Last month I spent a solid, good two consecutive weeks being Chef Viviana, plumping myself and my family up with sugary carb foods like what I’m about to share today, and enjoying the start of a new year in a relatively relaxed environment, on the precipice of starting Marie Kondo’s decluttering KonMari method in my life – which, by the way, is going somewhat slowly, and my room currently looks like a tornado blew through it.
PHEW. What a mouthful. ANYWAY – I’ve been following Thida Bevington on Instagram for a while, and her feed is a dessert lover’s dream, to be honest. In January I decide THAT’S IT. Her Nutella knots were so aesthetically pleasing, I thought to myself, I need to exercise my creativity one way or another, why not through something my mouth can enjoy?
I tried the knots with Nutella first, but I find that it sort of…evaporates? in the baking process. I did a couple more batches afterwards with my signature walnut-almond and rum-soaked white raisins, which I enjoyed much more.
Enjoy the recipes below:
250g milk 60g butter 500g white flour 120g sugar 15g fast action dry yeast 1 egg 10g salt
3/4 to 1 cup golden raisins 1-2 cups walnuts, ground 1/2 cup almonds, ground 1/2 cup honey 1/3 cup rum, cognac, or whiskey water A blender, but if you don’t have one you can smash them up in a bag with a kitchen hammer
For the dough: 1. Warm the milk and butter to about body temperature, should feel lukewarm. 2. Place the flour, sugar, and yeast in a bowl (I use a stand mixer) and mix together. 3. Add milk and butter, egg, and salt and mix with a dough hook for 2 minute on low. 4. Increase speed and mix for another 5-6 mins, until well incorporated. 5. Lightly knead dough on a floured surface and form a ball. Place in a clean bowl and let rise in warm environment for 2 hours, it should double in size.
For the walnut mixture: 1. In a small bowl, soak your raisins in your choice of liquor (I use rum), while the dough is rising. I usually start this process before anything else, and you can even do it overnight. 2. Grind your walnut and almonds to a fine texture until you have about 4 cups worth. 3. Heat your honey in a small pot until it just start to bubble then add honey and raisins (with the liquor) to your nuts. 4. Add water by the tablespoon as needed if mixture is too dry.
How to put it all together: 1. On a well floured surface, roll out your dough into a big rectangle, something around the size of two baking pans, but make sure it’s not so thin it rips. 2. Spread half your nut mixture evenly on the middle third of your dough canvas, then fold over one third of your dough, and spread the remaining mixture on top of that, then fold the last third on top of that. 3. Gently roll out your dough until it is flatter, then cut it long ways into 8 strips. 4. Knot them up to your liking and in the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 355F. 5. Lightly beat 1 egg and egg wash your rolls before popping them in the oven for roughly 30-40 mins, or until they’re golden brown.
Please visit Thida’s Instagram for tutorials and visual step-by-steps of everything I’ve just written!
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:
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.
It’s a windy, rainy day today and I have the weekend off, so I was feeling the cooking fire under my butt this morning and I made brunch (bacon, eggs, and cheese bites) and lunch/dinner – a gnocchi soup that’s so good, my friend Betsy has even made it. And the only reason I mention that is because we’re both stubborn people at times and it’s difficult to convince each other to do simple things like HEY WATCH THIS MOVIE. But HEY, she tried this soup and has added it to her cooking lineup, so that’s awesome, right?
Anyway, the original recipe is a vegan version – that I’ve made until Christmas and Easter lent. However, today I made it with reduced fat milk and it turned out just as well.
Here’s the link to the original recipe. And here’s the recipe breakdown if you don’t wanna move your eyes from the gorgeous photos I took of my soup.
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic diced
1/2 yellow onion diced
4-5 stalks celery diced
5 whole carrots diced
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base
4 cups + 3 tbsp. water separated
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 package gnocchi
pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and carrots and sauté until veggies are softened (approx. 10 minutes).
Dissolve cornstarch in 3 tbsp. water in a small bowl.
Dissolve bouillon in 4 cups water to create “chicken” broth.
Add cornstarch mixture, “chicken” broth and almond milk to veggies. Bring to a boil.
Add gnocchi and spices and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste to adjust seasonings and serve with fresh parsley.
I am so excited to share this recipe with you all.
I was visiting my aunt a couple weeks ago and happened to stop by while she was preparing to make Romanian crepes – or as we call them, Clatite. So I asked her to explain her process as to how she makes them, and surprisingly, it’s pretty easy. The thing is, it’s not a set recipe, so I’m going to try to translate it into one as best as I can.
Her style of making crepes is delicious and I personally view it as one of her specialties, so I was geeked to try it out on my own. Below, I have a recipe that should yield roughly 16 crepes. Enjoy!
2 cups flour
a good pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
rum extract/essence of rum
a small bowl with oil and a silicon brush
filling of choice (we like prune or rosehip jam)
In a bowl, combine flour, eggs, salt, sugar, rum extract, and milk until blended together well. Add the milk slowly so you can build a batter.
Once you’ve got a mixture that’s a little on the thicker side, slowly add mineral water to the mixture until the consistency becomes almost soupy. You don’t want it too thin, but you don’t want it so thick that you can’t swivel the mixture around in the pan to coat it.
Add rum extract to taste. My aunt dumped like a good 2 or 3 TABLESPOONS in there, but probably a solid 1 to 1.5 teaspoons should be good.
Heat up a large skillet on high heat. Before putting in your batter, brush the skillet using a silicon brush with some oil to ensure your crepe doesn’t stick.
Pour a large ladle-full of batter in the center of your skillet and take the skillet off the stove while you swivel it to ensure the batter coats the whole bottom of the skillet.
Using a long knife, (you can use a spatula, but a knife works better – and if you have a particularly flexible knife, use that) flip your crepe after roughly 30 seconds or until the batter is no longer wet and cook for another ~30 seconds or so.
If you’re having trouble swiveling the batter, your batter may be too thick. Add more mineral water or milk.
If you’re having trouble with your crepes breaking after the first couple (flipping them with a knife does take some practice) your batter may be too runny and you should add a little more flour to thicken it up.
In our family, and even traditionally in Romania, we like to roll up our crepes with prune jam or rosehip jam, but you can eat them however you please.