Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Cheery Cherry Rolls (Gluten-free)

Merry Christmas. Your plate of rolls is already half empty.
In my yoot (for those who are unfamiliar with "My Cousin Vinnie", go watch it and then come back to ask me about my yoot), Christmas breakfast was kind of a big deal. We didn't have one of those breakfast casseroles, either. The Bat would get up and close the doors to the living room, so we'd have to go those extra six steps the long way to the dining room, and we'd sit down to eat scrambled eggs with bacon, toasted homemade bread with butter, and, last but not least, the Swedish tea ring.

The tea ring was made with a sweetened bread dough, filled with cherries and chopped pecans, and lightly drizzled with a cinnamon/milk/powdered sugar glaze. As most of these things are, it was, in effect, as if one started making cinnamon rolls, and then changed one's mind before completely slicing off the sections, but instead just snipped partway through and curled the tube around itself. In The Bat's case, it was also slightly more than a cinnamon roll, because she added pie cherries into the mix, in a manner similar to this.  It made a pretty, cherry-and-gold sunburst of breadly goodness. She didn't even need to glaze it.

But now that I'm among the wheat-free, that simple and elegant treat seemed a dangerous option. After all, most gf breads are made using a dough which is so soft as to be mistaken for muffin batter.

Which brings me to this year.

The Bat will be making her favorite Christiana Campbell's Tavern Sweet Potato Muffins for supper, and we're going to try to adapt that recipe to GF, so I wondered to myself if I might convert the tea ring recipe to a muffin cup treat.

It appears that I am capable.

Next year, I may even be able to create an actual GF Swedish tea ring, using a pastry bag and a little creative mayhem.

But for now, I have a great way to adapt a package of Bob's Red Mill GF Homemade Bread Mix to make less sandwich-y and more Christmas-y. And kind of roll-y. Well, more than kind of, on that last one.

Oh, and I only just barely followed some of the directions on the package. Which is pretty much in keeping with the old rule of art class: never use paint straight from the tube.

For this you will need three standard 12-cup muffin pans (not the giant size or the muffin-top, and most definitely not the gem pans), 1 small microwave-safe mixing bowl, 1 small mixing bowl of any variety, 1 stand mixer and its large bowl with standard paddle (not a dough hook), a 1 1/2-inch cookie dough scoop, a rubber spatula, a cup of water and a teaspoon (of the stirring and eating sort, not the measuring kind), measuring cups and spoons. You will also need to drain your pie cherries, and, if they're frozen, they'll need thawing completely before starting this recipe. And, if you're like so many of us and you store your bread mixes in the freezer to keep the flours from going rancid, you'll want to take the mix out at least a half hour ahead of time to warm it up, too.

And then you get going and bake these treats with so much less guilt and pain!

Some come out looking a little lumpy. That's okay. They still taste great!

Christmas Cherry Rolls 


2 cups tart pie cherries, juices drained
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
5 Tablespoons brown sugar (or 3 Tbs brown sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed!) plus enough regular milk to have 1 3/4 cups
3 Tablespoons honey
4 large eggs plus enough egg whites for 1 1/4 cups 
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 package (for single loaf) gluten-free bread mix


Generously butter the cups and around the rims of three non-stick 12-reservoir muffin pans and also generously butter three sheets of foil to fit over their tops. 

In small plain mixing bowl, combine both varieties of cherries, cinnamon, brown sugar, chopped pecans, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Stir well and allow to sit & steep in the juices this will make.

Meanwhile, in small microwave-safe mixing bowl, gently warm milk and honey in microwave (nuke it at half temp for about 90 seconds, check it to see if it's warmed. If not, pop it back in for another 30 seconds at a time until it's about 95º F). Remove from microwave oven, gently sprinkle contents of yeast packet onto the top of the milk mixture. Allow to stand on counter until the yeast begins to foam (about 5-7 minutes).

Pour flour part of bread mix into the bowl of a stand mixer, and, using the paddle (NOT the dough hook), begin to mix in the eggs, butter, and the milk/yeast/honey mixture.

Once the ingredients are mixed, allow mixer to work the thick batter at medium speed for three minutes, occasionally using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, as needed.

Using the 1 1/2-inch scoop, fill the bottom of each muffin cup with one level scoop of the thin dough. When all the cups have rough dough balls in their bottoms, take a spoon, dip it in warm water, and create a depression in the middle of each, pressing the dough around the edges of the muffin cup at the same time.

Fill each dough reservoir with a heaping Tablespoon of the cherry mixture, and then top each with a small amount (about a teaspoon) of the remaining dough, until it is all used up. With a wet spoon or wetted fingers, spread and smooth the dough over the top of the cherries.

Cover with buttered foil and allow to rise in a warm place about 20-30 minutes, until the dough comes almost level with the top of each cup. During the rising time, preheat the oven to 375º F.

When dough is risen, place muffin tins in middle of oven and bake 10 minutes. Cover with foil (to prevent rolls from becoming too dark) and bake another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, remove from pans, and allow to cool on rack. If you like the crust of your rolls to be tender, wrap the rolls in airtight packaging before they are completely cool. For a crustier roll, allow to cool completely, about 1 hour, before storing.

If you prepare these the night before Christmas (or other occasion for serving), reheat in oven – not microwave – by covering in foil and baking at 225º – 250º F for about 10 minutes.

MMMM it's smiling at you! This is a merry Christmas!

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