Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas: Cranberry Orange Marzipan Stollen Buns

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I’ve been forcing myself to slow down. If you can imagine a Formula One car at full speed coming to a near halt of an old 1960s VW Beetle you should get the picture of the backlash I am having. Finding myself in a new routine and a different job situation has turned things around for me, giving me what everyone is referring to as “more time.”

This “more time” does look tempting in theory but in practice I started doing what I often do - planning, organizing other projects to fill the “more time!” In reality is was justification not to have to tackle my inner thoughts and emotions that still needed attention and tending to. I was still carrying a lot of the resentment and negative feelings with me and it was weighing me down. So I decided to face this “more time” from a different angle and use a little of it for me.

There is something rather indulgent about being so self-absorbed and self-seeking, I thought and at first I felt extremely uncomfortable with having to deal with so much of the ME in Meeta! But I had to cross back over to the positive side I was familiar with. The negativity that was creeping up was driving me crazy. With the help of a group of supportive friends and colleagues I am being motivated and animated in all kinds of different directions to find … me.

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The spiritual me: the one that needs to look at her inner self from the outside. Hmnn! I have no idea how to detach the outer me from the inner me - we come in a pack and the mess one is in the other is in it too. I am really having trouble with this one.

The emotional me: the one that needs to let her emotions loose. There are no negative emotions, I am told, but they are all gifts. I need to take and accept these gifts and analyze what each gift does for me. Nope not getting far with this one. If my emotion is making me feel furious there is no way I am cool enough to open myself and take it as a gift AND analyze it too. Hec … I’ll be the one kicking in the trash cans! That is what I understand as letting my emotions loose.

What I am doing is taking snippets of each advice and motivation and piecing it together to suit me. I am using the time to structure myself again because the me I know needs to have the safe haven of a structure around her. I have started a happiness and gratitude journal. Inspired by Kristen’s Happiness Reports, I have taken to putting down all my happy things into a journal. An hour or two offline: away from the social media, blog, notebook, apps and co. instead I am surrounded by scissors, glue, washi tapes, colored pens and magazines. I write my favorite quotes and poems, clip and paste artwork and patterns, and put ideas for happy recipes in my journal. I end each day with 5 things I am particularly grateful for that day. If I experience the negative I make it a point to turn it to a positive comment in the journal. This helps me focus on the good and positive aspects.

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I’ve been working on my happiness project for just a few days now but I am already noticing how my inner me is relaxing and letting go of some of the frustrations and negativity. I am sleeping well without waking up with panic attacks and being rested makes me happier and more at peace. I feel stronger everyday … I am dedicated to keep on this track.

Next on my happy list is getting back to the gym and train regularly. I failed my sport test for my knee last week. It’s been 6 months since I had the knee surgery and while I have been committed to doing my physio to keep my knee fit and stable, I have not done much to build up the muscles and my strength. That was what failed me at the test - “muscular deficit.” With those results I went straight to my gym and have worked out a training plan with my trainer to awaken those sleeping muscles again. I start next week and am raring to go. My second sport test is end of April and I will pass that with flying colors.

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The Christmas feeling has also arrived and we’ve been decorating and getting ready for the festivities over the past few days. Soeren’s Christmas concert on the weekend put me into the spirit that was missing. He rocked some popular Christmas carols and songs on his e-guitar and the second advent went down with cookies and other Christmas treats.

I was not in the mood for stollen. After having baked three in September for magazine features, I decided to skip baking the traditional stollen for Christmas this year. However, I could not get over the feeling that I was committing an act of sacrilege. Inspired by the flavors and ingredients in a stollen I decided to cheat. Making sweet yeasted doughs have been a bit of therapy for me and after last week’s cardamom infused challah, I was on a roll.

So in my second Christmas post for you I bring you a fusion sweet treat using the German stollen as my basis for inspiration. The dough for these soft and moist stollen buns is spiced with allspice, cardamom and cinnamon. Marzipan, orange and cointreau add that special touch.

Recipe: Cranberry Orange Marzipan Stollen Buns

Printable version of recipe here

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes plus extra time for dough to rise
Makes: 12 buns

Ingredients:

  • 235 ml + 118 ml luke warm water
  • 85g dried cranberries
  • 85g mixed dried fruits (use orange peel, raisins etc.)
  • 550g all-purpose flour
  • 14g dried yeast
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 85g butter
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons Cointreau
  • 250ml warm milk
  • 300g marzipan
  • 25g pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 100g icing powder

Method:

  1. Stir together the orange zest, Cointreau, cranberries and mixed fruit in a small bowl and allow to soak.
  2. In the meantime mix the flour, yeast, caster sugar and spices in a large bowl. Add salt and rub in the butter with your fingertips. Beat the egg with the warm milk, then pour into the flour mix. Stir with a wooden spoon until it begins to come together, then use your hands to bring the mixture together as a soft dough.
  3. Transfer onto a work surface and knead for a couple of minutes, adding a little flour if it is needed to stop it sticking. Lightly oil the bowl, return the dough and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place until doubled in size.
  4. Line and butter a large baking tray with baking paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the risen dough out firmly to a long strip about 70 x 18cm. Spread the marmalade over the dough then, scatter the soaked fruit and the pistachios, keeping some of the nuts for decoration. Roll the marzipan into a sausage-like shape about the same length as the longest side of the dough. Place it in the centre of the dough and begin to roll up firmly. Cut the ends using a sharp knife, then cut the rest of the dough roll into even buns and place, cut side up, on the tray. Cover with cloth and leave to rise for another 45 minutes until risen.
  5. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  6. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden but still soft to the touch.
  7. Mix a little water into the icing sugar keeping the consistency on the thicker side. Drizzle over the buns and scatter over the remaining pistachios.
Notes:
The buns can be frozen for up to 6 weeks. Freeze individual buns on a tray before drizzling the frosting over the top. To enjoy leave out at room temperature to thaw then place in the microwave for a minute.
The buns will keep for 2 to 3 days in an air-tight container.

Verdict

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These disappeared quite fast. I was expecting comments asking for the real deal – like last year’s Orange Marmalade Date Fig and Quark Stollen but these buns went down a treat. Boasting flavor of a German stollen hugged by a sweet yeasty dough – what’s not to love? With a cup of coffee these are the little things I am grateful for.

Do you have a journal recording things that make you happy?

Next week in my final Christmas sweet treat post I'll be sharing a delicate buttery pastry ... it's what happens when French pastry meets German flavors. Stay tuned!

More Christmas treats from WFLH:

StickyToffeePud_0019-CR[2] Spekulatius01-framed[2] WhiteChocCardamomMousse06-framed[2]-1_thumb
Sticky Toffee Pudding Almond and Pink Praline Spekulatius White Chocolate Cardamom Mousse with Spekulatius Crumbs


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2013 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

13 comments :

  1. Like you, I've also been forcing myself to slow down as I've nearly had a burnout... Now, I'm trying to relax and enjoy life.

    Those buns look amazing! A great idea. I bet they would not last long at my place...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. the buns look beautiful and have to taste wonderful! Wishing you all the best!

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  3. Everything in the pictures is so beautiful and love that warm feel of Christmas round the corner....love the buns...they look yum....

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  4. It seems we are all seeking a little happiness project in our lives. I find it as a gentle reminder to do just that ... slow down. Right there with you. My friend Bree did a great 31 day happiness write-up, I found it truly inspiring. You may too. http://breehester.com

    Happy Holidays my friend! xx

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  5. Thank you for sharing. It's nice to know we all go through phases like this. Well written and touching, and those buns look amazing!

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  6. Meeta! These are absolutely gorgeous buns!!!! Lately your recipes are just killing me :P #justsaying And worse, I am atm not able to recreate them! Ok earmarking all of them for Jan! There is going to be a stream of Meeta's creations in my house :)

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  7. Love the idea of the happiness journal - I think you may still have to kick some trash cans along the way (not with the wrong leg though!). Cointreau in everything over Christmas - that's what I say. Glad you are turning the negativity into creativity. Have a lovely time over the holidays.

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  8. I love this post Meeta, and I think we all struggle with slowing down and taking in what is important.The journal such a great idea! And great photos as always :)

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  9. Oh a Happiness Journal is a wonderful idea and I should do that. I let too many things drag me down. I do know that when I start getting depressed I step away from social media... too many people spending too much time bragging and exaggerating their achievements instead of talking about life realistically and we start comparing ourselves.. and who can live up to that? Just dive into your projects, those that make you happy and creative. Spend more time with family and home. And spend more time baking! I'll bet your house at the holidays smells heavenly! The buns are gorgeous and now I want to make them too!

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  10. Gorgeous photos as always, love the idea of a Happiness Journal. I have been going through a lot myself, it is lovely of you to share, I can so relate.

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  11. These buns look perfect for christmas breakfast - nice to hear about your happiness project - good luck with your gym training too!

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  12. They look delicious. I think i will try them next christmas. :-)

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta