Kolasnittar (Swedish Toffee cookies)

Toffee Cookies….the first time I read about this I can totally imagine it would taste delicious!

I had been reading up on the Swedish tradition – Fika – and everything that goes with it. I started with Kanelbullar, of course, as cinnamon rolls are a favorite in our home.

Next up are these cookies. I love chocolate chip cookies but am always up to try something new, specially when it is traditionally eaten with COFFEE!

This cookie did call for an unusual pair of ingredients, vanilla sugar and Tumma Siirappi, a dark syrup used in Swedish baking. Off to the internet I went searching for a local source of these items. Of course, I can’t find it. I then tried searching for a seller that would ship it to me. And I found one, luckily!

It took a few weeks after receiving the syrups and sugar before I found time to try making the cookies. They were absolutely worth the wait!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons Dan Sukker “Tumma Siirappi”dark syrup
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Homemade Vanilla Sugar: You can use a new vanilla pod or one that you’ve already scraped off the seeds from. Just place the pod into a container of granulated sugar and let it sit for a week or so. Stir occasionally. And there you have homemade vanilla sugar!

*I ordered the dark syrup – Dan Sukker Tumma Siirappi – and vanilla sugar, from Al Johnsons Swedish Restaurant and Butik (https://aljohnsonsshop.com). It tastes mildly of molasses and honey but not quite the same. I highly recommend trying the real syrup before substituting something else. My son said the cookies remind him of really good cookie dough, while my coworker insists on tasting ginger in the cookie….and I really think the syrup played a part in those flavor profiles.

1. Line 2 large baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

2. In large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter,

3. And granulated sugar.

4. Beat in vanilla,

5. egg yolk,

6. and dark syrup until blended.

7. Add in the flour,

8. baking soda,

9. and salt and beat until well mixed.

10. Cover the bowl and refrigerate about 30 minutes or until firm enough to divide into 6 equal parts to roll into logs.

11. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F.

12. Roll each part into a log about 9 – 10 inches long on the prepared baking sheets, 3 per sheet.

13. Leave at least a 2 – 3 inch space between the logs as they will spread quite a bit.

14. Bake logs for about 12 – 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.

15. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. If the logs have touched each other during baking, take a long sharp knife and gently push them back, keeping them oval.

16. While still warm, and using a long sharp knife, cut the logs into diagonal slices about an inch apart. After cutting, remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Ciambellone 2

I posted a recipe for this Italian Breakfast Cake a couple of weeks ago, but this is the version that my son cannot get enough of.

This cake is still lemon flavored, as we have some really good, fragrant lemons in the backyard right now. For this recipe though, I make use of the lemon juice as well as the zest. Double lemon goodness!

The sun was out when I was preparing the batter so I got out the #SunOven to bake it in. I had nowhere to be so I just enjoyed preparing this cake and being in the moment instead of rushing because I had to be somewhere soon.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar to garnish, optional
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray the a 10 – 11 inch donut/bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl beat together the eggs and sugar using a hand mixer for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the oil, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat until well.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the liquid ingredients and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Level the batter with a spatula.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Run a plastic knife along the edges and the middle tube, and carefully invert the cake onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  • If desired, turn cake over onto a serving dish, and dust top with powdered sugar and serve.

Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar)

Have you ever seen a Swedish Cinnamon Bun? I mean, we love the cinnamon buns/sticky buns I regularly make(with raisins and pecans!), but Kanelbullar is like a little, round, braided babka. It is just so pretty that I vowed to make it at home one day so we can have/eat/devour as much as I want.

I bought a couple of “Fika” cookbooks to figure out how to make it and learned along the way that “fika” is the essential coffee break that Swedish people take. A time to reconnect with friends, or a little “me” time, over coffee and some little snack. I do wish we take our breaks as seriously as they did. They have a lot of little delicious looking morsels to go with coffee and I do intend to bake my way through both cookbooks.

An instagram account I follow, The Invy Baker, makes these buns regularly for sale and I was always wishing he lived close by so that I could just order some every weekend morning.

I ordered the Pearl Sugar needed to top these beauty online since I couldn’t find it locally. After the sugar came it took me a the usual few more months to find time to actually make it. Time is always short, unfortunately!

As for making the sugar stick, I used maple syrup/pancake syrup instead of eggwash as I figured I will sprinkle the sugar after baking so that I’m sure it’ll retain the crunch and I just love maple syrup. I also added the ground almonds since the recipe posted by The Invy Baker had some in the filling.

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Ingredients for the dough:

1 1/4 cups water

1 tablespoon instant yeast

1/2 cup sugar

4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

100 grams unsalted butter, softened, cut into little cubes

Ingredients for the filling:

1/3 cup finely ground almonds

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 1/2 tablespoons water

100 grams unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon maple/pancake syrup with a drop of vanilla extract

For the glaze/topping:

1/2 cup maple/pancake syrup mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pearl sugar

1. For the dough: In a Thermomix bowl or food processor, combine all the dough ingredients and mix for 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and well blended.

*If using a stand mixer, combine water, yeast and sugar in the bowl. Add in the flour, salt, cardamom, and butter and knead using the dough hook, until the dough is smooth, about 5-8 minutes.*

2. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours. Or you could also refrigerate it for 4-6 hours, up to overnight, if you need to.

3. For the filling: place all the ingredients in a food processor and whirl until combined.

4. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 12 inch wide, 1/4 inch thick. Spread the filling to cover the entire dough evenly.

5. Fold 1/3 the dough up and the other 1/3 down, like folding a letter. Gently roll out the dough into a 12 inch long rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.

6. Cut the dough vertically into 1 cm strips, 12 inches long.

6. Roll the dough around your left 3 fingers 3 times and tuck the end in. Place on a large baking pan, tucked end down.

7. Let rise 1-2 hours, until puffy and about doubled in size.

8. Bake at 450F for 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

9. Brush with syrup mixed with vanilla while hot and sprinkle generously with pearl sugar.

10. Serve warm and enjoy!

Ciambellone 1

First off, Happy Birthday to my beautiful mom!!!! Found time to type this up to greet her here with a cake delicious enough to be served on a birthday!

Breakfast Cake!

I mean, that totally got my attention! Italian food is one of the best food in the world, hands down, but did you know they actually have a breakfast cake? As in a cake traditionally eaten for breakfast?? 😋 The few Italians I know who grew up in Italy remember eating a citrusy cake for breakfast. Must be so nice!

I can’t wait to try this as when I mentioned it to my son, he was equally excited to try it too. He said “why can’t WE eat cake for breakfast too?” And I told him I’ll make sure we will have it for breakfast one day!

So here! I actually made a whole cake to take to work for my coworkers at Quest on my last week there too. It was good enough to be next to my famous Rum Cake https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/05/29/bacardi-rum-cake/

You’ll need a tube pan, and for this one, I used a traditional tube pan used for angel food cake as I’m quite sure most bakers have this pan.

I’ll be sharing a couple of recipes with you as I did make several but was happy with 2 experiments. This is the first one.

I hope you’ll like this cake as much as we did! It’s easy to make and will bring a bit of sunshine to your breakfast menu!

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Ingredients:

4 eggs

250g sugar

5g salt

Zest of 1 large lemon

120ml vegetable oil

75ml milk

300g all-purpose flour

7g baking powder

Procedure:

1. Separate the eggs, placing the egg whites in a clean, medium sized bowl. Set egg whites aside.

2. Place the yolks into a large bowl.

3. Add in the sugar,

4. the salt,

5. and the lemon zest.

6. Beat well, using a hand mixer or a wire whisk.

7. It’ll look like bight yellow granulated sugar.

8. Add in the vegetable oil,

9. and the milk. Beat well.

10. Add the flour,

11. and baking powder and mix everything together until it is well combined.

12. Go back to the egg whites we set aside earlier. Using a clean hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

13. Fold in half the egg whites into the yolk mixture.

14. Fold everything together carefully until blended.

15. Fold in the rest of the egg whites until well mixed.

16. Pour the mixture into a greased 10-11 inch(28 cm) ring-shaped baking pan (a bundt pan or angel food cake pan will do in a pinch) and bake at 350F for about 40-45 minutes.

17. Leave the cake to cool before removing from pan.

18. Enjoy with coffee, hot chocolate, or tea!

*can also bake this in the #SunOven!

No Knead Focaccia

Focaccia, specially when fresh from the oven, is one of my favorite things to eat! The topping can be as simple as rosemary and smoked sea salt, or elaborate with za’atar seasoning, olive oil, tomatoes, mint leaves, and cucumbers! 😋

I also tried focaccia with salty, dry cured olives and sun dried tomatoes on it. And to make my son happy – ones with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and lots of pepperoni!

Feel free to top it anyway you like! That’s the fun part of making your own food!

My usual sourdough focaccia (https://athomewiththeresa.com/2021/06/09/sourdough-focaccia/) takes about 8 1/2 hours from start to finish if you used an active sourdough starter, but a bit longer if it is made with a dormant starter. I usually follow the timeline I typed up, preparing it after breakfast and baking either before or after dinnertime.

I got a few requests for an easier, faster recipe. And I totally get it! There is never enough hours in a day! So after a couple of weekends trying to make an easier focaccia recipe without compromising the taste, here we are! It still takes a bit of time, but you need time to allow the dough to develop flavors by slow fermentation.

This recipe makes use of instant yeast and can be done in a little less than 6 hours of mostly hands free time. I use a brand called SAF instant yeast, see photo below.

You’ll just mix everything together until it forms a shaggy dough and set it aside, covered, for about 4 hours. Then, you’ll transfer the dough into a generously greased pan and set it aside for about an hour. After which it’ll be drizzled with more olive oil, dimpled all over, and topped with whatever topping you like. Then it’s going to be baked for 20-25 minutes. Ta-da! Delicious, crisp, and super soft focaccia!

You can also get this ready at night: prepare the dough before dinner, let it sit on the counter while you eat and clean up and let it rest overnight in the fridge. Take out the next day, transfer to an oiled pan, let rise until doubled(about 2 hours or so) and bake. Or reverse it, preparing it in the morning and baking it at dinner time.

Perfect partners! Found this delicious dip at Trader Joe’s.

You likely have all the ingredients needed as this is a very simple recipe: flour, yeast, sugar, water, olive oil, salt and rosemary(or whatever you like) for extra flavor.

I usually make 2 pans at a time to make better use of the oven’s heat. If you like to do that too, just double this recipe and divide the dough into two 13”x9” pans. Bake times and temperature remain the same.

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Ingredients for dough:

1 2/3 cups water

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1-2 tablespoons good quality olive oil

3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for topping:

Extra Olive oil

sea salt

rosemary

Whatever else you like(pickled jalapeño and cheddar, mozzarella and pepperoni, olives, etc)

Procedure:

1. In a large bowl (specially if you’re doubling the recipe), mix together the water, yeast, and sugar.

2. Add the olive oil and give it a stir.

3. Pour in the flour and salt. I use a Danish whisk to mix everything together until you have a rough dough. As long as there is no dry patches of flour, you’re good. *Remember, we do not need to knead this dough!

4. Cover the bowl and set aside for about 4 hours. I use a clean shower cap to cover the bowl – it’s reusable unlike a sheet of plastic wrap. The dough should double in size in this time.

5. In the meantime, grease a 13”x9” pan with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Smear it all over the bottom and sides of the pan.

6. Pull the dough in from the sides of the bowl using a spatula and transfer into the prepared pan. Touch the greased pan with your finger tips to pick up some oil, and gently stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan.

7. Cover the pan and let dough rise 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.

8. Preheat the oven to 450F about 20 minutes before second proofing is over.

9. Uncover the dough and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Using your fingertips, poke the dough multiple times, touching the bottom of the pan each time. The oil will pool into the little grooves you created.

10. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves and smoked sea salt. This is my favorite topping. Feel free to use what you have or what you like!

11. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.

Perfectly crisp bottom!!!

12. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Enjoy warm!

Mockmill 100 Grain Mill

I had been making our sourdough bread weekly for over four years now and I was curious to see if grinding my own flour is worth it. I know for a fact that since the pandemic hit a couple of years ago, it was difficult to find specialty flours and it is very expensive if you ever found it.

For a while, I did have to use whatever I could find, when I could find it – store brand, bleached, all purpose flour, usually – and I learned that they are good enough for most of the things that I bake. Something good to know!

But as more items become readily available again, I want to try to get better ingredients for my family. A grain mill sounded like a great idea since I already had a place to order my organic grains in bulk – Azure Standard! Check them out online 👉https://www.azurestandard.com

Looking up the various types of flour mills online, I fell in love with the Komo Classic. It had this beautiful, wood cabinet casing and looked like it was easy enough to use. Even though it was $600, I placed it in the cart and started checking out.

But they were not available. No unit of whatever brand was available as they were all back ordered for several months. Looks like everyone was already doing what I was thinking of doing!

A few weeks later, I found a similar one in Amazon, a MockMill 100. Not as pretty as the KoMo but more practical AND available NOW! I purchased it before I could think of reasons not to. Its cheaper than the KoMo, about $375 with taxes and shipping.

It arrived a week later and I did run a variety of grains and beans through it to see how it handles it. Rice first to clean it out, then black beans, soybeans, garbanzo, wheat, millet, oats…it was really good! 😊

Reading up on this brand, I found out that there is another, more powerful one called MockMill 200. Debating to return this for the 200, I emailed the seller asking how much better the 200 is over this and they replied that the only difference is the speed of grinding. I can live with the speed of the 100 as I am not a commercial bakery. So I decided to just keep this unit and use it until I outgrow it.

I would likely use it more often for specialty flours, garbanzo, rice, beans than regular flour but it’s handy having it that I did buy wheat to mill at home.

Let me tell you, the taste of bread made with fresh milled flour is out of this world! You have to cool down the flour a bit after grinding as it gets quite warm.

I think even if I can get good quality flour, I might still grind my own every now and then.

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Chicken Posole

Posole is a classic Mexican dish that combines hominy (alkali-treated dried corn) and chicken or pork and cooks all day. In our short cut version, we will use an electric pressure cooker, an Instant Pot, to speed up the cooking time, so you can have this delicious, healthy soup anytime you feel like it!

Follow the recipe at least once, and try it as is. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I make this soup/stew dish often when the weather gets a bit chilly for me and my family.

It’s been hot one week and cold the next here in Southern California, so I make this on particularly chilly nights to enjoy after my son and husband comes home from soccer practice. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much we do!

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Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 small jalapeño chile, seeds removed and finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 can (25 oz./780 g) hominy, drained and rinsed

4 cups chicken broth

6 tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and coarsely chopped

Juice of 1 big lime

Toppings: Crumbled queso fresco, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado slices, and lime wedges

Procedure:

1. Season the chicken breasts generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Set your Instant Pot to “sauté,” and drizzle in the olive oil. Sear the chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 4 – 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a dish.

3. Add the onion to the Instant Pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, chile, oregano, cumin, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the hominy, chicken broth and tomatillos to the pot and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pot.

5. Cover the pot with the lid, and turn the valve to “sealing.” Set it to cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.

6. When the pressure cooking is complete, turn the valve to “venting” to manually release the steam. When the steam stops, carefully remove the lid and transfer the chicken to a large bowl.

7. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot, add the lime juice and stir to mix. Adjust seasonings as needed.

8. Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Top with queso fresco, cilantro, avocado and lime wedges, and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Naan Bread

Happy New Year everyone!

Totally late and I apologize for not posting in a long time! It’s hard to find time now that everyone is so busy!

Thank you to my wonderful reader Joyce Ciotti for asking for this recipe! I had it typed up and almost ready to post so, here you go!! I hope you’ll like it!

Perfect as a side for any Indian inspired meal, used in a sandwich wrap, or even eaten plain, these naan breads are a breeze to make!

I had purchased my first naan bread frozen from Trader Joe’s. It was smeared in garlic butter and only required heating it up or toasting it before serving. It was so good!

I had read somewhere that they sometimes stuff these with Laughing Cow cheeses so since I had it in the refrigerator, I ate some with cheese and some plain. Both were so good I couldn’t stop eating it!

I love making breads and baking in general so I thought it was time I make my own naan. I found several recipes and tried a couple of it.

Here is a recipe that uses the Thermomix to make the naan with hardly any effort on your part. Don’t worry, there is instruction on how to make it without the Thermomix right below!

Hope you’ll enjoy it!

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Look at the heart shaped char on the bread!

Ingredients:

For the naan:

For topping:

  • 450 grams unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 30 grams Olive oil or Canola oil
  • 190 grams warm water
  • 90 grams Greek yogurt

For topping/serving:

  • Ghee or garlic butter to brush on bread
  • Cheese, optional

Procedure:

  1. Place all ingredients for the naan bread into the Thermomix bowl and mix for 6 seconds on speed 5.
  2. Set to Knead for 2 1/2 minutes.
  3. Leave dough in the bowl, with the measuring cup in place, at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Roll dough into sausage shape and divide into 6 even portions. You can use the thermomix’s scale function to weigh the dough and divide it into 6, to get evenly sized dough balls. Roll each portion into a thin, oval shape.
  5. Place dough onto a hot, ungreased grill or fry pan. Cook for about 1-2 minutes per side then flip to cook the other side.
  6. Brush with ghee or garlic flavored butter. Serve plain or stuff with cheese.

* To make without the Thermomix:

Place all ingredients for the naan bread in a large mixing bowl and mix using a wooden spoon or spatula until it comes together. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return to the mixing bowl. Cover with plastic warp and let rest at least an hour, or until doubled in size. Continue with procedure #4 to #6.