Gingerbread Snacking Cake for Boxing Day Kaffee & Küchen

As previously mentioned we decided to have a bunch of friends over for Boxing Day Kaffee & Küchen – Coffee & Cake.

One of the items I made was a Gingerbread Snacking Cake adapted from Martha Stewart.

For this recipe I used:

8 Tablespoons – 1 Stick – 4 Ounces of Unsalted Butter – room temperature – tip here
2 1/2 Cups of All purpose Flour – plus more for the pan
1 Cup of Boiling Water
2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons of Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
2/3 Cup of Whey Low Gold – brown sugar substitute
1 Tablespoon of Freshly Grated Ginger
2 Large Eggs – lightly beaten
Icing Sugar for dusting

I started by buttering and flouring a 9″ x 13″ glass baking pan, heating the oven to 350˚F, and boiling the water and mixing it with the baking soda and setting it aside.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake – Boiling Water & Baking Soda

Then I grated the fresh ginger with a micro plane. Be sure to add the accumulated juice too!

Gingerbread Snacking Cake – Grated Ginger

I gathered and measured the rest of the ingredients so that I could mix the cake quickly.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake -The Ingredients

In a medium bowl I sifted all of the rest of the dry ingredients together and set the bowl aside.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake – Sifting the Dry Ingredients

In a large bowl with a hand mixer I creamed the butter until light and fluffy.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake – Adding the Whey Low Gold to the Creamed Butter

Next it was time to add the Whey Low Gold and continue to mix until light and fluffy.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake – After creaming the Whey Low

I added the molasses and grated ginger until well mixed.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake – Adding the Molasses and Grated Ginger
Gingerbread Snacking Cake -Molasses mixed in

In an unusual twist, the flour was added (before the egg) and mixed in.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake – Adding the Flour

Then it was time for the eggs. An unusual method. If you know why… do leave me a comment.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake – Adding the Eggs

I finished off the batter by hand with a spatula the batter in the prepared 9″ x 13″ pan and smoothed it out.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake -Ready for the Oven

Then it was off to the oven for 30 minutes. Cooled thoroughly and dusted with icing sugar.

Bakers Notes:

  • The next time I use Whey Low Gold for this recipe I will add an extra tablespoon of butter and and extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Whey Low can make things a little gummy or dry.

Happy Baking!

Generous Santa

This year Santa seems to have found the book store and was very generous while he was there. During the next year it will be a challenge to make even 3 or 4 recipes out of the book that I received.

Holiday Baker Man – Generous Santa

The titles include:

Ikea – Fika
Barefoot Contessa: Fool Proof
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Bouchon Bakery
The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
The Seasonal Baker
The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking

All stunning books in their own way. It’s going to be a busy year!

What did you receive this holiday season?

French Almond Nougat

For two Christmas’s in a row I made this candy to give away in Christmas boxes to friends and family. It is definitely a huge success. Thanks again Martha Stewart!

If you have made butter cream icing before then nougat will be a snap. The timing can be slightly, and only slightly, tricky but the results are worth any effort.

French Almond Nougat – Wrapped nougat in the Christmas Boxes

I generally make 4 recipes filling 2 – 1/4 baking sheets.

For 1 Baking sheet I used:
4 Large Egg White – room temperature
1 1/2 Cups Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Cup Water

then:

3 Cups of Light Corn Syrup
3 Cup of Sugar
8 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract – (1 TBS if you want more vanilla flavour)
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
7 Cups of Whole Raw Almonds with the skin on

More after the jump…….
Start by lining your sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. The paper should slightly extend over the edges. Set the an aside for later.

French Almond Nougat – Everything is ready to go

This is a two step process.

Step 1: Mazetta

In the mixer with the whip attachment, whip egg whites until stiff and set aside.

French Almond Nougat – Egg Whites

In a sauce pan mix 1 1/2 cups of corn syrup, 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar together. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reaches 242 degrees (soft-ball). This may take up to 20 minutes.

French Almond Nougat – Both boiling steps going at once.
French Almond Nougat – Coming to temperature

Once temperature has been achieved, slowly pour the mixture into the egg whites beating continuously until all of the syrup had been mixed in. This should take you a few minutes. Set aside for the next step.

French Almond Nougat – The syrup has been added
French Almond Nougat – The complete Mazetta

Step 2: The rest

In another pan mix 3 cups of corn syrup, 3 cups of sugar and bring to a boil. You will want to reach 280 degrees (soft-crack). This can take up to 25 minutes.  Be sure not to leave the mixture until you have finished.

Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes.

French Almond Nougat – Next Syrup

Now you have to work really quickly!

Pour the slightly cooled mixture over the previously mixed Mazetta and stir until smooth.

French Almond Nougat – Adding the second syrup

Next add the butter, vanilla, and salt and mix again until the butter is incorporated fully. Now stir in the nuts. The mixture will be heavy so use a strong spoon or spatula.

French Almond Nougat – Butter and vanilla
French Almond Nougat – Add the almonds
French Almond Nougat – Mixed in almonds

Once thoroughly mixed empty the mixture onto your parchment lined pan.

Smooth the mixture out to ensure it fills the pan from corner to corner.

Let stand for 1 day. You can let it stand for less time but 1 Day was the right amount of time for me.

French Almond Nougat – Sitting to cure for a day

Packaging is up to you from here.

I used:80 – 3 1/2″ x 5 ” pieces of parchment.

I cut the completed nougat along the short side of the pan in 3/4″ slices then each of the strips in to 7 or 8 pieces. I wrapped each piece of nougat in the parchment twisting the loose ends to contain the nougat.

French Almond Nougat – Cut & Wrap

Now you are done! Enjoy!

Baker’s Notes:

  • I have had 2 pots of mixtures on the go at once – it reduced the amount of waiting time between step 1 & 2. Since the mixtures have to be at 2 different final temperatures this has worked well.
  • don’t stack the finished pans on top of each other while you are waiting for the nougat to cool. When I did this, somehow the nougat leap up off the one pan and sealed itself to the other pan. It was difficult to separate the two
  • you will need to twist the end of each piece of candy in its parchment cover. If you don’t the nougat will ooze out and you will have a pile of nougat with paper innards.
  • this might be the place for Tahitian vanilla extract since you are not cooking the vanilla
  • you may be able to use glacè fruit in the mixture for a more festive look

Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies – The Hit of the Christmas Cookie Box

I am always keeping in my the annual cookie box and what recipes would be great. I came across this one from Martha Stewart and thought it would be great. I did make a change and used candy canes rather than peppermint candies.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – Packing up the Box

This year I made 6 Batches of this cookie. It required:
6 Cups All-purpose Flour
3 Cups Dutch process cocoa powder
3 Teaspoons Baking Soda
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3 Teaspoons Salt
15 Ounces of Unsalted Butter
4 1/2 Cups of Sugar
6 Large Eggs
6 Large Egg Yolks
4 1/2 Teaspoons of Peppermint Extract
24 Candy Canes
10 Pounds of White Chocolate

This yields about 432 cookies. WOW!

Due to a vacation in the midst of the holiday baking season last year, I split the mixing and baking of this recipe up. Mixing and freezing one day and the baking and assembly later. Since there a bunch of steps to making this cookie recipe this was a great idea.

I’d love to gear from you. Enjoy!
For the chocolate cookie dough part:

I sifted the flour, coco powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt together and set it aside.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – Cookie Dough Ingredients

Next, in a mixer,  I creamed the butter and sugar together for a minute or so, then added the eggs and egg yolk to the mixture and mixed until it was combined, then I added the peppermint oil.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – Creamed Butter and Sugar with Eggs

Then I started to add the flour/cocoa mixture on low until everything was just combined. Then I finished off with a spatula until everything was combined thoroughly.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – Adding Chocolate & Flour

After the mixing I split the mixture up into smaller squares (12 in all) and wrapped them in plastic wrap flattened. I then placed the discs on a cookie sheet and froze them.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – Wrapped and ready for the Freezer

Then I was very fortunate to go on a great cruise!

Aboard the Silver Spirit

After I returned the real work for this recipe started…..

After thawing for a couple of days in the Fridge each square was rolled out to about 1/8″ and used a 2″ circle cutter to stamp out the cookies.

Placing cookies on a lined cookie sheet an inch apart and baking at 325 for 12 minutes. A great smell enters the kitchen of cocoa and peppermint.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – The Baked Cookies

Re-roll the scraps to create more cookies.

The cookies are then cooled on a rack.

In a zipper bag place 12 unwrapped candy canes and crush evenly and reserve for later.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – Candy Canes For Crushing

Using  a serrated knife, chop the white chocolate into small pieces. Place the pieces in a double boiler, or a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, and melt chocolate until there are still some lumps left. Remove the chocolate form the heat and continue to stir until smooth.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – Melting the White Chocolate

Take each chocolate cookie and dip into the white chocolate and remove with a fork. Gently scrape the bottom of the fork on the side of the chocolate bowl. Place the chocolate coated cookie on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Continue with coating cookies until the cookie sheet is full. When the sheet is full, sprinkle a few pieces of crushed candy cane on each cookie.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – Coated Cookies

Place the cookie sheet in the fridge or freezer until the chocolate is set.

To store, put parchment or wax paper between layers of the cookies and keep in a cool place.

Shopping List over 1/2 Done!

After choosing which cookie recipes to make each year, the challenge is finding the ingredients. Now flour, sugars, and butter is always easier to find than say oblates (for lebkuchen).

Some of the shopping problem is finding quality ingredients at a decent enough price. We all know this challenge.There are many choices for vanilla but few are really good. A few are too expensive. And only one really fits my “standard”. So finding the right price on the right vanilla is the challenge here.

I found flour was a strange one to buy a couple of years ago. In bag, from a brand I normally do not buy, there was a lot of grit. Thankfully I tend to sift all flour before using it. Lesson learned. After this experience I now sift flour without exception even though I don’t buy the other brand any more.

2011 Christmas Cookies – The Shopping Loot!

Other items like oblates and citrus peel can be the biggest challenge. Citrus peel at the grocery store tends to be mostly flavoured rutabega (a turnip!) – not in my Lekuchen!! Oblates (the thin paper-like backing on Lebkuchen) are nearly impossible to find locally. I did find some oblates in the city for the first time in years at a specialty store. The oblates I am using this year are from a grocery store purchase in Cologne Germany when I was in vacation earlier this year.

One item I am having trouble locating is coco butter. I only need about 75 grams or so (2.5 ounces) meaning the one pound bag is just way to much.

So now after a few trips to a few stores my shopping is over 1/2 done! The rest I will finish this coming weekend. Wish me luck with the coco butter.

Special Thanks to Starbucks for the great coffee and Bell for the internet connection this morning while my power was out.

2011 Holiday Cookie Baking Schedule

Due to at least one fortunate vacation break I am going  to mix some of the holiday cookie recipe doughs in advance and freeze them. This is so that I can accommodate another possible trip and be ready for our annual Christmas party on December 3rd.

When I return from the vacation(s) I can then thaw the recipe and continue with baking them off and complete everything by December 3!

October 5 Prepare Hazelnuts
October 6 Linzer cookie recipe  Dough
October 7 Chocolate Pinwheel cookie recipe dough
October 8 Chocolate Drizzle spice cookie recipe dough
October 12 Spiced Cardamom cookie recipe dough
October 13 Chewy Molasses Spice cookie recipe dough
October 14 Chocolate Peppermint cookie recipe dough
October 15 Lime Cornmeal cookie recipe dough

See something you want? Let me know.

2011 Christmas Cookies – First Shopping Trip

2011 Holiday Cookie / Baking Shopping List

Now that I have my holiday cookie / baking list complete I can work on the shopping list. So.. Here it is:
White Flour – 16 PoundsCake Flour – 5 Pounds

Whole Wheat Flour – 5 Pounds

Icing Sugar – 7 Pounds

Sugar – 15 Pounds

Molasses – 2 Cups

Light Brown Sugar – 2 Pounds

Dark Brown Sugar – 2 Pounds

Cornmeal – 10 Cups

Rolled Oats – 1 Pound

Baking Soda – 1 Container

Baking Powder – 1 Container

Dessicated Coconut – 4.5 Cups

Shredded Coconut – 1 Small Bag

Dark Corn Syrup – 1 Large Bottle

Light Corn Syrup – 3 Large Bottles

Condensed Milk – 1 Cup

Vanilla Extract – 8 Ounces

Cardamom – 1 Container

Peppermint Extract – 1 Bottle

Cinnamon – 1 Container

Orange Zest – 5 Large Oranges

Lemon Zest – 3 Lemons

Granny Smith Apples – 5

Zucchini (Medium) – 5

Limes – 2 Large Bags

Walnuts – 1 bag

Whole Almonds – 2 Large Bags

Raisins – 1 Bag

Chocolate (Milk) – 1.5 Pounds

White Chocolate – 6 Pounds

Maraschino Cherries – 2 Large Jars

Pecans – 2 Bags

Hazelnuts – 3 Bags

Milk – 2 Cups

Eggs (Large) – 6 Dozen

Heavy Cream – 2 Cups

Butter (Unsalted) – 14 Pounds

Candy Canes – 24

Candied Lemon Peel – 375 Grams

Candied Orange Peel – 275 Grams

Cocoa Butter – 75 Grams

Raspberry Jam – 1.5 L

150 70 MM Oblates

2011 Holiday Cookie / Baking List

So here we go. For 2011 my friends and family will receive some of the following holiday recipes:

Cherry Chews                                         Spiced Cardamom Cookies

French Almond Nougat                          Lime Cornmeal Cookies

Feiner Lebkuchen                                    Apple Raisin Cookies

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies              Chewy Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies               Linzer Sandwich Cookies

Lemon Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies         Cinnamon Swirl Cookies

Holiday Baking 2011

I have been thinking over the past couple of weeks that I really need to get the holiday baking list underway.I have personally had a lot go on this year which in turn means there will be fewer cookies needed this year. Stay tuned for the list….. Suggestions most welcome too!

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