Thursday, January 03, 2008

Twist and Shout

I don't usually drag out the holiday baking for this long, but since I set myself a goal of making several different breads for Christmas (about which you can read more over at The Ethicurean), it has taken me a while to find time for them all.

For the final pastry, I thought I'd modify a sweet roll recipe to combine the flavors of dried peppermint and dark chocolate. I can't stand candy canes, but I thought that twisted bread sticks laced with home-grown mint might be more to my liking.

So before breakfast this morning, I started making a half-whole-wheat dough (with local flour), sweetened lightly with local honey, containing local dried milk and local eggs, and sprinkled with dried peppermint from my old garden.

Once the dough had risen, I rolled it out into a long, narrow (ish) rectangle. Then I made a sauce from melting unsweetened chocolate and butter together, with some homemade peppermint sugar thrown in for good measure.

I smeared the sauce over half the dough, working lengthwise, before lifting the uncovered half over the sauce and pressing the edges closed.

I cut the dough into inch-wide strips and then lifted them carefully (the sauce wanted to ooze out in spots) to a parchment-covered baking sheet, twisting them along the way.

But even though they looked very tempting at this point, I still needed to bake them! I sprinkled a few with more peppermint sugar and slid them into the oven, pan after pan full of fragrant rolls.

They turned out impressively huge and, surprisingly, not very sweet, which made them the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea. (And just imagine dunking these delights into homemade hot cocoa!)

I shared some with the Original Organic Farmer when she came to tea this afternoon, and she expressed her enthusiastic approval. But I still have plenty left over, so I'll have to find some hungry friends who will give more of the twists a good home!



At 1/04/2008 8:45 PM, Blogger foodperson said...

Not to worry; that's what freezers are for.

At 1/05/2008 10:11 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Weeellll... that's if you have room in said freezer! :-) I'm still trying to clear a little space...

At 1/10/2008 4:10 PM, Blogger Bri said...

You are one of the most inventive bakers I've come across. What a wonderful idea, inspired by local ingredients. It's so strange that for millennia all humans ate was local, things change for a couple decades, and now it's this big struggle to even find local stuff. My hat's off to you for your fun baking creation. (By the way, you might want to pick up Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. I just started reading it yesterday, and it's awesome. I'm hoping to go to a book signing of his nearby next week.)

At 1/11/2008 7:03 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Thanks, Bri! I will say that because these aren't very sweet and the filling (once baked) isn't too goopy, the twists do dry out after a couple of days. (OK, then they're great for dunking, but still...)

I'm sure I will definitely get a hold of Pollan's latest, but I am going to wait and see what Titania picked up for me in Philadelphia last night at his reading/book signing. She called to ask which book of his I wanted, and I told her to "surprise me!" Should be fun! :-)


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