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Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

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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Honninghjerte

Honninghjerte

Honninghjerter has a special place in my heart. I remember as a child always starring at the hearts in the store and it was a special occation when I was allowed to get one. The hearts are sold only at Christmas time and they are decorated with a glansbillede which were very popular in Denmark when I was growing up. All the girls in my class would collect glansbilleder and we would trade them with each other, so making these Honey Hearts brought back a lot of wonderful memories.

Making Pre-dough, melt honey and mix with flour, store dough for 1 month.
To break up Pre-dough, carefully chip dough into small pieces using the tip of your knife.

Honninghjerter is typically not a Christmas cookie or cake that you bake at home for Christmas, perhaps because it is a rather lengthy process to make them. It is only in the past few years that they have become popular to make and I have seen them on different Danish food blogs. What I found was a lack of description and direction on the details on how to make them. For example, what is the best way to break up the very hard Pre-dough and there were no descriptions anywhere of how big the hearts should be, when cut out. So this has really been a trail and error ordeal, but the hearts turned out wonderful and they tasted just like I remember them, like Christmas 😀

Mixing dough can be a rough ride, chop Pre-dough into small pieces to make mixing easier. Image #2 is dough after 3 minutes of mixing, image #3 is dough after 6 minutes of mixing. Dough will be very sticky.

Mixing dough can be a rough ride, chop Pre-dough into small pieces to make mixing easier. Image #2 is dough after 3 minutes of mixing, image #3 is dough after 6 minutes of mixing. Dough will be very sticky.

Making Honninghjerter is a very long process. If you want them ready for Christmas, you should make the Pre-dough around mid November. The Pre-dough should rest for 1 month but you can probably get away with less, if you get a late start. The Pre-dough will get very hard after a month of resting, and this is normal. I found the best way to break up the hard dough is by carefully inserting the tip of a sharp knife and twist the knife to break loose the dough. The smaller the pieces, the easier it will be to mix everything up later, so feel free to give the dough a quick chop after it’s broken up.

Dough will be very sticky, use plenty of flour for rolling.

Using a cookie cutter will save you time. My pre-baked hearts were 11 cm wide (4.3 inches) which were a little too big. Note: dough will spread out quite a bit during baking. When rolling the dough it will be very sticky, use plenty of flour for rolling.

As for the size of the hearts I didn’t know what size cookie cutter to buy, so I simply just cut a template out of paper and cut them out with a knife (which turned out to be very time consuming). My pre-baked hearts measured 11 cm wide (4.3 inch) but grew quite a bit during baking to 15 cm wide (5.9 inch). The hearts are suppose to be big but I thinks mine turned out jumbo 🙂 so I would recommend scaling them down a bit.

After baking the heart will be a little hard. They now need to rest with a moist towel in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. This is how I did it without the towel resting directly on the hearts.

After baking, the heart will be a little hard. They now need to rest with a moist towel in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. This is how I did it without the towel resting directly on the hearts.

Honninghjerter – Honey Hearts (makes 13 large)

Ingredients:

Pre-dough: (made 1 month ahead)

500 gram honey

500 gram all-purpose flour

Directions for Pre-dough:

Pour honey in a small cooking pot and heat to 40-50 degrees Celsius (104-122 degrees Fahrenheit). Combine warm honey and flour until a smooth mass, place into a container and seal with lid. Store container in a cool, dry place for a minimum of 1 month. The honey pre-dough will get very hard, which is alright. It will soften up again later in the recipe.

Honninghjerter dough:

2 egg yolks

10 gram hjortetaksalt

10 gram potaske

1 tablespoon water

Pre-dough, chopped into small pieces

5 gram ground cinnamon (approx 1 small tablespoon)

5 gram ground ginger (approx 1 small tablespoon)

5 gram ground cloves (approx 1 small tablespoon)

200 gram dark chocolate (for decorating)

Directions for Honninghjerter:

The Pre-dough will now be very hard. Take a sharp knife and carefully start chipping away at the hard dough. Put tip of knife into dough and give a twist to break up the dough little by little. Smaller pieces of honey dough will make your work easier later on, so if you have big chunks, chop them smaller.

Mix egg yolks with hjortetaksalt, set aside. Stir potaske into water until completely dissolved, set aside. Place pre-dough pieces into the bowl of a stand-mixer (the mixing can also be done by hand but will require a lot of muscle). Add egg mixture and potaske mixture to dough. Add cinnamon, ginger and ground cloves. Start mixer on low for 3 minutes, it will be a rough ride. Increase speed to high and mix for another 3 minutes, dough will now become smooth and very sticky.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Line baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle paper lightly with flour, set aside.

Sprinkle a very generous layer of flour onto your work surface and scrap dough out onto floured surface (using a wooden spoon works really well for scraping out the sticky dough). Sprinkle more flour on top of dough and give a quick knead. Roll dough out to 4 mm thickness (0.15 inch), sprinkle more flour as needed. Press or cut out heart shapes, using a spatula, place hearts onto baking sheets leaving 5 cm  (2 inches) distance between hearts. Repeat rolling of scrap dough and cutting out hearts until dough is used up. Bake hearts for 8-10 minutes. Test for doneness by gently pressing a finger into center of heart, when done it should spring back and not leave a finger imprint.

Storing hearts: Allow hearts to cool completely. Using a pastry brush, remove excess flour from bottom of each heart. At this point the hearts will be quite hard and they now need to soften up for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Place hearts in a container with a moist clean towel. I did this by lining a box with plastic, place hearts inside box, then one of my cooling racks and then the moist towel. The rack just prevents the moist towel from resting directly on the hearts. Seal container and store in refrigerator for 3-4 days. After the four days, continue to store hearts in refrigerator in a regular contain, but without the moist towel. Hearts can last for over a month in refrigerator. Note: remove only the hearts that you need, brush with melted chocolate and enjoy the same day. Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas.

Honninghjerte

Honninghjerte

Source: Claus Meyer

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Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake

Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake

You don’t need a special occasion to make this cake although it is timeless, elegant and oh-so decadent, and it’s sure to take care of any severe chocolate craving which may be possessing you. This cake is very simple to make however, it does need to be made a day in advance of serving it.  I actually view that as a big plus, that way you don’t have to fiddle around with it on the day your guests are coming. I chose to serve this wonderful cake with a small scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream to offset the sweetness of the cake. You could also simply choose some whipped cream or Crème Fraîche on the side. If you venture out and make this cake, I hope you enjoy it!

Making Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake

Making Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake

Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

200 gram dark chocolate (7 oz) (I used 70% Lindt dark chocolate)

200 gram unsalted butter (7 oz)

200 gram sugar (7 oz)

5 eggs

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

Spray a 22 cm (~ 8.5 inch) springform pan lightly with baking spray. Place a round cut-to-fit piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and lightly spray parchment paper with baking spray, set aside.

Using a warm water bath (a bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) melt the butter and chopped chocolate over gentle heat. Once the chocolate mixture is smooth, remove from heat and allow to cool a little. Add sugar to chocolate mixture and stir thoroughly. Add the eggs on at a time, mixing well after each addition but without beating too much air into the mixture. Fold in the flour.

Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pan and bake for 22-26 minutes. Cake should be slightly wobbly in the middle when you take it out. Allow cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan. Store cake overnight in a cool place, covered with foil.

Serve with a small scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream, Whipped Cream or a dollop of Crème Fraîche. Enjoy!

Source: Trish Deseine’s,  I Want Chocolate

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Cranberry-Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cranberry-Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been on the hunt for a go-to-cookie for a long time now. One that fits anytime of the year, one that is quick and easy to make and I think I have finally found one. I have made these both with and without the walnuts, not everybody like nuts you know, and they are equally good with and without. They tend to spread out a little more without the nuts, but that’s OK. These cookies have a wonderful background flavor of brown sugar, which reminds me of a Blondie, and the combination of walnuts and cranberries gives them a slight crunch and makes them nice and soft, all at the same time. These cookies are definitely a keeper and I think you’ll really enjoy them as well.

IMG_4909

Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (360 grams)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, room temperature (226 grams)

3/4 cup sugar (155 grams)

1 cup packed brown sugar (185 grams)

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (280 grams)

1 1/2 cup dried cranberries (140 grams)

1 cup chopped walnuts (112 grams)

Directions:

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. Cream butter and sugars until smooth and soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, scrape down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour in three increments and mix only until fully incorporated. Add chocolate chips, cranberries and chopped walnuts, mix only until incorporated. Working quickly, roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls (approx. 4 cm), place on prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart (5 cm). If dough feels very soft when rolling, place baking sheet with dough balls in refrigerator for 5 minutes before baking. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until done. Cool and baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Enjoy!

Freshly baked Cranberry-Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Freshly baked Cranberry-Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Source: adapted from Bakerella

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Marble Cupcake

Marble Cupcake

I have had a terrible craving for Marmorkage (Marble Cake), which is like a dear childhood friend to me. But I wanted it in a smaller format, like cupcakes. I found this one recipe with looked “oh so good” but unfortunately the result was a really bland tasting cupcake. I then pulled out Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book, hoping she might have a Marble cupcake in there, and thankfully she did 🙂 You can always count on Martha and she definitely knows her craft! The cupcakes turned out sweet, soft and very tasty. Although it is almost a shame to cover up these pretty cupcakes, I must admit that a chocolate frosting does seem to complete them, but of course that’s optional. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did.

Marble Cupcakes (makes 16 cupcakes)

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted, not self-rising (210 gram)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk, room temperature (78 ml)

1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature (78 ml)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (113 gram)

1 cup sugar (222 gram)

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (30 gram)

1/4 cup boiling water (60 ml)

Ingredients for Chocolate Frosting:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (120 grams), coarsely chopped

2/3 cup unsalted butter (150 grams), room temperature

1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar (160 grams), sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions for Cupcakes:

Line muffin pan with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C).

Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. Combine milk and cream, set aside. Using an electrical mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beat until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract. Add flour in three increments, alternating with the milk mixture. Beat until combined.

To make chocolate batter. Measure out one generous cup of batter, place in small bowl. In a separate small dish combine cocoa powder and boiling water, whisk until smooth. Stir cocoa mixture into reserved batter until fully combined.

Fill prepared cup liner with alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, filling each three-quarters full. Run a skewer through the batter in a figure-eight motion to make swirls. Bake until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer muffin pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Directions for Frosting:

Melt chocolate over a hot water bath. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electrical mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add confectioners sugar and beat until smooth and light (about 2 minutes). Add vanilla extract and chocolate, beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (2-3 minutes).

Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes. Enjoy!

Marble Cupcake With Chocolate Frosting

Marble Cupcake With Chocolate Frosting

Source: Cupcakes – Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, Frosting – Joy of Baking

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Chocolate Amaretto Pudding

Chocolate Amaretto Pudding

This is a very easy dessert to put together but somehow I managed to make it really complicated. You would think that after all these years living in the US that I would have some sort of sense of how much a liquid ounce is, but nooooo. So I am making this lovely dessert and measuring out the amount of Amaretto. The measuring glass I am using is small with tiny numbers on it and I need approximately 2 1/2 ounces. I see the number 5 and figure I need about half that amount. I go about my business and finish the dessert. Now tasting time, that’s funny, I don’t taste any Amaretto, only delicious chocolate. I then go back and look at the measuring glass again, this time putting on my reading glasses and see that what I thought was a 5 really said .5 🙂 No wonder I don’t taste any Amaretto. Round two, so I make another portion, determined that I want a pudding that is loaded with wonderful Amaretto flavor and the second time around I finally succeeded. This is indeed a lovely, lovely Amaretto pudding.

How many Smiths does it take to make a hammer head?

How many Smiths does it take to make a hammer head?

But the story doesn’t end there. You see, this makes 6 small or 4 good size portions and the pudding is to be served for the ABGT blacksmiths and these guys are not small portion kinda guys and I need at least 6 portions. So what’s a girl to do? I want to make some cups with Amaretto pudding and some with the plain chocolate pudding. But my husband suggested that if I mix it all together it might still taste like Amaretto. Big mistake, the wonderful Amaretto flavor has virtually disappeared. Oh well 😦 but it doesn’t stop there. So I send Joe on his way with the pudding only to realize, I didn’t get any finished pictures of the pudding. So the pictures in this blog post is courtesy of my blacksmith husband Joe, which may I add, did an excellent job taking them. Thank you honey 😉

Chocolate Amaretto Pudding

Chocolate Amaretto Pudding

Chocolate Amaretto Pudding (makes 4 to 6 servings)

Ingredients:

500 milliliter whole milk (17 fl oz)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon sugar

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

80 milliliter Amaretto liqueur (2.7 fl oz)

100 gram dark chocolate (3.4 oz), chopped finely

50 gram unsalted butter (1.7 oz)

Topping:

whipped heavy cream, optional

Danish Makroner or Amaretti cookies, crushed, optional

Directions:

Warm milk in a saucepan over low heat. In a second cold saucepan add flour, sugar and vanilla seeds, whisk to combine. Whisk in the warm milk, a little at a time, until smooth. Place saucepan on stove and heat to medium-low stirring frequently. Whisk in Amaretto liqueur and continue to stir until you start to see a slight bubble, remove pan from heat. Add chocolate and butter, continue to stir until it starts to thicken a little. Pour pudding into storage container or serving dishes and chill in refrigerator 4-6 hours before serving. To prevent skin from forming on pudding surface, place plastic wrap directly onto surface before chilling. To serve top with whipped cream and crushed Danish Makroner or Amaretti cookies. Enjoy!

Source: Gennaro Contaldo

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

The sweltering Virginia summer heat is finally over (for the most part) and Fall has officially arrived. This is my favorite time of year, when the air become crisp, instead of moist, and the temperature cools into the 70s and 80s. This time of year, Virginia displays some of the most brilliant blue skies and if your lucky enough to take a trip into the mountains, the Autumn colors are simply amazing. And lets not forget about Pumpkin…pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies and I could go on and on. This is pumpkin season! So I couldn’t wait any longer, I just had to make something with pumpkin and so here are some delicious pumpkin muffins. They have chocolate chips in them, which my husband is happy as a clam about. Me on the other hand, think the chocolate chips take away from the wonderful pumpkin flavor. So if you are a pumpkin lover, like myself, you may want to consider substituting the chocolate chips for some chopped walnuts or pecans. Or if your loved one is a chocolate-chippaholic then the chocolate chips will be perfect 😉

On another note, I wanted to share these videos with you. A couple of weeks ago, Joe and I went on a weekend getaway to Ocean City, Maryland to visit with family. On one evening, we had seen a fox in the dunes below the fourth floor condo we were staying at and when I got up at dawn to capture the sunrise with my camera, I was able to film a family of three foxes playing with one another. It was a magical moment to watch them play while the sun was rising. I never imagined that foxes would be living by the beach.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients:

195 grams all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

113 grams unsalted butter (1/2 cup) (at room temperature)

200 grams sugar (1 cup)

2 large eggs (at room temperature)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

180 milliliter solid packed canned pumpkin puree (3/4 cup)

175 grams semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 177 degrees C (350 degrees F). Place baking rack in the middle of oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, spices and salt, set dry ingredients aside.

Using your stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl as you go along. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add sifted dry ingredients and pumpkin puree. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups evenly with batter. Place in the middle of oven and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean. Place on wire rack to cool.

Source: Joy of Baking

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Sachertorte

Sachertorte

Let me introduce you to a classic Austrian cake – Sachertorte. This is a cake sure to satisfy any chocolate craving you may be suffering from. And when it comes to Austrian specialties, who else to go to for advice, other that the Austrian born Wolfgang Puck. Wolfgang’s original recipe called for apricot brandy which of course sounds perfect for this wonderful cake but was nowhere to be found in my stash of booze, so I ended up using Grand Marnier instead which I thought turned out to be a really good substitute. Also, I made one tiny little mistake. Wolfgang tells you to cut the cake into three layers, which I overlooked, and so I only cut my cake into two layers. It still turned out fantastic, but I only got to use 1/2 the amount of apricot jam called for. Next time I make this delicious cake, I will make sure that my cake gets cut into three layers so I can use up all that heavenly apricot jam. Or come to think of it, I could have used the remaining jam on top of the cake, chilled it, and then poured the chocolate glaze over it. That would have been great too. 😀

Sachertorte3

Cake batter: melt chocolate, beat eggs, add chocolate to eggs, beat meringue, add flour to chocolate mixture, fold in flour, add meringue to chocolate, fold in meringue, finished batter.

Sachertorte: in 1832 Prince Wenzel von Metternich were having important guests for dinner and tasked his personal chef with creating a special dessert for the event. But it just so happened, that the chef fell sick that day and the daunting task fell on his 16 year old apprentice Franz Sacher. His dessert was very pleasing to Metternich’s guests but did not actually become famous until Franz Sacher’s son Eduard Sacher developed his father’s recipe into it’s current form. Since then, the Sachertorte has become one of Austria’s most famous specialties.

Sachertorte

Sachertorte

Sachertorte (yields 8-10 servings)

Ingredients

Cake:

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (170 grams)

3 oz. butter (85 grams)

4 egg yolks

1 oz. sugar, plus 3 oz. sugar (28 grams, plus 85 grams)

5 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup flour, sifted (45 grams)

Apricot filling:

1 cup apricot jam (280 grams)

2 teaspoons Grand Marnier (optional)

Chocolate Glaze:

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (170 grams)

1 oz. butter (28 grams)

2 oz. heavy cream (59 milliliter)

Serve with:

whipped cream

Directions
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Butter and flour a 9 x 2-inch cake pan (23 cm x 5 cm), bang out excess flour and set aside.Cut chocolate into small pieces. In a bowl, combine chopped chocolate and butter, melt over a hot water bath. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a bowl using a wire whisk, whip the egg yolks with 1 ounce sugar (28 grams) until thick and pale yellow. While pouring in a thin stream, beat in the chocolate mixture until combined.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 3 ounces of sugar (85 grams) and continue to beat until shiny stiff peaks. Fold the sifted flour into the chocolate mixture until combined and then fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites, gently but thoroughly. Pour into prepared cake pan.

Bake for 40 minutes or until done. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of cake, it should come out dry. Remove cake from the oven and cool on a rack.

To make the apricot filling:

Puree the apricot jam and stir in the Grand Marnier (optional).

Slice the cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Spread half of the apricot filling on the bottom layer. Top with a second layer of cake. Spread the remaining apricot filling and top with the third layer of cake. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

To make the chocolate glaze:

In a bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and butter, melt over a hot water bath. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Stir the hot cream into the melted chocolate. Cool until it reaches a glazing consistency. Spread over and around the cake. Chill for another 30 minutes before serving. Serve cake slices with whipped cream on the side. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Wolfgang Puck

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Vandbakkelser aka Profiteroles

Vandbakkelser aka Profiteroles

Vandbakkelser has a reputation of being difficult to make, that they collapse easily. I personally have never experienced that problem. I think the most important thing to remember when making Vandbakkelser is not to open the oven door during the first 20 minutes of baking. When you start researching Vandbakkelser you’ll find that there are many different theories out there on how to make them. Some go into great detail about starting the oven at a high temperature and then finish baking at a lower temperature. Some bake and then cut a slit into the vandbakkelse to allow steam to escape. Some bake and then turn off oven and let Vandbakkelser sit in the oven for another 10 minutes (this sound like a good idea if your having trouble with your Vandbakkelser being too moist on the inside). Or you can bake, then turn off oven and crack open door and allow to cool inside oven. And finally, some simply just bake and place the baking sheet with Vandbakkelser on a cooling rack, which is what I did today. To test for doneness remove one pastry from the oven and if it does not collapse the remaining pastries should be done as well, just remember not to open the oven door during the first 20 minutes of baking.

Butter and water brought to a simmer. Add all flour at one time.

Butter and water brought to a simmer. Add all flour at one time, stir vigorously.

There are also several different ways to place the Vandbakkelser onto the baking sheet. You can use two spoons to form a rounded ball of dough or simply just drop spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Or you can load the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large plain round tip and pipe onto parchment paper. You could also use a small ice cream scoop, load and drop onto baking sheet. Whichever method you choose, have fun with it. If your dough ends up having a small pointy tip on it, wet a finger and gently push it down to avoid the tip baking and browning faster than the remaining dough.

Vandbakkelser (2)

Dough comes together in a ball, let cool a little. Add egg, stir vigorously. Dough will separate a little, keep stirring. Dough comes back together in a ball. Add egg, stir vigorously. Dough will separate and come together again as a smooth sticky mass.

I cut the original recipe in half so I would only get 8-10 Vandbakkelser but if you want the original larger portion it’s simply just a matter of doubling the ingredients up (water 2 1/2 deciliter or 1 cup, butter 100 gram or 3 1/2 oz, flour 130 gram or 4 1/2 oz, 4 eggs). Also, I did some experimenting with dropping the dough onto the baking sheet. I used two spoons (left side of picture below) and I piped the dough (right side of picture below). I prefer dropping the dough with spoons because when you pipe it, it is easy to lift up just a little with your piping bag at the end creating a small extra top of dough. As you can see on the finished pastries below (right) it forms as an extra little top on the pastry.

This recipe came from the Danish web site Kvalimad where Max has a really nice video showing the process of making the Choux pastry dough . If you are not Danish of course you won’t understand the words but the video speaks for itself 🙂

Leave some space between dough balls, they will rise quite a bit.

Leave some space between dough balls, they will rise quite a bit.

Alternative fillings: soft ice cream, your favorite flavored jam, pudding, 50/50 Chantilly cream (flødeskum) and custard, Chantilly cream with strawberries, instead of the chocolate sauce you could also use a simple chocolate icing (glasur).

Vandbakkelse with Chantilly Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Vandbakkelse with Chantilly Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients:

Vandbakkelser aka Profiteroles: (makes 8-10)

1/2 cup water (1 1/4 deciliter)

1 3/4 ounces butter (50 grams)

2 1/4 ounces flour (65 grams)

2 eggs

Chantilly Cream:

1 cup heavy cream (240 milliliter)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Sauce:

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (170 grams)

1/2 cup heavy cream (120 milliliter)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit).

Bring water and butter to a simmer. Add all flour at one time and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough comes together in a ball. Remove from heat and cool down until you can keep a finger in the dough without burning yourself (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time stirring vigorously after each egg until dough is a smooth thick sticky paste. Spoon or pipe dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If there is a pointy top on your dough, wet a finger and gently press it down. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Do not open oven door during the first 20 miuntes or they may collapse. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack.

To make Cantilly Cream:

Beat heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract until desired consistency.

To make Chocolate Sauce:

Bring heavy cream and vanilla extract just to a simmer. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips, and using a submersion blender, mix until you have a smooth sauce.

The Chocolate Sauce can also be made by placing chocolate, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water, stir until completely melted and smooth.

To assemble Vandbakkelser:

Cut cooled pastry in half and place a dollop of Chantilly cream. Place cut off pastry top, on top of cream. Pour warm chocolate sauce on top and serve. Enjoy!

Source for Vandbakkelser: Kvalimad

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Best Kranskage

Best Kranskage

I was making Kransekage again the other day and decided to try a new recipe. It turned out to be the best tasting Kransekage recipe I have come across so far. It is less dense than the Kransekage I posted about earlier, the dough is softer so you can pipe it out and the finished product is slightly more “cake-like”. That being said, if you intend on making a Kransekage tower like I did for our 25th wedding anniversary, I would not used this recipe because it does not hold its shape as nicely as the other recipe.

Pipe marcipan out with a large plain round tip and shape into triangle.

Pipe marcipan out with a large plain round tip and shape into triangle.

The original directions asked you to pipe it out using a triangular tip, which I don’t have. So I used a large round plain tip (#809) instead and shaped the marcipan into it’s classic triangular shape with my wet fingers. When you do this, careful not to use too much water on your fingers and keep rinsing and wetting your fingers to avoid the marcipan from sticking. Also the Kransekage cookies seemed to brown faster than the other Kranskage recipe so keep a very close eye on them (lower your oven temperature by 10-20 degrees, if needed). And finally, the original recipe called for Odense Bagemarcipan which I am not able to get here in the US so I used my regular Odense Original 60 % almonds (used to be called Ren Rå marcipan). These cookies are really wonderful and I hope you enjoy them. 🙂

Best Kransekager

Best Kransekager

Kransekage (makes 15 pieces)

Ingredients:

For Cakes:

250 gram Odense Original marcipan (used to be called Ren Rå)

125 gram sugar

55 gram pasteurized egg whites

For Glaze:

40 gram confectioners sugar (sifted),( plus more if needed)(1.4 oz)

15 gram pasteurized egg whites(0.5 oz)

For the chocolate:

55 gram bittersweet chocolate

Directions:

Double up two large baking sheets for extra insulation to avoid burning the bottom of cakes. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C).

For the cakes: Pour egg whites into a small dish and add sugar, stir and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes. Using your stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cut the marcipan into smaller pieces and add egg whites/sugar mixture, beat until you have a completely smooth mass without any lumps (5+ minutes). Scrape dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip and pipe out logs onto baking sheet that are finger length (about 8 cm/3 inches). Wet your fingers with a little water and gently press each log into a rounded triangle, continue to wet fingers as needed but careful not to get marcipan too wet. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until golden.  Allow to cool completely.

For the glaze: Beat together confectioners sugar and pasteurized egg whites on high-speed for at least 5 minutes. The glaze should be pretty thick and no longer flow together when beaters are stopped, add more sifted confectioners sugar if needed. Load glaze into a plastic bag and snip off tip to create a very tiny opening. Begin decorating, moving the tip back and forth across the logs making sure to extend the tip out over the edge to allow the glaze to droop down the outside in a loop style fashion. Allow glaze to dry completely before dipping ends into chocolate.

For the chocolate: Chop chocolate into small pieces and melt over a water-bath of gently simmering water. Dip each end of Kransekager into melted chocolate and place on baking sheet. Allow chocolate to set (to speed up this process place Kransekager in refrigerator for 10 minutes, take out and bring back to room temperature. Store Kransekager in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Source: Odense

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