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.

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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Sun Oven

I really did NOT need another kitchen gadget but this amazing lady I follow (Impulse to Legend on FB and instagram) started using a Sun Oven and posting the results on her page. It was nothing short of amazing.

I snapped one up right away! I definitely can see the many uses of this:

1. In the summer, it’s often too hot to use the oven. But the sun’s intensity during these months will make using the sun oven outside a brilliant idea.

2. Sunlight is abundant almost year round here in Southern California, a totally eco-friendly alternative to gas or electricity.

3. Sunlight is free! I can bake to my heart’s content without using precious resources. As long as you can cast a shadow on the ground, you can cook!

4. It is super portable, it folds up like a small suitcase and weighs just a bit over 20 pounds.

5. It is perfect for camping, no fuel required and no fire danger issues! A great plus specially in high fire danger areas like here in California.

6. Food won’t burn. I still do not understand how this works but yes, I left a pan of my bread rolls there for over 2 1/2 hours (not on purpose though, got busy and forgot about it) and it was just perfect.

7. Food won’t dry out. It cooks/bakes with moist heat, unlike the oven, but it is not wet like steam cooking. You can see moisture accumulate on the inside of the glass door when you cook. The chicken I baked was cooked through but moist and tender.

8. Emergency situations when power is out. A perfect excuse for me to get this item, like mentioned above, as long as there is sunlight, I can cook and bake.

9. Cooking/baking while on the beach anyone? I see people lugging grills and stoves and even a pizza oven once! I am not one of these people but you could totally bring this too! Me, I just take some drinks, fruits or chips, and sometimes sandwiches. I like to just chill on the blanket or body board at the beach.

I love this oven so much that I asked Sun Ovens to allow me to market these and they gave me a special link. These are affiliate links, where in I might earn a little commission when someone buys the oven using my link, without affecting your purchase price at all. It helps keep my blog going, and I truly appreciate any support.

Click here to purchase the oven and get a free oven cover with purchase(a $59 value!): https://www.sunoven.com/promotions/ref/bluedolphins_tere@yahoo.com

Click here to attend a free webinar that runs every Tuesday and Thursday evening. During the webinar, each participant will be emailed a link to a special offers page where they will be able to purchase an All American Sun Oven with $118 worth of free products! This includes a free oven cover and their latest cookbook: https://www.sunoven.com/brighter-way-webinar/ref/bluedolphins_tere@yahoo.com

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For my first recipe, I tried the 1 hour bread recipe I have on my website: https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/07/03/1-hour-hamburger-buns/

I made it into 24 rolls, and placed 12 dough balls in 2 13×9 pans. I placed the pan in the Sun Oven, stacking the second pan on top. Of course accidents happen and it dropped straight down, flattening the rolls below. Oh well…..I guess flat bread is still bread.

It baked for less than an hour before it was golden brown and the fragrance of baking bread was wafting in the backyard. Time to get it out!

When I removed the pan, I realized that bread in the bottom pan was not browned so I adjusted the oven and left the second pan in there. I forgot about it and got it about 2 1/2 hours later. I’m happy to report that it browned and even though I left if too long, it did NOT burn.

Next was a whole chicken. Now, this I had to finish browning in the Ninja Grill as I started past 4 pm. I spatchcocked the chicken, rubbed it with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary. Grabbed a lemon from the yard and sprinkled lemon juice over it before placing it in the preheated oven.

I left it for about an hour, but by then my backyard is no longer sunny, as a matter of fact, it is completely shaded by the house. I moved the oven to the front yard and left it for a few minutes but decided to finish it up in the Ninja Grill. It took about 20 minutes to brown the chicken nicely and cook it thoroughly.

Next, I found a couple of over ripe bananas on my counter so I decided to make Banana Bread! I used my recipe here: https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/08/06/banana-bread-2/

I replaced the brown sugar with Splenda brown sugar, used sugar free chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Poured the batter into 2 greased loaf pans and into the preheated Sun Oven they went.

It was in the oven from 1:27pm to 2:19pm and it was done!!! Golden brown and smelling delicious!

It does look like it was baked in a regular oven but the bread is moist and very flavorful. Not dry at all.

Look at the slices below! They are absolutely beautiful!

So next, since it was still a bit sunny, I decided to cook this Spaghetti Squash that is in my panty.
I cut it in half lengthwise, removed the seeds using a spoon to scrape it away, placed it cut side down on a baking pan, and placed it in the oven.

I decided to leave it there until past dinner, hoping the residual heat will cook it through. I wasn’t mistaken. It cooked wonderfully!

See how it looks like spaghetti? The video below is to show you how tender it was.

I totally recommend this oven if you are like me and want to bake in the middle of summer! I will keep experimenting with recipes that I can bake in it, hoping to use it all year long.

Happy weekend everyone!

Choco Flan

Unmolded this☝️before chilling it completely. Notice the sunken area on the upper left.

Lesson learned: Be patient! Chill it overnight before unmolding. 😊

ChocoFlan! This is a rich, delicious chocolate cake with a beautiful layer of creamy flan sitting on top.

I first had this over a decade ago when my Cuban coworker at UCLA brought it for a potluck. It still amazes me how the layers switch when baking. You get a bit of yummy chocolate cake, a thick, creamy flan, all topped with caramelized sugar syrup…what more could you ask for?

This cake is easy to make and truly beautiful that you can bring it to any gathering and it’s sure to wow everyone lucky enough to have a slice…or two!

You’ll need a 12-cup bundt pan to make this as it rises almost to the top when baked. Most bundt pans I own have a capacity of 10 cups, so be sure to check your pan!

If you only have the 10 cup mold, set some of the cake batter aside for 2-3 cupcakes, or make a couple of small individual Choco flans in a ramekin with some of the syrup, flan, and cake mixture. The baking pan with water will also catch any overflow batter, so you should be fine.

The flan layer on this cake is thick, just the way I like it. You’ll get a good proportion of flan to chocolate cake in every bite, I promise!

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*I recently found a 6-cup bundt pan in Target made by Nordicware (https://www.target.com/p/nordic-ware-6-cup-formed-bundt-pan-navy/-/A-76431260#lnk=sametab) and I got 2 of course! If you have these smaller pans, you can split the caramel, flan, and cake batter between the 2 little bundt pans and have 2 Chocoflans – one to eat now and another for later, or to share!

Ingredients:

For the Caramel:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

For the Flan:

1 can (12oz) evaporated milk

1 can (14oz) condensed milk

4 oz cream cheese (half a bar)

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cake:

1 box (15.25oz) devil’s food cake mix

1/2 cup canola oil

3 eggs, separated*

1 cup water

Equipment:

1 12-cup bundt pan (or 2 6-cup bundt pans)

Saucepan

Blender

Large baking dish

Bowls

Hand mixer

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Spray your bundt pan/s with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Caramelized sugar:

3. Pour sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until deep brown, about 10-15 minutes. Keep swirling the pan when it starts to turn golden and remove from heat right before it reaches the color you want as it’ll keep cooking. You don’t want to burn this.

4. Using heavy oven gloves, immediately pour into prepared pan/s. Set aside.

Flan:

5. Pour all flan ingredients into a blender and pulse until well mixed.

6. Pour over caramel layer.

7. Place the bundt pan/s in a large baking dish. Fill baking dish with water halfway up the bundt pan. We are steam baking this, baine marie style!

8. Now carefully place the entire set up in the middle rack of your preheated oven. Close the oven and set your timer to 20 minutes.

9. In the meantime, prepare your Cake layer:

10. In a bowl, beat together devil’s food cake mix, oil, egg yolks, and water until blended. Set aside.

11. Grab another bowl that it is clean, dry, no traces of oil or grease, or any speck of egg yolks. Wash and clean your beaters and dry them, too. Then beat egg whites in the bowl using clean beaters until soft peaks form. Carefully fold in 1/3 into the cake mixture until mixed. Fold in another 1/3, mix and then add in the last 1/3. Fold in until no more traces of the egg white can be seen.

*If you are crunched for time, you can also just place ALL the cake ingredients in a bowl and beat for about 2 minutes on medium to high speed. The cake won’t be as light, but I’m quite sure no one will notice!*

12. Carefully remove the pan from the oven after 20 minutes.

13. Slowly pour the cake mixture over the flan. Cover with foil, lower the oven temperature to 350F, and bake for 55 minutes more, or until cake is fully baked. Check if cake is done by inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake, it should come out clean.

14. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill overnight before unmolding.

15. Place a plate on top of the bundt pan and carefully invert the whole thing. You would hear/feel the cake drop onto the plate. Carefully remove the bundt pan and serve the cake!

*You might want to fill the bundt pan with water now to facilitate removing the caramel that is stuck on the bottom. It will dissolve on it’s own, no need to scrub, but it will need time, like a day or two!*

Electric Lunchbox #97: Pistachio Cake

I’m back after not posting for a long time. Have you tried a beautiful, green colored Pistachio Cake?

My coworker (Jonnielyn Rivera) shared this super easy recipe with me a few years ago and I just had to adapt it to the ELB! It did take some time because I sometimes ended up with a cake that is too dense or tasteless, because of the amount of pudding. After a few tries, I think I finally nailed it. 😊 Look at the crumb of this cake in the photo below! Light yet moist and flavorful! 😋

And so here is an easy to make yet delicious recipe to try if you have time. All you’ll need is a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a box of yellow cake mix, a little box of pistachio pudding mix, a bit of sour cream, an egg, some canola oil, and some water!

I hope you’ll try out and of course, I do hope that you’ll like it!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1 cup yellow cake mix

3 tablespoons Pistachio Pudding Mix

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 egg

3 ELB cups water for the base

Procedure :

1. Spray the big or medium ELB bowl with nonstick spray.

2. In a bowl, place the yellow cake mix,

3. pudding mix,

4. sour cream,

5. water,

6. Oil,

7. and egg.

8. mix well until blended.

9. Pour into the prepared ELB bowl. Cover with foil.

10. Place bowl in the ELB base, pour 3 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 55 minutes.

11. Carefully open the ELB and check the cake for doneness by inserting a skewer in the middle. It should come out clean.

12. Cool completely on a wire rack.

13. Carefully unmold the cake and serve.

14. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (the Elon Musk one)

Finally, I was able to write this article. I hope you all will like it!

Tesla. Elon Musk. Bitcoin…..Chocolate Chip Cookies???

A few weeks ago, while on one of my rare break times at work, I came across this article about a Chocolate Chip Cookie that allegedly made Elon Musk go back for seconds. Wait, what? Did I read that right?

So of course, I read the whole article. The baker’s boyfriend works at Space X, and his desk is near Elon Musk’s office. So when the cookies were seen, he asked the bodyguard to get some. And then more.

I just wanted to go home and try the recipe she shared after I was done reading the article. But of course, I had to finish work before leaving.

So, a few hours later, I was able to prepare it. Lucky for me, ingredients for chocolate chip cookies are always in my pantry. 😊

I doubled the recipe so that I could share, and made it in the Thermomix so that it came together really fast.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks

1. Place the butter in a bowl. You can use a stand mixer or a hand held one. I used the Thermomix to make life easier.

2. Add the brown sugar,

3. And the white sugar. Mix together over low speed for 3 minutes.

4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Add the vanilla extract,

6. And the egg (eggs in the photo as I doubled the recipe).

7. Mix for about 15 seconds, low speed.

8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

9. Stir in the flour,

10. Baking soda,

11. And salt into the butter mixture.

12. Mix on low speed for 10-15 seconds, until just combined.

13. See the texture on the photo above.

14. Add in the chocolate chips, (love Trader Joe’s chocolate chips!)

15. And stir until incorporated.

16. Transfer dough into a container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.

17. Next day, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Preheat oven to 350F.

18. Drop 2 tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared sheets.

19. Leave 2 inches of space between the dough balls as these spread out a bit.

*You can also scoop the dough, place it on the sheets, touching is fine, and freeze them. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and bake as needed. See above photo.*

20. Bake in the oven for 11-13 minutes, or until edges are golden, but the middle is still soft.

21. Slide the parchment or silicone mats directly onto the counter and cool for a few minutes. When set, about 5 minutes, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Or enjoy cookies while they’re warm and gooey!

Sourdough Focaccia

We have been making homemade pizza for a few years now and it’s become a staple that I have 2 outdoor pizza ovens at the moment.

I also make our sourdough bread every week and need to switch it up with a few varieties using different flours, inclusions, or liquid to flavor the bread. Marshmallow stout instead of water for a chocolate chip sourdough batard anyone??

Between bread and pizza, there’s also focaccia! And here is a very easy recipe complete with a timeline to guide you!

You can split this bread in half crosswise to use for sandwiches, or just cut into squares, or rectangles to eat as is! Dip in olive oil, Trader Joe’s Garlic dip, hummus, baba ganoush…..It’s crunchy and soft, salty and herby…just delicious specially when still warm from the oven.

I use really good olive oil and salt as I believe it contributes to the overall taste of the focaccia. The olives are dry cured from Trader Joe’s, tomatoes and rosemary are from the backyard.

I doubled the recipe and made 2 13”x9” focaccia to eat and have enough to trade with a dozen home grown eggs. So please don’t be confused by the discrepancy between the instructions and the photos. 😊

I hope you will like this recipe as much as we did!

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Ingredients:

423 grams all purpose flour

181 grams bread flour

460 grams water

11 grams salt, plus more for sprinkling

115 grams starter, I used one straight from the fridge

12 grams good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Toppings of choice, chopped herbs, olives, tomatoes, etc.

Procedure:

1. 10 am to 11 am

In a large bowl, mix flours, water, salt and starter. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together.

Set aside for about 15 to 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.

Then mix the dough thoroughly, drizzling in the olive oil and pulling the dough up until well mixed. Use a plastic bench/dough scraper to help you pull up the dough and mix the oil in.

Cover (I use a clean, unused plastic hair cover!) and set aside for 30 minutes

#1

2. Bulk 11:15-1:15

#2
#3

Perform 4 sets of stretch and fold every 30 minutes, for 2 hours.

Photos 1 – 4 are the stretch and fold in the first 30 minutes, #2 at an hour, #3 at an hour and thirty minutes, and #4 was after 2 hours, the last of 4 folds. See how stretchy and smooth the dough looks after?

#4

3. Proof 1:15- 5:15

Pour some olive oil in a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Transfer dough to the pan and cover.

Every 30 minutes on the first hour, uncover the dough and stretch gently to fill the pan.

Cover and let rest for the remainder of the 4 hours.

4. 5:15 Preheat oven to 450F.

5. Drizzle the dough with about 2 -3 tablespoons of good olive oil.

6. Wet your finger tips and dimple the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan, multiple times.

7. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, etc.

*I used halved cherry tomatoes, chopped rosemary, olives, and Maldon sea salt. The other focaccia had the same toppings except it did not have tomatoes, as I only got a handful from the garden.*

8. Sprinkle with good quality salt.

9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.

*After baking, tops should be golden and edges crusty.

*Bottom should be toasted. This looks perfect!

Cut for sandwiches, this is what the crumb look like on my bake. Yummy!

Electric Lunchbox # 96: Creamed Corn Cornbread

Good morning everyone!

After posting the Jiffy Spoon bread recipe for the ELB, I got a few requests for a “from scratch” recipe as Jiffy is not readily available where they live. I had that problem once in a while too, so I am more than happy to accommodate that request.

The texture if this is not as soft as the spoon bread recipe, but it is close. I hope you try it both and decide which one you like better!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/2 cup cornmeal

3 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup canned creamed corn

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

3 ELB cups water for the base

Procedure:

1. Spray the big ELB bowl with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, place sour cream,

2. Egg,

3. Cornmeal,

4. Canola oil,

4. Creamed corn,

5. Salt,

6. Baking powder, and sugar.

7. Stir everything together until just mixed.

8. Pour into prepared bowl and level the tops.

9. Cover with foil and set on the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups water in the base, cover, and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

10. Carefully open the ELB and check the bread for doneness by inserting a skewer in the middle. It should have little moist crumbs attached to it.

11. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto a serving plate and serve warm.