I have been craving more savory foods lately. I am feeling ready for a change. I think we baked more cookies than we normally do these last few weeks. And I’m really not complaining.
I had plans for so many Christmas breads this month. I wanted to revisit a stollen I made last year. Well, I actually didn’t plan to revisit the same recipe. I was going to try a new recipe and make a pretty wreath. I tried this recipe from Cooking Light magazine that I saved from last year.
I like to have something ready to bake on Christmas morning. Something easy and delicious like these sweet little scones. I couldn’t decide which photo to post first. I know that scones really aren’t that glamorous and therein lies the beauty of a humble scone: Simplicity.
If you look closely to the top right of this pretty little cookie, you will see some smudges. You may see actually a couple others on the left side as well. That’s what happens when you bake with your kids.
Baking and sharing cookies is a wonderful way to show how thankful we are for the special people in our lives. These last two weeks the kids and I have been busy baking cookies to share with people we love.
"And... I said YESSSS!" – Nelly. It happened one November midnight, in Twitterverse. We saw this tweet from our dear Nelly @nella22. Without missing a beat, we all knew Nelly had said "YES" to her beloved "M"as she sweetly calls Brian Murray, her fiance'.
Christmas time in Italy is truly magical. The cities are filled with spectacular lights and little markets. Everywhere you visit you may be offered panettone or pandoro.
Panettone derives from the Italian word "panetto", a small loaf bread. I love panettone and pandoro and hope to bake one this Christmas.
In the stunning Ligurian region of Italy, they make pandolce. This is a recipe I found in an older Saveur book I have that is all about Italian food. I also found a great Nick Malgieri recipe. I made this one instead and hope to try Nick’s one day soon.
This slightly sweet fruit-and-nut-studded bread is sort of like biscotti and in my opinion, much better than a fruitcake. It’s dense and not as fluffy as panettone or pandoro. The smell is heavenly while it’s baking. I made two different kinds yesterday. One with currants and raisins. In the second one I added diced dried plums, dried apricots, currants, and raisins. Honestly, they were both fantastic!
I will be making this again for Christmas gifts and also for Christmas morning. Simple, rustic and delicious.
I would love to share this Pandolce Genovese with Bread Baking Day #45. :) This month’s Bread Baking Day #45 is the Christmas Edition. The event created by Zorra and this month is hosted by the lovely Cindystar.
I am also sending my Pandolce Genovese to the darling Susan of Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting.
Pandolce Genovese-Genovese Christmas Bread
adapted from: Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian
1⁄2 tsp. active dry yeast
1⁄2 cup warm milk
1⁄2 cup butter, softened, plus additional for greasing
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. fennel seeds (I omitted)
1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander (I omitted)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. orange flower water (I used 4 more tsp of vanilla)
3 1⁄2 cups flour
1⁄2 cup dried currants
1⁄3 cup golden raisins
1⁄3 cup finely chopped candied (I used grated zest from one orange )
1⁄3 cup pine nuts
Prepare the filling ingredients and set aside in a small bowl.
Dissolve yeast in milk in a small bowl. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat butter in an electric mixer and gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and orange flower water, and mix thoroughly.
Add milk and dissolved yeast and mix. (Mixture may appear slightly curdled.)
Switch to the dough hook and gradually add flour, mixing thoroughly.
When dough is smooth, mix in currants, raisins, orange rind, and pine nuts. The dough will be moist. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 3–4 hours. (Dough may only rise a little; this is a dense bread.)
*When you put the dough in the greased bowl, make sure it is smooth on top because when it ready to bake, you will just transform it directly from the bowl to the parchment lined baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 375°. Your dough may be sticky. If so, wet your hands before transferring the dough to your parchment lined cookie sheet. Shape into a 6" round and make a tic-tac-toe (#) pattern on top of the bread with a sharp knife.
Bake until golden, 45 minutes to 1 hour. *I checked my bread after about 40 minutes and lowered the heat to 350 and tented it with aluminum foil so it wouldn't brown too much more during the remainder of the baking time.
Cool completely. To serve, cut or break into small pieces and serve with sweet wine, if desired. (Store in an airtight container.)
I hope you enjoy this delicious Italian Christmas Bread. :)What special traditional recipe do you bake during the holidays?
I know I mentioned in a recent post that I’m a little excited about baking Christmas cookies. I’m excited about baking Christmas breads and cakes, too! I have been scouring through my old recipes and magazines. There are some recipes I’ve been dreaming of making for years.
There are many flavors and scents that remind me of Christmas. The scent of sugar cookies and ginger cookies baking in the oven reminds me of being a kid again. We are in Christmas cookie baking mode and these were the first sweet little beauties we baked last week.
How could it be that I had some mashed potatoes conveniently leftover to make these delectable Matafan? I have a thing for mashed potatoes. I would happily eat them as a meal. I always get seconds and thirds of stuffing and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving.