Pecan Sticky Buns

Perhaps no pastry requires more napkins or inspires cravings more than homemade pecan sticky buns. They’re warm, gooey and soft in all the right places—and absolutely delicious.

After years of customer requests, we’re launching our own based on Leslie’s recipe for her homemade brunch favorite. We make them by layering our slightly sweet and pillowy brioche dough with toasted pecans and cinnamon sugar, tightly rolling it, then baking it upside down on a rich brown sugar and butter caramel with orange zest and vanilla. We invert the rolls while still warm, causing deep swirls of caramel to run through the bun leaving the pecans gooey and proud on top.

The silky not-too-sweet roll has a light, tender crumb that provides a divine contrast to the toffee-like caramel and crunch of toasted pecans.

The Pecan Sticky Buns are available individually in our retail cafés and as a four-pack. They are best served warm (5–8 minutes in a 325°F oven).

Shrimp & Crab Salad Lobster Roll Sandwich

Macrina’s Lobster Rolls are the perfect bun for a summer seafood sandwich or grilled sausage with caramelized onions and peppers. No matter how you fill these rolls, the key is to butter and grill or sauté the sides to caramelize the bread and warm it through.

INGREDIENTS

Makes 4 sandwiches

6 cups water
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, divided
1 lb frozen shrimp, 16–20 size, (deveined, shell on)
8 oz fresh crab meat, cooked
2 ribs celery, medium dice
2 tsp capers, chopped
3 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
3 tsp shallots, finely chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 Macrina Lobster Rolls
Butter

DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan, add the water, salt and 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Add the frozen shrimp and bring back to a boil, cooking for 3–4 minutes or until the shrimp are just cooked through.

Strain the shrimp and transfer to a bowl. Quickly cover with ice cubes to stop the cooking process. Toss and let cool for 10 minutes.

Peel the shrimp and coarsely chop them in ½-inch pieces.

In a medium bowl, add the diced celery, capers, tarragon, shallots, remaining ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix well. Add the crab and chopped shrimp. Stir to combine.

Cut a pocket into the top of each Lobster Roll. Brush with butter and grill or pan sauté on both sides to caramelize the bread and warm it through. Put an equal portion of the shrimp and crab salad into the pocket of each roll. Serve with your favorite chips or green salad.

Enjoy!

Darker Crust, Exceptional Flavor

Flour, yeast, water, salt. That’s it. And yet, so many varieties of bread. We’ve been experimenting with these four essential ingredients—plus time, temperature and technique—ever since we first hung a Macrina Bakery sign over the door of our original bakery and café in Belltown in 1993. That’s a lot of loaves, a great many early mornings, a mountain of flour. The one constant: our desire to make great bread.

And that means never losing your sense of wonder over the marvel that is bread.

Increasingly, we’ve added wheat from local farmers. Cairnspring Mills in nearby Skagit Valley mills it to our specifications. We’ve spent some time exploring how hydration and fermentation impact different flours and have enjoyed the results of recent bread additions to our offerings. Beginning July 15, we will bake many of our loaves at a higher temperature. The deep caramelization of the crust adds a depth of flavor that you can’t get any other way. The higher oven temperature also produces a creamier crumb and a crackly crust. The moist interior also helps the bread keep better.

When Macrina Bakery first opened, we had a small four-door electric Bongard oven. Now we have much bigger ovens and many more loaves to bake. But Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, and Head Baker Phuong Bui, who has been with us since that first year, still oversee every element of our production. It’s fun to see them so excited about a loaf of bread, the way the crust crackles when you break into it, the texture of the crumb, and what one can do with just four simple ingredients.

Now Serving: Rustic Ready-To-Bake Pizza

Our growing line of grab-and-go savory items has given our customers a quick and easy way to put healthy, flavorful meals together. Our newest item is a Rustic Ready-To-Bake Pizza. 

This is not your typical frozen pizza! We form the crisp and flavorful crust from our Giuseppe dough and top it with our house tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan. 

Years ago, we offered a pizzetta in our cafés, and it was a customer favorite,” says Leslie. This is an adaptation from that, and Ive been really loving this new version,” says Leslie. We made it simple so you can dress it up with your favorite toppings at home. Lately, for me, its been prosciutto and roasted asparagus. But it’s also great just as it is.” 

The pizza bakes in 15–18 minutes, depending on how many toppings you add, and feeds two. 

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake Mix

These muffins will please all of your chocolate cake-loving friends, even the most discerning gourmand. We modeled the cake on our ever-popular Moms Chocolate Cake, a mainstay at Macrina almost from day one. The raspberry and cream filling in the center is what makes them unforgettable. 

Many years ago, when we started selling cupcakes, Leslie scooped out the centers and filled them with custard, fruit or lemon curd. The simple twist became a Macrina tradition. After baking these cupcakes, you scoop out a small cavity in the center of each and add raspberry jam, fresh raspberries and raspberry swirl whipped cream. Then you top them with a chocolate ganache frosting, crystal sugar, and fresh raspberries. Half the delight is waiting for your guests to find the whipped cream and raspberry center. 

Our kit includes slightly oversized cupcake molds that give them a unique shape, setting them apart not only in taste but also in appearance from their store-bought cousins.  

With the exception of whipping cream and fresh raspberries, the items you supply can be found in most kitchens. Our cupcake mix makes these elegant festive cupcakes easy to make. Theyre suitable for any celebration—dinner parties, birthdays, Valentines Day, Mothers Day, or just a rainy day treat. 

Enjoy! 

March Recipe of the Month: Corned Beef & Cabbage Slaw Breakfast Tartine

We make our challah bread in the European Jewish tradition. The braided loaf is enriched with egg, honey-sweetened and baked until the crust is firm and golden mahogany in color. The soft, tight crumb pulls apart easily.

Our challah is a customer favorite for French toast or enjoyed with butter and jam. This recipe uses thick slices, pan-toasted in butter, for an open-faced tartine sandwich. The tender, lightly sweet bread adds a complementary texture and flavor to the combination of corned beef, Swiss cheese, whole-grain mustard and a fresh cabbage slaw with carrots and pears.

-Leslie MackieIngredients:
Serves 4

¼ cup whole-grain mustard, divided
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2½ tsp apple cider vinegar
1½ tsp honey
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
½ head green cabbage (medium-size)
1 carrot, peeled
1 Bartlett pear
2 Tbsp Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 loaf Macrina Challah Bread
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
8 slices corned beef (approx. 6 oz)
4 slices Swiss cheese (approx. 4 oz)
8 eggs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, place 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp whole-grain mustard, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and honey. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Remove the tough root of the cabbage by cutting a V-shaped wedge from the base. Lay the half cabbage on the cut side and cut it into ⅛-inch slices. Using the medium side of a grater, grate the carrot. Cut the pear in half, remove the core and grate the pear with the same grater. Add the cabbage, carrot, pear, parsley, salt and black pepper to the dressing. Toss to combine. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

Cut the challah on the bias into eight 1-inch thick pieces.

In a large sauté pan, melt 3 Tbsp butter. Over medium-high heat, sauté the challah slices on both sides for 1 to 2 minutes until just browning. Place on the lined baking sheet. Divide the remaining whole-grain mustard between the slices and spread evenly. Top each with a slice of corned beef. Cut the cheese slices in half and place a piece on each tartine.

Bake the tartines for 3 to 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Place 2 tartines on each serving plate.

In a nonstick pan over medium heat, melt 2 tsp butter. When the butter is sizzling, sauté 2 eggs at a time, flipping when whites are set and cooking to your desired preference (over- easy, over-medium or over-hard). Salt and pepper to taste. Finish cooking the remaining eggs, adding more butter as needed. Top each tartine with 1 egg. Divide the cabbage slaw evenly across the 8 tartines.

You might consider serving these with a Guinness or your favorite craft beer in honor of the Irish. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Printable PDF of this recipe here.

To Make Great Banh Mi, Start with the Right Bread 

The Vietnamese Lunar New Year, or Tet, falls on February 12 this year. The day is a significant holiday at Macrina. Our head bakers, Phuong Hoang Bui and Thanh Huyen Dang, are Vietnamese, as are many of our bakers. Artisanal French and Italian traditions influence most of our bread, and the food in our cafes hews Mediterranean with a few American favorites thrown in, but an exception is our Bui Bun, made for banh mi, which was developed by Phuong with help from the bread team.

Banh Mi, the classic street-vendor Vietnamese sandwich, is one of the best comfort foods around. In Seattle, options abound, from traditional to hybrid. The one constant, in our favorites at least, is the right bread—fresh and airy, with the right mix of crackle, spring, and chew.

The baguette was introduced to Vietnam during French colonial rule in the early twentieth century. The earliest “banh mi” were straightforward, sometimes just a smear of butter and some ham or pâté, in the traditional Parisian fashion. But over time, both the bread and toppings evolved to become the unique, zesty Vietnamese sandwich that has claimed a spot in the global hall of culinary fame. Stacked with variations on satisfying fillings like cured and cooked pork, sliced ham, chicken liver pâté, green herbs, pickled vegetables, chili peppers, and spiced-up mayonnaise, the banh mi toppings are held together by a Vietnamese-style baguette or roll. The complex flavor of banh mi is a swirl of history, complementary and contrasting flavors, and a riot of textures—crunchy and tender—that make many other sandwiches seem boring in comparison.

For years, we served a bahn mi sandwich in the Macrina cafés on our Giuseppe Panini Baguette. We filled them with tofu, roast pork, chicken or flank steak, and classic banh mi toppings. It was good, but not quite right—we needed the right bread.

We turned to Phuong, who has been our head baker for over 20 years. Phuong started at Macrina as a dishwasher in early 1994, just after Macrina opened, and quickly proved himself to be a quick learner and skilled with bread in all its phases—dough, proofing, shaping, and baking.

“Phuong took the lead on developing an authentic banh mi bun, a product we’d later name after him,” says Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder. “He involved many of his fellow Vietnamese bakers at Macrina, bringing the whole bread production team together, including seeking out recipes from various cousins and parents, here and back in Vietnam. After months of testing, getting special pans, and testing it with our staff, customers, we launched our Bui Buns named after Phuong.”

The Bui Bun has a crisp crust and tender, airy crumb, just right for the perfect banh mi sandwich. Moreover, the bun, its creators, and the team-oriented approach symbolize one of our core values at Macrina: celebrating diversity.

To Phuong, Huyen, our fantastic crew, and everyone who celebrates the Lunar New Year, we wish you a year full of blessings and good fortune. Thank you for everything.

 

Macrina Gift Sets: Gift Ideas That Won’t Miss the Mark

You know that feeling when someone with the best intentions gives you a gift that you’ll never use? Even as you’re saying thank you, you know where you’ll put it—the shelf in the back of your closet with the other gifts waiting for your next white elephant gift exchange. As amusing as those are, you never want to see one a gift you’ve given be the subject of so much laughter.

With that in mind, we’ve designed two gift sets—one salty, one sweet—that you won’t miss the mark. In fact, we suspect they’ll be devoured before the new year!The Macrina Mug Gift Set features our new flower-design mug, ideal for coffee or tea, a pouch of our house-made Vanilla Sugar, and four of our Brown Sugar Shortbread Star Cookies.

The Macrina Artisan Appetizer Gift Set is an impromptu appetizer party in a box. It contains our Thin-cut Rye Crostini, a Mole Salami stick made by Coro, Apricot Conserves by Project Barnstorm, and Ritrovo’s Squashed Green Olives with Truffle. One of the crostini with a thin slice of salami and a dollop of the conserves is a salty-sweet combination that will send you to the moon. The tender green olives from Abruzzo, packed in olive oil with flecks of aromatic truffle, make the perfect salty chaser. All that’s missing is your favorite cocktail or glass of wine.The Macrina Mug Gift Set

• Macrina’s new flower-design coffee mug

• House-made Vanilla Sugar

• Four-Pack of Brown Sugar Shortbread Star Cookies

The Macrina Artisan Appetizer Gift Set

• Thin-cut Rye Crostini

• Coro Mole Salami Stick

• Project Barnstorm Apricot Conserves

• Squashed Green Olives with Truffle

December Recipe of the Month: Babka French Toast

We make our Chocolate Babka just a few times a year: Rosh Hashanah, Christmas and New Year’s. The loaf is rich like brioche bread, with an added swirl of chocolate glaze and roasted pecans. It’s delicious simply toasted with butter, but for a special brunch, use it as a base for French toast and serve it with your favorite breakfast sausage, raspberries and sweetened whipped cream!

-Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Serves 4

1 loaf Macrina Chocolate Pecan Babka
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided
3 eggs
2½ cups whole milk
1 Tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Maple syrup (optional)

Directions:

Remove the Chocolate Pecan Babka from its paper mold. Cut into 8 even slices. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the whipping cream, granulated sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whip for 2 to 3 minutes to form medium peaks and cool in the refrigerator until needed.

Make the custard: In a medium bowl, add the eggs, milk, brown sugar and remaining vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

Submerge the sliced bread into the custard and soak for 1 minute, flipping them half way through so both sides are evenly coated. Place soaked slices on a plate and set aside.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add just enough canola oil to coat the base of the pan. When the pan is hot (but not smoking), carefully transfer the soaked bread to the pan, fitting as many in as you can without crowding. Sauté for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip to cook evenly on both sides. Repeat this process until all 8 slices are cooked.

Place 2 slices on each plate. Cut each slice on the bias and fan the four pieces across the plate. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream, fresh raspberries and a dusting of sifted powdered sugar. If you choose, serve with warm maple syrup (it’s divine). Enjoy!

Printable PDF here.

Flaky Pie Dough Four Ways

Our Flaky Pie Dough is the most frequently prepared recipe in our pastry department—and has been since the day we opened our doors in Belltown in 1993! The dough is perfect for so many kinds of baking, from savory quiche to double-crusted pies to classic tarts.Now, for the first time, we are selling our Flaky Pie Dough in our cafés. The dough is frozen in discs and sold in a two-pack. Each 12 oz. disc rolls out to make a ten-inch tart or a nine-inch pie shell. Or you can use the two discs together to create a double-crusted pie.

Your imagination is the limit for what you can make with our Flaky Pie Dough. To get you started, we’ve included three inspiring suggestions and one of our favorite new recipes with an accompanying video of Leslie showing you how to make it.

Stop by one of our cafés and grab a few of these. When inspiration strikes, you’ll appreciate the time-saving benefits of having these at the ready.Banana Nutella Hand Pies: With our pie dough, simple hand-pies are as easy to make as the filling inside. Start with the mouthwatering combination of bananas and Nutella (what could be easier?) and work your way up through your favorite sweet and savory combinations. Simply roll the dough out and cut 5-inch circles. Add your filling, fold the dough over, and crimp the edges. Bake at 400°F for 20–25 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Savory Galette with Butternut squash, Roasted Pear and Gorgonzola: Shortly after opening, Leslie introduced savory free-form folded tarts or galettes, and they quickly became customer favorites. This galette is a seasonal adaptation of the one on page 203 of our first cookbook. With the pie dough already made, it’s easy to turn out an elegant lunch. Or cut the galette into small slices and serve it as an appetizer.Harvest Pie: This winter pie is one Leslie serves at her home alongside pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It’s also one of our most requested recipes. Our Flaky Pie Crust forms the bottom crust and the top is an almond streusel. You’ll find the recipe in our first cookbook on page 249.

Macrinas Holiday Tart: With our frozen pie dough, this festive tart is a breeze to make. It’s both beautiful to look at and makes a refreshingly delicious end to a holiday meal. The tart cranberries find balance in the sweet filling and pecans add texture and flavor. Orange zest and a dash of brandy give it some zing. Find the video tutorial below!

Ingredients:
Makes one 10” tart

One 12 oz. disc of Macrina Pie Dough

1 cup chopped pecans, roasted

3 eggs

⅔ cups light brown sugar

⅔ cups corn syrup

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

2 tsp orange zest

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp brandy

1½ cups fresh cranberries

1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Directions:

Thaw 1 disc of Macrina pie dough for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature. On a floured work surface, roll dough into a 14-inch circle that’s about an eighth-inch thick.

Fold dough in half and lift on to a 10-inch fluted tart pan. Drop dough into pan and flatten at base of pan and edges. With the remaining overhang, fold into the pan to create an edge that stands a half-inch above the top of the pan. With your hand, smooth the crust edge to a consistent thickness. Chill for 30 minutes in freezer.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill it with baking weights or beans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the base appears dry. Remove the beans and let the shell cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Place the baked shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the pecans and cranberries to the tart shell and spread them so they’re evenly distributed.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, orange zest, salt and brandy together until well combined. Pour the mixture over the pecans and cranberries. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. When done, the center of the tart will be set and golden brown.

Let cool for 30 minutes. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.