Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sesame Seed Snaps

If you read my story about Swedish Chocolate Balls you know that most Swedish kids only eat candy on Saturdays, if you missed it here is the story.  Because I was one of those kids (never had a cavity either).  However, I always tried to get treats during the other days.  My mother never gave in but what she used to give me were these Sesame Seed Snaps.  Remember these?

As I kid I had them all the time.  I even get these today but they are not as easy to find anymore.

I think you can find these almost everywhere, when I lived in South Korea we used to even get them there, they are also everywhere in Europe.  In Italy they call them “Cubbaita di Giugiulena” and in India they are called “Tul Chikki,” and in Swedish we call these “Sesamkakor.”

Do you have a childhood memory of these or am I the only one that ate these as a kid?

If you have never tried them I highly recommend making these, they are so easy and quick. The recipe is adapted from Gourmet Traveller.

Don’t forget to sign up for the  “Double Delicious! Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives” by Jessica Seinfeld giveaway right here before  Friday, 1/21 at 11:59 p.m. PDT!

Sesame Seed Snaps

Yields: 25 pieces | Prep: 10 minutes

1½ cups sesame seeds
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup honey

Combine ingredients in a large heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 320F on a candy thermometer.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pour mixture into sheet and smooth top. Allow to cool slightly, using a sharp knife, cut into pieces. Let cool completely, and then break into pieces.  Will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Other Similar Recipes:

Oatmeal Wafers “Havreflarn” with Nutella
Strawberry Scones
Guacamole

Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard Salad Dressing

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Maple Spice Muffins and Giveaway

Today I am featuring “Double Delicious! Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives” by Jessica Seinfeld. What a great cookbook.  Especially for families with kids.  Jessica finds ways to make ordinary foods extraordinary by loading them up with healthy ingredients, such as pureed vegetables and fruits.  She also uses healthy ingredients that you can add to make everyday food even better by adding whole grains to baked goods and boosts sweetness without a lot of sugar.

For example these Maple Spice Muffins have no sugar in them, uses whole grain and they are 198 calories per muffin.  You would never have guessed.  In some of her other recipes she has for example sweet potato puree in her Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Cauliflower Puree in Lemon Bars.  So imaginative.  I think every family should have this cookbook.

Also Jessica was recently interviewed by Gwyneth Paltrow on Goop, it is a great interveiw and also a link to a Jessica’s website and a few more recipes.

Maple Spice Muffins

Yields: 12 muffins | Prep: 20 minutes | Bake: 25 minutes

Nonstick cooking spray
¼ cup trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 (6 oz) container of low-fat lemon yogurt
½ cup nonfat sour cream
1 large egg
1 large carrot, washed and grated
1 small apple, grated
½ cup raisins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.

In a large bowl, stir the margarine, maple syrup, yogurt, sour cream, egg, carrot, apple, and raisins, breaking up the margarine with a spoon.

Sprinkle the 2 types of flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, clove, and salt over the margarine mixture. Stir until just combined, but do not over mix – the batter is supposed to be lumpy.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 1 month.

To enter the giveaway you need to do 3 things:

1. Subscribe to Delishhh in an RSS feed or by Email!
2. Become a fan of my Facebook page
3. Leave a comment telling me you did 1 & 2.

For additional entries:
4. Tweet about this giveaway.
5. Leave an additional comment telling me you tweeted about it.

The giveaway ends on Friday, 1/21 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Winner will be selected from Random.org.

**** UPDATE ****

And the winner is. . . .

Tia!

Congratulations!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What’s Cooking in your Kitchen – Guilty Kitchen?

 

Today I will be going into the kitchen of Elizabeth from the Guilty Kitchen blog. I discovered Elizabeth’s blog a while ago while reading SimpleMom and Food Blog Forum, jumped over and instantly loved it.  When you enter Guilty Kitchen your first thought is, that the pictures are memorizing, but there is more.  Elizabeth has an amazing food blog where she tries to focus on seasonal ingredients that she can by locally.   She is also a great writer and you can read about her Tips and Tricks, FAQ’s or just go and look at her amazing photography.

Picture from Guilty Kitchen

How long have you been cooking and who was the person who encouraged you to come into the kitchen and learn about food?

I have been cooking since I was just a little kid. My parents both worked full time and often they didn’t get home in time to cook dinner. My Mother would leave very detailed step by step instructions on how to cook whatever was for dinner. That led to me picking recipes from her cookbooks and following those myself. Then when I became old enough to get a job, I went straight to the kitchen as a dishwasher at a fishing lodge. I took a few cook’s training classes in high school and worked my way up the kitchen ranks at the same time. My Mother and all the chefs I’ve worked with were my biggest inspirations. When I had my first child is when I really started to get into where my food came from and how it was raised.

Why did you decide to start a food blog?

I started my blog in June 2009. Mostly it was a love of good food and wanting to share that with as many people as possible. I had been wanting to buy a new dSLR camera too, and buying it prompted me to start taking pictures of my food.

Do you have a signature dish? What is it and how did you come up with it?

Picture from the Guilty Kitchen

I have two! My signature dessert is my Idle Hand Bars. They are a bar with a base of chocolate and crushed pretzels. Then the middle layer is a peanut butter frosting type layer, followed by a crown of dark chocolate and pink sea salt. They are fabulous and I get requests for them ALL the time. I also give them out at Christmas time. Some people liken them to Nanaimo Bars, but they only look like Nanaimo bars, that’s where the similarities end.

Picture from Guilty Kitchen

My other signature dish is roasted poultry. Turkey, duck or chicken. I am really good at making the bird crunchy and delicious on the outside and moist and flavourful on the inside. I make it a lot.

Since you write a lot about local and seasonal produce. What eatables do you have in your backyard?  Any advice for first time starters?

Picture from Guilty Kitchen

Winter vegetables are not my specialty, as I am a new gardener and I have a lot to learn myself! I do live in a great area that rarely goes below freezing though, so this year I plan on having a year round garden as much as possible! I do have kale growing at the moment, that’s it. What I do have going strong are my backyard chickens. We have four, two heritage breed Americaunas and two ISA browns. They produce a lot of eggs this time of year so we are eating a lot of egg based dishes. My advice to people starting out is to build the coop from as much recycled material as possible. We bought everything at a place called ReStore where building supplies are taken once being removed from old building sites. It cost less than half the price of buying a pre made coop or using brand new material.

Living in Seattle, WA I am very familiar with Vancouver Island, but I did not know about it until I came to Seattle.  Tell us about this place.


Picture from Guilty Kitchen

Vancouver Island is a little slice of paradise on the West coast of Canada. Most people have never heard of it. But the whole island is 460 km long (290 mi) and has a population of about 750,000. I live near the southern tip on a lake that houses mostly summer vacationers, though we stay year round. Much like Seattle, we live in a temperate rain forest but it doesn’t get too cold very often. Snow is a big treat for us, as we don’t see it very often. Rain on the other hand is abundant during the fall, winter and spring. There are many outdoor enthusiasts who love coming here for year round surfing, camping and hiking. Though many people think Vancouver is the capital, it is actually Victoria, which is the biggest city on the island (about 400,000 people). I love it here, and have lived on the island my whole life.

If you could sit down and have a dinner with a celebrity chef, who would it be, why and where would you take them to eat?


Picture from Getty Images

I’m not too big on celebrity chefs and I don’t watch the Food Network too often either, but if I had to choose a chef to eat with, it would be either Anthony Bourdain or Alice Waters. Tony, because he would be a great person to have a conversation with, no holds barred. If I had a choice from anywhere in the world to go to eat with him, I would go to some exotic tiny village and eat whatever the locals eat. Alice Waters because I truly respect her vision for eating local food and I think she would be interesting to speak with. I would take Alice to a local restaurant here in Victoria that uses just about everything from as close to its location as possible. Spinnakers Gastropub, it’s one of my favourites and I also used to work there.

What are three things people don’t know about you?

A lot of people don’t know that I had major spinal surgery when I was 13. I have very limited use of my flexibility in that area but I managed to have two kids naturally and continue to work out daily using the Insanity workout DVDs. It’s tough because if I don’t work out I have terrible back pain, but the workouts sometimes hurt my back too. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t I guess. I’d rather be healthy than not though.

Another thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I hate bell peppers. Even the sweet ones. I tolerate them, but mostly I just don’t like them at all. You won’t find many recipes featuring them on my site.

I’m afraid of the dark. No seriously. Don’t laugh. When I get up to pee in the middle of the night and have forgotten to turn a light on so I can see, I freak out and rush around like Freddie is waiting around the corner.

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?


Picture from Microplan.com

I love, love, love my Microplane and use it almost daily, but I am also in love with my new cast iron Dutch oven. I use it a lot.

Describe your death menu. (Last meal before you die)?

Picture from Guilty Kitchen

I’ve had to think about this before, so I am prepared! There’s no worry about calories when you know you are going to die, so I go all out. Here it is:

Your photography is amazing. How did you learn?


Picture from Guilty Kitchen

It’s all about practice. I sucked when I first started out. If you look back at early recipes on Guilty Kitchen, the photos are horrendous, I just didn’t have the skills yet. I read a lot of photography blogs, study others photos and just do what feels right. Also, when you buy a camera, read the manual. All of it. There are so many wonderful tips just in the manual.

I love your Tips and Tricks question on your blog.  If you could only give one to all your readers, what would it be?

I think if I had to just give one it would be the piercing of meat before cooking. Don’t do it! Do not ever pierce any meat before cooking. Use tongs with steaks and small cuts. Piercing your meat allows all those lovely juices that keep meat moist to run out all over the place and your meat will end up drier than you want.

You are a SimpleBites.net contributor, what advice would you give to other food bloggers trying to succeed.

Networking, it’s all that matters. There is a huge community of food bloggers out there and they are all struggling to have their voice heard. Having your voice heard in as many places as possible is what is going to bring in readers. Join Twitter, get a Facebook Fan page, comment on other blogs as often as possible and just be a part of the conversation. There’s plenty of room for everybody.

I want to thank Elizabeth for letting me in her kitchen! Thank you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Peperone for your Antipasto – Marinated Baby Sweet Peppers

Do you ever make an antipasto platter as an appetizer?  I love antipasto and it is a very easy thing to do.  Usually an antipasto platter includes one of many of the following; cured meats, olives, roasted garlic, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses, and peperone.

It is really easy to get the other pieces in the store or deli but very easy to do your own peperone.  Peperones are marinated bell peppers and I use baby sweet peppers for this.

First time I saw these things in the store I just used them in my salad, but thought there had to be a better way of using these. And now I get them all the time and love to marinate them.

What are some of the things that you so with the Baby Sweet Peppers for?

Marinated Baby Sweet Peppers – Peperone

Yields: 2 lbs | Prep: 20 minutes

1 (2 lbs) package of baby sweet peppers
3 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Wash your peppers and then add them to a sauté pan and add the olive oil.  Heat these until they start to brown, about 10 minutes on each side.  Once these are done put them in a bowl and add the balsamic vinegar and stir.  Put them in the refrigerator until serving.  These last for a few days in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve add to your antipasto platter.

Other Similar Recipes:

Pickled Red Beets
Guacamole
Quiche Tartlettes
Croutons

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chocolate Banana Bread

I don’t know why but every time i buy bananas i always end up with a few really ripe once that i never eat.  I always make banana bread, but needed to try something different this time.  So i did a chocolate banana bread.  OK do not laugh, i tried to find something more imaginary but nothing came to mind that i wanted to make.  So if you have some good banana ideas please let me know. 

The base recipe i have is great, and you can really play around with it.   Sometimes I add dates, walnuts or other fruit to this recipe and it still comes out great. The banana bread is always better the day after, at least i think so.

Chocolate Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Batter
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (or 1 3/4 c, the bananas have to be so ripe that they’re nearly black!)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar; mash bananas, beat egg and add to the bananas with vanilla and buttermilk; mix well and add to creamed butter and sugar; sift together flour, soda, baking powder and salt; add to banana mixture, beat well. Then add the raisins, pecans and chocolate.  Mix and pour into 1 greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; bake 45 to 50 minutes or until bread pulls away from sides of pan. 

Let cool and enjoy!  Always better the next day!

Other Similar Recipes:

Banana Bread
Swedish Cinnamon Buns
Brioche Cinnabun
Stollen Wreath

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rye Bread – Swedish Limpa

Limpa is probably one of the most known Swedish Breads.  Growing up I remember limpa as every day bread.   I think today you can find all kinds of recipes for this bread, with anise, orange peel, syrup, molasses etc.  But I like it to have it as my regular bread and not sweet.  It is a really solid bread and very simple to make.  I don’t think you can mess this bread up.  But it is delicious, easy to freeze, and holds fresh for days if you keep it in foil or plastic.  This recipe makes 3 loafs, I usually freeze two of them.  Also I do not use a bread pan for this only a cookie sheet.

For the picture above I only used whole wheat flour and all purpose flour, but the original recipe calls for whole wheat and rye flour mixture.  I have done it both ways and both ways are great.  It just usually depends what i have available.

Rye Bread “Swedish Limpa”

Yields: 3 loafs | Prep Time: 3 ½ hours | Bakes: 1 hour

4 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp caraway seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp margarine
2 tsp grated orange rind
2 packages of quick dry yeast (4 tsp)
6 cups all purpose flour
4 cups whole wheat and rye flour mixture (60% whole wheat 40% rye flour)
2 tsp salt (to be added after 1st rising)

In a saucepan boil water, sugar, caraway, fennel, butter, orange rind for about 3 minutes.  Then let cool until lukewarm.  Once that is lukewarm add the yeast and stir thoroughly.

In a separate bowl mix the all purpose flour and the whole wheat flour.  Using a mixer add 6 cups of the flour into the mixer and then pour in the yeast mixture.  It becomes a soft dough.  Once that mixture in well mixed place it in a buttered bowl and let it rise until double in size, about 1 ½ hours.

After it has doubled in size punch down on the dough and work in the rest of the flour and salt either using your hands or a stand mixer.

Once that is mixed in well enough put it back into a buttered bowl and let it rise again until it doubles in size.

After that on a powdered kitchen counter start kneading the dough until smooth, and form into 3 loaves that you can place on a cookie sheet with parchment/wax paper underneath.  It is fine if they are all next to each other.  These will not fit very well in a bread pan unless you make them into smaller sizes.

Let them rise again for about 30-45 minutes.  They will be touching each other at this point but that is ok.

Bake at 350 F for about 1 hour, you may have to cover them with foil for the last 15 min if they do get too dark.

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best Recipes in 2010!

Favorites 2010

This is the first year of Delishhh and I have had a blast!  It has been so much fun writing and creating this blog and there is more to come.  But first thank you everyone for being very supportive and giving feedback and comments.  You guys make it fun!  Here is the “Year in Review” of recipes.

The first ten recipes are the recipes that received the most traffic with #1 being the winner.

1. Salted Caramel Brownies

2. Swedish Chocolate Balls “Chokladbollar”

3. Swedish Birthday Cake – Strawberry Cake “Jordgubbstårta”

4. Swedish Brownie ”Kladdkaka”

5. Swedish Cinnamon Buns “Bullar”

6. Butternut Squash Apple Soup

7. Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard Salad Dressing

8. Swedish Pizza Salad “Pizzasallad”

9.Asparagus Soup with Bacon “Sparrissoppa”

10. Swedish Pancakes “Pannkakor”

The second list of the ten below are my favorites recipes of the year that didn’t make the cut of the top 10 list but that were some of my absolute favorites this year.

1. Steamed Chocolate Pudding

2.  Honey Ice Cream

3. Cranberry and White Chocolate Streusel Bars

4. The Best Minestrone

5. Pumpkin Brownies

6. Chicken Piccata

7. Swedish Christmas Glögg (Sweet Christmas Wine)

8. Saffron Buns “Lussekatter”

9. Cured Salmon “Gravlax” and Mustard Sauce “Hovmästarsås”

10. Cheesecake Tartlettes

I am looking forward to an exciting 2011 filled with some Global Recipes and Tasty Ideas! I am always open to hear what folks would like to read more about.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rack of Lamb and Swedish New Years Traditions

Many countries do strange things on New Years to make sure their following year is a good and prosperous one.  Here are some from Sweden:

–  A wife has to give her husband something beautiful she has made herself.  No stockings, because that meant an unhappy marriage.  A man had to give his wife something he made as well.

– What ever happened the first day of the year was a sign for the New Year.  If one received money, it was going to be a good year. If you got mad, it was going to be a dreary year.  But if one wanted to have good health during the year one was supposed to get up early and eat an apple.

– Fortune telling using lead and tin was very popular when I grew up.  The metal was melted and then poured into a bucket of water to set. If the metal was smooth and shiny, you could expect to stay healthy; if it had a rough surface the health outlook wasn’t too good.  If the metal was the shape of a cross, that was bad.  If it looked like a grown that meant marriage.

New Year’s celebrations in Sweden today aren’t much different from the rest of the world. Most or Sweden celebrate at home or out with a more formal dinner with their friends.  There are many things folks make but one very common food item is lobster and shellfish.

However, just like Christmas Eve, there is no getting away from the television.  I know, crazy Swedes, we have another show that we watch every year.  This time it is not cartoons but, “The countess and the Butler” also called “Dinner for One.” An English sketch about a drunken servant who has to act the part of a number of guests drinking to the health of his countess.  Nobody seems to understand quite why this black and white sketch remains such a hit.  But it is hilarious, and I love it.  I decide to share it will all of you so you can watch it.


Then at the stroke of midnight, fireworks go off, popping of champagne and everyone says “Gott Nytt År”

What are your new year’s celebrations or traditions?

One of my favorite meats is lamb and for me cooking lamb is a treat.  Why not cook lamb for New Years Eve dinner?  I know for some lamb sounds intimidating but it does not have to be, it can be really simple.

Rack of Lamb

Yields: 4 people | Prep Time: 15 minutes

1 ½ – 2 lbs rack of lamb
4 strings of fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup of olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika

First you need to marinate the rack of lamb, to do this make a rub.  You can really do any rub you want but this is my favorite for the lamb.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, soy sauce, paprika, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.

There are several ways to cook the lamb my favorite is on the grill but these instructions work both in the grill and oven.

The cooking time depends on how big your rack of lamb is, and how rare you want it cooked. Rack of lamb should be cooked rare, or at most medium rare. The instructions are for a rack 1 ½  – 2 lbs big. If you have a smaller roast reduce the cooking time from 7 minutes to 5 minutes on 400, and use the lower end of the cooking time given at 300.

Preheat oven or grill to 400°F.  Score the fat, by making sharp shallow cuts through the fat, spaced about an inch apart. Place the lamb rack bone side down (fat side up) on the pan or grill. Wrap the exposed ribs in a little foil so that they don’t burn. I usually but down foil if I am doing it on the grill just so the ribs do not get too burnt from the oil drippings.

Roast at 400°F for 7 minutes, then lower the heat to 300°F. Cook for 7-15 minutes longer (depending on the size of the lamb rack) until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat 125°F on a for rare or 135°F for medium rare. Remove from oven or grill, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.

Cut lamb chops away from the rack by slicing between the bones. Serve 2 chops per person.

Other Similar Recipes:

Bulgogi – Korean BBQ
Chicken Piccata
Thai Chicken with Plum Ginger Sauce
Popovers with Cinnamon Butter

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stollen Wreath ”Christstollen”

It is that time of the month again, here is the next Daring Bakers challenge.

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Stollen a very traditional German Christmas is a bread-like fruitcake made with yeast, water and flour, and usually with zest added to the dough. Candied orange peel and candied citrus is often also added.  Over the centuries, the cake changed from being a simple, fairly tasteless “bread” to a sweeter cake with richer ingredients. The Advent season was a time of fasting, and bakers were not allowed to use butter, only oil, and the cake was tasteless and hard.

When i heard about this month challenge i had low expectations, i am not a fan of any kind of Christmas fruitcake, bad memories.  But this was nothing like that.  It was moist and delicious.  I loved it.  I did not use the cherries and instead used cranberries which i think was a good call.  I think this is definitely something i will make again.

Stollen Wreath ”Christstollen”

Yields: Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people
Prep: 1 hour first stage, then rest overnight or up to 3 days, 2 hours to warm up after refrigeration, 15 minutes shaping, 2 hours proofing,
Bake: 30-45 minutes  baking

¼ cup lukewarm water (110º F)
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1 oz of fresh yeast.
1 cup milk
10 tbsp unsalted butter
5½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp orange extract
¼ tsp almond extract
¾ cup mixed peel
1 cup firmly packed raisins
3 tbsp rum
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup flaked almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting wreath

Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.

Soak the raisins. In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside.

To make the dough. Pour ¼ cup warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup milk and 10 tbsp butter over medium – low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.

In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.

Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit, cranberries and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate.

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn’t enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly, the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.  Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches and ¼ inch thick.

Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.  Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle.

You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.

Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.

Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.  Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first. The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.

Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!

When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.  The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly.

Other Similar Recipes:

Brioche Cinnabun
Saffron Buns “Lussekatter”
Popovers with Cinnamon Butter
Swedish Cinnamon Buns

If you enjoyed this post, I’d truly appreciate a Comment, Tweet, Stumble, Facebook share, whatever you like!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Soft Gingerbread “Mjuk Pepparkaka” and Swedish Christmas Eve “Julafton”

So at last it had come around, the most longed-for day of the year, Christmas Eve! Every Swede has a Christmas Tradition of some sort, they either start with a light or heavy breakfast depending on when the “julbord” Christmas smörgåsbord is served.  There are 3 main things happening on Christmas Eve 1. Julboard  2. Donald Duck 3. Open Presents.

Some folks have their julbord before Donald Duck and some do it afterwards.  Many start their big Christmas smörgåsbord around noon.  Everything has to be included on the julbord, nothing can be forgotten.  I think the julbord on Christmas Eve is as close as we Swedes get to the American Thanksgiving Dinner.  On Thanksgiving it is important to have the entire accompaniment for the turkey on the table and all the family gathered around.  That is the way with Christmas Eve in Sweden and the julbord.

Then the second thing, at three o’clock everyone, adults included, sit down in front of the TV. For those that have never been to Sweden on Christmas Eve, the whole country comes to a standstill at three in the afternoon.  That is when they show Donald Duck on TV, a traditional that dates back some 30 years.  The same Disney excerpts are shown every year, including Jiminy Cricket, the chipmunks, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Santa’s workshop, Ferdinand the Bull sniffing at his cork oak (my favorite), and Mickey Mouse on holiday.

After four o’clock Sweden returns to normal and the Swedish people go on with their Christmas celebrations.  The third most important part is Santa’s visit. He comes walking with a sack and a lantern.  He comes through the door (not the chimney) and asks if there are any good children around.  Once Santa left you could start opening your gifts.

Merry Christmas!  God Jul!

Soft Gingerbread “Mjuk Pepparkaka”

Yield: 1 loaf | Prep Time: 20 minutes

5 Tbsp (75g) butter
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup (3 dl) sugar
1 1/3 cup  (3 dl) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking power
2/3 cup (1 ½ dl) sour cream or crème fraiche
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cardamom

Turn on the over to 350F.

Whip the eggs with the sugar until mixed well.  Pour in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.  Mix well and then pour in the sour cream or crème fraiche.  Pour into a buttered bread form.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Swedish Christmas Series:

Red cabbage ”rödkål” and Swedish Christmas Traditions
Saffron Buns “Lussekatter” and Lucia
Swedish Christmas Glögg (Sweet Christmas Wine)

Rice Porridge “Risgrynsgröt” and Swedish Santa “Jultomten”

“Julbord” Christmas smörgåsbord Recipes:

Cured Salmon “Gravlax” and Mustard Sauce “Hovmästarsås”
Swedish Meatballs “Köttbullar”
Pickled Red Beets
Red cabbage ”rödkål” and Swedish Christmas Traditions

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