homemade oreos

In honour of National Oreo Day I thought it fitting to re-run this post from 2011. I originally wrote this post for the Sweet Potato Chronicles and it has proven to be one of their most popular stories of all time. I guess there is no denying the love for the Oreo. And what could be better than making your very own.

Home­made Oreos (Adapted from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brach­man via Smit­ten Kitchen)
(My com­ments in brackets!)

Makes 25 to 30 sand­wich cook­ies
For the choco­late wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweet­ened Dutch process cocoa (Fry’s Cocoa Pow­der will work in Canada)
1 tea­spoon bak­ing soda
1/4 tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der
1/4 tea­spoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 table­spoons room-temperature, unsalted but­ter
1 large egg
For the fill­ing:
1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted but­ter
1/4 cup veg­etable short­en­ing
2 cups sifted icing sugar
2 tea­spoons vanilla extract

  1. Set two racks in the mid­dle of the oven. Pre­heat to 375°F.
  2. In a food proces­sor, or bowl of an elec­tric mixer, thor­oughly mix the flour, cocoa, bak­ing soda and pow­der, salt, and sugar. While puls­ing, or on low speed, add the but­ter, and then the egg. Con­tinue pro­cess­ing or mix­ing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded tea­spoons of bat­ter and place on a parch­ment paper-lined bak­ing sheet approx­i­mately two inches apart. (I started off with loonie sized chunks of dough which was too big. It’s more like the size of a quar­ter. Remem­ber, you’re aim­ing for 50 to 60 of these indi­vid­ual wafers!) With moist­ened hands, slightly flat­ten the dough. Bake for 9 min­utes, rotat­ing once for even bak­ing. Set bak­ing sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place but­ter and short­en­ing in a mix­ing bowl, and at low speed, grad­u­ally beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 min­utes until fill­ing is light and fluffy.
  5. To assem­ble the cook­ies, in a pas­try bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the cen­ter of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the fill­ing evenly to the out­sides of the cookie. (I don’t think it’s entirely nec­es­sary to use a pas­try bag. You could just spoon some icing on and squeeze between two wafers.) Con­tinue this process until all the cook­ies have been sand­wiched with cream.

 

strawberry pavlova

My mum loves to throw dinner parties. I have fond memories growing up of her whipping up things in the kitchen. I don't think desserts were ever her thing so she tended to stick to a few reliable favourites. In the seventies, it was pavlova. In the eighties, baked cheesecake. In the nineties, blueberry tart. pavlova-1 To this day, I can still hear her opening the oven and exclaiming, oh the meringues worked or oh no, the meringue has collapsed. It seemed there was always something going on with the meringue which as a child I didn't fully understand. All I remember was the sweet taste of the gooey, chewy white clouds and the layers of whip cream and berries.

pavlova-2

Strawberry Pavlova - adapted from Jamie Oliver

For the meringue

6 large free-range egg whites

300 g sugar

1 pinch sea salt

For the pavlova

400 g fresh strawberries

200 ml whipping cream

200 ml natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tsp vanilla

a few sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Put your egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk them at a medium speed until they start to form nice firm peaks.

With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for 7-8 minutes more until the meringue is white, glossy and smooth. If it feels grainy, whisk for a little bit longer, being careful not to let the meringue collapse.

Line two baking trays with baking paper. Divide the meringue mixture evenly between them and shape each blob into a circle about 20cm in diameter. Put both trays into the oven and bake for 1 hour until the meringues look slightly golden and are fluffy in the middle.

Halve or quarter the large strawberries and leave the smaller ones whole. Whip the cream with the sugar until it forms soft peaks, then stir in the yoghurt and fold in the vanilla. Spoon half the cream mixture on top of one of the meringue halves and smooth it out. Sprinkle half of your berries evenly around the cream mixture. Place the other meringue on top and press down gently to stick them together. Spread the remaining cream mixture over the top layer and sprinkle the remaining berries on top. Scatter over a few small mint leaves and enjoy!

pavlova-3It's the perfect, light dessert for spring parties - Easter, Mother's Day or just Sunday dinner with friends. And just wait until the fresh strawberries are in season! I'll be making it then again, for sure.

 

 

sugar cookies, birthdays and icicles

If you live in Ontario than you know we were hit with a big ice storm over the weekend. We lost a few branches off of the tree in front of our house and one is precariously dangling over the hydro lines. Luckily we still have power. An ice storm is beautiful to behold - everything is covered in a thick layer of crystal ice -  but devastating in its wrath. The roads are like skating rinks and venturing out is not advised. BIB_kakfika-20

With the Christmas presents all wrapped there's nothing better to do than keep baking. Today I'm going to make my absolutely fail-proof Sugar Cookie recipe. Originally published on The Kitchn I have made it numerous times and the dough is always super easy to roll and re-roll over and over again. It never gets crumbly or too sticky. It's a surefire winner.

bbd1fba5985666eed8d264b6691dee88

Henry (today is his birthday - the night before the night before Christmas as he likes to say to me) can't wait to start decorating a few. I love the idea of using an old cut glass to make imprints in rounds of cookie dough (see first photo) but I also might try my hand at icing a few. Perfect for an afternoon fika. I'll share our successes (and failures) on Instagram.

BIB_kakfika-22

Also don't forget today is the last day to enter the giveaway for an Alanna Cavanagh print. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

Happy baking everyone!

Image credits:
1 & 3 - Babes in Boyland
2 - Kristin Rosenau - Flickr

noma - an eating experience

Twenty-four courses. Yes, that's exactly what you get at one of the world's best restaurants Noma (currently ranked at #2) although it occupied the #1 spot for three years running. None disappointed. Adhering to a strict local philosophy (much of the food is foraged within a 60 km radius of the restaurant) head chef Rene Redzepi uses techniques like smoking, fermenting, pickling and curing to extend a product's life and to bring you the absolute essence of the ingredients.

Below a sampling of what we ate.

TMHB_Scandi-15-2

Nordic coconuts a.k.a kohlrabi served with edible greens. You drank the juice through the herb straw.

TMHB_Scandi-18-2This classic Noma dish - quail eggs pickled and smoked in hay - let loose a hazy spiral of smoke when the lid was removed.

photo (21)

Crispy reindeer moss which we dipped in a type of creme fraiche.

TMHB_Scandi-19-2Monkfish liver served atop of caramelized milk "crackers".

TMHB_Scandi-20

Tiny shrimp enclosed in nasturtium leaves served in a yeast broth and topped with local flowers.

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 8.46.02 PM

Perch head served on a stick. A gooey mess but deliciously flavoured.

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 8.46.20 PM

Onions with pear, buttermilk broth and wood ants (which was meant to double as salt). Probably my least favourite dish mainly because of the onions.

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 8.46.37 PMCauliflower cooked with fresh pine and served with whey yoghurt and horseradish broth. Hands down one of the tastiest dishes.

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 8.46.59 PMSmall potatoes with fish roe, fermented barley and kelp oil.

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 8.47.15 PM

Wild duck with pear. We were warned to look out for pellets as the duck is freshly hunted.

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 8.45.26 PM

Even the bread was an experience - fresh sourdough served with sheep's butter and pork lard.

TMHB_Scandi-24

I can't remember what this was. It looks like egg but it's not. It kicked off the dessert round.

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 8.47.30 PM"Danish pastry" filled with seaweed and fermented barley.

TMHB_Scandi-26Finally the last thing we ate that evening was crispy pork crackling covered in chocolate and topped with berries. It was served with coffee made in a pour over method.

TMHB_Scandi-27As we were leaving we popped into the kitchen for a quick look.

TMHB_Scandi-28

The lounge side of the dining room was lit with candles and had dried flowers and herbs hanging from the beamed ceiling. It's a place I could easily call home.

{Images are a combination of my own and instagram shots from Edwards Eats - he ate a very similar meal to ours at lunch time which resulted in better daylight quality photos!}