My Baking Day (part2) – Coconut Shortbred Cookies and Raisin Shortbread Cookies

After the chocolate cake, I wanted to bake shortbread cookies.

While I was preparing the dought, i’ve decided to add some new ingredient for a little “special touch”. My mind started thinking, i could hear its noise, a kind of “…. Mumble mumble … “. I opened the closet and I found a dry coconut jar and a raisin jar, “why not to try with one of these?” I thought … “Which one?” … Mumble mumble again … “But it is my baking day so I’ll try both!!!” … et voila’: 2 differents types of shortbread cookies!

And these are my experiments:

Coconut Shortbread Cookies

and Raisin Shortbread Cookies

Not perfect but not bad, especially the one with dry coconut, it gives a sweeter touch!!!

Coconut or Raisin Shortbread Cookies

2 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of butter at room temperature
1/2 cup of superfine white sugar
1 teaspoon of vanillina or vanilla extract
3 tablespoon of dry coconut or 3 tablespoons of raisin

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter until soft and creamy, then add sugar and beat untill the dough becomes very smooth. Add vanillina and mix. Pour the dough in the bowl with flour and salt mixture. Add dry coconut or raisin. Mix really well. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour . Preheat the oven to 180°C ( 356°F). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 5cm thick circle. Cut the cookies into the shape you prefer with a cookie cutter. Place them on a baking sheet. Put back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, it will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape. Bake them for 10-15minutes, they have to remain lightly brown.

Buon Appetito!!!

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My Baking day (part 1) – Chocolate Cake

Sometimes i take a day off from everything, i wear my apron and my kitchen becomes my world: my baking day!

I love it, it is MY time for me and my passion, I can prepare cakes, cookies and biscuits using “already tested” recipes, try new one, taste new ingredients and mix them for MY recipes … I adore my baking day!!!

Yesterday afternoon I dedicated my baking time to prepare a cake following an old recipe, a chocolate cake recipe, and modify another one, shortbread cookies recipe.

I founded the choco cake recipe in a nice old cookbook long time ago, i’ve tasted it so many time but it has never bothered me. It is a fantastic chocolate cake, a little bit chewy, as i like it, with no cocoa powdered but real dark chocolate !!!

Chocolate Cake

200gr dark chocolate
100gr butter
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of flour
200gr castor sugar

Cut the dark chocolate in pieces. Put the pieces of choccolate with the butter in a double saucepan and melt them. In a bowl beat yolks with sugar and then add flour. Beat until stiff the egg whites. Add the chocolate and butter mix with the yolks and sugar mix, add the beaten egg whites. Mix very well all the ingredients. Pour the batter in a pan and bake it in the oven to 180°C ( 356°F) for 25-30 minutes. Serve it with confectioners’ sugar on top.

Buon Appetito!!!

Cheesecake Ricotta&Limone

This weekend Barbara, a friend of mine, invited us for a BBQ. The dessert is always my business and this time i wanted to create something  fresh, perfect for this hot season. I chose to prepare my lemon cheesecake. When i was in America i used to eat big slices of it, so, when i came back home, i took with me an original recipe. The day after my arrival i prepared the cake. I bought Philadelphia cheese, all the other ingredients and i followed exactly step by step the recipe. But the result was not as the american one. I prepared another one, and then again but all were too different than the original. So i decided to change the principal ingredient and i tried the ricotta cheese instead of philadelphia. It was a delicious surprise !!!

Now this recipe is became my “infallible” summer recipe for any occasion !!!

Cheesecake Ricotta&Limone

250gr ricotta, unsalted
1 package of Digestive biscuits
120gr melted butter
100gr sugar
3 yolks
a lemon (juice and zest)
6 gr of unflavored gelatin
200ml fresh cream

Put in a mixer the digestive biscuits, they have to become finely crushed. In a large bowl, mix together crushed biscuits and melted butter. Press the crumb mixture onto a tart pan with removable bottom, previously greased, and place in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.

In a bowl beat  yolks, sugar, ricotta cheese and grated lemon zest.  In a clean bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Put the gelatin and juice of the lemon in a small saucepan and heat for a minute, low heat, stirring until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Gradually fold the whipped cream and the gelatin with juice into the cheese mixture. Pour the filling over the chilled biscuit crust and placed again in the refrigerator for minimum 4 hours.

Buon appetito !!!

PS. i used a 26cm tart pan, too big … the better thing is to use a 20 or 22cm pan so the filling become higher and the cake will have a better presentation !!!

PS2. Sorry for the photos, i’ve lost almost all of them and i do not know why !!!

Schiacciata Dolce Toscana

After a busy, full of family and food Easter Day, i enjoy my easter monday at home, reading a book, playing with my son, spending time cooking … and baking La Schiacciata Dolce Toscana. It is a Easter sweet bread prepared with Anice Seeds and Mint Rosolio, a sweet light liquor. My friends say the recipe cames from Pisa and Livorno areas, but it is popular in all the Tuscan Region.  Normally it’s easy to find the schiacciata in this Easter period, but i really like it so i bake it often during all the year … i love it with honey for an energetic breakfast or with a nice hot tea for a sweet aftrenoon break  !!!

Schiacciata Dolce Toscana

700gr Flour
3 Eggs, at room temperature
150gr Caster Sugar
70gr of butter, at room temperature
a glass of lukewarm milk
50gr Brewer’s Yeast
a lemon zest
2 tablespoons of anise seed
50ml of Mint Rosolio
a pinch of salt
a egg white

Dissolve the brewer’s yeast into the lukewarm milk. In a glass put the anise seeds with the mint rosolio. Mix the flour and the sugar in a bowl, add the beated eggs, milk plus yeast, lemon zest, butter, anise seed plus rosolio and the pinch of salt. Knead by hands all the ingredients and when the dought is ready, put it in a high cake pan. Leave it in a warm place for a couple of hours, until it rises. Before baking it, brush the surface with the beaten egg white. Then put in the oven 180°C for 40-45 minutes.

Buon Appetito !!!

   

 

 

Castagnole … and my donutmaker!!!

CARNEVALE is the period before Lent, it runs from Twelfth Night to Ash Wednesday. It is celebrated with mad jokes, streamers, typical sweets and fancy dress parties especially during the weekend running from Giovedì Grasso (the last Thursday) to Martedì … Continue reading

Tortine alle Carote

When i was little, my mom used to prepare a delicious carrot cake. Now my son loves cupcakes and muffins ( his idea: “they are small so i can eat more !!!”) so i’ve decided to use my mom’s carrot cake recipe to prepare cupcakes !!!

Tortine alle Carote

250gr Flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
a pich of salt
4 eggs
200gr Sugar
250gr sunflower oil
2 big raw grated carrots
60gr chopped almonds
100gr raisins
a grated big apple (better a red crunchy apple)

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt). Whisk eggs, sugar and oil and fold it in the flour mixture. Fold the carrots, the almonds and raisins. Divide the batter in the muffin cups and bake for 25minutes at 180°C.

Happy Breakfast !!!

Torta Paradiso

Torta Paradiso, i really love this cake, for me it’s fantastic and my son agrees with me … Meravigliosa !!! I baked it yesterday and today it’s already gone !!! A suggestion: it is a perfect cake for kids party !!!

Torta Paradiso

150gr Manitoba Flour
150gr Maizena
300gr Butter
300gr Sugar
8 Yolks e 4 Egg Whites
1 Baking Powder
1 Vanillina
1 Lemon Extract

Preheat the oven 170°C

Whisk together butter, sugar and vanillina untill the mix becomes fluppy and creamy. Put one yolk a time, whisk  really well after each yolk. Place the dry ingredients (manitoba flour, maizena, baking powder) in a bowl and put it all in the yolks mixture, sifting it. Add lemon extract and whisk. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, fold them gently into the batter. Pour the batter into a prepared pan, and bake it at 170°C for 50 minuters.

When cooked and warm, dust with confectioners sugar.

It’s is good filled with whipped cream and strawberries.

Walnut and Honey Tart

I grew up eating tons of slices of this cake, i love it !!! It remember me my winter days skiing and going to the bakery for a slice of cake and a hot chocolate … sweet memories !

Today i’ve baked 2 crostate: one small and one big, the small one is for tomorrow breakfast and the big one is for the dinner of tonight, we have friends coming over our home. I hope they will like it !!!

    

Here the recipe:

Walnut and Honey Tart

For the sweet pastry crust:
150 gr Butter
150gr Sugar
300gr Flour
1 Egg + 2 Yolk
salt

For the filling:
300gr Honey ( normally wildflower honey but also Acacia honey or any kind of sweet and light honey)
300gr Walnut (without shell and chopped)

Put the flour on the table and prepare a hole in it, put sugar, soft butter, egg and yolk in the hole and knead by hand. When the dough is ready, form a ball and leave it, covered, in the fridge for 20 minutes. Mix chopped walnut with honey. Take the dough from the fridge, flatten 2/3 of it with a rolling pin and place it into a baking pan. Put the filling in the pastry and cover it with the rest of dough already flatten. Put in the oven 200°C for 25minutes. Pay attention: press well the edge of the pastry top on the edge of the pastry bottom or the filling honey comes out during baking.

My Babà

After my staying in Naples, i decided to prepare babà !!! I found a real and tasted babà recipe “made in Naples” and … voilà My First Babà !!!

I do not have the right pan , i’ve tried to buy one around Pisa, but it’s quite impossible to find , so i used a normal pan for cake with a hole inside … it’s no the same but it worked !!!

And here a slice of babà …