Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday Baking in Retrospect (fiber free post)

Well,  once the rush of holiday knitting ended, the holiday baking began.  I try never to bake as I eat too much, but with two sons in the house, one must cave at least at the holidays.  My family has several somewhat traditional cookie recipes, but I decided to go another way this year.  

I have always wanted to try to bake Danish pastry.  I located a recipe in my favorite baking book, which by the way is Prairie Home Breads by Judith Fertig.

As a warmup, however, I made stollen for Christmas morning.  I use my Grandmother's recipe, which she got from a friend in Vermont long ago.  I made three, one for me and the boys, one for my folks, one for my sister and her family.  I like using a baking pan so that the slices are not too long and narrow.

Next, some Lucia Buns for Christmas dinner.  Not the traditional date for these buns, however my sons asked for them.  Sometimes they show up at Thanksgiving dinner as well; they are  pictured here from last year.  I cheat; I don't do individual shapes, I just roll them into a rough ball and put in the baker a la monkey bread.  This recipe is also from Prairie Home Breads.

OK, then on to the Danish.  I learned from Ms. Fertig's book that Danish pastries can be made in to all different shapes.  This would be my cookie dough.  I can be a bit sloppy at times,  so I tried hard to follow the recipe to the letter.  Prepared dough (used the Kitchenaid) 

and chilled and rolled out butter.  Layered dough and butter, refridgerating a few minutes in between folding and rolling out.  Really, not terribly difficult.  I did not get perfect layers, but the end result did not seem to suffer.

Then, once all folds done, refridgerate overnight.  Now, here was my learning aha moment...I thought that yeast did not actively work when dough was cold.  WRONG!  Here we are out of the fridge the next morning (compare above and below): 

 Next, the fun begins.  Divide the dough and refridgerate parts not being worked with.  I made a filling, an almond paste from the book.  Roll dough out flat, spread filling, rolly jelly roll style

Slice, allow a little rising time and bake:

For the next batch, I went with something easier but a little Scandinavian, some Swedish Lingonberry jam

These pictured below are before baking.  The jam was slippery and I used my new trick to refridgerate the roll before slicing. 

Their final appearance was not perfect, but quite delicious.

Next year, I will bother to hand-form the Lucia Bun S shape, but I will use the refriderator trick to work the dough more easily!

So, New Year's celebration is easier:  make olive tapenade hors d'oeuvres with pre made pizza dough, take to sister's and eat steamed oysters. 

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 19, 2011

More Holiday Knitting

Not much time to be clever, if I ever am...another FO for a little one for christmas

the pattern is from here; free from Red Heart

Happy Merry!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Knitting 2011 part IV

In desperate finish mode for holiday gifts so this will be short;  here are some gift FO's

a bear and a sweater

 (apparently American Girl Doll clothes fit 18" bears)

Wish they could talk back...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vintage Knitting: Socks for Soldiers: Articles and an FO

The New York Times offers PDF's of some interesting old articles on sock knitting for soldiers.

Here are two links from the Times in 1914:  the link will open in to a downloadable PDF of the original articles!

Mrs. DeLancey Nicoll's instructions on "How to Knit Socks for Soldiers"  Apparently, Mrs. Nicoll interviewed a woman from the Red Cross who stated: "The trouble with American women is that so few of them know how to knit socks. Practically only the foreign-born women know how."

And finally, from 1917, a general article including socks:

The Times has some other fascinating articles both old and new on knitting. Go to and search, although you'll want to specify a little in your search  e.g., "knitting socks."

In the meantime, my authentic Civil War socks are completed