Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Baked Goods

My house smells so delicious right now I just want to walk around with my tongue out, attempting to taste the air. The braided sweet breads above have been passed down to me from grandmother to mother and have become a bit of my specialty as well. I start baking them in November and work straight through the holidays, kneading and rolling and filling and braiding. I find them gratifying in every way: they look impressive, smell heavenly, and taste so good it's all I can do not to go at them face-first.

So here's the recipe, and I'm sorry I can't find the source. I cannot urge you strongly enough to make these. They're a bit fiddley, but not difficult. One caveat: I would encourage you to make these on a day when you have a long stretch of time to kill. Light the fire, turn on TCM or NPR , and prepare to be adored.

Special Occasion Sweet Braids

Makes 4 large braids

Dough: Dissolve 2 pkgs yeast and 1 t. sugar in one cup of warm water. Wait 5 minutes. Combine 2/3 c. sugar, 1 t. salt, 1/2 c. soft butter, and 1/2 c. shortening in mixer bowl. Add 1 c. hot water, stirring until fats melt. Cool slightly. Add dissolved yeast mixture and stir well. Add 2 eggs (slightly beaten) and 3 c. flour, sifted. Beat at med. speed until dough is smooth. Gradually add 3.5 more cups flour until you have a soft, smooth dough. Grease bowl and let rise for and hour or more, until doubled in bulk. Turn onto floured surface and punch down. Divide into 4 equal portions and roll each portion into 9" by 12" rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 3 strips, longwise. Spread 1/4 c. fillling (recipe below) and seal strips. Fold ends under and braid. Transfer to sheet pan to rise about 40 minutes. Bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes. Drizzle glaze (recipe below) on warm breads.


Mix 2 pkgs cream cheese (softened) with 1/2 c. soft butter, 3/4 c. brown sugar, 2 t. cinnamon, 1 t. vanoilla and 1/2 c. walnuts or pecans.

Glaze: 1/4 c. soft butter, 1 lb. powered sugar, 1/3-1/2 c. milk, 1 t. vanilla.

These freeze beautifully and I think they're even better after being thawed.

So the market went pretty well, but remember this post? Yeah, kinda how I felt when I first got there. It's hard not to be intimidated by all of the other folks there - really incredible things.

For me, the most fantastic thing about this show were the lovely people I met. I had the incredible fortune of sitting beside Miss Tess of Made By Tess, and across the way from Brooke Cassady, who made this beautiful vessel:

Tess traded me some cakes for this apron. Sweets for sweets.

'Started my job last week and am looooving it, but very tired. Off to bed.


by Johanna Brandvik said...

I'm so jealous of your friends and relatives...the ones who get to eat all of your heavenly baked goods! These braids look scrumptous. Congrats on your market experience. Happy Holidays, lovely lady!

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

Send me some bread!!! Your display for the show looked fabulous!!!

Tess said...

My goodness, what a delicious baking post! I've been meaning to email you, and when I saw your blog in my stats I thought I'd at the very least comment!

I'm in love with my little cake, btw, although I had to hide it because my cat was in love with it as well.

Rose said...

Your bread looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing the recipe just in time for the weekend!

domesticgoddess said...

Now you've done it. You've gone and posted a recipe for me to veganize. I've been in the kitchen a little too much lately but I guess I'll just have to make myself comfortable because that is one recipe I'll definately be trying....soon!

Your sweet little cupcakes look lovely! I so wanted to stop by and see you and all the other handmade goodness last weekend. So bummed I missed it. I've been expanding my own rochet horizons and have made a few sweet little cakes for Lib's play kitchen. So much more fun to make than hats!

Glad you're loving your job....Jill, CNM!!

ahna said...

Oh, that whole post is just scrumptious! The colors are lovely, the food looks beautiful - I bet it was delish. Glad to hear that market went well.
If only it were in smell-O-vision.