On the second night of Chanukah, I joined forces with fellow blogger, baking fiend, and dear old friend of mine, Danielle A., for a schnecken good time in her Boerum Hill kitchen. Schnecken is not just a funny word that is German for snails; it was once a very popular breakfast treat throughout Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where many bakers happened to be Jewish. While my Hungarian great-grandmother was known for her mandelbread and rugelach recipes, I had never, ever heard of schnecken. Danielle A. and I will show you how to make it.
He's a cute little fella, no?
First we need to make the dough, which will eventually get pressed out in a large rectangular shape and rolled up like a jelly roll.
So to begin: 3 1/3 cups of bread flour.
1/4 cup sucre.
1/2 tsp salt.
1 package of rapid rise yeast.
Mix it all together in a big bowl.
1/3 cup of butter.
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp milk.
Combine both & then melt.
Whip together two large eggs…
This is how we “dough it.”
Pour the melted milk butter into the bowl with all the dry ingredients and then beat in the eggs. Knead for 5 or so minutes with a dough hook.
When it’s springy and satiny, form it into a ball like Danielle A. is so wonderfully accustomed to doing.
(FYI, you see two balls because we made two batches.) Put the ball into an oiled bowl, turn to coat for a nice shine, and cover with plastic wrap.
Then leave it in a warm place (the oven seemed like a good choice; we left the door ajar) and let sit for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Assemble the muffin pan.
Act II: Make the syrup.
That’s 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp turbinado sugar, 4 tbsp maple syrup, and 3 tbsp light corn syrup. Using an electric mixer, beat until soft and smooth.
Divide evenly amongst muffin cups.
Top with walnut or pecan pieces. (We went the walnut route.)
While we waited for the oven to preheat to 350 degrees, we made some fresh ginger ale with her seltzer maker. Danielle A. is queen of having awesome ingredients hidden in her cupboards.
Act III: Create a glaze.
Glaze calls for 1 large egg and 2 tbsp milk. (Again, don’t be confused by our image shown doubled recipe.)
What makes all desserts delicious? FILLING.
Filling calls for 3 tbsp sugar + 1/2 cup turbinado sugar, and 1 tbsp cinnamon.
Remember the dough that was warming up in the oven? It’s ready now. We’re going to knead it out once or twice and then roll it out into a large rectangular shape.
Here’s Danielle A. kneading!
Here she is rolling it out into a large rectangular shape.
Here she is glazing the dough with her fingers.
Once she sprinkles the cinnamon sugar filling atop the glaze, the fun begins.
Rollin’ on a river… or a countertop.
We made it.
Cut into 12 even slices.
Raw schnecken! (See, it looks like a snail.)
This one looks likes a fat caterpillar, but we know it’s still schnecken.
Lie each slice snaily side up atop the nuts and syrup that were already in the cups, and then let them rise and puff up for about 20 minutes before putting them into the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Gombotz the cat seems suspicious.
Ding dong! Schnecken's at the door.
Cut open and enjoy… especially while they’re hot.
A big thank you and Chanukah hug to Danielle A. for opening my eyes to the wonder that is schnecken!