At last, here's a sweet, romantic Christmas paranormal anthology! Each story has its unique ghost and psychic experience where holiday traditions are kept alive and a love story warms your heart. And the most delightful ghost of all, Mary Blake's Christmas rubber ball, connects the stories to give you a read that will leave you longing for more.
Christmas Breakfast Schneken
(Sticky "Snail" Buns)
(Sticky "Snail" Buns)
These can be prepared ahead of time and served with coffee or hot chocolate on Christmas morning. I usually make a dozen, because someone is sure to get into them before Christmas. They are good warm or cold and may be "gently warmed" for 45 seconds on a saucer in the Microwave. Any longer and the sticky tops will become case-hardened tooth breakers....
2 disposable aluminum round cake pans or square cake pans
Pam non-stick cooking Spray
1/2 your favorite 4 loaf yeast bread recipe, or you can use the simple one below OR you can buy a yeast bread box mix from the store. Box mix is enough for 1 set of buns. 1/2 recipe below is enough for 2 sets of buns.
1 or 1 1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 box soft dark brown sugar (Sprinkle onto rolled-out dough generously, but not too thick. You will
not need it all by any means, but they only sell it in 2 lb boxes.
1 bottle dark brown Karo syrup (you won't need it all and one bottle should be enough whether you do two pans or one).
1/4 pound real butter at room temperature, so it's soft (again, you may not need the whole thing).
Ground cinnamon in a shaker, rather than by the spoonful.
Divide the dough into two equal lots and replace one in the bowl to use on another project, or to make extra schnecken for your friends.
On a smooth floured surface, roll out the dough in a rectangular shape, about 1/2 to 3/4 in thick. Approximately 12 x 8 inches or so. It doesn't have to be absolutely even, but should not be thinner than 1/2 inch anywhere, for easy handling.
Coat top of rolled out dough with soft butter. Sprinkle generously with dark brown sugar. There is no measuring here. Use your eyes. Only leave blank spaces at the long edges of the dough. Everything should be covered, but don't pile it up too thick.
Sprinkle top generously with Ground Cinnamon.
Sprinkle top generously with pecan pieces.
Spray cake pans or square baking pans with Pam. Add Karo Syrup to cover bottom.
Roll one long edge toward the center (as if making a jelly roll) and meld the other long edge to bind it into the roll. So you have one long loaf of rolled buns. Slice the roll in half. With two cuts on each half slice each half to divide it into thirds. This should give you six sliced, evenly-spaced buns. If you have the square pans, you might want to make the first cut into thirds and space it so there are 9 buns, but be careful to make sure each bun is 1 and 1/2 inches high when placed in the pan.
I like to get the square disposable pans and gift disposable pans with tops and make an extra lot to give away. But it's okay to use round ones and covered pie gift pans.
Place the sliced buns into the baking pans. If using cake pans, put one in the middle and the others around the edge. If they don't quite fill it, don't worry, the dough will rise again when baking and fill the empty spaces in.
Bake in 325 oven (NEVER HIGHER or the syrup will crystalize and the sticky coating will get hard) for 45 minutes to an hour until tops are good and brown. Spread your counter with wide aluminum foil to prevent spills. Turn over into serving dish so the schneken are displayed with sticky side up. Cool.
I like to turn them into the gift pans with clear covers, even if I'm going to use them myself. They stay fresh with the airtight covers, make a pretty gift, and look festive at Christmas Breakfast.
Repeat the bun steps with the second half of the dough. Buns will keep well in Christmas gift-giving pans with lids that seal, or in large zip-lock bags, for up to a week.
Easy Bulk Bread Recipe
- 2 (0.6 ounce) cakes compressed fresh yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 4 cups hot water (from the faucet, not boiling in the teakettle -- if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast and disaster will ensue)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 vegetable Oil
- 15 cups flour Use bread flour if you have it, or plain white sifted
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand 10 minutes.
- In a very large bowl, combine hot water, white sugar, salt and shortening. Stir to dissolve shortening; let cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast mixture and 6 cups of flour; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes.
- Lightly oil two large bowls Divide the dough in half and place each half in a bowl; turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Deflate dough, form into rounds and let rise again until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
- You can shape the pieces into loaves for large loaf pans, or into dinner rolls. Or you can work in a few raisins or chopped dates and braid portions for pretty Scandinavian braided bread loaves. Drizzle the tops of loaves with white icing after they are baked.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until loaves are golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped.
Dough may be refrigerated for up to three days, punching down from time to time ( I do it whenever I got to the refrigerator for something), but must be allowed to return to room temp and rise in the bowl, before turning it out onto a floured board and shaping it into whatever you choose.
Easy White Icing Recipe
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pound (3 2/3 cups) confectioners' sugar (Half a two-pound bag from the grocery store)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (optional)
In a mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth.
Gradually add confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth. If too thick to spread, beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk.
This can be used for cupcakes or made with a little less sugar (so it's less stiff) and drizzled over bread loaves, or forced through a plain decorating tip to make Hot Cross Buns, or used as a Streussel or Braided Bread Topping.