Monday, 18 March 2013

2008 - I'll Trade My Cookies for Your Saffron Buns

I cranked out the Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons today (after Charlie and I walked to town for powdered sugar). I think I got only three dozen from a double batch! I had to get them finished today because I wanted to give some to my friend, Lucy (who loves coconut), and she's going to her Mum's for Christmas. I gave her about nine of them and we each savored one with our tea.

Earlier, I made the Chewy Molasses Spice Crinkles while I filled the macaroons with the coconut cream. These are truly, truly divine! I definitely will be making these again! So soft and chewy and gingerbread-y. I didn't count these either but I think there were about nine dozen. They're stashed in the freezer for now. YUM!

I took a dozen of these giant spicy cookies and a dozen Pumpkin Muffins to my friend Harriet, and she gave me some of her gingerbread (Pepparkakor) and some of her Swedish Saffron Buns (Saffransbullar). To honor her Swedish heritage (in England), she makes these every year for St. Lucia Day. The sweet yeast rolls are studded with raisins or currants and usually S-shaped, to resemble a cat. They're not overly sweet, like cinnamon rolls, but they're flavorful and very nice with a hot drink. She sweetly gave me the recipe — complete with illustrations!

When I got home and while Charlie was playing, I finally made a batch of Vanilla-Bean Butter Cookies. The recipe calls for 3 vanilla bean pods, which can be expensive, so I hope they are worth it! The two dough disks are in the fridge till tomorrow. We have a party to go to tomorrow too, so I will need to get these finished early.

Here's Harriet's recipe for Saffron Buns. Johanna Kindvall has a wonderful illustration of the various bun shapes (with their English names) at Kokblog

Harriet's Swedish Saffron Buns
200 g butter
1 1/2 pints milk (UK pint equals 10 oz)
50 g yeast (or dry equivalent)
1/2 tsp salt
100 ml sugar (scant 1/2 cup)
1 g saffron, ground
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg
1 1/2 pints bread flour (about 3 cups)
A few raisins that have been soaked in warm tea or water
1 egg, beaten, for brushing

Melt butter and add the milk to warm to 37 degrees Celsius, if using fresh yeast. If using dried, follow package instructions. Crumble the fresh yeast and stir in the butter and milk mixture until combined. Add the saffron and let it infuse for a minute or two.

Add some flour, mix in the egg, sugar, salt and cardamom. Then start adding more flour to form a soft dough that can be handled without getting sticky fingers.

Dust with flour, cover with tea towel and place in a warm but not hot place to rise to double (approximately 40 minutes). 

Place dough on clean surface and knead until all air has escaped. You may add some more flour if dough is still sticky.

Divid dough into quarters. Roll each into a long sausage and divide equally into smaller pieces. (Roughly eight pieces per sausage.)

Shape the dough pieces into S-shapes, in which the top and bottom curls into itself. 

Place shapes on greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Leave plenty of room between each bun. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise to approximately double in size.

Carefully insert a plumped raisin in each "curl" and brush with beaten egg.

Place baking tray in the middle of the oven at 225 degrees Celcius for 5-10 minutes, depending on size. Keep checking so that they don't color too much. 

Cool on wire rack, covered with a tea towel.

God Jul!

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