Korovai Fruit and Hazelnut Bread: #192 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Korovai is a braided, decorated fruit bread often served at Russian or Ukrainian weddings. This one is filled with raisins, orange peel, cranberries and hazelnuts. The entire bread is lovingly smothered in apricot jam after baking. We adapted the recipe from the Great British Bakeoff cookbook.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 total)

Dough:
4 tsp active dry yeast – $1.60
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1 cup + 1 tbsp hottest tap water – free
7 tbsp softened margarine – $1.09
1 egg – $0.29
1 tbsp vanilla extract – $0.70
1 tbsp almond extract – $0.70
4 cups flour – $0.64
1 1/2 tsp salt – $0.08
1/4 cup apricot jam, warmed and stirred well – $0.64

Filling:
1/2 cup margarine – $1.24
1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26
2 cups raisins – $2.00
1/2 cup dried cranberries – $0.96
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts – $1.75
1/2 cup chopped orange peel – free leftovers

Directions

1. Make the dough: in a small non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and water. Let it sit to form a thick foam for about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the 7 tbsp margarine, egg, vanilla and almond extracts. And in a larger metal bowl, mix the flour and salt.

Once the yeast has bloomed, add the yeast mixture and the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to bring it into a ball of dough, then knead with your hands for about 5 minutes. Cover the dough in the large metal bowl with cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled.

2. Make the filling and assemble the breads: In a medium bowl, cream the margarine and sugar, then add the dried fruit and hazelnuts.

When the dough has risen, split it into two balls, 1/3 and 2/3 of the mixture. Roll the larger ball out on a floured board to about 8×12 inches. Cover it evenly with 2/3 of the fruit and nut mixture, then roll it up tightly from the long side into a baguette shape. Cut this down the middle with a sharp knife, then twist the two halves around each other and join the ends together to make a braided circle. The fruit and nuts will end up around the outside.

Repeat with the smaller dough ball, rolling it out to about 6×9 inches and using the remaining 1/3 of the fruit and nut mixture. Cover and let the two braided rings rise in a warm place for 1 hour until about doubled in size.

3. Once the dough rings have risen, bake them at 425F for 10 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 more minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and smother in the warm apricot jam. Sprinkle with any remaining hazelnut bits. Place the smaller ring on top of the larger ring and cut into this delicious breakfast or teatime treat.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Grandma’s Old Faithfuls (Oatmeal Raisin Cookies): #123 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Whenever my British Grandma went to a potluck, party, or family gathering, she would have these cookies in hand. She nicknamed them “old faithfuls” because they’re so easy to make and everyone likes them. Our girls Megan and Sara made these this past weekend. Hope you enjoy them too!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($2 total for 16 cookies)

1 cup flour – $0.16
1/2 cup sugar – $0.44
1/2 tsp baking powder – $0.01
1/4 tsp baking soda – $0.01
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
1/2 tsp cinnamon – $0.03
1 1/2 cups rolled oats – $0.18
1/2 cup raisins – $0.50
1/2 cup canola oil – $0.37
1 egg – $0.19
1/4 cup soy milk – $0.09

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix the first 6 dry ingredients. Then stir in the oats and raisins.

2. Add in the oil, egg and soy milk. Mix just until combined.

3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. These freeze very well.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having these again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

All-Time Favorite Bran Muffins: #115 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

These muffins were almost always around on weekends when I was growing up in Canada. My mom would make a fresh batch on Saturday morning and we would snack on them. With bran and raisins, they’re a pretty healthy muffin choice. Plus they’re a kid all-time favorite!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($8.50 total for 18 muffins = 47 cents per muffin!)

1 1/2 cup margarine – $1.24
1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26
1/2 cup molasses – $1.80
3 eggs – $0.87
1 tsp vanilla – $0.20
2 cups soy milk – $0.74
2 cups bran – $1.16
2 cups flour – $0.32
3 tsp baking powder – $0.05
1 tsp baking soda – $0.01
2 cups raisins – $2.00

Directions

1. In a blender, mix the margarine, brown sugar, molasses, eggs, vanilla, and soy milk.

In a large bowl, mix the bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and raisins.

2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix just until combined. Spoon into muffin tins lined with paper muffin cups – you will need two tins or the same tin for two batches, since this recipe makes 18 muffins.

3. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy warm or at room temperature, plain or topped with butter, honey, or jam. They freeze well too and are ready to eat after 30 seconds in the microwave.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Italian Panettone: #39 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

This is my Mom’s super easy recipe for panettone – an orange-scented Italian breakfast cake that’s traditionally eaten around Christmas but is delicious anytime of year. You can make it with raisins or chocolate chips, and it can be eaten for breakfast, snack, or a dessert treat.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($7 total)

4 cups flour – $0.64
2 cups sugar – $1.74
6 tsp baking powder – $0.09
1 1/2 cups raisins or chocolate chips – $1.50
1 cup canola oil or butter – $0.75
3 eggs – $0.87
2 cups milk – $0.75
1 orange, rind grated from it – $0.40

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together. 

2. Add the sugar, oil, eggs, milk, orange rind and raisins, mix well. Pour into a greased round cake pan with a whole in the middle. If you don’t want the raisins to fall to the bottom of the cake, mix them into the flour first before adding in the wet ingredients.

3. Bake at 325F for 1 hour, covering loosely with foil halfway through so it doesn’t get too brown. Check doneness by inserting a chopstick into the cake and seeing if it comes out clean. If there is batter or cake bits stuck to it, leave it in for another 5-10 minutes. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before enjoying a slice.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!