Gingerbread Mug Houses

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Because you get to eat tons of sweets, from Yule logs to gingerbread men, to Christmas puddings and truffle stocking-stuffers.

Here’s a recipe that I’ve adapted from this little treasure trove of a book called Gingerbread Wonderland by Mima Sinclair. There are tons of stencils to photocopy and cut out to build cookie townhouses, miniature houses, and large homes. (FYI: the book is totally worth buying).

 

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Makes 15 houses

 

Gingerbread dough

200 g butter, room temperature

60 g molasses

60 g honey

150 g packed brown sugar

1 egg

zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking soda

500 g flour

½ tsp salt

 

  1. Cream the butter with molasses, honey and brown sugar.
  2. Beat in the egg, lemon zest, spices, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add the flour in increments until dough is homogenous.
  4. Roll it out as a disk between two pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 F or 160 C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Roll out the dough to 5 mm (1/4 inch) thickness and cut into desired shapes (see stencil below). Place in freezer for 5 minutes so that dough retains its shape while baking.
  7. Bake for 5-6 minutes.

gingerbread stencil

 

Royal Icing

500 g icing sugar

2 egg white

lemon juice (1 lemon)

2 tsp water

 

  1. Sift the sugar.
  2. Mix in egg white, lemon juice, and water.
  3. Whisk for 2 minutes on low speed until mixture is smooth.
  4. Use royal icing as glue to hold your gingerbread house together.
  5. Put some in a pastry bag and decorate.
  6. You can thin out the icing with some water. Add a teaspoon at a time.

 

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Vanilla Cloud Meringues

In Switzerland, a famous dessert is meringue with Crème de Gruyere (which is not cheese but a sort of double cream). It’s amazing. The sweetness and crispness of the meringue fits so well with the unctuosity and smoothness of the cream.

I don’t make meringues very often because I rarely find myself with a lot of egg whites. But the other day, I made Pots de Crème au Chocolat (which uses only yolks) so I had a lot of whites left over.

 

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I like my meringues crisp on the outside but slightly chewy on the inside and that’s a question of cooking time:

Completely Crisp – 2 hours

Crisp on the outside but still soft – 1 ½ hours

 

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Makes 24 meringues

 

180g egg whites (approx. 6 eggs)

1 ½ cups of sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar (optional)

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 100 C or 215 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form (about 2-3 minutes).
  3. Add the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract. Beat for another minute or 2 or until your meringue is glossy.
  4. With an ice cream scooper, drop dollops of meringue on the baking sheets, leaving an inch between (In case they spread).
  5. Bake for 1 ½ hours for chewy meringues or 2 hours+ for crisp.

 

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Sesame Nougatine & Chocolate Chip Cookies

A friend of mine lent me a cookbook about cookies and brownies. Just looking at the pictures has made me gain weight. J I wanted to share the sweetness with you before I have to hand the book back over.

I’ve never made nougatine before, even though I’ve always loved eating it. I imagined it was challenging and only chefs that went through culinary school could be talented enough to make this paper-thin, nuts folded into golden caramel delicacy. Well, I was wrong. I think it is probably the easiest thing to make.

 

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I tripled the amount of nougatine and saved some in a jar. It keeps a very long time in most kitchens. In mine, the jar is sitting next to the espresso machine, so by the end of today—considering how much coffee is drunk in my household—it will be all gone.

 

makes 18 cookies

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Sesame Nougatine

60 g (¼ cup) sugar

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp slivered almonds

¼ tsp fleur de sel

 

  1. Lay a large piece of parchment paper on your kitchen counter.
  2. Heat the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add the salt, sesame seeds, and the slivered almonds. Stir with a spatula.
  3. Pour onto one side of the parchment paper. Fold the other side over. With a rolling pin, roll the nougatine out until ¼ inch thickness.
  4. You can lift the parchment paper on top but do not touch the nougatine until it’s cooled down (approximately 5 minutes).
  5. Break into small pieces for your cookie batter.

 

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Cookie Dough

150 g butter, room temperature

110 g sugar

1 egg

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp fleur de sel

200 g all-purpose flour

100 g chocolate chips

Nougatine in chunks you’ve just made

 

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  1. Preheat oven to 180 C or 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standmixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the baking powder, salt, and egg and beat on low speed until well incorporated.
  4. Pour in the flour and whisk until mixture is homogenous.
  5. Fold in the nougatine and the chocolate chips.
  6. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes or until the sides of the cookies are golden brown.

 

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Coconut Almond Honey Brittle

I found this recipe on the website www.feastingathome.com. It is just incredible. I’d never made caramel using honey before, but now that I have, I am never making caramel with sugar.

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To make caramel with honey, you have to simmer the honey to 255 F or 120 C. So the only thing you really need for this recipe is a candy thermometer. They’re super practical to have around the kitchen. You can’t make fluffy marshmallows without a thermometer, nor real Italian meringue.

If you don’t already have one, I strongly suggest you get one with a timer. It beeps as soon as your mixture reaches the ideal temperature.

 

Makes 8-10 bars (but feels like less when your sister-in-law spends the day at your house)

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Ingredients

2 cups of almonds

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

½ cup honey

¼ cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp fleur de sel

1 cup puffed cereal, unsweetened

2 tbsp chia seeds

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C. Place almonds and coconut flakes in an even layer and bake until golden (8-10 minutes).
  2. Line a square mold with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix toasted nuts, chia seeds, fleur de sel, and puffed cereal with a spatula.
  4. In a small saucepan, mix honey, water, and vanilla and simmer on medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 255 F or 120 C. As soon as the mixture reaches this temperature, take off the heat and pour over nut mixture. Mix until everything is coated by the caramel honey.
  5. Pour onto parchment-lined mold. Tear off a small piece of parchment paper and press down on the caramelized nuts until they form an even layer.
  6. Leave to cool until hardened, about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Turn onto a cutting board and chop in bars or in chunks.

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Lemon Marshmallows

I hope you guys aren’t sick of Marshmallow recipes, but I had to share this new delicious variation I came up with. These marshmallows are refreshingly lemony and are like little bites of sunshine.

You can find the original recipe for Homemade Marshmallows – Plain, Chocolate & Matcha here  and just in case I reposted it below. Enjoy!

Recipe:

Lemon Marshmallows:

2 tsp lemon extract (I used Nielsen Massey Pure Lemon Extract)

Zest of one lemon

1/4 tsp yellow food coloring

  1. Combine the extract, zest and food coloring in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Proceed with the recipe for Plain Marshmallows adding the extract, zest, food coloring mixture in the last minute of whipping.

Plain Marshmallows(original recipe courtesy of Alton Brown):

3 .25 oz packages unflavored gelatin ( .75 oz or 21g – whether using sheets or powder)

1 cup ice cold water, divided

12 oz (by weight) granulated sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cornstarch

  1. Put 1/2 cup ice cold water and the gelatin in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  2. Put the other 1/2 cup ice cold water in a small saucepan along with the granulated sugar, the corn syrup, and the salt. Give it a quick stir and then turn the heat on to Medium-High. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Uncover and attach a candy thermometer to the side of your pan and continue cooking until the thermometer reads 240˚F. Immediately take the pan off the heat once it gets to temperature.
  4. Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin.
  5. As soon as all the syrup is mixed in, turn the mixture up to high speed and whisk for 14-15 minutes. Themixture will look white, glossy, and fluffy.
  6. While the mixer is going, prepare a 9×13 in pan. Lightly coat it will cooking spray.
  7. Mix the cornstarch and powdered sugar in small bowl.
  8. Add it to the pan. Move your pan around to coat it well, then pour what’s left back into the bowl and set it aside.
  9. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and with a lightly oiled spatula, smooth the top. Sprinkle more of the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture over the top. Set the rest aside for later.
  10. Let them rest for at least 4 hours to overnight.
  11. After 4 hours or overnight turn them out onto a cutting board and cut them (pizza cutter is best) into whatever size you want. Use the remainder of the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture to coat the sides of the marshmallow.
  12. Enjoy! You can store them in a ziploc or other air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.

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Coconut Marshmallows

I thank my sister for having found such a phenomenal recipe for homemade marshmallows. I’ve been making them over and over again. I experimented with a new flavor which I will share with you today: coconut marshmallows. May I suggest you dip them in melted chocolate…I’m going to do just that tomorrow. Enjoy…

Click here for Alton Brown’s original recipe, the chocolate and the Matcha versions.

3 .25 oz packages unflavored gelatin ( .75 oz or 21g – whether using sheets or powder)

2/3 cup of coconut milk

1 cup ice cold water, divided

12 oz granulated sugar (which equals to 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup corn syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cornstarch

1/3 cup finely grated coconut + 1/4 cup

  1. Put 1/2 cup ice cold water and the gelatin in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  2. After five minutes, add the coconut milk and 1/3 cup of grated coconut. Beat until just incorporated.
  3. Put the other 1/2 cup ice cold water in a small saucepan along with the granulated sugar, the corn syrup, and the salt. Give it a quick stir and then turn the heat on to Medium-High. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Uncover and attach a candy thermometer to the side of your pan and continue cooking until the thermometer reads 240˚F. Immediately take the pan off the heat once it gets to temperature.
  5. Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture.
  6. As soon as all the syrup is mixed in, turn the mixture up to high speed and whisk for 14-15 minutes. Add the teaspoon of vanilla in the last minute of whipping. The mixture will look white, glossy, and fluffy.
  7. While the mixer is going, prepare a 9×13 in pan. Lightly coat it will cooking spray.
  8. Mix the cornstarch, the remaining 1/4 cup of grated coconut, and powdered sugar in small bowl.
  9. Add it to the pan. Move your pan around to coat it well, then pour what’s left back into the bowl and set it aside.
  10. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and with a lightly oiled spatula, smooth the top. Sprinkle more of the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture over the top. Set the rest aside for later.
  11. Let them rest for at least 4 hours to overnight.
  12. After 4 hours or overnight turn them out onto a cutting board and cut them (pizza cutter is best) into whatever size you want. Use the remainder of the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture to coat the sides of the marshmallow.
  13. You can store them in a ziploc or other air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.

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Homemade Tahitian Vanilla Marshmallows

My obsession with homemade marshmallows continues. Today’s experiment was Tahitian Vanilla. Yum! I think these were the best yet. Click here for the original recipe, the chocolate and the Matcha versions.

Or just in case I reposted the recipe below the Tahitian Vanilla modification.

Recipe :

Tahitian Vanilla:

1 Tahitian Vanilla bean

1 tsp high-quality Vanilla extract

  1. Combine the vanilla extract and the seeds from the vanilla bean in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Follow steps 1-5 of the original recipe.
  3. In the last minute of whipping add the vanilla mixture.
  4. Proceed with steps 6-12.

That’s it! Enjoy!

Plain Marshmallows(original recipe courtesy of Alton Brown):

3 .25 oz packages unflavored gelatin ( .75 oz or 21g – whether using sheets or powder)

1 cup ice cold water, divided

12 oz (by weight) granulated sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cornstarch

  1. Put 1/2 cup ice cold water and the gelatin in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  2. Put the other 1/2 cup ice cold water in a small saucepan along with the granulated sugar, the corn syrup, and the salt. Give it a quick stir and then turn the heat on to Medium-High. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Uncover and attach a candy thermometer to the side of your pan and continue cooking until the thermometer reads 240˚F. Immediately take the pan off the heat once it gets to temperature.
  4. Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin.
  5. As soon as all the syrup is mixed in, turn the mixture up to high speed and whisk for 14-15 minutes. Add the teaspoon of vanilla in the last minute of whipping. Themixture will look white, glossy, and fluffy.
  6. While the mixer is going, prepare a 9×13 in pan. Lightly coat it will cooking spray.
  7. Mix the cornstarch and powdered sugar in small bowl.
  8. Add it to the pan. Move your pan around to coat it well, then pour what’s left back into the bowl and set it aside.
  9. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and with a lightly oiled spatula, smooth the top. Sprinkle more of the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture over the top. Set the rest aside for later.
  10. Let them rest for at least 4 hours to overnight.
  11. After 4 hours or overnight turn them out onto a cutting board and cut them (pizza cutter is best) into whatever size you want. Use the remainder of the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture to coat the sides of the marshmallow.
  12. Enjoy! You can store them in a ziploc or other air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.

US

Homemade Marshmallows – Plain, Chocolate & Matcha

We all grew up eating Kraft’s Jet-Puffed marshmallows. Well these are no Jet-Puffed. These are sooooo much better. They are more like Rocket-puffed.  They are superior for multiple reasons: they’re homemade so you’re  in control of the ingredients, you can flavor them to your heart’s desire, and the texture is airy and melt-in-your mouth! Mmmmm  mmmm good!

Recipe (original recipe courtesy of Alton Brown):

Plain Marshmallows:

3 .25 oz packages unflavored gelatin ( .75 oz or 21g – whether using sheets or powder)

1 cup ice cold water, divided

12 oz (by weight) granulated sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cornstarch

  1. Put 1/2 cup ice cold water and the gelatin in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  2. Put the other 1/2 cup ice cold water in a small saucepan along with the granulated sugar, the corn syrup, and the salt. Give it a quick stir and then turn the heat on to Medium-High. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Uncover and attach a candy thermometer to the side of your pan and continue cooking until the thermometer reads 240˚F. Immediately take the pan off the heat once it gets to temperature.
  4. Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin.
  5. As soon as all the syrup is mixed in, turn the mixture up to high speed and whisk for 14-15 minutes. Add the teaspoon of vanilla in the last minute of whipping. Themixture will look white, glossy, and fluffy.
  6. While the mixer is going, prepare a 9×13 in pan. Lightly coat it will cooking spray.
  7. Mix the cornstarch and powdered sugar in small bowl.
  8. Add it to the pan. Move your pan around to coat it well, then pour what’s left back into the bowl and set it aside.
  9. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and with a lightly oiled spatula, smooth the top. Sprinkle more of the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture over the top. Set the rest aside for later.
  10. Let them rest for at least 4 hours to overnight.
  11. After 4 hours or overnight turn them out onto a cutting board and cut them (pizza cutter is best) into whatever size you want. Use the remainder of the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture to coat the sides of the marshmallow.
  12. Enjoy! You can store them in a ziploc or other air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.

Chocolate Marshmallows:

1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, divided

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp boiling water

  1. Combine the 1/3 cup cocoa powder with the boiling water. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. Once the ice cold water/gelatin has set for 5 minutes (see step 1 in main recipe), add the cocoa mixture and mix on low, just until incorporated.
  3. Follow steps 2-6 listed above.
  4. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of cocoa powder to the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture.
  5. Follow steps 8-12

Matcha Marshmallows:

2 tbsp Matcha powder, divided

1/4 cup boiling water

  1. Combine 1 tbsp Matcha powder (or more or less to taste) with the boiling water. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. Once the ice cold water/gelatin has set for 5 minutes (see step 1 in main recipe), add the Matcha mixture and mix on low, just until incorporated.
  3. Follow steps 2-6 listed above.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of Matcha powder to the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture.
  5. Follow steps 8-12

The flavor possibilities are endless! I’ll add more marshmallow flavors as I make them. Next up are Lemon, Strawberry, and Rose Water.

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