Strawberry anise shortbread cookies

These cookies are baked as a one large shortbread cake and divide into triangle pieces. The cake structure is quite flaky and cookies have to be pretty thick. Strawberries are added twice: as freeze-dried fruit powder and fresh fruits chopped finely. The addition of anise increase the strawberry flavour and give some intriguing herbal tone. Enjoy!

 

12 pieces

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure anise extract
  • ¾  cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons freeze-dried strawberries (powder)
  • 7-8 fresh strawberries chopped finely

 

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in anise extract, mix together. Add flour with cornstarch and fruit powder and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Add fresh strawberries and mix gently until incorporated. Transfer dough to a 9 inch tart pan and press to evenly fill up  bottom and sides. Cover and let cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a knife score dough into 12 wedges and prick all over with a fork or wooden skewer. Bake for 35 minutes until light brown and set in the center. Remove from oven and immediately re-cut into wedges. Let cool on a wire rack.


 

Category: Cookies.

Tags: anise, strawberry.

Hazelnut meringue cake with Nutella style frosting

I call it meringue because the main ingredients are egg whites and sugar. In fact, the addition of ground hazelnut change the taste and structure as well. Soft and crunchy cake is layered with homemade ‘Nutella’ frosting made of hazelnuts and chocolate. The whole cake is light in structure and in taste and clearly but subtle nutty. It is a kind of Ferrero Rocher ball flavour and because of that is decorated with. By the way: fresh for couple of days. Enjoy!

 

springpan ø 8 inch

 

Meringue:

  • 200 g hazelnuts
  • 1 ¼ cups (200 g) icing sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

 Frosting:

  • 100 g hazelnuts
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup (40 g) icing sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream

 Decoration:

  • 50 g dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Ferrero Rocher balls
  • chocolate rosettes

 

 

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking tray.

Spread all (for meringue and frosting) nuts on the baking tray. Roast for 10-12 minutes until starts to smell pretty. Remove nuts from the oven and place them in a sheet of paper towel. Peel their skin off by scratching one by another throw the towel.

Lower the oven temperature to 325°F and line the bottom of spring pan with parchment paper.

Process hazelnuts for meringue in food processor until finely ground. Add half of the sugar and corn starch and mix together. Beat egg whites with salt until stiff peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar still beating on lower speed. Turn off the mixer and bring together the egg foam and nuts-cornstarch mixture stirring carefully with rubber spatula. Pour the cake mixture into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until golden beige in colour. After baking separate the cake of pan sides with a knife. Cool in pan.

Frosting: melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Place remaining hazelnuts and icing sugar in a food processor and process until thick paste. Add chocolate and process until well incorporated. In a separated bowl beat whipping cream until stiff. Mix in the chocolate-nuts paste with rubber spatula.

Cut the meringue horizontally into three layers. Spread the half of frosting on the first layer and cover with the second. Spread the rest of frosting and cover with third layer.

Decoration: melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Add oil and mix. Spread on the top of the top and let it drip on sides. Decorate with half cut Ferrero balls and chocolate rosettes.


 

Category: Meringues and macarons.

Tags: chocolate, glutenfree, hazelnut.

Liquorice truffles in powdered fruits

Truffles made of white chocolate which I transformed into liquorice chocolate by adding liquorice syrup. These truffles are soft and delicate, they taste sweet like chocolate and herbal like liquorice. The flavour is subtle and sophisticated and there is nothing of herbal bitterness. The cover made of freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries completes perfectly the taste – sour for the first bite and sweet-herbal for the second. Enjoy!

 

about 25 pieces

 

Ingredients:

  • 100 ml whipping cream
  • 200 g white chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons liquorice syrup (recipe here)
  • 3 teaspoons ground liquorice root

Cover:

  • 2 tablespoons freeze-dried strawberries powder
  • 2 tablespoons freeze-dried raspberries powder

 

 

Place in the saucepan cream, liquorice syrup  and liquorice powder. Heat until hot. Remove from the heat, add chopped chocolate and set aside for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool 2-3 hours in the fridge. The mixture will become thick.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon onto the tray small portions of chocolate mixture (walnut size). Cool in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and shape by hands each portion into regular ball. Cool in the fridge or freezer for the next 30 minutes.

Cover each ball with fruit powder (one batch in strawberry, second batch in raspberry).


 

Category: Desserts/icecreams.

Tags: chocolate, glutenfree, liquorice, raspberry, strawberry.

Tiramisu cake

I suppose everyone knows Italian Tiramisu dessert. This cake is that dessert shaped as a cake and includes the whole essence of it: coffee, booze and mascarpone cream. Light coffee sponge is soaked with coffee and rum and layered with mascarpone cream and coffee jelly. The top and sides are covered with the same frosting and dusted with dark cocoa powder. The cake is a sophisticated, subtle, tasty treat and matches perfectly with... a cup of coffee. Enjoy!

 

springpan ø 9 inch

 

Sponge:

  • 5 eggs (separated whites and yolks)
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • ½ cup (80 g) all purpose flour
  • ½ cup (95 g) cornstarch (corn flour)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons instant coffee (granules or powder)
  • 1 tablespoon hot water

 Coffee jelly:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons gelatine
  • 300 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee (granules or powder)

 Soak:

  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee (granules or powder)
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 50 ml rum
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract

 Frosting:

  • 500 g mascarpone cheese
  • 150 ml whipping cream
  • 8 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated dark chocolate

 Decoration:

  • 3 tablespoons dark cocoa

 

 

Coffee jelly: Place gelatine in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes until blooms. Heat gently softened gelatine  in a double boiler or microwave and stir to dissolve. In a saucepan place water, coffee and sugar and heat until dissolved.  Stir liquid gelatine in warm coffee. Pour jelly into silicon round mould similar size to your spring pan. You can use also another round like shape – I made a flower. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours until set.  

Sponge: preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl of a stand mixer beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually beating continuously. In a small bowl mix together coffee powder and hot water until dissolved. Add the coffee mixture to egg yolks and mix until combined. Gradually add coffee yolks to the sugar – whites foam beating with lower mixer speed. Stop the mixer once well incorporated. Mix in both flours in few batches stiring gently with rubber spatula. Pour the cake mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes (until the wooden skewer comes out clean). Cool in pan.

Soak: stir coffee powder in hot water until dissolved. Mix in rum and almond extract (instead of them you can use Amaretto almond liqueur).

Mascarpone cream: beat cream with icing sugar until stiff. Gradually add mascarpone cheese beating gently until cheese lasts.

Cut the cooled sponge horizontally into three layers. Set aside 3-4 tablespoons of prepared mascarpone cream to decoration. Place the first layer of sponge on the plate and brush with soak. Spread with ¼ mascarpone cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate. Cover with the second layer, brush it with soak and spread thinly with mascarpone cream. Remove the coffee jelly from the mould and place on the sponge. Cover with ¼ mascarpone cream ans sprinkle with grated chocolate. Cover with the last sponge and brush it with soak. Spread the remaining mascarpone cream on the top and sides of the cake. Place the saved cream in a piping bag with plain tip (nozzle) and pipe small bubbles on the top of the cake. Cocer sides of the cake with dark cocoa powder. Dust gently the top with dark cocoa.


 

Category: Layered.

Tags: chocolate, coffee, mascarpone.

Heart shaped cranberry cookies

These are classic biscuits enriched by dried cranberry. Fruits diversify the taste, add slightly sour flavour. The cookies are buttery and subtle. A bit thicker than usual, comfortable to hold, crunchy and yummy. Enjoy!

 

about 50 pieces, depending on size

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 ½ cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 75 g dried cranberry

 

 

In the bowl of a standing mixer beat butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add egg, beat. Add flour and cranberry and beat until the dough forms smooth and tight mixture. This dough is softer than usual so can form not regular ball. Wrap in a cling film and chill in the fridge for 2-3 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Cooled pastry roll out into 1/5 inch trick circle. Cut out hearts and place them onto prepared tray. Bake for 10-15 (depending on the oven) until light brown and firm. Cool on a wire rack.


 

Category: Cookies.

Tags: cranberry.