December 22, 2018

Mince Pies

Hard to believe but in all the years that I've visited London and the United Kingdom never have I ever tasted the quintessential British Christmas dessert, Mince Pies.  Chalk it up to my fear of the mincemeat filling; something sweet with the name "meat" in it?  Hmmmm...I'll pass, thanks.  It was only after seeing Paul Hollywood's recipe did I figure it was time to give them a try.
Paul is one of my baking Yodas and I loved how his version took pre-made mincemeat filling and doctored it up with citrus zest and chopped apples.  For the crust I used America's Test Kitchen's recipe for sweet tart pastry or pâte sucrée.
Because mince pies can be overly sweet I made mine in mini muffin tins to keep the portions small but still cute and dainty.  I  have to say I love how they turned out.  And no soggy bottoms in sight because I made sure to bake them until they were deep golden brown.  A final snowfall of confectioner's sugar was all that was needed.
Happy Christmas to All!

December 9, 2018

Zebra-Striped Shortbread Cookies

I knew I had to make these Zebra-Striped Shortbread Cookies as soon as I saw them pictured in the December 2018 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.   Chocolate and vanilla shortbread are nothing new; I've made a checkerboard version for years each Christmas.  What I love about this version is the fresh and modern take on a classic.  The dough could not have been easier to put together and shape.  Next time I'm going to divide the two colors even more so that the stripes look super realistic!

December 2, 2018


Making a Kransekake was long overdue for me.  You would think that since I have such strong ties to Norway I would have made this "cookie cake" a lot sooner, but chalk it up to laziness I guess.  My introduction to this glorious confection was at my dear friends' wedding in Bergen almost fifteen years ago.   Kransekake is traditionally served at celebrations like weddings, christenings, Constitution Day (17th of May) and Christmas.  After purchasing these kransekake cake forms I really had no more excuses and was determined to make it this holiday season.  

Luckily I had no trouble finding a great recipe.  One of my favorite Scandinavian baking blogs, Passion for Baking, had one that was very straightforward with minimal ingredients: almond flour, confectioner's sugar, egg whites and vanilla.  I used my stand mixer to bring the dough together and a cookie press to pipe long tubes of the dough.  You can forgo these and do both by hand if you want. 

The kransekake's impressive appearance belies its simplicity  I was shocked at how easy it was to make and assemble.  When finished it's a true show stopper.  I'm planning to make a few more of these to give as holiday gifts.  God Jul to All!

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