Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Sugar & Cranberry Cookies and Happy New Year


So here we are at the end of 2010! Finally a year that has felt like a year and not like 5 minutes!!

Looking back at 2010 I have to say that has been a good year. I have made major changes in my life that have brought me pure joy, what makes me happy and proud.

I am looking at to 2011 with excitement! So many new projects and illusions. I wish you all the best for this New Year and I hope to see you around here.

It is always a pleasure to share my “therapy” with you.

Here you have some of the cookies that I have been giving away to friends. The sugar cookies recipe, I already posted it. The recipe that I am posting now is the delicious cranberry cookies from Martha Stewart.

I hope you like it!

Happy New Year!!!

Ingredients

Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (Mercadona)

Directions

Beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add flour and salt; stir just until combined. Stir in dried cranberries. Divide dough into quarters.

On parchment, shape each portion into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 4 inches long. Wrap logs tightly in parchment or plastic. Chill 30 minutes or up to 1 day. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen up to 1 month.)

Preheat oven to 160º. With a sharp knife, slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Rotate log as you cut to keep it from flattening. Place rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets, 1 inch apart.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges just begin to turn golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Eve with Lemon Flavor

I love lemon deserts and so do my family. I think my sister and I get this “lemon passion” from my dad. So when I asked for suggestions for Christmas Eve dinner desert lemon was n 1º in the ranking.

Christmas Eve is a very special celebration in my family like in many Christian homes. Is great going to my parent and getting in the kitchen preparing our long time favorite recipes to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.

Although we always enjoy the typical Christmas sweats, we like to have a nice cake as dessert. This cake works perfectly for an after dinner dessert. The texture is light and the flavor very refreshing. The lemon flavor is everywhere: in the sponge cake, the syrup, the lemon curd and the lemon meringue!

The recipe is from John Barricelli. It is easy and fairly quick to make.

I hope you like it and Merry Christmas!

Ingredients

Serves 12

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded

Directions

Preheat oven to 180º. Butter and flour two 20 by 5 cm cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.

While cakes are baking, bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to a waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.

Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. Let cool completely. Prepare frosting. Frost cooled cakes and top with candied lemon slices.

Frosting

Ingredients

3 large egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine 3 large egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch salt and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.



Monday, December 20, 2010

Gingerbread Cupcakes & Reindeer


Since I moved to Geneva, reindeer are all over in “my Christmas”. They are everywhere! And I love it!! Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I never heard about reindeer until I moved to Switzerland! I knew about Rudolph when I went to school to USA. I even learnt the carol “ Rudolph the red-nose reindeer”.

And this is what I do not understand: In Spain, in addition to the “Three Wise Men”, we also have Santa Claus (Papa Noel for us). But somebody forgot about Rudolph, the reindeer, the elves and the magic sleigh!!

How can they forget about them!! How can nobody pay attention to cute Rudy?!

Coming back to reindeer. As I was saying I have them now everywhere. I have them in my tree, in my Xmas cookie boxes, cookie cutters, in my Xmas cards, in tablecloths, in napkins. …And I have little figures that I placed in my Nativity!! So having them in cupcakes felt the logic thing to do.

The recipe and inspiration is from Martha Stewart. I have modified the recipe reducing the amount of molasses in the cupcakes and sugar in the glaze. The result is just perfect!

I hope you like it!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Ingredients

Makes 20 cupcakes

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup (125 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses ( Miel de caña en Mercadona)

2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 10 jumbo muffin tins with paper baking cups, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.

Fill the cupcake papers three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cupcakes cool a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Butter Glaze

Ingredients

Makes 1 1/2 cups

2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk

Directions

Place 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat; immediately pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugar. Add 4 teaspoons milk; whisk until mixture is smooth. Working quickly, dip the top of each cupcake into the glaze, and place cupcake right-side up on a wire rack.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Marina´s Birthday Cookies

Marina is one of my "horse-friends". We ride together every weekend.
Marina is this sweet nice girl. She always smiles and aproches everyone with the most cheerful attitude.

When I think of Marina there are two things that comes to my mind: hearts and horses. Hearts because Marina LOVES sending me hearts through Facebook (if you are on FC you know what I´am talking about). And horses because we have the same passion. Marina´s horse is this handsome white big boy. As sweet as the owner!

So for Marina´s 14th birthday the theme of the cookies was easy, right?

The recipe for the cookies is from Williams Sonoma. This time is in Spanish for my "non- baking" spanish friends.

I hope you like them!


GALLETAS DE AZUCAR
Ingredientes
390gr de harina
2,5 gr de sal (media cucharita)
185gr de mantequilla a temperatutra ambiente
250gr de azucar
1 huevo a temperatura ambiente
7,5 ml de extracto de vainilla (una cucharita y media)
Direcciones
Sobre un bol pequeño pasar por el ceazo la harina y la sal. En otro bol batir la
mantequilla con una batidora a velocidad alta durante dos minutos. Reducir la
velocidad a media añadir lentamente el azucar. Parar de vez en cuando para rebeñar
los lados. Añadir el huevo y la vainilla y batir durante otro minuto.
Parar la baridora y añadir la mitad de la harina. Batir a velocidad media hasta que casi
toda la harina se ha absorvido. Añadir el resto de la harina y continuar batiendo hasta
que la harina ha sido absorvida y la masa se despega de las paredes del bol, 2 a 3
minutos.
Dividir la masa en dos partes.. Envolver la masa en film transparente y en forma de
disco. Refrigerar la masa durante dos horas hasta dos dias. Sacar la masa de la nevera
y dejar reposar durante 5 minutos. En una superficie enharinada y con la ayuda de un
rodillo estender la masa hasta conseguir un grosor de 4,5 a 6 mm.
Precalentarel horno a 180º. Preparar varias bandejas con papel vegetal.
Enharinar los moldes de las galletas antes de cortar la masa. Preparar las galletas en
la bandeja y refrigerar durante 20 min. Hornear durante 10-12 min o hasta doradas.
Dejar las galletas enfriar en una rejilla durante 5 minutos.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Apple and Sage Cake

I had some beautiful sage in the freeze and considering how complicated is to find sage I though I should do something different.

I always had sage in a “salty” way: in the turkey stuffing, with pasta, pumpkin soup …. When I found this recipe from Chef Tim LaBant I was very curious to see how sage would work in a sweet cake.

The result is great. The taste of the sage works beautifully. The texture is juicy and rich, thanks to the grated apples.

I highly recommend it if you want to try something different. It’s always nice to “experiment” with new flavor combinations!

I hope you like it!!

Ingredients

Makes one 22-by-33 cm cake

Unsalted butter, for cake pan

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups raw sugar

3/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups shredded Granny Smith apples, peeled

1/4 cup loosely packed sage, finely chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Butter the baking pan and line with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and oil. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt; mix until well combined. Stir in apples and sage; mix until well combined.

Pour batter into baking pan and transfer to oven. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rose Cream Sandwiches and Snow


A couple of weeks ago I was in London. Among the many great things I did having merienda at Ladurée was the greatest .... by far!
I already told you about my passion for Ladurée and pretty desserts. This time, with a cafe au lait in a beautiful china, I had a "Religieouse a la Rose" .

The floral bouquet mix with the raspberry from the "Religiouse" was such an experience! I could not take the rose flavour out of my mind, so after Ladurée I went to Fortnum & Mason to buy Rose water.

With rose flavor in the back of my mind, I started to look for the perfect treat. I found a rose cream cookie recipe from Johnny Miller. Perfect!!

I bake my cookies while it was crazy snowing. Next morning, the sun was shining, the air was freezing and an immaculate “white frosting” covered the landscape.

I went to my parents where, to my surprise, there were still roses blooming. So there you go! Rose Cream Sandwiches displayed with roses on snow.

The textures of the cookies delicate like the snow. The cream is silky like the rose petals.

I hope you like it!!

Serves 2 ½ dozen cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons all- purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

200 gr softened butter

1/3 cup confectioners´sugar, plus more for dusting

1 ½ tablespoon rose water

Cream Filling

4 ounces cream cheese softened

¼ cup confectioner´s sugar

¾ teaspoon rose water

1 ½ teaspoons milk

Directions

Whisk to combine flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl beat butter and confectioner´s sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add rose water and mix until combined. Reduce the speed to low and add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divided the dough in half, and shape into disks. Wrap each in plastic, and chill minimum 1 hour.

Preheat the oven at 180º. Roll 1 disk of dough to ½ cm thickness; chill 15 minutes. Cut 4cm rounds from dough, and place 2 cm apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake , rotating sheets halfway through, until barely golden, about 14 min. Let cool completely.

For the Rose Water Cream Filling stir together the cream cheese and sugar. Then add the rose water and milk. The filling can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Cookies "Warm-up"



The next day after Thanksgiving, with Christmas in my mind, I went to my first "Christmas Cookie Decoration Course".

Going from blog to blog (actually from "El Rincon de Bea"), I found this beautiful blog about cookies: "Muy Dulce Vinuesa". I have to say that the quality and creativity of their work blew me away.


Being "Muy Dulce Vinuesa" one of my regular visits in my "blog tour", going to one of their courses was more than exciting!!

Mercedes and Mariapi are the leading ladies behind the "cookie camp". M&M are warm, professional and generous with their knowledge.


They tough us the technique, the tools, the tricks and the right addresses for cookie shopping. If you want to see us "at work" just click here to sneak a peek. You will see me very concentrated!!


The pictures in this post are the cookies I decorated with Mercedes and Mariapi. They gave me so much energy and inspiration that I am ready for my Christmas cookies baking season.

I hope you like it!!