Inspiration……Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental Hotel

While walking around Hong Kong we were stuck for food (lunch) options in the financial district on a Sunday afternoon. We stumbled across the Mandarin Oriental hotel and decided this was the place for lunch. Attached to the hotel cafe on the mezzanine level was a patisserie  – The Mandarin Cake Shop – that provided some great inspiration:

The Mandarin Cake Shop

More after the jump……

The Mandarin Cake Shop
The Mandarin Cake Shop
The Mandarin Cake Shop
The Mandarin Cake Shop
The Mandarin Cake Shop

Inspiration…… Stockholm

One of the great things about traveling are the sights you see while visiting city neighbourhoods.

Case in point is a bakery window in Stockholm.

Bread @ Östermalms Saluhall, Stockholm, Sweden

This was at the Östermalms Saluhall in Stockholm. My only regret is not buying a loaf!

Inspiration…… Berlin Christmas Market

You never know when you will come across something that will stick with you. I was in Berlin in late November 1 year and was lucky enough to visit an early Christmas market near the Potsdam Palaces. I came across a hot candied almond seller. Man were these good.
Candied Almond Stand
Unfortunately I forget the package of nuts in the car on the way to the airport. Reason enough to go back!

I Can’t Bake Without……

I can’t bake with out:

Straight Rolling Pin

A straight rolling pin. Much is said by various bakers about the type of rolling pin they like. For me the traditional baker rolling pin using a spindle, or the french rolling pin that is tapered just do not have the right feel. The 20″ long and 2″ diameter gives me the control and final results I prefer. Cheap too!

One day I would like to get a duplicate but in mahogany.

Inspiration…… Paris Pastries

Wandering through the streets of Paris one morning it felt like it was time for coffee and a little something. Soon I came across a bakery that sold coffee along with a case full of sweet delights. I chose a large macaron with raspberries and my partner chose a giant palmier.

Palmier & Macaron
One of these days I will remember the name of the bakery and post it (rue du faubourg?)

I Can’t Bake Without…… Multiple Measuring Spoons

At Christmas time I am normally baking more than one batch of a recipe. If I only had one set of measuring spoons inevitably I will need to measure a teaspoon of baking soda then a teaspoon of vanilla for one batch and then the same for the next batch. Cleaning a set of measuring spoons between batches can be time consuming, even a little messy.

Buying an extra set of measuring spoons can make your life a bit easier.

Measuring Spoons – 2 Sets

January 2013 – now have 4!

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

This is a cookie I have made every year for the past 4 or 5 years. When baked up it is a sight to behold. When you bite into it it is pure chocolate. Definitely not for the faint of heart. The recipe is not mine originally and can be found on line at Martha Stewart’s site.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

This year 3 batches are being made needing:

24 Ounces of Bittersweet Chocolate
3 3/4 Cups of Flour
1 1/2 Cups of Dutched Cocoa
6 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon of Salt
3 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
4 Cups of Light Brown Sugar
6 Large Eggs
3 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
1 Cup of Milk
3 Cups + of Icing/Confectioners Sugar

More pictures after the jump:

Everything Together
Sifting
The Chocolate
Melting
Adding
Mixing
Chilling
Cleaning
Rolling

Inspiration…… Venice Panforte

While wandering the streets of Venice a couple of years ago I cam across a stunning display in a bakery window of Panforte. I was just after lunch and I was unable to sample it but I have to make some one day.
Panforte in Venice

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