Please bear with me while I complete the blog transfer to wordpress. More exciting news coming soon.
|A friend displayed the cookies I sent|
Every year I put together a Christmas Cookie Box for friends and family. This past Christmas they were sent out the last weekend of November for deilvery before Advent.
The cookies sent out were:
Current Gingerbread Cookies
Clove Sugar Cookies
Cherry & Nut Biscotti
Chocolate Espresso Cookies
Braune Kuchen – Brown Crisp Baltic Cookies
Lemon Butter Cookies
Over the next weeks I’ll publish each of cookies individually. You want some right?
We were haveing some friends and a neighbour over for dinner one evening we needed a dessert. Cake!
Utilizing cookbooks seems to be a challenge foe me lately. With the web always close at hand, in my mind it can be easier to go and print something off. One of my ongoing goals is to use our large collection of cookbooks more often. After all , they are already printed.
A few years ago I was given John Barricelli’s book – The SONO Baing Company Cookbook. I can’t get over that it was published 5 years ago! I haven’t made too many things from the book, but the Hazelnut Cake recipe always interested me.
This recipe uses:
For the sponge:
– 1/4 Cup Hazelnut flour
– 3.4 Cup Sugar
– 9 Tablespoons Cake Flour
– 6 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
– 3 Large Eggs
– 3 Large Egg Yolks
– 1/8 Teaspoon of Salt
– 1 Tablespoon of Almond Extract (see note)
– 3/4 Cup of Vegetable oil
For the Butter Cream
– 5 Large Egg Whites
– 1 1/3 Cups of Sugar
– 1 Pound of Unsalted Butter
– 8 Ounces of chopped Milk Chocolate
– 2 Tablespoons of Dutch Cocoa
– 1/4 Cup of Praline Paste (see note)
More after the break….
According to the directions I sprayed a 9″ pan with vegetable spray and lined the pan with parchment and sprayed it again (see note).
It was then into the pan and off to a pre heated 375 degree oven. For 28 minutes (your time may vary).
As soon as the cake came away from the edges I removed it to a cooling rack.
I immeditely turned it out as per the instructions. The parchment stock to the pan and some of the cake stuck to the parchment. Not a pretty dight but easily recoverable. I let the cake cool completely.
While the cake was in the oven I started in on the butter cream, mixtures. I combined the sugar and eggwhites in a bowl and heated them until it was warm to the touch.
I then transferred the mixture to the mixer and whipped it until stiff peaks formed.
While the mixer was soing it’s job, I started melting some milk chocolate and let it cool just a little.
Once the stiff peaks had formed it was time to beat in the pound of butter tablespoon by tablespoon. This took 4 or 5 minutes.
I then split the buttercream in 1/2 and added the milk chcolate to one of the bowls and combined it well.
In another bowl, I added the praline paste and a scoop of the remaining plain butter cream. I combined the two to lighten up the praline paste.
Next I added the rest of the remaining plain butter cream and combined them well.
Once the cake was cool I split it into 3 layers. On the first 2 layers I spread 1/2 of the hazelnut buttercream.
I added the 3rd layer and spread 1/2 of the milk chocolate butter cream all over the top and sides as a crumb coat. I let this chill in the fridge or 30 minutes. I cam back to the cake and finished frosting it and decorating. The recipe really had no decorating directions. A few swirls and some German Hazelnut Krokant finished the cake.
It was a decent cake! Our guests enjoyed it.
– 1 Tablespoon of Almond Extract is way too much. Hides any hint there may have been hazelnuts used. Maybe a teaspoon would be better
– Praline paste is available in some higher end grocerys stores or your local gourmet market. For this recipe I made my own. A can of a few ounces was $12.
– In my opinion, other than the overwhealming almond flavour of the sponge, it was not very memorable. The praline and milk chcocolate butter creams seemed to be the stars
– Butter and flour the pan, the recipe only calls for buttering
– I would use and 8″ cake pan for a taller cake
– The instructions said to place the cake pan on a sheet pan in the oven. Next time I would avoid the sheet pan.
– I woud make the chocolate butter cream again and again!
In 2015 I was fortunate enough to travel to Las Vegas and take a European holiday. We travelled to Barcelona on a cruise that departed Ft. Lauderdale and made its way to Funchal, Portugal and then along the Southern Spanish coast to Barcelona. An excellent 2 week journey. After a few days in Barcelona we headed to Amsterdam for the tulip fields. Then it was off to the Mannheim area to visit friends and then to Munich to spend some time with family before returning home to Vancouver.
But I digress….
Back to baking adventures. I am going to try and change things up a little. We all read foodie blogs that show step by step showing how someone produced something spectacular. I look for hints and tips to making my baking experience better.
With that said, I am going to post my final pictures of what I was able to make along with my comments with a link to the original content. I’ll follow that main page with a jump to the progress pictures. Hopefully this change will be a good one. In the case where I am making an original recipe, or substantial changes to an existing recipe, I’ll be sure to list the whole recipe so that you can try it too!
Below is a picture from the recipient of a Christmas cookie box that I send out every year. Thinking back I have made at least 30000 Christmas cookies to send out over the years.
As always I want to hear your questions and comments.
Ps. if you are able to check out the gofundme page in the top right.. This little guy needs some help
|A Tray of about 1/2 of the Cookies in my Annual Christmas Cookie Box|
I was requested to make a carrot cake. A favourite around our house but there is always way too much for the two of us to enjoy – responsibly.
Below are the glory shots of the cake. Sadly I ran out of time to complete the decoration. Not sure anyone but me was worried about it. The recipe can be found here.
More after the jump….
|Carrot Cake – Bright Orange Goodness|
|Carrot Cake – The Layers|
Last week a few friends and I got together for a last summer lunch. Two friends were on their lunch hour and the other two had the day at leisure. Nando’s was close for all on this day.
I won’t go into the meal. It was typical Nando’s – good for its type.
I decided to buy a couple of Pasteis da Nata – Custard Tarts to finish off our meal over coffee.
They arrived at the table looking pretty great. The shell looked nice and flakey and the edges of the custard were lightly browned.
We dug in! Nice and crispy and a puddling like inside. A nice end to a meal.
Value – 3 stars out of five (a little pricey at @2.50 each)
It’s been an insteresting year and a half dealing with a health issue. While I have been active and continued to be able to travel, finding the energy to create a coherant blog post has been challenging.
Having said that, Thank you for continuing to check out the blog and leave your helpful comments and requests for recipes.
What I’ve been up to:
– over the last 2 Christmas seasons I continued to bake mountains of cookies for family, friends, and a few of you that ordered some seasonal creations
- a winter vacation to Southern Florida
- an Easter trip to Portland
- a pre summer trip to Phoenix and area
- a weekend in Seattle with a friend from Europe
- a long trip to Toyko – Munich (Oktoberfest)and back through Seoul
- Victoria BC with friends from OZ
- a mid-winter tript to Las Vegas
- a cruise from Florida to Spain and then on to Keukenhof, NL and further stops in Mannheim and Munich in Germany
I have a ton of material to post! If you have been following me on Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest or Ello you will have kept up with some of my kitchen escapades. I have recently re-activated Facebook. If you have time, please add me to your social media feeds!