Monday, June 30, 2014

The sweetness of life

I have to say that in general I do believe that we in the Nordic countries are better than the US Aat one thing: that to me is baking goods. When you first go to the USA there are so many new exciting tastes and dishes that you might not think about the lack of true cinnamon rolls, cookies and cakes.

After one year in the USA I did notice and took it into my own hands of solving my cravings. The rest of my year I made a habit of weekly baking with the children. A great activity they love and also an activity I would bribe them with to behave when being to rowdy.

I brought some of my favorite recipes home and try to do them as often as I can when missing my au pair time.

Here is one great recipe I did this weekend!  

 

Ingredients

  • 200 grams hazelnuts
  • 150 grams unsalted butter
  • 75 grams caster sugar
  • 75 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • salt
  • 150 grams dark chocolate chips roughly chopped

Here's how you do it!

  1. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan on a medium heat. Let them cool a little.
  2. Take half of the toasted hazelnuts, skins and all, and whizz them to a fine crumb in a food processor.
  3. Remove the skins from the remaining hazelnuts by rubbing a handful at a time into your palms. The skins will simply slip off and can be discarded.
  4. Put the skinned hazelnuts into a food bag and give them a quick bash to break them up into big chunks (or chop them roughly if you prefer; personally I find the bashing cathartic).
  5. Cream the butter and sugars together until soft and coffee-coloured.
  6. Beat in the egg and vanilla essence.
  7. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ground hazelnuts and combine to form a lovely soft dough.
  8. Mix in the smashed hazelnut pieces and chocolate chunks.
  9. Tip the dough onto a wide, long sheet of clingfilm and form it into a log shape, wrapping as you go. Once the log is completely wrapped, pop it in the freezer.
  10. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Take the log out of the freezer and set it on a chopping board for 5 minutes – just enough time to make it possible for a knife to be pushed through it but not so long that the whole log defrosts unless you are making the full batch at once.
  11. Carefully, because the dough will be very stiff, and with a thick, sharp knife, cut 1cm slices from the log and lay them on a non-stick or lined baking sheet. Leave plenty of space between the cookies as they will spread in the oven.
  12. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are just –and no more – starting to darken and the centre still looks soft. Leave the cookies on the hot tray for another 5 minutes and then slide a palette knife under them and move them onto a cooling rack.
  13. And give yourself a pat on the back for every cookie that you don’t eat directly off the baking sheet.

Hope you have a wonderful start of the week!

Best,
Amanda