[Sourdough] Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Ever since I committed to powering all of my yeasted baking with sourdough starter, I’ve looked forward to perfecting a signature recipe for pillowy, enriched breakfast buns. Finally, the time has come! Just in time for Christmas morning (the cinna-bunniest day of the year), AND to celebrate the big debut of our very own bun-in-the-oven!

That’s right, there’s a baby in the house! Her name is Lola Jane and I love being her mom. We’ve been having a dreamily cozy winter at home with our new family of three, and I’m thankful I made time to set the scene with some homemade comforts like these (freezer-friendly!) cinnamon rolls. (I owe you another post with a rundown about the rest of my freezer-prep projects soon… stay tuned!)

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[Sourdough] Pumpkin Donuts

It’s not often that I fill my dutch oven with oil for deep-frying – but this pregnant lady felt like kicking off the Baking Season with a bang this year… and after prepping a big bowl of Insta-Pumpkin, I couldn’t stop dreaming of homemade sourdough pumpkin donuts!

On a perfect rainy Fall weekend morning, this batch warmed our hearts and earned true epic status by featuring three sweet topping options: spiced cinnamon sugar, salted maple glaze, and dark chocolate glaze. Choose your own adventure, or choose all three like me! 

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Broccoli Sprout Pesto

Fresh broccoli sprouts are a staple food in my kitchen, especially in the winter when it’s the main home-grown vegetable crop we’ve managed to keep in season. Sprouting is one of the simplest ways to grow your own fresh food, especially for people limited by their climate, space constraints, or urban captivity. You don’t need access to the outdoors or even a sunny windowsill, because seeds are designed by nature to push their own way through dirt and set sail with their first leaves before they can start catching solar energy to power their growth. 

By the time they reach that point, these tiny plants are brimming with glucosinolates, the precursors to isothiocyanates, which are plant defense compounds known for their hormetic anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic impact on the humans who eat them. This story mirrors the one about garlic and allicin – again, tissue damage (the plant’s sense that it is being eaten!) is a trigger for the conversion of a stable storage molecule into a reactive defense molecule. In the case of broccoli sprouts, myrosinase is the enzyme that converts glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. For the same reason we chop garlic before cooking to maximize its potency, it is also optimal to break down broccoli sprouts. My favorite way is pesto.

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Maca Mocha Cocoa Mix

My pantry is never without a stash of this homemade DIY dark cocoa mix. Warm, cozy drinks are an important staple for this Florida Girl adapting to life in northern Washington, you know? I mix it up in bulk, and I’ve been known to pack it up into jars for a simple handmade-with-love holiday gift. This year, I wanted to share the recipe with you in time to give you a chance to do the same!

My not-so-secret ingredient is maca – Lepidium meyenii – a plant in the brassica family (cousin to broccoli and all its cruciferous brethren) native to high altitudes of Peru. In the Andes, it’s long been eaten as a staple food and regarded for traditional medicinal uses. The dried root is thought to enhance endurance, and is known to contain glucosinolates and other compounds that can contribute to antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects. It has a nutty flavor and aroma reminiscent of butterscotch that I really adore in my cocoa mix.

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[Sourdough] Dark Molasses & Honey Bread

This no-knead sourdough loaf is modeled after the dark, sweet, grainy rye breads I became accustomed to encountering in sandwich shops when I lived in southern California. They usually called it squaw bread (I wonder if they still do…) and it makes an excellent foundation for the veggie-loaded sandwiches they do so well down there.

Let’s take a moment to talk about molasses, and how it comes to be. When fresh sugar cane is harvested, it is pressed to yield a juice with about 15% sugar by weight. This cane juice is evaporated, and as water is lost, the solution passes its saturation point and sugars start to crystallize. The syrup is spun in a centrifuge to separate the crystals, which undergo further refinement on their way to becoming white sugar. The dark syrup that remains is molasses, and its darkness is a reflection of the complex products of the sugar cane’s plant biochemistry. Among the “impurities” fractionated into molasses from refined sugar are a significant amount of B vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium and selenium.

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Pistachio Fro-Yo Pops

Calling all pistachio lovers! These perky pops are my new favorite summer treat. This simple recipe features none of the artificial flavors or colors that too often taint that old-school neon-green ice cream at the supermarket – just lightly sweetened whole-milk yogurt and plenty of roasted, salted pistachios.

Nuts and seeds are designed to fuel a baby plant through germination until they can develop enough roots and leaves to fend for themselves, which makes them very nutrient-dense foods. An ounce of roasted pistachios has about 6 grams of protein, 13 grams of fat, and 8 grams of carbohydrates (including 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of natural sugars). Their biochemical profile supports antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, and clinical studies have demonstrated favorable effects on blood lipids, glycemic control and vascular function associated with pistachio consumption.

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[Sourdough] Cheesy Kale & Everything Bagels

My latest sourdough specialty is the almighty BAGEL. The technique that makes this bread so classically dense and chewy is a dunk in boiling water before baking. When the dough is boiled, its exterior undergoes starch gelatinization – granules of starch absorb water, they swell, and their tightly packed chains of molecules start to dissolve. This process gives the crust its chewy texture, and because the cooked crust restricts the bagel from continuing to rise/expand when baking, it’s also responsible for the interior’s dense crumb. Baking soda added to the water accelerates the Maillard reaction via increased alkalinity, promoting more browning during baking.

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[Sourdough] Pumpkin Garlic Knots

On a whim last weekend, I baked sourdough pumpkin garlic knots. It then became my solemn duty to write the recipe ASAP, lest it be forgotten and my future self and family – and my fellow Keepers of the Sourdough out there – be deprived of its simple glory.

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Sweet Corn, Peach & Basil Salad

Today, let’s practice a summertime exercise in keeping it simple. It’s what the universe beckons us to do in this season of plenty, when the sun’s peak puts nature on overdrive, and the plants we cultivate positively vibrate with vital energy. It’s a magical time to love fruits and vegetables.

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