Jalebi | Indian Sweet Fritters

Jalebi | Sweet Indian Fritters-5

It has been a hectic week! I don’t know how I’m still standing but I know it’s with much difficulty! I haven’t been able to visit my favourite blogs but I will catch up today! I’m also posting on a totally different day because my whole posting schedule has gone awry.

I worked 3 events back to back and one was a big grilling event for 75 people. I did that one while fasting on the most humid day Denver has seen so far! I am quite beat and I still had to cook and work yesterday (still fasting) I am questioning my choice of a job at the moment.

Jalebi | Sweet Indian Fritters

First and foremost, it is that time of the year again where the days seem endless and the nights fly by, also known as the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. The ninth month of the Isalmic calendar, the month of fasting, charity, good deeds, prayer and intense worship. 

This is the month when the Holy Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and it’s the month where we try to finish reading the Quran as many times as we can. The Islamic Centres have evening prayers where a portion of the Quran is recited every night for all the 30 nights, that way finishing the Quran in congregation. 

Jalebi | Sweet Indian Fritters

The Quran is written in Arabic and that can be difficult for many and sometimes it is easy to go and join the congregation every evening. I try and read as much as I can in Arabic but since it’s not my first language, I struggle a little too. But the struggle is the reward. 

The month of Ramadan is a reminder of the hardships that many face. We don’t eat from dawn to sunset. No water, no food, no cursing, no smoking, no sex and no fighting. It’s an exercise in self control. It’s a way to put ourselves in others lives who may not be as fortunate as us. We feel the thirst of the thirsty, we feel the hunger of the hungry, we feel the despair of the desperate, and the hopelessness of the oppressed. We volunteer as much as we can, we donate as much as we can, we pray for ourselves and for others, we also spend time reflecting on ourselves.  

Jalebi | Sweet Indian Fritters

It is surprising, when we stop eating and stop thinking about food, how much time we have to focus on other things. It really does make you stop and think of others when the hunger pangs radiate throughout your body or your parched throat feels like sandpaper. It is humbling and heart breaking.

It is always an emotional time for me. I really try to focus on my hunger and thirst and try to feel what so many experince on a daily basis. It is enough to bring tears to my eyes. I cannot imagine how they survive, how little children feel this pain everyday, some for the entire length of their short lives.

We don’t have to go overseas to think about the less fortunate, here in America we have our own hungry and homeless. It’s unbelievable.

Jalebi | Sweet Indian Fritters

The pain of hunger and thirst also forces you to focus on your relationship with God. We increase our worship, our knowlege and strengthen our faith. This month is a time for renewal of our bodies, minds and souls.

Of course, 29-30 days of hunger and thirst then makes for a great celebration when it ends! Ramadan is not only about struggle and worship, it’s also about family and community.

It’s one of the best times for children and adults alike. The community dinners every night at the local Islamic Centres are a great unifying and fun nights for the whole family. We eat together, pray together and socialise together. I haven’t made it to any this year yet but I enjoy them when I go. 

Since Ramadan is a celebration, a 30 day celebration, I wanted to post a sweet recipe today. We always celebrate with sweets.

Jalebi | Sweet Indian Fritters

These Jalebi are some of my favourites. They are a little bit like funnel cakes but crispy and syrup soaked and filled. Divine. 

I’ve wanted to post this recipe for a long time now but getting around to making them and photographing them is where the struggle lies! The original way of making them is fermenting a flour and water mixture overnight and then frying the batter the next day.

I can’t plan that far ahead. It’s been crazy busy for me with events, work and Ramadan so planning anything more than a few hours ahead is impossible! Many people make a quick batter fermented with yeast and I decided to go this route. I had a few hours of free time so I mixed up a batter, went out to do some shopping and then came back to fry these babies up. 

When sundown rolled around, I could finally try one! They were perfect. Crunchy, syrupy, heady with a saffron scent. These yeasted ones tasted just like the traditional ones and I was happy I could get them done in half the time. 

Jalebi | Sweet Indian Fritters

Jalebi | Indian Sweet Fritters

Rating 

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 3 dozen

Crispy fried Indian fritters soaked and filled with saffron scented syrup.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups/300g all purpose/plain flour
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons yoghurt
  • 1½ cups/355 ml warm water
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Oil to fry
  • Sugar syrup
  • 3 cups/600g sugar
  • 2⅔ cups/ 395 ml water
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • Pinch saffron
  • Squeeze of lemon
Instructions
  1. Start by making the jalebi batter so it can proof and rise.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and yoghurt together.
  3. Add the warm water until a pourable batter is formed.
  4. Set aside to get bubbly and doubled in size.
  5. I left mine for a couple of hours while I ran errands.
  6. One hour should be plenty.
  7. While the batter is resting, make the syrup.
  8. In a large 3qt sauté pan, bring the sugar and water to boil.
  9. Add the lemon juice, saffron and the cardamom.
  10. Let it simmer for about 9-15 minutes (took me 15)
  11. You need to get it to the thread stage.
  12. Once the syrup has reduced and is sticky, place to the side and fry the fritters.
  13. At the end of the hour, the batter should be bubbly and doubled in size.
  14. Thin with a little water if too thick .
  15. Should be a nice pourable, sticky (gelatinous ) batter.
  16. Pour into a squeeze bottle (half filled or else it will rise further and ooze out)
  17. Heat an electric skillet to 350F/180C or a medium sized fry pan on medium high.
  18. Fill with 1.5 inches of oil.
  19. Place a sheet tray with a rack close by.
  20. When the oil comes to temperature, using the squeezy bottle, squeeze out the batter in circles overlapping or 8 patterns.
  21. As soon as the batter hits the oil, it will be ready quickly to be flipped.
  22. Don't let the jalebi get too brown.
  23. Once the other side is lightly coloured, pullout the jalebi from the oil and drop into the syrup carefully.
  24. Coat on both sides and then carefully take out and put on the rack to dry.
  25. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  26. If the syrup gets too thick and crystallised, add a little water and put over the heat to dissolve the sugar and remove from the heat when the sugar is melted and it's a syrup again.
  27. Continue frying and dipping.
  28. When the jalebi are dry, you can store them in an airtight container.
  29. They won't be as crisp as when they're fresh but they will still be good.

Jalebi | Sweet Indian Fritters

In the spirit of Ramadan, I would like to wish all my readers and my blogger friends, peace, prosperity and much happiness. The true mesage of Islam has always been one of tolerance, equality, justice, love and respect for all lives and I strive to be the best example and representative of Islam. Thank you for reading and for all your love and support. I wish you all much love and peace. 

Ramadan Kareem.

Oh, and it is Father’s Day so Happy Father’s Day to all the hardworking dads out there! We appreciate you all!

Millennium Falcon Cake | Star Wars Day

 

Millenium Falcon Cake

Happy Star Wars Day, lovely people! May the 4th be with you!! I figured since I am quite the nerd, that today would be a good day for my comeback post. I am sorry for disappearing off the face of the Earth.

My absence was totally unintentional but unavoidable, I’m afraid. On the tail end of my vacation to Texas, I ended up catching the worst cold imaginable. The trip home was horrendous; filled with watery eyes, snotty nose, blocked ears and extremes dizziness. This continued for two weeks straight.

Millenium Falcon Cake

Since I take some strong meds for my RA, any cold or ailment is exaggerated and it takes me weeks to get over. So, three weeks into fighting this cold, I was pretty exhausted, miserable and frustrated. Add a week or two of wallowing in self pity and here I am. Somewhat back to normal, but still drained and uninspired.

Millenium Falcon Cake

Of course, I couldn’t let Star Wars Day go by and I not do something! It’s like my holiday! The wonderful thing about being a nerd is when you have a husband who is a bigger nerd, and children who also appreciate the nerdier things in life, doing things like this is totally worth it. All in all, this Millennium Falcon cake was a hit. 

My husband’s birthday falls at the end of April which is perfect to start work on a Sci Fi masterpiece because it doubles for his birthday cake and Star Wars Day.

Millenium Falcon Cake

I am not going to share the cake ‘to do’ post today because that’s not the post I want. I just want to share my cake with you. This is a cake I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. There are a few logistics but in the end I made my life simpler by making a 2D cake rather than attempting a 3D one, I’m not a professional baker to attempt a 3D! I think it looks good enough.

But I am sharing a collage as proof that I did actually make this cake! I will share a how to post later on if there are enough searches and request.

Millennium Falcon Cake Collage

I will share my sponge cake recipe however, because it’s just really good. It’s a Victoria Sponge and probably one of my favourite cakes, filled simply with a strawberry, blackberry or raspberry jam.

This particular cake is filled with a white chocolate and raspberry buttercream, and oh…. is it good. The white chocolate buttercream I used is from this site, it’s an interesting way to make it, and though it worked out fine, I probably won’t use it again because I didn’t like the lumps of butter that were left unbeaten. But, maybe you guys will have better luck with it. It’s definitely an easy way to make it.

Millenium Falcon Cake

I added a few heaping tablespoons of raspberry jam to a portion of the buttercream and used that mixture as the filling. The remaining buttercream was used to frost the cake all over before the fondant went on. A bit of fondant modelling, a paintbrush with food colours, a can of food colouring spray paint, a table covered in errant silver spray and fingers dyed a multitude of colours, my ship was complete.

Sponge Cake | Millennium Falcon Cake | Star Wars Day

Rating 

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 1 cake

A Victoria Sponge Cake
Ingredients
  • 270g all purpose/plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 270g softened butter
  • 300g sugar
  • 4 eggs (250g approx)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup/120ml milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C
  2. Need two 8" /20cm round tins.
  3. Have all your ingredients at room temperature if possible.
  4. I often zap my butter for a few seconds in the microwave to soften.
  5. Watch it though or else you will have a puddle!
  6. If the eggs are cold, I place them in warm water while the butter is creaming.
  7. Prepare your two tins (8 inches/20cm) by greasing with butter or spray and lining the bottoms with parchment, and greasing the parchment as well.
  8. In a bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix to blend.
  9. Keep aside.
  10. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  11. Add the vanilla.
  12. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  13. Add half of the flour and beat gently.
  14. Add the milk and mix.
  15. Add the rest of the flour and mix until just blended.
  16. Using a spatula mix through by hand.
  17. Add a drop more of milk if the consistent is too thick.
  18. You want a thick batter easy to spread in a tin but not gloppy and too thick.
  19. Divide the batter even,y between the two tins.
  20. Place in the centre rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, firm and risen.
  21. It will take about 30-40 minutes.
  22. Check at 30 minutes.
  23. Cool on wire racks for 5 minutes.
  24. Run a knife around the edges to release the cakes.
  25. Cool till barely warm.
  26. Once cool, remove the cakes from the tin and if still warm, cool on the rack.
  27. When ready to serve, spread your choice of jam, whipped cream or buttercream on one of the cakes and sandwich both cakes together.
  28. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Notes
So, you will see that I have my measurements in weight and not volume. I have tried to make a proper sponge using volume measurements unsuccessfully for the last few years. Tired of always having a bad sponge, I decided to just use weight measurements from now on, they are so much more accurate. I encourage you to do the same. Now, my cake comes out perfect every time.

HA bakers: dial back on the baking powder, use just 1¾ teaspoons.

Millenium Falcon Cake

I am beyond excited for the new Star Wars movie! I cannot wait till Christmas 2015. I am always happy that I can truly share my enthusiasm with my son. He loves it that his mommy can hold up an entire conversation on light sabres and Jedi masters. 

Millenium Falcon Cake

Whether you are into Sci Fi or not, Star Wars is just one of those movie phenomenons everyone knows about. The iconic Darth Vader, the unique ships, the cheesy dialogues and just the whole imagination of George Lucas is pretty awesome. 

So, to all the Star Wars fans today, Happy May the 4th! 

I’d also like to take a moment and thank all those wonderful friends for the emails I received asking my whereabouts and well being. I am thankful for such a wonderful blogging family.  Nazneen xx

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes

 

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes-5

This post has been languishing in the darkness of my mind for the last few days. A busy, working Saturday and an errand filled Sunday kept pushing the post further and further into the recesses. I really should plan better or schedule better, but I don’t seem to learn that lesson. I don’t hold a 9-5 regular job that takes me out of the house and so, my jobs come spur of the moment and suddenly I am busy. It makes having a social life non existent. 

Another 2 days went by in a blur and here we are. But today, my heart is heavy. My heart has been heavy quite a bit lately. 

I’m having such a hard time dealing with the amount of hate that is permeating our society. It’s nothing to do with religion or race, because theoretically, all religions are peaceful and people from different races are tolerant. But it is horrible, hateful people without a conscience who commit these heinous crimes, the sad thing is they use their religion/race as a springboard. These people use their religion or lack of, or an idea of their superiority, or more obviously, their ignorance, to push their ugly ideas and their hatred to attract attention. We like fools, give it to them. How did we get here? How are we so far gone?

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes-3

I haven’t commented or written about all the past events and the uproar attached to them. Even when I was told, in not so many words, that I should stand up and condemn and apologise for the actions of a few nut jobs, I kept quiet. Why? Why should I apologise for a handful of crazies who decide to kill and terrorise? They do not represent me or my faith. I don’t expect apologies from other people when someone commits a crime, so why should I apologise? And even if I did, would it solve anything? No, because, really, can you reason with a deranged lunatic? The whole idea is absurd.

I’m writing today because today, I’m sad, hurt and depressed. I’m not angry because my faith does not teach me to be angry, it teaches me to be patient but I do get angry and I’m tired of being angry. I’m also tired of being sad but I feel the sadness and the sense of hopelessness isn’t going away soon. And I need to tell you what scares me.

The death of the three young Muslims on Tuesday night was a shocking wake up call. I understand that in the light of all that’s been happening around the world these last few years, supposedly caused by Muslims, there is a lot of anti Muslim feeling and hatred around the world. But I never thought it would come to this, not in America.

We all know it’s nothing to do with a dispute over a parking place, because if we are killing each other over parking spots, then we are more far gone than I thought. Execution style shootings…personal, up close and filled with hate. Don’t tell me it’s not hate motivated.

What scares me is that it can easily be me or my children. I wear a headscarf and every time I set foot outside, I am proclaiming to the world that I am a Muslim. There is no denying it. I wear my faith on my head, and I wear it proudly. I’m not scared for myself so much, but for my children who are still young and innocent. They are filled with the idea that all people are good. I have spent countless hours, days and years instilling in them feelings of kindness, consideration and appreciation. I have always asked them to find the good in people and to always assume the best.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes-4

I’m not going to stop telling them that but like so many African Americans have the talk about race and prejudice in their household, I am going to have the same talk with my children, in America, to my American -British- Indian- Muslim children, in their home. Remember in my last post when I said it was hard for me to belong in any one place? This is what I was talking about. I can handle not belonging, but I never, ever want my children to feel that these, the countries that they belong to, don’t welcome, acknowledge or value them as functioning, patriotic citizens.

I’ll address one thing that I know goes through people’s minds when it comes to the hijab or the headscarf. Many Muslim women don’t wear it so why don’t I take mine off? Because, it is a commandment from God in the Quran for all believing women to cover. It is a covering for modesty, and for women to be considered more than just “meat”. When a women covers, her beauty is hidden and her intelligence and personality shine first. Isn’t that what all women want? We want to be known for our minds not our body, at least, I do anyway. As such, the hijab isn’t a choice, it’s mandatory. But, you do have to be of a firm faith to put it on because it’s not easy for all the reasons that I’ve mentioned above.

My mother didn’t encourage the hijab when I was younger because of the stigma attached to it in the West. I put it on after I started having children, and no, my husband doesn’t make me wear it. I wear it because my faith tells me to be known as a believing women.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes-1

I know this is a food blog, and maybe not the place for this conversation, but at the same time, it is my voice, and it is my responsibility. As my readers and friends, you know me and so, you know a Muslim. I have always written openly, and you know my life, my happiness, my sadness, my struggles, and of course, what I eat on a daily basis. 

Ask me anything you want, if you have questions or are confused about what the media tells you, ask me. You know me, and how I live my life. It’s an open book here on this site, and the rest of the Muslims? Yep, they are just like me. We eat, we sleep, we work, we make our lives, we pray, we enjoy ourselves, we enjoy family and friends. So, ask me. 

There doesn’t seem to be any appropriate segue into my Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes recipe so this sentence will have to do! These are fabulous and lately, with the way I’ve been feeling, sugar, chocolate and bowls of rice are the most comforting foods. I sure picked the wrong month to go on a dairy and gluten free diet for my allergies. I’m so having withdrawals.

If you like the cake version of these or just like pineapple, you will adore these sweet things. These can easily be dessert or a very special breakfast, like for Valentine’s Day or birthdays, or any day.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes-2

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes

Rating 

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 15-18 pancakes

Golden, sweet pineapples are caramelised and embedded into these upside down pancakes.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups/300g all purpose/plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups/470ml soured milk or buttermilk
  • 2 eggs. large
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1½ cups fresh pineapple, small diced pieces
  • ½ cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • butter for frying
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt and mix together,
  2. In another smaller bowl, add the soured milk or buttermilk, beat in the eggs, add the butter and vanilla. Mix together.
  3. Heat up a griddle or large skillet preferably non stick.
  4. Once the griddle has come to temperature, add the egg-milk mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture.
  5. Quickly and gently, mix the two together.
  6. Don't over mix, once all the dry flour has been incorporated, stop.
  7. Don't beat it smooth, you need it lumpy so the pancakes will be fluffier.
  8. Swirl around a bit of butter on the griddle to fry the pancakes.
  9. Using a ¼ cup/60ml ladle or scoop, pour out some batter onto the griddle.
  10. I usually make 4 inch/10cm round pancakes.
  11. Once the pancakes have set a little, scatter a tablespoon or so of the chopped pineapples over the surface of the pancakes.
  12. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of brown sugar over the pancakes.
  13. Once the edges of the pancakes seem a little dry, flip the panic carefully.
  14. Cook the pancake until the sugar has caramelised and the pancakes also have a few brown edges.
  15. Flip onto a plate and keep warm while you make the rest.
  16. Serve with some maple syrup or home-made syrup (recipe in the NOTES section)
Notes
Soured milk: To 2 cups milk, add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Let it sit a bit until thick and curdled. Use as directed in recipe where buttermilk is needed.

Homemade Syrup: Place 1 cup of brown sugar into a small pan with ⅓ cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, boil for one minute, turn off heat. Add the vanilla. Use as pancake syrup. Keep the remainder in a jar on the counter or in the fridge. It will keep for a bit but you will have crystallisation at the bottom.
I make fresh syrup whenever I make pancakes, since it's so easy.

 Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes-7

Thank you for listening, Honestly, the only place I belong is here, in the wonderful world of blogging and blogging friends. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your loved ones, I’ll be working, churning out samples from the Dacor kitchen,

Black Forest Roulade and Lavazza Coffee

Black Forest Roulade

First of all, today’s post happens to be my 201st! Wow, I have actually stuck with something I started (I have a slight problem with commitment 😉 ) Not to say, that I haven’t thought about abandoning it all many times, but I really enjoy doing this now so I’ve stuck to it, I wish I could say the same about me learning German. That is not going well at all.

Black Forest Roulade

Secondly, this is a post that you don’t see very often here on my site; a sponsored post. I am incredibly picky about the products I use, advertise and recommend, but when Lavazza contacted me I couldn’t refuse. You see, after I graduated from the instant coffee of my youth and began to taste the nuances of different and really good coffee, my first experience was with Lavazza.

Lavazza Coffee

I loved, and still love, cappuccinos and I would patronise every cafe in London trying to find the perfect one. When I moved to the US, the hunt continued. Every time I had a good one, I noticed it was Lavazza. After that, any time I saw the Lavazza coffee sign, I knew I was in for a great cup of coffee. So, it was a no brainer to agree to this post and it’s truly a nostalgia post for me.

Lavazza Coffee

Lavazza has come out with a new line of coffees for your coffee machines at home and even though I haven’t broken into all the samples they sent me, the ones I’ve tried are fantastic. Those of you not familiar with Lavazza coffee, they are an Italian company started by Luigi Lavazza in 1895 in Turin, Italy. You can learn more about their company and their line of coffees on their web page.

Black Forest Roulade

Lavazza asked me to post what I thought was the ideal dessert as an accompaniment to coffee. For me, my first choice with coffee is always a chocolate dessert. Chocolate and coffee are the perfect partners. I also prefer that my chocolate dessert be a cake, a not so sweet, European style cake.

Black Forest Roulade and Lavazza Coffee-1

So, racking my brains, I decided to combine my favourite Black Forest Gateau and my desire to make a Yule Log this Christmas, into a Black Forest Roulade. Not quite the traditional Yule Log and definitely no meringue mushrooms in sight, but the roulade was still pretty tasty.

Black Forest Roulade

Yes, my roulade is not as rotund as it should be and it was my fault. In an attempt to supply cup measures and metric measures, I may have over filled my pan and so, when it came time to roll, my cake was a bit thick and didn’t roulade as well as I liked. Use the proper size pan!! In this case, a 10″ x 15″ (25 x 38 cm) jelly roll pan. Also, if you need a step by step on the hot sponge method, follow the tutorial on my Lemon Mascarpone Roulade.

Black Forest Roulade

Black Forest Roulade

Serving size: 8

Calories: 490

Fat: 29g

An updated Yule Log with chocolate cake and black cherries.
Ingredients
CAKE
  • ½ cup/100g sugar
  • ¾ cup/100g flour
  • ⅓ cup/35g cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs, organic
  • 2 tablespoons water, warm
  • 425g/1 cup chopped, pitted cherries, frozen or canned
  • ¾ cup/175mL heavy cream
Frosting
  • 5oz/145g good quality, semi sweet chocolate chips (Callebaut)
  • 1 cup/235mL heavy cream
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Decorating
  • a few whole cherries
  • a bar of dark chocolate to shave or chop in shards
Instructions
Whipped Ganache Frosting
  1. Melt the semi sweet chocolate chips and heavy cream together over a double boiler or in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Usually takes about 90 seconds to melt and smooth completely but each microwave is different so watch yours and adjust accordingly.
  2. The frosting will need to cool down completely before whipping so make this ahead of time.
  3. Once the cream and chocolate are melted together, add the salt and vanilla and let cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Once chilled, take out and whip with a hand mixer or standing mixer until soft, whipped and lightened in colour.
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 400℉/200.
  2. Grease and line a jelly roll pan approximately 10" x 15" with parchment paper and grease the paper as well.
  3. Using a double boiler and a hand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until thick and foamy in heatproof bowl over the simmering water.
  4. Gently, fold in the flour, cocoa powder and warm water
  5. Pour into the prepared baking pan and level the top by tilting pan.
  6. Try not to touch the surface.
  7. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cake is firm and springy to the touch.
  8. While the cake is baking, take a clean tea towel and lay on the table or counter, and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.
  9. As soon as the cake is done, tip the cake carefully onto the tea towel and gently lift off the pan and peel off the parchment paper.
  10. Using a serrated knife, trim the hard edges of the cake.
  11. Slowly, roll up the cake from the short size and let cool completely.
  12. While the cake is cooling, make the filling.
  13. Whip the heavy cream until stiff.
  14. When the cake has cooled completely, unroll gently.
  15. Spread the whipped cream inside the cake and scatter the chopped black cherries.
  16. Slowly roll back up into a roulade.
  17. If the cake cracks, mould back together with cream.
  18. The frosting will hide any cracking defects.
  19. Since my cake was a bit thick, mine did crack but you can't tell from the photos!
  20. Spread the whipped ganache frosting all over the top and sides.
  21. If the cake pulls up while frosting, use a wet spatula to smear on.
  22. Decorate with shaved chocolate, a few whole cherries and a dusting of powdered sugar.
  23. Enjoy with a cup of coffee.
Notes
This is a true hot method sponge and requires proper beating of the eggs to ensure that enough air is whipped in to raise the cake. The volume of the eggs will increase significantly and that's what we want. Do not skimp on the whipping of the eggs. Fold the flour and cocoa powder in gently but make sure it is incorporated well. This cake comes together really well and quite quickly as long as you watch the steps and technique, oh and use the proper pan, unlike me!

Black Forest Roulade and French Press Lavazza Coffee-1

I would like to thank Lavazza for sending me these delicious coffee samples and for allowing me to create a dessert to go with their amazing coffee.

I hope you are all off to a great start to the week!

Brown Butter, White Chocolate and Pecan Cookies

pecanbrownbutter cookies

When we moved back to Colorado, almost 3 years ago now, it was a hurried, stressful move. My husband’s work wanted him to relocate to Denver but wouldn’t hurry up and give us any information whether the relocation was approved or not. So there I was frustrated and anxious about whether I was supposed to pack up a 5 bedroom house or not.

Finally the word trickled down from the upper management and everything was a go, but they wanted him there the following week! I was in meltdown mode at that point. We had a week to find a place in Denver, rush back to Houston and pack up the house, find time to shock the family with the move, drive two cars up to Denver plus the moving truck. Thinking back on it now, I just don’t know where I found the energy. I single handedly packed up my house because my husband was in Denver and only flew down for two days to load the truck and drive it up.

We sold our house in Houston, a house where I had picked out everything and had my granite kitchen island, my fancy back splash and pendant lights, where I had rooms for everyone and everything; I packed it up in 5 days and left.

We ended up stumbling across this home we’re in now, quite by accident. We had less than a week to find a place to live. My husband and I had driven up in my car to find a place to live and for him to start work. We had a hopeless time of it, no one called us back and the rental homes we did see were just awful. At this point, I was totally discouraged and was questioning and second guessing this move.

pecan brown butter cookies

We happened across this house and though it was in a state, it had the rooms we needed. The landlord informed us that the tenants had left in the middle of the night and broken the lease. Apparently, these ne’er do wells, were growing marijuana in the basement and a few days before, the police had raided the place. When we saw the house, the windows were broken, doors off the hinges and lots of happy leaves on the basement floor (plants however were all gone). Even though the house was in a terrible state, the landlord assured us that he could have it ready by the time we moved up, and after I saw the view of the mountains from the master bedroom balcony, I was sold.

We had promised ourselves that we wouldn’t move again until we were ready to buy again and we don’t want to buy quite yet. Of course, the landlords want to sell the house. So, guess what we are doing next week? I am not looking forward to it. I just hate packing and moving and unpacking and trying to settle in again, it’s all such a headache. To make matters worse, the house we are moving into has a very small kitchen :(. I had to sacrifice my kitchen to get more living areas.

I am quite sure I will be MIA for a few days until I get my internet going and such, but please think of me and send me some happy thoughts! I am so going to need them.

pecan brown butter cookies

What I will also need, are a lot of sweet things to get me through the stress. Things like these delicious, brown butter, white chocolate and pecan cookies, that I made a couple of weeks ago. I find that I don’t bake many cookies because I am always baking something else, but I do like cookies, especially with a cappuccino or latte. The children were asking for cookies so I made some time to bake some for them. Of course, I had to experiment a bit and this experiment turned out so well! The cookies had an amazing toffee, butterscotch-y taste and the white chocolate added just the right amount of sweetness. They were quite lovely and lasted a day at our house!

Pecan brown butter cookies

Brown Butter, White Chocolate and Pecan Cookies

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 30-36 cookies

Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups/350g plain/all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup/165g granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup/170g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups/340g white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup/100g chopped pecans
  • 2 sticks/227g butter
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉/190℃ (if baking right away)
  2. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or liners and set aside.
  3. To make the brown butter, place the butter in a small stainless steel saucepan and put on low heat.
  4. Slowly melt the butter and allow it to cook further until the butter solids are turning golden brown.
  5. Be careful because if you raise the heat too much, the butter can burn suddenly.
  6. Once the butter is nicely brown and fragrant, set aside to cool.
  7. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
  8. In a mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs until pale and thick.
  9. Add the sugars and beat until combined, pale and thick.
  10. Add the vanilla extract.
  11. Add the flour mixture and mix gently.
  12. Add the browned butter (I didn't strain the milk solids, they add a nice toffee taste) and mix through.
  13. Add the pecan pieces and white chocolate chips and fold through until evenly distributed.
  14. Chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes, at least.
  15. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out the cookie dough and place on the prepared baking sheets.
  16. Allow for room to spread, about 2"/5 cm apart.
  17. Bake in the centre of the oven for 11-13 minutes, until golden around the edges.
  18. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove from the baking sheet onto a rack to cool.

pecan brown butter cookies

As we are talking about cookies today, I want to take a moment and tell you about a wonderful coffee festival going on in the UK. Of course, this will be for my UK readers, but if any of you are visiting the UK this summer maybe you can swing by and check it out. The good folks organising the festival asked me include a link for their site and I said since it’s about coffee, and I LOVE coffee, that I would give them a shout out.

The Chorlton Coffee Festival is taking place in Chorlton (NW UK) June 28th-30th. Check out their website for more information.

Have a great week everyone. I hope to keep in touch in the coming weeks, just wish me luck.