Lilac cookies

This is recipe for lilac cookies. Flower cookies shaped as flowers. Lilac is edible, its taste is delicate, not easy to describe. There is detectable a hint of plant aroma like when using herbs or tea but it is not very intensive and so strong like for example rose. Unfortunately the smell is not long lasting, the cookies have very subtle sweet and plant flavour. Nevertheless they are worth to be baked even to learn what we will get and they turned out really good. Enjoy!

 

amount depends on size

 

 Ingredients:

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 6 tablespoons ground lilac sugar*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour

Icing:

  • 5 tablespoons ground lilac sugar
  • 5 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons dried lilac flowers (petals)

 *I made lilac sugar covering lilac flowers with caster sugar in a jar. Set aside for 2 days at least and then grind together flowers and sugar in a coffee grinder to powder.  

 

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and lilac sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, mix together. Gradually add flour still mixing on medium speed until the dough forms a ball (the sides of the bowl should be almost clean). The amount of flour you need could vary because of flour type. If the dough is still very soft and does not shape a ball add more flour, one tablespoon at the time. When is ready, remove it from the bowl, wrap in a cling film and let cool in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Place the cooled pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out into 1/5 inch thick piece. Cut off flower shaped cookies. You may cut off a circle in the middle. Place cookies onto prepared tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes until light golden brown and darker on the edges. Cool on a wire rack. When cooled top the half of batch with lilac icing and the second half with white icing with petals.

Lilac icing: mix 5 tablespoons powdered lilac sugar and 1 tablespoon water until smooth, thick but still liquid mixture. Brush cookies on the top covering with icing. Set aside until set.

White icing: mix 5 tablespoons icing sugar and 1 tablespoon water until smooth, thick but still liquid mixture. Brush cookies on the top covering with icing. Sprinkle with dried lilac petals. Set aside until set.

 

 

Category: Cookies.

Tags: lilac.

Purple tart with peaches

This is truly ordinary peach tart in fact. Simple ingredients, easy preparing, great taste of luscious fruits in shortbread frame. To avoid boredom I decided to check whether it is possible to colour the pastry (and save the colour after baking) only with 100% natural ingredients which are freeze-dried fruits. I used powdered mulberries which gave deep, intensive purple colour (you may also use blueberry powder). The pastry colurs easily and the tint stays after baking. The taste of shortbread is almost unaffected, the mulberry flavour is detectable very slightly. The tart looks interesting and is a nice change from ‘common’ beige colour. Enjoy!

 

1 tart ø 10 inch

 

Ingredients for the base:

  • 2/3 cup softened butter
  • 6 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 tablespoons freeze-dried fruit powder (mulberry or blueberry)
  • 2  cups all purpose flour

Filling:

  • 2 lbs fresh peaches
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond flour

 

Shortbread base: in a small bowl mix together mulberry (blueberry) powder and egg white. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in purple egg white. Gradually add flour still mixing on medium speed until the dough forms a ball (the sides of the bowl should be almost clean). The amount of flour you need could vary because of flour type. If the dough is still very soft and does not shape a ball add more flour, one tablespoon at the time. When is ready, remove it from the bowl, wrap in a cling film and let cool in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.

Make filling: wash and pit peaches, slice them roughly. In a bowl mix together sugar and corn starch. Add peaches and vanilla and move the bowl to toss fruits in sugar mixture. Set aside for ½ hour.

Place the cooled pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out into 1/5 inch thick piece. Fill pan with prepared pastry and press to place properly. Sprinkle almond flour over the base. Re-roll the remaining pastry. Drain the peach mixture and spread over pastry base. Cut the remaining pastry into strips and arrange lattice pattern on the top. Note! Do not brush the top of the pastry with anything in order to save the purple colour. Place the tart in the fridge until the oven is heated.

Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes (until the pastry is slightly darker on the edges and the filling is bubbling). Cool after baking on a wire rack.


 

Category: Pastries/tarts.

Tags: blueberry, mulberry, peach.

Apricots lavender tart

Fresh apricots appeared in stores so it comes a possibility to bake new cake. On my blog already exist some apricot bakes but probably there was a lack of a tart. Here we have: shortbread base, apricot filling with a hint of lavender, top covered with flowers. The cake is very simple but also very tasty at the same time. Huge loads of fruits in a crunchy frame is always a good idea. Enjoy!

 

1 tart ø 10 inch

 

Ingredients for the base:

  • 2/3 cup softened butter
  • 7 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  cups all purpose flour

Filling:

  • 2 lbs fresh apricots
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender petals (ground to the powder)

Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar

 

Shortbread base: in the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in egg and vanilla, mix together. Gradually add flour still mixing on medium speed until the dough forms a ball (the sides of the bowl should be almost clean). The amount of flour you need could vary because of flour type. If the dough is still very soft and does not shape a ball add more flour, one tablespoon at the time. When is ready, remove it from the bowl, wrap in a cling film and let cool in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.

Make filling: wash and pit apricots, slice them into half quarters. In a bowl mix together sugar, corn starch and lavender. Add apricots and move the bowl to toss fruits in sugar mixture. Set aside for ½ hour.

Place the cooled pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out into 1/5 inch thick piece. Fill pan with prepared pastry and press to place properly. Re-roll the remaining pastry. Drain the apricot mixture and spread over pastry base. Cut out flowers from remaining pastry and arrange them over the filling. Beat the egg with milk in a small bowl and brush the top of the pastry with. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place the tart in the fridge until the oven is heated.

Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes (until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling). Cool after baking on a wire rack.


 

Category: Pastries/tarts.

Tags: apricots, lavender.

Chocolate cake with blackberry frosting – ‘dinosaurs’ world’

This is my son’s birthday cake for his 4. birthday and he wished ‘dinosaurs’ world’. I did not want to use sugar fondant on the top and for decorations because it is very sweet product and without any nutrition values. I made all decorations of shortbread cookies and small angular shaped candies which pretend to be ‘stones’. I baked dinosaurs and bones shaped cookies to create the Jurassic scene and added some real plants which emphasise the prehistoric mood. The cake is a classic chocolate sponge frosted with mascarpone based frosting. Three layers of very chocolate-y (and very dark) sponge are layered with yummy blackberry frosting. The sponge is tasty, moist and velvety. The frosting is light, fruit-y and fresh. The chocolate blackberry combo is one of my favourite flavour pairs and is really yummy. Enjoy!

 

3 sandwich pans ø 8 inch

 

Sponges ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa* powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 115 ml plant oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¾  cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup strong brewed coffee (hot)

Frosting:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 500 g mascarpone cheese
  • 350 g blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 9 tablespoons icing sugar

Cookies:

  • ½  cup softened butter
  • 5 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon flour

 Decorations:

  • 20-30 pcs small angular shaped truffles or candies
  • small pieces of real shrubs

 * I used very dark (alkalized) cocoa powder. You may use ordinary baking cocoa powder – the colour of sponge will be yet brown not black and the taste will be less bitter.

 

Cookies (you may bake them day or two ahead and store in an airtight container): in the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in egg and vanilla, mix together. Gradually add flour still mixing on medium speed until the dough forms a ball (the sides of the bowl should be almost clean). The amount of flour you need could vary because of flour type. If the dough is still very soft and does not shape a ball add more flour, one tablespoon at the time. When is ready, remove it from the bowl, wrap in a cling film and let cool in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the cooled pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out into 1/5 inch thick circle pan. Cut out  with cookie cutter dinosaurs and bones. Place them on a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes (small shapes shorter, bigger shapes longer) until golden beige with darker edges. Cool after baking.

Chocolate cake: preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and line pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat oil and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolk  – one at a time and beat well after each addition. With last yolk add vanilla and almond extract.. In a separated bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to oil mixture in three batches alternate with sour cream, starting and ending with flour. When all ingredients are well incorporated add hot brewed coffee and mix shortly just until incorporated. Divide dough evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes (until a tooth pick inserted in to the center comes out clean). Leave cakes for 10 minutes in pans then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.  

Frosting: blend blackberries until puree. If they are frozen heat in a saucepan for few minutes until soft. Drain before blending. Whip the cream until stiff. Beat in mascarpone cheese with icing sugar. Add blackberry puree, mix until combined.

Place the first sponge on a serving plate. Spread over 1/3 mascarpone frosting. Cover with second sponge and repeat spreading. Cover with third sponge. Spread the rest of mascarpone frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Place into the fridge to set.

Before serving make decorations: cover the sides with cookie bones (the frosting will glue them). Add some ‘stones’. On the top arrange knolls and walles of ‘stones’ i place dinosaurs in between. Add a little plants.

 

 

 

Category: Layered.

Tags: blackberry, chocolate, cocoa, mascarpone.

Chocolate cheesecake with strawberry panna cotta

I made this cheesecake for my daughter’s birthday instead of traditional birthday cake. Chocolate and strawberry flavours chosen by her are popular combo but still very successful and tasty. The texture of this cheesecake is subtle, creamy and light. The chocolate taste is intensive but not overpowering and perfectly harmonizes with strawberry panna cotta. Fresh strawberries on the top complement nicely the whole dessert. Enjoy!

 

You should make this cheesecake a day before because it must spend the night in the fridge to become proper structure.

round spring pan 8 inch

 

 Base:

  • 170 g tea biscuits
  • ¼ cup butter, melted

Cheesecake:

  • 500 g cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 125 g dark chocolate

Panna cotta:

  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoon freeze-dried strawberries (powder)
  • 2.5 teaspoons gelatine

 

Make the base: process biscuits in the food processor until very fine (sand texture). Add melted butter and mix until well incorporated. Line the bottom of a spring pan with parchment paper. Spoon the mixture evenly pressing lightly with a spoon. Let it cool in the fridge.

Make cheesecake: heat the cream until boiling. Remove from the heat, add chocolate broken into pieces and set aside for 5 minutes. Then mix until smooth. Cool slightly.

In a bowl of a stand mixer beat remaining ingredients until smooth mixture form. Add chocolate cream, mix shortly. Cheesecake will be baked in water bath (bain-marie) so wrap the spring pan filled with biscuit base  in two pieces of aluminium foil and place in a bigger pan filled with hot water to the half-way of spring pan sides. Pour the cheese mixture over the biscuit base. Place both pans together in hot oven (325°F) and bake for 1 hour. The cheesecake have to be set on its whole surface, if is not bake it longer. Once is baked remove from bigger water pan, waste the aluminium foil and place cheesecake in pan to the fridge for overnight.

When the cheesecake is in the oven make panna cotta: place gelatine in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes to bloom. Heat milk with cream in a saucepan until hot. Remove from the heat, add strawberry powder and sugar and mix until dissolved. Heat gelatine gently in a double boiler or microwave until dissolves, not boil. Stir liquid gelatine in prepared mixture. Pour the mixture into silicon mould shaped of your choice (I made spiral circle and few small butterflies) and place to the fridge for overnight. Before removing from mould freeze for 30 minutes in freezer.

Next day remove cheesecake from the pan and place on a cake stand. Remove frozen panna cotta from the mould and place on the top of cheesecake. Decorate with fresh strawberries. Store in fridge.

 

 

 Category: Cheesecakes.

Tags: chocolate, strawberry.