Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas was here.....

It came and went so quickly. Why does the best time of year have to pass so fast?
We kicked off the festivities with the kids belting out "JOY TO THE WORLD!"and other Christmas hymns at church.
We posed for our obligatory "sleepy-faces-because-we-stay-up-too-late-and-then-have-to-get-up-early-and-look-presentable-for-church" Christmas picture.
With the kids home from school for a few days before Christmas, I put them to work rolling cookies and making snowflakes. We sat for two hours and snip snip snipped--bits and paper pieces flying all over the house. ( use coffee filters for your flakes! it makes them so easy)
We delivered treats to neighbors and decorated the house for our Christmas feast.
Roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, our favorite broccoli gratin, rolls, cranberry sauce (this one I used for buttermilk pie last year) and salad with pomegranate, pears, and candied pecans.
(chocolate cake recipe to come!)
We read through The Nativity, opened Christmas jammies, watched for Santa in the sky and had an impossible time falling asleep.
We woke up too early, (Santa found us!) stuffed ourselves again with Christmas breakfast, and then headed for the mountain to burn off our figgy pudding.
Overnight Monkey Bread
recipe from Alton Brown. 
I omit the raisins to avoid disappointment and skip out on the rosemary.
I add pecans to the pan with the caramel sauce.
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray
8 ounces unsalted butter, approximately 16 tablespoons
8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
3 ounces raisins, approximately 3/4 cup
2 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 5 tablespoons
1 teaspoon ground rosemary

*I used 1 cup pecans instead of raisins and rosemary
For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough and add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the 8 ounces of unsalted butter, brown sugar, rosemary, and raisins. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Pour half of the topping into the bottom of 2 bundt pans and set aside. Cover and store the other half of the topping in the refrigerator until the next morning.

Place the melted butter and rosemary for the coating in a medium shallow bowl and stir to combine. Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Portion the dough into 1-ounce pieces; roll each piece into a ball. (You should have approximately 36 balls.) Roll the balls in the melted butter and rosemary.

Divide the balls evenly between the 2 bundt pans. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the bread from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the bread. Close the oven and let the bread rise until slightly puffy looking, 20 to 30 minutes. Once the bread has risen, remove it and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Once the oven is ready, place the bread on the middle rack and bake until slightly golden on top, approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Place the remaining topping in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Reheat until the mixture is pourable, approximately 5 minutes. Fifteen minutes into baking, pour the remaining topping over the bread, and finish cooking. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto a platter or cutting board. Serve immediately.

After skiing we threw on our jammies, piled ourselves into blankets and watched "It's a Wonderful Life".....and we all fell asleep on the couch.

best Christmas.