Wednesday, January 16, 2013



A Babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and man. 
Martin Fraquhar Tupper 

Being called Honey or Babe incenses me. Unless it is my husband (although as we are not a nickname kind of family, his calling me Honey or Babe or the horrid French Cherie! would, if anything, make me laugh). Or a girlfriend. Sunshine I kind of like if it is said in a spirit of generosity. Being whistled at from a stranger comes close to falling into this same category of taking liberties, and well, if it is meant as a compliment I do believe that I would accept it gracefully. If done as one would whistle at a bad dog or monkeys at the zoo then, well, no thank you. I despise when my sons call me Dude instead of Mom, I’ve had male doctors actually pat me on the head and say “Don’t worry your little head with this, ma Kiki!” When my brother calls me Sis, I tend to shake at the knees, wondering what ultimate underlying intention is behind the outward affection. But what I love about nicknames, as normally averse as I am to them, as degrading and belittling as they can be if said by the wrong person or under the wrong circumstances, when inappropriate or said with a certain machismo, oozing insincerity, is the sense of inclusion they connote if said in just the right spirit by just the right person. I love the familiarity with which e-mails from a certain friend begin Good Morning, Hunny Bunny!; the intimacy inherent in the Bonjour, darling! from a male friend, much like an endearing bear hug; the sense of group and affection when referred to as Saucy by a special gang of gal pals. Jamela from two singular – and Jewish – girlfriends warms my heart the same way it always did whenever Dear Old Dad called me Bubbela.

So when I was recently called Babe by a group of friends and fellow bloggers, well knock me down with a feather I was absolutely thrilled! The Bread Baking Babes is, as the name implies, a group of a dozen passionate bakers dedicated to all things yeast. Each month a recipe is selected by the Host Kitchen of the Month (or shall we say Hostess?) and we bake along. The 16th of the month finds the recipe with the results on our blogs and then anyone is free to bake the same and earn the honor of being a Bread Baking Buddy, badge and all. I’ve been a Buddy a few times in the past – from the Pesto Parmesan Pine Nut Russian Rose Loaf to the Apple Kuchen, from the 5-Grain Bread with Walnuts to the Asparagus Bread and have loved baking with like-minded women, a virtual Koffee Klatch, sharing recipes, cups of coffee and gossip alongside the sharing of a great new recipe and baking tips.

So I am proud and honored to have been asked to join the group. And now you can call me Babe.

I don’t find offensive that I’m being labelled a Babe by blokes. 
I’m absolutely flattered. 
 – Kirsty Gallacher 

My fellow Babes:

Elle at Feeding My Enthusiasms (our Kitchen of the Month for January)

Ilva at Lucullian Delights

Karen at Bake My Day

Katie at Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire

Pat at Feeding My Enthusiams

Elizabeth at Blog From OUR Kitchen

Natashya at Living in the Kitchen With Puppies

Tanna at My Kitchen in Half Cups

Lien at Notitie Van Lien

Astrid at Paulchens Foodblog

Gretchen at Provecho Peru

This month Elle selected these fantastic Jam FanTan Rolls. It is a very long process what with all the waiting, but each step is a cinch and a pleasure, fast and easy. Worth the doing if you have all day and other chores to fill up the in-between time. I got the yeast starter going at about 8 a.m. or so, made coffee, had breakfast, walked Marty and began my day. At about 10:30 a.m. I warmed the milk, butter and maple syrup gently and measured out the flours. The house was soon permeated with the buttery warm scent of maple and nutmeg and I began feeling as if I was in a log cabin among the pines, gingham apron tied snuggly around my waist. I blended and kneaded, gently, gently, soft and tender for no more than three minutes then placed the dough in an oiled bowl and pushed it to the back of the counter for just about two hours. By 12:30, after a quiet lunch, the dough had risen and puffed and was so simple, pliant and supple, to roll to the desired squares. Slathered thickly with sweet melted butter, dusted generously with cinnamon sugar or brushed with oodles of your favorite jam, sliced, stacked and nestled into muffin cups then elegantly (or messily) fanned out, the rolls are once again left to puff and rise, growing all out of proportion as if puffed up on compliments, rising to except the applause and then bowing ever so gracefully. Well, a tad bit more pompous than gracious, but so very well done! By 3 o’clock these babies, already threatening to tumble out of the muffin tins, attempting to slither out and about the kitchen, were slid into the hot oven. And were ready to serve for our traditional Quatre-Heure – the 4 o’clock snack.

Light, airy and delicate, the layers of each elephantine roll pull apart revealing a tender – a little bit fluffy, a little bit chewy, just right - texture infused with the flavors of whatever one chooses to brush onto the dough. One can add a glaze atop each roll much like a cinnamon bun but really wouldn’t it be overkill? Husband and I each grab a Fantan or two, a cup of steaming milky coffee and settle down for the perfect snack; the simplicity of the not-too-sweet buns are just what we need to comfort and relax as we watch the pewter skies threaten snow, as we see the misty whiteness of the air through our windows.

I would like to share these Cinnamon Sugar & Jam Fantan Rolls with Susan of Wild Yeast for her weekly Yeastspotting!

I also would like to share the great news that Life’s a Feast is now catalogued on the wonderful Eat Your Books website. Eat Your Books is like a large library devoted to food where thousands of cookbooks, cooking magazines and now select food blogs have been indexed by recipe. You will now be able to find a recipe in seconds, create your own bookshelf and join a forum where you can discuss, search and research.


Makes 12

You will need a standard 12-cup muffin tin, buttered.

3-4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (I measure 135 g per cup)
1 cup whole wheat bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 package (8 g) of active dry yeast yeast mixed with ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water + ½ cup (67/68 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup non fat evaporated milk (see note*)
¼ cup (60 g) unsalted butter
¼ cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla

3 - 4 Tbs (45 – 60 g) unsalted butter, just melted
2/3 cup marmalade (about), warmed (see note**)

* I used ½ cup (125 ml) lowfat milk + ½ cup (125 ml) 0% fat fromage frais or fromage blanc; others have used half milk/half plain yogurt

** I used 3 rounded tablespoons of sour cherry jam for 6 of the Fantans and about 3 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar (1 teaspoon ground cinnamon for every 2 tablespoons granulated sugar) for the remaining 6 Fantans.

Prepare the yeast starter by blending the active dry yeast with the ¼ cup of warm water and ½ cup flour. Allow to activate for anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours (I let mine sit for 2 hours; other Baking Babes have had successes with various times)

Sift 1 cup (135 g) of the all-purpose flour, the 1 cup (135 g) of whole wheat bread flour, salt, and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Stir until well blended. Set aside.

Place evaporated milk (or milk + fromage frais/yogurt), butter and maple syrup into a saucepan and heat until butter is nearly melted. Remove from heat. Stir a few minutes until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is cooled to tepid. 110° F / 45° C.

Add the frothy yeast mixture to the tepid milk mixture, then add the milk mixture to the flour mixture in a large mixing bowl; beat or whisk well to blend. Add the egg and vanilla; stir until blended. Add 1 ½ cups (200 g) all-purpose flour, stir until thoroughly incorporated. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, rather sticky dough; the rest of the flour use for keeping the work surface floured while kneading.

Turn the dough out onto the lightly floured surface. Knead 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and silky. (Add the additional flour while kneading, but only enough to keep it from sticking.) Place the dough in a cleaned oiled bowl, turn dough to lightly coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Butter the 12 cups of a regular/standard muffin tin.

Dust your work surface with flour. Punch down the dough then halve it. Wrap one half in the plastic wrap and set aside. Roll the other half into a 12×12-inch (30.5×30.5 cm) square. You may have to roll slightly larger, and then trim the ends to even out the square. Brush dough with half the melted butter. Spread the surface of the dough with about 1/2 the warmed marmalade. Cut into 6 equal strips then stack the strips on top of each other. Cut through the layers into 6 equal pieces - you will now have 2-inch squares of dough stacked 6 high. Carefully place each set of squares into a buttered muffin cup, standing up so the layers are visible. Gently fan them open. Each will have six dough pieces with marmalade or other filling in between. Repeat with the remaining dough and the rest of the marmalade for the other six cups of the muffin tin. Make sure the 6 layers of dough are not sticking together.

Cover the tins with a piece of plastic wrap and then a clean tea/kitchen towel and let the rolls rise in a draft free spot at warm room temperature until the dough doubles, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

With Cinnamon Sugar

With Sour Cherry Jam

Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Place the rack in the middle of the oven.

Remove the towel and the plastic wrap and bake the rolls in the preheated oven until they are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Watch the Fantans carefully for the last 10 minutes – the high sugar content in the jam can easily and quickly burn.

Remove from the oven to a cooking rack and cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove the Fantans from the muffin tin and transfer to the cooling rack and allow to cool before serving. If desired, drizzle a glaze of 1 teaspoon milk whisked together with enough confectioners' sugar (icing sugar) to make a drizzle that is not too runny. Let dry before serving the rolls.

 With Cinnamon Sugar

With Sour Cherry Jam


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Like you, I'm not a big fan of cliché nicknames (too honeyed)and even less of being whistled at while walking in the street (it's so passé and besides I'm not a dog!). Anyway, I'd love to savor a few of your gorgeous fantans (I love that name)!



Elizabeth said...

I cannot get over how much your fans fanned out! Beautiful! Beautiful! No wonder you're a BBBabe!

(I know exactly what you mean about nicknames like "Doll". And "Darling". In fact, "Darling" is the worst.)

Barb | Creative Culinary said...

My ex would called me honey when we were married and I was OK with that but for some reason after our divorce started calling me 'babe' and I found it demeaning and still grit my teeth at the thought of it.

Funny how words can evoke such vivid memories, good and bad.

Love the Fantans...what a cute name they are called!

Lien said...

Can't believe how perfect your fantans behaved. Especially the cinnamon ones (great choice, I'll have to make those too one day) are so great in shape. The cherry ones are more like mine, growing in every direction, maybe that's because the layers are more slippery. Love that you've joined us!

about nicknames, ah well for me it's all who says it, when and in what tone. Whistling is (or rather was...they don't do that anymore I'm afraid) totally out of order :)

abraham said...

looking pretty cool, would love to try it out

Kate | Food Babbles said...

Congratulations "Babe!" Thank you for introducing me to this fantastic group. I can't wait to bake some fantans! I've never hear of them nor made them before so I'm really looking forward to it. Yours look so lovely!

Denise said...

I love these fan tans! I have been seeing them all over the internet the past couple days ... love! Must put my baking apron on!

Jill @ MadAboutMacarons said...

Love it - you baking babe! ANd love these Fantans - so fun and deliciously different, Jamie.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I can't believe I've never heard of these? Great name and they look brilliant!

ilva said...

I'm so happy you have joined us, now we can bake in tandem! your fantans look pretty fabulous, babe!

Rambling Tart said...

This made me laugh, Jamie. :-) I adore nicknames from my nearest and dearest - but how they rankle when spoken in a condescending or dismissive manner. I've never been so thoroughly nicknamed by a population as I have in Australia. It actually startles me when someone uses my name because I'm unused to it. :-) These are beautiful fantans! :-)

Baking Soda said...

Ooh you get that nicknaming down to a T girl! (ha!) When husband starts his sentence with Hon I know I am probably not going to like his next words... ;-)

Great looking fantans that really did fan out. Gorgeous clear pics!

Kate@Diethood said...

I am the person that uses nicknames all the time. I only use them to show affection...not to belittle anyone. Sweetheart, sweets, honey, babes... all part of my every day vocabulary. :-)

I can never get my fantans to fan out that much... yours are perfect!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh boy. I once took an MD out at the knees for calling me Mom when he was seeing our oldest son for something. As a nurse that one always drove me nutty.

A time and place for everything.

Love your Jam Fan Tans Babe. And WELCOME.

Dewi said...

Delicious! I am not even sure if I am able to make it on time :)

katiez said...

Normally, in our families, nicknames are generously laced with sarcasm....
Love the cinnamon and sugar!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I do like being called Babe, or Sweetie, or Hon - pretty much anything but Ma'am. And I would love to be whistled at - but would likely be afraid that they were mocking me. ;-)
But being a Bread Baking Babe is best of all! Welcome, welcome!
Great looking fantans - the texture looks perfect and I love the idea of cinnamon sugar ones. Yum!

Maureen said...

I'm not big on nicknames either but my husband calls me honey and my father called me chicken and it didn't bother me at all. I'm way past whistling age. :)

Your fantans look really good and congratulations on the news.

Amanda said...

It certainly looks like you have the knack when it comes to bread making - those fan tans look fab! As for overly-familiar nicknames - I hate them when delivered by strangers and think they are just rude.

Lisa said...

I think every guy I've had a long-term with has had a nickname for me, but not always sweet nicknames. For example, 'crash' (after I had a few minor car accidents)..'killer' (when some chick said I threatened to kill her to try and get my guy's attention. I never threatened to kill her, I simply told her she'd get a black-eye if she kept hitting on him lol)

With D..nothing unique..just 'Baby' back and forth. Our real names when we're pissed, of course.

That said, I love fantans but have never made them, which is crazy! Your cinnamon sugar or cherry jam twist sounds delectable and they look gorgeous! xo

tasteofbeirut said...

The group sounds like fun. Nickname are not my thing either especially when unauthorized! :)
Love these things nevr heard of them before and they look so light and delicate!! Require a lot of skill I would imagine!

Jeanne said...

Saucy? can't imagine who's calling you that ;o) I am HUGE on nicknames (as you have probably guessed by now...!) - I have friends that I routinely refer to as Moo A, BlogMamma, Little Lemon Chiffon, Carrot Muffin, Attebol and Squeaky; and I don't think my friend Paul has called me by me real name in years. I went through a phase of making up hilariously derogatory nicknames for my exes (Dogbreath's Cousin springs to mind...!) And then I go and marry a man who has never used a nickname in his life. Sigh. Whereas I only call him NICHOLAS when he is in huge trouble - the rest of the time it's angel, darling, sweetie - all manner of terms of endearment! Love the look of these - just inviting you to break a piece off!

Barbara Bakes said...

Congratulations on becoming a Babe. I'll look forward to your posts. These look fantastic. I would especially love to try and cherry one.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

These are divine! I think I've seen Barbara from Barbara Bakes make something that looks quite similar? Oh and now I'm worried about how I may have addressed you in the past! :P

Jamie said...

@Lorraine / Not Quite Nigella - you can call me anything you want, baby!

@Jeanne - now I am wondering why none of that surprises me... and I don't take Nick for a nickname kind of guy. Very straightforward he is. But "angel" is so sweet.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Although I've been called by a nickname all my life I have never been overly fond of it and tried to select names for my children that wouldn't immediately changed into something else. Your fantans are beautiful, Jamie, and I can imagine the wonderful aroma as they baked.

Elle said...

So glad to call you Babe! Not many places it would be a good thing, but with this group it's grand. Your fantans are gorgeous. I especially love the cinnamon ones. Nice to hear of the passing of the day when you baked them and that they were ready just in time for the afternoon coffee hour and new fallen snow.

lisa is cooking said...

I love the look of these fan tail rolls! And, they sound fantastic with a hot coffee. Regarding nicknames, I feel the same. Being called "Lis" doesn't work for me, and other nicknames leave me suspicious. I don't think I'd mind "Cherie" though!

Terra said...

When I moved to the south I really had to get used to being called sweetie, and honey. It is not my favorite, but I just put it in one ear, and out the other:-) Your fantan rolls look so wonderful! I love the idea of adding the sour cherry jam! Hugs, Terra

Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez said...

Oh, I absolutely love both versions of your fantans. I really wanted to use Sour Cherry Preserves (my favorite), but realized that I had already used all of mine up :(. I did do cinn-sugar, though (and it's a good thing because they were the overwhelming favorite here). Congrats on your ETB catalog, as well.

Yvonne @ bitter baker said...

WOW! Those look gorgeous, can't wait to try them!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

What beautiful billowing treats. I want to tear into those.

crumbsoflove said...

These look great, oh new babe
Best, Sandie

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Saucy, babes, honeybun you are all of the above to me!

Nicknames ... I guess it depends on who's nicknaming!! I usually nickname out of affection rather than the opposite.It's more special to give a nice name to the people you love and care for than to even care about those who you do not by giving them a nasty name LOL!

I am so loving these fantans as I think Soeren will devour them!

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen said...

There are some nicknames that get to my nerves, like doll or mother, but usually when said by total strangers, like the guy selling me kitchen towels.
I´ve only made savory fantans a couple of times, guess it´s time to try a sweet one. I don´t know why they are not made much anymore since they have a bit of everything, crunch, softness, nice shape. Have a great weekend Jamie!


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