• Homemade chocolate truffles in winter tastes. Cinnamon and freeze-dried apples covered with caramel glaze are fully in Christmas mood. There are few simple ingredients and not complicated preparing so maybe you make them as a holiday gift for someone? But I understand if you want to save them for yourselves – they are just delicious. And nothing could better match the December treats. Enjoy!

     

    about 20 pieces

     

    Ingredients:

    • 150 ml whipping cream
    • 200 g dark chocolate (I used Belgian 72%)
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped freeze-dried apples

    Caramel glaze:

    • 5 tablespoons dark brown sugar (muscovado)
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 5 tablespoons whipping cream

     

     

    Place the cream and cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in dark chocolate cut roughly. Set aside for 5 minutes. Mix together until the mixture is smooth. Mix in the chopped apples. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Take the small portion (walnut size) with a teaspoon and place onto the baking tray. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and shape each portion into regular ball. Chill in the fridge for next 30 minutes.

    Glaze: in a small sauce pan place the butter and brown sugar. Heat slowly until they melt. Add whipping cream, mix together. Bring to the boil. Boil few minutes until slightly thickens. Remove from the heat. Take truffles out the fridge. Deep each in caramel glaze. You may sprinkle with some sprinkles. Chill for few minutes in the fridge. Store in fridge.


     

    Category: Desserts/icecreams.

    Tags:apple, caramel, Christmas, cinnamon, chocolate, glutenfree.

  • This is traditional Polish Christmas cake called ‘makowiec’. Made of yeast dough (sweet bread – brioche like) filled with poppy seeds mixture. In a classic version (usually made) is baked as a Swiss roll shape. I tried some new shape – giant spiral and it works fantastic. The filling is more connected to the dough and for me it causes more taste in every bit. The filling is packed with poppy seeds, raisins, almonds and honey. You may also add nuts and candied orange zest if desired. Try some new cake on your festive table. Enjoy!

     

    springpan ø 9 inch

     

    Dough:

    • 180 ml lukewarm milk
    • 4 teaspoons dried yeast
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 3 cups bread flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2/3 cup butter, softened

    Filling:

    • 350 g poppy seeds
    • 200 ml milk
    • 7 tablespoons honey
    • 30 g almonds, chopped finely
    • 30 g raisins
    • 30 g golden raisins
    • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
    • 1 tablespoon butter, softened

    Sugar icing:

    • ½ cup icing sugar
    • 1-2 tablespoons warm water

     

     

    Place the poppy seeds in a bowl and pour over the milk. Stir with a spoon to sink all poppy seeds. Set aside for 3-4 hours.

    Make dough: in a medium bowl mix together yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for 15 until frothy. Add eggs and egg yolk and stir until smooth. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, remaining sugar and salt. Make a hole in the center and pour the yeast mixture in.  Mix on medium speed until dough is smooth. Stop mixer, scrap the bowl sides. On the low mixer speed add butter – 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the next tablespoon butter only when the previous is fully incorporated. When you use all butter and the dough is ready (smooth and glossy) shape it in a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Let stand in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in size.

    Make the filling: drain poppy seeds, discard milk. Process seeds in a food processor for 3-4 minutes until become soft and velvety. Add remaining filling ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Try and add more honey or other nuts if you wish.

    Grease springpan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

    Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 18 x 12 inch rectangular. Rotate the rectangular in order the wider side is its base closest to you. Cut into five straps (each 3 3/5 inch wide and 12 inch high). Spread the filling even on all straps. Roll the first strap into a roll. Place the roll on the beginning of the second strap and roll together with filling. Place this roll on the beginning of the third strap and roll together. Continue with remaining straps. The last strap do not encompass the whole big roll you got. Carefully lift the giant spiral (help yourself with a spatula), rotate 90° and place it in the sprinpan (the cut surface up). The center of the cake should be in the center of the pan. On sides stays empty space for rising. Let stand in a warm place for 1 hour to rise and reach the sides of the pan. Bake in preheated oven in 400°F for 45-55 minutes. After 25 minutes cover the cake with aluminium foil to avoid scorching. After baking cool in the pan then transfer to a wire rack.

    Make icing: beat together icing sugar and water until smooth. If the icing is too solid add more water. Pour the icing over the top of the cake.


     

    Category: Yeast cakes.

    Tags:almonds, Christmas, poppyseed, raisins, yeast.

  • If you want to eat this cake during holiday time you need only 15 minutes in the morning. Preparing is very easy – you just mix everything with a fork. It is ready to eat just after baking – tender and aromatic. This cake stays fresh for couple of days, it is soft and moist. The taste of classic ginger loaf is sweetened with prunes and slightly bittered with ale icing. The last one ingredient is not unpleasant just a little wild. Enjoy!

     

    loaf pan 12 inch

     

    Ingredients:

    • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar (add ½ cup if you like sweeter cake)
    • ½ cup molasses
    • ½ cup honey
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
    • 3 teaspoons ginger cookies mixed spices (or pumpkin pie spices mix)
    • 2 eggs
    • ¾ cup prunes, chopped finely

    Icing:

    • ½ cup ginger ale
    • 2 tablespoons plum juice (you can omit if cannot find)
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • ½ cup icing sugar
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

     

     

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line the pan with parchment paper (base and short sides).

    Place butter, sugar, molasses, honey and milk in a saucepan and heat on a small heat until sugar has dissolved and butter melted. Bring to the boil and remove from heat. Immediately add baking soda, stir together and set aside for 3-4 minutes. Add flour and spices, mix together. In a small bowl lightly beat eggs with a fork and add to the cake mixture. Add prunes, stir until just incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and cover with aluminium foil. Bake for 1 hour, remove the foil and bake for further 30 minutes. The toothpic inserted into the center of cake should be only slightly covered with small crumbles. Remove from the oven, cool in pan.

    Icing: place ale and plum juice in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Add butter, mix until has melted. Add lemon juice and gradually add sugar beating with a spoon until the icing is smooth and thick enough.

    Remove the cake from pan. Pour the icing over the top of cake letting it drip on sides.


     

    Category: Tea- and bundtcakes.

    Tags:ale, Christmas, ginger, honey, prune.

  • These loaves are soft gingerbread cakes baked in mini sizes. Very easy and quick in preparing, just after baking are soft and ready to eat. The top could be just frosted with sugar icing but jam and marzipan make them more delicious. Cakes are simple and very tasty and at the same time subtle and festive sophisticated. Enjoy!

     

    8 small loaves

     

     Ingredients:

    • 4/5 cup butter
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or ½ cup if you want more sweet cake)
    • ½ cup treacle (molasses)
    • ½ cup honey
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 cup minus 2 tablespoons flour
    • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
    • 3 teaspoons gingerbread spice mix (or pumpkin pie spice mix)
    • 2 eggs

     

    Layering and frosting:

    • 100 g apricots (or fig) jam
    • 200 g marzipan (store bought or homemade – recipe here)

     

     

    Preheat oven to the 320°F. Line pans (bottoms and short sides) with parchment paper.

    Place butter, sugar, treacle, honey and milk In a sauce pan and heat until sugar dissolved and butter melted. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Immediately add baking soda and set aside for 3-4 minutes. Add flour and spices, mix with fork or spoon. Add eggs, mix until combined. Spoon mixture into pans and cover with aluminium foil. Bake for 40 minutes then remove foil and bake for further 30 minutes (until skewer inserted into center comes out clean). Cool in pans.

    Remove cakes from pans and divide each in half horizontally. Spread both cut surfaces with thin layer of  jam. Cut marzipan into thin slices sized and shaped as loaves’ surfaces. You will need two slices for each loaf. If your marzipan is not cube shaped you should roll it out on icing sugar. Place one marzipan slice in the center of each loaf and cover with second half of cake. Spread thin layer of jam of the top of cake and place second slice on it. Cut off marzipan stars and decorate tops.


     

     

     

    Category: Tea- and bundtcakes.

    Tags: cinnamon, Christmas, ginger, honey, marzipan, molasses.

  • Ricciarelli are Italian biscuits made of ground almonds and egg whites. They are crunchy outside and chewy inside. They are gluten free and fat free. These biscuits could be baked in various flavours –I choose chocolate for divine taste. Before baking ricciarelli are richly dusted with icing sugar which causes the pretty pattern after baking because skin under the sugar pops and shows darker colour. The taste is just amazing and far better than macarons as not so sweet. Enjoy!

     

    about 25 pieces, depending on size

     

    Ingredients:

    • 165 g ground almonds (almond flour)
    • 220 g icing sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 110 g dark chocolate
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 2 large egg whites

     

    • 100 g icing sugar for coating

     

     

    Melt the chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Cool slightly. In the bowl mix together ground almonds, cocoa powder and icing sugar. In separated bowl mix with electric mixer egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and almond extract. Combine together almond mixture and egg whites foam. Stir in melted chocolate and mix with a spatula until smooth mixture. Cover the bowl with a cling film and chill in the fridge for overnight.

    Preheat oven to 320°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

    Cut the dough mixture into 25 balls. Roll out each portion into ball and flatten to become oblong shape about 0.4 inch high. Scatter the additional 100 g icing sugar into a bowl and deep each biscuit in. Coat them with thick layer of sugar. Place all biscuits on the baking tray and bake for 20-22 minutes until crinkled on the surface. They will be still soft after baking and they become harder by cooling.


     

    Category: Cookies.

    Tags: almonds, chocolate, Christmas, cocoa, glutenfree.

  • Stollen is traditional German Christmas cake. It is a yeast dough with plenty of dried fruits, marzipan and icing sugar on the top. Dried fruits are firstly soaked in strong liquor which gives the specific savour and then kneaded into dough for even and generous distribution. After baking the cake is repeatedly and rich sprinkled with icing sugar for snowy look. The whole cake is very tasty and contrary to appearances not very sweet. Dried fruit protect the cake against drying and it safes the freshness up to three weeks (however in my home it lasted for three days only). Enjoy!

     

    2 pieces

     

     Dough:

    • 2 ¾ cups plus 1 tablespoon bread flour
    • 4 teaspoons dried yeast
    • 125 ml lukewarm milk
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, soften
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Filling:

    • ½ cup raisins
    • ½ cup golden raisins
    • ¼ cup dried cranberries
    • ¼ cup dried cherries
    • 8 dried figs (black mission)
    • ¾ cup Brandy
    • 1/3 cup Rum
    • zest of 1 orange
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 150 g raw marzipan masse

    Icing:

    • ¾  cup icing sugar
    • ¼ cup butter, melted

     

    The day before: in a medium bowl place both raisins, dried cranberries and cherries and figs cut into small pieces. Pour over Brandy and Rum, cover and leave for overnight.

    Make dough: in a medium bowl mix together yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for 15 until frothy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, remaining sugar and salt. Add yeast mixture, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix with the hook attachment on medium speed gradually adding butter (one tablespoon at the time) until dough is smooth (8-10 minutes). Once the dough is ready place it in an oiled bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours until doubled in size.

    Grease and line with parchment paper large baking sheet.

    Place the dough on a floured surface and flatten slightly with hands. Drain tightly soaked fruits and place them all over the dough. Start to knead the dough in order to incorporate all the fruit in. Divide the dough into half. Roll out each half into 9x13 inch oval shape. Divide the marzipan into half. Shape each into roll about 12 inch long. Place one marzipan on the first dough oval and fold the dough covering the marzipan but do not go to the end of the dough (you should become asymmetric shape partially two-ply, partially single-ply). Repeat your work with the second piece of dough and second marzipan half. Place both cakes on prepared sheet. Let stand in a warm place for 15-20 minutes to rest and preheat oven to 350°F.  Brush tops with melted butter and bake for 30-35 minutes until light brown in colour. After baking immediately brush with melted butter and sprinkle richly with icing sugar. Before serving sprinkle with icing sugar.

     

     

    Category: Yeast cakes.

    Tags: Christmas, cranberry, figs, marzipan, raisins, yeast.