate wrapped dough for at least 2 hours, or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

Unwrap one log of dough. Using a large, sharp chef’s knife, slice the dough in 1/4″ installments and lay them on the prepared pans one-inch apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes, until the tops no longer look doughy and the edges are starting to brown. Unwrap the other log of dough and repeat the slicing and baking process. Let cool on the pans for for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

These keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.

Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread

Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars

 
I spend my life rushing. Rushing to bake, rushing to nanny, rushing to deliver cakes. Like this week–I have had four separate celebration cake orders. It wouldn’t be much for a bakery, but I am just one woman with one small oven and the world’s tiniest fridge. So, I rush. And I don’t remember to eat. I am asked often how I maintain a healthy weight with all the baking, and the answer is that I don’t actually eat much of it. No, I don’t have great self-control. After three years of near-constant baking, I just see cake and pie and cookies as projects most of the time. I taste-test, to be sure, and I have had cookies for dinner more than a few times, but for the most part, when I bake something it’s either picked at for several days or given away.

All that said, I am often so scattered that I forget to eat until I am halfway to wherever I’m going. Most of the time, I stop into the nearest corner store to get Cheez-Its and a Diet Coke. It keeps me from passing out, but it’s not a healthy or sustainable way to eat. 

I’ve been making a few changes to my diet this month, as evidenced by all the whole grain and grain-free recipes I’ve been posting. Today is the final post of this healthier January, and so I am posting what has become my Cheez-Its alternative: Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars. They’re like a cross between blondies, muffins, and granola bars, made with whole wheat flour and oats, dotted with dried cranberries, and scented with orange zest. They’re soft, chewy, and not too sweet, with a flavor that is wholesome and delicious. They’re great for on-the-go, a sweet treat in school lunches, and after-school snacks. They also make a fantastic dessert with a little vanilla ice cream. 

 

Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars are quick and easy to put together. They start with creaming softened unsalted butter and orange sugar until it’s all light and fluffy. Orange sugar is easy to make–just add the zest of an orange to some brown sugar, and rub it together with your fingers like you would if you were trying to remove dried school glue. This brings out the oils in the orange zest and starts to melt the brown sugar. Once the butter and brown sugar are combined, beat in an egg, followed by some vanilla.
 Beat in a mixture of white whole wheat flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt, followed by a cup of old-fashioned oats. All that’s left to add are some dried cranberries that have been plumped in hot water. This little act of soaking the dried fruit ensures that the pieces are more juicy than waxy. Spread the batter into a parchment-lined pan and bake 20-25 minutes, until the bars are just done. Let them cool to room temperature and then hang out in the fridge for an hour or so. Refrigerating the bars helps them to slice cleanly.

These bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, or wrapped individually in plastic wrap so they’re easy to grab as you’re running out the door! Make a batch of Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars this weekend so you can enjoy them all week long 😊 

 Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars
makes one 8×8″ pan, about 16 bars

6 tablespoons water
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour*
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup old fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8″ pan and line it with parchment. Grease parchment. Set aside.

Heat water to a simmer, and pour it into a small bowl. Stir in dried cranberries. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, rub orange zest into light brown sugar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, together white whole wheat flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until it’s fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in light brown sugar mixture, followed by the egg and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture until completely combined. Beat in oats.

Drain dried cranberries and fold them into the batter. Spread batter into prepared pan. Tap the full pan on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack before refrigerating for at least one hour. Slice into bars.

Bars will keep covered at room temperature for up to one week.


Note:

Regular whole wheat flour may be substituted for white whole wheat flour.

Orange Pecan Muffins

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When I was in the sixth grade, my dad got very interested in genealogy. He would spend any spare time at the downtown branch of the Fort Worth Public Library looking through microfiche. It was usually Saturday morning, and as E3 and I were under twelve, we were dragged along. We spent most of the time looking at websites that were blocked by our AOL Kids accounts and generally making the librarians crazy. The best part, hands down, was breakfast. There was a little bakery caddy-corner to the library that we’d go to–just us, my dad, and the Wall Street Journal. They had little cartons of Tropicana orange juice and these unbelievable orange pecan muffins. Soft and sweet, nutty and not too orangey, perfectly golden brown, and standard-size, so I could have two. This was nearly twenty years ago, and that bakery has since closed following a tornado that tore through downtown Fort Worth in 2000. But I still remember those muffins.

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Whenever I’m in a coffee shop, I check to see if they have orange pecan muffins, but they never, ever do. While Texans put pecans in everything, New Yorkers choose walnuts. I know it’s just a geographic thing, but it still makes no sense to me. Why on earth would you choose walnuts when you could have pecans?!

…but anyway, back to the muffins.

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They start with toasting pecans. In Brooklyn, you simply can’t buy toasted pecans–believe me, I’ve tried. Homemade are better anyway. So, we throw a cup of pecan pieces on a baking sheet and let them toast just until they become fragrant, about five minutes. Watch them very carefully–nuts burn with no warning, and burnt pecans are decidedly not delicious.

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While those are cooling, make the orange muffin batter. We get orange flavor in there in two ways. First, we rub orange zest into granulated and light brown sugars. Rub the sugar and zest together like you’re trying to remove dried Elmer’s glue from your fingers. This releases the orange oil into the sugar. Once it all looks well-mixed and smells like heaven, add in flour, nutmeg, leaveners, and salt. Then squeeze in the juice of that orange you just zested, along with some yogurt, milk, a little oil, and an egg. Don’t stir the batter too much–if the gluten in the flour is overdeveloped, you’ll get tough muffins. And that would be a travesty. This is not the place to use an electric mixer. Use a whisk and a silicone spatula so you can really feel the batter coming together. It shouldn’t take more than 25 strokes to combine all the wet and dry ingredients. The batter will be extremely thick. Gently fold in the toasted pecans and divide your muffin batter into the twelve cups of a standard muffin tin (I use a cookie scoop). I like to sprinkle a few extra pecan pieces on top, purely for aesthetics. Once all the muffin cups are full, tap the whole pan on the counter five times. This is to release any big air bubbles and to help the batter spread.

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These muffins start baking for five minutes at 400F and finish for 14-18 minutes at 350F. The initial 400F blast of heat allows these muffins to rise high–these dome like a dream. We turn down the heat so that the outsides turn golden (but don’t burn) and the insides cook through and stay soft and tender. If we kept the oven at 400F, our final product would be burnt and tough on the outside, and potentially raw on the inside. Yuck. When these are removed from the oven, they should be tall, puffy, and so, so soft. Once they cool for a few minutes, the warm muffins will be perfect for slathering with cold salted butter. These are best the day they’re made, but cooled muffins will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days.

Orange Pecan Muffins are perfect for breakfasts, brunches, and snacks over the upcoming holidays. Just set a basket of them on the table with a pot of coffee and some fruit–you won’t have any complaints.

Looking for more breakfast items for the holidays? Check out my Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls!

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Orange Pecan Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
zest of one large orange (about 2 tablespoons)
2 cups all purpose flour*
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt*
1/4 cup milk*
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about one large orange-worth)
1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil*
1 large egg, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400F.

Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for five minutes, just until fragrant. Let pecans cool while you prepare the muffin batter.

Grease a 12-cup standard muffin tin, or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and orange zest. With your fingers, rub the orange zest into the sugars until it is evenly dispersed and fragrant. Whisk in flour, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, milk, fresh orange juice, and oil. Whisk in egg. Add dry ingredients in three installments, scraping down the bowl as you go. Do not overmix. Fold in toasted pecan pieces.

Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake for five minutes at 400F, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F and bake for an additional 14-18 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately, or keep covered at room temperature for up to three days.

Notes:

  1. One cup of the flour may be replaced with whole wheat flour. Do not use whole wheat flour for all of it, or you risk dry, heavy muffins.
  2. I use 2% Greek yogurt. I do not recommend fat-free yogurt. Vanilla yogurt may also be used.
  3. I use whole milk. Any low fat cow’s milk or plant-based milk will work. Do not use fat-free or skim milk.
  4. I use canola oil, but vegetable or melted coconut oils would work here.