Recipes: A Heartwarming Holiday Bread and an Earthy, Bittersweet Tisane Tea
Ascending Atlanta-based culinary writer NANDITA GODBOLE offers two gems from her wide repertoire of culinary offerings inspired by her life-long love affair with food.
Cointreau-flavored Orange & Raisin Holiday Bread
Cooking Time: 35 minutes plus prep time
Makes: 8-10 servings, 1 large loaf or three mini loaves
Reminiscent of a tutti-frutti cake, this quick bread is sure to be a hit, and not because of the Cointreau. The alcoholic content of Cointreau evaporates during the baking process and leaves the bread, and the kitchen, wonderfully aromatic. This holiday bread is easy to make and uses whole wheat flour, or atta, which gives it a dense texture wherein even a single slice can be immensely satisfying. The raisins and atta give it just the right amount of sweetness for a delicate treat. Divide the dough into mini loaf tins for unforgettable holiday gifts.
¼ cup black or golden raisins, optional
2 tbsp. Cointreau, optional
¾ cup milk
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 cup white flour
1 cup atta
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. salted butter, cold, cut into very small cubes
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. orange peel/orange zest
Rinse and dry the black or golden raisins, toss them with the Cointreau, and set aside. If not using Cointreau or raisins, or both, continue with the recipe as is.
Combine the vinegar and milk in a separate container and set that aside for at least 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375° F. To extract orange peel, use a small grater and carefully grate or zest the outer orange-colored peel of a clean Navel orange or similar firm orange. Do not use the inner, white portion of the peel. Grease a large loaf tin, or two mini loaf tins, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, atta, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add the butter and mix it in with fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture looks like bread crumbs. Make a “well” in the center.
In a second bowl, combine all the wet ingredients: one beaten egg, the milk and vinegar combination, brown sugar, vanilla, the orange peel, and the Cointreau soaked raisins, if using.
Pour this mixture into the dry mixture and mix well using a large spatula. The mixture may be a little sticky. Do not mix for more than 10 strokes.
Portion the batter-like dough into the prepared loaf tin/tins.
Bake for 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm.
If dividing the dough into mini loaves, check the loaves at the 20-minute mark for doneness with a sharp knife or a long skewer. If the tester comes out clean, the bread is ready.
Roasted Barley & Orange Tisane
Cooking Time: 3-5 minutes
Makes: 2 cups
A ‘Tisane’ is an herbal tea that does not use tea leaves. It is preferred for its naturally decaf nature. Its ability to enhance natural flavors makes tisanes a desirable drink for all kinds of beverage lovers. Roasted barley is often available in an East Asian grocery store, and orange blossom water is more frequently available in a Middle Eastern store. Roasted barley tea is a wonderful digestive tea, preferred all year round, but particularly beneficial during the fall and winter months. Its earthy taste is unique, but the addition of the bittersweet flavors of orange makes for a perfect afternoon cup.
2 cups water
3 tbsp. roasted barley
2-3 thin slices of orange, cut in half
1 tsp. orange blossom water
Honey (optional, to taste)
Bring two cups of water to a boil and reduce the heat. Add the roasted barley, cover and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes on low. Remove from heat.
Place 2-3 orange slices in the bottom of a cup. Pour the orange blossom water over it.
Strain the hot barley water over the orange slices. Sweeten to taste with honey (optional). Enjoy warm.
Nandita Godbole is an Atlanta-based author of many cookbooks and a food-novel. Her biographical fiction, Ten Thousand Tongues: Secrets of a Layered Kitchen was featured on City Lights– WABE (Atlanta’s NPR), Forbes, and BBC-Future, and in an earlier avatar, on NBC and NBC-Asian America.
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