Saturday, April 3, 2021

Golden Miniature Panettones

These golden, pillowy Mini Panettones are studded with dark chocolate, Craisins and pistachios and full of orange zest for an irresistibly festive flavour. They're rich and sweet with a secret ingredient that makes them even more special! 

Well, it's Easter weekend - and for the second time, both the Easter Bunny's visit and my birthday are being spent in lockdown. I shouldn't complain though, it isn't like I'm one for parties or bar-hopping, but it would be nice to actually grocery shop without the 45 minute lines again! This birthday is also being spent with limited baking potential, since I'm still relatively useless when it comes to hauling buckets of flour and bowls of dough here and there thanks to the car accident. So, rather than showcase a spiffy cake this year (though one may be forthcoming...) I'm going to share a festive bread that I made last Christmas and forgot to post about! Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the experience, or the reactions from the family I shared it with. Besides, panettone seems to crop up at our household on the Easter weekend as well, so let's say it's still seasonal!

I will admit, I've always wanted to make this form of bread to see just what is so special about it - having a vast Italian stepfamily and working with a few others who love the stuff, its ubiquitous every holiday. One year we had 4 large ones in our pantry thanks to gifts from family and friends! Because we had far fewer people dropping by last year, I decided to try out a recipe that could be made rather easily in miniature form using jumbo muffin tins and a few ramekins, and just so happened to be vegan, but that would be no less decadent. My inspiration came from a carton of Coconut Nog that I picked up at the discount grocery, which seemed like it would add not only flavour but richness to the dough. To make up for the missing "eggy" colour, a pinch of turmeric sufficed. The dough came together like a dream and was satiny and soft like my mom's Brioche dough is. Then I debated fillings.

Given that my mom was one of my taste testers, I knew there had to be chocolate in there somewhere. I mean, how can you go wrong? After that, I looked to my stash and after finding my bag of shelled pistachios in the freezer it hit me - holiday colours could be had by adding Craisins too! I will admit that I measured these rather loosely, so my amounts below are a guide, but each little loaf had a generous amount of each component.

Now, sometimes little loaves are not what you need, but I have you covered with this nutty, citrusy, sweet bread recipe - it's absolutely translated into a large loaf pan and I give baking times below. Either way, I don't think it's fair to keep this as a holiday only affair - who's to say a Saturday morning isn't cause for celebration?

Golden Miniature Panettones
Adapted from YogaTropic
Makes 8
2 tbsp yeast (I prefer SAF Gold)
½ cup sugar, divided
2 tbsp ground flax (or other powdered egg replacer)
1 orange (for zest and juice)
1 ½ cups vanilla non-dairy milk (I used - and prefer - non dairy egg nog)
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup softened vegan butter, cut into pieces
½ cup chopped pistachios
½ cup Craisins
½ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, flax, orange zest and juice, non-dairy milk, extracts and maple syrup. Mix well.
  2. Add the flours, baking powder, nutmeg, turmeric, and salt.
  3. Mix the dough on low speed until well combined but still shaggy. Stop the mixer, cover and let rest 15 minutes.
  4. With the mixer running on low speed, add the vegan butter bit by bit until it is all incorporated. Knead the dough a further 8 minutes, until smooth and supple.
  5. Cover and let rise 1 ½ hours, until doubled.
  6. Knock down and knead in the pistachios, Craisins and dark chocolate. Divide into 8 balls, cover and let rest 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, grease 8 jumbo muffin cups or large ramekins (you may want to line short ramekins with a parchment collar - I didn't.
  8. Take one of the balls of dough and divide into two pieces (approximately 3/4 and 1/4 proportions). Roll the large piece into a flattened ball and place in the muffin cup / ramekin, then roll the small piece into a little marble and perch on top, pressing the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  9. Cover and let rise another 40 minutes, until risen but not doubled.
  10. Heat the oven to 350F.
  11. Bake ramekins for 35 minutes, or a standard loaf pan of dough for 45-50 minutes.
  12. Immediately turn out of the baking moulds onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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