Chinese Walnut Crackers
2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten and divided in half
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts, plus 12 raw walnut halves
Chinese Walnut Crackers
Valentines is just around the corner and the city was certainly ramping up for it. From little red streamers to hanging cupids and hearts to gorgeous long stem roses, stores were getting ready for the 1 day of the year where couples express their love for one another. Apart from Christmas holidays, Valentines was the next biggest day. The weather hopefully will hold up for these couples as they take a lovely stroll around the beach.
To ramp up for Valentines I decided to make some Linzer Cookies in the shape of Hearts. Boy did I make the right decision. The powdered white fully complimented the red gleaming jewel in the middle. As a suggestion, in order to make the jam middle more smooth, heat the jam up with the cookie and then place the top over them.
Linzer Cookies (recipe found here)
3/4 cups butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups finely ground blanched almonds or hazelnuts
2 1/4 cups cake flour (can sub all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 ounces raspberry jam, or other red preserve (I used quince jelly)
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
Wow….can’t believe its CHRISTMAS!!! I do believe that I saw a red glow and heard the ringing of soft jingle bells yesterday night and around midnight, I heard some rustling and clattering on our roof top. Ol’Saint Nick himself swooped onto our rooftop and down our chimney. As I woke up early in the morning, I saw several gifts gleaming brightly. I have always loved christmas. The city decorates itself amazingly with christmas lights and trees. To top it off, we had snow too. Vancouver was absolutely stunning when blanketed by white fluffy snow.
As a treat to Santa, his wonderful reindeers and elves, I made a present for them. What may you say? Why cookies of course!!! The cookies will help fuel his long and weary trip around the world delivering millions of gifts to excited children. First off was the Linzer cookie. The linzer cookie was made from toasted ground hazelnuts and raspberry jam. It was and still is a favorite during the Christmas season.
Here were the cookies baked and ready to be dusted which icing sugar. The raspberry jam shined like little jewels encased in a circle of fluffy white snow.
Next came some biscotti. Biscotti was a wonderful cookie when dipped into coffee or milk. I think Santa Claus would love to kick back and relax while sipping on some fresh milk and biscotti cookies. Keeping with the festive season, I chose to make some pistachio and cranberry biscotti. The two flavours compliment each other nicely and added a colourful scheme to the biscotti.
Once the biscottis were done, they were dipped into white and dark chocolate. To make Kris Kringle’s stay more enjoyable and rich, I decided to make shortbread. Nothing says the holidays than shortbread cookies and I made pecan cresents.
Pistachio Biscotti (adapted from here)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon whole aniseed
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 cup shelled natural unsalted pistachios
6 ounces imported white chocolate, chopped
And there you have it. A wonderful snack for Santa Claus!!!
Merry Christmas Everyone!!! Wishing everyone a joyous season full of cheer!!!
- Categories Cookies
In light of the beautiful weather we were having, I decided to make some coconut macaroons. I bought another book. Yes, I am baking book addict. Like a smoker to nicotine and coffee drinkers to coffee beans, I can’t get my nose and little eyes off the mouth watering photos of pastries. No sooner than me flipping the pages of succulent desserts that I began to itch all over, no I don’t have a disease, but I satisfied that itch by making coconut macarons. The book was Christophe Felder’s Patisserrie. It was a lovely book in pink neon covering. The recipes were detailed and photographed beautifully.
Anyways, what drew me to making coconut macaroons was that it was a family favorite, coconut that was. We loved the aroma of coconut. The tear drop shaped macaroons in Felder’s book attracted me. They were quite exquisite and thus spurred on my motivation to make them. In Felder’s version of coconut macaroons, he slightly cooked the egg whites, sugar and coconut until the mixture came together. He suggested pipping out the coconut mixture into balls and then forming them into tear drop shapes; however, lazy me, I just took a spoonful,rolled them into balls and shaped them into tear drops. I baked the coconut tear drops at 350F for approx 8-10 minutes rotating them in between.
1 1/3 cups-100 g unsweetened shredded coconut ( I used fine)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp egg whites-40 g ( I used 60 grams of egg whites)
2 tsp-10 g. applesauce ( I substituted the applesauce with egg whites as I did not have any)
The result was to me quite nice. I now have little bite sized morsels of coconut macaroons. The taste was quite nice as you get a crunch from the toasted coconut outside and moist inside, almost like a chocolate chip cookie. The recipe was simple enough to follow too.
I guess you all know by now, that I am busy baking away for the holidays so I am not going to blab away. I had a whole bunch of pecans sitting in the freezer and then some thus decided to make pecan cookies. I was recently scouring Christmas baking magazines and came across one from Saveur. It caught my eye as they resembled sables.
Perhaps a precursor to me helping out the SFU Recital Club in preparation of the Bake Sale in order to generate funds for subsidized Opera attending for SFU students. Hey I was a student before and still taking courses (good grief), thus know how it feels when times are tight. Every penny counts. Well I know what I am doing is something positive and that’s all that counts.
¾ cup pecans (I toasted it prior to grinding them)
¾ cup sugar (will try icing sugar next)
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, preferably canela
½ tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract ( I used Madagascar Vanilla Bean)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1. Combine pecans and ¼ cup sugar in food processor, and process until very finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add remaining sugar along with flour, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse until evenly incorporated. Add butter and vanilla, and process until dough just comes together and forms a ball. Transfer ball to lightly floured work surface, and form into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, place confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl; set aside.
2. Heat oven to 350°. Transfer dough to work surface, and using a rolling pin, roll dough until ½” thick. Using a 1 ¼” round cutter, cut out cookies and transfer to parchment paper—lined baking sheets, spacing them 2″ apart. Reroll dough scraps and cut out more cookies; transfer to the baking sheet. Chill cookies for 30 minutes. Bake, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking, until lightly browned and set, about 14 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then place in bowl of confectioners’ sugar; toss to coat evenly in sugar and serve.
Note: The dough is quite crumbly since there is no egg, which acts as a glue towards the mixture, thus when rolling out the dough and cutting the cookies, use a spatula to lift the cookies. They will break if not handled gently. The dough when baked was quite light and crunchy.
The long weekend was finally here. Yes!!! Finally some time to unwind and get away from the hustle of the city and enjoy the festivities and events of summer.
First thing on the list was the Pride Parade in downtown Vancouver. It is a yearly tradition which start off in downtown and carries over to the beach. As always there was much excitement and events with the yearly pride parade as hundreds of people gathered and hunkered down at the beach to watch the colourful parade. People were just partying, throwing out mardi gras beads, laughing and enjoying themselves. As aside from that there were also beach goers too, just lazying around the beach soaking up the sun. If anything Civic long weekend would be the weekend to do it as temperatures peaked in the high 20’s.
Powell Street Festival, I did not know they had it on Civic Holiday but boy did I not regret it. The festival took place at Oppenheimer Park and highlighted Japanese food and culture. I must say the organizers did a fantastic job. There were hundreds gathered at the park all munching away at Japanese goodies. I think the most original idea for food was Spam Sushi. 🙂 Japanese shaved ice was another popular stop for most people who gathered. It was a thirst quenching treat from the blazing hot sun.
What was interesting was that pride parade goers also migrated over to the Powell Street Festival to enjoy the festivities there as well.
Next stop, berry picking, at Emma Lea Farms, summer would not be complete without doses of berry picking. In my opinion, it is probably the best way to relax. You are away from the city and everything slows down once you are on a farm. Basically you are out with nature. For me its probably nostalgic because one I can relax and to I get a thrill of picking ripe berries, especially strawberries. They are probably the most fragrant fruit out there locally. I just love taking a whiff of the sweet fragrance of strawberries. Yes it is true that you do get a sore back from bending and standing over a period of time, but I found a new respect for the farmers. They have to wake up early in the morning and work a full day picking berries. Kudos the farmers who had to hand pick them. Big Ouch for the back.
This was the second time for blueberry picking and boy oh boy were they humongous. I guess the amount of sun and temperature does do the berries nicely. It was a treat just to see them. They were nice and plump like little round disks. All beckoning, “Pick Me, Pick Me.” I ended up with a bucket full which was approximately 10 pounds. Not a bad harvest for a few hours work. Enough for ice cream, shakes, pies, muffins and cake.
A raspberry shake was the cherry on top of as beautiful day. As an added bonus, it was made from fresh picked berries from the farm…so delicious and satisfying.
The Civic Long Weekend could not be complete without a drive to the beach. This time I chose White Rock. For me it had always been my choice for beaches away from town. So relaxing…whether it is strolling along the strip searching for food and ice cream, walking the board walk, playing in the water or soaking on the beach, White Rock Ocean Park was the place to be. Time somehow stands still there as it was less busy than downtown. Sand building was an added bonus. To me the city has developed much. One side of the strip is literally packed with restaurants, bars and ice cream parlors, all of them buzzing with business with the beach on the other. In comparison, it resembles like downtown on Denman by English Bay minus the traffic and the skyscrapers.
I managed to stay long enough for dinner and catch the sunset at White Rock quite surreal. Unlike the city, the surroundings were quite open allowing for a better view of the sunset…magnificant.
Milk and Cookies
As a grand finally for a blissful long weekend. I decide to make cookies. I have been wanting to bake cookies for a while and that coupled with my chocolate obsession, I decided to make cookies….chocolate cookies.
Keys to a successful cookie:
- cream butter and sugar sufficiently-this will create a lighter cookie batter
- use baking soda sparingly-too much will result in a salty aftertaste
- when spooning batter onto cookie sheet- leave enough space for expansion
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups 65% dark chocolate ( I used 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (I only used 1 1/2 sugar)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extra (I used 1/2 vanilla bean)
1. Sift flour, baking soda and salt in bowl, set aside
3. Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar together until light and fluffy
4. Add eggs, vanilla, flour mixture and chocolate
5. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, form dough into balls and bake at 325F for 18 mins.
Blogs I Follow
- Butter Baking
- Jo the tart queen
- NOW, FORAGER
- Hello Sweet Dessert
- Jay Voclain - A sweet story
- Mon Voyage Culinaire
- My Baking Cottage
- The Curious Baker
- Cooking without Limits
- eat sweet. by carla sue
- My husband cooks
- The Pleasure Monger
- Liege Waffle Recipe / Gaufre de Liège Recette Blog
- Bicil The Baker
- My kitchen of love ~
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