It’s been a while since my last post. And the one before had also been later than usually. This is not me moaning and telling you I have a creative break down or I lost my writing juices. In fact my creativity is overwhelming recently and I wrote several brilliant posts but just in my head. You may wonder what I am up to and I will tell you.
I am painting! Watercolor or oil painting? Nope wall paint in fact. We are going to move into an old but nearly new place in Atlanta, which needs some tender loving care. I omit the jacuzzi and the walk in refrigerator but I still have a long list of wishes unfortunately every budget has a limit. DIY painting sounded like a good option to save some bucks for fulfilling some of my dreams from my wish list. So far I am happy with the results. Some of those days I would rather sit in a cubicle, sipping coffee and hide for a while, rather than rolling, rolling and rolling color all over the walls. But at the end, seeing a day’s work makes me appreciate my future home even more. Even if I fell asleep way too early, missing out reading time for books and blogs and taking pictures.
And where went all the genius blog post in my head? Gone! Maybe scrubbed away with all the paint on my hands, face and hair. But after I got knocked out at night, there is nothing left of them next morning. Some might think they had never been real, I know better.
In fact cooking and food had been on the back bench for some weeks. I am still eating, good lord eating is not the right word, renovating makes me inhaling whole cows. But I haven’t thought about food that much, usually I have food on my mind all day long, I mean all day, every hour, every minute. One of the rare occasions I was not attached to a paint roller, searching for perfect toilet bowls or looking for a tile that I might still love in a couple of years, I went for cookbook shopping. Yes I still haven’t found a cure for that. I came across Home Baked Comfort (William Sonoma) by Kim Laidlaw. It was the title that let me grab it, so inviting and magnetic. Paint came into my way again and I saved the first reading until I knew I would have heaps of time and not be interrupted. The first time is the best, don’t you thing? So it took a while but after I finished, a great deal of colorful bookmarks decorated the top of the book. Although I already know baking all of them would be a 500.000 calories journey, I started with hazelnut streusel bread (page 62) and changed it to my liking. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw, recipe by Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan, Huckleberry Café and Bakery in Santa Monica, CA.
for the streusel:
- 30g / 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 80 g / 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 55 g / 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, very soft
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. whole toasted* hazelnuts
for the batter (all ingredients at room temperature):
- 60 g / 2.1 oz. whole toasted* hazelnuts
- 3 tsp. instant espresso powder
- 100 g / 7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 160 g / 5.6 oz. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 160 g / 2/3 cup plain yoghurt (I used Greek yoghurt)
- 200 g / 7.1 oz. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. (½ cup high-piled) white chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F and grease or line your loaf pan 9 x 5 inch (ca. 23 cm) .
- Add all ingredients for the streusel except the nuts to a midsize bowl.
- Add all (160 g / 5.6 oz.) whole nuts to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Spoon 100 g / 3.5 oz. to the bowl with for the streusel mix and stir until combined and set aside.
- For the batter continue pulsing the remaining nuts in the food processor until finely ground, remove and add to a big bowl.
- Dissolve espresso powder in 1 Tbsp. water.
- Add butter and sugar to the food processor (keep the blade) and blend to cream, add eggs, dissolved espresso and yoghurt and continue blending, stop to scrap down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and pulse just until combined.
- Pour batter to the finely ground nuts in the big bowl, add white chocolate chips and stir shortly.
- Add ½ of the batter into the loaf pan, sprinkle with ½ of the streusel, top with the other ½ of the batter and remaining ½ of the streusel.
- Bake 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out without crumbs clinging to it.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
For toasting the raw nuts: spread on a dry baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they go from fragrant to burned in a whim.
Add more espresso powder if you prefer more coffee taste, 3 tsp. are just enough to enhance the flavor of the nuts.