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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Stollen Wreath

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.

I really loved this challange. Being from the USA, I, as others do not like fruitcake. I wanted to embrace this traditional food from Germany though. I looked at the candied citron at the grocery store and I think that may be the offender why so many Americans dislike fruitcake so I made my own citron and my Stollen was amazing! I hope to have time to make many next year and give them as gifts.

Candied Citron Recipe
Filed under: Delicious Bite, Tagged as: citron, delicious bite, delicious bites, recipes
Here's how you can candy citron (and by the way, it works for other citrus as well):
Grate moist citron peel to release the oil from the cells. Cut the peel into thin strips and place in a heavy pan: Use 2 cups of citron peel.
Cover with 1½ cups (360 mL) of cold water. Bring slowly to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes or longer to dim the acidy taste.
Drain and repeat this process 3 to 5 times, draining well each time.
For each cup of peel, make syrup of ¼ cup (60 mL) of water and ½ cup (120 mL) of sugar.
Add the peel and boil until the peel absorbs all of the syr
up. The peel will become transparent.
Roll the peel in powdered sugar and spread on a rack to dry.
When thoroughly dried, store in a tight container.

Stollen Wreath
Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people
¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast 1 cup (240 ml) milk
10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first - then sift- plus extra for dusting)
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own)
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed raisins
3 tablespoons (45ml) rum
12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) 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 (60 ml) 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 (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) 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) (4 liters) (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 and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!
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
1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) 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 (5 cm) 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. Bake at 350F. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C 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,

Christmas Cookies

I made a few Christmas Cookie's Platters this year!!! All cookies are from scratch and use real butter.

The cookies below were given to me as a gift from Sue aka the Cookie Diva. She has been my inspiration for making all these cookies platters. She bakes about 3000 cookies every season and as you can see from her cookies there are so many varieties! They taste amazing!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kahula Caramel Cheesecake

Here is a Kaluha Caramel Cheesecake that I made for my Husband Tom for his potluck at work. This is my most popular flavor that I make. I love the story of how I came about it. Years ago, back in 1993 I quit my full time job and took my first bakery job for $7.50 an hour for a part time job to pay for grocery's. I was a Mom now and decided to not put my precious baby into daycare so I took a HUGE paycut and worked in a bakery. I started making cheesecakes at work and they started to sell. I was working at the once famous Oven's of Brittany on State St. So my boss told me to take home ingredients and develope new flavors. I had some bombs but this was the home run. We went on to win an Isthmus Madison Best award for our bakery and this cheesecake recipe won the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Chocolate Gala Best Cheesecake in Madison for 5 years in a row!!!!
This cheesecake has a pecan caramel shortbread crust with a layer of caramel on top of the crust. A rich cheesecake filling with chocolate and caramel and kaluha swirled throughout. Then on the top, is chocolate ganache, pecans and caramel.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pampered Chef Cookie Exchange

Here is a platter of cookies we created at my Pampered Chef cookie exchange. It was alot of fun! Thank you everyone for coming.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gloria's Funeral Cake

This cake was made for one of my best friends. She was not a big fan of chocolate so I made what she liked. The cake is an orange sour cream cake. I made a filling of cranberry curd with fresh cranberries. I frosted the cake with italian buttercream.
I am still in shock of all this but Gloria....I can't wait to see you again!