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.

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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