Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Daring Baker's December 2010 Challenge: Stollen Wreath

Didn't think I would like it....

I'm weird. I don't like raisins, sultanas or currants. I don't like candied peel either.

You probably guessed - I'm not a fruitcake person.

But there was loads of fellow Daring Bakers who don't like raisins! And there's me thinking I was a rare breed! And on the forum there were so many ideas flying around for ideas without the usual dried suspects and I was liking it!

I needed to take something in to my daughter's last week of nursery before the holidays. So the stollen seemed like the best idea. I decided to make a date, cranberry, marzipan and cinnamon stollen. I soaked the dates and cranberries in orange juice with some orange zest overnight with a cinnamon stick. It turned out very heavy once baked and quite dense :-(

But I brushed the melted butter on top and the several dustings of icing sugar hoping it will soften the stollen but it didn't unfortunately. I'm sure I followed the recipe but I was rushing things so I can't blame the recipe! I couldn't give that in to the teachers! Instead I went for the easy and chilled out route of a tin of chocolates. Bet they weren't expecting that from moi, Mrs WWW!

The next morning I must've woke up on the 'good' side of bed. I went downstairs and decided to saw into the stollen for breakfast. I used my Kitchen Devils serrated knife and managed to slice up nice thick, even slices. I then toasted them up golden brown and crisp.

I then buttered them well with salted butter to add flavour to the sweet bread. I had grated the marzipan into the stollen dough to have it distributed throughout the bread and you can see the flecks in the picture. I loved that touch.

And would you believe it?!!
It. Was. Absolutely. Gorgeous!

Seriously, I'm not even kidding. They were soooo delish.... I feel like lickin' my lips as I type...mmmm....

And the lovely icing top slightly caramelised accentuated the sweetness with the salted buttery gorgeousness.

I will be definitely be doing this again with different flavour variations and a thorough read of the recipe instructions.
I wont be adding the recipe below as it is quite lengthy but you can find the recipe in the link below with tips as well as seeing all the lovely and well-executed challenges from my fellow daring bakers.


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Chocolate and Hazelnut Sandwich cookies

About time, right?

My sincere apologies for not blogging for 3 whole weeks, truth is I thought it had only been just past one week since I wrote the Daring Baker's Crostata post.

But I'm gonna make it up to you right now. I sure am! Have a look at these.....:

I present to you Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies!

I found this recipe at a blog by the lovely Allison called Dolcetto Confections, all her posts are simply drool-worthy but once I saw the post on the Hazelnut cookies, I knew I just had to try it! So many reasons for wanting to try them now:
1. It's very cold outside, the best way to relax at home is a nice cup of coffee and a nutty chocolate cookie
2. they look so pretty when given as a gift, with a few being held together with ribbon
3. And the time was right because I was going to visit a friend the next day.

I wasn't wrong. Because I tried one.

They were so noticeably aromatic, the nutty smell was so perfect, so right...mmmmm....
I sooo could've had another one. But I didnt.

Well not then anyway because I was yet to sandwich them with the hazelnut-chocolate filling. Not that they need sandwiching, these cookies are just so scrummy all on their own!

And how was it? I hear you ask. It was the perfect combination. I mean you can ask anyone, even a stranger on the street (I would suggest you don't ask a stranger on the street) and they would tell you that hazelnut and chocolate go together like how salt and pepper go together, how cheese and tomato go together, how Laurel and Hardy go together - one always complements the other.

Mr WWW prefered them before they were sandwiched but he's not a sweet person (ppor guy, doesn't know what he's missing!). They were really delicious and would be well received by any sweet-loving person. My friend loved them and I would certainly have a stash of these in my kitchen all the time if I could.

Talking about cookies in the kitchen, if I listen really really carefully I can hear the stash of hazelnut cookies that are in my biscuit tin right now calling me..... Must dash!

Make sure to try these gorgeous cookies. xx