Sunday, February 17, 2013
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
These sweet little cookies are ready in a flash and are wonderful with a cup of coffee. While in Sweden, I've been eating (or should I say inhaling) all kinds of traditional pastries. Each day, Swedes participate in a ritual called Fika ~ meaning a well deserved coffee (or tea) break. Often it's served with something sweet, like a cinnamon bun ~ kanelbulle, a pastry or a small cookie. People do this at home, at work, at a cafe, in the park, or wherever they may be. Whether at the beach or on the ski slopes, Swedes simply bring a thermos with freshly brewed coffee along with a snack.
Lots of bakeries in the capital of Stockholm offer gluten-free baked goods along with their 'regular' pastries made from wheat flour. Since I arrived, I feel like I've been on a mission to visit each one and try them all. So far, I've had Semlor ~ a heavenly bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream, Choklad Biskvi ~ a divine cookie with a nut bottom and chocolate butter cream filling, Istambullrulle ~ a decadent hazelnut roll filled with whipped cream and mandarin slices, and meringues. I'm happy to say that being gluten-free in Sweden is a piece of cake. Most bakeries offers yummy options to their hungry gluten-free customers!
Here, I'm devouring a Semla at Vetekatten in Stockholm (I saved the cinnamon bun for later).
And there are tons of store filled with candy ~ godis. As soon as I get off the plane, I head for the salty licorice. Yummy!
Yet, with all this decadence to be found, I long for a simple cookie. One with a satisfying crunch! Something that holds up to some serious dipping in my coffee. I want a cup of coffee and a biscotti, or skorpa as it's called in my native tongue. So, I started baking...
Biscotti can be made in a variety of ways; with nuts: hazelnuts, walnut or pistachio nuts, with spices: cinnamon, cardamon, anis, or with orange, lemon, or lime zest, add some dried fruit and berries: blueberries or cranberries, or simply mix in some chopped dark chocolate. And they are delicious when dipped in melted chocolate. Experiment, find the combination you desire; make a batch and share with friends for morning or afternoon tea (or coffee). Hungry friends and husbands (I know mine does) will really appreciate them!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place all ingredients, except the chopped nuts, in a food processor. Pulse until forming dough. Remove the dough from the food processor, and place into a large bowl. Add the chopped nuts to the bowl, and mix until fully combined. Batter should be a bit sticky.
Divide the dough into 3 mounds and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Form each piece into logs. Wet your hands with some water, if your fingers get too sticky.
Bake in the middle of oven for 15 minutes, until the logs are golden in color. Remove from oven. Let the logs cool for 5 minutes. Using gentle and sawing motions, cut each log crosswise into 3/4 inch-thick diagonal slices. Turn the slices on their sides. Bake for another 10 minutes.
Turn the biscotti again. Lower the oven to 250 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.
Turn off the oven and leave the biscotti in the oven for 1-2 hours to dry.
For my Swedish family and friends, here comes the recipe in Swedish:
Dessa knapriga italienska skorpor kan du variera hur mycket som helst. Byt ut mandeln mot hasselnötter, valnötter eller pistaschenötter. Man kan med fördel tillsätta olika kryddor som kanel, kardemumma eller korianderfrö.
Sätt ugnen på 200 grader.
Hacka mandlen. Använd gärna matberedare. Häll upp nötterna på en tallrik.
Tillsätt alla andra ingredienser i matberedaren. Arbeta ihop till en deg. Ta ur degen och lägg i en skål. Arbeta sedan in nötterna.
Rulla 3 längder, ungefär lika långa som plåten, på en plåt med bakplåtspapper. Blöt händerna med lite vatten om degen blir för kladdig.
Grädda i mitten av ugnen ca 15 minuter tills de fått en gyllene färg. Låt längderna vila 5 minuter. Skär längderna i 2 cm breda sneda bitar. Var försiktig, skorporna går lätt sönder innan dom har torkat. Vänd upp skorpornas ena snittyta och rosta dem i samma ugnsvärme 10 minuter.
Sänk ugnsvärmen till 125 grader. Vänd andra snittytan upp och rosta i 10 minuter.
Stäng av ugnen. Låt gärna biscotti ligga kvar på plåten i ugnen någon timme så att de torkar.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
I was 19 when I left Sweden for the US. I was to stay for a year, working as an au pair in both Boston and LA. My goal was to learn English and also to do some traveling. I couldn't wait to leave Sweden and explore the world.
My dream had always been to go to college in America. I wanted the whole experience; take interesting classes, the football games, crazy fraternities, and the outrageous parties. However, attending school was not in the cards - it was way too expensive. But college looked like so much fun on TV and in the movies. In 1983, the 2 TV stations and 3 radio stations that existed in Sweden, where all run by the government. There was no commercials. No cable. No internet. Shows started promptly at 5pm and ended before midnight. Sounds boring? I certainly thought so. I left Sweden as soon as I could. After finishing high school and working 6 months in a restaurant to save up, I was on my way...
What I didn't know was that I would fall in love. I met Doug at a night club in Boston, and 3 years later, we got married. Within a few years, we had two beautiful children, Laura and Erik. While raising the kids, I got a college degree. And after attending university, I began teaching. So, I'm happy to say, I did fulfill my dream. Every summer, we took the kids to Sweden. Now, Erik is in college and Laura lives and attends university in Sweden.
It's time for me to return; to get back to my roots.
This time, I'm in Sweden for two whole months. It's really nice to be back, hanging out with family and reconnecting with old friends. I love to spend time with my sisters and extended family. We do a lot of cooking together. One of the best things in life is to enjoy a meal together with the people you love. To say the least, I'm happy to be back for more than just a vacation. I also plan to teach at Medborgarskolan in Stockholm; both Gluten-Free cooking and Creative Writing classes.
So, this first recipe from Sweden is a tribute to my mother. She was a fantastic baker. She could just throw together some simple ingredients, and voila...out came masterpieces: breads, cookies, pies, and cakes. One of my personal favorites was Tiger Cake ~ Tiger Kaka. A true old-fashioned sponge cake flavored with both vanilla and chocolate. The dark and light cake batters are swirled together, resulting in a gorgeous contrasting pattern resembling a tiger. Hence its name.
I've included the ingredient list and measurements in both the US & Metric systems. So, you can easily make this recipe from anywhere; whether you're in Sweden, US or elsewhere. This cake is also my contribution to the blog Månadens Sötsak, at www.sotsaker.com. Here, bloggers share their favorite recipes; and many are gluten-free.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 C).
Generously butter a 9-inch cake pan, or bread loaf pan. Line the pan with shredded coconut, take care to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. If you prefer, line the pan with rice or corn flour.
Melt butter. Add the water and bring to a boil. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until lightly yellow and doubled in volume. Add vanilla extract and blend until combined.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flours, cardamom, baking powder, lime zest, and salt.
Fold the flour mixture into the egg batter.
Add the melted butter liquid to the cake batter, and blend until smooth.
Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, milk, and cold coffee. If you prefer the cake without coffee, just mix the cocoa with 6 tablespoons of milk.
Add the cocoa mixture to the remaining batter, and blend until combined. Drizzle the chocolate batter into the pan. With a knife or spoon, slowly swirl the two batters together. Take care not to over-mix. You want to end up with a nice contrast between the yellow and chocolate cake batters.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle of cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting cake onto a platter. Using a large spatula, or a plate, invert the cake again. This way, the cake faces up, and displays the beautiful 'tiger' pattern. Let cool until room temperature.
Serve as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream.
*It's easy to make your own almond meal/flour. And it's great to have on hand; and lot cheaper than store-bought almond flour. I use it all the time in my baking recipes, especially in pie crusts! Place 2 cups whole almonds (blanched or un-blanched) into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Store leftover flour in the refrigerator.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Homemade Pancakes with Maple Syrup
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa - Family Style
1 1/2 cups Anna's GF Cake Flour Blend,* or your own favorite flour blend
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup Kefir, or yogurt
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1- 2 bananas, diced, for serving, or fresh fruit and berries
Pure maple syrup
In a medium-sized bowl blend together the GF flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together the sour cream, milk, eggs, and vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients to the dry ones, whisking until combined.
Melt butter in a large skillet, or griddle, over medium heat until the butter bubbles. Pour some off the pancake batter into the pan to make 4, to 6, small pancakes. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until some bubbles appear on top and the underside is lightly browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until nicely browned. Add a little more butter to the pan, and continue until all the batter is used. Serve with maple syrup, sliced bananas, and/or fresh berries.
Anna's GF Cake Flour Blend:
2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups white rice flour
1 cup potato/or corn starch
1 1/4 cups tapioca starch
I'm grateful for this luxurious liquid gold!