Fancy Flower Rolls

These fancy rolls are not only beautiful, but they taste like a little piece of Heaven. They are probably one of the best I’ve ever had and I will be making them over and over again. Even after a few days they keep soft, which is not always the case with homemade rolls. As of their taste, they remind me somewhat of brioche. I also had them split and toasted like a bagel and they were great. I imagine they will look beautiful on any Holiday table and will be gone in a matter of minutes! Have a wonderful weekend friends! 🙂

Fancy flower rolls

Fancy Flower Rolls

{Printable recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (236 ml) warm milk
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) warm water
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) oil
  • 3 ½ TBSP (50 g) butter-melted
  • 1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • All-purpose flour (approx 4 and 1/2 cups or 580-600 g)
  • 2 eggs, whites and yolks separated

Topping:

  • egg yolks + 1 tsp milk
  • Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.

Preparation:

  1. First combine warm milk, water and sugar. Mix well and sprinkle dry yeast over it.
  2. Divide eggs
  3. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and cover with plastic.
  4. In a medium bowl lightly whisk egg whites, then add oil and melted butter.
  5. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a mixer bowl with dough hooks.
  6. When the yeast mixture becomes bubbly slowly pour into flour mixture and start mixing slowly. Just when combined, add egg mixture and mix until you get a compact, shiny dough ball.
  7. Brush with oil, cover with plastic and let it rest until double in volume.
  8. This dough will be really easy to work with, almost like the play dough.
  9. Flour your working surface, place the dough on it, divide in half and then each half into 12 equal parts.
  10. Lightly oil your hands, press and roll each piece into a 10 inch (25 cm) long stick, with about ½ inch (1.5 cm) diameter.
  11. Take two sticks together and swirl them around as to a get a braid.
  12. Connect the ends to form a bagel-like roll and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  13. Preheat your oven to 385 F or 195 C
  14. Whisk egg yolks with 1 tsp of milk and brush the rolls
  15. You may sprinkle them with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or any seeds of your choice.
  16. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

ENJOY!

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Fancy pull-apart Dinner Rolls

Hello my friends, HAPPY NEW YEAR to each and every one of you! 🙂

I hope you had nice and relaxing Holidays with your family and friends. My wish is that this New Year will bring us all peace, love and compassion toward one another and a lot of good memories and joyful moments and that we will get to spend a while here in this virtual world and share some good cooking and baking recipes and stories.

In today’s recipe I wanted to introduce a fancy and an easy way to make holiday/celebration dinner rolls. These rolls are soft and flaky and can be served warm or cold. I made these for our Christmas dinner and they looked just gorgeous and tasted fantastic.

Fancy pull-apart dinner rolls

Fancy Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

[Printable recipe]

Dough:

  • All-purpose flour: 500 g ( 4 cups)
  • Fresh yeast: 20 g (or 1 envelope dry yeast)
  • Warm milk: 2 dl (3/4 cup + a few TBSP if needed)
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1.5 tsp
  • Cooking oil: 5 TBSP

To brush the dough layers:

  • Butter: 120 g (1 stick) at room temp.

Also needed:

  • Round baking pan (or a spring form) 25 cm or 9-10 inches
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame seeds (or any other desired seeds)

Preparation:

  1. Place flour into a mixing bowl, make an indent and crumble up fresh yeast, add sugar and a little bit of milk, mix, cover and let stand for about 10 minutes. If using dry yeast, proof as directed on the package.
  2. Turn the mixer to low setting and while mixing start adding milk and salt. When the flour and milk start forming a dough, add oil and let it stir for another 2-3 minutes to get a shiny and firm ball of dough.
  3. Place the dough onto a floured surface, knead it by hand for a minute or two and then place back into the bowl, cover and leave it at a warm place until double in size.
  4. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Knead each piece and form a small dough ball. Let them rest for about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Divide butter into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each dough piece into a 10 inch (25 cm) circle. Spread first circle with butter, put second circle on the top, then butter again and so on until you end up with the fifth circle on the top.
  6. Now roll it all together into  a large 18 in (45 cm) circle. With a pizza cutter cut off about 1 ½ inch (4 cm) all around the circle to get a “hoop”. Place the hoop on a flat surface and cut once vertically and once horizontally to get 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a bun (like a cinnamon bun) and place in the middle of the greased baking pan.
  7. What’s left now is a smaller circle which you will cut to get 16 equal triangles. Roll each triangle not like a crescent, but more like a cone or along one of the longest sides of a triangle. That way you will get a nice swirl. Place all the cones all around the 4 middle rolls with a little bit of space in between.
  8. Cover and let it rise for about 30 minutes. Lightly beat an egg, brush all over the rolls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  9. Bake at 395 F (200 C) about 30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Serve warm or cold. The rolls will be soft and flaky and will look just amazing on your holiday table.

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

It’s that time of the year again when we reach for our recipe books and recipe cards to find the most delectable Christmas cookies recipes and prepare them for our loved ones. This year, I am adding a few new-discovered recipes to my traditional cookie menu. These Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies are so silky and delicious and they just melt in your mouth. Fill them with your favorite jam and enjoy the sight and the taste!

Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (225 g) butter, softened
  • 3 oz (85 g) cream cheese
  • 1 cup (200 g)sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups (320 g) all-purpose flour
  • Jam (strawberry, raspberry – seedless, apricot, etc.)

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  2. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place two inches apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a deep indentation in the center of each ball; fill with about 1/2 tsp jam. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Hello my friends! I hope everyone is doing well; I missed you all! 🙂 I took an involuntary baking break while I was trying to complete some remodeling projects in the house before the winter gets here. I have not completely abandoned my artistic expression, I started two paintings and plan to finish them before the end of the year and I’ve discovered a new passion: poetry. I’ve always liked reading poetry, but have never tried to write anything. Well, a few weeks ago a “What if I tried” thought crossed my mind, so I started thinking and putting the words together and for now they sound very good to me. I am not sure if I am going to share it with the world yet, but I am sure of one thing: writing poetry brings me so much joy!

My hope is that these chocolate sandwich cookies will bring you joy of making and of course joy of tasting! They are a treasured recipe from my old-yellow-falling-apart recipe book that I started when I was about thirteen years young. These cookies are not too sweet. Cocoa gives them just a hint of gentle bitterness and the vanilla frosting just a right amount of sweetness.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

[Printable recipe]

Cookies:

  • 250 g (8.8 oz) flour
  • 65 g (2.2 oz )powdered sugar
  • 50 g (1.8 oz) cocoa
  • 13 g (2.5 tsp) baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 185 g (6.5 oz) unsalted butter (room temperature)

Frosting:

  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 4 TBSP flour (or corn starch)
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) powdered sugar
  • 2 packs vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 160 g (5.6 oz) unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)

Chocolate glaze:

  • 75 g (2.6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 50 g (1.8 oz) unsalted butter

Preparation:

  1. For the cookies, combine all dry ingredients and mix for a few minutes. Add egg and butter and mix on slow until resembles a crumbly mixture. Flour your working surface and knead the dough by hand until nice and smooth. Flatten it, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the cookie dough rests in the fridge prepare the filling.
  3. Mix the flour with a couple of spoons of milk until smooth. Let the milk boil at a low temperature and pour the flour mixture into boiling milk. Whisk constantly until it starts thickening, then remove from heat and let it cool completely.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix all together. You may add an egg yolk for a nice color, but it’s not essential. Now add this mixture to the flour base and whip it at high speed until well combined and fluffy.
  5. Now line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured surface roll out the cookie dough to about 1/2 cm (or 3/16 inch) thick and cut out cookies with a round cookie cutter (about 3-3.5 cm or 1 ¼ inch in diameter)
  6. Bake at 180 C or 350 F for about 12-14 minutes.
  7. Cool down completely. Glue two cookies together with the frosting.
  8. Melt chocolate and butter, let cool down for a few minutes and pour a teaspoon of the glaze on the top of each cookie.

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Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Ginger Polenta Cookies (with cranberries and walnuts)

My Christmas Bakery is in full swing. This week I made a ton of Razz-Ma-Tazz Bars which seem to be everyone’s favorite. I made my first brittle and a whole bunch of different Christmas cookies, which I will be posting in the next few days. For today I chose the ginger polenta cookies. These are new to me and they have exceeded my expectations. I adapted the recipe from one of the many holiday cookie magazines that I’ve collected over the years.

Ginger Polenta Cookies

Ginger Polenta Cookies (with cranberries and walnuts)

[printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups (320 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup (80 g) polenta or yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2  cup (50 g) toasted nuts (walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc. – I’ve used walnuts)
  • 1/2  cup dried (50 g) cranberries (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 orange (zest + 1 TBSP juice)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks (225 g) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 large egg  + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) crystallized ginger (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 TSP ground ginger

Preparation:

  1. Stir together flour, polenta, nuts, cranberries and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in a mixer bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolk, orange zest and juice, chopped ginger and ground ginger. Add flour and mix at low speed until combined.
  3. Gather dough into a ball and divide in half. Shape into 2 (9 inch) logs and wrap in plastic wrap with ends sealed. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or until firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C). Cut logs into 1/4  inch slices and place them onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden at edges. Cool  completely and serve.

*** I added a bit of chopped candied lemon peel for a hint of green color.

Bon Appetite!

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Ginger polenta cookies

Ginger polenta cookies

Date-Orange Swirl Cookies

It’s that time of the year again when I open up a Christmas Bakery in my own little kitchen to do labor of love. Baking has always been one of my favorite hobbies but baking Christmas cookies goes into a special category. I try to involve the whole family in the process. Kids and I are usually mixing, baking, assembling, decorating and guess who is tasting? The man of the house! That was easy to predict, wasn’t it? 😀 These cookies are one of my favorites. You should try and see how date and orange filling fits perfectly into the cream cheese pastry!

Date Cookies

Date-Orange Swirl Cookies

[printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup dates (pitted and finely chopped)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 3 cups + 1 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 1/2 TSP salt

Preparation:

  1. Mix dates, orange juice, sugar, butter and 1 TBSP flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until thick. Add 1 TSP vanilla; set aside.
  2. Beat brown sugar, cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs and remaining TSP vanilla; beat 2 minutes.
  3. Combine remaining 3 cups flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add to cream cheese mixture and stir until blended. Divide dough in half. Roll one half of the dough on a lightly floured surface into 12 X 9 inch rectangle. Spread half date mixture over dough and tightly roll it up jelly-roll style. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave it in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Repeat with remaining dough and date mixture.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F ( ). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices. Place them 1 inch apart and bake about 12 minutes or until golden.

Bon Appétit!