Friday, September 26, 2008

Shortbread

I've been quite busy this week, the new school year beginning and the town's fiesta in between, I've choosen these cookies, they are easily made and quickly eaten: they melt in your mouth. It's easy to describe them with two words: pure butter. Some recipes allow to use margarine. I hate margarine, its color, its taste, its texture. It gives me the creeps.

Shortbread


Ingredients:
  • 115 gr. butter, room temperature
  • 55 gr. sugar
  • 115 gr flour
  • Sugar for dusting
Method:
  1. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add flour.
  3. Grease a 22 cm round cake pan and line it with parchment paper. Pour the batter and press with your fingers to level up the dough.
  4. Bake at 170º C in a preheated oven for 30 min., or until golden.
  5. Let rest 5 minutes and dust with sugar. Cut them in wedges with still warm.
  6. Let cool on a rack before you take them out of the pan.
I guess you can scent the dough with lemon or orange zeste, vanille or coffe. This one time though "only" butter it is, they are excellent!
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Black Cake

This week I felt like cake.

This recipe was given to me by the godmother of my second child. When we both lived in Brazil. Last time I baked it was... puf! I rather don't think about it. I thought this week was the right time to offer it to my little angels to see what they think. We didn't regret it. It's a very tasteful cake, with a special touch because of the cinnamon, with a light texture inspite of all the chocolate it has. Well, it's easy to eat...

My friend finish this cake with even more chocolate, but I find it too heavy... only suitable for chocoholics. I don't want to bore you more so, here is the recipe:

Black Cake

Ingredients:
  • 250 gr. semi sweet chocolate, melted
  • 250 gr. sugar
  • 250 gr. butter, melted
  • 6 eggs, separete whites from egg yolks
  • 125 gr potapo starch( I don't have it, so I took corn starch)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Method:
  1. Beat sugar and egg yolks. Add melted butter and the chocolate. Lastly, vanilla extract.
  2. In a bowl, mix starch with baking powder and cinnamon. Combine with chocolate mixture.
  3. Whisk egg whites until firm. Add them carefully to the mixture we already have.
  4. Grease and flour a cake pan rather big. Pour the batter in.
  5. Bake at 180ºC in a preheated oven for one hour.
Like I said before, you can glaze the cake with chocolate. You will need dark chocolate and whipping cream. Melt it toguether (in the microwave) and pour it over the cooled cake.

Consume with moderation (or not).
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hazelnut Flan

I found this dessert recipe in the local newspaper instalment. They are doing a collection from differents restaurants in the region. This one is a creation from Catalín restaurant. It's super easy to make and so good it's almost a sin... I guess you can replace hazelnuts for any other nut, sure we'll try it!

Hazelnut Flan:

Nueva España (local paper) instalment

Ingredients:

  • 200 gr. whole milk
  • 4 eggs (big)
  • 225 ml. sweetened condensed milk
  • 150 gr. grounded rosted hazelnut
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar and water to caramelize the baking pan
Method:
  1. Beat the eggs and add as you stir, milk, condensed milk and grounded hazelnuts. Set aside.
  2. Make caramel. Put water and sugar in the baking pan over the stove, about 5 min. Don't stir. When the caramel is golden, shake the pan so the walls are covered with caramel. Let set.
  3. Pour carefully your milk-halzelnut in the pan. Bake in a water bath at 130º C for one hour.
  4. Serve room temperature.
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Lasagna my Way


Lasaña my Way (six servings):

Ingredients:
  • 500 gr ground beef
  • 1/2 big onion, minced
  • 1 big can tomatos (about 480 gr. drained tomatoes)
  • 2 big garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, cubed
  • salt and herbes to taste (I use oregan and basil)
  • 400 gr. frozen spinach
  • 500 ml.bechamel sauce (I use semi-skimmed)
  • 250 gr grated cheese (I like gouda)
  • Lasagna sheets (don't cook them)
  • Olive oil
  • Three tablespoons flour
Method:
  1. To make bolognese sauce: saute onion with a couple of tablespoons olive oil. When they are glassy add carrots. Stir a bit and pour in tomatoes, and then minced garlic. Salt and season to taste. Let simmer until almost all liquid is gone (about two hours).
  2. Make bechamel sauce: put three tablespoons olive oil in a deep skillet. When hot, add three tablespoons flour and cook for one minute over low heat. Add the milk, stir and let cook until it gets thick. Salt to taste and set aside.
  3. Defrost spinach (I do it in the microwave). Mix spinach and bechamel sauce with the blender.
  4. Butter a casserole. Coat the bottom with bolognese sauce. Arrage enough lasagna sheets to cover it up. Pour now a layer spinach sauce, and again the lasagna sheets. Repeat once again until the casserole is full and you don't have any sauce left. I don't cook the lasagna sheets, they cook in the oven and become soft from the moisture in the sauces*. Try to end with spinach sauce. You can also reserve some bechamel sauce without spinach to put it on top of everything.
  5. Sust with grated gouda cheese.
  6. Bake at 180º C for 40 min. and grill some minutes at the end till golden.
* It's best to let the uncooked lasagna rest for half an hour before baking it. This way, the sheets will become soft earlier. This lasagna is even better the day after, the opposite of other pasta dishes.
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Carajitos" Hazelnut Cookies

The "Carajitos de Profesor" are tipical from Salas, a small village in Asturias. They are delicious. How only three ingredients: hazelnuts, sugar and egg whites, can be combined to become these is almost a miracle. The original recipe is a secret, but they are easy to copy. There are different brands that sell them here and quite a number of variations: with anisette liquor, with honey... but the best still are the originals. I don't believe in accuracy in the kitchen, some grams up or down don't make the difference (is my modest opinion) and it depends on your taste also...

Nowadays we are a little bit obsessed with health and diet. Well, these cookie don't have one gram cholesterol... but they are not suitable for diabetics either!

Anyway, here is my version:

Hazelnut Carajitos

Ingredients:
  • 250 gr. rosted hazelnuts
  • 180 gr. sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • A pinch of salt
Method:
  1. Grind hazelnuts with a tablespoon sugar.
  2. In a bowl, combine sugar and grated hazelnuts with a pinch of salt.
  3. Add egg whites, one at a time. You should have a moist dough.
  4. Make balls and put them on a lined baking sheet. Put them not to close to one another, they will spand.
  5. Let cool in the fridge about 10 minutes.
  6. Bake at 200ºC for 15 minutes. Be careful. If you overbake them, they will be hard. They should still be moist inside and golden outside.
Bon apetite!
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Angel's Eyes

My mother-in-law bakes delicious cakes. Desserts too. She doesn't need books. Recipes neither. She's been cooking all her life and does it from the scratch. It comes out her head. She doesn't need to mesaure or weight.

she knows baking is one of my passion. She sends me some cooking magazine or book for my birthday or Christmas. She recently gave me a baking book from Dr. Oetker. It's fantastic. I feel like eating the pages, so good look the pictures!

The cookie of the week comes out this book. These are not very sweet, inspite of its looks, that's why you can eat lots of them. A danger. I've used raspberry and apricot confiture, I think you can use whatever taste you like best. Thanks to the almond's little bits they last quite a while in your mouth. A plesaure. They are also easy to make. What else possibly can you ask of a recipe?

Angel's Eyes

Adapted from Backen macht Freude. Das Original vom Dr. Oetker

Ingredients:
  • 250 gr flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 gr sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanille extract
  • a pich salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 150 gr butter, room temperature
  • 2 egg whites
  • 150 gr almonds, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons confiture of your choice
Method:

  1. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. beat butter with eggyolks. Add vanille extract. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time. Keep stirring.
  3. Add flour mixture gradually and knead the dough until thoroughly blended. Let the dough rest in the fridge at least 30 minutes.
  4. Roll your dough to form long snakes that you can then cut to roll 2 cm diameter balls.
  5. Beat slightly eggwhites with a fork. Brush each ball with it (leaving the top dry) and sprinkle some chopped almonds on each one. Put them on a lined baking sheet. Press your thumb on each ball.
  6. Cook in preheated oven (180º C) for 15 minutes.
  7. When they are done, let them cool on a rack.
  8. Fill the cookies with the confiture.
  9. It makes about 36 cookies.
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