Aebleskivers – Dutch Pancakes

nutella filledjelly filledHappy New Year!!!  I hope you have all had an amazing time celebrating with family and friends. We spent the countdown at home this year with our 2 boys.  This was the first year that they actually made it until midnight (or technichally the first year that we haven’t tricked them with the East Coast countdown.. heehee).  We had a fondu night complete with cheddar beer fondu, beef broth fondu (for steak) and my favorite, chocolate fondu with lots of fruit and donut holes for dipping.  It was such a fun night full of games, music and of course food.

Breakfast consisted of bacon, eggs and these delicious gems called Aebleskivers [pronounced eb-el-skee-vers].  These Dutch pancakes do require a special pan if you want to make them round (you can technically just cook the batter flat on a skillet), but if you have the chance to pick one up, you are in for a treat! pan I purchased mine (actually my sweet momma bought it for me) from World Market.  I understand William Sonoma and Amazon also sell them.  These are to die for!  They are slightly crisp on the outside and dense yet fluffy on the inside.  Generally, they are served rolled in powdered sugar with some kind of fruit preserves (or Nutella).  You can also just serve with butter and syrup.  I like to pipe preserves or chocolate into the center of the pancake for a little extra wow factor.

Historically, Aebleskivers were made in hammered copper pans but today, the pans are generally made from cast iron or aluminum with a non-stick coating.  You will also want to have something to turn them with.

stick I used a little wooden stick I had for making caramel apples.  You can also use a chop stick, a fork or even a knitting needle if you really want to do it like  a pro.

These are such a fun treat! They are a blast to make and even more fun to eat.  There are several different recipes online, most call for either yeast or baking powder as the leavening agent.  I can’t wait to try the yeast ones but the baking soda ones apparently require a little less effort.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 Tablespoons sugar

5 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 cups milk

4 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

dry ingIn a mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt).  wet into dry ingIn a separate bowl, whisk butter, milk and eggs together.  Add liquids to dry ingredients until evenly moistened.

butter panfill cups

Place aebleskiver pan over medium-low heat.  When pan is hot enough to make a drop of water dance, brush pancake cups lightly with melted butter and fill each to slightly below the rim with batter.

first turn

Cook for approximately 1 minute then poke your dowel (or whatever you are using) into the center of the batter and pierce the bottom.  Gently pull shell to rotate pancake until about half the cooked portion is above the cup rim and uncooked batter flows down into the cup.

turn all

ballsCook until crust on  bottom of ball is again firm enough to pierce then rotate ball with skewer until ball is closed.  Continue cooking, rotating the ball if needed until the batter in the center is completely cooked.  You will want to pull one of the pancakes apart slightly to test the center.

fill nutella

rolled in psAt this point, you can pipe filling into the center.  Roll in powdered sugar if desired.  Serve warm.

Aebelskivers

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 Tablespoons sugar

5 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 cups milk

4 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Mix all wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until completely combined.
  4. Heat pan on medium-low heat until hot enough to make a drop of water dance.
  5. Using a 1/8th measuring cup or ladle, fill each half sphere in your pan almost to the top.
  6. Let cook for approx. 1 minute or until a good crust forms on the bottom of the pancake
  7. Pierce your skewer into the bottom of the pancake and swipe it up, turning it 1/4 of a turn so that the batter once again fills the half-sphere.
  8. Let cook for at least another 30 seconds before turning again to complete the ball.
  9. At this point, you will just keep cooking and turning until the inside of the ball is completely cooked (you can test this by poking with a toothpick or splitting one slightly and peeking inside.
  10. Remove from pan.
  11. Pipe with filling if desired.
  12. Roll in powdered sugar.
  13. Serve warm.

I found this recipe here http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/danish-pancake-balls-aebleskiver.

 

Baklava

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I am so exciting to be blogging right now!  For Christmas, my sweet husband bought me a laptop!  I have been dreaming for years about being able to blog from my couch or kitchen table or even my bed instead of in our chilly office where our family PC currently sits.  I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to bring you first because I have been so anxious to share this recipe with you!  Prior to making Baklava myself, I always assumed that it would be extremely difficult and time-consuming to make.  I was so wrong!  I have made this recipe 2 or 3 times now and anyone who tastes it raves about it and can’t believe that I actually made it myself. It is such a beautiful, delicate treat and it really is not difficult! The hard part is already done for you (the phyllo dough). You just have to slap it in a pan with some butter, nuts, and cinnamon, pour a homemade syrup over the top and voila’! – crispy, chewy, sweet, nutty homemade Baklava.  Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

1 (16oz) package phyllo dough (also spelled fillo, filo or phylo)

1 lb chopped nuts

1 cup butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

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First, you are going to want to visit your local grocery store freezer section and pick up some Phyllo (sometimes spelled Filo or Fillo) Dough.  It should be in a long rectangular box somewhere near the Cool Whip.  Defrost the dough according to the package directions (in the fridge or on the counter).  It shouldn’t  take too long to defrost.  A pastry brush will also be a necessity for this recipe.

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Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.  Once defrosted, open the box and unroll the dough onto your counter or onto a cutting board.  The dough will be approximately twice as wide as you will need it to be, so you will want to use a sharp knife and cut the length of the rectangle in half, leaving you with two piles of dough that will fit perfectly into your 9×13 pan.  Keep the dough covered with a damp cloth throughout the assembly process so it doesn’t dry out.

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Next melt butter in a bowl.  Make sure you are using real butter, not margarine.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan using your pastry brush.

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Place 2 sheets of phyllo dough down onto the buttered pan.  Butter the entire top sheet.  Place another 2 sheets of dough on top of the already buttered sheets.  Brush butter on top sheet.  Repeat this step until you have at least 8 sheets (4 layers of 2).

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Now you will want to place a mixture of nuts (I used pecans and almonds. Some other good choices are pistachios or walnuts.  Just don’t use peanuts!) into a food processor (if you don’t have one, hand chopping will work, it will just require that you chop them very finely).

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Stir in cinnamon.

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Sprinkle a light coating of nuts onto the top buttered layer of dough (approximately 1/4 cup)

Place another 2 sheets of dough over nuts and brush with butter.  Sprinkle with another layer of nuts. Repeat dough, butter, nuts for several more layers until you reach the desired thickness.  (Please keep in mind that you will need to save 6-8 sheets for the top layers that don’t contain nuts.  I also had approximately 8-10 sheets of dough left over that I cut in half again and used an 8×8 pan to make another small batch. Feel free to make it as thick as you want it).

Now layer 2 more sheets of dough then brush with butter 3-4 more times to make your top flaky layer.  Brush the top layer with butter.

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Using a sharp knife, cut all the way through the Baklava cutting it into triangles.  You can see I cut 4 long rows then cut diagonally and then diagonally again across to make smaller triangles.

Bake at 350 degrees 50 minutes until Baklava is golden and crisp.

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While the Baklava is baking, make your sauce/syrup.  Boil water and sugar until dissolved then add honey.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla.

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Remove Baklava from the oven and immediately pour syrup over the top.  If you let it cool completely before removing from the pan, it will really stick.  So, when it is still a little warm and pliable, remove each triangle and place in a cupcake liner or parchment paper square.

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These make really great teacher gifts, or party hors d’oeuvres – IF you decide after eating one that you even want to share them.

I found this gem of a recipe on allrecipes.com by NEONWILLIE.

 

 

Baklava

  • Servings: 28-30
  • Time: 1Hr. 20min.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

1 (16 oz) package Phyllo Dough

1 cup butter

1 lb chopped nuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thaw phyllo dough.  Remove from box and unroll.  Cut in half so that sheets will fit in a 9×13 pan.  Cover with a damp cloth during preparation so it won’t dry out
  2. Melt Butter.  Using a pastry brush, butter bottom and sides of  9×13 pan.  Place two sheets of dough flat into buttered pan.  Brush top sheet thoroughly with butter.  Now layer another 2 sheets and again brush with butter.  Do this until you have 8 sheets layered in the pan.
  3. Chop nuts finely in a food processor (or by hand).  Stir in cinnamon.  Sprinkle a layer of nuts onto top sheet of phyllo dough (approx. 1/4 cup).  4.  Top with 2 more sheets of dough, butter then sprinkle with nuts.  Repeat these steps several more times until you reach the desired thickness.
  4. Top with 2 sheets of dough.  Butter top then repeat this (with no nuts) 3 times until you have 6 sheets (3 layers) of dough on top.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 long strips, then cut diagonally in both directions to make triangles.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. While Baklava is baking, make your sauce.  Boil 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar until dissolved.  Add honey.  Simmer for 20 min.  Add vanilla.
  7. When baklava is done baking, remove from oven and pour sauce over the top.  Let cool almost completely then remove pieces with a stiff metal spatula while still slightly warm.   Place each individual piece into a cupcake wrapper or parchment square. Do not cover. You don’t want any moisture to build because it will change the flaky texture.  Enjoy!

 

Coconut Macaroons – Heaven’s Cookie

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Seriously! If there are cookies served in Heaven (how could there not be, right?) – these will be them.  Not only do they come close to being the best thing I’ve ever eaten but they have no butter or oil and only use egg whites so besides a little sugar, they are probably one of the healthier cookies out there.  I only recently became acquainted with coconut macaroons on a summer trip to Denver.  I loved them so much and could not stay away from the little stash my sister-in-law had.  When I returned home, I immediately went on a search for the perfect coconut macaroon.  It only took one shot and I found it.  These are incredibly easy to make and will leave you oooing and awwing with every single bite.  They are slightly crispy on the bottoms and around the very outer layer and just seriously pure chewy heaven on the inside.   I now ensure that I buy coconut every single time I go to the store (in the bulk section)  because these have become a permanent fixture in my cookie jar.   There is one major problem with this recipe, it only makes 12-14 cookies.  Feel free to octuple it 🙂 Enough said.

Of course I always give credit where credit is due… However, my printer was out of ink when I discovered this wonderful recipe, so I had to hand-write it, and now I cannot find it online again for the life of me. I apologize to the macaroon genius who created this beautiful masterpiece.

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup flour

Directions:

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In a double boiler, mix egg whites, sugar and salt.  If you do not own a double boiler like me, use a bowl that will fit into a small sauce pan without touching the bottom.  Add about 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan.  The bowl should not touch the water.

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Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly until it is  thoroughly heated and sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Stir in almond extract.  Add coconut and flour.  Stir until incorporated.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour (or if you are like me and can not stop shoving the dough in your mouth and are afraid it won’t last an hour, just stick it in the freezer until it is cool (15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally.

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Heat oven to 325. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  I know this is an item that not everyone has in your kitchen.  Don’t substitute wax paper.  Wax paper is not meant for being heated so the wax will melt off and burn and smoke.  If you don’t have parchment and don’t see a trip to the grocery store in your near future, line your baking sheet with foil and grease the foil.  It may change the outcome of your cookie slightly but at least you won’t be scraping chunks of cookie stuck onto your baking sheet. Drop dough by 2 heaping Tablespoons or use your medium-sized cookie scoop for the perfect size and shape.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.

Cool 5 minutes or at least long enough to not singe your tongue because 5 minutes will seem like an eternity.

Serve in a cardboard box shoved way to the back of your pantry where no one else can find it 😉 OR you could double the batch and at least let one other person in on your secret stash.

Pumpkin Pillows with Salted Caramel Frosting

I have made several variations of this cookie over the years but I think this is my favorite. Before tasting salted caramel, I was not crazy about the idea, but after I did, I understood what this whole Salted Caramel craze was about.  This cookies are so light and “pillowy” (for a lack of a better word).  The frosting is rich and buttery and those little granules of salt on top break the sweetness slightly and just make the taste peak with perfection.   This is a family favorite of ours and will soon be a favorite in  your family I’m sure.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 can canned pumpkin (or 2 cups fresh puree)

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

Caramel Frosting

3 Tbsp margarine or butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp kosher or course sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In large bowl, beat sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup butter until light and fluffy.  Add pumpkin, vanilla and egg; blend well.

Add flour baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; mix well.  Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto un-greased cookie sheets.  (I prefer my medium sized-cookie scoop).

Bake at 350 F. for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. I usually touch the top off one of the cookies very lightly to be sure it is firm enough not to leave an indentation. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.  Cool completely.

While cookies are baking, prepare frosting.  In medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons margarine then add 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Bring to a boil.   Cook over medium heat 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.

Cool 10 minutes.  At this point, it will appear like brown sugar with butter melted into it, only a little darker.  It will not be smooth.  Add milk; beat until smooth (It takes a few minutes to get the brown sugar lumps out).  Beat in enough powdered sugar for a good spreading consistency.

Frost cooled cookies then sprinkle very lightly with kosher or sea salt.  Let stand until frosting is set.

Pumpkin Week!!! Homemade Pumpkin Puree

I can’t wait for each and every recipe I have coming up for you this week.  I am a huge fan of pumpkin everything so I have more than enough FABULOUS recipes to give you a full week’s worth of pumpkin heaven.

With my hubby gone hunting and the rainy season started, the boys and I decided we would head down to our local farm stand and pick up some sugar pie pumpkins for a day full of baking.    They had so much fun getting all of the “guts” out of the pumpkins and separating all of the seeds so we could roast them.

Now, I can honestly say, I cannot taste a HUGE difference in flavor between canned pumpkin and fresh pumpkin puree, but if you are looking for a really fun, cheap fall activity to stock up on puree (which is generally pretty expensive otherwise) for the season, this is definitely worth it the effort.

Ingredients:

1-2 sugar pie (or baking) pumpkins – your local farmer or grocer will be able to point you in the right direction.  They are generally small, round, pretty smooth pumpkins with little speckles on them.
I roasted 2 pumpkins and got 10 cups of puree (which is equivalent to 5 cans of puree) and at $2/pumpkin, it is much cheaper.

Directions:

Cut pumpkin in half, vertically.  These pumpkins are generally pretty firm so be careful.  I find that a bread knife or serrated steak knife work better than my big sharp chef knives.  Cut right up to the stem on both sides then break apart with your hands.  You should then just be able to grab the stem and break it off pretty easily.

Remove the “guts” as my boys would call it.  Be sure to scrap the inside well with a spoon to remove any of the stringy pulp.  Separate the seeds into a bowl and rinse. If you fill the bowl with water, the seeds will float and the pulp will generally sink to the bottom.  Lay on a paper towel to dry.  We will be roasting them later this week 🙂

Line large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place pumpkin halves face down on cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 for approximately 90 minutes or until pumpkins are soft.  As you can see in my pictures, one of my pumpkins cooked much faster than the other so it was extra soft after it was baked.

Cool until you can handle them safely.  The skin of the pumpkin should peel off very easily.  After you have them peeled, cut into chunks and place into a food processor or blender.

Puree until very smooth.  Using a fine mesh strainer, strain excess liquid from puree.  It seems like the puree will just run right through but it won’t.  Don’t force it through the strainer, just let it drain naturally.  Let each batch drain for several minutes. *One of my blog followers recommends in the comments below to let the puree sit in the fridge overnight.  The liquid will all come to the top while the puree sinks to the bottom so if you are not planning on using it right away, this would be a really easy option. *

If you aren’t planning on using all of your puree now, divide it into freezer bags in 2 cup portions.  I like to fold the top of the bag over before I start measuring.  This will keep the top of the bag where you need a good seal from getting all gunky.  Press the excess air from the bag, label bag and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

COOKIE WEEK!!! – Soft Snicker Doodles

As Cookie week comes to a close, my pants seem to be fitting a little tighter :).  It was so fun to have an excuse to have fresh-baked cookies almost every day.  Today, I wanted to share a really great recipe for snicker doodles.  First of all, I want to hug whoever thought up the name of this cookie, it’s just so fun.  This recipe came from AllRecipes.com, submitted by LKUEHL.  I made it for the first time about 6 months ago and was instantly smitten.  I threw away the other snicker doodle recipe that I had used for so long because this one was simply PERFECT!  A little crunchy on the edges and so soft on the inside.  My boys really love helping me make snicker doodles because they get the job of rolling the dough balls in cinnamon.  It makes them feel so important.  While I find it so hard to let go of my OCD when the cinnamon isn’t on there evenly or the dough “ball” is now a dough “blob,” I just have to smile and let it go because it is so fun and rewarding to them.

Ingredients:

1 cup shortening

1 and 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 and 1/2 cups sugar.  Blend in the eggs one at a time until well mixed.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture until well blended.

In a small bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup sugar and 3 tsp cinnamon.  Roll dough into walnut sized balls (or use your medium-sized cookie scoop).  Roll balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, two inches apart.

Bake for 8-10 minutes .  When cookies get that “cracked” look, they are ready to come out of the oven (see picture).  As with most cookie recipes, you always want to pull them from the oven before they seem to be fully cooked or browned.  This will keep your cookies nice and soft.

Cool on wire racks then seal in an airtight container to keep soft.

COOKIE WEEK!!! (part 2) Decadent Nutella No-Bakes

Wow what a week it has been!  When I decided to do a “Cookie Week,” this last week, I was completely underestimating what the second half of my week was going to have in store for me. On Thursday, I had what was supposed to be a “minor” surgery on my arm.  I thought it would leave me a little sore but completely able to function.  I knew my grandfather’s funeral service was Saturday, so my plan was to bake enough batches of cookies on Thursday and Friday for the remainder of the week, blog them, and take the cookies to the service… Wow, I was completely wrong!  Not only was I in excruciating pain, I got really sick from the pain killers.  So, needless to say, I was unable to finish out my cookie week this last week.

We had the most amazingly beautiful service for my Grandpa on Saturday.  While we cried so many tears, we also got to laugh a lot remembering what a funny, amazing man he was.  He had a full military (Air Force) grave-site service.  If any of you have ever experienced one, you know how incredible they are and how the folding and presenting of the flag with “Taps” playing in the background on the trumpet makes you gush tears.  I am so very thankful for my wonderful family.  I love that we are all so close and don’t just get together for funerals and weddings but several times every year and I am especially thankful that God blessed me with such a precious Grandfather.

I am feeling SO much better now (physically and emotionally), so it is back in the kitchen to give my wonderful followers the rest of their cookie recipes!  Sorry if any of you sat by your computers for three days, waiting for the remainder cookie week  ;).

Okay, on to cookies… I have been so excited to post this recipe because these are BY FAR the most incredible no-bake cookies I have ever had.  They are so rich, creamy and full of chocolatey goodness… not to mention, made with one of my very favorite ingredients on the planet… NUTELLA!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup milk

1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup Nutella

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup quick oats

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and cocoa.  Add milk  and stir until combined.  Add butter and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and continue to boil for three minutes, still stirring.

Remove from heat and add Vanilla and Nutella.

Add oats and mix well.

Let stand for a minute or two, allowing the oats to absorb some of the moisture.  When the mix starts to firm up, drop spoonfuls (or use your cookie scoop) onto waxed paper and allow cookies to cool and set.