Sunday, December 30, 2012

Window Cookies

You might want to impress your guests with these simple but gorgeous looking cookies. Everyone will want to know the recipe and you'll be the star of the night. These cookies are really a great New Year's treat and children will love them.
I saw these cookies a few days ago on the Christmas Market while going to work. I was curious how this beautiful colored 'glass' is made and after a little chat with the lady selling such cookies, she confessed it consists of candy. Of course, I had to make them at home and after a few failed attempts, I managed to bake some perfectly looking window cookies.
The thing is, you have to make a thicker dough as usually, approximately 2 centimeters is best. If you make too thin cookies, the candy melts out of it and you get a colorful mess. Also, don't worry about crushing candies. Just lay one whole candy in the middle and it works just fine.

For 12 cookies you'll need:

300 grams flour
50 grams icing sugar
200 grams butter
12 fruit-flavored hard candies

Combine the flour, sugar and butter and knead into dough. Let sit for a couple of minutes, then roll the dough out – it has to be at least 2 centimeters thick. Cut with cookie cutters of choice, and cut shapes from cookie centers. Place on parchment paper. Place one whole candy in the center and bake for 10 minutes on 180°C. Once baked, leave to cool down completely on the parchment paper.
See through cookie!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mulled Wine

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and got the presents you wished for. I certainly did. Now the Christmas celebration is over, you might want to make some plans for New Year's Eve. Just a few more days and 2012 will be over. Can you believe it?! But before the year ends, you have to drink a few glasses glass of mulled wine. Cheers!

750 ml red wine
250 ml water
6 table spoons sugar
1 tea spoon cinnamon
1 tea spoon cloves
1 tea spoon star aniseed
1 tea spoon vanilla
1 tea spoon lemon zest

Put everything in a big saucepan and warm through gently until hot. But not boily! Fill into your favorite cup or glass and enjoy.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thumbprint Cookies

The Christmas cookie baking spree continues! I just get into baking cookies every now and then, but this time of the year makes it even more fun. I love these Thumbprint cookies because they look awesome and taste amazing. Actually I bake them just around Christmas and not year round because they look so perfect for Christmas.
I will be spending this evening with family, drinking mulled wine and eating delicious food while opening presents.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas eve! Eat lots and lots of great food and be joyful!

280 grams butter
400 grams flour
140 grams sugar
4 egg yolks
Lemon zest
250 grams walnuts, grated
Jam of choice

Put the flour and sugar in a big bowl. Add the butter and slice it into small pieces with a knife. You should get a messy combination of flour and butter. Add the yolks, lemon zest and walnuts. Knead the dough with your hands until you get a smooth texture. Put in the fridge for half an hour.
Now take a small amount of dough, let's say the size of a walnut, and roll into a ball. Set the balls on parchment paper and make a hole in the middle of each ball. I used the handle of a wooden spoon to do so. Bake them at 190°C for 20 minutes. When baked, fill the holes with one teaspoon jam of your choice (I used peach jam, but any kind of jam will work).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Coconut Bars

The past week was a tough one for me. I was exhausted and the changing weather was sucking my energy like a vamp. When things couldn't get worse I had a sore throat. And one of the many things I absolutely hate is having a sore throat. So nasty! I got to the store and saw these - of course I had to buy them.

5 pounds of sweet Clementines just for me

I am the person that eats at least one apple a day and lots of veggies, but still catch a cold sometimes. But when I do, it is either my birthday or holidays. Yes, I'm lucky like that. Anyways, I was thinking about fun recipes to make on Christmas parties.
Here's a fun recipe to try with your friends or family on Christmas eve. We used to make these bars when I was a kid and it is an interesting thing to do. These bars taste amazing and make a great addition to the Christmas dinner party.
3 eggs
8 table spoons sugar
12 table spoons flour
½ tea spoon vanilla
2 table spoons baking powder
½ cup milk
½ cup butter, melted

200 grams chocolate (I used semi-sweet)
1 tea spoon butter
20 table spoons milk

200 grams shredded coconut

First combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Gradually add the flour with baking powder, milk and butter. Pour into a greased baking tin and bake for 25 minutes on 180°C. When baked let cool for a few minutes, then slice into squares (It doesn't matter how big or small you cut them.) and set aside.
Melt the chocolate with the butter and milk. Stirr occasionally. Set aside.
Put the shredded coconut in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
Here's where the fun begins; take one square and put it in the chocolate. Make sure you cover it all in chocolate and then throw it in the coconut. The coconut has to be all around the little square. Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cinnamon Wreath Bread

December is here! This means the Christmas baking has started. I love December because it officially opens the baking season in our house. The number one spice I think of when talking about Christmas is cinnamon. I just love the scent of it, it makes me feel like home and reminds me of the warm feeling I get around Christmas. So I baked this Cinnamon Wreath Bread I saw on Pinterest.

I tried to do the cinnamon challenge with my sis as well, but the house was clean and we didn't want to spill cinnamon all over. But I will try to convince someone to do it on Christmas eve.
When I first saw the picture of this wreath I was like oh my, it looks great. But then I was like wait a minute, can I do that?? And I did! I have to say this is a wonderful recipe. The dough is super responsive, easy to roll out, and the rest is easy peasy as well. You just have to follow the instructions precisely and the thing works. You get a great looking wreath, which tastes amazing.

Before baking
For the dough:
2 cups flour
A pinch of salt
½ cups warm milk
17 grams active dry yeast
1/8 cup butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1 table spoon sugar

For the filling:
¼ cup butter, melted
4 table spoons sugar
3 table spoons cinnamon

Combine the warm milk, yeast and sugar and set aside for five minutes or until it starts to make bubbles. In a separate bigger sized bowl combine flour, egg yolk, salt and the yeast. Knead the dough with your hands or use a mixer and shape it into a ball. Set aside for one hour. Now roll out the dough, not too thin and not too thick and brush it with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up the dough and use a sharp knife to cut it in half, length-wise. Twist the two halves together, keeping the open layers exposed. Give a round shape, then transfer to a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes on 200°C.