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Archive for December, 2011

Christmas Danish

Cranberries & Canada Geese CookbookThis flaky pastry is so good, it might not make it to Christmas. A lovely breakfast or dessert Danish, it is appropriate anytime. But, before you start, check your calendar—it takes three days to complete this recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried, grated lemon peel or 3 tsp. fresh
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (approx.)
  • 2 tbsp. instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. water

 

DIRECTIONS

DAY 1
1. Combine milk and 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan. Heat just until butter melts. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Add the lukewarm water, sugar, salt, cornstarch and lemon peel.
2. Add 2 egg yolks, 1 egg white (reserve other egg white), 1 1/2 cups flour and yeast. Beat until smooth.
3. Stir in an additional 1 3/4 cups flour to make a stiff batter. You may need more or less flour. Stir just until blended.
4. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Chill for about an hour.
5. On waxed paper, spread 1½ cups butter into a 10 x 12” rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap then chill for 1hour.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a 12 x 16” rectangle.
7. Place butter slab on 2/3 of the dough. Fold the uncovered third over the middle section, cover with the remaining third. Give the dough a quarter turn, roll it into a 12 x 16” rectangle, fold as above. Turn, roll and fold once more. Cover with plastic wrap then chill for 1 hour.
8. Repeat procedure of 2 rollings, foldings, turnings and chillings 2 more times. Refrigerate dough overnight.

DAY 2
9. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half. Roll 1/2 the dough into a 6 x 15” rectangle. * Cut 12 strips, 1/2” wide x 15” long. Twist each strip and then roll it into a circle like a snail, sealing the ends well.
10. Place Danish pastries on greased baking sheets. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate pastries overnight.

DAY 3
11. Combine reserved egg white with 1 tbsp. water. Brush on rolls.
12. Bake pastries at 375°F about 15-20 minutes, or, until done.
13. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks. When cool, sprinkle with the following icing and decorate with colored sprinkles or sliced almonds, if desired.

* As an alternative shape, roll dough into a circle. Cut into 12 wedges, like a pie. Roll each wedge from the wide end then bend to form a croissant.

Vanilla Icing

1 cup sifted icing sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. milk (approx.)

Combine icing sugar and vanilla with enough milk to make a soft icing.
Variation: If you wish, put a small spoonful of cream cheese or lemon curd or apricot preserves in the center of the pastry before drizzling with icing.

Christmas Bread

Cranberries & Canada Geese CookbookThis bread is a Christmas tradition in the Woolsey house. Every year I wonder why we don’t eat it all year long. This is very good for gift-giving! – Marie

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. ground cardamom OR anise
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup candied peel
  • 1/2 cup candied cherries, halved
  • 6 cups flour (approx..)
  • 2 tbsp. instant yeast
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp. water

 

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, salt, oil, egg, cardamom, raisins, peel and cherries. Add 3 cups of flour and the yeast. Beat well.
2. Switch to a dough hook, if you have one, and gradually add the remaining 3 cups of flour. Knead until dough isn’t too sticky to handle. If kneading by hand, add as much flour as you can in the bowl, then turn out onto a floured surface and work in the rest of the flour by hand, using a kneading motion. It may take a little more or a little less flour. Just knead it until the dough feels soft but not sticky and bounces back when pressed, 8-10 minutes.
3. Shape dough into a ball and place it in a large, well-greased bowl, turning dough to grease surface. Cover the dough with a cloth and put it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
4. Punch down dough and cut it into 3 or 4 pieces. Form each piece into a round loaf. Place the loaves on greased cookie sheets, 2 loaves to a sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
5. Brush with egg white and water. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
6. Remove baked loaves from baking sheets and let cool on a rack.

Makes 3 large or 4 small, round loaves.

TIP: Cardamom is a unique an wonderful spice with a warm, sweet, spicy flavor. Anise gives a mild flavor or black licorice. I can’t decide which I like better. Don’t be afraid to add a little extra spice for a more pronounced flavor.

Caramel Popcorn

Cranberries & Canada Geese CookbookA “keep-it-on-hand” treat but, to keep it on hand, you’ll have to hide it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cups popping corn (unpopped)
  • 2 cups salted peanuts

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

 

DIRECTIONS

1.  You’ll need a roasting pan to stir this in. Start by popping the corn. Place it in the roasting pan, checking to make sure that none of the un-popped kernels are included. Add salted peanuts to the popcorn.
2.  To make the sauce, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a large saucepan. (This is important because when you add the baking soda in the next step it may overflow the pan if a large enough one is not used.) Heat and stir, over medium heat, until boiling. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes.
3.  Stir in vanilla and baking soda. Immediately pour this mixture over the popcorn. Mix well to coat all pieces.
4.  Spread on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Jelly roll pans are good. You need pans with raised edges so that you don’t lose the caramel corn when you stir it.
5.  Bake at 250°F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
6.  Cool thoroughly. Break apart and store in plastic bags or containers.

Makes 8 quarts.

Ribbon Salad

Black Currants & Caribou CookbookThis recipe is a longstanding tradition and a favorite of the Webber family. Vary the colors to match the holiday.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x 3 oz. pkgs. lime flavored gelatin
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 14 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 3 oz. pkg. lemon flavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 x 3 oz. pkgs. cherry flavored gelatin

 

DIRECTIONS

1.  Dissolve the lime gelatin in 2 cups of boiling water in a bowl. Stir in 2 cups of cold water. Pour into a 9 x 13” glass casserole. Chill until partially set.
2.  Drain pineapple, reserving 1 cup of juice. Set aside.
3.  Dissolve the lemon gelatin in 1 cup of boiling water in the top of a double boiler or a microwaveable bowl. Add marshmallows, heat and stir until the marshmallows are melted.
4.  Combine lemon mixture with 1 cup of the reserved pineapple juice and the cream cheese. Beat with a rotary beater until well blended. Stir in pineapple; cool.
5.  Fold in the whipped cream and mayonnaise. Chill until thickened. Pour over lime gelatin layer. Chill until almost set.
6.  Dissolve cherry gelatin in the remaining 2 cups of boiling water in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of cold water. Chill until thick and syrupy. Pour over the pineapple layer.
7.  Chill until set. Cut into squares.

Makes 24 servings.

Christmas Fruitcake

Black Currants & Caribou CookbookThis is a dark, moist fruitcake. I usually make it at the end of October and start nibbling by the end of November. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off but, do be prepared to start preparation the night before you plan to bake it. — Marie

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x 2 oz. pkgs. slivered blanched almonds
  • 2 x 8 oz. pkgs. candied cherries
  • 8 oz. pkg. chopped mixed peel
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup brandy or sherry

 

DIRECTIONS

1.  Combine the almonds, cherries, mixed peel, raisins, currents, dates and brandy. Cover and allow to stand overnight, (a minimum of 2 hours, if you’re really in a hurry).
2.  Prepare your cake pan. Traditionally, this is made in a 3 x 8 x 8” fruitcake pan. An angel food cake pan works as well. Whatever you choose, you must grease the pan and line the bottom with brown paper then grease the paper. This is to prevent the outside of the cake from overcooking and so that you can turn it out of the pan to cool.
3.  Dredge the fruit with ½ cup of flour.
4.  In a separate bowl, cream the butter. Blend in the eggs and brown sugar and beat well. (This will be your mixing bowl).
5.  In another bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, cloves, allspice, cinnamon and salt.
6.  In a measuring cup mix together the molasses and apple juice.
7.  To the butter and egg mixture, add the dry ingredients alternately with the liquid. Make 4 dry and 3 liquid additions combining lightly after each addition. Lightly fold in the fruit mixture. Turn it into the prepared pan.
8.  Bake at 275°F for 3-3 1/2 hours or, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Turn out the pan onto a cooling rack. Carefully remove the brown paper. Allow the cake to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Optional:  After the first week poke a few holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick or skewer. Pour 2 tbsp. brandy or sherry over the cake. Repeat once a week for a month.

NOTE: For gift giving or freezing, smaller pans can be used. Shorten the baking time. If frozen, this cake will easily keep until the next Christmas.