Tag Archives: almond

Reaching for the ‘clouds’ for the New Year!

Well hello to everyone… yes I realize it has been quite a while since my last posting, but there were many obstacles that prevented me from having the time to focus. Hopefully this will be a new blogging beginning for the New Year!
With 2015 finally upon us and an annual Holiday get-together with our friends approaching tonight, I felt this would be the best time to kickstart everything into motion.
Starting with ‘what can I bring’ to our amazing hostess, the words ‘how about dessert’ was music to my ears! After thinking about something out of the norm, I settled on a triple layered hazelnut mocha pavlova, with a hazelnut liquor cream filling…
It all started yesterday by roasting hazelnuts [the amount is your choice, but I went with six ounces] in the oven and also melting milk and dark chocolates [another six ounces] over simmering water. Both were set aside to cool…
While the nuts and melted chocolates cooled, six egg whites were whipped with a pinch of kosher salt until soft peaks formed, from there the sugar began to slowly get added until the whites became glossy and stiff. Once stiff peaks were evident, vanilla and almond extracts were added and the mixer then turned off. The chopped hazelnuts and a cup of chocolate chips were gently folded into the shiny pillowy mixture, as well as the cooled, melted chocolate to create a lovely marbled wonder.
Poured onto three parchment drawn discs and spread out, it was then into the 225*F oven for two and a half hours. Once cooked, the door was opened and the pavlova’s left to cool completely.
For the whipped filling, I beat cream and some hazelnut liquor until firm. This boozy filling was spread on each layer and stacked. The pavlova tier was popped into the refrigerator to ‘set-up’ overnight and then this edible beauty was dressed with some shaved dark chocolate on top before packing up and heading to the party!
The end result… crisp exterior with a slightly chewy center and a creamy delight to hold everything together… a total favorite!
What will I bake next???






















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who you calling honey!!

So after an evening of rising away, this morning was the bake-off of my gorgeous lavender honey and toasted almond sourdough!
This is not a bread that you suddenly think… ‘I think I’ll whip up a loaf of sourdough bread’, since this is a plan-ahead idea! Actually at least a week since you have to prep up a starter for the sourdough. I have a starter that I made months ago slumbering away in the fridge, however that is made using wholemeal flour, while for this loaf, I made a new starter of white bread flour.
Once my newest starter was fragrant and active, it was time to get baking! The recipe I used was that of Paul Hollywood and like most of his recipes, this one did not disappoint!!
It started with strong bread flour mixed with my starter and salt, along with some tepid water to bring everything all together. Once combined, a good kneading was necessary to activate this bad boy and give it that rise it so desperately needs. After its first rise [five hours], the dough is formed out into a square, spread with lavender honey [see my earlier post on this] and scattered with toasted sliced almonds. The square dough is rolled into a cylindrical form and rolled into a ‘crust’ of more toasted sliced almonds… After the loaves are covered with the almonds, they are off to rest for an additional nine hours [this was the overnight part] to rise again!
Once morning arrived, it was off to bake in a 375 degree oven for thirty-five minutes until golden and when tapped… hollow!
A slight cool down, a beautiful tear and it was time to devour with a luxurious cup of lady grey tea…

**if you are interested in the recipe, you can find it in the Paul Hollywood cookbook, ‘How to Bake’. I highly recommend the book**

at a low simmer…




















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like bees to honey…

After seeking high and low for lavender honey [everywhere I went was sold out], I decided the next best thing [and probably better alternative] was to make my own…
A quick trip to the health food store yielded some gorgeous dried lavender pods, in addition to some golden local honey.
Once home, I wrapped up about four tablespoons of the lavender pods in cheesecloth and placed the packet into two cups of honey that I set over a double boiler. Stirring frequently for about an hour, the outcome yielded an infused amber honey of pure lusciousness. After the honey cooled, it was time to jar up again.
The first recipe this scented wonder will be a part of is a lavender honey and almond bread. I cannot wait to sit back and enjoy a slice of this bread with a warm cup of tea…

at a low simmer…






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French pastry Sunday baking…

Today was an amazing Sunday! A fun-filled day of baking with my niece who is an outstanding executive pastry chef. Get the two of us together in a kitchen and only delicious eats could be made!
We started off by preparing dough for freshly made croissants. After rolling out, folding and resting the butter-filled dough a few times, it was eventually time that we fill with an almond paste filling and bake off these gorgeous pastries. Flakey layers of buttery seduction with a sweet nutty interior made me think of breakfast in the European countryside with a captivating cup of freshly pressed coffee and the breeze blowing past…
In addition, French macarons were whipped up with a homemade pistachio filling. These light and chewy, pillowy sandwiches practically melted in our mouths, and one, two, three… well who really counted! All I can say is these were absolutely delightful.
The day could not have been better spent, or more enjoyable. I’m looking forward to our next baking adventure together and what incredible edibles we will create!

at a low simmer…
























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