Tag Archives: Hazelnut

Christmas Cookie Project: Linzer Cookies

23 Dec

With 2 more days till Christmas, I decided to switch gears and make some cookies.  There are lots of cookies outside and I wanted to make some traditional cookies for Christmas.  This time I decided to make some Linzer cookies.

To make the linzer cookies, I first toasted up some hazelnuts and grounded them.  I then creamed the butter and sugar.  Once the butter/sugar mixture was nice fluffy and incorporated, the eggs and vanilla were added.  Continue mixing and add the salt.  Next came the dry ingredients.  Add the cake flour, cinnamon, bread crumbs, baking powder and hazelnuts.   Mix and form ball with the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.

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Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.  Spoon jam onto the cookies without the holes and coat with icing sugar on the cookies with holes.

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Linzer Cookie Ingredients  (Culinary Institute of America)

3 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

2 eggs

3 cups cake flour

2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups bread crumbs

2 1/2 cups hazelnuts

Confectioner’s sugar for coating

Raspberry jam for filling

Result:  These cookies were light and crispy.  Delicious and beautiful.  Perfect for gift giving.

Happy Holidays!!!

Christmas Chocolate Project- Caramelized Gianduja Hedgehogs-Curley

17 Dec

Brrrrrr it is freezing in Vancouver. The city has been hit with minus temperatures this week and to top it of more snow will be coming tonight and tomorrow. Yippee more snow to welcome the holiday season. With approx 1 week left to go, the city has gone into full swing with decorations and festivities. One of the rich traditions is the Gingerbread Town held at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver. Every year participants create wonderful masterpieces and display them in the hotel.

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During the holiday season, I tend to bake alot for friends and family. For the last couple of weeks or so, I have been flipping through recipes to see what I can make. Well I stopped at praline again. Nothing brings more joy to my heart than to see the perfectly coated glistening nuts. It makes my heart sing as friends and I munch on the sweet and crunchy morsel. A good accompaniment to chocolate. I decided to create caramelized parline hedgehogs.

To make the caralized Gianduja
First toast some nuts until golden. Note: do not over toast them as they will have a bitter taste. Then make the simple syrup by boiling the water with sugar. Once the sugar mixture comes to the rolling boil add the nuts and stir. Keep mixing. As the syrup boils the water will evaporate leaving the sugar coating the nuts. Eventually the water will boil off leaving the sugar crystals coating the nuts.

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It will look granular and coarse but not to worry, this is the process of making sugar coated nuts. Keep stirring and mixing until the left over sugar crystal caramelizes and have coated the nuts entirely. Remove from heat and spread out on silicone mat to cool.

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Once the praline has cooled a bit place into food processor to grind to a paste. In the beginning it will look like chopped nuts but eventually it will become a paste.

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Melt the milk chocolate and dark chocolate and add to mixture. Once the praline/chocolate has been mixed well. Pour onto silicone mould for setting.

To make the chocolates
First melt some milk chocolate, temper it and fill into chocolate hedgehog molds. Pipe the praline into the molds and set. Finally fill the chocolate.

Voila

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Caramelized Gianduja

150 g almonds lightly roasted
150 g hazelnuts lightly roasted
150 g caster sugar
50 ml water
150 bittersweet chcocolate
150 g milk chocolate

Results: This is a very good recipe for making hedgehogs. The praline although time consuming was excellent.

Happy Holidays!!!

Hazelnut Praline Eclairs

24 Mar

Hello!!!! Another overcast day in Vancouver hopefully this Easter long weekend is good. Since it is a rainy day, I decided to make another eclair recipe again. I have always been intrigued about praline eclairs as it seems to be in about every pastry book I have. I have always loved hedgehogs as they have the praline paste in them but not in eclairs. Being adventurous that I am I decided to try.

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I fist made the choux paste then proceeded to make the pastry cream. In most recipes the pastry cream is similar except for the flavoring. In this case it was the gianduja. Once I made the pastry cream, I incorporated some gianduja I had freshly made. When the pastry cream had cooled I pipped it into the eclairs.

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Hazelnut Praline Cream

500 ml milk
100 g sugar
40 g corn starch
2 eggs
1/2 piece vanilla
150 g hazelnut paste

Result: OMG eclair was delicious. It was bitting into a little piece of heaven. The soft eclair casing complimented the smooth hazelnut filling superbly. This recipe is certainly a keeper. For all the hazelnut praline lovers a praline eclair will hit the spot everytime.

Happy New Year-Hazelnut Macarons

1 Jan

New Years started off beautifully with the sun beaming down on frost laiden Vancouver. Brrrrrr…it certainly cold outside. I hate to be the one who has to scrape the ice of the car in order to go somewhere. Vancouver was back in New Years Eve tradition yesterday as it hosted a family New Years Eve Bash complete with Music and, at the stroke of midnight, fireworks. The beauty and sounds of the fireworks could been seen and heard at Boundary Road. The streets were filled with people honking their horns shouting, “Happy New Year!!!”

To mark this festive day, I decided to make macarons again. This time I am making Hazelnut Macarons. Unlike most macarons sold outside which uses ground almonds as a base, I am using freshly toasted ground hazelnuts to make the macarons.

Key to make Hazelnut Macarons
-use stale egg whites (fresh ones will do but older egg whites produce better results)
-when boiling the sugar syrup to pour over the meringue Pierre Herme suggests boil till 118C approx 240F then pour over the egg whites while beating and cool down to 50C.
-fold the italian meringue to the almond/egg white mixture
-let the pipped macarons develop a skin prior to baking them. (Tip to help the skin develop faster, preheat the oven and place the uncooked macaron sheets ontop of the warm oven for faster results)
-Bake at 285 F

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The recipe could be found here and instead of using almonds substitute hazelnuts.

Results: The macarons were light and chewy on the inside. They have a distinct taste of hazelnuts. The recipe is a keeper.

Happy New Year!!!!

Christmas!!!

25 Dec

Christmas is finally here. Vancouver is beautiful with the snow capped mountains. I am typing this while I munch on dimsum. Been baking up a storm in anticipation of the holidays this year. I made chocolates and cookies for gifts and finally hosted my first chrismtas cookie exchange. A memorable Christmas to remember with all the work involved.

First off, I made some roasted pistachio truffles

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Pistachio Truffles
Pistachios
Cream
White Chocolate
Butter

Coconut Truffles
Toasted Coconut
White Chocolate
Cream
Butter

To make truffles, first chop the chocolate into pieces. Next boil the cream and when the cream has boiled pour into the chocolate. Stir until the cream and chocolate become mixed together and develops a sheen. Add the butter and cool to set. Once set use a spoon or mellon baller to scoop out ball sized ganache. Dip into melted chocolate and set. Once set dip the chocolates again and into the toasted pistachio or coconut.

Next I made some Chocolate Kisses or Baci di cioccolato. To make these cookies, hazelnuts were toasted and ground finley. The dry ingredients were next measured and set aside. I then creamed the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Once fluffy, the rum and vanilla was added in and mixed. Finally the dry ingredients, such as flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa, nuts were added in. At first the cookie batter seemed dry but once some kneeding and squeezing the ball of dough came together. Using a spoon, spoon out the dough and roll into spheres. Roll into granulated sugar. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

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Chocolate Kisses (Baci Di Cioccolato)

1/2 cup whole blanced almonds ( I used hazelnuts)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar plus more for rolling
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teasp. baking powder
1/2 teasp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 cup icing sugar
2 teasp. vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum

The truffles and cookies came out well. The Chocolate kisses had a subtle hazelnut flavour to them and is a keeper. I definitely chose the right cookies to give as gifts.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Hazelnut Mousse Paris Brest-Conticini

24 Jan

Another drizzly day today sob*. Instead of the vitamins Vancouverites should be in taking every day, we have been getting daily douses of rain ha ha…pretty soon we will be strong and healthy with drenched in rain 🙂 Not to fear the pastry whisk is here as I have finally found in a drawer.

To stave off absolute boredom while looking out at the grim grey wet sky, I decided to bake again. I recently obtained a copy of La Patisserie des Reves by Conticini. Another beautiful book with the Paris Brest and Gateau St. Honore as show stoppers. His pastries has always grabbed my attention, thus as the first project from this cookbook was the Paris Brest. Conticini’s choux paste pasteries were quite unique; he pipped out individual cream puffs to form a circle for the Brest.

To make the Paris Brest, I first made the choux paste.

Keys for Choux Paste
-Bring the butter/water mixture to a boil first prior to adding in the flour
-Cook the flour/butter/water mixture on the heat until it forms a ball and as a tip watch for the browning on the bottom of the pan. Reasoning one wants to get the water to boil off as much as possible to add in the optimal amount of eggs for leavening
-Don’t stir the flour/butter/water mixture constantly or the batter will becoming oily
-Once the flour/butter/water mixture forms a ball, take off heat and cool
-Add in eggs one at a time.
-place in fridge prior to baking and spray with water for steam. The steam helps the choux rise in the oven.
-Bake at a higher temperature first and then gradually decrease it to dry out the pastries

Next I made the streusel crust, rolled it out and cut into discs.

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Once out of the oven, I cooled the paris brest.

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The Hazelnut Mousse was the last step. To make the mousse, I first melted some homemade Gianduja. Next I whipped out some cream and folded in the Gianduja. When the mousse was ready, it was pipped into the choux. Icing sugar was lightly dusted ontop and voila!!!

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Streusel Pastry Crust (Conticini)

40 g butter
50 g flour
50 g brown sugar
pinch of salt

Choux Paste (Keller)

175 g flour
33 g sugar
water 240 g
unsalted butter 120 g
salt 2.5 g
Eggs 6-7

The result was fantastic. It naturally places a different spin on a classic. The hazelnut mousse complimented the choux paste quite nice. The idea of a separate choux Paris Brest was a good idea as it could be eaten wholely or separated. It is definitely a keeper. Bon Appetit!!!

Hedgehogs

5 Jul

Time for another treat. I have always been fascinated with Hedgehogs. Now that I got the appropriate chocolate mold, I made some.

Keys:
a good chocolate mold
temperature of the chocolate
to prevent large grainy pieces, ground the nuts to a fine texture.

Making the praline was the time consuming part. First one needs to toast the hazelnuts and then grind them into a paste like consistency. Next came the molds, make sure the mold is covered by a thin layer of chocolate. Once the chocolate was set, fill the chocolate with the praline filling. Place in the fridge for setting. Finally cover the top with more filling. ***Temperature was crucial in setting the chocolate.

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Gianduja

250 g hazelnuts
100 g milk chocolate
30 g cocoa butter
250 g confectioners’ sugar

OMG, nothing taste better than homemade gianduja filling. This recipe is a keeper. I certainly hope readers will make some too as they are of better quality.

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