Saturday, October 18, 2014

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies



I love earl grey tea. Most days I drink it with a splash of milk but if I'm feeling super fancy, I'll turn my tea into a london fog. Instead of drinking my tea the other day, I felt like putting it in some shortbread. When we were in Leeds this spring, we bought some earl grey shortbread cookies and really enjoyed them. After a quick search, I decided to make these earl grey shortbread cookies. These are literally the easiest cookies to make. Still a few more ingredients than these peanut butter cookies, but seriously, so easy. But more importantly, they taste amazing! They are thin, and crisp, and so buttery with a subtle flavor of earl grey tea. In the recipe comments, some people had increased their amount of earl grey tea but I think the tea flavor would be too strong for me. As always, adjust to your liking friends!


Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies (barely adapted from Claire Robinson)
Makes a ton of cookies, I didn't count. But I probably got like 40+ cookies.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves (approximately 4 tea bags)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup icing/powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup or 225g unsalted butter cubed and at room temperature

Claire made her cookie dough in the food processor, but as I don't have one (yet?!), I made mine in my KitchenAid. Just so you know, it is possible either way!

In your mixing bowl, sift together the flour, tea and salt, until there are specks of tea mixed throughout the flour. 

Add the icing sugar, the vanilla extract, and the butter. With your paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together on the lowest speed until a dough forms. 

Place the dough on a long piece of parchment paper and shape into a log. Tightly twist each end of the paper and put it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F or 170C. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper.

Slice the log into your desired thickness. I realize now that the recipe said 1/3 inch thick and I think I was aiming more for like 1/8 inch thick. Oops! Either way, slice to your desired thickness. Thicker = fewer cookies, thinner = more cookies. Place the sliced dough on the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges of the cookies are brown. As my cookies were very thing, that took 8 minutes or so. But if you slice them a bit thicker, you may need up to 12 minutes. 

Once the cookies have browned along the edges, remove them from the oven. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. 

Store the cookies in an airtight container and they should last up to a week. 



I think these earl grey shortbread cookies are perfect for this rainy fall weather here in Copenhagen. Enjoy and share some with your friends and loved ones! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!


We celebrated Thanksgiving last night with the husband's family. I thought it would be fun to invite them over for a Thanksgiving dinner as this holiday isn't celebrated in Denmark. As we were only 5 people and I really did not feel like hunting down and cooking a turkey, we had a chicken Thanksgiving dinner!



It was so nice getting to share this Canadian tradition with them. And cooking all of our own food was fun as well! Especially since everyone enjoyed everything! For dinner we roasted two chickens from this recipe, I made this apple and herb stuffing, we had a side of green beans as well as one of our favorite cauliflower recipes (browned butter and panko bread crumbs!!!). And to finish it all off, I made this lovely sweet potato buttermilk pie. Three Smitten Kitchen recipes in one day, I clearly love Deb and her food!


Now it is Monday and I am off to work but Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are celebrating today! I hope you're enjoying this long weekend with family and friends!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Lovely Braided Loaf of Challah Bread



I am slowly making my way into the world of bread baking and having seen a few different challah recipes on Smitten Kitchen's blog, I knew that this beautiful braided bread was something I needed to try. I was particularly interested in making this Jewish bread, which is mostly eaten on Sabbath and holidays, because Deb from Smitten Kitchen compares it to brioche in that "it is a slightly sweet bread enriched with both eggs and fat". I was pretty much sold after that.


Braiding the challah dough was super fun and not as difficult as I thought it would be. I looked at different ways to braid the bread online but the easiest way to do it was just to watch this video while I was in the process of braiding. The gorgeous shine from the bread also comes from Deb's suggestion of doing a double egg wash, once after you have braided it, and again right before putting it in the oven. Seriously, this bread is almost too pretty to eat!



I really enjoyed this bread and I loved the slight sweetness to it. We brought some to a light lunch with our friend B and it paired really nicely with the serrano ham she served that day. We also had it with a butternut squash soup. And lastly, I was waiting for the bread to go slightly stale after a few days to make challah french toast. Delicious! Seriously, I love a good breakfast dinner and challah french toast was perfect.



Best Challah (Egg Bread) (slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 2 loaves

22 g fresh yeast (or 3 3/4 tsp active dry yeast) / fresh yeast is what is most common here
1 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
5 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp table salt
8 cups flour (might be a little less or a little more)
Poppy or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the fresh yeast, 1 tbsp sugar, and lukewarm water. Whisk oil into the yeast and then beat in the 4 eggs, one egg at a time. Add the rest of the sugar and the table salt and beat again. Gradually add the flour to the wet mixture. When the dough holds together, it is ready for kneading.

In your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, knead the dough until smooth, about 8 minutes. You can also knead the dough by hand on a floured surface. When smooth, form the dough into a round ball and return to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size. Once it has completed its first rise, punch down the dough and let it rise for another half hour.

Take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into 2. Divide each half into another 6 strands. Watch this video and braid away! Place the braided loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with a few inches in between them. Beat the remaining egg and brush it on the loaves. Let the loaves rise for another hour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F or 190C and brush the loaves with another coat of egg wash. Sprinkle the bread with sesame or poppy seeds, if using them. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. The loaves should also sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom if they are ready. Cool the loaves on a rack. Store the bread in an airtight bag or wrapped up really well to keep it from drying out and going stale too fast.

What's your favorite bread recipe? What do I need to try baking? I would love suggestions!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Flødeboller!


On Saturday, the husband and I and our friend E made flødeboller. But not in it's "normal" shape. We have made flødeboller several times before but this time we made them in molds. We borrowed some molds from another friend of ours and made some round and jewel shaped flødeboller. I think they're so fun and the perfect size treat. Sometimes a whole flødeboller can be a lot so these little truffle size treats were enough to satisfy a little sweet craving.



Flødeboller (slightly adapted from Summerbird)
Makes about 30 bite sized flødeboller in molds

60g water
150g sugar
80g glucose
1 vanilla bean, split and beans scraped out
100g pasteurized egg whites
2 tbsp sugar
200-300g marzipan 
400g quality dark chocolate (between 50 and 70% cacao)

To start, temper 250g chocolate (either melt it over a double boiler, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds or just melt it over low heat in a pot). Pour enough chocolate into the molds so that you can spread it over the entire surface. Add more chocolate when necessary and try to remove any excess. Let the chocolate cool and harden at room temperature or in the fridge.

To make the flødeboller cream, boil the water, 150g of sugar, glucose and vanilla in a saucepan. Use a cooking or candy thermometer and watch the temperature rise, you want the mixture to come to a boil and reach 117 degrees celsius. While the sugar mixture is boiling, whip the pasteurized egg whites with the 2 tablespoons of sugar until you almost get firm peaks forming in your meringue mixture. When the sugar has reached 117 degrees, turn your mixer back on to high and slowly pour the liquid into the meringue mixture. Keep your hand mixer or mixer on its highest speed and continue to whip for another 8 minutes. If you would like to add flavoring to your flødeboller you can do that now. I usually fold in dehydrated fruit that I've crushed into a powder when the cream is ready.  (We did blueberry this time around!) You can choose how intense the flavor will be by adding more or less of the dehydrated fruit powder. When the cream is ready, prepare a piping bag with a round tip and fill it half way. Pipe the cream directly into the molds. Leave some room in the mold so that you can seal the bottom of the flødeboller with marzipan and chocolate next.

Once you have piped all of the cream into the molds, let the flødeboller stand at room temperature for about two hours. This helps the cream set and dry out a bit.

Finally, roll out your marzipan to your desired thickness. Cut out the marcipan rounds with a glass or a shot glass for example, depending on the size of your flødeboller, and place it over the cream. (We used a shot glass and the round end of a piping tip.) Melt your remaining 150g of chocolate and spread it over the marzipan and down the edges of each mold to seal it. Place the flødeboller in the fridge to set and then just gently pop them out of the molds. Gently clean off any excess chocolate you may have on each flødeboller with a small knife.

And then enjoy! If you aren't eating all of your flødeboller at once, do keep them stored in an airtight container in the fridge.



Hope your week is off to a great start friends!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dinner at Höst

It has been a little quiet around here lately. I have been waiting until we get the professional photos from our wedding before sharing details about it. And although I was really looking forward to my internship, the first month has had its ups and downs. I'm really grateful for the experience and I am getting more responsibility and more involved so I hope the next few weeks and months will get better. Besides work, I'm seeing friends, baking, and trying to go to the gym as much as I can. So yeah! I will be writing and sharing more on here again soon, I promise!


Last night we went out to dinner at Höst to celebrate our friend R's birthday. I have been wanting to have dinner there for a long time so I was really excited when he chose Höst. I remember walking past the restaurant while it was still under construction and falling in love with its interior. We didn't get to sit in that room, but there is a room that is full of trees and branches and it is just beautiful. The interior in general is really simple and raw. Wood tables, large industrial lamps, sheepskin throws over the chairs, that sort of feel y'know?



The food there was delicious. I haven't had a bad experience at the Cofoco restaurants. (We also ate at Llama last week and that was a real fusion of flavors and cuisines. Plus the interior there is amazing! Colorful tiles, old church like rooms, crazy!) Back to Höst though, we ordered the three course menu which came with a few snacks in between courses. And instead of the wine pairing I chose to have the juice menu.


I don't know if I had a favorite course at dinner but everything was really good. I thought the scallop starter was delicious. I love seafood so this was a winner for me. There were scallops, fresh corn kernels, black trumpet mushrooms, danish plums, wild garlic, herbs and a mussel stock in this one bowl. All the flavors just complimented each other so well. I was not a huge fan of the main course, only because it was pork based and I'm not the biggest pork fan. Although I did really like the different types or methods of cooking beet root on the dish. And then there was dessert. Dessert is always, always, always my favorite course. We had a chamomile ice cream served with a pear compote with soft wheat kernels in it, a honeycomb crumble, and two different types of meringues. I really enjoyed this dessert, and they paired it really nicely with my apple and chamomile juice. I loved the different textures, from the soft wheat kernels to the cold ice cream to the crunchy meringues. Awesome! And as for my juices, I started with a seabuckthorn juice, followed by a plum juice, a blackcurrant juice and then finished with the apple chamomile one. There was a lot of juice! They were not as "crazy" or did not contain any crazy ingredients, as they could have done, but they were all lovely.

Have you eaten at Höst? What are your thoughts on it? I am thinking about where to go for my birthday dinner in December (still a ways away but it's fun to start thinking ahead!). Any suggestions? Happy Sunday!