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Danish Wienerbrød

Danish Wienerbrød

A couple of years ago my husband and I attended a week-long seminar at the John C. Campbell Folk School in beautiful Brasstown, North Carolina. The school is based on the Danish design of a “Folkehøjskole” which is a non-competitive setup and emphasizing on teaching practical skills.  They offer classes in anything from Clay to Dance to Knitting to Music to Woodworking, and so much more. Your days at the Folk School are filled with many activities from sunrise to sunset, but although busy it is also relaxing and the school is set in an incredibly peaceful environment. Joe took Blacksmithing and I took Scandinavian Baking. The baking class was taught by Kim Hendrickson who was full of useful baking/cooking tips and who had answers to all of my 101 questions about yeast and baking techniques. It was a week filled with baking delicious treats, some of which I was familiar with and some which were new to me. I hope that Joe and I can one day go back to the Folk School for more classes for we had such a wonderful time there and we got to meet so many interesting people.

I have known Wienerbrød my entire life but I had never attempted to make it until my Folk School stay. Wienerbrød is a Danish specialty and outside of Denmark it is referred to as a “Danish”, but believe me, it is nothing like the Danish that you pick up at your local 7/11. Wienerbrød comes in many different shapes and with numerous types of fillings. There are two ways to make this dough, that I know of. The traditional way is to roll out the yeast dough, cover parts of it with thinly sliced butter, fold into numerous layers, roll out and repeat folding and rolling. This process of rolling and folding the dough with the butter is what gives the pastry a crisp and flaky texture. The second method is the “quick” method where flour and butter is combined in a food processor and pulsed until the butter is the size of kidney beans. You still have to roll and fold the dough several times and so I’m not really sure it’s any quicker, but the dough turns out perfectly. Wienerbrød is a time-consuming pastry to make but the outcome is super delicious and so if you decided to make it, I am confident that you won’t regret it. Please enjoy.

Update: This recipe makes 2 braids. You can easily freeze half of the dough for later use. Wrap dough in cling wrap, then wax or parchment paper and finally a freezer bag. When ready to use defrost in refrigeator.

Danish Wienerbrød

Makes 2 pastry braids.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups flour (480 grams or 19.9 oz)

1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter (345 grams or 12.2 oz)

2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)

1/2 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees Fahrenheit) (118 milliliter)

1/2 cup heavy cream (118 milliliter)

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar (55 grams or 1.9 oz)

Filling:

seedless raspberry preserves

Glazing:

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons water

pearl sugar, for topping

sliced almonds, optional, for topping

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar (100 gram or 3.5 oz)

2-3 teaspoons warm milk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

Place flour into bowl of food processor with steel blade. Cut butter into 1/4 inch slices and add to flour. Pulse flour and butter until the butter is the size of kidney beans.

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, cardamom, salt, eggs and sugar. Using a rubber spatula, turn the flour/butter mixture into the liquid and carefully mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, overnight or up to 4 days.

Turn the dough out onto a moderately floured surface. Roll out dough to make a 16 to 20 inch square. Fold dough into thirds, rotate dough a quarter of turn and fold into thirds again, making a small square. Turn over dough. Repeat rolling and folding another two times (making it a total 3 times of rolling and folding). Ending with a small square, wrap dough and chill for 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the chilled dough into two parts. Roll each part into a 6 x 12 inch rectangle. (If not making both braids at the same time, wrap the second half of dough and place in refrigerator until ready to roll out).

Spread filling down the length of center of each rectangle. Cut slanting strips at 3/4 inch intervals along both sides towards to center. Fold strips over the filling in a criss-cross manner. Place both braids onto baking sheets and let dough rise for 15-30 minutes until pastry appears puffy. It will not double in size. Lightly beat the egg and water for the glaze. Once dough has been allowed to rise, brush the pastry with the glaze. sprinkle with pearl sugar and/or almonds.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. To make icing, mix together powdered sugar, warm milk and almond extract. Drizzle icing on top and let set before cutting. Enjoy!

Sliced butter and flour, pulse

notice butter is the size of kidney beans

fold dough into thirds, then into thirds again, roll out

place filling in center, make cuts slanted towards center

fold strips in a criss cross manner

Wienerbrød

Wienerbrød

Source: Kim Hendrickson at J. C. Campbell Folk School

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Kanelsnegle - Cinnamon buns

I made my first Kanelsnegle (Cinnamon Buns) in Home-Ed class. Does any high schools offer Home Education classes anymore? The class gave me a basic knowledge of cooking and baking. It sparked an interest for baking in particular and I baked quite a bit when I was a teenager. This is still something that I truly enjoy. By the way, I also took woodworking, but no sparks came from that class ha ha :)

Rolling up dough

Kanelsnegle ready for baking

Just a note about yeast. In Europe the preferred type of yeast is Fresh Active Yeast as compared to the American preference of Dry Active Yeast. Fresh yeast (also called Cake yeast or Bakers compressed yeast) can sometimes be found in the dairy section of certain grocery stores. It has a short expiration date and so it’s very perishable but works faster and longer. Fresh yeast is dissolved in liquid 70-80 degrees F. Store it in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 4 months. Dry yeast on the other hand has a much longer expiration date and is more forgiving of mishandling. To activate it sprinkle on water that’s between 105-115 degrees F and wait to see small bubble (about 5 minutes). If you are not able to find Fresh yeast then here is a conversion table that you may find helpful. Typically, 1 pack of Fresh yeast equal 17 grams or 0.6 oz.

Fresh active yeast

Ingredients:

25 grams Fleischmann’s Fresh Active Yeast (1 1/2 packs)

2 1/2 deciliter milk (1 cup)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cardamom

400 grams flour (3 1/2 cups)

small amount of oil for the bowl

plus 1 egg for brushing cinnamon buns

Filling:

75 grams butter at room temperature (5 tablespoons)

75 grams sugar (1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons cinnamon

50 grams marzipan (about 1/4 cup) (optional)

Glaze:

1 cup confectioners sugar

1-2 tablespoons hot water

Directions:

Dissolve yeast in cold milk stirring gently. Add oil, sugar, salt and cardamom. Add flour a little at the time and knead until you have a firm dough. Place a small amount of oil in the bowl and turn the dough in the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise to double in size (30-60 minutes).

Place room temperature butter, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. If you’re using marzipan, break it up into small pieces and mix into butter using a fork to help break it up a little.

Prepare two round 8 inch baking pans by placing a round piece of parchment paper in bottom of pan and spray with non-stick oil. Or you can place parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Sprinkle tabletop with flour and roll out dough to 40 x 50 centimeter (15 x 19 inches). Spread butter filling onto dough and roll into a log starting at the long edge. Cut dough into 14 even slices. If using round baking pans, place cinnamon slices in a circular fashion – 7 slices in each pan. If you using a baking sheet, place cinnamon slices right next to one another. By placing slices close to one another during baking is keeps the finished cinnamon buns moister. Cover baking pans or baking sheet with a dry kitchen towel, place in a warm location and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 225 degrees Celsius (about 425 degrees Fahrenheit). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before glazing. To make glaze, simply combine confectioners sugar and water until desired consistency. Enjoy!

Kanelsnegl

Source: Signes Mad

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Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

I first saw this recipe on my friend Stacie’s blog Eating in Denmark and I knew that I had to make this immediately, and so this recipe shoot right up to the top of my mile long to-do-list. It is super delicious, easy and quick to make, and it looks so festive with the green pistachios. I have also made it with coconut, which was equally delicious, and I suppose you could make this fudge with just about any of your favorite filling. Thank you Stacie for this fabulous Fudge recipe :)

Pistachios

Mixing in the Pistachios

Ingredients:

12 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped

12 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

a pinch of salt

1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios

Directions:

Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with foil, letting the foil extend out over the two edges.

Melt the chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, butter and salt over very low heat.

While the chocolate mixture is melting, place pistachios in a zip lock bag and break them up into small and bigger pieces by pounding them with a rolling-pin.

Add the pistachios to the melted chocolate mixture and stir to mix well. Pour mixture into prepared pan, smooth out the top and place in refrigerator to cool completely. You can place it in the freezer to help speed up the cooling process.

Once the fudge is completely cooled and set, lift the fudge out of pan using the extra foil extending over edges. Cut into 1 inch pieces. I recommend to keep fudge cooled in refrigerator until serving. Enjoy.

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

Source: Eating in Denmark Blog (originally from Nigella Express)

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Christmas Star - it hangs in my kitchen window every Christmas

First of all, I just wanted to thank everyone for all of your nice comments and emails that you have left me during the 12 Days of Christmas series. It has been such a great pleasure and I have had a lot of fun in creating this series and now that it has come to a conclusion it is almost a little bittersweet. The positive response I have gotten has been unexpected and very impressive, it has brought back a lot of wonderful memories for myself and I am happy that I have been able to share some of them with you. I look forward to bringing you more delicious food and desserts and feel free to stop by My Danish Kitchen any time you like. Merry Christmas and Glædelig Jul to everyone.

Our Christmas tree with Danish and American flags

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Ris a la mande

Ris a la mande

During the 1800’s the citizen’s of Copenhagen felt the need to separate themselves from the farming community and this also affected our Christmas food. They added whipped cream and almonds to our beloved Danish Risengrød and called it Ris a la mande to give it some French flair, because that is what was in fashion at that time. Kristeligt Dagblad

Danish Christmas Tradition: Mandelgaven (the Almond Present)

Today you still see Ris a la mande served in most Danish households on Christmas Eve. Since then, we have add a warm Cherry Sauce to top it off and traditionally a fun game goes along with eating this wonderful Christmas treat. A single whole Almond is blanched and stirred into the Ris a la mande to hide it. The dish is served after Christmas dinner and whoever finds the almond wins a gift. The problem with the Almond gift is that the winner could be anyone from a child to grandmother. This is often solved by giving a traditional small Marzipan pig as the gift, but today, the gift could be anything. Also, there is a lot of cheating going on with this game. Some may choose to place an Almond in each of the children’s bowls so all the children gets a gift. I think my Mom did that one year but we thought the game should be done “the right way”. I can honestly say that I have never won this game. The winner in our home was typically my Dad. He would often times get the almond and then he would keep it hidden against his cheek until all the Ris a la mande was eaten up. Sneaky.  One year my Dad took pity on me and gave me the Almond under the table :) but I didn’t feel right taking the gift since I did not honestly win it.

I should also mention that some households may chop blanched Almonds into small pieces and add them to the dish. We have never done this at our house, instead pure Almond Extract is added giving the dish a wonderful Almond flavor. This dish is by far one of the biggest highlights of Christmas for me and I continue to serve it every single year, for it would not be Christmas without it.

Ris a la mande with warm Cherry sauce

Update:

I am very honored to be asked to participate in the LexioPhiles International Recipe Advent Calendar 2011. My recipe for Ris a la mande with warm Cherry sauce will appear on December 2nd, 2011.  LexioPhiles will feature a new recipe every day during the month of December from bloggers around the world.  I am very excited about visiting each day to see what unique recipes will be displayed from my fellow bloggers. I hope you will too!

Ingredients for 1st stage – Risengrød:

1 1/4 cup water

1 cup rice (Grødris)

4 1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

Ingredients for 2nd stage – Ris a la mande:

1 1/2 cup whipping cream

3 tablespoon confectioners sugar

4 teaspoon pure almond extract

2 whole almonds

For the Cherry Sauce:

15 oz can Oregon Bing Cherries in heavy syrup

1 tablespoon cornstarch

water

Directions:

Place water and rice in a medium cooking pot, cover with a lid and simmer for 2 minutes. Add milk and vanilla sugar and simmer over low heat for 40-45 minutes. Stir often to make sure the milk does not burn, especially the last 30 minutes. You may have to turn the heat all the way down as low as your stove will allow and cover with a lid for the last 15 minutes.

Place in Tupperware and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Once mixture is completely cooled remove from refrigerator and break it up with a spoon. In a small bowl add whipping cream, confectioners sugar and almond extract. Beat with a handheld mixer until you see tracks from beaters in the cream. Add half of the whipping cream to rice mixture and combine well with a spoon, add remaining whipping cream in small increments. The final  texture should be creamy and easily mixed with the spoon. Place covered in refrigerator until ready to serve.

To blanch almonds. Place almonds in a small dish and pour boiling water over to cover. Let sit in water for 1 minute, drain and rinse with cold water. Pat dry and slip the skins off. I usually blanch two almonds in case I have trouble with one. Before serving Ris a la mande, place one blanched almond in mixture and stir well to hide almond.

In a small dish mix together the cornstarch and some water to form the thickening agent. In a small saucepan bring cherry and syrup to a simmer. Add the cornstarch/water mixture to cherries a little at the time, stirring until syrup starts to thicken. Simmer for 1 minute and remove from heat.

Serve Ris a la mande cold with the warm cherry sauce on top.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Ris a la mande

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Risengrød

Risengrød

Danish Christmas Tradition: Nissen (a mythical creature of Scandinavian Folklore)

The Danish Nisse is a fictional character which has its roots from the 1800’s farming community. Nissen would help with the successful drift of the farm, that is, if you were respectful of the nisse and if you behaved yourself. A special dish which were served for Christmas is Risengrød. It may not seem special by todays measure, but back then milk, rice, butter, sugar and cinnamon was a commodity. And so, it makes sense that Nissen would be part of a festive event like Christmas.

Today, the Nisse folklore is still alive and well, but in a different way. Songs have been written about the Nissen and he’s often seen in Children’s Christmas calendars whether it be on TV or on paper. He is an important part of decorating for Christmas in Denmark and Risengrød is still his favorite meal. In the picture above, which is part of my Christmas Tree skirt, you can see the Nissen getting ready to eat his Risengrød.

Risengrød

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup water

1 cup rice (Grødris)

4 1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

butter

sugar

cinnamon

Directions:

Place water and rice in a medium cooking pot, cover with a lid and simmer for 2 minutes. Add milk, salt and vanilla sugar and simmer over low heat for 40-45 minutes. Stir often to make sure the milk does not burn, especially the last 30 minutes. You may have to turn the heat all the way down as low as your stove will allow and cover with a lid for the last 15 minutes.

Mix sugar and cinnamon together according to your taste. Serve the Risengrød warm, sprinkled with sugar/cinnamon mixture and place a dollop of butter in the center, letting the butter melt.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Rice (Grødris) and Vanilla sugar

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Truffles, small delectable treasures. These particular truffles have toasted hazelnut in them which gives a slight crunch. Of course, hazelnut paired with chocolate is a match made in heaven. You just can’t go wrong. Or can you? Well not with the truffles themselves but I did have quite a bit of trouble with this recipe, but I worked out the kink. The original recipe instructed me to melt the bittersweet chocolate in the microwave, which turned out to be a horrible mess. I think my microwave oven was heating at too high heat. The chocolate would harden up and become unmanageable after just dipping 1/3 of the truffles. So I tried again, but this time melting the chocolate over a water bath which turned out so much better.  And so, in the end everything turned out alright. Now we can finally enjoy these delicious little truffles.  

Flettet julestjerne

Danish Christmas Tradition: Juleklip (Paper cut-outs)

Paper cut-outs such as flettede hjerter (braided hearts), kræmmerhuse (cones), angelsChristmas trees and flettede stjerner (braided stars) is a common part of Danish Christmas decorations. They are made by children and adults alike, possibly at home but always in schools planned as a special day of fun with colored paper, glue, scissors and baked goods. These homemade treasures often times end up as an important part of the Christmas Tree decorations.

I first learned to make the braided star as an adult. I meet once a month with other Danish ladies for an evening of stimulating conversation and good food. It was during one of these evenings many years ago that my Danish friend Lise’s husband Bill taught me how to make the braided star. He would make them at any given time of the year and he was very enthusiastic about making them. I now make them every year around Christmas time and they remind me of Lise and Bill, who has since passed away. It’s a happy memory.  

Hazelnut Truffle Ingredients

Ingredients:  

2 cups heavy cream  

1 (11.5 ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate chunks  

8 (1 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate squares – chopped  

2 cups hazelnut – chopped, toasted and divided  

1 teaspoon vanilla extract  

1 (11.5 ounce package) bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cacao)  

Directions:  

Chop hazelnuts and toast them on a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. Stir often to make sure they don’t burn. Remove nuts from heat.  

Place chocolate chunks in a medium bowl. Chop chocolate squares and add to bowl. Bring heavy cream to a simmer and then add the hot cream to the chocolate, stirring well to melt the chocolate. Add vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of the toasted hazelnuts. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator to chill for 1 to 2 hours or until hard enough to keep a shape.  

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop 1-inch balls from chocolate mixture and roll quickly between hands to smooth edges. Place on prepared baking sheets and refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold and firm.  

Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch water to a simmer. Once water is simmering turn heat all the way down to low. Place bittersweet chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl and place over the saucepan, making sure bowl is not touching water. Stir chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Place chocolate ball on a fork and drizzle warm melted chocolate over the chocolate ball to cover. Use a toothpick to help push the truffle off the fork onto to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts and refrigerate to harden. 

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥ 

Chocolate and cream

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Source: adapted from Taste of the South  

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Sparkling Linzer Stars

I first saw the Sparkling Linzer Star recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine many years ago. The cookies are so festive and Christmasy and the process of assembling them is a lot of fun.  The recipe calls for both regular flour and whole wheat flour which makes it a little healthier, but I suppose you could just use all-purpose flour if you’re not into that sort of thing. Make sure to use a generous portion of seedless raspberry jam to increase the “delish” factor.

Flettede julestjerne

Danish Christmas Tradition: Juletræet (The Christmas Tree)

The Christmas Tree tradition has very old roots dating back to at least St. Boniface of Geismar, Germany. There are so many variations of this tradition depending on where in the world your located. In Danmark it’s tradition to put up and decorate the tree on Dec 23rd, although a lot of people now wish to put the tree up earlier. My parents would decorate the tree in the evening of the 23rd (little Christmas Eve) after my siblings and I were sent off to bed. The excitement was so intense that I could barely sleep and waking up to see the beautiful tree the following morning was almost magical. Old tradition for the Danish Christmas Tree is to decorate it with live candles, small Danish flags on a string, the children’s homemade braided paper hearts (flettede hjerter), paper cones (kræmmerhuse), braided stars (flettede stjerner) and some glass bulbs. Christmas in Denmark is celebrated on the eve of Dec 24th. The day of the 24th is spent waiting in anticipation, snacking on fruits, nuts and candy. A light but extra delicious lunch. Family oriented Christmas programs are on TV to help pass the time and finally after a spectacular dinner the time has come. It is time to form a circle around the tree, holding hands and sing Christmas hymns and Christmas songs while dancing around the Christmas tree. The tradition of dancing around the Christmas tree dates back to approximately 1830’s and it’s a tradition seen in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. After everyone has lost their breath from singing and dancing it is finally time to open the presents. And so you see, the glorious Christmas tree plays quite an important role to help create Danish Christmas Hygge. 

Sparkling Linzer Stars Ingredients

Ingredients:

1-1/3 cups butter

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

powdered sugar (optional)

Star cutouts

Centers cut out

Seedless Raspberry jam

Directions:

Beat butter in a large bowl on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until well combined. Beat in as much of both kinds of flour as you can, stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll each portion of dough on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Cut into shapes using star cutters (I used a 4 inch and a 1-1/4 inch). Transfer 4 inch cutout cookie dough to prepared cookie sheets. Using the smaller 1-1/4 inch cookie cutter, cut out center from half of the unbaked cookies; remove centers and reroll dough to make more cookies.

Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very light brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, cool.

Spread the bottom of each solid cookie with a generous amount of raspberry jam. If desired, sift powdered sugar over the cookies with the cutout centers and place atop cookies with raspberry jam, sugar side up. Store in covered container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Linzer Stars

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

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Pumpkin Bar

I heard there is a Pumpkin shortage. A couple of weeks ago, there was no pumpkin to be found anywhere (believe me I looked) but now the stores are fully stocked. So do we have a shortage or did we just get off to a slow start? In any case, I am very happy to see pumpkin on the shelves again and now I can finally get started with my fall baking.     

To me, Pumpkin is one of those types of food that is an acquired taste. I really didn’t care for it when I first came to the States but as time have gone by, not only do I like it, I completely love it. Not that pumpkin itself has much flavor but when seasoned correctly it become very delicious.   

These pumpkin bars are light and moist all at the same time, and extremely tasty. I like them plain with no topping at all, but if you like a little topping with it, then the hazelnut/cinnamon cream compliments it very nicely. I hope you enjoy these Pumpkin Bars.  

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bar with Hazelnut Cream

Ingredients for Pumpkin Bars:   

4 large eggs   

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar   

3/4 cup vegetable oil   

15 ounce can pumpkin   

2 cups all-purpose flour   

2 teaspoons baking powder   

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon   

1 teaspoon salt   

1 teaspoon baking soda   

Ingredients for Hazelnut Cream:   

1 1/2 cup whipping cream   

3 – 3 1/2 tablespoon Hazelnut Liqueur   

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon   

Directions:   

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and set aside.   

In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin. Mix on medium speed until blended well. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix on low-speed until batter is smooth. Spread batter into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick into center of cake, toothpick should come out clean if cake is done. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.   

To make Hazelnut Cream: Add Hazelnut liqueur in increments and taste as you go to see how mild or strong you like the mixture. In a small bowl combine whipping cream, Hazelnut liqueur and cinnamon. Beat until mixture starts to thicken and beaters leave tracks in cream. Serve on top of Pumpkin Bars, if you like.   

Pumpkin Bar

Source: adapted from Paula Deen, originally by Patty Ronning   

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Icing

So my husband Joe, you know the Blacksmith, had his Blacksmithing buddies over for their monthly meeting. This time I decided to also make them a sweet treat and when Joe saw these cupcakes on Barefoot Contessa’s TV show (yeah, I force him to watch the FoodNetwork…evil laugh) he decided that’s what he wanted. Except the original cupcakes had a Peanut Butter frosting and there is no way, no how, I am making anything Peanut Butter. Sorry, just can’t stand it. So we decided on a brilliant solution, Nutella of course. So here it is, please enjoy Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Icing. 

Artist Blacksmith Group of Tidewater

Ingredients for cupcakes: 

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 

2/3 cup granulated sugar 

2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed 

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature 

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 

1 cup good cocoa powder 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

Ingredients for Icing: 

1 cup confectioner’s sugar 

1 cup Nutella 

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream 

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and the 2 sugars on high-speed until light and fluffy (approx 5 minutes). Lower speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and mix well. 

In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk and sour cream. In another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. 

On low-speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl. Mix only until blended. Fold batter with a spatula to be sure it’s completely blended. 

Divide batter among the cupcake pans, using an ice cream scoop per cup. Bake in the middle of oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Using a toothpick test to make sure cupcakes are done. Toothpick should come out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely before frosting. 

To make the frosting: place confectioner’s sugar, nutella, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electrical mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the sides of bowl as you work. Add the cream and beat on high-speed until the mixture is light and smooth. 

Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with Nutella Icing. 

Chocolate Cupcake with Nutella Icing

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa 

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