whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts

whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table

It starts with a swirl. Dark brown circular lines that slowly give way to bright golden yellow rings of pure sweetness. A part of me was tempted to blend it in a little more while the other part of my mind knew this would only be a fleeting moment. It eventually would morph into a deep toffee like color as the molasses mixes into the white yogurt. Molasses are delicious and if you ever get a chance to watch them being made, they can even become fascinating. Mix this sweetened yogurt with figs, walnuts and some flour, you'll end up with a loaf of bread that's full of rich flavor and color. This is one delicious soda bread recipe that Marian Bull shared in Food52’s latest cookbook on Baking!

And if you feel like experimenting a little, fold in some freshly cracked black pepper and the figs and walnuts will take on a whole new level of flavor.

Today, I'm giving away a copy of this book and believe me when I say, you will LOVE this book for the easy instructions and fool-proof tips and of course, unique recipes that will pique your interest. From a spice cake made with tomato soup to brown butter cupcake brownies, you get my drift.

The contest is open to readers who are legal residents of the U.S. and Canada only. To enter to win, all you need to do is leave a comment below to tell me what is the one thing you’ve always wanted to bake but haven’t yet tried to. The contest will start on Tuesday, September 22st 2015 at 9am EST and end on Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 at 9am. The winner will be announced after the 29th and will be notified by email. Good luck! 

whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table

Here are some kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this bread,

  • The dough is pretty heavy and dense. So don’t be nervous, the baking soda will help it rise and get airy once it bakes in the oven. 
  • You can spice this bread up a little bit just as I did with the black pepper. However, I don’t recommend overdoing it and making it too complex as you more intense spices can mask the flavor of the main ingredients used to make this bread.
  • Stick with whole fat dairy as recommended by Food52 or the bread might end up too dry. 
  • This bread is not very sweet, in fact I love it for this very reason. The molasses give a very gentle hint of sweetness but an intense golden brown color. Most of the sweetness you will taste is from the figs baked into the bread. 
  • I ate this bread with salted butter. You can melt some brie over a slice or lather it with some fig butter or jam. You get the point, here. There are several different ways you can enjoy a slice!
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table

whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts (from Food52: Baking cookbook)

yields: 1 loaf

ingredients

2 1/2 cups (300gm) whole wheat pastry flour or

1 1/2 cups (210gm) white whole wheat flour + 3/4 cup (100g) rye flour

1/2 cup (80g) medium or coarse-grind cornmeal

1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground (optional)

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 2/3 cups (395mL) whole milk yogurt or

1 1/2 cups (355mL) whole milk plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

1/2 cup (120mL) dark molasses

1 cup (100gm) toasted walnuts, chopped

3/4 cup (105gm) dried figs, chopped

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat the oven to 325F. If using milk rather than yogurt, mix it with vinegar.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour cornmeal, salt and baking soda. 

3. Separately, whisk together the yogurt and molasses. Add to the flour mixture in two or three additions, stirring in round, sweeping motions and making sure to incorporate the flour at the bottom of the bowl; mix until just a few small pockets of flour remain. The dough will be quite thick. Now fold in the walnuts and figs. 

4. Melt the butter in a standard loaf pan or a 7 inch cast-iron skillet and put it into the oven until the butter melts. Tilt and swirl the pan to coat it evenly. Gently transfer the batter to the buttered pan without mixing it any further. The dough will be sticky and heavy.

5. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. The bread will be golden brown in color when done and is ready when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and the the top should be slightly firm but soft to touch.

6. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then remove the loaf and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Wrap leftovers tightly in foil and eat within 3 to 4 days. 

spiced buckwheat molasses cookies

Spiced Buckwheat Molasses Cookies | A Brown Table

I can finally say it, it's time for the holidays and all the baking that comes with it! Granted you can bake at any time of the year but at this time it is extra special because I remember every holiday season that I got to sneak in at the kitchen table and help out my mother, grandmother and aunts when they'd begin their month long holiday cooking that would lead up to Christmas. I'd end up with some awfully shaped marzipans or some distasteful color combinations on cookies so I really don't think I was of much help but the important part was getting to taste everything as it came along. At that age that was all that mattered, feeling big enough to sit with older peeps and feel important enough to participate! Those were some fun times (and as for those hideous edible creations, I'd pass them on to more deserving individuals like my younger sister and cousins).

Spiced Buckwheat Molasses Cookies | A Brown TableSpiced Buckwheat Molasses Cookies | A Brown Table

One of my favorite cookies to prepare during holiday season are molasses cookies. They are simple to prepare but have so many levels of complex of flavors, that make me admire them a lot.  There are also a zillion different ways to prepare molasses cookies and I've been wanting to work on a buckwheat version for a while. Buckwheat and molasses make one delicious combination, they both have earthy flavors and come together rather well in these cookies.

These guys have an additional depth of flavor, I like to add a little bit of black pepper and ginger but this time I've also added a few spice seeds on top of each cookie like I had previously in these turmeric-spiced seed almond cookies . You can leave out the spice seed mix if you want to, the cookies taste great either way!

Spiced Buckwheat Molasses Cookies | A Brown TableSpiced Buckwheat Molasses Cookies | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing these cookies that you might find helpful

  • Though I've listed the number of cookies I've made using a fluted pastry wheel/jagger, you can also roll out the dough and use christmas cookie cutters to cut out the shapes you desire. Just remember, the number of cookies will change depending on the size and shape of the cookie cutter. 
  • I liked to roll out the dough between sheets of parchment paper that are lightly dusted with buckwheat flour. It allows lifting the cutout cookies onto baking sheets easier. I also like to freeze the cutout cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before transferring them to baking sheets pre-lined with parchment paper.
  • You can choose to skip the spice seeds garnish on the cookies if you want to. I like the extra touch of flavor and crunch.
Spiced Buckwheat Molasses Cookies | A Brown Table

spiced buckwheat molasses cookies 

yields: approximately 50- 2inch X 1inch cookies  

ingredients 

1 1/2 cups (8 3/4 ounces) buckwheat flour + a little extra for rolling out the dough

1/2 cup (2 3/8 ounces) almond flour 

1/2 cup (2 ounces) dark brown sugar + 1 tablespoon

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground 

1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seed powder, freshly ground 

1/4 cup dark molasses 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg, at room temperature

14 raw pistachios unsalted, chopped

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon flax seeds 

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

1. Place the almond flour, buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, ginger, black pepper and cardamom together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment at low speed, mix the dry ingredients for about 2 -3minutes until combined. 

2. Add the molasses, butter, vanilla and egg to the batter and mix the ingredients on medium-low speed for 1 minute, then increase speed to medium-high for about 2 -3 minutes until completely combined. You might need to wipe down the bowl during the mixing process with a silicone spatula to allow all the ingredients to mix together completely. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and form into one single ball of dough. Wrap the cookie dough airtight with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before baking. 

3. In a small bowl mix the pistachio ,fennel, flax and sesame seeds along with the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and keep aside until ready to use. 

4. Unwrap the chilled dough and divide into 4 parts and form each part into a rough square about 6 inches wides on each side. Sprinkle a little buckwheat flour on the surface of a sheet of parchment paper. Place one part of the dough on this floured sheet of parchment paper then sprinkle a little more buckwheat flour on the surface, cover with another sheet of parchment paper and using a rolling pin roll out the dough into a rectangle that is about 0.3 cm thick (you could probably go up to 0.5 cm thick) and around  10inchX 12inch in area. Remove the upper layer of parchment paper. Using a sharp paring knife trim of the extra edges and then using the same knife cut the dough into one inch thick strips across its length. Using a fluted pastry wheel/jagger  cut the dough into 2 inch thick strips on both sides to form squares that are around 2inchX1inch in size. Transfer the cut cookies onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and place them about 1/2 inch apart from each other. (If the cut out cookies are too soft too handle during transfer, freeze the entire tray for about 30-45 minutes until you are ready to transfer it will make it easier to handle).

5. Sprinkle a pinch of the spice seed sugar prepared earlier in the center of each cookie. Press this seasoning gently into the cookie (be careful not to go all the way through the cookie). Refrigerate the cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking (you can also wrap the baking sheet with cling film and freeze overnight until ready to bake). 

6. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Bake one tray at a time for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, rotating the tray halfway through the baking process. The cookies will be light golden brown when done and will be slightly brown on the edges. Remove the baking sheet with the cookies from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Repeat steps 4 to 6 to prepare the rest of the cookies, any unused scraps of cookie dough can be saved and brought together to make additional cookies. Stored cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to 3-4 weeks.