Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Knitting and kringle

Well, the gloves plural aren't finished, but one is, so I'll provide a picture. They're made with what may be my favorite yarn, Frog Tree Alpaca. This is the sport weight yarn, which I suggest for gloves and socks, unless you're willing to work with finer weight, and then their fingering weight is lovely. You do have to keep it safe from clothes moths, though, as I found out first hand losing one pair of socks to those critters. These are fitted to my hand, with the fingers a bit long in case I choose to grow my nails. Now let's see if they suit my daughter, and I keep them or not.

In addition, I've baked kringle. Kringle is a bit of a family tradition now. I started baking kringle after hearing about it in Oklahoma City around Christmas while in grad school for my Master's in City Planning. Ever since then, I've been making almond kringle - so that would be since 1984. Oh, heavens, 25 years of kringle baking. I found the recipe in a magazine, and of course tweaked it by changing the filling, leaving out candied citron (not my favorite thing, although candied citrus peel beats the heck out of green candied cherries in my estimation!), and substituting chopped pecans which were native to the area of Norman and Oklahoma City.

If you've never run into kringle before, it's a pastry that is filled with any of a number of fruit or nut fillings, or occasionally cheese or chocolate. Originally from Denmark, it's associated in the US most strongly with Racine, Wisconsin. I'm not sure how many Danes moved to Oklahoma City, but apparently some did because it was a local specialty around Christmas. The recipe I have uses a yeast dough that is more of a regular sweet roll type dough rather than a puff pastry type dough that the commercial bakeries such as those in Racine use. I like mine because it's fresh and you can smell it all through the house, which of course the bakery product doesn't offer. The other thing I've found with the bakery product when I bought it in Oklahoma City was that I thought the dough underneath the filling pulled moisture from the filling which I don't find with this dough. But that's me.

Almond Kringle

2 pkgs yeast
1/2 cup very warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
approx. 4 cups flour

Mix 2 pkg yeast, water and 1 Tbsp sugar in large bowl. Heat milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and butter in a pan on medium heat until butter melts and milk scalds, stirring to keep sugar from caramelizing on the bottom of the pan. Let milk mixture cool to lukewarm and add with eggs and salt to the yeast mix. Add two cups of flour. Mix well. Add flour by 1/2 cup increments until stiff enough to knead. Knead until smooth, adding flour as needed. Let rise until double. Make filling.


One 6-8 oz tin or tube of almond paste
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick softened butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Cut almond paste into small pieces, add sugar, and butter to food processor with metal blade. Process for a few seconds, move around after stopping processor, and process again until smooth. Add pecans, and process until mixed.

When dough is risen, cut in thirds, roll into approximately 24 X 6-8 inch oblongs for each third. Spread each with 1/3 of the filling, and roll into long log. Shape into pretzel shape on cookie sheet and let rise until double again. Glaze with whole egg glaze for nice brown sheen.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Yield 3 kringles (YUM!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Overdue post

Ah, sorry not to have posted for awhile. I've been out of the cooking loop for a bit - knitting and illness took over for a few weeks. I've had a bad cold that set off asthma-like symptoms, darn it, and knocked me on my butt for a bit, then I have gloves on the knitting needles and socks for Mike. I've almost finished the gloves and will post photos of them, even though they aren't cooking. I won't post the pattern though, they are worked for my hands and I worked them without a pattern. The socks will take a bit longer.

I finally did some baking again. I would call them within the range of normal, but they taste so good, I'll post. They're oatmeal cookies with dried cherries. Mike and I have been enjoying them, and so have the collies. I can't have one without a begging dog at my side or at my feet!

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups roll oats (old fashioned or quick, not instant)
1 cups dried cherries (chopped coarsely)

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, mix well. Add extracts and mix. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to the butter and egg mixture, mix well. (These first steps may be done by hand or in a mixer) Add oatmeal and cherries, mix by hand until combined. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets, one dozen per sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven 10 to 12 minutes until done. Makes 4 dozen cookies.