This week our recipe was a holiday treat! A lovely loaf of cardamom-scented bread – not too buttery or eggy. Some shaped their loaves into a festive wreath tied with a bow; I opted for small braided loaves – perfect for gift-giving!
The dough mixed up fairly easily and rather than knead it myself – I used my KA for most of the process. I used I wooden spoon until I had added four cups of flour, then used my mixer as I added by tablespoon to get the right consistency. While the recipe called for seeds from cardamom pods, I don’t have a spice mill or a mortar and pestle, so I paid the premium for ground cardamom. I used a teaspoon of the ground and I think it scented the bread nicely without being too overpowering. With the dough hook on my KA, I kneaded the bread on medium speed for ten minutes – never leaving the room as my mixer tends to be mobile at higher speeds. The dough truly came out satiny and lovely. I appreciated the short length of the two rises – it made it easy to make the bread in one leisurely morning or afternoon.
I oiled a large piece of parchment paper and my hands for shaping the breads. No stickiness at all! After the second rise, I brushed my breads with an egg wash and sprinkled slivered almonds and a pretty gray crystal sugar on top. The breads looked pretty and tasted good – just a hint of sweetness and spice. I will definitely make these again for the holidays! For the full recipe and beautiful pictures and directions, please visit http://www.thedailymorsel.com/2012/12/finnish-pulla/comment-page-1/#comment-8594, our host, Erin’s blog.
If you are looking for a unique gingerbread recipe with adult flavors – look no further. This complex taste offers notes of coffee, molasses, and cocoa with the snap of ginger. Find the recipe at http://karenskitchenstories.blogspot.com/. This is a recipe that begs to be tweaked! With the Tuesday chatter ringing in my ears, I made some adjustments to the recipe. Finding myself without espresso powder, I substituted cocoa powder as suggested by another baker. This definitely made the cake less gingery and gave a stronger taste of cocoa. The other advice I got from the chatter was to cut back on the molasses. The recipe calls for 2 cups – I used one and it was more than enough. I substituted 1/2 c. of maple syrup and a 1/2 cup of strong coffee (make sure you fold from the bottom of the bowl to incorporate the coffee evenly throughout the mixture. I also fudged on the pepper – a teaspoon seemed like a bit much – I gave it a few grinds of the pepper mill and left it at that.
I baked it as a larger cake for a party this weekend. I plan to serve it with some whipped cream to make it more kid-friendly. I made a real baby cake to sample – my husband and I enjoyed the complexity of the flavors and the girls thought it was awesome. I’m not sure that I got the right combination of flavors – ginger should be a bit stronger I think. I probably could have done without the coffee altogether or at least dialed it back substantially. Maybe a 1/4 c. of coffee and 3/4 c. of maple syrup…despite the brown sugar and the maple syrup the cake itself was not overtly sweet.
I liked this recipe well enough to play with the flavors a bit in the future to find the perfect gingerbread!