Christmas baking

In preparation for Christmas, we have entered into a flurry of baking, to make it seem more seasonal, despite the 90 degree weather outside. First, Katie came over to bake a cake for her to take home to her family in the village as you can see below. Check out how people here say "Happy Christmas" and "Mum"!

Then, Anthony and I kept up our holiday tradition of making hazelnut cookies...only we were unable to find hazelnuts anywhere. SO, we decided to make almond "hazelnut" cookies following the famous Ladenburger recipe. We had to adjust it slightly because of butter being in grams rather than pounds and having unshelled almonds instead of hazelnuts in the shell. But this is the original recipe with our changes in parentheses:

1 lb hazelnuts in the shell (2 cups chopped almonds)
1 lb real butter (500g butter)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups flour

Crack all the hazelnuts and chop them in a food processor. Mix the hazelnuts, butter, sugar, and salt. Then, mix in flour. Roll into small balls the size of a ping pong ball. Place on cookie sheet and use a cup to flatten. Top with colored sugar. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes.

Better Granola

Here’s the recipe for the traditional Christmas Sweet Roll my family always eats Christmas morning (I put all of the raisins on only half of the roll because I like them and Anthony doesn’t!):

Basic Sweet Dough
4 ½ to 5 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages yeast
1 cup milk
½ cup (1 stick butter)
2 eggs
Combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Dissolve the yeast in small amount of warm milk. Melt butter and combine with warmed milk. Gradually add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and ½ cup flour. Beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; kneading until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in buttered bowl, turning to butter top. Cover. Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down.

Christmas Sweet Roll
Roll out Basic Sweet Dough on lightly floured surface to form an 18 x 7 inch rectangle. Spread with 2-3 Tbs. butter. Combine ½ cup sugar, ½ cup raisins and 2 tsp. cinnamon; sprinkle over dough. Roll up tightly, beginning with 18-inch side; seal well by pinching edges of roll together. Place seam side down in a ring shape on greased cookie sheet. Pinch ends together. With scissors, make cuts 2/3 of way through ring at 1-2 inch intervals. Turn one section to left and next to right. Repeat around the ring. Cover. Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 45 minutes. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool. Frost with powdered sugar frosting.

1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons milk

And here, is our Christmas breakfast! Mmmmm.