Greek Sesame Twist Cookies

Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, these vanilla buttery cookies are perfect to have with a hot winter (or just on its own) drink by the Christmas tree.

Happy December and happy international cookie day! The Christmas season is my favorite time of year, and it is finally here! My favorite Christmas tradition is staying up late and baking hundreds of cookies with my mom to share with friends and family. Every week until Christmas, I will be posting some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes, so follow me on my blog and social media so you don’t miss a recipe!

Today, I am sharing my favorite, Greek Sesame Twist Cookies (minus the sesame). These cookies are a staple in my house for the holidays. My mom and aunt got this recipe from a Good Housekeeping magazine when they were pre-teens, starting their traditon of making Christmas cookies. Because I am not the biggest fan of sesame seeds, I just omit them. I guess I make more of a Greek Twist Cookie. Every year at Christmas Eve, my aunt will make her version with the seeds and my mom and I will make ours. And every year, both versions are gone before the end of the night.

These cookies are extremely simple to make. It’s a one bowl recipe, the dough is very easy to work with, and you don’t even need to chill the dough! Begin by beating sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Then, add eggs and vanilla. It may look chunky and not very well mixed, but this is normal. On a low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Divide the dough in half and cover the other half with a tea towel or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. It is important to make sure the dough doesn’t dry out or your cookie dough will crack more easily. Take about a Tablespoon of dough and roll it into a smooth ball between your hands. Then, roll the dough into a 6-inch long rope. Gently, fold the ends together and twist 2-3 times. Be sure to not over twist, or the dough will crack. These cookies do not spread much, so placing them an inch apart on a lined cookie sheet will be okay. Before baking, brush the top with an egg wash and, if you want sesame seeds, sprinkle them on now. Bake until the top and bottom of the cookies are slightly golden.

In the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to try something new with the twist and make candy cane shaped cookies. I began by dying half of the dough bright red, keeping in mind this color will fade a bit in the oven. I then took a Tablespoon of each color and rolled them into 6-inch long ropes, intertwined them, and shaped them into a candy cane shape. They were super cute and were full of holiday spirit, I will definitely be doing this again in future years!

I’d love to see your Greek Sesame Twists! Tag and follow me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane! I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Greek Sesame Twist Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen cookies
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 cookie trays.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until creamy.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. (The mixture may look chunky)
  4. On low speed, pour in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Wrap one half with plastic wrap or a tea towel.
  6. With slightly floured hands, roll a tablespoon of dough into a 6-inch rope. Gently fold the rope in half and twist 2-3 times, repeat with the remaining dough. *Note: you can shape your cookie however you would like after twisting the dough.
  7. Place an inch apart on the cookie sheet.
  8. Brush the cookies with egg wash, sprinkle the sesame seeds on top (optional).
  9. Bake for 12-18 minutes, or until the bottom is lightly golden.

Taste tested with love by friends and family.

Mini Pecan Pie Tarts

Flakey and buttery crust with a sweet, gooey, and nutty pecan filling.

It’s the holiday season! Thanksgiving is right around the corner! That means it is time to get baking! Today, I want to share these mini pecan pie tarts! This recipe comes from my mom’s coworker’s mom. Every year around Thanksgiving, my mom’s coworker would bring them into the office to share, and my mom would bring some home for me in a little paper coffee cup. After many years of looking forward to these mini tarts around Thanksgiving, we finally got the recipe!

The tarts have a cream cheese, flakey and buttery crust that perfectly complements the gooey pecan center. Before this recipe, I would not have thought to use cream cheese for a pie crust. It sounded a bit weird to me, but the cream cheese actually adds a nice mild tang to the flakey crust. This sets the perfect base for the nutty filling and a perfect bite of pie for this year’s Thanksgiving!

These mini pecan pies are so cute and simple to make! Begin by cutting 48 strips of parchment paper about 6×0.25-inch to place in each mini-cupcake tin before pressing the pie crust in. This will make your life so much easier when you are ready to remove each pie after baking. Then, make the dough and roll about 3/4 Tablespoon of dough into a ball and place in each cupcake slot. Next, using your fingers, press the dough around the edges of the cupcake tin. Place about 2 teaspoons chopped pecans in each cup and set aside. Adding the pecans now, before the syrup mixture, will prevent drips and spillage when filling the pies with the syrup mixture. Next, fill each pie with the syrup until about 3/4 full. Bake and enjoy!

I would love to see these mini pecan pies on your dessert tables this Thanksgiving (or year-round)! Use #beyondbakingwithamandajane and tag me @beyondbakingwithamandajane on Instagram, so I can see your incredible pies! Have a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving!

This recipe is originally from Darlene at My Burning Kitchen.

Mini Pecan Tarts

  • Servings: 48 mini pies
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place 6×0.25 inch rectangle strips of parchment paper in 48 mini cupcake tins.
  2. Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add flour and mix well.
  3. Form into 48 equal balls and place one ball in each cup of the cupcake tin. Use your fingers evenly spread the dough into the pan. Sprinkle some pecans into each complete mold.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until frothy.
  5. Add the sugar, melted butter, salt, and vanilla. Mix well. Fill each tart 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

John’s Classic New York Style Cheesecake

Creamy, smooth, and delicious New York Style Cheesecake with a sweet, buttery graham cracker crust.

When I was younger, I had always thought cheesecake was only an adult dessert. So, it was never my “Go-To” dessert when the dessert menu came around at restaurants. However, whenever my mom made this cheesecake, I would have seconds and thirds. This is the best cheesecake I have ever had! Like my Dad’s Apple Pecan Crumb Bread recipe, this is another recipe that my Dad had given my mom when they were dating. This recipe was given to my Dad and his family a long time ago from their old Italian neighbor when they were growing up in New York’s Little Italy.

Since I was young, this cheesecake has been a huge hit at every party we brought it to. There are normally little to no left overs because people keep going back for more! This cheesecake is so creamy and smooth with the perfect amount of sweetness. It is very light and rich with flavor. Not only is the filling absolutely delicious, but the graham cracker crust perfectly ties the cake together with its texture and sweet and buttery flavor.

Making this cheesecake is very straight forward. Begin by crushing the graham crackers into small crumbs. When I was younger, my mom liked to put the graham crackers into a heavy duty zip lock bag and let me pound on the bag to crush up the crackers. This was always so fun to me and I felt like I was being a big help! Now that I am older, it is easier and faster for me to just put the crackers in a food processor to make crumbs. Then, mix in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Once mixed in, add the butter and combine all the ingredients together for the crust and pour it out into a 9-inch spring form pan. Use the bottom of a glass to compress the crust evenly throughout the bottom of the pan. Don’t forget to reserve a tablespoon or two of crust so you can do a little taste test ;)! Next, make the batter. Begin by whipping the cream cheese. It is very important to whip the cream cheese to make the batter lighter. Then, add the sugar, and then eggs one at a time. Make sure to beat well after the addition of each egg. Next, add everything else and beat well. Pour all the batter on top of the crust and put the cheesecake in the refrigerator while the oven is pre-heating.

Baking the cake is a little different. It is very important to set up a water bath for the cake to bake in to prevent the cheesecake from cracking. The water should be about a 1/4-inch high. Bake for 60 minutes. The cheesecake will not change much in color, but 60 minutes will be long enough for the cake to bake. After the hour, do not open the oven door! Turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the oven for another hour. This is when the top of the cheesecake will become a nice golden brown.

I like to refrigerate the cake and serve it cold, but it can also be served at room temperature. This cheesecake is perfect to eat as is or with fresh berries! Enjoy!

I would love to see your cheesecakes! Tag me in your creations on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane !

John's Classic New York Style Cheesecake

  • Servings: 1- 9-inch Cheesecake
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 15 crackers)
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • For the Filling:

  • 3 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 c. sour cream
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. For the crust, mix graham cracker crumbs with brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend in the softened butter.
  2. Using the bottom of a glass or your hands, press the crust over the bottom of the buttered 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
  3. For the filling, place softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip the cream cheese for 3-4 minutes. Beat in the sugar. Then beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the sour cream, heavy cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat well.
  5. Pour the batter overtop the crust and place in the refrigerator while the oven is preheating.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. When the oven is preheated, place the spring form pan into a water bath (about 1/4 inch of water). Bake on the middle rack for 60 minutes.
  8. After 60 minutes, turn off the oven and leave in the oven for 1 hour, do not open the oven door.

Taste tested with love by friends and family.

Pumpkin Shaped Pastel Sugar Cookies

Sweet and delicious jack-o-lantern sugar cookies with a cute chocolate chip smile!

It is almost Halloween! Halloween is less than a week away, and I want to share my favorite Halloween dessert! My mom has been making these cookies with my siblings and me since before I was born. She got this recipe from her 1001 Cookie Recipes Cookbook, and over the years, we have figured out how to make this recipe as delicious and easy as possible!

These pumpkin sugar cookies are a fun and perfect Halloween dessert. They are light and soft with a perfect amount of sweetness. We add a chocolate chip jack-o-lantern face for spooky spirits. These cookies are so cute for the Halloween season!

This recipe is very simple. Begin with mixing the ingredients to form the dough. Take 1/8 of the dough, and dye this small amount of dough green for the stem of the pumpkin. I like to keep the remaining dough in the bowl of the stand mixer to mix in the orange dye. When dying the dough, keep in mind that after baking, the color of the cookie lightens up a little bit.

The dough definitely needs to be chilled before cutting and baking because the dough is very soft. After years of making these cookies, I have found that it is easiest to roll out the dough prior to chilling so it is easier to transfer onto a baking sheet. The dough should be rolled about 1/4-inch thick. Once I cut 3-inch circles out of the dough, I re-roll it between the parchment paper and put that sheet of dough back in the refrigerator. I then begin cutting the next chilled sheet of dough. Then, take a small amount of chilled green dough and shape it into a small rectangle for the stem. Gently press it into the top of the circle to make the pumpkin. Lastly, use chocolate chips to make a cute smile on each cookie! You can also use raisins for this.

Bake for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees F. The cookies will not brown too much. Let them cool on wire racks and enjoy!

I would love to see your jack-o-lantern sugar cookies on social media! I can’t wait to see your creations! You can tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamamdajane and use the hashtag #beyondbakingwithamandajane! Happy baking!

Pumpkin Shaped Pastel Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen cookies
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons milk

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in the egg yolks. Beat in the milk.
  4. Gradually add in the dry ingredients until dough is formed.
  5. Remove about 1/8 of the dough, and dye green for the stems. Dye the rest of the dough orange.
  6. Divide the orange dough into 3 pieces. Roll each piece between two sheets of parchment paper until 1/4 inch thick. Place all 3 sheets of dough on a tray and chill for 3-4 hours. Press the green dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap to chill.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Once chilled, cut 3-inch circles in the orange dough and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Take a small piece of green dough and shape into a rectangle and press one end on top of the pumpkin. Decorate with chocolate chips.
  9. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

3 Ingredient, Easy and Energizing Chia Peanut Butter Oat Bites

Simple, filling, and healthy vegan chia peanut butter balls for quick energy

I am in week seven of being back on campus for my sophomore year, and I am getting tired of the pre-made food that is in the dining hall. Although I don’t have the space and equipment to do my normal baking, I have the dining hall to get basic ingredients for quick and easy recipes! I am sharing one of my favorite things to make while I am at school with only ingredients that I can get from the dining hall.

These vegan peanut butter energy balls are very simple to make, and they are perfect for on-the-go, quick energy. I love to bring these to the library with me when I know it’s going to be a long night of studying, and it helps keep me awake. These energy balls are also a refreshing post-workout snack especially if you eat them straight from the refrigerator or freezer! This is an easy, 3 ingredient recipe that is perfect for a quick energy boost.

I do not have a car on campus, so I am relying on getting all ingredients for this recipe at my dining hall on my meal plan. I am able to get the oats from the pre-packaged, microwaveable instant oatmeal cups, and I can get the chia seeds from the salad bar area. Getting the peanut butter is more complicated this year because, with all the Covid precautions my school is taking, we no longer have a “spreads station” where I would normally scoop as much peanut butter as I need into a takeout container. Instead, they have a basket of small Smucker’s 3/4 oz packets of peanut butter for us to take. So, after every meal, I grab a few from the basket and keep them in my room. I have been stocking up on these mini peanut butter packets just so I could make these snacks!

Making these energy balls is simple. Seeing as how I don’t have measuring cups here at school, I eyeball everything and alter it based on the consistency of the batter. I mix about one part peanut butter to two-part oats with a big scoop of chia seeds. I used about seven of the 3/4oz peanut butter packets, about a cup of oats, and a couple of spoons of chia seeds to make ten energy balls. The “dough” shouldn’t be too wet where the peanut butter is excessively sticking to your hands and it shouldn’t be too dry where the ball won’t stay together. Roll the dough into balls and put in the refrigerator or freezer in an air-tight container! You can make these energy bites as big or as small as you want. I like to make mine bite-size, about a Tablespoon to Tablespoon and a half big.

Keep in mind that this is a very basic recipe. Feel free to spice it up and add in your own ingredients! You can add in nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, m&m’s, different types of seeds, the possibilities are endless! For peanut allergies, you can also use another type of nut or seed butter, and you can even make these energy balls gluten-free by just use gluten-free oats! Find your favorite combination and let me know what you like best!

For those of you making this recipe with the luxury of measuring utensils, the recipe is below! Give these energy balls a try, and tag me with your creations @beyondbakingbyamandajane on Instagram! Enjoy!

3 Ingredient, Easy and Energizing Peanut Butter Oat Bites

  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, or nut or seed butter of choice
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup nuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Shape the dough into desired size.
  3. Optional: sprinkle sea salt on top of each ball.
  4. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Taste tested with love by family and friends.

Dad’s Apple Pecan Crumb Bread

A fall favorite. Flavorfully moist apple bread with a nutty buttery crunch crumb topping

It is really starting to feel like fall here in North Carolina! In honor of fall, I want to share my dad’s apple bread recipe. This recipe is a family recipe from my dad, and he made this bread for my mom when they were dating. My mom liked it so much, she even added it to her recipe book!

Although we haven’t baked this bread in a while, it used to be a staple in my house when I was younger. We would always make this bread after we went apple picking. What else would we do with 15 pounds of apples? By the end of fall, we would have eaten 10 loaves of apple bread!

Originally, there was no crumb topping on this bread (that’s my addition!). However, I think the crumbs provide an extra crunch and texture to the bread that makes it taste even better and makes it more interesting! The crumbs also add a little bit of sweetness to the crust which brings everything together perfectly.

When making this bread, you don’t even have to peel the apples! I personally think that having the skin on the apple adds to the texture of the inside of the bread, and let’s be honest, it is just easier to not peel the apples. If you do not want the skin, you can feel free to peel them, it will be just as yummy! Do what you like best! The rest of the recipe is pretty straight forward.

When you are adding the crumbs on top, I like to press together a few really big crumbs and push them into the batter slightly, then cover it up with smaller crumbs. Doing this will create pockets of buttery and nutty deliciousness within the moist bread!

I would love to see you guys making this recipe! Tag me in your creations on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane

Dad's Yummy Apple Crumb Bread

  • Servings: 1 Loaf
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the bread:
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups raw apple chunks, 2-3 apples
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • For the crumb:
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each edition.
  4. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Add cubed apples, milk, vanilla, and chopped pecans. Mix until just combined.
  6. In a separate bowl, make the crumb topping. Stir the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt together. Cut in the softened butter until you have crumbs. Sprinkle on top.
  7. Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Refreshing Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake

Flavor packed, moist, and zesty lemony pound cake.

Lemon pound cake is a perfect summer dessert, and it is definitely a family favorite. My mom has been making this cake for a while now, and over the past few years, I have been trying to master the recipe. We have shared this recipe with the rest of our family and extended family and friends, and it has been such a hit! Whenever we make this cake, it’s gone within minutes. People are coming back for seconds before some people even get their first serving!

This cake does not use any artificial flavoring, like lemon extract, to get the powerful lemon flavor. It is naturally flavored with real lemon juice and lemon zest. It is crucial to use real lemons to make this cake taste like lemony perfection. The lemon zest adds a whole new level of flavor and liveliness to the batter as opposed to using just lemon juice, but the real secret ingredient is the full-fat Greek yogurt. And if you can find it in vanilla flavor, it’s even better! The full-fat yogurt makes the cake unbelievably moist with a tight crumb, silky texture. The vanilla flavoring adds a little something extra, but the cake is still fabulous with the plain yogurt. Without the yogurt, the cake would be less flavorful and dry. Lastly, I love to top this cake off with a tangy glaze to elevate the flavors of this cake.

When it comes to making this cake, it is pretty straight forward. I like to zest and squeeze the lemons first because it is the messiest and stickiest part of the recipe. After that, the rest of the recipe is a piece of (lemon pound) cake!

When baking, you have to watch the cake carefully to make sure the top doesn’t get too brown. After about 30-45 minutes, I like to loosely cover the top of the cake with foil to prevent it from browning too much. When you do this, make sure the foil covers the whole top. The cake will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Once completely cooled, drizzle the glaze on top until you have your design the way you like it!

This cake is definitely a hit, and I hope you try this summery cake before summer comes to an end! Tag me on Instagram with your creations @beyondbakingwithamandajane

Refreshing Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake

  • Servings: 1-12 cup Bundt pan
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the cake
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (vanilla flavored, if you can find it)
  • For the glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until very light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the lemon juice.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  4. In a medium size bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Add half of the dry mixture to the stand mixer, then add the Greek yogurt, then the remainder of the flour, stirring after each addition. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
  7. When completely cooled, remove the cake from the Bundt pan.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, and zest (if desired). Add the remining lemon zest until a thick yet pourable glaze forms. Pour over cake and serve.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Classic Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Soft and fluffy, sweet Hawaiian rolls

One night, my dad was watching The Food Network, and they were making Hawaiian sweet rolls. This sparked his request for me to make some for him. The first time we had ever tried these rolls was in Hawaii, on the Big Island, when we visited the Panulu’u Bake Shop. They are very famous for their hawaiian sweet rolls, and they were delicious, so light and fluffy with the perfect amount of sweetness. When my dad requested it, I decided to give them a shot!

What makes Hawaiian Sweet Bread different?

Hawaiian Sweet Bread is sweetened with pineapple juice rather that white sugar or honey, and it contains potato starch. Potato starch is the key ingredient to the best Hawaiian sweet bread! Potato starch and potato flour are very different. Potato starch is less flavorful and more like corn starch compared to potato flour which is made with whole potatoes. Without the potato starch, the bread is not smooth, moist, or flavorful. Just a small amount makes a huge difference in the final product. The starch helps absorb more water and creates more air pockets, so the bread ends up being more silky, moist, and airy.

This recipe is very standard and simple, you can do it! Treat this like any other yeast bread. Begin by activating the yeast in the warm water and pineapple juice mixture. You need to make sure the liquid is not too hot and not too cold for activation. I use a meat thermometer to ensure the liquid is 110-113 degrees F. Then, when you add the yeast, make sure you let this mixture sit and get foamy before adding it to the rest of your ingredients. If this mixture doesn’t get foamy, you know your yeast is no longer good.

While your yeast mixture is sitting, combine the dry ingredients and set aside. Then, in the bowl of the stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the butter, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add the frothy yeast mixture. Slowly add all of the dry ingredients into the bowl and whip with the paddle attachment for 3 to 4 minutes. Next, switch to a dough hook and knead until the dough passes the window pane test, about 5 minutes.

To do the window pane test, gently grab the edges of the dough and let gravity slowly pull it down. The dough will pass the test if you can see the light pass through the super thin dough, this means enough gluten has formed.

Once the dough passes this test, let the dough rise until doubled in size in a greased bowl, about 3 hours. Once doubled, punch down the dough and cut into 15 even pieces and shape into tight dough balls. Place them in a greased 9 x 13 pan and let rise until doubled again. Brush the top of the rolls with the egg wash and bake at 350 degrees until the center is 195-200 degrees F or until golden brown on top.

My dad and I sat on our deck on a nice, sunny day, eating the warm Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, pretending we were back in Hawaii. I hope you enjoy this summery recipe as much as we did! I would love to see your creations! Tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane with your Hawaiian Sweet Rolls!

Perfect Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 Tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice, canned or fresh
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (save the whites)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a medium-size saucepan, warm the water and pineapple juice until 110 degrees F. Remove from heat and sprinkle the yeast over top and give it a little stir. Let sit until frothy.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, starch, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk (remember to save the egg), and vanilla. Add the frothy yeast mixture and mix well.
  4. While the mixer is on low, slowly add the dry ingredients. Once you pour in all the dry ingredients, beat on medium-high for 3 minutes.
  5. Switch to the dough hook and knead until the dough passes the windowpane test, about 5 minutes.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise, covered, until double in size. This will take about 3 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
  7. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. When the dough is doubled in size, punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces.
  8. Using your hands, make each piece of dough into a tight ball. Cup the dough ball with your hands and pull one hand down, rotating the dough ball. This will create a tight ball and tension on the surface of the dough. Then, place in the greased pan. Repeat this step for all 15 of the rolls.
  9. Cover the rolls and let rise until doubled in size.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Mix a tablespoon of water with the reserved egg white and brush this egg wash over the risen rolls.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the bread is 200 degrees F. The tops should be a nice golden brown.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Overnight No Need to Knead Crusty White Bread

New York Times easy and delicious crusty bread. Restaurant level crunch on the outside, pillow soft and chewy on the inside.

Last week, New Jersey was hit with tropical storm Isaias. Power went out across my town, targeting my house as I had my overnight crusty bread in the dutch oven! The power flickered on and off while it was baking, but I was hopeful that I would have power long enough to bake my bread. However, after 15-20 minutes of baking, big trees took out our power. I still had 45-50 minutes of baking left to do! I kept the oven closed and hoped that the bread would bake. Sure enough after 50 minutes of “baking,” I took the bread out, uncovered the dutch oven and steam came flowing out, it was done and beautiful, UNBELIEVEABLE!! It was perfect and crusty and the inside was moist and airy. I was so surprised and relieved that it was successful!

This is to say that this bread is VERY easy and forgiving. Even after the bread was baking in an oven that turned off a quarter of the way into baking, the final product was just as yummy. My grandma kept saying that it tastes like bread from fancy Italian restaurants. The crust is perfectly flaky and crunchy, and you don’t even have to use a steam oven or a tray of water at the bottom of the oven! The inside is very moist, soft and springy, almost doughy.

As I said before, this bread is extremely easy and quick to make. I got my recipe from The New York Times No-Knead Bread, but I added a few variations to my liking and to make the recipe easier.

Make the dough the night before you want to bake the bread. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast until a shaggy dough forms. (Note: Do not convert the instant yeast to active dry yeast because the yeast flavor will be too strong with active dry). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12-18 hours. The longer you can let it sit, the better. Although the original recipe does not have sugar under the ingredients, I always love sweeter breads, so if you do too, add some sugar!

After 12-18 hours of the dough resting, the surface of the dough should have a lot of small bubbles. This is how you know when your dough is ready. At this point, turn out the dough on a floured surface. Using heavily floured hands, gently fold the dough over on itself 3-4 times. Cover and let the gluten rest for 15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, grease and flour a large mixing bowl. After the dough has rested, using heavily floured hands, again, gently and quickly shape into a rough ball. Coat your hands in enough flour to minimize the dough from sticking to your hands. Put this dough seam side down in the prepared mixing bowl. Cover with plastic until doubled in size, about 2-3 hours.

When the dough is almost doubled, preheat your oven with the dutch oven inside. Let the dutch oven sit in the preheated oven for another 15 minutes. Remove the dutch oven and pour the dough ball into the dutch oven, do any small adjustments to the shape of the dough, then cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15-30 minutes depending on how brown and crisp you like your bread. This last step without the lid is primarily to add some color and more crunch to your bread. To ensure the bread is cooked all the way, the internal temperature should read about 200 degrees F.

I hope you try out this deliciously easy bread, I would love to see pictures of your bread! Tag me on Instagram with your creations @beyondbakingwithamandajane

Overnight No Need to Knead Crusty White Bread

  • Servings: 1- 1.5 pound loaf
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tsp granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Stir together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar until a shaggy dough forms. Cover with plastic and let sit for 12-18 hours at room temperature.
  2. When the dough has a lot of bubbles on top, turn out on to floured surface. Fold dough over on itself 3-4 times using floured hands. Sprinkle thin layer of flour on top. Loosely cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Grease and flour large mixing bowl.
  4. With floured hands, shape dough into rough ball and place into prepared mixing bowl. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled in size, about 2-3 hours.
  5. About 30 minutes before dough completely rises, preheat oven to 450 degrees F with the dutch oven inside. Let dutch oven sit in the preheated oven for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Once doubled, pour the dough ball into hot dutch oven. Make any small adjustments to the shape of the dough. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15-30 minutes, until desired color.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Brunching Banana Muffins

Flavor-packed, classic banana muffins, perfect for brunch

Banana bread has always been a staple in my house. Ever since I was young, my mom would never fail to have a tray of banana bread on the counter for after school snack. Sometimes she was even lucky enough to have me help her make them. I am proud to say that I have mastered making this bread on my own.

Over time, my mom and I started to make banana muffins rather than a loaf of banana bread, but the recipe is the same. Muffins are easier for transportation, eating, and sharing, and lining a cupcake tin is much easier than greasing and flouring a pan! In my opinion, even though the recipe is the same, for some reason, the muffins just taste better. However, you can bake this in a loaf or 8 x 8 inch square pan, just make sure you realize the baking time will be different.

You can also add chocolate chips or chopped nuts to the batter to spice it up a little! I prefer my muffins plain, but my brother likes the chocolate chip and my parents like the chopped nuts! I gotta cater to everyone!

Recently, we have been making these muffins a lot for our Sunday brunch, so we have started calling them our Brunching Banana Muffins. During quarantine, grocery shopping has become more of an expedition, so we have been getting more bananas. This has left us with so many overripe bananas that we don’t want to go to waste.

These muffins are SO easy to make, and it is a one-bowl banana bread recipe too! You begin with mashing over-ripened bananas and just stir in the rest of the ingredients! It’s just that simple.

My family and I like to eat these with our weekend brunch, but we also love to eat the leftovers for the next day’s breakfast or a snack. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Brunching Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe large bananas, 4 if they are small
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 cupcake tins.
  2. Mash bananas very well.
  3. Add the sugar, vanilla, egg, flour, baking powder, and cooled melted butter. Mix until just combined.
  4. Optional: Fold in chopped pecans and/or chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop batter into cupcake tins until about 2/3 full. Optional: you can also sprinkle more pecans and/or chocolate chips on top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. *Note: Bake in a loaf or 8 x 8 in. pan for 60-80 minutes.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.