Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mandel Kaffe Kake (Almond Coffee Cake)



I'm making these breads today. It started years ago with my mom making them at Christmas. I love this time of year for traditions. As I was thinking about writing this post I wanted to use the Norwegian words for this bread. While I was searching for a translation online I came across an article about Nordic Coffee Culture. It's evident in Minnesota where a large part of the population is from Nordic ancestors. Here's the link to the article:The Role of Coffee in the Nordic Languages

This has intense almond flavor and makes 3 loaves of bread.

1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs lightly beaten
4 cups flour ( I prefer bread flour)

Almond Filling:
1 cup almond paste
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
Blend well

1 egg white, 1 tsp water
slivered almonds

In pan heat milk, sugar (reserve 1 tsp for yeast), salt and butter until butter melts, let cool.

Sprinkle yeast and 1 tsp sugar over warm water, stir and let stand 10 minutes or until bubbly.

To milk mixture stir in yeast, eggs and 2 cups flour until smooth. Stir in remaining 2 cups flour until soft dough forms. On floured surface knead dough until elastic.

Mix almond filling together until fluffy.

Place dough in greased bowl, turn and cover bowl. Let rise until double. Punch down and divide into thirds.

Roll each third into a 30 inch by 4 inch strip. Spread with 1/3 of almond filling. Roll dough and seal edges. Fold in pretzel shape and place on greased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper instead). Brush each pretzel with egg white and water mixture. Sprinkle almond slices on each pretzel. Cover and let rise until double.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Latvian Bacon Buns

 photo A7B4B60C-BDC7-474A-B2EB-1ADD62203007_zps3gn67nzn.jpg
I love traditions, they evoke sentimental memories of family and friends.  Christmas is my favorite holiday and much of it revolves around food.  One cherished memory is of being at my best friends house when her mother was making these buns.  Her mom is from Germany and her father from Latvia. The smell of these buns baking is so good! One year she was asked to make these and provide a recipe for a Christmas bazaar featuring foods from around the world.  She came up with this recipe even though she never used one.

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup water
2 cups milk, scalded
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp shortening
6 1/2 to 6 3/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 lb bacon
1/2 tsp onion chopped
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup milk

Soften yeast in warm water. Combine milk, sugar, salt, shortening. Cool to lukewarm. Add 2 cups flour, stir well.  Add softened yeast, stir. Add flour to make moderately stiff dough.  Turn out on lightly floured surface, knead until smooth and satiny (about 8 minutes). Shape into ball, place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover, let rise in warm place until double in bulk (1 1/2 hour). Punch down. Let rise again until double (45 min.) While dough is rising fry bacon and onion until most of fat has fried out but not crisp, drain. When done, dice bacon until in small pieces. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and mix. Place in refrigerator until ready to use. Place dough on floured surface, roll out with rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with doughnut cutter with center removed.

Put about 1/2 tsp of bacon mixture in the center of each circle, fold each circle in half and pinch edges together. Place buns on greased cookie sheet (I used parchment that I greased), cover, let rise in warm place until almost double. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush each bun with a mixture of 1 egg yolk and 1/2 cup milk. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.