Monday, 6 February 2017

❄ Snowflakes Winter Cookies ❄

These snowflakes are a variation of the viennese delicate cookies. They are not so light and crisp as the viennese snowflakes, resemble a texture of simple sugar cookies, but with less density. Creaming method is used for making these, which develops the gluten in the flour and that is why they do not keep perfectly their shape during baking. The snowflakes winter cookies are easier to make compared to the viennese ones. 

Winter was quite generous to us this year. Not very many super cold days. 

I love winter though, and I miss the real snowfalls that last for days, the super cold temperatures afterwords, that almost stop my breath, the bright sun rays that play with the blindingly white snow and bounce straight back into the pupils, making me see colourful circles. This is the time when you can see the true structure of a snowflake - just hold your hands open until a crispy lacy snowflake lays down and explore ... It is a magical moment! It doesn't melt right away - that is how cold it is. Your palm can not melt it for few seconds and it shines in its beauty. You know that every snowflake is different - they all have different DNA, just like us...  

Oh, yes ... the recipe...

 for the cookies:

227 g butter
270 g superfine sugar
grated rind of one orange
pinch of salt

2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

420 g flour

❄ prepare the dough:

1. Beat the butter and sugar to cream.
2. Beat in the orange zest and salt.
3. Add the egg yolks and cream after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
4. Fold in the flour.
5. Divide the dough and two and roll each half between two sheets of parchment paper or cling foil.
6. Refrigerate the sheets overnight.

 prepare the cookies:

1. Roll the dough to about 3 mm thickness.
2. Cut the snowflakes out.
3. Bake at 180° C until very light golden.
4. Arrange on a wire rack to cool down completely.
5. Store in an air tight container.
6. Sift icing sugar before serving.

Happy snowy days, dear sweet readers!
♥ Ivelina

Saturday, 4 February 2017

♥ Chocolate Truffles

The most elegant way to declare your love to someone is with chocolate. The warmth and deliciousness of the chocolate has been never comparable to the diamonds. The chocolate is an art creation. Fine senses and strong feelings are needed for understanding this pure food of Heaven. 

Self-made chocolate truffles are best present for St. Valentine. They are very easy to make - the only skill needed is ... love.

for the truffles:

220 ml whipping cream
30 g sugar
250 g bittersweet chocolate
37 g unsalted butter

for the coating:

250 g dark chocolate (72% cocoa solids), tempered
cocoa powder (optional)

prepare the molds:

polish the mold with a clean soft cotton cloth

prepare the truffles:
  1. Bring the cream and sugar to boil.
  2. Have the chocolate chopped in a bowl.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it stay for 5-7 min.
  4. Stir with a flexible spatula to homogenize well until glossy mixture of ganache is formed.
  5. Pour the ganache in the mold. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably - overnight.
  6. Remove the hearts from the mold: you will need a pan that could accommodate the mold. Pour hot water in the pan. Place the mold in the pan for 3-4 sec, making sure that the hearts are not in contact with the water. This will soften the ganache slightly and will ease the heart removal. Use a flat thin spatula to help this process. The hearts will have a rough look, which is completely normal. The truffles have this imperfect, almost ugly look , but still are delicatessen. We will polish the hearts, because of the special occasion of St, Valentine, or by your choice, you could make traditional truffles, coated with cocoa powder. 

temper the chocolate:

Tempering the chocolate is a science and art combined. You will need a candy thermometer. This unit is important, so you follow closely the temperature change and no sugar crystallization is formed on the final product (the small white spots that sometime appear on chocolate, when it was not stored properly).

  1. Chop the chocolate in a stainless steal bowl and place it over a pot with boiling water (it would be better if you do not bring the water to boil). 
  2. Stir the chocolate with a flexible spatula, until it reaches 45-50 ° C. 
  3. Remove the bowl with the chocolate from the heat and let it cool until it reaches 29 ° C.
  4. Put back over the water bath and warm until 31-32 ° C.

Coat the truffles:

prepare a shallow dish, filled with cocoa powder

  1. Remove the chocolate bowl together with a pot with simmering water over a counter and start coating the hearts one by one, placing them in the tempered chocolate. Make sure the hearts are evenly coated and remove them from the chocolate with a fork (preferably - dipping one). 
  2. Place the coated truffles on a silicon mat or acetate sheet.
  3. If you want a chocolate covered hearts for more formal presentation, you could leave them chill for about 4 hours. Arrange them in a small box, tie a ribbon and garnishing with a saying “I love you” card. Give as a present to a loved one.

If you decide to coat them with cocoa powder, after you take the truffles out of the chocolate, place one by one in the dish with cocoa powder. Let it stay for few seconds, just so the chocolate sets a little bit and it is not in so running consistency.  Roll the heart until it coats evenly and let it rest in the refrigerator for few hours on a silicon mat or acetate sheet. Arrange them in a small box, tie a ribbon and garnishing with a saying “I love you” card, give as a present to a loved one.

Have an amazing St. Valentine celebration with your loved ones! Thank you for being mu guest! 


Listening to the Beatles hit 'All you need is love' while writing the post...