August Birthday Cake for a French Lab mate. The stakes are always high when you are baking for some French. Stress not ! This is not a recipe per say, it is an idea, a combination of flavors that are classic. Chocolate layer cake (out of a box), filled with apricot jam and whipped cream. Topped with chocolate frosting and decorated with dried apricots and almonds. Nothing to it !
Nothing says Good Friday Breakfast like warm Hot Cross Buns. Whether or not you are familiar with the nursery rhyme or whether its a long standing tradition (as for me) this is a recipie that will bring back happy memories or help you create some new ones !!
My mother made these every Good Friday, and I did not realize how much I missed them till I did not get them for 4 years in college. But now with a fully equipped kitchen I set out to bake and carry on a family tradition! I hope you like it !
• 1 cup warm milk (105°–115°F.)
• 5 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
• 1 large eggs
• 1/2 cup dried currants
• 1/3 cup raisins
In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.
Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cut butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Lightly beat 1 whole egg. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, currants and raisins. Stir mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and with floured hands knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Butter 2 large baking sheets.
On a floured surface with floured hands knead dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bake buns for about 12 minutes. Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly.
Fill in the Milk glaze into a pastry bag ( or a make shift piping bag made out of a Ziploc bag ) and pipe a cross onto the buns and let the glaze set. Serve warm!!!