Friday, December 18, 2015

Chewy gingerbread cookies with pistachios, cranberries and white chocolate

A while ago I invited few of my friends to our place for some glög. Nothing special, but small get-together. Just before that, I found interesting recipe by accident and wanted to try that. Except, I wanted to add some extra, and I did. Original recipe was only for cookies, I added the decorations.

Pistachios are my favorites and cranberries goes nicely with them, and nothing beats the white chocolate. So perfect combination. But, I have to honest, and tell you that I wanted to use cherries, but I couldn't find those dried from the store. But some day I will try that combination...

Chewy Gingerbread cookies
about 30 cookies
160 g butter, softened to room temperature
240 ml granulated sugar
60 ml molasses
1 egg
480 ml all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
0,5 tsp ground cloves
0,5 tsp ground ginger
0,5 tsp salt
150 ml melted white chocolate
100 ml pistachios
100 ml dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 190°C.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add in the egg and molasses, and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Gradually add in the dry ingredient mixture and beat until combined.  Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes, until it is chilled.
Roll the dough into small balls, about 2 cm in diameter. Fill a small bowl with sugar, and roll each ball in the sugar until it is completely coated.
Place on cookie sheet at least  2 cm apart, then pop the entire cookie sheet with the dough in the refrigerator for an extra 10-15 minutes before baking.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the cookies begin to slightly crack on top.  (They may crack more while cooling.)  Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two. Then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the decorations:
Roughly chop the pistachios and cranberries into smaller pieces.
One at a time dip the tops of the cookies into the white chocolate and place on a wire rack.
Before the white chocolate sets, sprinkle the cookie with a mixture of cranberries and pistachios.

Original cookie recipe Gimme some oven

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Independence day dinner

6th of December is independece day of Finland. This day I prepare always something very finnish, either traditional way or with modern twist. This year I made Karelian stew (Karjalanpaisti), which is one of the most known finnish dishes. There are some variation e.g. with meat in it, but anyone can do it as they like. My version has pork and beef, carrot, onion, beer and a bit of water. For seasoning I use only bay leaves, allspice and salt. Most of the people doesn't use beer, but I love the flavor it gives to the stew.

Karelian stew (Karjalanpaisti)
For 4-6 persons
450 g pork stew meat (e.g. neck or shoulder)
450 g beef stew meat
2-3 onions
2-3 carrots
1 tbsp butter
10 whole grains of allspice
1-2 bay leaves
330 ml lager beer
water if needed
salt to taste

Peel the onions and carrots. Chop them roughly. Cut the meat into cubes (3x3 cm). Heat the skillet with butter. Temperature is right when butter mutes, when it doesn't sizzle anymore. Brown all meat and put the intoa cooking pot and add the coarsely chopped onions and carrots. Pour ber into a pot, season with bay leaves, salt and allspice. Add enough water to almost cover the meat.
Cook with a cover at 100-125 °C, for 3-4 hours. 
Serve with mashed or cooked potatoes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Gingerbread house 2015

One of my tradition before Christmas is to built a gingerbread house. It is different every year and I always want to learn, and try, something new. This year new thing was windows for my house. Before, I have only made holes, but this time I made glasses as well. I found instructions from somewhere internet, and decided to try. It was so easy! For the house, I use always ready made gingerbread dough, because self-made dough seems to be more soft and doesn't work so well for this. 

I'm very happy about the result! Of course, anyone can see I'm not a professional, but at least I'm enthusiastic amateur :D

Gingerbread house
1 package ready made gingerbread dough
few transparent hard candy finely crushed
Royal icing:

1 white
125 ml powdered sugar

1 egg white
100 ml powdered sugar

Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2 mm. Place paper patterns onto the rolled out dough. With a sharp, straight edged knife, cut around each of the pieces and place them into a baking tray. Pour heaped amount of crushed candies to window openings. Bake 200-225 C for about 5-7 minutes. Leave to cool on baking sheet.
Create decorations using royal icing.
Pour the sugar into a sauce pan, boil to form a light caramel. Glue pieces together using this caramel.
Be very careful, sugar is dangerously hot!!
Create decorations with royal icing and meringue. 

Royal icing:
Beat on high for 7 minutes until very light, fluffy, and shiny
Beat on egg white high until very light and fluffy, add sugar. Beat 5 minutes.