Gochujang Glazed Cauliflower

One of the many amazing, beneficial things having a culturally diverse population does is make our food more interesting. Though Sriracha is pretty recognizable to most people at this point and salsa is, of course, an everyday condiment, my newest spice-related obsession might still be a bit of an unknown. Gochujang, which is a Korean staple made from hot peppers that falls somewhere between sauce and paste, has now taken up permanent residence in my fridge. It’s a more complex, rounded taste than a sauce like Sriracha or sambal, with a slight fermented kick and an affinity for sweet companions, but it packs no less of a punch.

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I first learned about gochujang as a result of the amount of food television I watch, but I’m delighted that I did. Since purchasing the bottle that sits jammed in amongst my mustards and capers and olives and preserved lemons on the door of my refrigerator, I have added it to every sauce I can think of and drooled over its application on chicken, steak, anything grillable.

Weirdly enough, though, the food I have applied this wonder-sauce to that made me the most excited was cauliflower. Through a roundabout voyage starting with the hipsterized version of the age old bar-and-tailgating tradition that is buffalo wings, I found my way to a tray of cauliflower lightly seasoned and roasted until tender, then brushed thickly with a mixture of gochujang, molasses, and oyster sauce before being broiled to caramelize. Served over a scoop of fluffy brown rice and topped with conservatively confetti-ed lime zest, it requires nothing else.

I know, I know, I just said it requires nothing else. But I want to add a few notes before we get to the recipe part because how much you love this depends on you doing a little taste testing. I use a spare amount of olive oil to roast the cauliflower because there’s melted butter in the glaze. Were you going light you could skip that, but I love the way it enriches and rounds out the end result. As for the “big three,” so to speak, of sauces we’re combining, you’ll want to start with ¼ cup of each and then play according to your taste. I find I end up wanting a little more gochujang and just a drizzle more molasses, but remember as you sample it in progress that this is going to be divided up over two heads of cauliflower and tempered by the neutral nuttiness – if you choose to serve it the way I do – of brown rice. In either case, the lime juice I couldn’t resist adding winds up being non-negotiable: you don’t taste it, quite, but that little bit of acid, as is so often the case, balances the whole thing.

Gochujang Glazed Cauliflower
Serves 4 (with sauce and rice left over)
50-60 minutes
2 cups long grain brown rice
chicken broth and/or water to cook rice
2 large heads cauliflower
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
¼ cup oyster sauce
¼ cup molasses
juice of ½ a lime
zest of one lime


  • Start the brown rice cooking in a rice cooker or a large pot (if you use a rice cooker, follow its directions for quantities of liquid. If you use a pot, you’ll need about 4½ cups of liquid for 2 cups of rice). It will take about 45 minutes.
  • Set the oven to 450F, then drizzle two large baking trays with 1 tablespoon of olive oil each and put them in the oven to preheat as well. This ensures that the cauliflower starts to roast immediately upon adding it to the pan, since the oil will already be hot.
  • To prep the cauliflower, carefully use a sharp knife to cut out the core from the bottom of each head. Remove that central core and any lingering leaves, then set the heads floret side up on a cutting board and slice into thick slabs – about ½ inch – and florets as some of the slabs separate. Remove the preheated trays from the oven and arrange the slabs and florets in a single layer on the hot oiled trays. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top, 1 tablespoon for each tray, and sprinkle lightly with the salt.
  • Place the trays into the oven and roast at 450F for 20 minutes, then carefully flip over each piece using tongs; return to 450F oven for another 20 minutes.
  • While the cauliflower roasts, make the sauce. In a small saucepan or a heat-safe bowl set over a small pot of simmering water, melt the butter, then whisk in the remaining ingredients. Taste to see how you like it, then add more of the gochujang, molasses, or oyster sauce as desired. I find I like a little more gochujang and just a drizzle more molasses.
  • This is a good moment to check on your rice: once it has absorbed all its liquid, let it sit with the heat off (or on the “keep warm” setting of your rice cooker, if it has that) for a few minutes for a fluffier end result.
  • When the cauliflower is tender and lightly golden on both sides, remove it from the oven and preheat the broiler. If your broiler element is at the top of your oven, move the top rack up so it’s positioned right underneath the flame. Either brush cauliflower pieces generously with glaze, or tumble them into a bowl and toss with the glaze. I prefer the former because it keeps the pieces more intact, but the latter method would make for a more even coating of sauce.
  • However you glaze them, return the trays of sauced cauliflower to the oven, now on broiler mode, and broil for just a few minutes to allow the glaze to bubble and caramelize.
  • To serve, pile a generous helping of cauliflower over a scoop of brown rice, add additional sauce if desired, then sprinkle with lime zest.


Five-Seed Loaves

2015 Blog September-0394Growing up, my sister and I ate a lot of reasonably healthy food. Mom wasn’t the “crunchy granola type,” especially not by the time my sister showed up, but her waffle recipe involved wheat germ, and my lunchtime sandwich bread always had a measure of whole wheat in it. When I got a little older, it seemed like the more seeds and nuts a loaf contained, the more likely my mom was to buy it. Nine grains? Hearty nuts and seeds? R. and I wouldn’t always eat it, but it was probably in our freezer.

2015 Blog September-0359Thus I felt a certain fondness when I started to consider this month’s Twelve Loaves assignment of seed breads. I knew I wanted multiple seeds, and I knew I wanted them on the inside and outside of my loaves. A bit of internet research led me to Suzanne’s lovely little site Flour Arrangements, and even if she hadn’t had a great seeded loaf recipe to work with and adapt, I would have been enticed by her blog’s clever title (not the mention how many great sounding loaves she’s made – I can’t wait to adapt her multigrain pumpkinseed loaf as the weather cools – I’m thinking of adding some pumpkin puree and rye flour, and maybe some oatmeal).

2015 Blog September-03642015 Blog September-0366I kept her recipe mostly the same, only replacing oil with butter and adding a few additional seeds for a total of five: sesame, poppy, sunflower, pumpkin, and flax.

2015 Blog September-03672015 Blog September-0369I’ve been baking mainly sourdough loaves lately, trying different ratios of starter and flour, comparing notes with S. about various stirring or folding techniques instead of kneading the dough, tipping in just enough whole wheat flour to make a nutty loaf that isn’t too dense, and getting used to long, slow rise times and overnight rests in the refrigerator to develop a tangier sour flavor. Imagine my delight, then, when my bowl of dough, bolstered by its full tablespoon(!) of yeast, agreeably puffed enough to press against its plastic wrap lid in a little over an hour. Not only that, but after carefully pressing and rolling the lovely tight loaves I’d formed through a jumble of seeds, they swelled again in their pans to triumphant heights. Sourdough is delicious and tends to be my go-to for everyday toast, but it is an exercise in patience and in long-term benefits. These loaves, though they do require two rises, expand so eagerly it feels like a reward for a job well done.

2015 Blog September-0376And really, these are a reward. Yes, the seeds you’ve so carefully pressed into the surface of the dough go everywhere – when you turn the baked loaves out of the pans, when you slice into them, when you bag and store them – but those that stay affixed offer a really nice set of flavors and textures. The heat and time in the oven toasts and crisps them lightly, and the flax seeds in particular take on a roasted taste and a slippery crunch I find incredibly appealing. And that’s just the surface. Inside, the crumb is tender and light and barely sweet, as soft as a commercially made pre-sliced loaf, but with the hearty, toasty, wholesome feel and flavor that comes with homemade.

2015 Blog September-0384You could certainly trade out the seeds here if you wanted – caraway would give a stronger anise-y feel, tiny nigella or black onion seeds would make for a more savory flavor, maybe good for meat or tomato based sandwiches. But I am devoted to sweet breakfast toast, and this bread, toasted or not, welcomes salted butter and cinnamon sugar so nicely I must admit I never explored beyond that combination.

2015 Blog September-0390

Five-Seed Loaves
Adapted from Seeded Wheat Bread on Flour Arrangements
Makes 2 9×5 inch loaves
4-5 hours, approximately (including rising/resting time)
¾ cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
pinch white sugar
1 ½ cups warm milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
5 tablespoons poppy seeds, divided
5 tablespoons sesame seeds, divided
3 tablespoons very soft or melted butter
¼ cup molasses
1 tablespoon salt
3-4 cups bread flour
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons flax seeds


  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a large bowl if you aren’t using a mixer, combine the warm water with the yeast and the pinch of sugar. Stir and let it sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture smells bread-like and the yeast has foamed up a bit.
  • Add the milk, whole wheat flour, butter, molasses, and salt to the yeast mixture. Add two tablespoons each of the poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Mix with the paddle attachment or with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  • With the mixer running on low speed, add the bread flour ½ cup at a time until you have a soft dough that pulls and tears away from the sides of the bowl. I needed all 4 cups of the flour, as it was a bit humid in my kitchen – you might need less depending on the day.
  • If you are using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. If you are mixing by wooden spoon, now is the time to turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes if you are working by machine, or about 7-8 minutes by hand, to form a smooth and elastic but still sticky dough. It will still droop and pull when you stop kneading, not sit firmly in a cohesive ball. That’s okay. This ensures a more tender loaf.
  • Lightly grease the sides of a large bowl (I just use the stand mixer bowl; you don’t even have to clean it out) and position your dough in the middle of it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled – 1½-2 hours, depending on how warm your house is.
  • As the rising period nears its end, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons poppy seeds, 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, and the sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds on a baking tray. Butter or grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans and set aside.
  • Punch down the risen dough to release trapped gas by gently depressing your fist into its center, then turn it out onto a very lightly floured board (too much flour and the seeds won’t stick). Divide the dough in equal halves, shape into tight loaves and roll each one in seeds, turning to coat the ends, or just pushing a palmful of seeds against the ends of the loaves.
  • Set the seed-coated loaves gently in the prepared loaf pans, pat remaining seeds on top and drizzle down into the corners. Drape lightly with plastic wrap and let rise again for about 45 minutes, until doubled once more. They swell beautifully.
  • About twenty minutes before the rising period ends, preheat your oven to 375F. When the loaves are fully risen, remove the plastic wrap and place them gently into the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes. To test for doneness, either use a digital thermometer and check for a temperature between 180-200F, or thump the bottom lightly for a hollow sound.
  • Cool loaves in pans at least 20 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before slicing. At all manipulation, seeds will scatter everywhere, but the flavor and texture are worth the mess.


Check out what our other awesome Twelve Loaves bakers made this month, below:

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

Our host this month is Lora from Cake Duchess and our theme is Seeds. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads!

For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads!

If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your Seed Bread using the hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

Espresso Molasses Spice Cookies

As Molly said a few weeks ago, sometimes recipes are so good they need no long-winded, story-laced introduction.  These cookies are like that.  You should just go and make them right now.  But for the sake of propriety, or normalcy, or expectations, I’ll just explain how these – perhaps the best cookies I’ve ever made – certainly the best cookies I’ve tinkered with my own recipe for – came about.

Food Blog July 2013-1915Perhaps months ago, a friend mentioned molasses spice cookies on Facebook (incidentally, and perhaps obnoxiously, have you acquainted yourself with the blackberry eating Facebook page?  Come on by, if you’d like), and suddenly I had to have them.  So I poked around, checking one recipe and another, and finally, as I often do, turned to Smitten Kitchen to see what Deb’s take on the issue looked like.

Food Blog July 2013-1890I mixed up a batch of Deb’s recipe, subbing out white sugar for all brown, adding some espresso powder for a bit of kick and rolling the cookies in coarse, crunchy turbinado sugar rather than standard granulated.  And then in between bouts of shoving them into our faces, I sent a stack to a few friends, who proclaimed them some of the best cookies they’d eaten.

Food Blog July 2013-1891For normal people, I’d wager this assessment of “best ever” would be enough to declare the recipe finished.  But I’ve never been entirely normal.  Yes, these cookies were good.  They were soft and spicy and warm, and the crunchy sugar on the outside was a perfect contrast.  They crinkled into little cracks on top and would have made ideal “bread” for a sandwich of ginger ice cream.  But I wasn’t done.  I upped the quantity of espresso powder so you could really taste a hint of it against the molasses.  I added orange zest for perfumed freshness and black pepper for an additional and different kind of zing.

Food Blog July 2013-1894And then I thought about texture.  For years, my dad has been searching for the perfect chewy chocolate chip cookie (more on this achievement in the future, I suspect…), and remains unsatisfied with recipes that churn out cakey or fluffy domes of dough.  The first batch of these molasses wunderkind were like that – lovely spice and flavor, but a bit on the soft side for me.  Some of this softness was my choice of sweetener; using all brown sugar is always going to leave you with a softer product than white sugar.  So will honey.  Both are hydrophilic, which simply means they attract moisture and thus stay flexible and soft, even after a few days (case in point: my friends who received theirs via post had no complaints about stale cookies!).  But some of this textural challenge is also related to flour.

Food Blog July 2013-1895Let’s talk about flour for a moment, if you’ll permit me.  “All-purpose flour” is one of the most misleading claims in the baking universe.  Flour – at least wheat flour – does what it does thanks to gluten, which are the little strands of protein that form snaky, chewy chains that result in the stretchy but still pillowy texture of bread.  The higher protein content your flour has, the more gluten it has and the more developed those chains will be.  The issue is, all-purpose flour is going to have a different protein content depending on the company whose flour you buy, the particular type of wheat used, and, to some extent, the year’s harvest itself.  So if you’ve ever made a batch of cookies that turned out perfectly the first time and then somehow, subtly different in texture the next time, you might have used a different batch of flour with a higher or lower protein content.

Food Blog July 2013-1896So how does this relate to the chewiness I was after?  Here, as should surprise no one (at least no one who knows me), I turned to Alton Brown.  If higher protein flour results in chewier cookies, why not sub in the flour made specifically for gluten development?  Bread flour.  And that was it.  Replacing just a ¼ cup of the all-purpose flour from the original recipe with bread flour produced a cookie that still crackled on top and felt appealing between our teeth, but held up with a bit more resistance, demanding an extra chew or two.  The perfect chewy cookie.  We planned to bring a batch of these to my family when we went to visit them last week, but as we each took yet another from the bag mid-drive, we realized there were only three left from the whole endeavor – enough for my family to each taste just one.

Food Blog July 2013-1905
Espresso Molasses Spice Cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who got them from the Cooks Illustrated Best Recipe Cookbook
makes 18-20 large cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup bread flour (this makes the cookies a bit chewier.  If you don’t care or you don’t have bread flour, use 2 ¼ cups all-purpose.  The cookies will be a touch softer, but still amazing)
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
¾ tsp cloves
1 TB instant espresso powder
¼ tsp black pepper
12 TB room temperature butter (1 ½ sticks)
2 tsp orange zest
1 cup brown sugar, packed (I used golden brown; I’m sure dark would be delicious as well)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
1/3 turbinado or other coarse sugar, for rolling
  • Position your oven racks in the top third of the oven, preheat to 375F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, salt, and spices through the black pepper.  This will leave you with a beautifully flecked mixture.
  • In a large bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer), cream the butter with the orange zest and the brown sugar for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Slosh in the vanilla, the egg, and the molasses, and mix well.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl again so everyone is included.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat until all signs of flour are evenly mixed into a thick,sludgy dough.  Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure full incorporation.
  • Pour the 1/3 cup coarse sugar onto a plate or a shallow bowl.
  • Scoop 2 TB (1/8 cup) portions of cookie dough, roll them in your hands briefly to make a ball, and coat the ball in the coarse sugar on all sides by pushing it lightly around the plate or shallow bowl.
  • When each ball of dough is coated in coarse sugar, set it on your prepared cookie sheets.  Cookies should be spaced an inch or two apart; I wouldn’t do more than 6 per sheet, as they are large and do spread a bit.
  • Bake each sheet 11-13 minutes, or until cookies are puffed and set at the edges.  The middles will still be soft, but don’t despair.  They will continue to cook as they cool.
  • Cool cookies on their sheet for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before consuming, if possible.
  • You’ll hardly need to know this, I suspect, once you put one in your mouth, but enclosed in a zip-top bag these will stay fresh for up to a week.