May 25, 2014

Liege Waffles

Apparently I've got waffle on the brain because this is my second post about them this month.   While the Norwegian Vaffler are thin and pliable, their Belgian counterparts are anything but.  Inspiration to make Liege Waffles came from my cousin-in-law Cheryl who posted a picture of them on her Instagram account a few weeks ago.  

In the US most people are familiar with "Brussels waffles", aka Belgian waffles, but these Liege ones are a little different.  They're sweeter, denser and chewier than their well-known cousin.  The butter laden brioche-style batter is studded to the brim with chunky pearl sugar which melts and caramelizes on the outside when the waffles cook.   DELICIOUS!!!

My preference is to enjoy them plain but they're also the perfect base for other toppings like whipped cream or fresh fruit.   I've never had the pleasure of enjoying these treats in their native land, but I hope to one day.  In the meantime this version will more than suffice...and you don't need a passport to enjoy them! 

May 18, 2014

Strawberry Cupcakes

We Californians are definitely spoiled, from the beautiful weather to the overabundance of delicious fruit and veg.   I grew up in the central region of the state, specifically the San Joaquin Valley, and my parents continue to make their home there.   On my last two visits I made it a point to stop by the local stand near the house where miles and miles of strawberry fields thrive under the sun.  The strawberries are some of the most amazing that I've ever had, as sweet as candy.  They're picked daily so you know you're getting the fruit at the height of its deliciousness.

With all this luscious fruit I was looking for a recipe to showcase their wonderful flavor.  I remembered seeing a recipe for Strawberry Dream Cake in Cook's Country that would foot the bill.  But since I didn't feel like making a layer cake I converted them to cupcakes.  I used a different recipe for the frosting than the one included in the cake recipe.  I had fantastic results with the Easy Vanilla Frosting in the past so I tweaked it slightly by adding strawberries.  AMAZING!  It tasted exactly like strawberry ice cream.    

May 17, 2014

Vaffler (Norwegian Waffles)

In honor of today, syttende mai or the "17th of May", I'm making one of my all-time favorite Norwegian treats - vaffler.  These aren't the American style waffles that are eaten at breakfast with maple syrup.    Rather, these are soft and pliable and eaten as a snack.  

You'll find vaffler all over Norway: at the 7-11 convenience store, coffee shops and even the airport, but I like homemade ones the best.  My Norwegian family loves to eat their waffles with brunost, a sweet brown goat cheese, but I prefer mine with a little dollop of Nora raspberry jam

The batter comes together super quickly and you MUST use a heart-shaped waffle iron.   The recipe calls for cardamom which is used throughout Nordic baking and gives the waffles a truly authentic taste.  


May 10, 2014

Summer Berry Chiffon Cake

This Summer Berry Chiffon Cake instantly called out to me when I saw it in the June/July 2014 issue of Cook's Country, almost as if I was being taunted to make it.  Hahaha...obviously it worked.  Now that we're at the tail end of spring and on the cusp of summer this cake is perfectly apropos to make, especially with all the bountiful berries at the farmer's market.  

What sets this apart from other cakes is the easy to make, homemade jam filling that is spread between the layers of chiffon cake and cream.    The jam gives you an intensive burst of berry goodness which perfectly complements the refreshing whipped cream.   Delicious!  

I dedicate this cake to all the moms in my life - Happy Mother's Day!!!

May 4, 2014

Tres Leches Cake

Need a delicious cake to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (or any occasion for that matter)?  You've got to try this Tres Leches Cake from Cook's Country.   If you're not familiar with this Mexican dessert it's a sponge cake that is soaked in three types of "milk" (heavy cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk) and frosted with lightly sweetened whipped cream. 

I'm not a fan of versions that are completely drenched in milk; so much so they leave a puddle of liquid on your plate.   Rather, I prefer mine to be moist, not mushy.  This recipe gets it right.  

I've included the full recipe here which makes a 9x13 inch cake, but for the blog I made half the recipe and baked it in an 8x3 inch round cake pan.   Came out great!  

Note: Be sure to use all the milk mixture when you soak the baked cake.  I didn't (had about 1/4 cup of the liquid leftover) and found that I had a few dry pockets in the cake.   

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