Saturday, December 31, 2011

Prosecco New Year's Cookies & December's Funny Food Blogger Posts

I am spending the last day of the year doing, what else, but making cookies. Glammy, glittery cookies for a sparkling new year. These are for a New year's Day brunch we're throwing tomorrow. Back in my kitchen in NYC less than 24 hours, I adapted traditional Italian prosecco cookies to roll out and I can't blame jet lag for the result.

I added more flour to the recipe hoping they would make the cookies more stable for rolling. I cut the large rectangles for the design. They looked perfect until I turned my back for a minute and they shrank into misshapen rectangles. I tried recut them then smoothed them out the best I could before putting them back into the oven where they proceeded to puff out way to much. I knew I should have cut the baking powder amount but didn't. Then I over thinned the royal icing so it was slip sliding away. 

They taste ok though. Not too sweet but a good compliment with the royal icing.  And they don't look half bad either.

It was a comedy of errors so I won't post the recipe. For more comedy, check out the funny food blogger posts listed below this past month.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cinnamon Toasted Walnut Ice Cream

My sweet mother in law saved me some walnuts from the tree in our yard since I missed the fall here in Germany. So of course they had to be used for something special right?

This ice cream uses seven egg yolks. Seven. So. Worth. It. Rich and decadent. Ever since I made my Caramelized Apple Vanilla Calvados Ice Cream with Speculoos Cream Swirl, I have been a big fan of adding Calvados to an ice cream cream recipe. This one may not be as flashy but it packs a serious flavor punch.

The recipe comes from my old school file of recipes torn from physical publications. You know the one we all have even though we have thousands of others bookmarked and saved in computer files. I dragged that file out a few days ago, blew off the dust and found among the many treasures it contained this wonderful ice cream on a very yellowed newspaper. No date. No indication of the publication. So if you recognize it, give a shout out so I can dole out the proper credit.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sea Buckthorn Pistachio Rugelach

Whoops. Channukah flew by and with it my plans to post this on time. For the past few days I have been sick with a cold but I'm feeling much better now and powered through a few recipe ideas today.

I love being home in my own kitchen in Germany. Big differences from the NYC apartment rental, equipment and space. After peeping in my pantry for the first time in five months I spied this little jar of Sanddorn preserves.

It's seriously like a treasure hunt in there, I have all sorts of jellies, creams, liqueurs and extracts tucked in there just waiting for an appropriate place in a baked good but sadly too little time here.

I've baked with sea buckthorn (sanddorn in German) back in April. My Vanilla Bean Paste Sea Buckthorn Tart with Brown Sugar Crust post explained this berry's popularity in Germany.

On the hunt for a special rugelach flavor for this year, I found the jar. Thank you sea buckthorn. It's a very tart flavor so I added brown sugar to the rugelach dough to balance it a bit. Adding pistachios also mitigated the tartness. The result? I now love tart flavor in rugelach. Who knew? To cut time I didn't go for the crescent shapes and did these up in a roll. Not as pretty but they taste just as good.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rumtopf: The Result

Last June I started a rumtopf so it would be ready by Christmas. A Rumtopf (Rum Pot in English) is a large covered ceramic jar filled with aged fruits, rum and brown sugar. It's traditionally started in the spring and created by collecting and adding fruits to the pot as they come into season.

I started the process with fresh strawberries. Then over the next few months added white and black currents, cherries, red gooseberries, raspberries and peaches.

One of the first things I did when I arrived in Germany last week was check on my rumtopf which had been marinating these past months. I was afraid the entire thing had rotted but it held up perfectly. Although very strong in alcohol content, it tasted delicious and festive.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Allspice Sugar Cookie Christmas Trees & Lady Gaga Holiday Workshop at Barney's NYC

Last week I saw THESE beauties on LilaLoa's blog. I knew immediately I had to try out the decorating technique she used. Hers are gorgeous traditional trees. I went a bit holiday wacky and did mine in the Mad Hausfrau colors.

Not as good as hers. Obvi. But I just loved how they came out. Sometimes I like to be hit over the head with color and these do the trick.

To make up for the color invasion, the allspice flavor in the cookies is not as powerful as gingerbread. The have just enough hint of spice to be holiday-ish.

These non-traditional Christmas tree cookies would fit right in in the Lady Gaga Workshop at Barney's in NYC where she is selling her own stylish holiday treats.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hot Chocolate Candy Cane Truffles

Just arrived to our home in Germany and wanted to get this post up while my eyes are still open. I have to take jet lag into consideration. However, as I was going through the pictures of these truffles I made last weekend, so sorry about this, but I think they look like turds.

Turd truffles. Truth or Jet Lag?

Good thing I put those big glowy candy canes in some of the pictures. They distract from the truffles. See?

That's better.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Purple Potato Latkes with Garlic Sumac Sour Cream

I won't be lighting any Channukah candles tomorrow night as Dr. B and I will be winging our way to Germany at sundown. 10 short Days in Germany to spend Christmas with his family, pick up clothing, take care of some small business, and then back in NYC for New Year's Eve. This Jewish girl is dreaming of all those beautiful German Christmas markets. Is that wrong? Maybe these Latke will help assuage my guilt.

Last year I made Chinese 5 spice Latkes in deference to the Jewish Christmas Day tradition of eating out at a Chinese restaurant. The Star of David Shapes were an added step but worth the result.

Now that we are living in the States I was able to get purple potatoes at the farmers market. Never saw those in Germany. I added sumac to both the latke batter and the sour cream to spice things up again.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Houses NYC

This post is a bit lame in that I was planning to make my own gingerbread house this year. The days are flying by and we are leaving to go back to Germany next week to spend Christmas with Dr. B's family. It now seems likely my gingerbread fantasy creation will remain a fantasy for now.

So instead (here's the lame part) I am posting pictures of other people's gingerbread houses. These charitable gingerbread creations are for a competition sponsored by Le Parker Meridien in NYC. The public pays $1 to be able to vote for a favorite and the money goes to City Harvest, an organization dedicated to feeding the hungry.

The previous pictures are of a gingerbread rendition of santa's workshop with an Occupy movement in full swing by Tribeca Treats. The signs are so clever.

No Occupy movement is complete without a hipster scalper:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mosaic Cookies & Giveaway Winner

First order of business is the Giveaway winner. 

Congratulations to Lisa of Parsley, Sage & Line Drives. I will be shipping the merry joyful box of baking supplies and those big assed cookie cutters asap.

Now onto the cookies. When I was making stained glass cookies with those ginormous cutters I wondered what else I could make with melted Lifesavers and Jolly Ranchers. So I separated the candies by color and crushed them.

The crushed candies were spread out on baking sheets lined with baking paper. Below is the multi colored version.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Lights Meringues & Giveaway Reminder

These would look way better if I had more time. Like everyone, it's rush rush rush this time of year. They were inspired by Haniela's absolutely stunning Poinsettia meringues. I followed her recipe HERE. My Christmas lights meringues are significantly less stunning, wonky at best but I still think the idea was cute enough to post.

After whipping up Haniela's meringue recipe, I separated and colored the meringue choosing  traditional green, red and blue for the light bulbs.  About 1/4 cup was colored black and about 1/2 cup yellow gold. All colors were loaded into disposable pastry bags fitted with round tips, except for the yellow gold color where I used a ribbon tip.

I traced outlines of Christmas lightbulbs on parchment paper and then flipped it over on the baking sheet in order to pipe the meringue in the shape of the bulb.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Vanilla Spearmint Sparkling Snowflake Macarons

The latest challenge over at Mactweets is to make macarons that capture the colors and favors of the holiday season.

I'v already contributed Orange Macarons with Aperol Buttercream and Galanga Macarons with Crunchy Speculoos Cream filling. This spearmint/vanilla combo is my latest and last macaron for the month. It's about time I gave it a rest already.

I dumped poor peppermint for sexy spearmint years ago. It's become one of my favorite flavors so it was only a matter of time before it made it into a macaron on this blog.

These fun and festive macs will be making their way to a brunch this weekend spreading holiday maccheer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Roundup of Last Year's Holiday Baking

Before I get into the roundup. Don't forget to enter my merry joyful box of baking supplies giveaway.

Which includes these jumbo cookie cutters.

Click HERE to enter the giveaway and to see what I made with my own set of these cutters.

Last December found me baking my heart out. As Dr. B was not able to get home for the holidays there were probably way too many posts flying out of my kitchen to distract myself. In reviewing them recently, I felt some recipes were worth mentioning again like these Marzipan Filled Mango Pistachio Cashew Stollen Bites:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jumbo Stained Glass Cookies and a Giveaway

I got big cutters and I cannot lie. Found these several weeks ago. The tree is 7+1/2' x 7' and the ornament is 8" x 6". I had never made stained glass cookies before so I turned to the interwebs to find a recipe and instructions. This one at was perfect. The cookies are very tasty and there was little spread when baking.

The only change I made was I divided the dough and colored it. These are really simple to make, even with this extra step.

The recipe said to use Jolly ranchers but others I read said to use Life Savers to fill the cutouts. I bought both and crushed them with a stone motar and pestle.

Thursday, December 1, 2011