Currant Affairs

No, that’s not a spelling mistake. I do mean “currant” with an “a.”

Here’s what happened.

First thing in the morning I go into the kitchen to put the coffee on.

Hmph! No coffee ground.

Get the beans and pour them into the grinder. I have dark roast and medium roast. These look like … can’t really tell …should have labeled the jar.

Oh well,  here goes. Put the cap on the grinder and … wait a minute! These look like awfully small beans ….

WHAAAAT? That’s not coffee! I taste a “bean” to be sure. They’re currants!

I’m struggling to wake up. My eyes are only half open. And as you can see in the photo below, one of the pot lights has a burned out bulb. They are connected three to a switch and only two of this set are on.

I made scones the other day and put currants in them. I always put away the ingredients when I finish baking, but I hadn’t put away the jar with currants in them. As you can see below, they look very much like the coffee beans that I keep on the counter because I’m always needing to grind more coffee.

With the poor lighting from the burnt out bulb, I couldn’t see that one jar had something other than coffee beans in it.  So maybe there are two dimbulbs around here.

Of course, I can forgive myself for almost making pureed currants.

I hadn’t had my first cup of coffee yet.

Sticky Business

On a whim. I decided to bake some sticky buns today. These are not buns you’ll find in a recipe book but they’re easy to make and even a beginner could make them. I didn’t follow a recipe, but made it up as I went along. If you’d like a taste, you’ll have to make some and try it out.

Whenever I cook or bake, I might start with a basic recipe but I always end up substituting things depending on what I have in the house.dscn6476

Anneli’s Fennel Hazelnut Buns

First I make a sweet dough. I doubled the recipe today but I’ll write down the basic one here – and you must remember that everything is approximate. I just throw things into the bowl according to what I feel is right.

A basic bread recipe is 2 cups of milk and 5 cups of flour. Based on that, I used:

2 cups warm milk

3 Tbsp. melted butter

3 Tbsp. honey (or use sugar)

2 scant tsp. salt

1 tsp. fennel seeds (if you like them – they have a licorice taste)

Add some of the 5 cups of flour before adding the

2 tsp. fast rising yeast (bread machine yeast).

I put all this in the mixing bowl in my Kitchen Aid mixer and let it mix using the bread hook. When the batter is thoroughly mixed I add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until the mixer is struggling.

Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead it (adding more flour if needed) until the dough is smooth and elastic but not dry and hard. It should be just at the stage where it doesn’t stick to your hands anymore.

Put it in the big bowl that you’ve warmed up in the oven and have rubbed inside with melted butter. I put the dough into the bowl upside down to coat the top with the butter and then flip the dough over so the top of it will stay moist and not get dry and cracked as it rises. Cover dough with a towel and leave it in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours. I leave it in the oven which is not turned on but has been warmed.

When the dough has risen, take it out and roll it into a rectangle about half an inch thick. Maybe about 10 inches by 15 inches. Spread melted butter on the rolled out dough. Sprinkle it with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle it with raisins or currants. Lastly sprinkle it with ground hazelnuts (or you can use chopped nuts of your favourite kind – soft ones work best  – pecans, walnuts ….)

For baking I use a  rectangular glass baking dish – the kind you’d make lasagne in. I put a syrup in the bottom of the baking dish.

To make the syrup, put about a quarter cup of water in a pot, add a big spoon of butter and about a cup of brown sugar and let it all come to a boil. Stir it as it bubbles and be careful not to let it boil over. It will want to froth right out of the pot. After about a minute of boiling, pour it into the baking dish and spread it all over the bottom of the dish. I sprinkle ground hazelnuts on the layer of syrup, or you can sprinkle other kinds of chopped nuts on it.

Back to the dough with all the goodies on it. Roll the dough up tightly and cut the roll into twelve one-inch pieces. I cut the roll in half and in halves again, and then into thirds. That gives me twelve rounds. Lay the coiled up buns in the syrup which should be only lukewarm by now. Let the buns rise for about half an hour and bake them at 350 for about 35 minutes.

Turn them out onto a platter while still warm so the syrup from the pan will stick to the buns.

Now go put the coffee on and call your favourite person to share a sticky bun with you.