Shiny Crinkly Gorgeous Chocolate Cookies

The other day, after making little lemon cream pies, I realized I had a few leftover egg whites in the fridge, and a hankering to make something chocolatey.  A few minutes with trusty Foodgawker later, and I had a recipe ready to go!  These cookies were not only really, really pretty, but they tasted amazing.  Like pure, chewy chocolate…except that doesn’t sound very nice.  The blog I got the recipe from describes them as “chocolate clouds,” but mine didn’t turn out particularly “cloudy.”  Let it just be left at “these cookies are so delicious that I cannot adequately describe them” and move on to the actual cookies!

Chocolate Crackle Drops
Recipe adapted from: overtimecook

Ingredients:
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 egg whites (about)
1 Tbs prepared coffee
150 g chocolate, chopped (I used dark)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (I used to always just butter the pan and skip the parchment paper, but I think this is one of the recipes where it’s pretty important.)  Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together.  Add the coffee and egg whites.  Whisk gently until incorporated, then fold in chopped chocolate.

Place tablespoon-fulls onto the prepared baking sheet (don’t mind if they look like blobs of mud with straw and stones in them, the beautification process takes place in the oven) and bake about 12 minutes until shiny and crackled along the top.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the parchment paper before removing them completely.  (That’s the hardest part.)

Then stack them up like you’re counting your gold, and enjoy!

 

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Burger Day

During our fasting month, Andreas developed an intense craving for burgers.  So we decided one Friday to have Burger Day.  We would make burger buns, get burger toppings, and make french fries, and it would be glorious!  Ever since that day, we’ve had Burger Day a few more times, and always looked forward to it for days in advance.  One reason why it was so so amazing?  The buns.

We surfed foodgawker for the perfect burger bun recipe, and Andreas chose this one.

This is the perfect burger bun recipe.  I thought “egg wash?  Putting a pan of water in the oven? That sounds scary!” but it wasn’t.  Not only was it not scary, it was also magic.  These are practically magical buns.  Sometimes, it just feels good to cook something that turns out looking so perfect that you can feel for a bit like a fancy schmancy professional baker.  These are that thing.

The recipe says that each rising could take 1-2 hours, until doubled.  I made the mistake the first couple times baking them to let them rise a bit long, more towards the 2 hour mark, thinking to myself “bread can’t rise too much, right?”, and they turned out a bit large and flat, so–a word of warning, don’t do that.

These were wonderful for our burgers

but also amazing the next day for breakfast with Nutella.  Seriously.  It tasted like a donut.  I’m not even kidding.

Don’t mind that big old plastic bag on the table.  I’ll get better at picture-taking.  I promise.

Little Lemon Cream Pies

One of my more recent discoveries is how easy and simple it is to make lemon/orange/lime curd.  The first time I tried, I mixed and measured gingerly, got frustrated when it didn’t thicken, and sweated my way through.  I’ve made it probably no less than a dozen times since then, and yesterday when I decided to make one of my husband’s favorite desserts, I sort of threw things in the pot, knowing it would turn out in the end.  Because (here comes the secret) lemon curd?  Not hard.

Anyway, the following recipe is one we just sort of made up once.  Now, my husband and I don’t really have “a song” and we fail rather spectacularly at celebrating anniversaries, but we show our love in other ways (for example, he saw me eyeing these ramekins in the store and bought them for me, and for another example, I made these mini-pies for him while he was away at work) and I consider this “our recipe.”

Frozen Lemon-Cream Pie

Crust:
1 cup crushed cookie crumbs (any cookie, really.  In the states, we use graham crackers)
1/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons sugar

Melt butter, and mix with sugar and cookie crumbs.  Press into the bottom of 6 ramekins, or a 9-inch pie pan.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Filing:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
zest from about three lemons
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine lemon juice, zest, sugar, and egg yolks in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat.  Cook, whisking occasionally until mixture thickens (coats the back of a spoon).  Take it off the heat and strain it into a bowl.  Cut butter into chunks and whisk into mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until completely cool.  Whip the cream (adding some powdered sugar if desired).  Fold in cooled lemon curd until well-blended, and divide between the ramekins, or pour into pie crust.  Cover and freeze overnight.  Before serving, let pie stand in the refrigerator for a few minutes to soften slightly.

I garnished mine with some of the zest I strained out of the lemon curd, which I dipped into orange juice and then granulated sugar.

We had cute and delicious dessert, and while I’m a bit disappointed with how my pictures turned out, I’m not disappointed in my little pies (or my beloved ramekins)!

Spring Overload

It’s spring.  It is sooooo spring.

Today is the first day that I really feel it.  It is bright, it is sunny, and people are walking around “in their shirtsleeves” (I wish people still used this phrase).  Although I spent the morning accidentally locked into the apartment, I love that we have a sunny balcony.  I love that my neighbors play string instruments on their sunny balcony.  I love that every door was open, letting in the beautiful music, and the delightful spring air.  I love spring.

I also like caramels!  I’ve been wanting to make them for a while, but it was one of those sort-of-intimidating can-I-really-do-it projects.  However, with my new resolution to tackle that exact sort of project, into caramel, I dove!

I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I decided to try the “cold water” method (and by “decided” I mean, I’d already started boiling the caramel when I realized I didn’t have a candy thermometer).  It ended up going really well, although the caramel is a bit softer than I was aiming for, I’m pretty proud of how it turned out.  I used the basic caramel recipe here.

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I put some roughly chopped cashews on top, but next time I think I’ll put MORE cashews on top!  I put some in these cute little candy cups I bought a while ago, and covered them in dark chocolate

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Some of them, I rolled into “logs” and set out to cover in chocolate, but I realized they looked too much like turds when I did that, so I decided to just drizzle them and wrap them in parchment paper, heh.

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All-in-all it was a good experiment.  I’ve been wanting to get some more experience making candies, because I think sometimes they make better gifts than baked goods do (and they’re easier to give).

Caramels and spring…how can I not be happy?

Springtime Rainbow Cake!

Happy Naw-Ruz!  Known to most people just as the beginning of spring, it marks the beginning of the Baha’i calendar year, and it means our period of fasting is over!  In celebration, I decided to make a rainbow cake, because what says happiness, new beginnings, and spring like rainbows!  (Also, I have a lot of leftover food coloring from our wedding last summer, so…)

The inside!

I wanted to take some neat process pictures, but this is what the kitchen actually looked like while I was in the middle of things:

and I wasn't about to clean up, just to take process pictures.

I’ve made a resolution recently to make a list of all the things I’ve always thought are too complicated or take too long to make, and make them all!  I know I would regret it if I wasted all this free time being bored and wishing I had something to do, so I’m going to stop using the excuse of “I’m really bad at self-motivation” and “I get really lonely, then bored, then depressed.”  Maybe it’s because it’s the new year, and the beginning of spring, but I’m full of energy.  It also might have something to do with being able to eat lunch…..and rainbow cake!

until all I have left, are rainbow crumbs

Because who doesn’t like rainbows?

We’re back, to regularly-programmed fluffy blogging!  Today, in the form of rainbow-swirly sugar cookies!  I saw this recipe a little while ago, but I just made an extra-big chocolate pudding cake (really, it’s not my fault, we don’t have an 8×8 inch pan here, so I HAD to make a 50% larger cake than usual!)  Luckily, it was my sister-in-law’s birthday yesterday, so I had an excuse to make these anyway!

I got the idea here. And while I didn’t have the cool neon food coloring, and mine didn’t turn out quite as nice-looking, I think I make up for it with this one:

Hello, little rainbow!

My stand-by sugar cookie recipe turned out wonderful with these, and to boot, the vanilla-sugar you get here in Sweden makes then twice as good as the vanilla extract I used in the states.  Little black flecks make all the difference.

These rainbowy cookies reflect the mood here in Malmö right now…bright, sunny, and full of promise.  Andreas is waiting to hear about a job he interviewed for, and while I don’t have anything on the horizon, Andreas’s getting a job gets me a lot closer to being eligible to get one myself!  In the meantime, I’m trying to be a good housewife.  On a sidenote, I love the vacuum cleaners here, so much easier to use!

We’re leaving soon to babysit our four-year-old nephew who lives next door.  Should be an interesting day, at least.  I’m sure to be killed by a light saber a hundred and seventeen times, maybe more.  However, I’m grateful to have the chance to help out a little and get to spend time with him.  I really miss being a nanny, and a little time spent with children can help alleviate that.

Kokos Kage

One of the best parts of living with my in-laws is that I get to (very frequently) bake with my sister-in-law Rebekka!  How I managed to pick a husband with such an awesome family is beyond me, but for now, I’ll just try to be eternally grateful and bake cakes for them all.  This one in particular was a hit with my father-in-law who was “helt vildt med det” (wild about it).

I have to admit, it was probably the best cake I’ve ever made.  It was SO fluffy.  So.  Fluffy.  And the frosting was basically a huge bowl full of the molten insides of roasted marshmallows.  That good.

I got the recipe here.  I especially liked the fact that the original recipe was dated 1976.  The best things are always old.

Since we’re pretty close to the arctic circle up here, and it gets dark at about five pm, we do most of our baking in the dark which doesn’t lend itself to process pictures…or finished-product photos either, now that I think about it.  We wanted to share this one as soon as it was assembled!  But I did cut a fat slice the next day for a mini photo op.  I’ve never really done food photography before, so for now, I’m just trying to make sure to photograph in natural light.  Next week we’re moving to our new apartment in Sweden, though, and I’m excited to start trying to stylize my pictures, too!

Anyway, this cake was impress-a-Danish-man good (which is really, really good).

Licorice

There are a few foods that I have discovered at integral to Danish culture.  Hazelnuts, marzipan, potatoes, and rugbrød to name a few, but something it seems most Danes can’t live without is licorice!  Unfortunately, I hate licorice.  However, I decided around New Year’s to try to like things I don’t like, and while some people claim that not having to eat things you don’t like is one of the best parts about finally being an adult, I have this thing where I have this aversion to being picky.  Probably comes from my almost-youngest-child personality, in that I want to please everyone, and when people refer to me as “the girl who likes everything” I couldn’t be more flattered.  In college I was crudely known as the girl who would eat “everything, included reheated poo” which I think might have been a reference to the purple Skittles, but I might be wrong.

See, I’m already a vegetarian, and that limits what I can eat a lot.  I don’t mind, and I usually don’t miss meat (unless confronted with a spicy sausage) but I don’t like being a pain to feed, when I’m a guest.  So I figure, the more foods I like, the easier I am to feed!

Anyway, I’ve been trying to eat things I don’t like: mushrooms, pears, and now, licorice!  And I’ve come a long way!  I just ate a candy-coated piece of licorice and my face didn’t contort!  I even vaguely enjoyed it.

Salt licorice, on the other hand is something I don’t think I’ll ever like.  I might as well try to like eating asphalt or chewy bile.   I know, I know, that’s a gross image.  But seriously.  Salt licorice.  Barf.

Drinking…yoghurt?

Now, I won’t pretend that I haven’t heard of drinking yoghurt before, but I haven’t really thought about it.  However, during a recent trip to our friendly neighborhood BILKA, they were giving out free bottles of a new drinking yoghurt and since Andreas has never *ever* passed up anything free, we made sure to walk slowly by on our way out and got two free samples!  Nevermind that Andreas is allergic to dairy and can’t even drink it…

Look, full-sized samples!

So I brought it home, cracked it open and took a slurp.  After the first drink, I thought what is this, yoghurt?  It’s so thin…this is weird. ew. After the second drink, I thought this is like milk…except it’s thick…and there’s a chunk, double ew. and after the third drink I thought this isn’t milk…or yoghurt…this is…….delicious!

I now proudly proclaim that I am a huge fan of this delicious drink as long as I don’t think about yoghurt OR milk while I drink it!  Plus, it’s pineapple passionfruit flavor, yum!  I’m guessing that a whole lot of my future breakfasts/snacks are going to consist of this.

Also, as a sidenote, that little green “keyhole” symbol apparently means it’s healthy!  It’s actually pretty helpful to have such a simple symbol to determine whether a food is “healthy” and as far as I’ve noticed, it’s been pretty accurate (unlike in the states where I can’t even begin to rant about how many foods are advertised as “healthy” and are full of nothing but junk.)