This week was something I’ve done quite a bit in the past (though not from scratch – at work, the dough came in pre-formed, and I just had to spread the filling), but not recently. Many of the recipes I found called for various fruits and/or nuts, but to be honest, the first time I’d ever made homemade babka had been a cinnamon and cream cheese one.
I couldn’t actually find the recipe I’d used way back when, so I simply modified this one. I left out the apricot filling, and as you can see in the photos, I decided against the usual “loaf” style. Instead, the dough was cut in half, braided, and twisted into a circle. Also, I used ceylon cinnamon instead of the usual. A bit more expensive, but it’s a much more subtle flavor, in my opinion.
The finished product was fairly similar to how I remember it being before. The cream cheese/cinnamon had baked into the dough, leaving it with a sweet, buttery flavor, and only a very light cinnamon taste. The main thing I’d recommend to anyone wanting to try this, is to make the dough the previous night or evening. It’ll keep well enough in a greased bowl with plastic wrap on top, and given the amount of rising time, it’ll end up being much less trouble if it’s simply brought out to rise early on in the day, rather than being made early in the day.
This week I wanted to try something a little more extravagant than I usually make. The cookies I used don’t actually have any extra sugar top them, something I was quite pleased with. They ended up being very dense, and while folding them, felt more like a brownie than a cookie.
They tasted wonderful, and were the perfect pairing top the rather large (for the size of the cookie, anyway) amount of icing I was going top use.
Honestly, this was the first time I’ve ever made icing flowers. I used a #104 tip, and an icing nail that, frankly, I didn’t even know we had.
As you can tell from the photos, the icing got warm fairly quickly. Not so warm that I couldn’t use it, but near the end the flowers were getting sorta wilted. I’m still pleased with how they turned out, though it was a good reminder that a cramped kitchen in 85 degree weather wasn’t the best setting to be doing multiple flowers at a time.
Still, the finished cookie came out just as I’d hoped. The dark chocolate cookie was meant to be mud, essentially, and the blue butter-cream being the water. The flower and leaves on top would complete the lily-pad cookie.
In the future though, I suspect using a cookie cutter to make uniform shapes for the base would be best, rather than simply smashing the cookies flat. Also, the next time I’m curious to see how it would look with “water” fondant, and perhaps a green fondant pad, to really bring the look home.