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Robots, Orphans, and Pastry?

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Robots, Orphans,  and Pastry?

Gift-giving can be such a stress. Several years ago, however,  I discovered a way to make it more meaningful and simpler, at least with my siblings and parents.  I bake a traditional Scandinavian treat that they wouldn't normally make and we give a charitable contribution to a project or organization in lieu of gifts. I also include an ornament that may or may not have to do with said ministry. 

Robots and Orphans

Many of you may not know that two of our children were adopted from Ukraine. Their futures would have been very bleak had they stayed which makes this year's ministry choice particularly meaningful. The charitable contribution is being made to a Ukrainian ministry near and dear to our hearts called Radooga. The particular aspect we are giving to is Radobot which is an outreach to help orphans by training them in robot building, coding, and teamwork through clubs and camps. With Christian teachers and quality instruction,  this could be truly life-changing.

Radobot orphan ministry

 

And Now For The Treat...

For the past several years, I have been making Kringle. What is that you ask? It is delicious and buttery Danish pastry in the shape of a ring with a myriad of filling options. It is admittedly labor intensive, with layers, upon layers of butter. To really make it right, you use a three-day process. This year I am making seven batches which is 14 Kringles.  We also serve this every Christmas Day for brunch. If that sounds like a good idea to you, add to the beauty of the Danish by  displaying it on one of these stylish trays

For those of you familiar with Kringles and the Wisconsin bakeries that crank them out every day, you may wonder why I bother if the process is so intense. Well, it’s because “necessity is the mother of invention”. I wanted some diabetic versions for my mom but the mail-order company would only sell them in sets with flavors she didn’t want. Not to be defeated, I Googled how to make them and ironically, the recipe that showed up was from the same bakery. I adjusted it to accommodate Mom’s dietary needs and a tradition was born. So, for those who either want to make something really special for a gift or want to start a new Christmas breakfast tradition, here is how I make Kringle. 

KRINGLE

Original Recipe from O and H Danish Bakery.

This recipe makes two Kringles.

Pastry

Soften:

¾ C butter

Spread the butter on a piece of waxed paper to the dimensions of 8”x 16”. Lay it flat on a baking sheet and chill until firm. You can use the refrigerator. If I have space I usually use the freezer.

Dissolve:

1 packet dry yeast 

1 t sugar

into

¼ C lukewarm water (check the packet of yeast for exact temperatures)

Add and mix well:

¼ C lukewarm milk

¼ C sugar

½ t salt

1 beaten egg

Place mixture in a food processor and pulse 15 times (or mix by hand) after adding:

2 C (8 oz) sifted flour 

Wrap the dough in plastic then put in a gallon Zip lock bag.

Refrigerate 2-24 hours. I have actually let it go longer than that when I have been too busy to deal with it.

On a well-floured board (I find wood works best), roll out the dough to an 8” x 12” rectangle. Cut the hardened butter in half and lay it on 2/3 of the dough.

Fold the empty third over the center then fold the remaining third on top. You should have three layers of pastry and two layers of butter. (This only will take about ten minutes, by the way.)

Wrap the pastry in plastic and refrigerate again.

The next day, or at least several hours later, repeat the previous process with the remaining piece of butter.

Next, make the filling of your choice.

Butterscotch Filling

Combine and spread over the center third of the pastry:

1 C brown sugar

1/3 C butter

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cinnamon

1 egg white

Sprinkle on:

1 ½ C of nuts or chocolate chips.

 

Sugar-Free Filling

Combine and spread over the center third of the pastry:

½ C stevia measure

1 T molasses

1 egg white

Sprinkle on:

1 ½ C of nuts or chocolate chips.


Fruit Filling

Use about 1/3-1/2 of a canned pie filling per Kringle


Nutella Filling

Use 10 T per Kringle

Roll out the dough to an 8” x 16” rectangle. Fold in thirds. Chill.

Cut the dough into two equal pieces.

Roll one at a time until it stretches to 6” x 20”. 

Spread half of the filling lengthwise down the center. If using the butterscotch or sugar-free versions, spread the mixture then sprinkle the nuts or chips.

Fold the dough over the center, wetting the seam with water to seal it. 

Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper. Write which flavor is which on the paper with a Sharpie.

Lay the filled dough on the sheet and form it into an oval. Tuck one end into the other and seal it with water.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for an hour.

Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes.

Icing

Mix and drizzle half on top of each Kringle:

2 C powdered sugar

1-2 T milk 

 

SHIPPING

Here are my tips for mailing these in boxes of two.

 

Order the 8 ½” x 11” (inside dimensions) medium-size flat-rate boxes from the post office.

Cut cardboard, foam core, or mat board to fit inside the box and wrap it with foil.

Lay your Kringle on top. 

Stretch out a 26-30” piece of waxed paper. Lay the cardboard and Kringle on one half. Fold the other half over the top, creating an envelope. Staple along the sides and the bottom. Label and freeze it.

If you are keeping it in the freezer for longer than a couple of days, wrap it in plastic too.

Because I send two and usually add a Christmas ornament to the package, I cut an oval hole in the center of the top board. I lay one Kringle down, then the ornament. I add some foam corners taped to the sides so the top Kringle won’t squash the bottom one. Then I lay the top Kringle in the box. So far this system has worked well,

I know it seems like a ton of work, but the results are definitely worth the effort. Your family and friends will thank you for this delicious act of baking love!

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