It’s already the last day of the year. And what a eventful year it was for me! It seems like yeasterday when I hurried through the lab to finish the last experiments of my Ph.d. thesis. And the time between writing the thesis, handing it in and defending it seeems to fly in one wink. I never worked harder during a year and I’m happy that I still managed to share my kitchen adventures with you.
And for my traditional Best of the year I choose twelve recipes which I liked most this year. It was again a hard choice.
Today I post the Bread we had for Dinner at the holy night, as I promised yesterday.
I like pull apart breads, like the “Brötchenkranz”, a typical german way to serve rolls at parties. When I saw a Christmas tree shaped “Brötchenkranz” I fell in love with it immediately. Sadly, I cannot remember anymore where I saw it the first time. I thought that it was yeastspotted, but I could not find it there. The Google picture search shows me a lot of baked Christmas trees.
Which was my original Inspiration? I can’t tell.
As dough I choosed an overnight recipe, which I could shape and bake in the morning of December, 24th. The Rolls had a nicely soft and fluffy crumb and a complex taste due to the long rise.
Today the day was a little bit more chaotic then planed. The boyfriend had to head to Bonn to rescue his sister, who had problems with the car, while I take care of the last Christmas preparations. And so I have to postpone my planed post for a Bread-Christmas tree to tomorrow.
And so I would like to wish you shortly, but deep from my heart: Merry Christmas, dear readers!
Does this happen to you, too? You bake something, write down the recipe and then you did not post it. And after some time you even forget about it. That happend to me with this round braided rolls, which I baked the first time somewhere in the summer. They taste good but I was not satisfied with the picture. And so I forget this rolls completely.
Unitll Micha posted her beautiful Flechtwerk. Then I suddenly remembered that once I took detailed pictures of the braiding. But with the picture of the final roll I was still not satisfied. And so I baked them once again for a breakfast with my sister and my niece. The dough was easy to handle and after I once understand how to braid round bread, they take not so much time to braid.
They look very elegant due to the braided form – perfect for a holiday breakfast. Vanilla give them a rich taste with some complex aroma which they developed during their long proofing. Their crust is soft, as desired when baking sweet bread, and their crumb is fluffy.
Dived the dough in 80g . Roll into a strand of about 70 cm. Divide the strand into 4 parts. Now lay them cross-wise, so that the strands are inwoven(1). Now take the lower strand and lay it over the higher one (2) and repeat this once more in the other direction (3). Now fold the free ends into the middle (4) & (5) and turn the roll (6)
Is everyone still here? Or did the apocalypse happened somewhere?
In our little corner of the world the “weather precast for the apocalypse” did not come true (luckily). It is good that I bought my christmas presents already, now I will need them !
With 4°C and a lot of mist this day should be spend on the couch, snuggeled in a warm plaid with a cup of tea and some cookies. On my cookie plate I have some old friends as well as some new. A new recipe besides the Hazelnut Bars and Allspice hats is the recipe for swedian Pepparkakaor
This delicious recipe I found on My Italian Smörgåsbord and I had to try it. It is packed with nuts, spices, malt and honey and they are very delicious. The next time would just exchange the coconut with some hazelnuts, then they will be perfect for me!
There was a small Booklet with cookie recipe in the Magazine Landlust in the November/December Issue. I fell in love with the recipe they put on the cover “tender hazelnut bars” – and so it was on top of my mental “have to try” list for Christmas baking this year.
The cookies are easy to made, you just have to form finger thick strands and cut them into 5 cm pieces. And for decorating the cookies with some chocolate stripes, they are put close to each other, so that there is no gap between them. To pipe the chocolate on all them is then easily done.
I like the Cookies very much. They are simple, but delicious– no spices will overpower the taste of hazelnuts here. And that is the magic of these cookies, they just relay on the quality of their ingredients. A perfect addition for my christmas cookie plate!
Christmas eve is now near. And the nearer this day comes the more I enjoy the fragrance of almonds, cinnamon, vanilla, clove and other spices. And when I read a recipe for Chocolate Almonds I knew instantly that I has to try this recipe. But – and I knew this instantly, too – that I would have to make spiced chocolate almonds, with cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla – just like the delicious chocolate almonds that you can buy at this time of the year.
They are not very complicated to make but to coat them with chocolate needs some time. The chocolate is added in small increments and then the almonds have to be stirred until the chocolate sets. And then the next increment of chocolate is added… And that repeatedly until the almonds are covered with a thick layer of chocolate. It is a similar principal as dipping candles.
When the almonds are done you have to find a save spot hide the almonds, otherwise small or big christmas mice will eat them
Before the christmas treats take over completly I post another healthy bread.
I baked this bread for our christmas party together with the little Santa Hats. In the winter time I like rustic breads, made with whole grain flour and seasoned with bread spices like fennel, caraway or coriander. Especially in a sourdough bread with some rye flour .
To keep things simple I decided to let the bread rise overnight in the fridge. So at the next morning I just had to preheat the baking stone, slash the bread (as a christmas tree) and bake it while I get ready for work.
And what a mouthwatering flavour filled the kitchen during baking! But I battled the urge to cut the bread directly – just for testing – and waited till our christmas party. But then I tested it and was satisfied – it tasted as good as it smelled. The spices and sourdough were blend together to a harmonic taste and the crust was crunchy. Very delicious!
This year was a bad year for quinces and apples. There were only few on the the trees of my parents, and the fruits stays rather small, due to a mostly cold summer. But anyway, we harvested the few fruits and I cooked quince juice in my pressure cooker. And then I freeze it because the boyfriend protested against more quince jelly, because there was still glasses left from the last year when we had so much quinces.
In December I was planning to cook some little treats from the kitchen for my lovely colleagues and then I remember the quince juice once again. After thawing I cooked the juice with some sugar and vanilla bean, getting a delicious syrup. Mixed with some sparkling water this syrup is delicious, a perfect mixture of tartness and sweet fragrance, with a hint of vanilla.
I decoreated the bottles with some printed labels which I created with Inkscape. If you like, you can download them here.