I am sure that everyone else was as baffled as I was that she picked the least important of the four (4), count ‘em, four (4), major holidays that fell within the two-week span of this assignment.
I can understand not choosing Groundhog Day, we all would have had to bake the same loaf of bread every day, over and over and over again. But for the life of me I simply cannot understand how she could have chosen Valentine’s Day over the Super Bowl and the Daytona 500! So, being a “better to light a single candle than curse the dark” kind of guy, I baked to celebrate those two holidays instead.
For the Super Bowl I used the Chocolate Espresso Whole Wheat dough to make the Chocolate Tangerine Bars. The dough was a little harder to work with, as others have noted, but it rose OK for me and was tasty. I really enjoyed the combination of flavors—the tart of the tangerine zest and craisins and the bittersweet chocolate chips--in these bars.
To go with them I made some Tangerine Fro-Yo, using the juice from the tangerine I zested for the bars, along with the juice and zest of another tangerine.
With the left over Chocolate Espresso dough, I used my brand new dough presses for pocket pies (as soon as I saw Michelle's Pocket Apple Pies I had to order my own set of presses).
I used the small press to make more of a cookie than a pie. I filled some with jam and some with a few peanut butter chips. They were OK, but a little dry. I think they would have been better bigger, which would have allowed a better filling-to-dough ratio. Michelle used the 5” press and 2 tablespoons of filling for her Chocolate Cherry Pocket Pies.
I also made muffins, and worked some raisins and peanut butter chips into the dough. These rose well and were very good (how could they not be?).
Finally, I treated the dough as I would to make a pita. It did not puff up when it baked like a regular pita, but I was not really that surprised given the nature of the dough. What I did get, though, was a nice flatbread, which I split, filled with some vanilla Fro-Yo, and made Fro-Yo sandwiches!
Then, on to the Beet Bread.
But first a medical note, an homage to our Bread Braid doctor-to-be Joanne at Eats Well With Others: it is probably not kidney failure, too many beets will just do that to you.
I have only late in life come to a fondness for beets. I attribute this to two things. The first was a long ago stint on a diet that involved large doses of beets at what seemed to be every meal. We used canned beets, and did not make it past the second day. Which segues to the second factor, fresh beets make a huge difference.
Not surprisingly, the dough for this bread was a surprising color. With the shredded beets it was a little different consistency to work with, too.
We were tasked with using this dough to make buns.
In honor of The Daytona 500, I gave mine numbers.
You can see Mark Martin’s # 5 bun inside Bill Elliot’s #21, with the 77 of Sam Hornish and the 1 of Jamie McMurray pulled up tight in the draft. As we all know, Jamie held off Junior to win the longest 500 in history.
A funny thing about beets. It is surprisingly easy to overestimate the number you need to make half a batch of beet dough. I roasted the extra beets at 400 degrees for about an hour, and with our beet buns, which I split and filled with crab salad, we also had borscht and warm beet and spinach salad. (See medical note above.)The buns were very good, with the flavor of the onion more noticeable than that of the beets. They are also good split and toasted for breakfast.
And finally, for Michelle, here is a more or less heart-shaped beet bun for Valentine’s Day.