Saffron & Cranberry Star Bread

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I wanted to try to make a star bread for a while. I just love the shape and it is perfect for the holidays. Based on the Swedish saffron buns, I thought of making a saffron star bread. And to add more color and flavor, I added a homemade cranberry jam.

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This recipe makes 1 star bread.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

3 ½ cups of All-purpose flour

7gr dry yeast

½ cup of warm water

½ cup of milk

0.2 grams of saffron

1 teaspoon of salt

4 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup of sugar

1 egg

For the cranberry jam:

1 cup of cranberries

1 cup of water

1/3 of a cup of sugar

For the egg wash:

1 egg

1 tablespoon of cream

 

Start by making the cranberry jam. Place the cranberries, water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let it cook for about 12 minutes, the cranberries will burst and it will thicken. Then blend it until smooth. Transfer it to a bowl and set it aside to cool down.

To make the dough, place the milk and saffron in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it come to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Then blend it to break the saffron threads. Set it aside.

Place the yeast and the warm water in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it stand for 5 minutes.

Place the flour, salt, egg, cooled melted butter, sugar and the saffron milk into the bowl with the yeast.

Knead on low speed for 5 minutes, using the dough hook attachment.  You can also knead it by hand.

Then remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with a bit of vegetable oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Once the dough has risen, place it on your floured working area and divide it into 4 equal pieces.

Roll out one piece big enough to cut a circle of about 24cm. Just use a large plate or cake pan to cut the dough into a large circle. Place the circle on a piece of parchment paper. Then repeat for the remaining dough. Once all the dough is ready, place one circle on top of a sheet of parchment paper. This will make it easier to transfer to a baking sheet once the star is assembled.

Spread some of the cranberry jam all over it. Be careful to not add too much because it won’t stick and it will just get very messy.

Place one circle on top of the one with the jam. Repeat until you have no more circles left.

Place a glass in the middle of the circle. Using a knife cut the dough into 16 pieces starting from the rim of the glass. To try to make them as even as possible, I first cut it into 4, then into 8 and finally into 16.

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Then grab 2 slices and twist them twice. Repeat for all of the 16 slices.

Finally grab two of the twisted slices and press them together to seal them. Let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Then brush it with the egg wash.

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Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Bake the star bread for 20 minutes or until golden. Enjoy!

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Chocolate, Oatmeal & Cranberry Sandwich Cookies with Vanilla Bean Frosting

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These cookie sandwiches are soft and chewy. They make a perfect edible gift for the holidays.

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This recipe makes about 23 small sandwich cookies.

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

1 ¼ cup of all-purpose flour

¼ cup of cocoa powder

1 cup of instant oats

1 cup of brown sugar

113grs of softened butter

1 egg

½ teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of baking soda

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/3 cup of chopped dried cranberries

1 tablespoon of milk

For the vanilla bean frosting:

4 tablespoons of skyr or Greek yogurt

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped off

3 cups of powdered sugar

 

To make the cookies, preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line an oven sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Then add the egg and vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder. Finally add the milk, oats and cranberries.

Grab about 1 teaspoon of the dough and roll it into a ball using your hands. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and repeat for the rest of the dough. Bake them for about 10 minutes. Allow them to cool down for a couple of minutes in the baking sheet, and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

Once all the cookies are cold, start making the frosting. Whisk the skyr with the vanilla bean seeds and then gradually add the powdered sugar.

Place about one teaspoon of the frosting on the flat side of one cookie, top with the flat side of another cookie, and press to spread the filling. Repeat for all. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Duck Breast Salad with Orange – Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

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I love duck breast and it’s something I don’t eat very often. Usually I have to go to a butcher to get it because regular supermarkets here don’t carry it unless it’s the holiday season. That time of the year has come and when I saw it at the supermarket, I couldn’t resist. This is a salad you can have as a first course or main, perfect for the holidays. And it doesn’t require a lot of time which is very handy if you want to host a dinner.

This recipe serves 2. If you would like it as a main course, I find it nicer to get 1 duck breast per person.

Ingredients:         

For the vinaigrette:

½ cup of fresh orange juice

½ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of poppy seeds

2 tablespoons of honey

Salt

Pepper

For the duck:

1 duck breast, about 225grs.

Salt

Pepper

For the salad:

1/3 cup of dried cranberries

2 apples, thinly sliced (I used one Royal Gala and one Granny Smith)

1 persimmon, thinly sliced

40grs of baby kale

75grs of arugula

 

To make the vinaigrette, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies. Taste for salt and set it aside. Just re-shake it right before serving.

To cook the duck breast, first preheat the oven to 200C/390F. Trim any excess skin that is just hanging off the meat. Using a sharp knife, score the fat of the breast in a criss-cross pattern.  Season it with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat up a cast iron skillet or oven-proof pan over medium heat. Place the duck breast with the skin side down and let the fat render off for 4 minutes. Then sear the meat side for 1 minute.  Finally turn the breast fat side down again and place it in the oven for 5 minutes. This will give you a medium to medium rare duck breast depending on the size of it. Once the breast is cooked, let it rest for 5 minutes and then thinly slice it.

To plate up, mix the arugula with the baby kale and divide it among 2 plates. Add the cranberries, apples and persimmon.  Then add the sliced duck breast and serve with the dressing on the side.

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Whole-Wheat & Thyme Scones with Camembert & Cranberry Compote

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I have been craving scones lately and thought that Saturday was the perfect day to make them, since we have more time to enjoy breakfast together. I saw fresh cranberries at the market for the first time this season and I was so excited to make something with them. So I served these scones with homemade cranberry compote and Camembert.

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This recipe makes 12 small scones.

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole-wheat flour

1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder

1 ½ tablespoon of honey

Pinch of salt

½ teaspoon of baking soda

4 sprigs of thyme

5 tablespoons of cold butter, chopped

¾ cup of cold buttermilk

For the cranberry compote:

2 cups of fresh cranberries

2 cups of water

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar

Extra:

1 small Camembert, 250grs

 

Preheat the oven to 200C/390F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the cranberry compote, just place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens. Transfer it to a small bowl and set it aside to cool.

Place all the dry ingredients plus the butter and honey in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is well incorporated. Then add the buttermilk and mix until you have an even dough.

Place the dough on your floured working area. Shape the dough into a 1 cm thick rectangle. Using a 6 cm round mold, cut 6 circles or more if you can. Then use the scraps to form extra scones. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, about 14 minutes.

Serve the scones while still warm with slices of Camembert and the cranberry compote. Enjoy!

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Cranberry Chicken Roulade with Black Rice, Purslane & Cranberry Red Wine Sauce

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Seeing cranberries at the market starts to get me into the holiday spirit! This a recipe from last year which I just updated and tweaked a bit. This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

2 chicken breasts, about 560 grams

Salt

Pepper

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil

For the cranberry compote:

2 cups of fresh cranberries

2 cups of water

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar

For the cranberry red wine sauce:

Leftover of the cranberry compote

1 ½ cups of chicken stock

¼ cup red wine

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 bay leaf

Salt

For the black rice:

1 cup of black rice

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of salt

4 cups of boiling water

Extras:

1 handful of purslane, washed

Olive oil

Vinegar

Salt

Pepper

 

First make the cranberry compote, just place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once the cranberries start to pop, stir from time to time to prevent the bottom from sticking. Cook for about 15 minutes until it has thickened and turned into a compote. Transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down completely.

While the sauce is cooling down, start making the rice. Place the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic powder, rice and salt. Stir for a few seconds and then add the boiling water. Cover it with a lid and let it cook on low heat for about 35 to 40 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.

To prepare the chicken, first butterfly it and then place it in between 2 plastic wrap pieces. Using a meat tenderizer, hammer it until it has an even thickness.

Place the chicken in a new long piece of plastic wrap, sprinkle some salt and pepper on it. Add about 2 tablespoons of the cranberry compote in the middle, lengthwise. Careful not to add too much so it doesn’t overflow. Roll it like a sausage very tightly with the plastic wrap and make knots on both edges.

Repeat for second piece and then place them in a large pot with boiling water and cook them for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, start preparing the sauce.

Blend the remaining cranberry compote with the chicken stock. Then pass it through a strainer and discard the pulp.

Place the sauce in a medium saucepan; add the red wine, sugar and bay leaf.  Reduce it until it has become a thick sauce. Add salt to taste and remove the bay leaf.  Set aside.

Once the 10 minutes for the chicken have passed, remove them from the water and remove the plastic wrap. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides. Remove them from the pan and slice them.

In a small bowl, mix the purslane with a splash of olive oil, vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Serve the sliced chicken with the black rice, salad and some of the cranberry-red wine sauce.

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