Cinnamon Palmiers

Cinnamon Palmiers is a fancy name for left over puff pastry sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and baked.

When I was a child, I recall my father making a similar treat from left over pie dough. This is a great way to use all your puff pastry or pie dough scraps; no matter how small they are.

Spread dough strips with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar

Fold the long edge to the center line

Fold opposite edge to center line also. Then fold in half along the center line.

Cut into finger width slices

Place sliced side up/down on a baking sheet; well spaced

Tips:

Fold carefully!

Use a sharp knife to slice for a clean edge.

Keep your pastry cold for best results.

Line your baking pans with parchment paper to prevent sticking.

If you want some, set some aside because these things disappear quickly!

Cinnamon Palmieres and Tea

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Sourdough Rye Bread with Caraway and Onion

I was longing for a nice chewy sourdough rye bread with onions and caraway and a good crust the other day. So I decided to make a rye sour first.

Make rye sourdough starter

Taking 1/2 cup of regular sour dough starter, at feeding time I fed it with:

  • 1/3 cup rye flour
  • 1/3 cup water ( between 90-100°F)
  • 1/2 tablespoon each caraway seeds and dried onions
  • 1/2 of a fresh onion
  • 1 Tablespoon sprouted barley malt syrup (totally optional)

Mix it thoroughly and let sit in a warm room until it bubbles and doubles in size.

Feed the rye starter again with 1/2 cup rye flour and 1/2 cup water. Allow to double in size again. This process develops some of the flavor for a great rye sourdough bread.

You can refrigerate the starter now for later use or you can use it now. Be sure to save at least 1/4 cup to culture for making more!

Feed the starter every week with 1/4 cup bread flour, 1/4 cup rye flour and 1/2 cup water. Remove the 1/2 fresh onion after it has been in the culture for 1 week and discard.

Sourdough Rye Bread with Onion and Caraway

  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups water between 90-100°F
  • 1 cup rye sourdough culture
  • 2 Tablespoons dried onions
  • 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds

Measure the flour and salt into one bowl. Mix well.

Measure the warmed water into a large bowl, whisk in the rye starter. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.

Make a well in the flour, pour all the water into the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is combined. Pay special attention to the bottom of the bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap – be sure to oil the underside so the dough will not stick when it reaches the top of the bowl.

Allow to double in size.

While the dough is rising, place the dried onions and caraway seeds into a small bowl and just cover then with hot water. We will fold these into the dough after they have been hydrated.

Sprinkle bread flour over the surface of the risen dough. Using a bowl scraper, scrape the dough onto a well floured surface. Pat the dough into a rectangle. Dust any sticky areas with flour as you work.

Spread some of the hydrated onions and caraway over the surface of the dough. Fold one side over 2/3’s  of the way, then the other side 1/3 so the onions and seeds are now in two separate layers. Turn the dough 1/4 turn.

The dough will be very tender and soft so work quickly.

Roll or pat the dough into another rectangle and spread any remaining onions and seeds over the surface and fold again; repeating 4 times, dusting sticky spots as you work.

For a batard, roll the dough in to a rectangle once more. Roll the short side up into a tight roll.

Dust a pizza peel with fine ground cornmeal and place the rolled batard on the peel. Cover with either oiled plastic wrap or a flour dusted linen cloth.

Allow to rise for 1 hour. During the last half hour, prepare your oven and steaming process. Follow instructions for baking bread with steam on this link.

Measure and combine flour and salt

Combine warm water and starter

Pour all the liquid over the flour

Stir well to combine

Form a ball

Cover with oiled plastic wrap; let rise 2 hours

Pat the dough into a rectangle; fold 2/3's across

Finish folding

Fold in half and turn 1/4 turn

Folding in additional onions and seeds

Second fold adding onions and seeds

Finish folding

Now you can shape it in a basket or on a peel or in a loaf pan. Let the dough rise for 1-2 hours; until doubled in size.

Bake with steam for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 190°F for 15 seconds. You will notice the crust is nice and golden brown.

Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy making and eating this Sourdough Rye with Onions and Caraway.

Sourdough Rye with Onions and Caraway

Finished loaves

Southern “Sweet Tea”

Sweet tea seems to be a phenomenon in the American south. In the south,  anywhere you go, if you order iced tea, you will get a big glass full of tea which is sweetened to the point of almost being syrup and ice with a slice of lemon.

Unless you ask for “unsweet tea”.

“Regular tea” down here is so sweet it should be called tea syrup. Now days you can hear ‘half and half tea’ please or half unsweet with half lemonade, which in case you don’t know, is called an “Arnold Palmer” around here.

What makes southern sweet tea different from other iced tea is that you sweeten other tea with granulated sugar in your glass. With southern sweet tea, is there is no undissolved sugar collecting in the bottom of your glass. The sugar has already been melted and added. You just squeeze the lemon and sip. (Say “Ah!” with a southern drawl)

If you travel beyond the Mason-Dixon Line and order sweet tea anywhere but in the south, you are going to get some strange looks. They usually bring you unsweet tea and a side of sugar either in a sugar canister or in packets for you to mix your own. While in the south if you just order “tea” you will get a glass of southern sweet tea. Here, that is regular tea.

Anywhere but in the south, regular tea is unsweetened.

If you find they actually have sweet tea and you are not in the south, chances are you have just found someone who is from the south and they are keeping the back-home tradition alive.

Here is how you can make southern sweet tea:

Make simple syrup:

Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water

Bring to boil; Simmer for 3 minutes then cool

Boil water and make tea; steep until cool

Add 1 cup of sugar to a sauce pan with 1 cup of water. Stir and bring to a boil-simmer for 3 minutes.

Make sure all the sugar has dissolved. Cool.

Boil 2 quarts of water – add 6-8 black tea bags – orange pekoe cut black tea works best – steep until cool.

Discard the tea bags.

For true southern sweet tea, add all the sugar syrup to the cooled tea, stir well.

Yes, it is s-w-e-e-t!

Like all good southerners, forget about calculating the number of empty calories.

So here are some hints: The popularity of Southern Sweet Tea is becoming increasing all across the country. You may even be able to find it in your grocery store.

IF the label says “extra sweet” honestly folks, believe them. It will be sickening sweet. However, now you can make it on your own, for pennies and control the sweetness.

Back to the tea presentation. . .

Southern Iced Tea

Fill a tall glass with ice, pour the sweet tea over ice, garnish with a wedge of lemon.

If you don’t want your tea so sweet, add the sugar syrup to taste, which is what I prefer to do.

Or if you want to deviate from the true southern tea method, add lemon zest to the sugar when boiling the

Tea with Lemon Syrup

sugar. Strain the zest out when cool.

Serve the lemon simple syrup with the unsweet tea for guests to sweeten to their liking.

Honestly, there is nothing like a good glass of iced  tea – unsweetened or southern sweet tea – both are refreshing!

Cranberry Liqueur

I discovered this amazing flavored liqueur a few years ago. It needs to steep for about three weeks so if you want to make it for gifts this year, now is the time to get busy!

Bottles for liqueur

Gather those amazing bottles you have been collecting all year. If you decide you want to buy  bottles, visit

The Sunburst Bottle Company. They have an amazing selection of bottles, jars, tins etc. to choose from.

Be sure to also buy the stoppers of your choice. You can choose decorative stoppers or corks to close your finished bottles.

Another thing that is good to get are shrink bands. You can get 100 for a few dollars and this really makes a nice finishing touch to your bottles. I’ll show you later in this post what they look like and how to use them.

You can make labels on your computer or by hand. Be artistic and creative!

You will see the recipe calls for an American made vodka. This does not need to be premium vodka.  American made is specified is because American made vodka, by law, cannot have any flavor or color.

If you prefer to use high-end vodka, you can but it is not necessary. Just do not choose flavored vodka.

Ingredients for Cranberry Liqueur

To make this Cranberry Liqueur, you will need the following items:

1-12 ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups  American made vodka 100 proof
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest

Equipment:

1 half-gallon capacity glass jar  or a one gallon jar if you want to make a double batch.
A drip style coffee filter holder and paper filter (I use an old Melita filter holder and pot I have had for ages; drip the liqueur into the coffee pot and then pour it into the decorative bottle.)
A lid is nice but we can always cover the jar with something else if you can’t locate a lid for the jar.
Decorative bottles for the final product-sterilized in the dishwasher or with boiling water
A funnel
Bottle stoppers
Shrink bands to seal your bottles (optional, but really handy or you could dip the tops in melted wax)

Coarsely chop cranberries

Mix berries and sugar; let sit for an hour to melt

Add the vodka and water; let sit for 3 weeks

Take the cranberries and put them into a food processor. Pulse just to break them up. OR just coarsely chop them with a knife. You want to break the berries up so they can release all of the flavor and color. Do not puree the berries!

Place the berries in the jar, add the sugar and grapefruit zest. Mix it all together and let it sit for about an hour or so to begin melting the sugar.

Add the vodka and water and stir thoroughly so it gets all mixed up.

Notice the lovely color already!

Cover the jar with plastic wrap and then the lid. Place the jar in a dark spot for 3 weeks. Every now and then, take the jar out and shake or stir it to make sure the fruit is not clumping together.

The Melita filtering system

After 3 weeks set up your filtering system. I use an old Melita pot and filter because it is easy and works great for this project.

(NOTE: the pot and filter do not smell or have any coffee residue)

Using a strainer and large bowl, strain the solids from the liquids. Set the solids aside.

Now filter any residue or other remaining elements from the liquid by pouring the liqueur into the filter and allowing it to drip.

It will take its time dripping. Let it drip slowly. Do not rush or try to squeeze it through because you will end up with a cloudy product and the beauty of this liqueur is the lovely, clear  cranberry red color.

You will need to use several filters as they get “clogged” with residue as the liqueur drips through.

Once you have filtered the liqueur, pour it into your decorative bottles.

Use your judgement as to whether or not you will need to filter a second time.

Various stoppers and shrink bands

Clear shrink bands

Place the band over the neck of the bottle; hold in a stream of steam to shrink tight

Steam until the band fits tight

To use the shrink bands, fit a band over the neck of the bottle and the stopper.

Heat water in a kettle to boil.

Hold the bottle and shrink band in the steam coming from the kettle.

Rotate the bottle to shrink the band and seal the bottle.

Wipe the bottle dry and label.

This is our favorite drink to make with this liqueur

Cranberry Lime Cocktail

Over crushed ice, pour

1 oz Cranberry liqueur
Squeeze of fresh lime
Splash of club soda

Finished Cranberry Liqueur

You can serve this in champagne glasses with a cranberry floating in it at your holiday parties.

Or instead of  making Kir or a Mimosa, use cranberry liqueur.

Please be careful because even though this tastes really good, it was 100% proof vodka and now is between that and 80% proof after processing.

Remember lampshades do not look good on anyone.

Be a responsible host and ensure your guests do not drink and drive, ever.

Drink at home, have guests stay over, call a cab but do not let your friends, family or guests drive drunk.