Archive for September, 2007

Daring Bakers: Cinnamon sticky buns

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Sticky buns with pecans.

This is my third month as a member of the amazing Daring Bakers. The Daring bakers consist of proud women and men that love to bake and are not afraid of baking challenges. The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day, this time on the 30th of September. This month’s challenge was Cinnamon buns and sticky buns. The recipe was picked by Marce at Pip in the City.

Marce let us choose between baking cinnamon buns or sticky buns, or both. I chose to bake sticky buns as that’s something we don’t have in Sweden contrary to cinnamon buns that are pretty much the first thing children learn to bake here. Cinnamon buns are very popular in Sweden and we even have a cinnamon bun day (4th of October), but we don’t have any fondant glaze on top, just nib sugar. And another thing that differs (at least compared with the Daring Baker’s challenge) is that we use butter in the cinnamon and sugar filling. Anyway, it was fun to try a new cinnamon bun recipe as I’ve been using the same one as long as I can remember.

My changes – within the DB rules:
-I used fresh yeast (20 gram) instead of instant yest.
-For the filling I used cinnamon sugar but I also added an additional teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of cardamon.
-I used chopped pecan nuts on top of the caramel glaze.
-I made the smaller variants, so I had to use two baking pans.
-I substituted the corn syrup for the caramel glaze with a Swedish syrup (ljus sirap) instead.
-I only baked my buns for 25 minutes instead of 30-40 minutes as the recipe says.

-The dough was very easy to make, but I didn’t like the amount of time these buns needed to rise; first 2 hours and then 90 minutes. That is just too long when you have an instant craving for cinnamon buns.

-I missed the cardamon that I normally always add to my cinnamon bun dough. But the lemon zest was refreshing and added a nice touch.

-I really liked the buns, they were delicious, probably because of the caramel glaze and pecans. They are soft and the fantastic caramel glaze goes so well with the buns. I will definintly bake them more times. I’m very glad that I did the sticky bun variant though and not the ones with the fondant glaze as I frankly wouldn’t call them cinnamon buns as I know them; without the caramel glaze they would have been too dry and there wasn’t enough cinnamon in them. I guess that I’m just old fashioned and prefer my classic cinnamon buns in the Swedish way :-) But the sticky buns were great.

Here you’ll find links to all Daring Bakers if you want to see their cinnamon and sticky buns.

Before fermentation.

After fermentation.

After baking. Beware of that what you see here are the bottoms,
you flip the sticky buns over to the other side when serving.

Sticky buns cut loose and then flipped over to the “right” side.
Ready to be served!

    Cinnamon buns and sticky buns
    (from Peter Reinhart´s The Break Baker´s Apprentice)


    15 minutes mixing; 3 1/2 hours fermentation, shaping and proofing; 20 to 40 minutes baking.

    Yield: Makes 8 to 12 large or 12 to 16 smaller cinnamon or sticky buns


    6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
    1 large egg, slightly beaten
    1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
    3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons instant yeast*
    1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk (DMS) and 1 cup water
    1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or any other spices you want to use, cardamom, ginger, allspice, etc.)
    White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns or caramel glaze for sticky buns (at the end of the recipe.)
    Walnuts, pecans, or other nuts (for sticky buns.)
    Raisins or other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or dried cherries (for sticky buns, optional.)

    *Instant yeast contains about 25% more living cells per spoonful than active dry yeast, regardless of the brand. Instant yeast is also called rapid-rise or fast-rising.

    1. Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand); if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, and add the water with the flour and yeast. Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

    2. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

    3. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed as shown in the photo on the left for shaping the buns.

    (Transcription: (A) Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. (B)Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and (C) roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.)

    4. For cinnamon buns, line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.

    For sticky buns, coat the bottom of 1 or more baking dishes or baking pans with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high with a 1/4 inch layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the nuts and raisins (if you are using raisins or dried fruit.) You do not need a lot of nuts and raisins, only a sprinkling. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag.

    5. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.

    6. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf for cinnamon buns but on the lowest shelf for sticky buns.

    7. Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes or the sticky buns 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If you are baking sticky buns, remember that they are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. It takes practice to know just when to pull the buns out of the oven.

    8. For cinnamon buns, cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving. For the sticky buns, cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

    White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns

    Cinnamon buns are usually topped with a thick white glaze called fondant. There are many ways to make fondant glaze, but here is a delicious and simple version, enlivened by the addition of citrus flavor, either lemon or orange. You can also substitute vanilla extract or rum extract, or simply make the glaze without any flavorings.

    Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and 6 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk slowly and only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.

    When the buns have cooled but are still warm, streak the glaze over them by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze and letting it drip off as you wave them over the tops of the buns. (Remember to wear latex gloves.)

    Caramel glaze for sticky buns

    Caramel glaze is essentially some combination of sugar and fat, cooked until it caramelizes. The trick is catching it just when the sugar melts and lightly caramelizes to a golden amber. Then it will cool to a soft, creamy caramel. If you wait too long and the glaze turns dark brown, it will cool to a hard, crack-your-teeth consistency. Most sticky bun glazes contain other ingredients to influence flavor and texture, such as corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystallizing and flavor extracts or oils, such as vanilla or lemon. This version makes the best sticky bun glaze of any I´ve tried. It was developed by my wife, Susan, for Brother Juniper´s Cafe in Forestville, California.
    NOTE: you can substitute the corn syrup for any neutral flavor syrup, like cane syrup or gold syrup.

    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature.

    2. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

    3. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/4-inch layer. Refrigerate and save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container.

A food blogger meeting in Tallinn

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

From left to right: Me, Kristina from Clivia’s Cusine, Anne from Anne’s food and Pille from Nami-nami.

On Monday evening I, Anne from Anne’s food and Kristina from Clivia’s cuisine took the ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn in Estonia to meet Pille from Nami-nami. The monday evening and night was spent on the ferry and on Tuesday morning we arrived in Tallinn.

We first went for a morning coffee at Double Coffee in the shopping mall Viru Keskus where I enjoyed a banana latte, with whipped cream and banana liquer, which wasn’t quite what I had expected but it was really good. Maybe not the ideal breakfast though :-)

Pille, Kristina and Anne at Kuldse Notsu Kõrts.

After some strolling in the shops it was finally time to meet up with Pille at the Town Hall. It was so nice to finally meet sweet Pille and she directly took us for lunch at Kuldse Notsu Kõrts, a restaurant with traditional Estonian food, where we first exchanged gifts and then had a lovely lunch. We got Estonian recipes and a nice soap that smells like tar (!) which will be perfect when I’ll go for a sauna with Fredrik to the bath house the next time. Kristina and Anne received marzipan figures while I got a cute clay cat as I had already received a marzipan frog with the blogging for post parcel that Pille sent me before summer. And we gave Pille cups from Höganäs to match with her teapot.

Meat in jelly with potatos and a very hot tasty Estonian mustard.

For starters we shared meat in jelly with potato and a very hot Estonian mustard, which I really liked. Pille told us that the dish is very typical in Estonia especially for special occasions; just as in Poland. For main I had a great casserole with chicken liver and mashed potoates which was very nice. Liver is underestimated and really tasty.

Chicken liver casserole.

I enjoyed the food very much at Kuldse Notsu Kõrts, it was hearty and delicious. Instead of eating dessert at Kuldse Notsu Kõrts, Pille showed us beautiful Tallinn and we then went to Chocolats de Pierre where we had lovely chocolates and desserts together with coffee. I loved the interior and I wish that we had a place like this in Stockholm. After the coffee we had some more sightseeing and shopping and then it was finally time to get back to the ferry again. Thank you so much kind Pille for our lovely day and that you took your time with us. Thank you for the lunch, the gifts and for showing us Tallinn! And a big thanks to Anne and Kristina for the great travel company.

Coffee, cake and chocolates at Chocolats de Pierre.

The cosy interior at Chocolats de Pierre.

A view over beautiful Tallinn.

Spiced almonds outside Olde Hansa. My husband loved these and luckily Pille has a good recipe on her site.

Racuchy z jabłkami (Polish apple pancakes)

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

I’ve lost track of all those autumn afternoons and evenings during my childhood when I impatiently waited for my mother as she fried racuchy with apples. They are delicious Polish apple pancakes based on a dough containing yeast which gives them a different texture compared with normal pancakes. The crucial ingredient is tart apples, you don’t want sweet ones in this dish. You should really give them a try, especially now during apple season.

    Racuchy z jabłkami (Polish apple pancakes)
    (makes 10)

    250 ml milk
    30 gram fresh yeast
    1 tsp sugar
    50 ml sugar
    2 eggs
    250 gram flour
    1 tsp vanilla sugar
    1 tbsp oil
    1 tbsp Grand Marnier (can be omitted)
    2 tart apples (don’t use sweet ones for this recipe), peeled and cut into small pieces.

    neutral oil (I use canola) + butter for frying.
    icing sugar for serving

    Heat the milk to 37 degrees C. In a bowl combine 1 tsp of sugar with the yeast. Pour the milk over the yeast and combine. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave for 20 minutes until it starts to bubble and the mixture has started to “grow”.

    In another bowl, with an electric beater mix 50 ml sugar with the eggs. Add the sugar/egg mixture to the yeast mixture. Add the flour, vanilla sugar, oil and Grand Marnier. Combine, use an electric beater for a minuter or two. Add the apple pieces and combine. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

    Pour neutral oil in a frying pan, add butter. Fry the pancakes on medium heat, it’s important that the fat isn’t too hot as you want the pancakes to rise without beeing burned. Use two heaped table spoons of batter for every pancake. Fry until golden brown and then flip. Add more butter if needed. Sprinkle with confectioners/icing sugar and serve immediately.

Jamie at home

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

“My favourite hot and sour rhubarb and crispy pork with noodles”

Yesterday I finally received my pre-ordered copy of Jamie’s new book Jamie at home. The book is great in every way, the only problem is that I would need a garden but until then my balcony will have to do. The book is divided into the four seasons and into seasonal ingredients. There’s also loads of tips on how to grow the different vegetables and fruits. I guess that you can assume how happy I am about the rhubarb section under spring? Six lovely rhubarb recipes of which I tried the first one for dinner tonight. Rhubarb is still sold here so Jamie’s hot and sour rhubarb and crispy pork with noodles was the perfect choice for dinner. We both loved it and I can’t wait to try the rest of the book. I’m sure that Jamie’s new cookbook will be a new favourite in our home.

Bilberry muffins

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

In school I learnt that blueberries is the English word for blåbär. It was not until quite recently, after reading some food blogs and posts with recipes, that I realized that it was all wrong. Suddenly it came to my knowledge that our Swedish blueberries that I love to pick are actually bilberries! The problem is linguistic; for some reason both blueberries and bilberries translates to the Swedish word blåbär. To separate the different berries from each other the ones called blueberries are often called American blueberries (amerikanska blåbär) or even garden blueberries sometimes. Both berries are blue, but the blueberry has a white interior and tastes a bit sweet while the bilberry is completely blue with fairly acidic flavour and smells of forest. To make it even more confusing there’s also a variant called bog bilberry.

To choose my favourite berry between blueberries and bilberries is easy. I love bilberries, directly from a bilberry bush during a walk in the forest or in a luke warm pie served with vanilla custard. They are also great in simple muffins, like these ones that I quickly made for breakfast on our first wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago.

    Bilberry muffins
    (makes 6 large ones)

    100 gram butter
    125 caster sugar (infused with vanilla)
    2 eggs
    250 ml flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    zest from 0.5 lemon
    50 ml thick greek yoghurt
    200 ml bilberries

    Preheat the oven to either 200 degrees C (ordinary oven) or 175 degrees C (fan oven).

    In a bowl, beat butter and sugar with en electric mixer until white and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, while beating. Add lemon zest, flour and baking soda. Combine. Add the bilberries and combine.

    Fill muffin molds up to 3/4 with the help of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your molds. Just make sure they won’t get too dry as you want moist and nice muffins.

    If you want to you can pour some fondant glaze over the muffins, which you make of icing sugar combined with a small amount of water. I really like the strawberry flavoured icing sugar, so I tend to use that one.

1up Mushroom Cake

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is a game designer making up game ideas and games. For his birthday I wanted to make a special cake and in the end I decided to do a 1up mushroom from the Mario games. For those that don’t know what 1up means, it can be two things. In old games 1up was used when displaying player one’s score but nowadays it’s used for refering to the acquistion of an extra life in a game. In the Mario games the icon used for 1ups is a cute mushroom and gives one extra life. So a 1up mushroom cake is the perfect birthday cake!

It was my first time using sugarpaste and I found it hard to make it smooth enough after rolling it, but for a first sugarpaste cake I think that it looks OK. My husband was very happy for the cake and I think that he had a hard time when realizing that he had to cut up the cute cake. The cake was delicious but as sugarpaste is really sweet, we both skipped to eat that part of the cake.

    1up Mushroom Cake

    4 eggs
    200 ml sugar (of which half is vanilla infused)
    100 ml flour
    75 ml potato flour
    1.5 tsp baking soda

    Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Carefully fold in the flour, potato flour and baking soda. Pour into a buttered and breaded rectangular springform (mine is 23 cm* 23cm). Bake in 170 degrees C for about 20-25 minutes. Let cool. With a sharp knife cut out a mushroom and then cut the cake in two layers.

    Raspberry filling:
    250 ml whipping cream
    200 gram raspberries
    sugar – to taste
    marsàn powder – a few teaspoons (this is custardpowder for cold vanilla custard that I use to keep the filling together)

    Whip the cream. Add raspberries and combine carefully. Add sugar – amount depending on how tart the raspberries are and the custard powder. Combine carefully.

    Chocolate Buttercream:
    225 gram unsalted butter (room temperatured)
    170 gram semi sweet chocolate
    1 tsp vanilla sugar
    140 gram icing sugar
    0.5 tsp instant espresso powder

    Melt the chocolate, I do it in the microwave oven. Beat the butter with the icing and vanilla sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the melted chocolate, it should be lukewarm, and continue to beat. Add the instant espresso powder.

    for decoration:
    about 500-600 gram sugarpaste
    green food colouring

    How to assemble the cake:
    Put the first cake layer on a serving plate. With a spatula place the raspberry filling on the cake and cover with the second cake layer.

    Place the chocolate buttecream on and all around the cake with the help of a spatula. Put more buttercream in the middle of the cake so it will be a bit higher there. Put the cake in the fridge, I left it there during the night so that the buttercream would set properly.

    Roll out a bit of sugarpaste large enough for the mushroom fot. Smooth the sugarpaste to get rid of marks. Carefully place it on the cake. First smooth the top using your hands and then the sides. With a sharp knife trim any excess sugarpaste at the bottom edge.

    For the mushroom cap mix a large amount of sugarpaste with the green food colouring. Roll it out and carefully place it on the cake. First smooth the top using your hands and then the sides. With a sharp knife trim any excess sugarpaste at the bottom edge.

    For the white dots, roll out sugarpaste, smooth with your hands and with the help of a glass cut out 3 dots. Sprinkle some water underneath and place them on the cake. For the eyes I used two chocolate beans that I attached with the help of a small amount of sugarpaste soaked in water.

    Store the cake in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap or in a large container.

Chanterelle toast

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Autumn is officially here, the evenings become darker much quicker and the air is crisp and cold. I’m already wearing my autumn jacket and soon it will be time for gloves and cap. Autumn is mushroom season and since I’ve moved to Stockholm I havn’t been out picking any as I don’t feel confident without my parents (I have a tendency to pick poisonous ones…). Therefore I’m glad that the markets and grocery stores have loads of those delicious treats. This chanterelle toast is super easy to prepare and it’s perfect for a quick dinner when you come home tired after work. Serve it with a store bought soup, some of them are really nice.

    Chanterelle toast
    (makes 2)

    2 slices of bread
    200 gram chanterelles
    2 shallots
    Maldon sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    Brush away all dirt from the chanterelles. Tear them in small parts. Chop the shallots. Fry the chanterelles with the shallots in butter until cooked and a bit crispy. Salt and pepper.
    Toast the bread, butter and divide the chanterelles evenly between the two slices. Serve with soup.

Vinterns söta

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Photo from the Cookbook Café

The book Två Systrars Söta by the Eisenman sisters, founders of the Cookbook Café in Stockholm, is one of my favourite baking books. I’ve tried several recipes and all turned out great so I’m really looking forward to their new cookbook that is for sale from October 3rd. The book is called Vinterns söta and contains recipes of sweet goodies with emphasis on winter. The cover photo with the sisters is just adorable!