Monday, April 24, 2006

Hazelnut Cardamom Cookies

I found this recipe on a food blog, for Cardamom Cookies, and thought that it would be improved with ground hazelnuts and chocolate. Which it ended up being, it tasted better than the original version, which I also liked. The cookies are kind of puffy or marshmallowy in texture. What I changed from the original version was, I used light muscovado sugar rather than light brown sugar (which is often just white sugar with a little molasses, rather than raw sugar); also I added the ground chocolate and ground hazelnuts. Next time, I think I will try more ground chocolate, as the flavour of the chocolate did not really come out. My inspiration came from the fact that cardamom pairs well with chocolate, and chocolate pairs well with hazelnuts. Inspiration came to me as I drove into work one morning.

Hazelnut Cardamon Cookies
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup light muscovado sugar
1/4 cup ground hazelnuts
2 Tbsp ground chocolate

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

Sift together flour and cream of tartar into a medium bowl.

In a Kitchenaid mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, cardamom, baking soda and salt on medium speed. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Add ground chocolate and ground hazelnuts and stir to combine.

Shape dough into golfball-size and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand onto a parchment lined baking sheet. They will spread a bit, but not too much, as they bake.

Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are a light, golden brown. Let them rest on the baking sheet for several minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 to 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

They seem to multiply when you're not looking...

And even acquire friends. The milk chocolate Gold Lindt rabbit is less shy than her dark chocolate brother, perhaps she'll be eaten first. Or the chocolate maikäfer or ladybug, a treat common in Germany.

A new coffee I found this weekend

I really like Costa Rican coffee, and have found several sources for it, both whole bean and ground, also an instant version for a while, but this new source is not organic, it's fair trade coffee from a Canadian company! Fair trade involves working with coffee farmers to give them fair prices for their coffee beans, as opposed to the large corporation approach, which has been, to give the farmer a small amount for their goods, then resell them at much higher prices and profits. The Canadian company utilizes a solar-powered facility to roast the purchased organic green beans. I saw coffee from Peru and Costa Rica at this store, but they have coffees from all around the world. I can say that the Costa Rican coffee that I made this morning was quite good, mellow, one of the better cups of Costa Rican coffee I've had. Find out more about them here.

Friday, April 14, 2006

You have to really like Hazelnuts...

Which I do, of course. This noodle recipe turned out to be quite tasty, the combination of the orange juice and the hazelnuts surprised me. Adding the juice to the frying hazelnuts caused the liquid to bubble up as soon as it hit the pan, quite interesting but not dangerous. I would say that I would try two things the next time I make this recipe, one, to toast the hazelnuts lightly, and two, to add some sort of meat, like chicken. I also used angelhair pasta instead of the wide egg noodles that were recommended. This recipe is from the Oregon Hazelnut Association, a great place to pick up lots of interesting hazelnut recipes. Find it here.

Orange Hazelnut Noodles
2 tbsp. salt
4-6 quarts boiling water
1 pound wide egg noodles (about 8 cups)
2 cups chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1 cup orange juice
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Add 2 tablespoons salt to rapidly boiling water. Gradually add noodles so that water continues to boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain in colander.

Saute hazelnuts in butter in saucepan about 5 minutes; add orange peel and juice. Combine hazelnut mixture, noodles, 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; toss lightly. Garnish with orange slices if desired.

I found this rabbit hiding on my counter

One of the Lindt Golden Bunnies, but unusual, in that it is dark chocolate instead of the normal milk chocolate variety that is ubiquitous. Notice the brown collar holding the bell; the milk chocolate one is red. I also found at the same store where I bought it, Shopper's Drugmart, a white chocolate version, with a white collar. It won't be hiding for long during Easter!

Some More Hazelnut Treats

I found these treats at this Polish Specialty store in Mississauga. The first of them is Hazelnut Brittle, unusual, as in most cases, it is peanut brittle that is better loved, at least in North America. The five candies are hazelnuts wrapped in praline encased in chocolate. Delicious!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Filberts and Chocolate II

I found these in a European Delicatessan in Kitchener, they come from Switzerland. The hazelnuts are covered in either milk or white chocolate. They taste pretty good, the chocolate is fairly good quality, though I prefer the dark chocolate ones of a previous post.


In my Dad's backyard, underneath the forsythia bush, grows a unique flower, the Christmas Rose, also called Hellibore. This flower can flower anywhere between December and February, though not normally in Canada, where it's more likely March before the snow has left and the blooms start appearing. Still, I've seen it bloom with snow all around.

Crocuses, crocuses, crocuses

Another sure sign of Spring, crocuses! I love the yellow ones the best.