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Hasselnød Kage Med Nougat Creme

Hasselnød Kage Med Nougat Creme

I just hosted a Danish dinner party for my Danish friends and since it is close to Easter I wanted to make a dessert with a seasonal feel to it. I came across this layered cake and not only does it look like a pretty Easter cake but it has all the good things in it that is popular in Danish baking; hazelnuts, Nougat and Marzipan, what’s not to like? As for the special ingredients, I buy Nougat and Marzipan online (I use Odense Ren Rå Marcipan), and the hazelnuts I found in a specialty grocery store.

Process hazelnuts, make meringue and fold in ground hazelnuts, bake

Process hazelnuts, make meringue and fold in ground hazelnuts, bake

A little note about hazelnuts. Hazelnut is a sweet nut with a dark brown skin covering which is bitter and if left on, it may leave unpleasant little left-over pieces in your mouth. So when hazelnuts are used for baking, you may want to remove this skin covering, although it is not absolutely necessary.

Melt Nougat in hot cream, cool, mix whipped cream with Nougat to make frosting

Melt Nougat in hot cream, cool, mix whipped cream with Nougat to make frosting

This is not a difficult cake to make, maybe a little time consuming, and it is one of the best layered cakes I have ever made (with the exception of my all-time favorite Othello layered cake of course). I think you will really love this cake!

Hazelnut Cake With Nougat Cream  (serves 12-14)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

100 g hazelnuts, out of shell (3.5 oz)

175 g Odense Marzipan (6.2 oz)

100 g confectioner sugar (3.5 oz)

30 g all-purpose flour (1 oz)

6 egg whites, room temperature

125 g sugar (4.4 oz)

For the frosting:

6 deciliter heavy whipping cream, divided into 2 and 4 deciliters (20.3 liquid ounces, divided into 6.8 and 13.5)

300 g soft Nougat (10.5 oz)

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

1 tablespoon boiling water

Decorations:

Cadbury mini chocolate eggs

Directions:

To removed skin on hazelnuts: preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 10-15 minutes until skin begins to crack and is golden. Remove from oven and wrap nuts in a clean dishtowel, let sit wrapped for 10 min. Using the towel, rub the nuts vigorously until the skin comes off. Set nuts aside.

Cut out two pieces of parchment paper to fit two 9 inch (23 cm) spring-form pans. Place parchment paper in bottom of pans and spray with baking spray, set aside.

Preheat oven to 280 degrees F (140 degrees C).

Place hazelnuts, marzipan, confectioners sugar and flour in a food processor and process until ground finely.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks, add sugar and whip until you have a thick meringue.

Add ground hazelnuts to meringue and gently fold-in until you have a homogeneous batter. Divide the batter equally between the two pans and bake for 1 hour. Allow cakes to cool in pans.

Place 2 deciliter whipping cream into a small saucepan and heat to just a simmer. Cut Nougat into pieces and add to hot cream, melt while stirring. Heat 1 tablespoon water in the microwave until boiling (10-15 seconds), add instant coffee and stir to resolve. Add coffee to Nougat mixture. Place Nougat in refrigerator to cool completely.

When ready to assemble cake, whip remaining 4 deciliter whipping cream until beaters start leaving traces in cream. Add cooled Nougat mixture and mix to combine. Place first cake onto serving platter. Spread a layer of Nougat cream over cake. Place second cake on top and spread remaining cream on top and down the sides of cake to cover. Decorate with chocolate eggs if desired. Continue to cool in refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Removing skin off hazelnuts

Removing skin off hazelnuts

Source: Odense Marcipan

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Rugbrød Without Sourdough

Rugbrød uden Surdej

Making and maintaining a Sourdough starter can be really overwhelming and intimidating to a lot of people, so I have been on the lookout for an alternative, and here it is. No Sourdough starter needed! However, it does need yeast, but the only thing you have to be aware of when using active dry yeast, is that the liquid temperature must be between 100-110 degrees F. If the temperature is above 110 degrees, you’ll kill the yeast. Do you have one of those small meat thermometers? Good, use it to check the liquid temperature. If you have a digital thermometer, even better.

Making Rugbrød dough

Making Rugbrød dough

Now you need a warm spot to allow the dough to rise and in the summertime that may not be a problem, but your house may not be very warm during the winter. To solve this problem I usually use my oven. It’s a small enclosed space and if you turn on the oven to 200 degrees for 30 seconds and then shut the heat off, it will be enough heat to turn the oven into a little warm space for the dough. But remember I said seconds, not minutes, and make sure you turn the oven OFF.

Dough rising in bowl x 2 hours. Dough rising in bread pans x 30 plus minutes.

Dough rising in bowl x 2 hours. Dough rising in bread pans x 30 plus minutes.

As for the outcome of this bread, I was really pleased with it. The bread turned out moist and super delicious, yet you have the wonderful chew of the seeds. A great bread without the hassle of making and maintaining a Sourdough starter. What’s not to like.

Rugbrød Uden Surdej – Rye Bread Without Sourdough (makes 2 loafs)

Ingredients:

250 g cracked rye (8.8 oz)

750 g dark rye flour (26.5 oz)

325 g whole wheat flour (11.5 oz)

7 dl warm water (23.7 fluid oz)

7 g active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)

2 dl buttermilk (6.7 fluid oz)

2 tablespoon dark syrup

1 1/2 tablespoon sea salt

50 g sunflower seeds (1.8 oz)

50 g flax seeds (1.8 oz)

50 g sesame seeds (1.8 oz)

Directions:

Spray two bread pans with baking spray, set aside. I used a Danish size 13 x 4 x 4 inch (33 x 10 x 10 cm) and an American size 9 x 6 x 3 inch (22 x 15 x 7 cm).

Place cracked rye into a bowl and pour some boiling water over, enough to cover. Let sit for 25 minutes, then pour into a sieve and allow to drain for 5-10 minutes.

Take a small amount of the 7 dl warm water, maybe 2 dl or so (6 fluid oz), place into a small dish and make sure the temperature is between 100-110 degrees F (37-43 degrees C). Sprinkle active dry yeast over water, give a quick little stir and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.

To a large mixing bowl, add remaining warm water, yeast/water mixture, buttermilk, dark syrup and sea salt. Using the dough hook start mixing on medium-low speed. Add sunflower, flax and sesame seeds. Add drained cracked rye. Then add whole wheat flour and dark rye flour in 1/3 increments, scraping down sides as you go along. Once flour is fully incorporated, increase mixer speed to medium-high and mix for 6 minutes.

Scrape down sides of bowl, cover with a clean, dry tea towel and place in a warm location to rise for 2 hours. Divide the dough equally between the two prepared bread pans (approx 3/4 full). Place back into warm location, cover with  tea towel and allow to rise to the rim of the bread pan, approx 30-50 minutes. Before baking, pierce the dough with a thin skewer 15-20 times. Brush top of dough with an oil/water mixture and bake in a 400 degrees F preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. If your bread begins to brown too fast, place a loose piece of foil over pan and finish baking. After baking allow bread to cool to a slightly warm temperature. Place bread inside a plastic bag. The condensation inside the bag will help soften the hard outer crust. Once completely cooled, remove the bread from the moist bag, wipe the bag dry before placing the bread back into the bag. The bread is now ready for slicing or freezing. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Klappeklappekage

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Homemade Bounty Bars

Homemade Bounty Bars

In Denmark you can buy Bounty candy bars which is a coconut filling covered in chocolate. Essentially it’s like a Mounds or Almond Joy candy bar. Since my husband and I are both big coconut lovers, we have been dragging these chocolate bars across the Atlantic ocean for years. But guess what, you can make them yourself and they are so easy to make. Not to mention, they taste just like a Bounty bar. So now we can stop dragging them back to the US and we’ll have more room in our luggage for my Danish liquorice.

Homemade Bounty Bars with cracker base

Homemade Bounty Bars with cracker base

I made a little variant here from the traditional Bounty bar because Joe suggested that he would like a little crunch to the bars, so I added a Graham cracker base which turned out really good. The only disadvantage to the addition of a cracker base, is that the base do get soft with 2 days. So if you are planning on having them around the house for a week or so, then I would leave out the crackers.

Bounty Bars

Ingredients:

240 g (8.5 oz) unsweetened coconut, fine shred

396 g (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

300 g (10.6 oz) chocolate, melting wafers

4-5 sheets graham crackers (optional)

Directions:

In a bowl, combine coconut and sweetened condensed milk. Stir to combine.

If you are not using graham crackers: simply just take a small amount of coconut mixture and shape into a rectangle (mine were 6 x 2.5 x 1.5 cm or approx 2.5 x 1 x .5 inches) or whichever shape your heart desires. Place in refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.

If you are using the graham crackers: they come in sheets with four crackers. Using a serrated knife, gently saw the sheets into crackers at the perforated line. Take a small amount of coconut mixture, place on top of cracker and shape to fit the cracker. Repeat with remaining coconut and crackers. Place in refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.

Melt chocolate wafers either over a water-bath or in the microwave (10 second increments). Once melted, place each bar on a fork and holding it over the bowl, pour a spoonful of melted chocolate over, making sure sides are coated. Then dip the fork with the bar still on top of it, into the melted chocolate to coat the bottom. Slide the bar off the fork onto a baking sheet and allow to set. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Madling

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Magic Custard Cake

Magic Cake

Magic Custard Cake

If you are a custard lover like me, this cake is for you! When I first came across this cake, it was love at first sight and the recipe moved straight to the top of to-do-list. The magic with this cake is that when you’re making it, it seems a little impossible that this batter will ever turn into a delicious, silky cake. But it does. The cake is suppose to come out with three distinct layers. Well, mine really only came out with two layers, but I’m not complaining about it because it was still magical to me.

Magic Custard Cake

Magic Custard Cake

A couple of notes for you. The batter will be thin like a crepe batter, don’t freak out, it’s OK, it’s suppose to be like that. Another thing to take note of, is the baking time. It will vary greatly from oven to oven and as you can see the range is pretty big, from 45-60 minutes. Mine took 45 minutes, so I would check on the cake at 40 minutes and then keep a close eye on it. The cake should be golden in color when finished and it will have a slight jiggle to it when you take it out of the oven. Finally, to speed up the cooling process you can place the cake in the refrigerator. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we did.

Magic Custard Cake: makes one 8 x 8 inch cake

Ingredients:

113 gram unsalted butter (4 oz)

480 milliliter whole milk (2 cups or 16 fluid oz)

4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

150 gram confectioner’s sugar (5.3 oz), sifted

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

115 gram flour (4 oz), sifted

Directions:

Cut-to-fit and line two pieces of parchment paper into an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking dish with the sides overhanging a little. Set pan aside.  Preheat oven to 325º F (162º C).

Melt butter, set aside to cool slightly. Warm milk to lukewarm, set aside. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks, set aside.

Add egg yolks and sifted confectioner’s sugar to a large bowl, beat until thick and pale yellow (2-3 min). Mix in water and vanilla extract. Pouring in a thin stream, add melted butter while mixing. Add sifted flour and mix until fully incorporated. At low speed, add the milk and beat until everything is well mixed together. Gently fold in the egg whites, 1/3 at a time, repeat until all egg whites are folded in.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the middle of oven for 45-60 minutes or until the top is golden in color. Allow cake to cool completely before sprinkling with confectioner’s sugar and serving. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from White On Rice Couple

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Kærnemælksuppe

Kærnemælksuppe

Kærnemælksuppe is an old-fashioned Danish soup which I had forgotten all about, until the topic came up on a Facebook page. I have very fond memories of this soup which I absolutely love and I think we typically had it as a dessert although I think we may also have had it for dinner. Reading some of the comments online about Kærnemælksuppe, it appear that a lot of people don’t like this soup, maybe it’s an acquired taste? In any case, buttermilk is a special tasting dairy product, it’s tart. But with the combination of sweet vanilla pudding, a little extra sugar which is optional and raisins, the heated buttermilk becomes down-right delicious, at least to me.

Kærnemælksuppe – Warm Buttermilk Soup (makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

16 fl. oz buttermilk (470 ml)

4 tablespoons vanilla flavored instant pudding

1 tablespoon sugar (optional for extra sweetness)

a handful raisins

Directions:

Mix 1/2 of the buttermilk with pudding powder and sugar (optional), using a hand-mixer beat until it starts to thicken. Pour remaining 1/2 of buttermilk into a small saucepan and turn heat to medium. Add thickened buttermilk/pudding mixture and raisins to saucepan, stirring occasionally bring to a simmer. Serve hot and Enjoy!

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Key lime pie is one of my husband’s favorite desserts and I have been wanting to make this pie for the longest time. And since we are now, well through the holidays and with the anticipation of Spring (yes, I know it’s still a little far off) this particular pie says spring to me. It is tart and sweet, and it has a real freshness about it and it makes me fall in love with the sunshine all over again.

Making Graham Cracker Crust

Making Graham Cracker Crust

Now this is a Key Lime Pie, short of actually having any Key Limes in it. Key Limes, which is associated with the Florida Keys, was nowhere to be found around here, so my delicious Key Lime pie is made with plain-old Limes and it’s still taste fantastic to me.

Making Pie Filling

Making Pie Filling

Key Lime Pie (makes 1 pie)

Ingredients:

Graham cracker crust:

125 grams Graham crackers (4.4 oz or 8 1/2 sheets)

30 grams sugar (2 tablespoons)

85 grams unsalted butter, melted (3 oz or 6 tablespoons)

Pie filling:

3 large egg yolks, at room temperature

395 grams sweetened condensed milk (14 oz can)

2 teaspoons lime zest (approx. regular 1 lime)

120 milliliter lime juice (4 fluid oz or 1/2 cup) (approx. 2 1/2 regular limes)

Pie topping:

240 milliliter cold heavy whipping cream (8 fluid oz or 1 cup)

30 grams sugar (2 tablespoons)

1 handful sweetened coconut

Directions:

Graham cracker crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Spray or butter a 9 inch (23 cm) pie dish. Place butter into small saucepan and melt over low heat. Place Graham crackers in a food processor and process into fine crumbs. (If you do not have a food processor, place crackers into a sealed plastic bag and break-up crackers by beating them with a rolling pin). Add sugar to crumbs and pulse to combine. While food processor is running, pour melted butter into crumbs. Place moist cracker crumbs into pie dish, press crackers up along side of dish and then out over the bottom of dish. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until set and golden. Remove from oven and set aside.

Pie filling: Beat egg yolks until thickened and pale yellow (3 min). Gradually add sweetened condensed milk and continue beating until light and fluffy (3-5 min). Scrape down sides and add lime zest and lime juice, beat until fully incorporated. Pour filling into pie crust and bake for 10-15 minutes or until filling is set. Allow to cool down to room temperature and then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Pie topping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place coconut in a single layer on a small baking sheet and toast for 4-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them. Remove toasted coconut from oven and set aside.

Beat whipping cream and sugar until cream is starting to thicken (almost stiff peaks). Place mounds of whipped cream onto pie filling and top with toasted coconut. Can be stored in refrigerator for a few days. Enjoy!

Key Lime Pie without topping

Key Lime Pie without topping

Source: slightly adapted from Joy of Baking

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Varm Chokolade Med Amaretto

Varm Chokolade Med Amaretto

When the weather turns cold there is nothing like a nice cup of hot chocolate to keep you warm. These days I like mine with a shot of Amaretto, just to warm my bones a little more. Adding Amaretto is of course completely optional, but chocolate and Amaretto is a pair made in heaven.

Homemade hot chocolate is not overly sweet, as the store-bought kind, and I love a dollop of whipped cream on top for extra creaminess. Or if you are serving it for children, marshmallows would be a lot more fun. :) Stay warm out there.

Hot Chocolate With Amaretto (Makes 2 large servings)

Ingredients:

5 deciliter (or 16.9 fluid oz) milk

75 gram (or 2.6 oz) dark chocolate 60 %

2 shots Amaretto

whipping cream, optional, for topping

Directions:

If you want a dollop of whipped cream on top of your hot chocolate, whip then cream and set aside.

Chop chocolate finely. Heat milk to 85 degrees C (185 degrees F) which is hot, but not simmering. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is dissolved. Add Amaretto and stir. Pour into serving glass and top with a dollop of whipped cream if desired, serve immediately or store hot chocolate in a thermos for later. Enjoy

Hot Chocolate With Amaretto

Hot Chocolate With Amaretto

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Vaniljekranse a la Blomsterberg

Vaniljekranse a la Blomsterberg

This year I wanted to try a different Vaniljekranse recipe for Christmas, although my Mom’s recipe still remains my favorite. When I saw Mette Blomsterberg’s recipe I wanted to try it because, #1 she is a very talented Danish pastry chef and #2 this recipe says you can use a pastry bag with a star shaped decorating tip to press out the cookies. This is of particular interest for those of you who don’t have the traditional star attachment for a KitchenAid machine (which I know is a great fustration to many Danes living outside Denmark). And so I tried it out and it is possible to press the cookies out using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, however, I didn’t have the muscle to continue on with it. So unless you have a very strong and preferably handsome mountain man handy to help you out, I think you might have a hard time.

Making Vaniljekranse using a pastry bag with a star decorating tip.

Making Vaniljekranse using a pastry bag with a star decorating tip.

Lets talk a little bit about butter. This year I was lucky enough to find real Danish Lurpak butter at a local high-end grocery store. It is expensive, but the result is a wonderful, very creamy buttery taste to your cookies. Is it worth the extra cost? To most people, probably not, but it sure is a fantastic creamy butter. Also, I want to point out that when you bake in Denmark it is a given that you use salted butter, whereas in the US you typically bake with unsalted butter, unless otherwise stated, and then a little salt is built into the recipe on the side. Just worth noting (it actually took me 28 years to realize this, ha).

Creamy Danish Lurpak butter

Creamy Danish Lurpak butter

Vaniljekranse (makes about 35 cookies)

Ingredients:

1 whole vanilla bean

180 grams sugar

200 grams salted butter, room temperature

1 egg, room temperature

75 grams almond meal/flour

250 grams all-purpose flour

Directions:

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and press the seeds into a tablespoon of the sugar. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds until smooth and creamy (4-5 minutes). Add the egg and continue mixing until fully incorporated. In small increments, add almond meal and flour, mix until dough comes together.

If you plan on using a piping bag with a star tip to press out dough and form into circles, roll up your sleeves and use dough immediately.

If you plan on using a star attachment for you KitchenAid mixer, wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigeator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut dough into small segments and load the dough into the meat grinder attachment on your KitchenAid machine. Run the dough through the star attachment into long strips, place dough onto baking sheet and cut dough into 4 inch long pieces and form into circle. Bake in the middle of oven for 6-8 minutes or until just turning golden. Cool on baking sheets for a couple of minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Once cookies are completely cooled, store in an airtight cookie tin.

Merry Christmas and Enjoy.

Star attachment on KitchenAid meat grinder.

Star attachment on KitchenAid meat grinder.

Source: adapted from Mette Blomsterberg

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Marzipan with Nougat balls

Marzipan with Nougat balls

Making confections is one of many Christmas activities that is popular in Denmark and it’s especially fun to make with your children, not to mention delicious to eat. To make the chocolate dipping less cumbersome I used a plastic fork and broke off the middle two digits to allow the chocolate to drip off more easily. I made half a batch with rainbow sprinkles and half without. The sprinkles add a crunch and a fun splash of color but you can use any kind of covering you like, for example, finely chopped nuts, freeze dried raspberries or coconut, just let your imagination run wild. Have fun making these.

Making Christmas confection

Making Christmas confection

Marzipan with Nougat Confections (makes 16 pieces)

Ingredients:

100 gram Marzipan (3.5 oz.)

50 gram Nougat (1.75 oz.)

200 gram chocolate (7 oz.) melted, milk or dark your choice

50 gram Rainbow Nonpareils (1.75 oz.) optional

Directions:

Melt chocolate over a water bath. Cut off small pieces of marzipan and flatten to a disc with your fingers. Place a small amount of nougat in the center of marzipan and close the marzipan around nougat to form a ball. Dip the ball into the melted chocolate, drip off excess and toss the chocolate covered ball in the rainbow sprinkles. Place on a baking sheet to cool and harden. Store in airtight tin. Enjoy!

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Chokolade Specier

Chokolade Specier

Chokolader Specier is a traditional Danish Butter Cookie loaded with chopped chocolate. Danish butter cookies have been around since 1933 and I am sure you are familar with the dark blue tins of Royal Dansk Butter cookies being sold in many stores today. Usually I am not a big fan of butter cookies, but add lots of chocolate and you can count me in. These chocolate butter cookies are not overly sweet and the crumb is soft and flaky. I guess, if you stretch your imagination, you could think of these Chokolade Specier as the Danish version of the American Chocolate Chip cookie.

Scrape seeds from Vanilla bean and press into a teaspoon sugar, this will separate the seeds.

Scrape seeds from Vanilla bean and press into 1 teaspoon sugar, this will separate the seeds. Add chocolate and mix to combine. Press dough into logs, chill. Slice and bake.

Chokolade Specier – Chocolate Butter Cookie (makes 60-70 cookies)

Ingredients:

300 gram butter (salted) , at room temperature (10.5 ounces)

125 gram confectioners sugar (4.4 ounces)

375 gram all-purpose flour (13.2 ounces)

seeds from 1 vanilla bean

1 teaspoon sugar

200 gram semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (7 ounces)

Directions:

Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Press the seeds into 1 teaspoon sugar with the flat side of a knife, this is to separate the seeds, set aside.

Using your hands or a mixer, combine butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla bean seeds and flour. When the dough starts to come together add chocolate and mix until combined. Pour dough onto work surface, press the dough together with your hands and then roll into logs 4 centimeter (1.5 inch) wide. Try to work quickly so the warmth from your hands doesn’t alter the chocolate. Wrap logs tightly in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for at least 4 hours before baking.

When ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit). Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Slice dough into 5-10 millimeter (0.2-0.4 inch) thickness and bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight cookie tin. Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas!

Source: adapted from Kager til Kaffen

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