Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Chip Of the Block--Kringle

I flip through a supermarket flyer and a recipe jumps out at me. An unexpected gem buried in a myriad of advertisements. Then again friends are the same. Treasures amidst the flotsam of life. Many years ago I met an amazing woman, one of the many mothers in my daughter's kindergarten class and as soon as we got talking I knew we would be friends for life. Rosa came into my life to stay. Not content with being a great neighbor, She is the epitome of a good who will bend over backwards to help you. One who will soothe the pain with kind words worth their weight in gold. She has always been there for me, whether it is selfless thoughts and deeds, but mostly the warmth and love of her friendship. We have raised our kids on the same street for twenty five tumultuous years.  We commiserate, we celebrate, we coexist on our street, neighbors picking up mail, exercising, laughing and sharing the worlds in our kitchens. 

Over countless meals of Dominican delights like tostones, beans and rice, pernil, Swiss raclette, fondue and her wonderfully yeasty version of challah, we have cemented our relationship. She is responsible for my addiction to South American espresso!  Rosa takes me down a culinary road I would've never walked on. I venture to emulate her skills to a much lesser degree! As my kids will verify, my rice and beans never taste like hers. Then again she eats Indian food like a true Indian. No tempered down spices for her!! And she will enthusiastically eat any concoction put in front of her. There was that instance when I made a thali and Glenn jokingly insisted that she had to eat with her hands! Unaccustomed to doing that she hesitated at first, but mastered the art of eating with her fingers in a few trys!!! As I said she is redoubtable. And I love her for that!!!

I make Christmas cookies to share. Rosa will get the lion's share.  This Christmas with both our houses back in shape, we celebrate our camaraderie as always with love and of course many meals!

Makes 35 to 40

1/2 cup Butter, softened
3/4 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
3 cups Flour
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup dried Cranberries

1 cup Confectioners Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
A pinch of ground Nutmeg
3 tablespoons Milk

Beat the softened butter on high speed for 30 seconds in the bowl of an electric mixer.

Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt and beat till combined.

Now add the egg and vanilla extract and mix till incorporated.

Start by adding the flour a cup at a time. Alternate the cup of flour with a little buttermilk. Beat well till the dough comes together.

Chop the dried cranberries into small pieces and add to the dough. Mix again till they are well distributed into the dough. 

Divide dough in half. Place each half in plastic bags and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

When you are ready take dough out of the fridge.

Heat oven to 425F.

Dust the counter generously with flour.

Pat the dough into a rectangle. Roll out into a 10x 5 rectangle.

Slice rectangle vertically  into 15 or 16 ribbons, each 1/2 inch wide.

Roll each ribbon gently on a floured surface.

Make a U shape with the roll. Take the two ends and cross them over.

Twist the ends once.

Carefully lift the two ends and bring them over to the lower portion of the cookie. It should look like a pretzel.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Do the same with all the ribbons. Place the kringle one inch apart on the baking sheet.
Repeat with other half of dough. You might have to use three sheets depending on how many kringle can fit on a baking sheet. I had 12 to 15 on one baking sheet

Bake pretzel shapes for 5 minutes or till the tops are tinged brown.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Make icing by whisking all the ingredients till they are thick and runny .

Place the wire rack over a sheet pan or newspaper to catch the icing dribbles. It makes cleaning easier!

Drizzle icing over the kringles using a teaspoon.

Rosa is ready with a laugh , a hug , a tissue, a helping hand and an ever-present smile. She has talked of moving many times.  If ever she does she will never know the desolation she leaves behind.  She is tenacious, generous to a fault, the one you want on your side in battle! Together we have endured floods, storms, both physical and mental trials and tribulations. We both emerge stronger and resilient. I cannot imagine my life without her.