A Very Romanian Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! Wishing you all a wonderful day full of love, laughter, mimosas, and delicious food.

Yesterday, I spent the vast majority of the day baking pastries for Christmas and I used my own website for a couple recipes. However, I noticed that I somehow never shared the recipe I use for Romanian cozonaci, which are sweet egg bread pastries filled with either poppyseed filling or a walnut and rum-soaked white raisin mixture.

They’re traditional in Romania for holidays like Christmas and Easter, but they’re not exclusive to the holidays.

Here is a link to the recipe I used, and for those of you too lazy to hop to another webpage, a break down below:

Romanian Cozonac

INGREDIENTS (for the dough)

1.5 cups lukewarm water
1.5 Tbsp granulated yeast
1.5 Tbsp salt
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1.5 cups (3 sticks) melted unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
7.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water)

DIRECTIONS (for the dough)

  • Mix yeast with a tablespoon of water, then mix with salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter with the 1.5 cups of water in a large bowl.
  • Mix in the flour but do not knead. I used a stand mixer here.
  • Once everything is incorporated, cover and let stand for 2 hours to grow.
  • After two hours, prep your work center with some flour (or oil) and knead the dough, then divide into 4.
  • Rollerpin it out into a large sheet and spread poppyseed filling or half of your walnut mixture, and then roll up and form into whichever shape you’re baking.
  • Bake dough in whatever form (loaf, brioche, cozonac) in the preheated oven at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes (until golden brown) with the rack in the middle position.

INGREDIENTS (for the walnut filling)

200 g walnuts, finely ground
100 g brown sugar
2 egg whites
3 Tbsp cacao
1/3 cup rum or brandy
1 cup white raisins to be plumped in the liquour

DIRECTIONS (for the walnut filling)

  • Plump raisins in rum for at least one hour – I do it over night to maximum flavor.
  • Beat egg whites to soft peaks
  • Add sugar, beat.
  • Add cocoa, beat.
  • Add walnuts and the rum-soaked raisins and mix.

Enjoy!


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The Foldio Mini Studio

Christmas is finally over (a sweet relief, working retail) and although 2015 has been a pretty rough year for me, I was thinking this morning that I have quite a bit to be thankful for.

This is going to sound pretty materialistic, but I was able to gift myself all 3 of my top wishlist items for Christmas this year:

  1. A new Wacom tablet. And it’s magical.
  2. A mini photography studio, which is what I’m gonna talk about in a bit.
  3. A serger. FINALLY! I’ve only been saying I need to purchase one for the past 5 years.

These are all tools I’m planning on using often in the coming year and it’s a relief to say I have them in my possession.

That said, I’m QUITE geeked out about my mini studio. It’s a Foldio portable studio with LED lights and 4 backdrops (white, black, gray, green) and it cost me $55 from Photojojo with a $20 off coupon (which you can also use by clicking here).

I absolutely love it and I know it’s going to come in handy for all kinds of small stuff, including jewelry that I make. My only gripe about it is that it’s a cube. I think if it has been shaped like a landscape rectangular cube, it would allow for some better photos of some larger items.

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They sent me this dinosaur and a pin with my order. OBVIOUSLY is was the perfect first subject to photography. Photo taken with Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

But it works great for small scale objects, and that’s probably most of what I’ll really be using it for.

 

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Photo taken with Samsung Galaxy Note 5

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What it looks like in all its glory.

Stars Shine Brightly

Yes, I did start this project a few days into the new year, but I’m ending it today.

It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve been thrilled (and exhausted) to share new and old photos with all of you every day for all of 2014. It was certainly a challenge at times – and yes I did fail to update a few times this year, but all in all, I think it was a successful project that pushed me to really learn my camera and use it.

This blog will definitely not be done, however. Photography is one of my main pillars of artistic release, and I will definitely continue updating with more new content and new adventures, so stay tuned.

Thank you to everyone who has kept up with me along this project, to all of my new followers, and old – I am grateful for your audience and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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