Fruity Swedish Tea Rings w/ Orange Butter

Believe it or not, we are at the eve of Christmas 2019. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is wondering how we got here so fast. This year I thought it would be nice to make some Swedish Tea Rings for gifting.

These sweet bread rings are slashed at the sides to expose the colorful fruit and nut filling. There are different variations of this bread, some do not have any fruit in them at all, just cinnamon sugar.

Swedish tea rings have been around for a very long time and while not much is known about their origin, their roots are definitely Swedish. It is believed that the bread essentially started as Christmas preparation and was a part of the grand Swedish Christmas feast.

It seems, the authentic Swedish tea rings are similar to a cinnamon roll in the shape of a ring or wreath. I have also concluded that cardamom ( one of my favorite spices) is to Scandinavians like vanilla is to us in America …. the backdrop to anything sweet. With that, I decided to go with a fruit bread that brought both cardamom and cinnamon together. Sweet!

Print Recipe
Fruity Swedish Tea Rings w/ Orange Butter
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Brunch, dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Sweet Bread Dough
Filling
Orange Butter
Course Brunch, dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Sweet Bread Dough
Filling
Orange Butter
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Sweet Roll Dough
  1. In a small dish, heat milk to lukewarm. Add yeast & 1 1/2 tsp sugar; let stand for 5 minutes to allow yeast to activate. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 6 Tbsp sugar, melted butter, sour cream & eggs. Add yeast mixture & stir to combine.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together flour, cardamom, cinnamon & salt. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture, 1 cup at a time, combining well after each addition. Once all flour has been added, knead on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes.
  3. Lightly grease the large bowl, place dough in it & cover with plastic wrap & a tea towel. Allow to rest for at least one hour, in a draft free place until dough has doubled in volume.
Filling
  1. In a small bowl, combine butter, sugar, extract & orange zest; set aside. Toss the fruit & almonds with flour; set aside.
Assembly
  1. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half. Roll each into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread half of the (butter) filling over each rectangle to within 1/2-inch of edges; sprinkle each with half of the fruit mixture. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side, pinch seams to seal.
  2. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheets. Pinch ends together to form wreaths. With sharp scissors, cut from outside edge to 2/3 of the way toward center of ring at 1-inch intervals.
  3. Separate the cut pieces slightly, twisting each individually to allow filling to show,overlapping with the previous piece. Cover & let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 F. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. In a small bowl, combine orange butter ingredients. Serve with fruit bread. Refrigerate any leftover orange butter.

Rhubarb Almond Lattice Cake

There are few food combinations as heavenly as strawberries and rhubarb. This is food for the soul! The juicy sweetness of one balances out the almost inedible tartness of the other. Then there is that gorgeous color that strawberries bring to make rhubarb look so good. It’s a classic pairing that’s hard to get enough of if you enjoy this seasonal treat.

Since rhubarb appears quite frequently on my summer blogs, I wanted to give it a different look today. As usual I’m trying to meld a few ideas together into one dessert. The lattice top, made from tender summer rhubarb is weaved over a layer of almond cake. Then strawberry/vanilla filling comes next with the bottom consisting of a second layer of the almond cake. It may require a little more time than some desserts but well worth the effort.

Print Recipe
Rhubarb Almond Lattice Cake
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Brunch, dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Almond Cake
Rhubarb Lattice Topping
Course Brunch, dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Almond Cake
Rhubarb Lattice Topping
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Almond cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line TWO 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda & salt. In a large bowl, beat butter & sugar with a mixer until light & fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Beat in almond extract.
  3. Beat in flour mixture on low in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk, until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly between cake pans & bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Rhubarb Lattice Topping
  1. Peel thin slices off the rhubarb with a knife or vegetable peeler. Use the outer skins as they are the pinkest & save the leftover stalks to make the filling.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the water & sugar until sugar is dissolved & the mixture is just simmering. Over low heat, add a few rhubarb strips at a time & poach until soft, about a minute. Remove to a plate to cool. Repeat with remaining rhubarb strips. Place a piece of plastic wrap on a plate & form the lattice top for your cake. Set aside the poaching syrup & allow to cool.
Strawberry/Rhubarb Filling
  1. Combine diced rhubarb & strawberry gelatin in a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Cover bowl & cook for a couple of minutes until rhubarb is soft. Let mixture cool. Stir milk & vanilla pudding mix in a bowl until moistened. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until thickened, about 2 minutes; stir cooled strawberry/rhubarb mixture into pudding mixture.
Assembly
  1. Once cakes have cooled, place one on top of rhubarb lattice. Spread the strawberry/rhubarb filling on top of this before placing second cake on top of that. Carefully place a light serving dish over cake & turn over so that the rhubarb lattice is on the top. Neaten up the edges of the lattice work by cutting with a pair of scissors if necessary. Drizzle over any remaining syrup (if you wish). Slice & serve.
Recipe Notes
  • If you wish, place a layer of fresh sliced strawberries on the cake after you have topped the first layer with filling.

Raspberry Almond Summer Rice Pudding

From what I have read, today August 9th, is  national rice pudding day  in the USA. I’m not sure how these holidays are figured out but who needs a special date to have rice pudding?!  In Canada & the USA, most rice pudding recipes were brought by European immigrants. The basic version contained long grain rice, milk, sugar, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg.

This food traces its roots to the grain pottage’s made by Middle Eastern cooks. Almost every region of the world has its own take on rice pudding. Some versions are sweet, while others are savory and some are thick while others are thin.

Summer rice puddings put a fresh twist on an this old classic comfort food. There is so much fresh summer fruit to choose from and combinations of flavors just waiting to be explored.

I remember my mother’s rice pudding with fondness. I wasn’t big on raisins at the time and always thought it would be perfect if they would be omitted, but it was still wonderful.

Today’s showy little dessert makes use of the season’s nice fresh raspberries. 


Print Recipe


Raspberry Almond Summer Rice Pudding

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!

Servings

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!


Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, combine rice, sugar, milk & butter; bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 30-35 minutes until rice is cooked. While rice is cooking toast almonds in a skillet.

  2. When rice is cooked, allow to cool THEN add almonds & extract, lifting as you stir. Divide rice between dessert cups & refrigerate 30 minutes.

  3. Make raspberry jell-o according to package instructions. Once the jell-o is made allow to cool until slightly set. Top each dessert cup with 1/6 of the jello & refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until jell-o has set.

  4. Decorate desserts with fresh raspberries, crushed amaretti biscuits, sliced almonds & a sprig of mint if desired.

Almond Poppy Seed ‘Sheet’ Cake

Sheet cakes are sometimes thought of by some as a lazy man’s cake. Yes, they are easy to bake and contain no fancy layers or have intricate decorations but ….

Traditionally a sheet cake refers to a cake baked in a large, shallow rectangular pan such as a jelly-roll pan. They are single layer and almost always frosted on both top and sides.

The famous ‘Texas Sheet Cake’ that is very popular in the US seems to be referenced as far back as 1936. I understand it started out as three layers and ultimately became a one layer, large sheet cake. By the 1970’s these recipes were using sour cream instead of buttermilk and alternative ingredients had evolved.

Today, if you are wanting to make a sheet cake you can find over 300 recipe choices on allrecipes.com alone. At this time of year with so many people hosting block parties, barbecues, family gatherings etc. I thought it would be nice to post a favorite recipe of mine. If you like poppy seed, you will absolutely love this cake. 

Print Recipe
Almond Poppy 'Sheet' Cake
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Ingredients
Cake
Topping
Servings
Ingredients
Cake
Topping
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Beat egg whites until stiff, set aside in fridge. In a small bowl, combine flour, poppy seed, baking powder & salt. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks, gradually adding sugar, followed by oil, milk, flavorings & dry ingredients.
  2. Gently fold in egg whites. Pour into 2 unbuttered 9 x 13" pans or onto an unbuttered cookie sheet 18 x 15 x 1". Bake on middle rack for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool completely.
Icing & Topping
  1. In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients & beat until smooth; spread on cake & cool completely. Melt chocolate & margarine in microwave. QUICKLY spread topping over cooled cake.
Recipe Notes
  • I was only needing a small amount today so I made a quarter of the recipe & baked it in an 8 x 8-inch pan. It cuts nicely into 9 or 18 pieces.

Vanillekipferl – Gevulde Speculaas

I’ve always enjoyed food history and recreating memories from the past through cooking and baking. I had never realized how much my mother’s cooking was influenced by our German heritage. I guess as one gets older, things that were taken for granted now take on a whole new meaning. Today’s blog features a couple of those very special European treats. 

VANILLEKIPFERL or Vanilla Almond Crescent Cookies  –  Although this little crescent cookie originated in Austria, it has become very traditional in Germany. ‘Vanillin’ became very popular in the early 20th century, after artificial vanilla flavoring was invented. I’ve noticed there are numerous recipes that call for egg yolks in them. My personal preference is to make them without – just a few less calories. ‘Vanilla Sugar’  which is used in many German baked goods can be either bought in the Dr Oetker  brand or you can easily make it yourself. If you like the flavor of anise, you may want to try adding some anise seed to the cookie dough and when baked, dust these with  ‘Anise Sugar’.

GEVULDE SPECULAAS  or Spiced Cookies (Squares) Filled with Almond Paste  –  You’re right, this is very much a Dutch specialty. Some years ago I had the opportunity to spend a little time in the presence of a Dutch baker.  Among the many things I learned at that Dutch bakery was their love of almonds and those unique speculaas spices. In the mid 18th century, the recipe for ‘Spekulatius’  made its way to Germany from Holland and has become another traditional favorite. The origin of the cookie’s name may have derived from the Latin word ‘Spekulum’, signifying ‘mirror image’, which alludes to the wooden mold whose mirror image appears on the cookie. Since I became ‘hooked’ on that ‘speculaas spice’ combination, I like to make a small  pan of these very rich  and wonderful tasting goodies each Christmas. 

Print Recipe
Vanillekipferl / Gevulde Speculaas
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course dessert
Cuisine Dutch, German
Servings
Ingredients
Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Almond Crescent Cookies)
Speculaas Spice (about 3 Tbsp)
Course dessert
Cuisine Dutch, German
Servings
Ingredients
Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Almond Crescent Cookies)
Speculaas Spice (about 3 Tbsp)
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Vanillekipferl
  1. In a food processor, place flour & butter & pulse to combine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place mixture in a large bowl. Add ground almonds, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 pkg vanilla sugar, salt & extract. Knead dough with your hands in bowl until it comes together, about 5 minutes. Divide dough into four equal pieces, shaping each into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap place in a sealed plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove one ball at a time from refrigerator. Roll into a rope 12 inches in length. Cut into 12 even pieces, rolling each with the palm of your hands to a 3-inch length. Form into a crescent shape & place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. When you have filled the baking sheet, bake for about 12 minutes, just until tips of crescents turn a light golden brown. Using another COLD baking sheet repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Allow cookies to rest on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup powdered sugar remaining package of vanilla sugar. Carefully coat warm cookies in sugar mixture; place on a wire rack to finish cooling. Allow to sit out overnight then transfer to an airtight container for storing or freezing.
Gevulde Speculaas
  1. In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt & spices. Add chunks of cold butter & pulse into a smooth dough (you can do this by hand if you prefer). If the dough is too dry. you can add a little milk. Wrap dough in plastic wrap & place in refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  2. Either grease or line a 8 x 8" baking dish with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F. Divide dough into 2 portions. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface, until they are exactly as big as baking pan. Put one layer in pan & press lightly to fill the bottom. Lightly beat egg with a teaspoon of cold water. Spread 1/3 of egg over dough in pan.
  3. Roll out the almond paste between two sheets of plastic wrap, until it is exactly the size of pan. Press the paste lightly down to fit in the pan, and spread the next 1/3 of egg over it. Place the second layer of dough on top of the paste, press it lightly, making it as smooth as possible. Spread the last 1/3 of the egg wash over dough. Decorate the pastry with the almonds.
  4. Bake about 40 minutes or until they test done. Allow speculaas to cool completely in the pan, then cut into the portion size you prefer.
Recipe Notes
  • If you would like to make the 'Anise Seed Crescent Cookies' instead of the Vanilla Almond version, use vanilla extract instead of almond & add 1 Tbsp of crushed anise seed to the batter. For the 'Anise Sugar', blend (at a high speed), 1 Tbsp aniseed with 1 cup of granulated sugar until it makes a powder.
  • Although Gevulde Speculaas are at their best when fresh, I have never heard any complaints after they have been frozen. I always make sure they are wrapped in an airtight way before freezing.
  • In regards to the 'speculaas spice', I like to make extra so I can use it in anything you would normally use apple or pumpkin pie spice in. 

Christmas ‘Stollen’ Scones

Having spent many years in the commercial food industry, baking is something I have definitely done a lot of. Of course it goes without saying, it is truly one of my passions.

It only seems logical, if you like muffins, you will also like scones. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I took more of an interest in scones. I found a recipe for ‘buttermilk scones’ that only made 6 wedges which was perfect for the two of us. Of course, I could never just leave it at that. From there my addiction to ‘recipe development’ created a whole new section in my recipe file for scones.

Scones are much like muffins in the way that they share many of the same ingredients, but each varies slightly in the way they’re made. With muffins, the wet and dry ingredients are measured separately before mixing them together and then baking. Scones, on the other hand require the shortening to be cut into the dry ingredients. They both fall under the category of ‘quick breads’, because they are leavened with baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast. One big similarity between the two methods though, is that over-mixing will cause them to be tough and dry.

Over time, in North America at least, it seems that the difference between the two has become a little blurred. It all comes down to who makes them I guess which brings me to the blog recipe today. Just for fun I decided to try to create that magical ‘stollen’ flavor in a scone just to see what would happen. Brion and I really enjoyed them and I hoping you will to.

Print Recipe
Christmas 'Stollen' Scones
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
mini scones
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
mini scones
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, spices & salt; cut in margarine until it resembles fine crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, candied fruit, raisins, almonds, extracts, lemon zest, eggs & almond milk. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Scoop onto baking sheet & bake 12-14 minutes.

Sour Cream Blueberry Tarts

I’m not sure, but when it comes to blueberries, I don’t think there is a food category they can’t be used in.

Blueberries date back to the early 1600’s when they were dried and ground to make seasonings for meats, soups and stews. As a remedy, infused blueberry leaves become a tonic, while the juice was made into a sweet cough syrup. Blueberries rank highest of any fruit for antioxidants which can have a positive effect on the heart, brain, stomach, bladder and many more organs and tissues.

Although blueberry growers have increased, the price of fresh blueberries remains fairly high. While in ‘season’ its hard to resist these little ‘blue pearls’. You don’t have to look to far to find endless amounts of blueberry recipes for everything imaginable. These Sour Cream Blueberry Tarts  have been an old standby recipe for me that never fails to get great reviews.

Print Recipe
Sour Cream Blueberry Tarts
Don't you love the flowers --- straight out of my garden!
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Pecan Shortbread Tart Shells
Tart Filling
White Streusal Topping
Course dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Pecan Shortbread Tart Shells
Tart Filling
White Streusal Topping
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Pastry Shells
  1. In a large bowl, combine butter & powdered sugar; cream well. Add flavorings & combine. In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Blend well. Using a 12-cup regular muffin tin, line with paper cups. Divide dough into 12 balls. Place one in each cup. With fingers, press dough evenly up sides & on bottom of paper cups. Set aside in fridge.
White Streusal Topping
  1. In a small dish, combine streusal ingredients until mixture forms coarse crumbs.
Tart Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Gently rinse & dry blueberries. In a small bowl, combine all other filling ingredients & whisk together until smooth. Fold in blueberries. Divide filling evenly among the 12 pastry shells. Top with streusal & bake for about 25 minutes. ( Filling will rise slightly when set). Remove from oven; let cool for 5-10 minutes. Once cooled remove tarts from pan. The paper cups will come off easily, leaving a pretty little corrugated design.
Recipe Notes
  • Using fat free sour cream & egg substitute (simply egg whites) in the filling works well for reducing calories.
  • If you need a smaller amount of tarts, the recipe divides in half without problem.

Fresh Fruit Pizza

The quintessential summer BBQ dessert! Fruit pizza is like a giant cookie, covered with luscious cream, layered with colorful fresh fruit, topped with glaze and a drizzle of chocolate, if you please.

If you have been following my blogs, you have probably already noticed, choice is something I’m big on. Fruit pizza is a classic dessert with so many possibilities. I have always enjoyed to start with the original idea of a recipe and see how many ways I can vary it without getting too involved or requiring a lot of extra ingredients and time.

Since CANADA DAY celebrations are right around the corner I thought it was a good time to enjoy Fruit Pizza personalized’Here are some ideas to mix and match to your liking.

Print Recipe
Fresh Fruit Pizza
Personalize not only with ingredient choices but the design as well
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Ingredients
Classic Shortbread or Pecan Shortbread Crust
Oatmeal Crust
Frozen Puff Pastry OR Crescent Roll Dough
Cream Cheese Topping
Cool Whip / Custard Topping
Honey - Yogurt Topping
Citrus Glaze
Pineapple Glaze
Fresh Fruit (use whatever fruit you prefer)
Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
Servings
Ingredients
Classic Shortbread or Pecan Shortbread Crust
Oatmeal Crust
Frozen Puff Pastry OR Crescent Roll Dough
Cream Cheese Topping
Cool Whip / Custard Topping
Honey - Yogurt Topping
Citrus Glaze
Pineapple Glaze
Fresh Fruit (use whatever fruit you prefer)
Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
For Shortbread & Oatmeal Crusts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 12-inch pizza pan or cookie sheet. In a large bowl, cream butter & sugar until light. Add any flavorings. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until well blended. Press dough into pan & prick with a fork. Bake 10-15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool completely.
Frozen Puff Pastry
  1. Follow package directions. Cool completely & place on serving tray.
Crescent Roll Dough
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Pinch together crescent roll dough as you press into a 12-inch pizza pan. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden. Cool completely.
Cream Cheese Topping
  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, lime juice concentrate & sugar until smooth.
Cool Whip/Custard Topping
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together dry pudding mix & milk for 2 minutes. Fold in Cool Whip.
Honey - Yogurt Topping
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt & honey.
Citrus & Pineapple Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan, combine ingredients. Cook over medium heat until thickens. Remove from heat & cool slightly. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the fruit with glaze. FOR PRESERVE GLAZE: mix preserves with water & brush onto fruit.
TO ASSEMBLE FRUIT PIZZA
  1. Spread topping of choice onto cooled crust & arrange fruit onto. Brush with glaze of choice. Melt chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Dip a large spoon into chocolate; drizzle, quickly letting the chocolate fall in thin ribbons from the end of the spoon. If chocolate seems to stiff, add a drop of vegetable oil. Let pizza stand until chocolate is firm.