Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 December Daring Bakers - Stollen



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 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.

Stollen Wreath
Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people

Ingredients

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)
2 teaspoons (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
2 teaspoons (5 ml) (6 grams) mixed spice
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
2 cups (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 craisins
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed
6 tablespoons (45ml) rum
12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
2 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.

Directions:


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.

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/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.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lime Curd





Lime Curd

1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (roughly 2-3 medium limes)
zest of one lime, finely grated
pinch salt

Curd

Start with the curd, as it will need time to chill after cooking.

Melt the butter over medium low heat in a medium sauce pan. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, lime juice, zest, salt and eggs. Return to the heat and cook, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes, until the curd has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the curd to boil, if it begins to steam pull it off the heat and stir to cool it down.

Place a fine sieve over a bowl and strain the curd. Cover the curd and place in the refrigerator to cool completely (at least 2 hours

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bounty Bars





100 ml heavy cream
300 g sugar
250 g copha
250 g dessicated coconut
150 g dark chocolate
2 Tbsp oil (for chocolate)

Dice chopa. Put cream, sugar and copha in a pot and heat everything until it melts. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in coconut.Line rectangular baking pan with a baking paper and pour the mass inside. Leave in the fridge overnight.The next day, turn it out onto a cutting board and remove the paper.Cut it into cubes,cover each cube with melted chocolate and let them harden.

Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies





Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar-packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter-softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, blend flour, cocoa, and baking soda.

In a large bowl beat white sugar, brown sugar, butter and 1/4 cup peanut butter, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, beat until blended. Stir in flour mixture until blended. Set aside.

Make the filling by combining the confectioners sugar and 3/4 cup peanut butter. Beat well with electric mixer until mixture comes together.

Roll filling into 30 1 inch balls. Form exterior part of cookie by sectioning dough into approximately 1 tablespoon pieces. Form exterior part of cookie around filling and cover completely. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar.

Bake at 180 for 7-9 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Panaforte



Ingredients

Melted butter, to grease
100g whole blanched almonds
100g whole hazelnuts
90g (1/3 cup) coarsely chopped dessert figs
55g (1/3 cup) crasins
50g (1/3 cup) mixed peel
100g (2/3 cup) plain flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
75g good-quality dark cooking chocolate, finely chopped
125ml (1/2 cup) honey
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
Icing sugar, to dust

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Spread the almonds over half a baking tray and spread the hazelnuts over the remaining half. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until toasted. Place the hazelnuts on a clean tea towel and rub to remove the skins. Reduce oven to 170°C.
Place almonds and hazelnuts in a large bowl. Add the figs, apricots and mixed peel and stir until well combined. Sift over the combined flour, cocoa, cinnamon and mixed spice and stir to combine.

Place chocolate, honey and sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and chocolate melts. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 116°C or 'soft ball stage' (If you don't have a thermometer, drop 1 teaspoonful of syrup into a glass of cold water. If the syrup becomes a soft ball it's at soft ball stage.)
Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the fruit mixture and, working quickly, stir until well combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until just firm. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

To serve, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.