Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

This is the time of year I start thinking of Christmas baking. Likely I'm not alone in that regard, and there are a few cookies that I make every year. This is one, simple to make and delicious, and it's one of those legacy recipes, we made them when I was a child and I don't know where the recipe came from. You can place these fairly close together, it says 1 inch, as they don't spread. Watch them close to the maximum time, you don't want them to burn.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups sifted icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup cocoa

Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Beat butter with icing sugar until creamy. Beat in milk and vanilla. Stir flour with salt and cocoa. Gradually beat into butter mixture. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until slightly firm. Cool on sheet 5 minutes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Recipes I've tried recently

Searching through food blogs for recipes is a recent passion, the Internet is a vast repository of information in a dark room with only a penlight for illumination. I’ve found several over the past few weeks, most of which I haven’t had the chance to try yet, but there are some that I have tried, most of which have been successful, one so far was a problem, only in that I did not have a large enough pan and it bubbled over.

The people at work are glad too when I bake, as I usually bring in the extras for them to finish, being only me at home, if I ate everything that I baked, I’d be 50 lbs. heavier. They’ve said many times that I should set up a business baking, but it’s a hobby of mine, and if I would have to work at it, it wouldn’t be as much fun.

You can add me to the list of fans of this baked good, I like Nutella a lot!

Self Frosting Cupcakes by Nic

These cookies are chewy and good, the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had in a long while. I’m definitely going to try the technique of adding a little bit of honey. Nicole’s Chocolate Chip Cookies again by Nic

Currants are my favourite dried fruit, much better than raisins, and I made this recipe, which were well received at work and which I’ll make again. Korintkakor by Anne

The recipe I wasn’t successful at making was this. Malted Milk Black and White Pound Cake It smelled quite good, until it overflowed onto the burner.

These were also well received at work. Chocolate Chunk Caramel Cookies Cutting up the caramels took a fair bit of time, but otherwise the recipe was easy to make.

These turned out very chewy and tasted quite good. I’ll definitely make them again. Chocolate Chip Malted Milk Cookies

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Human Nature

I realize that it's a good policy for stores to have one of those devices that check paper money to see if they are fake, but it seemed odd to me when I paid for my purchase with a five-dollar-bill and 11 cents, that being exact change, that the cashier checked the bill, both sides, and then two of them conferred together before they accepted it. It would seem to me, that if I were going to defraud them of the $5.11 of goods, that I would give them a much larger bill, $20 or more likely a $50, so that I could get the real government currency for the fake bill. Or perhaps I am not a very intelligent fraud artist. It kind of irked me.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Nougat Crescents

I’m always on the lookout for new recipes that utilize Nutella in it, there few and far between, it seems. I was in Germany in 1995, attending my cousin’s wedding in October, and I leafed through this German cookbook they had sitting on their coffee table, I believe it may even been on Christmas. There wasn’t really anything remarkable in it, and then I can across this recipe for Nougathoernchen. Oh, I said, getting out pen and paper and quickly writing down the recipe. In my haste, I didn’t even get what the book was or who had written it. When I got home to Canada, I tried the recipe for that very Christmas. They were quite good, slightly chewy and chocolatey. I must admit, that I am not artistically inclined, my crescents didn’t turn out at all like the pictures in the book, all smooth and professional looking. I imagine one produces cookies like that after lots of practice, but I do think that bumps and crevices give a cookie character, and make it look homemade and shaped with love.

Nougathoernchen (Nougat Crescents)
100 g butter, softened
200 g nougat (like Nutella)
1 egg
2 Tbsp vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
300 g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix the butter and the nougat together. Add to this the egg, vanilla sugar, the cinnamon and the salt. Mix the flour and the baking powder, then add it to the other ingredients through a sifter; stir until mixed. Cover the dough and let stand for 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease the baking sheets with butter. Roll small portions of the dough on a lightly sugared working surface until pen-thickness logs are created; cut these to a length of 6 cm. Form these pieces to look like a crescent; lay them on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes. Place on a wire rack and allow to completely cool.

If desired, each end of the cookie can be dipped in melted chocolate; allow to set on parchment paper.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Filberts and Chocolate. It begins.

I contemplated calling this Erdbeerschaum, for my absolute favourite dessert growing up, translated from German it means Strawberry Foam. Unlike recipes I have found on the 'Net, however, the recipe doesn't call for whipped cream, it's just strawberries and sugar and an egg white, the recipe is rather vague too, a scoop of sugar and a margarine container full of strawberries (frozen ones, so a little more sugar), and you whip it till it's foamy. I loved it! And the rest of my family looked at me, most out of the corner of their eye, and guardedly said, "It's okay..." Most of the time I thought it, sometimes I replied, "Well, more for me then!", and proceeded to finish it off. Bubbly, foamy strawberries that melted in your mouth, bringing back the taste of last summer's sweet goodness after the long winter.

These days, though, eating egg whites raw probably isn't a great idea, I have heard too often to ignore. What I have contemplated recently, and will try soon, is to incorporate this in place of the plain whipped egg whites in a cheesecake, to give it a nice strawberry flavour. Though, I don't know if it will work quite well, will it whip properly. I never got to the correct stage, the proper stiffness of the egg white, wanting to eat it as soon as it looked good enough.

Lately, I have had a passion for hazelnuts (or filberts as I better like to call them), and for chocolate, especially dark, the darker the better, and have begun to make more of the recipes I've found. Hazelnuts alone, and with chocolate, are wonderful.

So, what will this be about. Filberts. Chocolate. Filberts and Chocolate. Recipes I have tried. Restaurants I have eaten at. Other things too, like my hobby of tramping around the woods to find wildflowers and take digital pics of them. Tennis. The Red Sox and Boston. Apple Computers. My trip to China next year. My trip to Tanzania the following year. Writing.

I live in Canada, in a city called Mississauga, which lies crouching next to Toronto. We had our first taste of winter on Friday, just a small taste.


Erdbeerschaum (Strawberry Foam)
Frozen strawberries (margarine container full)
1 egg white
7 Tbsp sugar (or to taste)

Place strawberries in blender and mix until in small pieces. Add egg white and sugar to strawberries in bowl, then mix with electric mixer until foamy and stiff.

Note: I imagine this would work with macerated strawberries if you have fresh.