Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mini Cranberry Panettones

Panettone is an Italian sweet bread that hails from Milan and is traditionally eaten at Christmas. It is also a Christmas staple in other parts of the world such as Bolivia and Peru. These mini versions make great hostess gifts, and are delicious either for breakfast or dessert. Be prepared to make a mess in your kitchen though! And leave yourself plenty of time, as there are 3 separate hours in which the dough needs to rise.

Dissolve one package of yeast in 1/2 a cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (use a thermometer to check that it is between 100 and 110 degrees). Let stand five minutes; meanwhile, spoon 1/2 a cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour into measuring cups and level with a knife. Stir into the yeast mixture with a whisk until combined. Cover and let rise one hour, or until doubled in size.

Combine 6 tablespoons sugar, 3 and 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), a teaspoon and a half finely chopped orange rind and 1/4 tsp. salt. Beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the equivalent of one egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G) and beat to combine. Beat in the risen yeast mixture.

Spoon 2 additional cups of all-purpose flour into measuring cups, leveling with a knife. Add to the egg mixture. If you have a stand-mixer, you can probably beat with that. If you only have a hand-held mixer, I actually recommend reverting to a good old wooden spoon, because the dough was so thick it bogged down my little beaters.

However you can, mix until smooth. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 3 minutes. (You can read more thoroughly in past bread-making posts of mine about kneading instructions, but just adhere to these 4 steps: punch down, fold over, quarter turn, repeat!) You can add an extra 1/4 cup or so of flour as needed, about a tablespoonful at a time, to keep the dough from sticking to your hands, but I found I didn't need to do so.

After 3 minutes, knead in 1 and 1/4 cups dried cranberries and 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger. It will seem like a lot, but believe it or not, the dough does manage to incorporate it all.

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top, then cover and let rise another hour, or until doubled in size.

Coat 3 (one-cup) muffin cups with cooking spray. Cut 3 strips of parchment paper (about 5x12-inches each) and line the muffin cups, extending about 3 inches from the top of each. Divide the dough evenly into the muffin cups. Lightly spray each muffin with cooking spray and sprinkle the tops evenly with a tablespoon of slivered almonds. Let rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.

Once doubled, bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Cut each panettone into quarters, and you'll have 12 servings of 220 calories each.

(If you don't have one-cup muffin pans and want to bake these as standard-sized muffins, you'll have a yield of 18. Decrease your cooking time to 20 minutes though.

yeast $2.69
dried cranberries $6.49

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance