Tag Archives: cranberries

Cranberry Swiss Zopf Bread

I hope that you enjoyed the holidays where ever you may have been, with the people most important to you.  We had a busy few weeks and I’m just settling back into a routine.  Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my daily naps, hockey games and endless hours reading, it looks like Christmas threw up in here!  It’s time to get things tidied up.

Swiss Loaf- SweetRevelations

Usually, on week-ends, when I set my mind to an afternoon of cleaning, I start off right away with making some bread dough.  I spend a few quiet minutes mixing and kneading, and when the bread is left to rise, I get straight to work.  Must be something happening in my subconscious about settling in for a few hours of work, to make the house in order again, with a sweet, yeasty, warm reward at the end.   I’ve been kneading homemade bread for years and the comfort it brings me is unmatched to any other item I bake.  There’s a swish and roll on the countertop while kneading, sometimes the only sound in the house, as I do my work.  Some of my best thinking happens in these moments.  I do think of my ancestors, living in a simpler time, doing the same thing for their family.  Perhaps my great-grandfather, a cook, baking fresh bread and biscuits for his children!  It’s more about the process for me, the kneading and then resting, allowing the ingredients to do their magic.   A simple task really, that takes a few hours from start to finish, that this whole house gets to enjoy.  This weekly, sometimes daily, mixing and kneading ritual for me, centers around spending time in our home, making it a home, and inviting my family to share in this good wholesome food with me. Not to mention the smell, that intoxicating, welcome home smell, that really is like no other.

swiss bread- SweetRevelations

I regularly use fresh or dried fruits in my breads and biscuits.  Often adding fresh berries, when I can.  For the most part, fresh fruits do very well in breads and biscuits as long as they aren’t overripe and super juicy.  Fruits actually help the leavening process, by adding some extra sugar for the yeast to feed on.  This time, I opted for a pretty Swiss Braided Zopf, a gorgeous recipe from King Arthur Flour, that I’ve made many times.  I didn’t actually mix the berries in the dough this go around, but quickly tucked them in all of the nooks and crannies just before the second rise.  The recipe uses sour cream and eggs and produces a rich tasting, not too sweet, moist loaf, with a tender crust.  Perfect for coffee break.   Or breakfast toast.  Or French Toast.  Or Bread Pudding.  You get the idea.

Swiss Braid- SweetRevelations

Don’t let working with yeast intimidate you.  It’s really pretty straight forward, and with fast acting yeast, it’s almost impossible to mess up.   Most bread dough does very well with an 8-10 minute kneading time.  It generally doesn’t need to be complicated or fussy.  Bread dough is usually pretty forgiving, and you can work on some of your errors the next time you bake a loaf.  As with all baking, it’s a learning process, but so worth it!  At the end of the day, you’ll end up with a stunning loaf that your family will drool over.   You won’t be able to butter it fast enough!

I’m curious to know from you, dear friends, what are some of your baking or food traditions?  Are you starting new ones, or continuing on with some of the kitchen love you grew up with?  This year I will really be more focused on sharing more of my food traditions and stories with you.  I’ve loved writing about my bake shop experiences, but really, the heart of this baker, started a long time ago in my childhood home with some great teachers.  It has only increased as I’ve become a homemaker, in this amazing community with access to outstanding farm to table foods and locally sourced ingredients.  I’m going to share with you more about my passion for using simple ingredients, and a no-fuss approach to creating new food traditions while still embracing the old.  Lets make homemaking the new food trend for 2016 every body!

Thank you, as always for a wonderful blogging year.  I do so appreciate you.  Happy New year!

Renee

xo

  Cranberry Swiss Zopf Bread

*from King Arthur Flour

  • 3/4 cup full fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white, lightly beaten (reserve remaining yolk for glaze)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed)
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt. Set aside.
  2. Warm the sour cream to lukewarm in a microwave, for approximately 15 seconds, stirring once removed. Add the melted butter and stir.  Add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture, then stir in the egg and 1 egg white. Stir until the mixture comes together to form a shaggy mass, then set it aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Knead the dough, by hand, until it’s smooth and elastic, for approximately 8-10 minutes (or use a mixer and a dough hook too if you have it).  Place dough in a greased bowl, cover the bowl with a tea towel, and set the dough aside to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s doubled in bulk.  I usually put mine out of the way, on top of the fridge.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased countertop and knead it gently a few times, to expel the excess carbon dioxide. Divide it into three equal pieces, and roll each piece into an 18-inch log. Braid the logs together, pinching them at both ends and tucking the pinched ends under.
  5. Place the braid on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and tuck fresh cranberries in all of the folds and crevices.  Cover it again, and allow it to rise for another hour.
  6. Whisk the remaining egg yolk with 1 tbsp. water, and brush the braid with this glaze. Sprinkle with almonds.  Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and shiny. Remove it from the oven and let it cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Zopf is traditionally served at breakfast, toasted or not, and makes an outstanding French toast too!

 

 

 

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Skillet Cranberry Orange Scones

Get your skillet out!  Spoil your family this week and make Skillet Cranberry Orange Scones for breakfast.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know about my weakness for this quick bread, because it’s so incredibly versatile.  I rolled thousands of scones when I owned a bake shop, and still regularly make them for home.  These buttery scones are bursting with cranberries and orange zest, and then glazed (twice for good measure) with a sweet orange glaze.   I’ve really come to love baking a small batch in the skillet, and the presentation is simple and beautiful.

Cranberry Scones SweetRevelations

Often people mistakenly think that scones are bland, dense, and dry.  I can assure you, these are not.  The trick with scones, is to handle the dough as little as possible, use good quality frozen butter, and fresh buttermilk.   A batch of scones is easily mixed in 20 minutes or less, is done by hand, and they can be prepared ahead of time, frozen and baked as needed.   I know right?  I can’t talk these things up any more, they sell themselves!

cranberry scones, sweetrevelations

With the holidays approaching, I always, and I mean always, have a batch ready in the freezer.  They are the perfect tea time treat when company arrives, make an excellent gift, and are a delicious addition to any holiday brunch table.  I can also bake up a few in the morning, right from the freezer, for the kids before they head off to school.

cranberry scones- sweetrevelations

I bet your kitchen is in full swing with holiday baking.  I hope you might take a few minutes to mix up a batch of scones and have a much deserved coffee break!

Happy baking friends,

Renee

Skillet Cranberry Orange Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (full fat works best)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Orange Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice

 

Preheat oven to 415°

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and zest.  Use a cheese grater to grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture.  Mix gently with a fork to coat the butter with the flour mixture.

2.  In a separate small bowl mix the buttermilk, extract, sour cream and egg.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour buttermilk mixture in.  Mix gently to incorporate.

3.  Knead dough on a floured surface, maximum 1o times.  The idea is to knead very little to keep that butter cold.  As best you can, fold in the cranberries with your hands.  Pat the dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.  Cut the dough into eight even wedges, but still keeping it in the circle shape.  Place the scones into a well seasoned skillet (a circle of parchment on the bottom works well too).  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until dough is cooked and scones are golden.

4.  While scones are baking, mix the powdered sugar and orange juice into a smooth glaze.  Once scones are baked, drizzle with orange glaze while they are still warm.

Notes:

  1.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a skillet.  You can use a round cake pan, lightly sprayed with baking spray, or bake the scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  2. Scones do very well in the freezer.  Roll a batch and freeze on a cookie sheet (before baking).  Simply bake from frozen, adding additional time as needed.
  3. This recipe doubles nicely.  I usually make a double batch, baking one up and freezing the other for later.

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Cranberry, Orange and Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti is by far my favourite afternoon pick me up with tea.  I don’t bake it much in the summer, but as soon as fall rolls around it’s in the oven pretty much weekly.

biscotti sweetrevelations

When I owned the bake shop, I would make an enormous batch every Christmas Eve.  I always tied a clear bag that was full of biscotti, with some gorgeous Christmas ribbon, and gave it to my customers as they picked up their Christmas baking.  As a way of saying thank you for their patronage each year.  I keep a jar of Biscotti in the cupboard at work too.  I’m all for sharing!   Anyone is welcome to come and grab a piece with their afternoon tea.   It’s kind of like my way of spreading love.

Cookie love.  Chocolate-y, orange-y, crunchy cookie love.

biscotti sweetrevelations

The recipe is incredibly versatile.  I load chocolate chips, cranberries, dried apricots, pumpkin seeds, and nuts in them.  Whatever I have on hand at the time.  This particular version has dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and almonds.  I also, always add orange bakery emulsion or orange zest to the recipe.  It adds just a slight citrus note that makes each crunchy bite even more amazing.  Another fabulous combination includes almonds, white chocolate and dried apricots.  The combinations are endless!

biscottisweetrevelations

Don’t be intimidated by Biscotti.  It couldn’t be any simpler.  The dough only bakes for about 30 minutes.  After that, it’s sliced up into those delicious dipping fingers and left in the oven for the rest of the night.  Other recipes usually call for a double bake, but I slice it up and put it back in the oven and turn the oven off.  Overnight, or several hours later when the oven has cooled down, the Biscotti are nice and crisp.  When I get up, I can throw them in the cookie jar and get on with my day.

One in hand, of course.

Happy Biscotti baking and coffee dipping friends,

Renee

Cranberry, Orange and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

*adapted from a recipe by Julie Van Rosendaal

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp orange bakery emulsion or orange zest
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350°.

  1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the butter, sugar, eggs, orange juice, orange emulsion and vanilla until smooth.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir just until combined – avoid over mixing. Add the almonds, cranberries and chocolate chips and gently fold in.
  2. I prefer my Biscotti pieces to be about 6-7 inches long.  Place all of the dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  With dampened hands (essential),  shape the dough into a rectangle about 6 inches wide and 12 inches long.  It should be just under an inch thick.  Do the best you can, you can’t go wrong here.  Similarly, if you prefer smaller cookies, shape the dough into two logs,  2-3 inches wide and  1 inch thick.  (You should be able to fit both on one same sheet.)
  3. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then carefully transfer the whole piece to a cutting board and cut on a slight diagonal into ¾-inch slices with a sharp or serrated knife.
  4. Place the Biscotti back on the cookie sheet, this time laying each piece on its side.  Put it back in the oven, and turn the oven off.  Leave overnight or for several hours without opening the door.   In the morning, you will have crispy Biscotti waiting for you! Store in a cookie jar for several weeks, if they last that long.

 

 

 

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Perfected Chocolate Chip Cookies {Loaded With Walnuts and Cranberries}

I bet if I polled every follower of SweetRevelations, you would all have your version of the best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  Every home has one, that ultimate Chocolate Chip recipe that no one can beat.  It might be flat and crispy or thick and slightly chewy in the middle.   You may have a whole system down for how to produce the most amazing chocolatey bite; use only dark brown sugar, butter is a must, refrigerate a minimum of one hour before baking, stand on tip toes, tap heels three times and voila! The whole family is delighted and rejoicing in the joy that only this classic cookie can bring.

If you don’t have one, I wonder if you’ve made endless batches on a quest for the perfect recipe?

chocchip

I present to you my version of the Perfected Chocolate Chip Cookie that is loaded with walnuts and cranberries.  It’s my go-to, Sunday baking, soul soothing recipe, that’s super thick, crisp on the outside and slightly soft inside.  You might be questioning the cranberry but I urge you to give it a shot.  It just adds an extra chewy bit of sweetness that compliments the chocolate chunks so well.  Warm from the oven, these are the very definition of comfort food.

cookie

All kidding about the heel tapping aside, I do believe the addition of molasses and chilling the dough is what puts these bakery style cookies over the top.  I dare say I’ve found the perfect recipe.  The batter is on the larger side and will produce close to 40 big cookies.  You can bake what you need now and easily freeze dough balls to pop in the oven at a later date.

Life is simply just better with milk and cookies!

splash

Do you have the ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe?  I would love it if you would share your favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie secrets with me!

Happy baking!

Renee

xo

 

Perfected Chocolate Chip Cookies

*adapted from Baking Illustrated

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1  1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1  1/2 cups chocolate chunks, semi sweet
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325°

1. Melt butter and set aside to cool slightly.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

2. Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, combine the sugars and the butter and mix well.  Add eggs, yolks, vanilla and molasses.  Mix until well incorporated.  Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Stir in chocolate, walnuts and cranberries.

3.  Refrigerate the dough for an hour.  Using a cookie scoop (mine is 2″ in diameter), scoop chilled dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 18 mins. Let the cookies rest on the sheet for about 2 mins.  Store in an airtight container.

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