German Rolls

December 5, 2019

IMG_0569Today I’d like to kick off the holiday cookie season by bringing you the recipe for a very unique cookie – The German Roll. Only slightly sweet, coated with a dusting of walnuts, this little delicacy is almost more bread-like than any cookie I’ve nibbled before. I was introduced to them by one of my best friends, John Richards.

_MG_0983

John was my “Man of Honor” when I married.

John’s grandmother would make these every year for Christmas. It was love at first bite for me! Each year I would send some of my Christmas cookies to Ohio with John when he went home for the holidays and then he would return with some of these elusive German Rolls for me.

IMG_0573

These cookies, pictured with the blue linens, were actually made by John’s Gramma in 2012.

I’ve never found their like. I have googled “German Rolls, German Christmas Cookies,” you name it, to no avail. Totally mysterious! I really wanted to get the recipe, so I asked John if his family would be willing to share. He was sure that they would, though he cautioned me that he thought the recipe might be somewhat difficult to recreate. You know, it was once of those recipes that had been passed down for years. One that the family matriarch had mastered; one that they could literally nail in their sleep. But to an outsider, it was full of inaccurate measurements like “a tablespoon” which didn’t mean the standardized tablespoon, but a particular wooden spoon that their husband had carved for them when they first married. And truly subjective instructions like “just mix it up until the dough looks right”. So, although we loved these cookies, we were a bit intimidated and took no action, but kept the idea of making them on the back burner.

IMG_0549

It has been several years now since we lost Cecilia Batya,  John’s Gramma. Today is actually the anniversary of her passing. You might have assumed she was German, you know what with the cookies being called “German Rolls”, but no. Cecilia, born Cecelia Smocer, was from Slovakia.

Cecelia picking flowers similar to those in her wedding veil

She immigrated with her family to the United States at the age of nine and settled into a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania. There she met and married Joseph Batya.

Cecelia and Joseph just before they were married

They had six children,

The family

The Batya Clan

followed by a dozen or so grandchildren and many great and great-great grandchildren by the time she passed at the age of 98 years. Cecelia learned the recipe from her mother, Bubbha. It is thought that she may have gotten the recipe from one of the German women in their local church, St. Hedwig. From what we hear, many folks in the town requested that Cecelia and her mother bake these cookies not only for Christmas but also for weddings and other celebrations.

Cecelia and Bubbha

Cecilia brought this recipe with her as the family migrated further west into Cleveland after the coal mines closed. She taught her three daughters Marguerite, Antoinette and Kathy how to make these German Rolls along with many other of the traditional Slovak dishes like Kolache and Bobalki.

The three sisters in Cleveland

John & his sister Heather have now taken on the Christmas cookie making mantle for the Batya clan and were determined to make German Rolls this year. Their Aunt Antoinette had written the recipe down for me several years ago, so we all got together one afternoon to give it a whirl. Now what I will say is this is a strange recipe! It taught me quite a lot! First of all, we had to find cake yeast. Apparently many stores only stock it around Christmas time and we knew that this recipe might take several times to master, so our efforts had begun in early November. No cake yeast in sight. Literally a cake yeast free zone. So I got busy trying to figure out the conversion so that I could use dry yeast. Scalding the milk was the next thing that I pondered. I was under the impression that when an old time recipe contained this step that it wasn’t really necessary. I thought that it was done in the days before pasteurization to make sure there wasn’t any bacteria present. Turns out, that when making a yeast bread, scalding the milk is actually an important step. The whey protein in milk can weaken gluten and prevent the dough from rising properly. Scalding the milk deactivates the protein so this doesn’t happen. It makes the milk a better food source for the yeast, so you get a quicker rise and fluffier product. The dough is smoother and retains moisture much better.

IMG_0541

And then, just when you think the rest of the recipe would be straight forward, you are instructed to wrap the cookie dough in a cheese cloth, submerge it in water and wait for it to float. What! I have never come across this in any other recipe. So I looked around online to see if I could find anything about this proofing method. I was able to find this reference from a book by Andrew Whitly entitled “Bread Matters”. He states that “an original method of judging proof is given in a famous Russian Cookbook and household manual from the 1860’s called “A Gift to Young Housewives” by Elena Molohkovets.” She wrote:

“After molding the dough made with fine flour, you may put the loaves in a bucket of water (the temperature of a river in summer) where they will lie on the bottom until they are fully proofed. When they float to the surface, put them straight into the oven…..Incidentally if you are proofing bread on the table, you can put a small test piece of dough into cold water; when it rises to the surface, you can put all your loaves into the oven.”

Weird right!!! But we did it and achieved flotation! Here is the photographic proof of the proofing!

IMG_3287-2

Success! From what I understand, if the dough doesn’t float, you are done for. Mission accomplished!

IMG_8576

We were quite happy with these little gems. And having made them ourselves, appreciated them all the more. I’m telling you, a German Roll (or two or so…) is absolute perfection with a nice cup of tea.

IMG_8575

So were these cookies exactly like Cecilia’s? Well they were very close. I don’t doubt that she was smiling down on us with great amusement as we tried to fill her cookie baking shoes, which of course, can not ever be done. Cecilia was such an amazing woman. The true matriarch of the Batya clan and very much beloved, she cemented the family together. We won’t see her like again. By recording her recipe for these German Rolls we have been able to capture some sweet memories and a tradition will continue to endure for new generations to come. We think Cecilia would definitely approve!

Cecelia toasting us all (1)

Cheers!

 

***If anyone out there reading this is familiar with these cookies – I would love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment.

IMG_8593

German Rolls

  • Servings: full batch 68 - 72 cookies, half batch 34 -36
  • Difficulty: moderate. yeast rise involved. will teach you new techniques!
  • Print

recipe from: The Batya Clan

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Crisco
  • 1 Cup scalded milk (heated to 180° F)
  • 1 ounce of Cake yeast (10.5 grams or 3 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp of dry yeast)
  • 6 Cups all-purpose flour ( add up to 1 additional cup as needed)
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the coating:

  • 4 Cups ground nuts (walnuts are traditional, but pecans or whatever you prefer)
  • 3/4 Cup sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with Parchment paper or lightly grease it.

Place four cups of the nuts of your choice in a food processor and pulse a few times until ground. Add 3/4 cup sugar and pulse to combine. Place in bowl and set aside.

Scald milk by heating to 180° F. Scalding deactivates the whey protein found in milk. This protein can weaken gluten and prevent the dough from rising properly. Allow milk to cool to lukewarm (between 98° – 105° F). Add yeast to milk and stir to dissolve.

Mix flour and crisco together, as you would do for pie dough. You can do this by hand, or in a food processor. Add sugar and salt to the mixture. If dough seems too rich, add up to one cup of flour to firm it up.

Add yeast mixture and beaten eggs to flour mixture. Mix well, until a smooth dough is achieved. No serious kneading is necessary. Again, this can be done by hand, or in a stand mixer.

Fill a large dough rising bucket or Dutch oven or bowl half-full of cool water.

Form dough into a large ball and place in the center of a cheesecloth (or you can use a flour sack kitchen towel). Twist the ends of the cloth loosely around the ball and place it in the water. Add more water to almost cover dough ball.

Soak the dough in water until it becomes boyant, about 1 1/2 hours but no longer.

When ready, put hand under dough ball and undo the cloth, letting the water drain a bit. Flip dough gently onto a large platter.

Drop hearty tablespoons of dough (I used a Tablespoon (size#40) cookie dough scoop – link below- so that all the cookies are uniform) onto the nut/sugar mixture. The dough will likely be sticky, but if you coat it a bit before rolling a shaping,and use a light touch, it works pretty well.

Roll into approximate 8″ strand. Tie it into a loose single loop knot, leaving enough dough (about 2″ at each end) to wrap around the strand one wore time. bring one end around and down through the center and the other end around and up through the center.

Transfer the German Rolls to a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15- 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Enjoy!

***I’m told by the Batya clan that these cookies freeze well!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for German Rolls

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

Cheesecloth


Popovers with Boozy Orange Cranberry Butter

November 27, 2019

IMG_6689

Oh my gosh, Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. And that being said – the full blown holiday season is ready to step full into the spotlight on the very day following…but we won’t think about that today… Back to Thanksgiving … And like many of you, I’ve been stationed in the kitchen a whole lot . It’s weird right? Days of preparation and cooking and BAM! It is all over in about an hour. Well, the eating that is. Then there is the clean up – which is pretty substantial. And then there is the figuring out how to fit all of the leftovers into your fridge. And speaking of leftovers, I do have a great Thanksgiving feast leftover recommendation for you today… That is assuming you have some leftover cranberry sauce on hand. What I’m going to share with you is a wonderful day after Thanksgiving Treat, A Black Friday pastry if you will – Popovers with Boozy Orange Cranberry Butter.

IMG_6703

Hopefully you are planning to make my Boozy Orange Cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year. That stuff is like cranberry crack – I’m telling you! It’s so delicious, it shouldn’t just be reserved for one meal out of the year. And it is very easy to make.

IMG_6604

And although today is the day before the big day and the supermarkets are full of scenes from Dante’s Inferno…Seriously – if you head out to grocery shop today – you better steel your nerves because you will be wondering what fresh hell you have arrived in! But, you’ve got this. Take a deep breath. There is still have time to not only plan your feast, if you haven’t already done so, but to go out and hunt and gather your ingredients. So in attempt to inspire you, let me take a moment to give you a bit of a Thanksgiving recipe roundup of delicious recipes which I have shared with you in the past. One of my all time favorite recipes, which I am indeed making this year is Smoky Bacon Cream Biscuit Dressing. The Husband has actually declared Thanksgiving would be ruined if this dish wasn’t on the table. It is so decadent, chock full of homemade Cream Biscuits, mushrooms and one whole pound of bacon (can’t go wrong with bacon!).

IMG_0610

Another Thanksgiving staple at our house are Heavenly West Virginia Dinner Rolls. These moist, tender and slightly sweet yeast rolls are a must for us.

IMG_0519

But we really LOVE bread around here, so I’ve also made these lovely Amish Dinner Rolls. Yes – that is in addition to the West Virginia Rolls. Told you we love bread. I’ll do a few extra revs in the gym – it will be totally worth it!

IMG_6591

And talking about hitting the gym – how about some dessert? Like these Inside Out Pumpkin Muffins filled with Cider Cinnamon Cream Cheese.

IMG_0364

Or this ahhhh-mazing Thanksgiving Pie – Toffee Blonde Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumb Crust, Pumpkin Ganache & Boozy Cranberry Sauce topping.

img_3579

And if you do have any leftovers, I shared Holiday Leftover Pies recipe with you.

img_5322

But wait! Now that I mention leftovers, I’ve realized that I’m getting completely carried away with all this food! Lets get back to the recipe at hand today, which does indeed involve leftovers – those Popovers with Boozy Orange Cranberry Butter.  So what you’ll need is some leftover Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce. You whip up some butter and then add that cranberry sauce to it. Bake up a batch of Popovers. Popovers might seem a bit intimidating but I’m telling you they are easy peasy. The recipe I’ve included will yield up a dozen sugar dusted, absolutely divine little treats.

IMG_6686

Make sure to serve them hot out of the oven

IMG_6672

slathered with that magical Cranberry butter. Folks will lose their minds! Now you can spread this luscious Cranberry Butter over anything you want – toast, bagels, biscuits, oatmeal….but hot, crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, popovers are pretty impressive you’ve gotta admit. We have enjoyed ours in the past on Black Friday. You know, we had to make sure we’d be fueled up for the take-no-prisoners day of serious shopping. But these popovers would turn any meal into a special occasion and  they elevate that Cranberry Sauce to an even higher level. Hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

IMG_6699

Popovers with Cranberry Butter

  • Servings: 12 popovers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted slightly from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Popovers:

  • 2 teaspoons bacon grease, butter, or lard
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 241 grams All purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 454 grams whole milk, at room temperature

For the Cranberry Butter:

  • 170 grams unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce ( Or you can use whatever leftover cranberry sauce you have on hand – though I’m not sure that stuff that slides out of a can will work…)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Use the bacon grease, butter, or lard to grease a 12-cup muffin pan or a large, 6-well popover pan. Lightly sprinkle the insides of the wells with the 1 tablespoon sugar.

To make the cranberry butter: Beat the butter and salt at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the leftover boozy orange cranberry sauce and mix at low speed until well blended. Set aside.

To make the popovers: In a blender or food processor, combine the flour, salt, eggs, and milk until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups halfway.

Bake the popovers for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tops are deep brown. Remove them from the oven and pierce the tops with a paring knife to allow steam to escape. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a warm serving dish. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired; serve warm, slathered with cranberry butter.

Enjoy!

Popovers with Boozy Orange Cranberry Butter brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Popovers with Boozy Orange Cranberry Butter:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Nordicware Grand Popover Pan

 


Reese’s Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

October 29, 2019

 

IMG_8442 (1)

There is absolutely no way you won’t have a howling good Halloween if you make up a batch of these terrifyingly adorable Werewolf cupcakes! And, not to toot my own horn or anything, but this year, just like last year, I am blogging about a Halloween recipe, prior to the actual date of the holiday. So yeah, I guess I’ll just say “Toot Toot!” Not only do these werewolves look irresistible, but they are also made with multiple Reese Cups – full size and minis, so they also undoubtedly taste irresistible to boot. I love Reese Cups, so I am totally psyched about these naughty little treats. Also I must say, Halloween is my favorite holiday! I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact, all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day!

IMG_8432

Halloween actually has Irish origins. Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

 

img_8703

Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

img_3482

Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

img_3499

To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

IMG_5094

Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

img_3534

Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

img_0006

As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

IMG_5168

Roasty Toasty Cocktail

IMG_6529 (2)

A few year’s ago I managed to combined whimsical and boozy altogether in my Halloween treats with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

IMG_6561

And last year was all about the whimsy with these

Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes.

IMG_7193

I guess I’m still in the whimsical mood this year because I absolutely could not resist these Reese’s Cup Werewolves when I saw them over at Hungry Happenings.

IMG_8481

She makes the most amazing creations there, so you should definitely take a peek. These little devil dogs were not terribly hard to make, but I will say they were a bit fiddly. You had to have a steady hand and plan ahead by piping out all the fangs ahead of time so that they would harden. But would you just look at the end result!! I don’t think I’m barking up the wrong tree when I say these werewolves are just perfection!

IMG_8444

So, I’ve given you enough time to gather all your supplies to make these lovely lycanthropes. What are you waiting for? I just bet that you and your friends will be howling at the moon come Thursday night! Happy Halloween ya’ll!!!

IMG_8394 (1)

Reese's Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 Cupcakes
  • Print

Werewolf Cupcakes inspired by: Hungry Happenings

Chocolate Frosting Recipe from: Sally’s Baking Addition

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup black coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/4 cup (290 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (420 grams) confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 cup (65 grams) dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3 – 5 Tablespoons (45 – 75 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Werewolves:

  • Full Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • White Cookie Icing or White Candy Melts
  • Wilton Candy Eyes
  • Chocolate Candy Melt Wafers (for ears)
  • Whoppers (malted milk balls)
  • Candy Bones (or make them using white candy melts)
  • Chocolate sprinkles (for eyebrows)
  • Valhrona Chocolate Crunchy Pearls (for nose, you could also use a mini M&M)

Directions:

For the Reese Cup Werewolves:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the full size Reese Cups flat. Put a dollop of cookie icing on the top of a corresponding number of mini Reese cups. Attach the mini Reese cup “snout” to the full size Reese Cup. Place in fridge to harden.

Using White Cookie Icing or white chocolate melts, pipe “teeth” onto a sheet of parchment paper.  If you are making the bones from chocolate melts, pipe these out as well. Place this in the fridge to harden.

Cut unmelted chocolate melts into triangle shaped “ears”. Set aside.

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line your cupcake tins with paper liners.

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, add all the wet ingredients. With your mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix for 2 minutes. The batter will be quite soupy – this is ok!

Pour batter into the prepared cupcake tins, filling just slightly more than halfway. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Cool cupcakes in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and then remove from pan to cool completely.

While you’re waiting for the cupcakes to cool, make your frosting.

For the frosting:

Place butter in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat it on medium speed until it is light and fluffy – approximately 2 minutes. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder. Add this sugar/cocoa mixture to the creamed butter 2 – 3 Tablespoons at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add 3 Tablespoons of the cream, the salt and vanilla. Beat on low speed initially, increasing until you reach high speed. Beat for 1 -2 minutes. Add more sugar or cocoa is frosting is too thin or add cream if it seems too thick.

Werewolf Assembly:

Frost  the cupcakes with enough frosting to hold the Reese Cup “wolves” upright.

Remove the Reese cups from the fridge. Using a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #233 tip, pipe frosting fur all over the prepared Reese cups. If you don’t have this tip, you can paint some frosting over the Reese cup and use a paint brush to give it a rough, fur-like texture.

Carefully put the eyes, nose and teeth in place.

Place the Reese cup on the frosted cupcakes. Push two malted milk balls (paws) in front of the decorated Reese cup and pipe “fur” frosting over them.

Add a bit more fur to the top edge of the Reese Cups so that you can attach the candy melt ears.

Place bone between paws.

Enjoy!

Reese’s Cup Werewolf Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Reese’s Werewolf Cupcakes:

Wilton Mini Candy Eyes 
King Arthur Double Dutch Process Dark Cocoa Powder
Ghirardelli White Candy Melts
Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melts
Valhrona Crunchy Pearls
Wilton Graveyard Bones
Wilton #233 Decorating Tip
Wilton Cookie Icing

 

 

 

 


Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread

April 19, 2019

IMG_8091Happy Good Friday everyone! Wait…can you say that? You hear a lot of “Happy Easter” but not really “Happy Good Friday”. Hmmm…well I’ll ask you to indulge me today because I am very happy today! My Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns that I make every year ( you have to bake them on Good Friday or they don’t have all of the special powers) are well under way!

IMG_2431

And not only does the house smell completely irresistible, what with all the baking buns, but I am also ready to share a new recipe with you for Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread.

IMG_7960

This tender, sweet and citrus-y yeast bread is shot through with swirls of a chocolatey nut filling. It looks so festive and tastes Ahh-mazing! And here is the truly amazing thing, I have somehow managed to get this blog out BEFORE the actual holiday. Last year I didn’t get the recipe for my Italian Easter Bread published until Easter had come and gone. So this year is definitely an improvement in that regard.

IMG_6979

I tried to play my tardiness off last year by saying “Oh, you’ll be way ahead of the game for Easter 2019”. But now I guess now you’ll have to pick between the Italian Easter Bread and this Cozonac or be ahead of the game with a recipe waiting in the wings for Easter 2020!

IMG_7976

I love trying out Easter breads from around the world. I’ve already told you about my Italian Easter Bread last year. The year before I made Tsoureki from Greece.

IMG_6355

There was also the Slovak Paska:

IMG_2688

As well as the impressive Russian Kulich:

IMG_2724

But let me get back to the bread at hand today.

IMG_8066

Cozonac has Romanian origins. It is traditionally baked during both Easter and Christmas. Soft and tender, this bread is slightly sweet and flavored with orange & lemon zests as well as rum. Ha! Now you’re talking huh? The delicious filling has also got a bit of rum in it, so take care that you don’t get too festive over this holiday. Walnuts are typically used in the filling, though the filling ingredients do vary from region to region. I used ground almonds. I think pecans would also be quite tasty.

IMG_8038

Cozonac was pretty easy to make, though keep in mind it does require two rising times and a bit of finesse as you have to roll out four different sections of dough, spread the sticky filling evenly and then roll them up and twist the rolls together. That’s how you get those beautiful spirals in your finished loaves.

IMG_8046

And for all of your effort, you are most definitely rewarded with not one but TWO loaves of this scrumptious bread.

IMG_7962

It is a decadent indulgence just as it is, and I bet it will make some phenomenal French toast. I’ll have to let you know about that. So what are you waiting for? I’ve actually given you a bit of time to get this baked for Easter this year. I promise, you won’t be sorry! Happy Easter!

IMG_8049

Cozonac - Romanian Easter Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

recipe from: She Loves Biscotti

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 720 grams (approx. 6 cups) bread flour
  • 8 grams (2¼ teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 200 grams walnuts, almonds or pecans finely ground, about 2 cups
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar

Directions:

Make the dough:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and sugar.

Add the butter and stir until butter is almost melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the butter/milk mixture is cooling, add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast to the mixing bowl of a stand mixture, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined.

Once the milk/butter mixture has cooled to luke warm (98°F/36°C) add it to the flour/yeast and combine on low speed for 2-3 minutes.

Allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes.

In the meanwhile, grate the orange and lemon zest and set aside.

With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the are just combined.  Scrape down bowl and mix for about 1-2 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract, rum and salt.

Switch to dough hook attachment.

Add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, mixing until combined. Once all the flour has been added, continue to knead for a few minutes.

Add the citrus zests and continue to knead for about 6-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. NOTE: If you find that the dough is still sticky, add a few more tablespoons of flour.

Place the dough in a lightly buttered dough rising bucket or bowl. Make sure to turn the dough over in order to completely coat the dough with the butter.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Allow to rise for about 2 hours or until double in size.

In the meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Make the filling:

Over medium heat, in a small sauce pan, whisk together the milk and sugar.

Add the ground nuts and stir until a paste-like consistency is reached. This should take about 15 minutes. Stir often. (I used Almond Flour because it was easy – being ground and ready to go.)

Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to stir until a paste like consistency is achieved.

Set aside to cool.

To Assemble the Cozonac:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place oven rack at bottom third of oven. Butter two (9 x 5 inch) loaf pans.

Punch down the risen dough and divide into four equal parts. I use a kitchen scale just to make sure I’ve the pieces are equal.

On a rolling mat or lightly floured wooden board, roll out each section into a large rectangle (about 11 x 14). Spread out the 1/4 of the nut mixture (approx. 1/2 cup) to within 1/2″ from the edge for each rectangle.

Starting from the long end, roll the dough to form a log. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Pinch the ends and the seams together.

Twist two pieces of the dough log together and place in prepared loaf pan. Do the same with the last two pieces of dough logs.

Brush the top of the dough with a beaten egg. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap. Allow them to double in size. This can take 45 – 60 minutes.

Sprinkle a little Demerara sugar over the top and bake for about 45 minutes. Feel free to place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the tops to prevent over browning.

Allow bread to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!

Cozonac brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cozonac:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Hand Held Zester

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

Silicone Pastry Dough Rolling Mat

King Arthur Flour Espresso Powder


Amish Dinner Rolls

November 20, 2018

IMG_6601

Hold on a second…you mean I have actually been able to get a Thanksgiving recipe all done and dusted and on my blog BEFORE Thanksgiving?!!! Good Lord in Heaven above – I must be super organized for once. Finally got my act together and all of that… As much as I’d like to say that is what is happening here, I must confess, things might not be as impressive as they seem at first glance. I actually made these rolls last year. Yup – last Thanksgiving and I still had a hard time getting this blog post ready to go with all of the holiday preparations and well…life…going on around here. Oh well, the important thing is here they are – delicious, soft buttery Amish Dinner Rolls – just in time for your Thanksgiving feast.

IMG_6580

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have shared some great Thanksgiving recipes with you in the past. Like who doesn’t love my Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce?

IMG_6627

Or my Smoky Bacon Cream Biscuit Dressing?

IMG_0610

Those adorable little Inside Out Pumpkin Muffins filled with Cider Cinnamon Cream Cheese

IMG_0364

And who can forget that Thanksgiving Pie – Toffee Blonde Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust with Pumpkin Ganache!

img_3579

And I’ve even given you a few tips on what you can do with all of your leftovers – like making these little Pirozhkis into Holiday Leftover Pies:

img_5339

But I freely admit, I’ve often had a hard time sharing these gems with you in a timely fashion. Someone actually took me to task for it last year. I will point out that all of these recipes will work for other meals, like say Christmas. It will be here before you know it! But let me get back to my very timely post that I have published today – two whole days in advance! I love a lot of things about these Amish Dinner Rolls. The fact that they are indeed delicious is high up on my list. But these rolls are very easy to transport. I baked mine in a 9″x13″ baking tin that has one of those plastic lids. So when it was time to head out to Mom’s, I just popped those rolls back into that pan, snapped the lid on top and off I went. The pan protected them somewhat from getting squished in the journey and when I arrived, I just slid them right into the oven again to warm. Easy peasy!

IMG_6585

Another great thing about these rolls, which is really awesome is that you can make them up a day or two before the big holiday event. They stay fresh-tasting at room temperature for several days. So maybe you won’t have to actually get up at 3 am to sit through two rises of the dough and baking time to have these fresh on your holiday table. And I’ve managed to get this post published two whole days ahead of time, so you could technically make these today or tomorrow and you’re golden!

IMG_6597

And back to their taste – Folks will go wild for these tender, moist Amish Dinner Rolls! I would say they would be great for sandwiches the next day, but I’m betting there won’t be one crumb of them left! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

IMG_6591

Amish Dinner Rolls

  • Servings: 16 -24 rolls
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (85 grams) softened butter
  • 1 Cup (213 grams) unseasoned mashed potatoes, lightly packed ( 1 large potato should yield enough mash for this recipe)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (water in which the potatoes were boiled is preferable)
  • 4 1/4 Cups (510 grams) unbleached all – purpose flour

Directions:

Mix and knead all of the ingredients together to make a smooth soft dough. You can do this by hand, bread machine or stand mixer. I used my stand mixer.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled. This should take 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a flour dusted work surface and gently deflate. Divide the dough into 16 large balls or 24 smaller ones. Round each ball into a smooth roll.

Place the rolls in a lightly greased 9″x13″ baking tin. The rolls will be a bit crowded and will be very like pull-apart rolls with a golden top and unbrowned sides. If you prefer, you can place them further apart and they will brown all over. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the rolls for 20 -25 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven and turn them out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool. Brush with melted butter.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store the rolls wrapped in plastic for several days at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Amish Dinner Rolls brought to you today by: Runcible Eats (www. leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Amish Dinner Rolls:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

 


Italian Easter Bread

April 3, 2018

IMG_6979

Happy Easter! Yes, I do realize that Easter was back on Sunday, but I really wanted to share this recipe for this beautiful Italian Easter Bread with you, even though I’m doing so a bit late. Truth be told, I had every intention to have this posted on Saturday morning, before Easter, but then life got in the way and it just didn’t happen. But hey, as it turns out, folks celebrate Easter every single year, so with this recipe already in hand you’ll be way ahead of the game for Easter 2019.

IMG_6992

 

This light and airy Italian Easter bread is similar to brioche. Rich and only slightly sweet, it looks amazing on your Easter brunch table. If you have a real sweet tooth, you can amp up the sugar factor by adding a sweet glaze once it comes out of the oven.  These lovely loaves are also a great way to display your brightly colored Easter Eggs.

IMG_7001

I love trying out Easter breads from around the world. Last year I baked Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread) . Tsoureki also has an egg or eggs baked into it.

IMG_6357

I’ve also made Slovak Paska

IMG_2710

And even tried my hand with the impressive Russian Kulich (Easter bread)

IMG_2724

And of course every year I bake Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday.

IMG_2431

But let me get back to talking about this year’s offering – Italian Easter Bread. It was really very easy to make, rose like a champ and looked so festive on the brunch table. My only disappointment was the egg. The recipe said that you should use RAW eggs that have been dyed, not hard-boiled ones. The claim was that the eggs would cook perfectly as the bread baked. I was skeptical. I thought a baked egg would have a weird rubbery texture, but I was hopeful, so I did use raw eggs. Although it looks like Sprinkle Bakes (the blog on which I found this recipe) eggs came out great, mine did not. They were just not done, very runny. And I could not have left the bread in the oven for any longer than I did as it was perfectly golden. Turns out it wasn’t a disaster, we just ate around the offending egg. In the future I think I will just use a raw egg which has not been dyed, as a place holder in the oven. Once the bread is done baking, I will carefully remove that egg and swap it out for a perfectly hardboiled dyed egg. Another advantage of doing it that was is that you won’t have to worry about any of the eggs coloring bleeding onto the loaves. And don’t forget to rub your finished eggs with a little bit of oil to really make them shine!

IMG_7016

So, once again I hope you will forgive my tardiness with this Easter post. Please keep this Italian Easter Bread at the ready for next year. Happy be-lated Easter!

IMG_6978

Italian Easter Bread

  • Servings: 6 braided loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Sprinkle Bakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups (301 ml.) milk or half and half
  • 1/3 cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • Pinch of salt (about 1/16 teaspoon)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 3 to 4 cups (408 to 544 grams) bread flour (approximate)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Rainbow nonpareils
  • 6 raw eggs, room temperature, dyed in rainbow colors *please see my above note on use of raw eggs

Directions:

Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Warm just until the butter is completely melted and remove from the heat. Let cool until just warm.
Combine the yeast, salt, eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the warm milk and half of the flour. Knead with the dough hook until combined. Add more flour gradually until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the mixer. You may not have to use all of the flour (but I did!). Knead the dough about 3-5 minutes longer, or until completely smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it over once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place, about 1 hour.

Gently deflate the dough with a fist. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and pat it down slightly so that the dough has an even thickness. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1-inch thick rope about 14 inches in length. Take two lengths and twist them together; loop the twist into a circle and pinch the ends together. Place the circle onto parchment lined baking sheets. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise again for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small condiment cup. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the loaves with the mixture. Sprinkle on the nonpareils and gently place a dyed egg in the middle of each loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bread is golden and fragrant. Let cool on wire racks..

Notes:

  • For a simple milk glaze, mix 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk together until smooth. A little vanilla extract couldn’t hurt, either.
  • After the dough is raised and turned out onto a work surface, 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit and 1/4 cup blanched almonds can be mixed in.  2 tablespoons of citrus zest may be added to the dough also.

Enjoy!

Italian Easter Bread brought to you by: Runcible Eats www.leaandjay.com

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Italian Easter Bread:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Hand Held Zester

Oxo Good Grips small silicone pastry brush

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

 


Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream

March 12, 2018

IMG_6770

I can’t believe it! Here it is, March already. And St. Patrick’s Day is a mere 5 days away! That means it is time to start my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. In the days leading up to March 17th I will be sharing a delicious assortment of Irish-y recipes. I’ve been doing this for several years now, so I’ve collected 106 St. Patrick’s Days recipes at this point. Yup! I said over one hundred!!! And that doesn’t take into account all the delicious dishes coming your way this year. If you’d like to take a peek at my past St. Patrick’s Day posts, you can click Runcible Eat/Recipes up at the top navigation bar and scroll down to the St. Patrick’s Day category. That’s where you’ll find them! And stay tuned here for my latest additions. I am very excited to kick off this year’s series of Irish recipes with Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream.

IMG_6727

You may be thinking “Who’s Theresa?” – well let me tell you. Theresa is one of my best friends from college. She is amazing in the kitchen. I remember back when we were starving students, and practically surviving on buttered toast (and perhaps the occasional pint or two…), we had actually run out of sliced bread. I looked around the kitchen and quickly announced “We’ve got nothing to eat in there.” Theresa popped out to the kitchen and returned in no time with a big plate of warm fluffy lovely scones. Just like that! To me, who definitely was not of any use in the kitchen at that point (all my cooking skills developed post marriage) it was nothing short of magic! A couple of years ago, Theresa published her first cookbook where you can find the recipe for these scones and the strawberry jam along with over 100 other delicious seasonal fruit recipes. It is called Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

1

Theresa runs a business, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. Theresa grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.

img_2809-e1463570050345-683x1024

Her award-winning preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents. The Green Apron has won 12 Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, 7 International Great Taste awards and is listed not only in McKenna’s Guide, but also in Georgina Campbell’s Guide. The Green Apron is also now offering workshops on sustainable living, preserving and bee keeping.

book-cover-fruitonthetable

Theresa’s book, Fruit on the Table is a top 10 best-selling cookbook in Ireland , has won a Gourmond award there and has been selected to compete for an International Gourmond award. In her book, Theresa follows the seasons and tells you how best to keep fruit on your table all year round. It is an absolute treasure trove, filled not only with her family recipes for jams, jellies and chutneys but it also runs the full gambit of meals, including recipes for cocktails, snacks , mains and going all the way through to desserts. And it doesn’t stop with the mouthwateringly delicious recipes, Fruit on the Table also gives you the low down on growing your own fruit, the ins and outs of preserving, tips on foraging as well as drying fruit. I’m proud to be sharing these recipes from her book this year and I shared quite a few last year as well, but I’m telling you, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve just gotta get ahold of this essential cookbook. And if you find yourself in Limerick, you simply must stop by the Limerick Milk Market and pay the Green Apron shop a visit!

blas-silver-2014-pic-e1463574382426-1

I’m sure you must now be inspired to make both these tender fluffy scones as well as the divine strawberry jam with which they are topped. Your first step will be making the scrumptious Strawberry Jam. You will end up with a bit more jam than you require to slather over these scones, but it is great to have on hand. It is very versatile and you can use it many other recipes…hint, hint – it might make an appearance again later this week. Strawberry Jam is my favorite and this jam, free of pectin, is just bursting with strawberry goodness.

IMG_6763

And scones…Well, I just love them. With the first bite of these little gems you will understand why they are prize-winning.

IMG_6736

And topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream…I am absolutely over the moon! The Husband loves scones with jam and clotted cream as well. In fact, his first experience with this delicacy was in Dublin, shortly after we were married. As he gobbled down every morsel, I just might have heard him murmur “Where have you been all of my life?!!” And I’m fairly certain he was referring to the scones rather than me.

IMG_6723

As it turns out it recently came to my attention that there is an etiquette to topping your scone. My friend Keela informed me that spreading your scone with the clotted cream first and then dolloping your jam on top is the Devon way, whereas jam first and cream second is the Cornish way. I checked for the Irish method with my friend Theresa and she said butter goes on the scone first the jam and then cream. No one she is aware of puts the cream on first. Hmmm….the good news here is that Scones with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream are pretty heavenly no matter which way the toppings go on. Make up a batch and see for yourself!

IMG_6729

Theresa's Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream

  • Servings: 18 dainty scones
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) milk
  • 450 grams (1 lb.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 110 grams (4 oz.) unsalted butter
  • strawberry jam (recipe to follow) and clotted cream for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Beat the eggs in a measuring jug with enough milk to make 300 ml (1/2 pint) of liquid. You will have a little milk left over.

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add three-quarters of the liquid and mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more liquid or, if wet, add a bit more flour. You should have a soft dough that you can stick your finger through. (Don’t over-handle the dough or the scones will be tough.)

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick and cut into the desired shape. I use a 5 – cm (2 inch) round cutter usually, but sometimes I cut the dough into squares or diamonds.

Place the scones on a lightly floured baking tray and then brush the top with the remaining egg and milk mixture. This gives them a nice shine and color when they are cooked.

Bake for 10 -15 minutes or until they are golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Spread with strawberry jam and clotted cream. You can even go crazy and slather the scone with a little butter first before adding the other goodness. The sky is the limit!

Variations:

Add the zest of one lemon to the dry ingredients; or 2 tablespoons of raisins or sultanas; or ground cinnamon and the juice and zest of one orange. For savory scones, leave out the sugar and add herbs or grated cheese.

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients: 

  • 2 kg (4 1/2 lb) Strawberries (hulled and halved if big)
  • Juice of 3 large lemons
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) water
  • 2 kg (4 1/2 lb) sugar

Directions:

Place a saucer into the refrigerator to chill. You will use it to test the setting point later.

Put the strawberries, lemon juice and the water into a preserving pot and cook over low heat until the juice starts to run from the berries and they begin to soften. Remove the pot from the heat and put it onto a sturdy work surface.

Take a potato masher and squash the strawberries in the pot. You don’t want them completely puréed but you do want them broken up. Give it about six mashes.

Put the pot back onto the stove and continue to cook the fruit over a low heat until the strawberries are completely soft and the juice starts to darken in color.

Add the sugar, stir in well, and cook on a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches settings point. Spoon a little of the boiling preserve onto the cold saucer. Let it cool and then push it with your finger. If it has reached setting point, the top of the blob of jam will wrinkle. You want strawberry jam to be barely set, because if you cook it for too long some of the flavor will be lost.

Pour into warm sterilized jars to within 6 mm (1/4 inch) of the top. Wipe any drips off the rims of the jars to make sure there is a good seal between the jar and lid. A dampened paper towel works well for this. Place lids on and seal.

Enjoy!

Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Kilner Stainless Steel Jam Pan

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Canning Magnetic Lid Wand

Norpro 600 Jar Lifter

Ball Canning Funnel

 


%d bloggers like this: