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Happy Holidays from Kristine and Jo at Maison de Kristine

We hope you have a blessed Christmas and special time together with your family.  Please remember that this time of year can be hard for some people who are either missing family members or not able to celebrate in the fashion they would like so be aware.

My passion is country French and this time of year I especially love to bake. One of the traditions we have is baking a Swedish Braid to have on Christmas morning with our coffee.  Everyone tries to stay away from it but much sooner than later it is completely gone and everyone is wondering who will confess to eating it all.

Please enjoy the recipe and maybe you'll want to make it a tradition of your own.

Merry Christmas!

Holiday Breakfast Wreath with Cherry-Almond Filling

makes about 12 servings
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110° F)
1/2 cup warm milk (about 110° F)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the Cherry-Almond Filling:3/4 cup candied cherries (dried cherry’s can be substituted if you want to soak them ahead in a liquor of some type, I like the candied cherries best)
6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon almond extract

For the Sugar Glaze:1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder


In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water and let it foam up for a minute or two. Blend in the milk, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs and lemon peel. Stir in two cups of the flour, one cup at a time. Beat for 2 minutes. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until you have a soft, workable dough. Note:
You might not use all the flour.

Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed to prevent sticking. Place in a lightly oiled mixing bowl large enough to accommodate dough when doubled in size. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).

Meanwhile, prepare the Cherry-Almond Filling: Combine the cherries with remaining filling ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.

When dough has risen and doubled in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured board, kneading just enough to release any air bubbles. Roll the dough into a 9- by 30-inch rectangle. Crumble the filling over the dough to within 1 inch of the edges. Starting along a long side, tightly roll up the dough, pinching edge against loaf to seal. With a sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise, carefully turn cut sides up, and loosely twist ropes around each other, keeping cut sides up. (See photos below for an illustration these steps.)

Carefully transfer the wreath to a greased and floured baking sheet and shape into a wreath, pinching ends together to seal. Let it rise, uncovered, in a warm place until puffy, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake wreath until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. While wreath is baking, Prepare Sugar Glaze by stirring together ingredients until smooth.

When wreath is done, transfer to a cooling rack with wide spatulas or a pizza peel. Cool for a few minutes then drizzle the glaze over the warm wreath. Serve sliced with extra butter if you're feeling decadent.

The wreath can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time, cooled completely and wrapped tightly in foil. Store at room temperature then re-heat at 350° for 10-15 minutes, drizzling the glaze just before serving.

Xoxoxo
Kriss



Remodeling...French Market Basket to the Rescue!

I desperately need a mani pedi...and my husband is wondering what's for breakfast...ha ha ha... so I point to the opened bag of potato chips left by contractors the day before but request he stay away from the unopened barbecued style ones because those are his dinner.

I feel so totally out of control right now!

Everything we own is packed away in boxes because we are getting ready to move but are remodeling at the same time.

Do you have any idea what that looks like?

No you probably don't. You probably know better.

But for laughs this is what it looks like:

Outside in the garden weeds are strangling the vegetables...nuff said there.

Inside the trash bags are tossed over lamp shades to protect from drywall dust.

My cell phone gets lost at least twice a day and most of the time found dead by somebody else.

My credit card seems lost but is usually found anywhere from the front passenger seat of the car (underneath the dog) or out in the road andfortunately picked up by friendly passerby's. (my neighbors are worried about me)

My hair has that French look (x 10)...very tossled and messy...extra chic!

My toothbrush lives on the back of the toilet... I pray nobody uses it inappriopriately. But of course I have it wrapped carefully in toilet paper to keep it covered and protected from the elements.

The one and only thing which has kept me semi organized is my French Market Basket which I have been using like a suitcase. I keep all my important papers close at hand. It has my bills, my computer, my magazines, my water, my car keys, my sunscreen, my cell phone, my calendar, my sunglasses and a few stray grapes and gum wrappers. I take it everywhere I go in case I have time to clean it out or attempt to pay some bills.

Once you have a French Market Basket it's hard to not need it. It's hard to do without them. They are so superior to a big purse because they are open at the top and very accessible to grab out what you need or throw in what you don't need. You can throw them down onto the dirty floor and not worry about it like you would your expensive purse.

So, today is a new day, I am attempting to bring some control & organization into our lives. It's been an hour and so far so good. I am not yet out of bed which is probably why so far so good...but my husband has been up working since 4am & managed to find a clean red solo cup to fill with All Bran Cereal (sans milk & spoon) for his breakfast and I am currently going after those few grapes (see pic) in the bottom of my French market basket and calling it good.

My goal today is to stay in control of me and what I am doing...in one hour increments.

Will post an update tomorrow on how it went...you know...with the chips and all.

Take care,

Kristine


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Bedroom & Baths Article

FRENCH SAVOIR-FAIRE /FALL 2011

62 Design Ideas to INSPIRE

by Bedrooms & Baths (From the Editors of Romantic Homes, Cottages, & Bungalows)

From the opulence of Louis XV rococo and the sumptousness of the Moulin Rouge to the sophistication of French noir and the playfulness of Parisian pink, we've got what you need to create the perfect French-themed boudoir.

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