I have to say this is one busy, busy week! I never expected to get busier once I resigned from my job, honestly. I was surprised how quickly I got responses for interviews. I figured I’d put my feelers out there and then I found some really great positions and when they called me back I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I still have that feeling right now. There’s nothing I want to do more than cook, and I feel like I’m really afraid that I’m going to let myself down because of how nervous I feel. Sometimes I’m seriously my own worst enemy. So that’s why last night for March’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge I had to drown my worries in this delicious strawberry shortcake made with Dutch Crunch rolls, slathered with Nutella…just hit the spot.
For those of you who know what a Dutch Crunch is you’re probably looking at it like where’s all the crunch? Being as the Dutch Crunch roll’s name is based on the crunchy topping, and tiger-like shell after it comes out of the oven, I’m sad to say that I knocked most of it off while cutting this roll into thirds! I promise you that when it came out of the oven it had all the sweet-crunchy goodness that makes it a perfect sandwich roll. We even ate one while it was still hot, so good. See Exhibit A…
As you may or may not be able to tell I was afraid that I would not have enough crunchy topping as intended by Sara & Erica from Baking JDs, this month’s challengers. I may have gone a bit overboard and almost coated the whole sheet pan in crunch. I do that sometimes.
When I first started this month’s challenge I thought it would be great to do an Easter-type sandwich. Ya know, with ham and brown sugar glaze, maybe some mashed potatoes, rainbow carrot ribbons, possibly a rhubarb-mayo for the spread. Then nerves took over and I needed something sweet & I needed it now!
The recipes that were given by Sara & Erica were adapted from The Bread Bible and Baking Bites. I in turn, took the recipe and adapted it again because apparently I like booze in most things baked. Nerves, I swear it’s all the nerves!
Soft White Roll
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105-110º F)
1/2 cup warm milk (105-110º F)
1/2 + 1/4 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon cognac
1 tablespoon canola oil (plus additional for greasing bowl during rising)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine yeast, water, milk and maple syrup. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes. Add in canola oil, cognac, salt and 1 cup of flour. Using the hook attachment mix at medium speed until the dough comes together.
Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour, in a warm place, until doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 equal portions to make rolls. Shape each into a ball and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 380 degrees. Cover again with the towel and let rise for 15 minutes. In the meantime, make your topping. (recipe below)
Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. If you think you haven’t added enough, add more.
Place them directly in the oven, on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes or until well browned.
Dutch Crunch Topping
1 tablespoon, active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115º F)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rice flour
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk to combine. It should be like royal icing, only a little stiffer – spreadable, but not runny. It should drip slowly from your whisk. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.
Nutella Strawberry Shortcake
2 Dutch Crunch rolls
1 container strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup Nutella (more or less for your liking)
Place your sliced strawberries & sugar in a medium bowl, mix lightly and place in fridge until needed.
Cut your Dutch Crunch rolls into thirds, making 3 layers. Toast each layer, remove from toaster or oven and let sit for a minute to cool slightly. Coat bottom layer and middle layer with Nutella.
Top your bottom layer with sliced strawberries and a helping or two of whipped cream, place the middle layer of your Dutch Crunch on top of the whipped cream, nutella side up. Top again with sliced strawberries, another helping or two of whipped cream and the top of your Dutch Crunch roll.