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KCL Friday Finds

Happy weekend!! We are still busy over here with getting settled in. I know Ken and I will be utterly happy when we don't have to do anything extra to do...just a normal day-to-day routine plus our dates on the weekends. We will at least be on more of a schedule this coming week, as our kiddos start at their new school! And I've managed to get on a bit of a schedule with work, with just a few extra things on my to-do. I hope you all have a good weekend and enjoy some of my favorite links from the week. Grab a cup of coffee and sit back and relax. Image via Chevrons & Eclairs.

Traditional European Christmas Sweets

If you saw my recent post, The Twelve Cookies of Christmas, you may have noticed I left out classic European holiday cookies. It was all part of my master plan to do a separate feature entirely on traditional Christmas treats of Europe.


via Mark Csele
1. Hungarian Kifli. Naturally I have to start with Hungary (my mom is a 100% Hungarian). Kifli (pronounced "key-flea") is a popular Hungarian cookie around Christmastime. I plan to devote an entire post just to these on my cooking blog when I make my annual batch over the holiday weekend. Many Hungarians have different "passed-down" versions of the recipe, and they all claim that they have the best and most authentic. I really think it depends on the family and region, and that all the recipes are valid. A similar rolled crescent cookie is made in many other East European countries. Most call for sour cream or cream cheese, like the rugelac dough, in addition to butter. I actually prefer using half butter and half shortening to give it both a butter flavor and to make the dough extra flaky. I can't find my written recipe (so I am panicking on the inside) but here is a pretty good recipe. And the picture demonstrates perfectly how to roll out and fill the dough with the lekvar filling.
Beigli is also a very popular Hungarian dessert for the holidays.


photo and recipe via Lavender and Lime

2. Italian Panettone. Panettone is a sweet bread originating in Milan. Unlike it many other sweet-bread relatives of Europe, it has a unique cylindrical shape with a dome top. It has also become quite popular in America and other countries during Christmas. You can find a recipe on Lavender and Lime, or you can pick one up ready-made at a grocery store.


photo and recipe via Cinnamon Girl Recipes

3. German Stollen.  Stollen is a sweet bread made with dried fruit and nuts. Some recipes also call for marzipan. I love this recipe for Easy Christmas Stollen by Cinnamon Girl Recipes (adapted from King Arthur Flour). The recipe calls for the addition of ricotta cheese which makes the bread softer than usual. This is something worth making from scratch. You can pick up a pre-baked stollen loaf in the states at a grocery store during the holidays, but they tend to be rather hard.

photo via The Kitchen Goddess

4. English Mincemeat Pies. Now, before you throw up in your mouth, please allow me to clarify that there is NOT meat in mincemeat pies. Some traditional recipes call for beef or mutton suet (fat), but no normal mince pie recipes call for huge chunks of meat, so get that idea out of your head. Mince pies are mostly filled with a spiced fruit filling of raisins, currants, orange zest, brandy or rum and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. (You could certainly add dried apricots or cranberries!) On Davidlebovitz.com you'll find a quick minemeat recipe that doesn't call for beef fat, and a traditional mincemeat recipe. For a traditional mincemeat pie recipe from a British Blogger, check out this recipe on Lydia Hope's blog Upstream.


via Micah Carr-Hill adapted from  Green & Black’s Organic Ultimate Chocolate Recipes
on Leite's Culinaria


5. French Buche de Noel. In America the buche de noel is known as a yule log. This holiday dessert originates from a pagan tradition of burning a large log (referred to as a yule log) to celebrate the winter solstice. A buche de noel is typically made of chocolate sponge cake, filled with chocolate cream and is decorated to resemble a log. You'll find a beautiful buche de noel recipe at Leite's Culinaria.


photo via il Menu di Angela

6. Romanian Cozonac. This traditional holiday sweet bread is also popular in Romania during Easter. I've made it before by hand (kneading constantly for 45 minutes) and allowing it to rise several times. It is not for the faint of heart. Of course it's easier if you have an electric dough kneader. I love this bread, because unlike some other Eastern sweet breads, it is less like a dense cake and much more like actual bread, with a hint of sweetness from citrus zest. I also like to add dried cranberries to mine. It is baked into a beautiful braided shape. Here is a traditional recipe for cozonac on exploringromania.com.

photo via zadbara.com

7. Bulgarian Maslenki. Okay, here is a European holiday treat that is actually easy to make! This sweet cookie is traditional in Bulgaria at Christmastime. The recipe calls for lard. If that freaks you out, substitute it with shortening, or butter if you prefer. I'd suggest shortening to maintain the texture. Butter will make it harder and less flaky. There is a simple and easy recipe for Maslenki on Bite of Bulgaria via Ivan Tsaklev.

**I feel like I should leave a disclaimer...I know a lot of European-Americans take their so-called "100% authentic and traditional" recipes very seriously. Please keep in mind that these recipes have all been adapted somewhere along the lines, and that dessert recipes in Europe vary by region just like they do in the different regions of the U.S.

Comments

  1. When I finish drooling, I'm going to bake!

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  2. Yummy. I make Beigli every year with walnuts! Can seem to find good ground poppy seed out around the desert area anywhere.

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  3. I loved the description of every one of these. They all sound delicious.

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  4. Aw, that's too bad, Eve. I love ground poppyseed. I like making lekvar with it for my kifli every Christmas. I'm sure your Beigli with walnuts is delicious!

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  5. Oh, yum! I've had some of these before, particularly the stollen cake.

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