Monthly Archives: December 2012

Tofu Pickles

Browsed around Korean Food website ” Maangchi ” and i found this recipe . I like tofu , but i am not a big fan of anything pickled . Because in my opinon they’re way too sour . But looking at her recipe and her video , i thought dang .. it looks really yummy . Oh well who cares why not trying it . I happened to have 3 packages of firm tofu in my fridge , we went to korean market the other day .

This afternoon , i decided to try her recipe . It was easy , not hard at all , just took a little time to brown the tofu on all side . And simmering the brine for the tofu . But let me tell you the result is delicious and anybody that rejects this because they don’t like tofu , they have no clue what they’re missing !! The recipe  can be found on her website www.maangchi.com

tofu pickles

Fresh Pasta

This is not a recipe entry or a technique , just an entry to share about these amazing pasta rollers . My husband got me these pasta rollers attachment for my Kitchenaid for Christmas . Being a curious person that i am , plus that i have been obsessing with home made pasta the past few days , i could not wait to put my hands on it . I knew a little how to make noodles , pasta , but of course not as perfect as a machine can help you pressing the dough very thin .

This afternoon while he was out with our son , i was busy in the kitchen , trying this machine . I made the dough , being the first time using this machine , i followed the recipe for the dough . I thought if i ever going to experiment with recipes , i shouldn’t do it now , because i need to know how this machine works . Well , the recipe the instruction book said to mix 4 eggs , 3 1/2 cups of flour and 1 tbsp. water and pinch of salt . I mixed it in the bowl with the paddle attachment the book said , and the pasta was super dry , it didn’t come together at all and it was very much crumbles . I thought i had put too much flour , maybe i wasn’t paying a close attention when i measure the flour ? Not sure if i had made a mistake , i put aside that dough , and moved on to make a new one , saving the other one on the side . I started putting together a new batch , well so much for it , because the same thing happened , i guess my house was very low in humidity , so i thought adding few more tbsp. of water might work . Well it did .. so i did the same thing with the first batch i made , i added about 2-3 tbsp. more of water , and they came together nicely .

I started getting my pasta press/roller ready and i divided the dough into 4 or 5 smaller pieces . And then i flatten the dough , that it will fit into the pasta press . There is this knob with number on the side of the roller , 1 being the biggest and thickest pasta , and as the number gets higher the thinner the pasta gets . The first time you put the pasta dough in , it will come out just okay sometimes cracks here and there , and fold it once it’s all out , and run it through the press few more times , folding each time before feeding it back into the pasta press . Eventually you will come up with a smooth silky pasta .

Step 1 : Divide the dough into 4-5 smaller pieces , before feeding it into the press / roller , flatten the dough , so that it’s thin enough to be fed into the press/roller .

pasta1

Step 2 : Start feeding the flatten dough into the press/roller with the speed at 2 or 4 , since it was my first , i felt comfortable enough with speed 2 . Don’t be alarm when the dough comes out not that pretty smooth , and cracks here and there . Just make sure once it’s all out , fold it , and run it through the roller / press again , at knob number 1 .

pasta2

Step 3 : Once you think it’s smooth enough , after folding and feeding it at number 1 , you can start changing the knob to number 2 , for thinner pasta .The higher the number , the thinner the pasta will be and the longer it will too . Feed it , don’t need to fold it .

pasta3

Step 4 : Change to knob 3 and so on , to make it even thinner , for fettucine and spaghetti , the pasta is going to be thinner and longer at this point , you might have to start laying it on the surface , or start cutting them in half .

pasta4

pasta5

 

Step 5 , Turn to knob 5 , for fettucine and spaghetti . Get ready to cut them in half . Or you already did .

pasta6

 

Step 6 . Cut them in half , sprinkle with flour just in case you lay another pasta on top it won’t stick .

pasta4.1

 

Step 7 , change the pasta press to fettucine cutter or spaghetti cutter , feed the thin pasta into the roller , and you can lay it to dry or hang it or make a nest , or use it right away ( boil in water for 2-3 minutes al dente )

pasta7

pasta8

 

I hung some of them on the pasta hanger ( my husband made this for me , they’re heavy duty and quite long , so i have some really long fettucine or spaghetti ) I hung them dry about 1 hour . Some of them i left it on the counter , like a nest , sprinkle with flour . I think i prefer hanging them because you know it’ll dry quicker than shaping them into a nest .

 

pasta9

pasta10

 

This is the Fettucine and spaghetti  that’s been dried for an hour , ready to be stored .

pasta11

pasta12

 

You can also use  your pasta right away , bring water to boil , add plenty of salt , and then cook the pasta for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds or 3 minutes , depending how thin or thick your pasta is .

pasta13

 

I think this attachment is really amazing , it makes pasta making a lot easier , a lot more fun , thousand times better than the other pasta plates that comes with the meat grinder for kitchen aid also . This one is not frustrating at all , and i can’t say anything else , it’s just a great buy to people who likes making home made stuff . I do !! I love making everything home made and this was a very nice gift . I read some review on the website that some people are having troubles cleaning it , i don’t have trouble cleaning it so far , i just let it dry and using the brush , eventually the dry pasta that got stuck on the edges would eventually come off . All and all i have to say , if you love making home made pasta , i think you have to have this !

Pappardelle Pasta

These past few days i’ve been obsessing with how to make dry pasta yourself . The reason is , that i just found my pasta plates attachment that my husband got for me 3-4 years ago . I remember trying to use this for the first time after he got it for me , it was a pain , i had to admit . I thought .. what’s wrong .. why is it so hard making this . But back then I already knew how to make pasta manually , by hand , no machines , just hands , and fork and rolling pin . Of course they turned out not as perfect as a machine would do . So i had a big hope when my husband got me that gift . Originally it was meat grinder that comes with pasta plates . I thought it was cool .

pasta maker

 

Well little did we know that these pasta plates sucks big time ! Turned out that we’re not the only one who had trouble and very frustrating in pasta making . I’ve finally tried again few days ago , with big hope , i thought i knew what i am doing , and i am going to try it . Well it turned out pretty much the same like it did before , the dough was too sticky , and no matter how much i added flour , it seemed like it gets sticky and the pasta came out stuck to each other . It’s basically just impossible using this machine .

It didn’t stop me from making home made pasta yesterday , after i found myself semolina flour , i decided it’s time to make pasta again . The first time i made it was for beef and noodles , years ago , one of my husband’s favourite dish . And then from there i tried making other kind of pasta . And it was quite successful . Last night we tried making the home made sausage and along with it , i made the pappardelle pasta . They’re easy to make , and not as frustrating as the machine would give you . But i have to admit , it could have been thinner , a good pasta machine probably will help you to have a really nice thin dough . In the mean time , while i don’t have the machine , i think a rolling pin and lots of flour would do just fine .

Direction :

1 3/4 cup of flour

1 cup of semolina flour

4 large eggs

1/2 tsp. of salt

4 tbsp. of olive oil

1. Sift the flour and semolina flour together . Make a well in the center of the flour .

2. Add the salt , oil and eggs , and start breaking up the eggs with fork , and working the flour into the eggs together . Until it’s all combined . This is messy business , but i think you try using mixer or food processor as well .

3. Once the dough comes together , keep kneading about 5 minutes , until it’s not too sticky , but pliable . Add little flour as you knead if you need it .

4. Cut the dough in half , and flatten into a disk , sprinkle with little flour and wrap with plastic wrap. Let it rest in the fridge for half an hour .

5. Working 1 at a time , roll the dough until it gets really thin , make sure you sprinkle the working surface with plenty of flour , you don’t want the dough to stick to the surface .. The dough should be thin enough when you can see your finger through it .

pasta dough1

 

6. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to dry .

7 .Sprinkle flour on the pasta sheet , and then start rolling them into cylinder , loosely , not too tight . And cut them in about 3/4 inch wide. And then unroll each one of them and sprinkle with semolina flour so they won’t stick .

pasta making2

 

PASTA1

8. Pasta is done and bring water to boil , add salt and cook for 2-3 minutes depending how thick or how thin they are .

 

 

Homemade Sweet Italian Sausage

Today , we’re trying to put our meat grinder to a good use . My husband bought me a meat grinder for my kitchen aid attachment about 3-4 years ago . And since then i’ve never used it , not even once , i’ve used the pasta plates though , but it was very frustrating .Anyway , back to the meat grinder , it works really good for grinding meat , and so we decided we’re going to try to make home made sausage . Because we don’t have sausage stuffer attachment for the machine , we ended up just making sausage patties .

I think sausage making is pretty easy and fun , although it takes a little bit of your time , but at least you know what kind of meat you’re getting , and you can control what kind of spices goes into the sausage . We bought our meat from the local butcher , and it was a very good meat to start with . The rest of the ingredients pretty much all the things we have on hand , or from our herb garden .

The recipe for the sausage was from Michael Symon ‘Carnivore’ book . I have to say that the sausage turned out really good wtih one exception , next time i will cut the salt into 2 1/2 tbsp. instead of 3 tbsp.

Direction :

3 lbs of pork shoulder

1 lb of fat back ( i couldn’t get this from local butcher since they said nobody bought it , i would have to order them in a large bulk , i ended up skipping it )

3 large garlic cloves , minced

1 large shallot , minced

1/2 cup of fresh parsley , chopped

2 tbsp. of fresh oregano , chopped

2 tbsp. of fennel seed , toasted

1 tbsp. of sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. of kosher salt

1/2 cup ice cold water

1 juice from 1 lemon

1. Cut the pork shoulder into small dice . And add the sugar , salt , pepper , shallot , garlic , fennel seed and parsley and oregano . Mix well with your hand .

sausage making2

2. Place the mixing bowl in the fridge along with the paddle attachment . Now let’s get the grinder ready for the meat . Feed the tube a little at a time with the diced meat , until all the meat has been used .

sausage making3

 

Place a baking sheet or a dish under the grinder to catch the meat

sausage making4

 

Once it’s all done , cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes .

sausage making5

 

After 30 minutes , take the bowl , attachment and the sausage out . Place the sausage meat into the chilled bowl , and add juice from 1 lemon and 1/2 cup of ice cold water . Turn to speed 2 , mix for a minute .

sausage making6

 

Once you’re done , if you have sausage stuffer , you can start working on the sausage links ( hopefully i will get one soon , so i can try making a sausage link ) . Or just make some sausage patties , and grill or brown them on the skillet . Another choice is also to brown the sausage just like that , you can use it with your fave pasta sauce , or crumble it up for pizza topping . Whatever you don’t use , just store it in the freezer , make sure you wrap it up good .

This is what we did with the sausage that we made today , we made sausage patties , and my husband grilled it , and it was delicious . I served it with home made pasta .

homemade sausage

 

Chocolate Cinnamon Wreath Bread

The other day i decided to try this dinner rolls dough with fillings . Since they’re so light and fluffy , i can imagine that they’ll be good pretty much for anything . So first thing come to mind was cinnamon rolls , but i get tired of cinnamon rolls with icing , i thought why not trying the nutella chocolate spread as its filling ? I am a fan of nutella , who doesn’t like nutella out there ? If you’re one of them , you should def. give them a try . Not only they’re yummy with toast , but this bread is so so so good !! It was confirmed not only by me ( i am biased cos i am the baker LOL ) . But i had 3 guests this afternoon , right after this bread got out from the oven , they all said it is delicious , very light and fluffy .

So , nothing different as far as the recipe , i used the recipe above , and the only thing is different is the way i am shaping them . I divided the dough into 2 , and then made each one of them into rectangle . Maybe about 15×10 , doesn’t need to be exact . And then sprinkle a little cinnamon all over , not too much and then spread some nutella on top of it . Leaving the edges without nutella . Then roll them like spiral , and make a circle , connect each end , and brush with little water and pinch it to seal . Transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet . (details instruction below with pictures )

Direction :

1/2 cup of warm milk ( about 100 F )

1/2 cup of warm water

1/3 cup of softened butter

1 egg

1 tsp. of salt

1/3 cup of sugar

Almost 3 3/4 cup of flour

2 1/4 tsp. of active dry yeast

Nutella and ground cinnamon ( or any other fillings .. pecans , almonds , walnut , almond paste .. etc )

Obviously , If you have a bread machine , just put everything in order and select dough , let the machine does the job for you .

If you don’t have bread machine , then this is the instruction :

1. Sprinkle the yeast in the warm water , let it sit for about 5-10 minutes . Mix the melted butter and warm milk , sugar, with salt and beaten eggs .

2. Then mix the yeast mixture with egg milk butter mixture , and pour on top of the flour . Use about 3 cups , and you can add little bit at a time until the dough gets elastic and not too sticky . Don’t add too much dough at a time because too much flour will dry out your bread dough , and turn out to be dry bread . Mix with mixer , or wooden spoon , once the mixer gets too heavy or the spoon gets too heavy for the dough , time to get your hands in the dough , keep adding flour until it cleans the side of the bowl . Take it out , and knead on the lightly floured surface for 8 minutes . Then butter a large clean bowl , and place the dough in , cover with plastic , let it sit in warm place for an hour or until it doubles in size .

3. Once it’s doubled in size , take it out , don’t punch the dough , just take it out , and divide into 2 . Work on 1 dough , roll it out into 15×10 rectangle , and then sprinkle with cinnamon , and spread the nutella on top . After that roll them into spiral and connect each end to form a circle . Pinch the edges to seal .

wreath bread1

Now , using scissors , cut ( not all the way through ) , about 8-10 pieces around . Remember don’t cut all the way through.

wreath bread2

Cover loosely with light cloth or plastic wrap . Let it sit in warm place for 30-45 minutes , until it rises again .

choco cinnamon bread

wreath bread3

 

 

Preheat oven to 325 F , bake for 15 minutes , turn half way through so it’ll get brown evenly .

 

wreath bread4

 

Take it out once it’s done , and brush with softened butter .

 

 

 

chocolate cinnamon bread2

 

Let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing with serrated knife .

chocolate cinnamon bread3

 

Tea Cookies

I found this recipe online , it’s actually called Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies. I love shortbread cookies , but it gets boring if it’s only butter and nothing else . So this recipe calls to use loose leaves tea . And i happened to be Earl Grey’s biggest fan . I love earl tea , although lately i have been drinking more coffee , but i am more a tea drinker , and earl grey is on the top of my list . So i thought , this cookie might not be too bad . They’re easy to make , as long as you have food processor , or else you’ll have a little problem with the loose tea leaves . The blade in the food processor helps to chop up the tea leaves into very small , almost like tiny speck on the cookies .

earl grey shortbread

Direction :

2 cups of flour

3 tbsp. of loose tea leaves , earl grey

3/4 cup of powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. of salt

1 tsp. vanilla

2 sticks of butter , unsalted , room temperature

1. In a food processor , pulse flour , salt and tea leaves , until the tea leaves become very small ( notice like tiny specks all over the flour )

2. Then add butter , vanilla , and powdered sugar . Pulse until they come together . Then roll into log and wrap with plastic wrap .

tea log

 

3. Chill for about an hour in the fridge . Then take it out , preheat oven to 375 F . Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper , and slice the log into 24 equal slices .

tea log1

 

4. Bake for 12 minutes or so . Let cool before removing them .

Berlinerkranser ( Butter Knot Cookies )

These knot cookies are originated from Norway , it’s called Berlinerkranser , or Berlin Wreaths . From what i read , the Germans and Denmark also has similar cookies , tied with red ribbons and hung on christmas tree or in windows . That would make your house smells so buttery and vanilla-y during christmas 😀

This i must say broke my christmas cookies baking record . This is the 11th cookies i baked this christmas . I don’t know why , but i just couldn’t sit still and relaxing , i always tried to find something to do . And that something , today , happened to be making this butter knot cookies . While my 8 years old busy playing or watching Tv , i was busy baking cookies , and according to him , it tastes yummy , he loves the fact that i added sprinkles . LOL , 8 years old , what do you expect .. they don’t care much about the taste of the cookies .. it’s the sprinkles that attract him !!

Easy , delicious and buttery , first thing first , you have to boil hard boiled egg , and then you’ll be set to make these cookies , the chilling time was only an hour and you’re ready to roll and bake them .

Directions : 

2 sticks of unsalted butter , room temperature

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

1 hard boiled , egg yolk

1 egg yolk ( save the white for brushing later on )

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/4 cup of flour

sprinkles

1. Cream the butter for a minute with high speed mixer . Then add the powdered sugar , beat until combined .

2. Add the egg yolk , raw yolk and vanilla , beat well . Then add the flour , until it’s all combined . Chill in the fridge for an hour .

3. Once the dough is ready , preheat oven to 325 F , prepare cookie sheets lined with parchment paper . Then roll the dough into a ball then roll out to a long rope , about 5 inches , then make a knot . Place all the knots on the parchment paper , then brush with egg whites and sprinkles with sugar .

4. Bake for 22 minutes .

berlinerkranser

Dream Bars

This is another easy recipe , easy to put together if you don’t have much time to bake . Or maybe you’ve spent so much time cooking and no time for making an awesome dessert . This should be your choice . Although i must warn you that the appearance of this bar , isn’t that great compared to most dessert . But it tastes delicious . Even my 8 years old said the same thing , he thinks it looks unappetizing .. LOL , but he also agrees and said it himself , once you take a bite of it , it tastes heavenly . And as he said it , he couldn’t stop at one piece !

Directions : 

1 package of yellow cake mix

1/3 cup of unsalted butter

1 eggs

Mix these together until they becomes crumbly . Then transfer to a 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper . Pat the mixture down evenly all over the pan . Then make the filling and pour on top of it .

1/2 c. of heath toffee bits

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix these all together and pour on top of the yellow cake mixture . Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes .

Incredibles

Incredibles is my husband’s favorite holiday sweets . I , on the other hand , don’t really care too much for it . I like sweets but this one though was way too sweet for me . Even as i was making it .. i could taste the sweetness in the air , as i was adding the powdered sugar into the batter . I thought .. dang .. too sweet .. But apparently lots of people like this bar . It does remind you a lot of reese’s peanut butter cup .

This bar is super easy to make , and i think everyone can make it .

Direction : 

2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

12 tbsp. of melted unsalted butter

1 1/2 cup of peanut butter , chunky style

2 cups of powdered sugar

12 oz of dark chocolate chip

1. Mix the melted butter and the graham cracker crumbs in a mixer , until combined .

2. Add in the peanut butter and powdered sugar . Mix well .

3. Pour this batter on a 13×9 inch pan lined with parchment paper .

4. Melt the chocolate chip and then pour and spread on top evenly .

5. Let sit in room temperature for at least 3 hours , then start cutting them carefully . Store in the fridge . If you place this in the fridge without cutting them first , when you cut them , you might crack the chocolate . That’s why it is better to cut them when they’re still in room temperature .

Shortbread Cookies

A long time ago i used to make this shortbread cookies during christmas time . I don’t know why but i have skipped so many years without making shortbread cookies . Maybe because it was too dangerous making it .. LOL .. just like butter cookies , where i couldn’t stop munching at them . That’s why once it’s all done being baked , i put them away .. you know the phrase ” Out of sight out of mind .. ”

I saw a recipe that has chocolate chip in their shortbread . That’s what i am doing right now actually , i added about 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chip , although i love just the plain shortbread too . They’re easy to make and doesn’t take much time at all to make .

 

Direction : 

2 sticks of butter , room temperature

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

pinch of salt

3/4 cup of powdered sugar

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 cup of semisweet chocolate chip ( you can always skip this to make just plain shortbread , or add it , to make chocolate shortbread cookie )

1. Line a 9 inch square pan with foil , with 2 sides left hanging . So it’ll be easy to remove the cookie .

2. In a large mixing bowl , beat the butter until it’s creamy and smooth about 1-2 minutes , then add vanilla and pinch of salt . Then add the powdered sugar , mix until just combined . Then add the flour , in 2 batches , and mix until it’s smooth . Add in the chocolate chips and stir with wooden spoon .

3. Transfer the dough into the square pan , dust your hands with flour so you can use it to press the dough and make it even in the pan . Score the dough with knife , make 9 strips by 2 strips ( sometimes i make it smaller 9×4)Bake at 350 Ffor 40-45 minutes , or until the top are dry and edges firm . Then immediately score again . Let it cool , take it out and cut .

Cinnamon Pinwheels

Few days ago i checked my mailbox and there it was the cooking magazine , went through it right away . And soon , one cookie caught my eyes .. it’s cute , red and white pinwheel . I’ve heard about pinwheel , in fact , i had some recipes for it from my other cookbooks , but i never really give the effort to try , or not even tempted , maybe because there was no picture in previous books . Though i can picture it from my mind , but it’s always better when recipe comes with pictures , am i right ?

So there i was .. couple of days ago , made 3 batches of cookies , one of them was this pinwheel , except with this cookies i let it stayed in the fridge overnight , so it’ll be easier for me to slice them . Just like when i make the parmesan crackers . They turned out beautiful , with of course , their buttery taste , the twist in here is the cinnamon sugar in the middle of the cookie . Other than that , i would think you can always replace the cinnamon in the middle with any extract you like , maybe some almond , or peppermint . Always great for the holiday .

Directions : 

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

1 1/2 stick of unsalted butter , room temperature

2/3 cup of granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 tsp. of cocoa powder

red gel food coloring

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. sugar

1. Mix flour , salt and baking powder in a bowl , set aside . Beat the butter and sugar in large mixing bowl , until fluffy , about 3-5 minutes on medium speed . Beat in egg , and vanilla . Reduce to low , add the flour mixture and beat until combine . Remove half the dough and wrap with plastic wrap , chill in the fridge .

2. The other half of the dough should be in the bowl still , add the cocoa powder , and the red food coloring . Mix until you reach the color you prefer . Then wrap the red dough in a plastic wrap too and chill along with the plain dough , for at least an hour .

3. Once the dough is ready , roll the dough out with rolling pin , on a parchment paper , into rectangle shape , 10×11 inch . Do the same for the other dough too . Once you’re done , flip the red dough on top of the white / plain dough . Then trim the edges . Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture . Then roll from the short end , with the help of the parchment paper ( just like rolling sushi ) Roll tight . Then wrap with plastic wrap , let it sit in the fridge overnight.

4. When you’re ready , preheat oven to 350 F , line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper , and then slice the cookie about 1/4 inch thickness , should make about 30-34 cookies . Bake for about 13 minutes or until puffed and golden brown .

Sable Cookies ( French Butter Cookies )

I never heard of sable cookies , until , my sister mentioned it . She gave me her recipe for sable cookies , so i made them yesterday , thinking , this should be good . It is however , a recipe from a pastry chef . She is a pastry chef . But in my mind . i thought .. all the ingredients were about the same with the original butter cookies recipe . The recipe i got from my mother in law . Except , french butter cookies use egg yolks and while my butter cookies used whole eggs . I thought i gave it a try anyway . When it was all done , i took a bite , and it was slightly different , but you almost can’t notice the difference , and they’re harder to work with the cutter , unlike the butter cookies that i normally make . I managed to use a cutter anyway and they turn out pretty and still yummy .

 

Directions : 

375 gr. of unsalted butter

350 gr. of sugar

150 gr. of egg yolk

10 gr. of salt

18 gr. of baking powder

500 gr. of all purpose flour

1. Beat the butter and sugar until it’s fluffy . Add sugar , beat until it’s fluffy . Then add the egg yolks one at a time until combined , scrape the edges if needed . Then add baking powder , salt and flour . Chill the dough for couple hours , so it will be easy to handle .

2. Roll the dough out , and using cookie cutter to cut it , bake at 350 F for 13 minutes or so .

Almond Coated Cookies ( Serinakaker )

Originally these cookies are from the Scandinavian . It was my first time trying making it , it is buttery and mildly sweet , they’re not overly sweet like most butter cookies .

Direction : 

2/3 cup of butter , softened

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour

1 cup coarsely chopped almond

1. In a large bowl , beat the butter and sugar until fluffy . Then add ONE egg , and vanilla , beat until combined .Add the flour at the end . Chill the dough in the fridge so it will be easy to handle . Chill about couple of hours .

2. Toast the almond with about 1-2 tbsp. of sugar on a skillet medium heat . Keep stirring , the almond will start to turn brown . Once it’s done , remove from skillet , transfer into a wax paper . Once it’s cooled , put them in the food processor and pulse few times until it’s coarsely chopped but still hold its shape , you don’t want almond powder .

3. Take the dough out from the fridge , and using a small spoon , shape the dough into a small ball about 3/4 inch ball , and then dip them into a bowl of beaten egg , and roll them onto the chopped toasted almond . Place the dough into the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and flatten them gently with a fork . Bake at 375 F for about 8-10 minutes .

Dutch Spiced Cookies ( Speculaas )

Also known as a windmill cookies when you browse the cookie aisle at the store . Speculaas was my mom all time favorite cookie , we always bought this speculaas at the store , prepackaged , and she always said that this was her favorite . Years later , i found the recipe on a cookbook , and i was so thrill , and i wish that my mom were still alive , that she would been so happy that we could have baked these cookies together !!

I don’t really sure why they call it windmill cookies , probably because it’s from the Netherlands , and they’re famous with their windmill . But my cookies aren’t going to be in a windmill shape , because i don’t own any windmill cutter . From so many cookie cutter that i have from trains , bunnies , to bats and ghosts and palm trees , amazingly , i do not have windmill cutter !! So , i settle with just cutting them with my gingerbread cutter . People will think it’s gingerbread cookies, but they’re not . The recipe doesn’t make that many cookies , i always doubled this recipe just because i love them so much and i want to make sure i have enough and , hey , it’s a lot of work , making cutout cookies like this .. so if you have to , you might as well do it where you have plenty cookies to share !

Direction : 

1/2 cup of butter , unsalted room temperature

3/4 cup of brown sugar , packed

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cloves

pinch of salt

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp. milk

1 1/3 cup of all purpose flour

1. In a large mixing bowl , cream the butter for a minute , then add brown sugar , beat until it’s combined about a minute with high speed . And then add all the spices , the egg and the milk . Add the flour at the end , mix well . Chill the dough in the fridge for couple hours so it will be easy to handle .

2. Once the dough is chilled , lightly flour the surface you’re going to work on , and including your hands and rolling pin . Roll the dough out , cut it with your cookie cutter , transfer carefully into the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 F for about 12 minutes or until it’s done .

Candy Cane Cookies

Yeap , that’s that time of the year again .. where my kitchen will smell like butter and vanilla .. christmas cookies time . I normally start around this time of the year , that way i get to get them ready to be decorated and be sent out to friends soon after . So far i’ve made about 6 different kind of cookies . Last year , due to our relocating , we didn’t get to bake any cookies , not even 1 bit !! And usually that’s our christmas tradition , i always bake a lot of cookies during christmas time , and couple of years ago i started making nutrolls to give out to some friends or neighbours too .

Anyway we’re going to start this time with candy cane cookies . They have peppermint taste in it , and they’re so adorable . Was very fun making them , my 8 years old son , helped me in the kitchen with this , by rolling them into a ball . They have a really bright colors , i just wish that they hold its shape when being baked instead of getting a little flat when it’s done baking .

Directions : 

1/3 cup of shortening

1/3 cup of unsalted butter

3/4 cup of sugar

1 large egg

1 tbsp. of milk

1 tsp. of baking powder

1 tbsp. peppermint extract

2 cups of all purpose flour

1. In a large mixing bowl , cream the butter and shortening for a minute or so until it’s fluffy . Then add sugar , beat until it’s mixed well . Add the egg , peppermint extract . Then add baking powder and flour . Mix well , don’t overmix them .

2. Divide the dough into 2 , you can color it with any color you want , if not , you can keep 1 plain , and the other half you can color it red , i used a red coloring gel . Beat well until the color combined . Chill in the fridge for couple hours .

3.Roll the dough into small balls , make the same amount between the whites and the reds .

4. Then roll them like a snake gently on the surface , then line them side by side and roll them gently to make them entwine with each other .

5. Once it’s done , transfer carefully to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper , and curl the end gently to shape them into candy cane . Bake at 375 F for about 12 minutes or so .

Let it cool on the sheet for 7 minutes before removing them to cool completely on a cookie rack .