Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

Pretzel Turtles

Christmas, Holiday, Sweets and CandyTove Balle-PedersenComment
Pretzel Turtles

Pretzel Turtles

Theses turtles have become a part of my Danish Christmas celebration here in America. My sweet sweet neighbor gave me a tin of these every Christmas. I do not think Christmas woulds be the same without Pretzel turtles. Last year I was so recklees to move away from my sweet neighbors, and not only do I have to miss them, but I also have to miss out on this special Christmas Treat.  Now I had to learn to make them by my self. My version is with pecans only. They are nearly as good, they just need the sprinkle of Bobbie magic. Love you Bobbie. 

Makes 48 heavenly mouthfuls.

Ingredients:

  • 48 rolo candies (2x5.3 oz bags)
  • 48 mini pretzels
  • 48 pecan halves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300℉ (150℃)  degrees. Line an 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay pretzels in a single layer on baking sheet then place one Rolo candy in the center of each pretzel. Warm in preheated oven just until chocolate and caramel have softened, about 4 minutes. Remove from oven then press 1 pecan into each rolo candy. Transfer baking sheet to refrigerator and chill until chocolate has set. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (preferably in a single layer - the chocolate softens up just a little at room temperature).

Enjoy!

Danish Shortbread Sticks

Cake, Cookies, Holiday, ChristmasTove Balle-PedersenComment
Danish-Shortbread-Sticks.JPG

December 3th

This is a take on the traditional Danish Shortbread or Finskbrød as they are called. I really like the addition of the lemon zest, and the more modern look. Normally Danes do not like changes to their traditional food and cookies. 'It has to be exactly like my mom made it' - but some changes are for the better, like this one.

Inspired by a Blomsterberg recipe.

Makes 30.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 200 g butter, salted, room temperature  
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 60 confectionary (powdered) sugar
  • 1 lemon, the zest of
  • 275 g all-purpose flour

Topping:

  • 1 egg, 
  • coarse raw cane sugar 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375℉ (190℃)

Mix all the ingredients until it forms a dough, be careful not to overwork the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic film, and let it rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 6 x 12-inch (15 x 30 cm) rectangle. Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, set aside. Beat the egg, and brush a thin even layer on the dough. Sprinkle with a good amount of raw cane sugar. Gently press the sugar into the dough with the rolling pin. Put the dough into the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes. Cut the dough in half so you now have 2 squares 6x6-inches (15x15 cm) each. Cut each square in 14-15 long thin logs, 

Bake for 7-10 minutes, until light golden brown. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Enjoy!

 

December 1 st.

ChristmasTove Balle-PedersenComment
Decorating.

Decorating.

Happy December - Christmas is approaching 🎄🎅🏼

Here we go again, December 1 st. sneaked up on me again. This year I have no excuses. I didn't move, we didn't host Thanksgiving. Next year I will set an calendar alarm to warn me mid november, to see if that helps.

I started my Christmas cookie production today. I always treat my friends with a little box of homemade cookies, when we go to events during the holiday season. And People you normally tip. Americans tip everybody. Mailman, hairdresser, doctors, teachers, and and and.... eeeeeeverybody. This is still kinda new to me. But I still try to learn the unspoken rules here 9 years in. Most important person on my cookie list is my husbands boss. I do not dare skipping him 😉😉

This year I just want to bake all the basic Danish Christmas cookies like Vanillekranse, håkonskager, pebernødder, Danish gingerbread cookies, and Chocolate Biscotti. There might be more in the works, but let's see what happens.

I hope you want to join me on my December Journey into Christmas classics in sweets, cookies and food.

Happy December 🎄

Croissants

Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, techniqueTove Balle-PedersenComment
Croissant.JPG

Croissants are made from a yeasted dough laminated with butter. It is so so good.

The trick is to keep the dough and the butter at the same temperature and texture, to prevent soft butter bleeding out of the dough. A too cold dough will crack a bit, so you are looking for a firm but yet soft dough.

There are different kinds of folding/turning when it comes to pastry and croissant dough. 

Letter fold or Single turn: Dough folded in thirds, like you would do a letter going into an envelope. (I did that for this recipe.)

1. Turn: makes 3 layers of butter

2. Turn: makes 9 layers of butter

3. Turn: makes 27 layers of butter.

Book fold or double turn: Dough folded to the middle and folded again on the middle like a book. This makes 4 layers per fold or turn as they are called.

1. Turn: makes 4 layers of butter

2. Turn: makes 16 layers of butter

3. Turn: makes 64 layers of butter

You can mix the folding methods to get the amount of layer you want. Theoretically you can make how many layers you want, but making too many layers makes you end up with a brioche dough, made the hardest way possible 😉.   

At the croissant class I attended I learned that Manresa Bread use 2 double turns (16 layers) for regular croissants, and 3 single turns (27 layers) for chocolate croissants. For traditional Danish pastry you normally use 3 single turns, giving the desired 27 layers of butter. If you are looking for a traditional puff pastry, you need 144 layers

 

Makes this 20-24 croissants. 

Ingredients:

Dough/Détrempe:

  • 750 g bread flour
  • 200 g water, lukewarm 
  • 187.5 g milk
  • 90 g sugar
  • 22.5 g salt
  • 65 g live yeast (15 g dry yeast)
  • 7.5 g malt powder
  • 37.5 g butter, room temperature

Beurrage (butter):

  • 450 g cold butter
  • all-purpose flour for dusting

Directions:

Dough/Détrempe:

Mix the milk with the water, dissolve the yeast in this mixture. Add the sugar. If using dry yeast, let the yeast wake up for about 5-10 minutes, until creating a foam on top. 

Mix in half of the flour and malt powder, forming a sticky dough. Mix in the softened butter. Finally mix in the rest of the flour and knead the dough until you have a shiny, slightly sticky and elastic dough, for about 3-5 minutes. The dough will be a bit on the dry/tough side.
Shape dough into a ball and place it in a dough rising bucket, or another large covered container. Let the dough fermented overnight, this will give you a good flavor.

Beurrage (butter):

Place the cold butter on a well floured surface. With your palms press the butter a little flat. Using a rolling pin pound on the butter to flatten it. Fold the butter into it self, and keep pounding and folding until the butter has the same consistency as the dough. You want to end up with a 30x32 cm (11x12.5 inch) sheet of soft but still cold butter. If the butter is too warm or too hard, it will be hard to roll it out in the dough, and it might make holes in the dough, instead of the lamination.
If you don't want to add any flour to your butter, you can pound and roll out the butter between sheets of parchment paper. Chill the butter while you roll out the dough. 

Laminating:

Place dough on a lightly floured surface, roll it out to 62x32 cm (24.5x12.5 inch), so the dough is the width of the butter, but a little over double in length. Clearly I rolled my dough longer than necessary, but it worked fine anyway. Place the butter on the dough, and wrap it with the dough, pinching the edges, meeting in the middle of the dough, together. Chill the dough package covered in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes, before starting the folding/turning.

croissant.jpg

Roll the dough to a rectangle, 3-4 times as long as the height. Keep it lightly floured so the dough do not stick to the surface. Make sure to roll the dough with straightedges. This will ease the folding.

Fold the far edges into the middle and fold again on the middle like a book. Now you have 4 layers of butter. Place the covered dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes to cool the butter again, and to relax the gluten.

Repeat this one more time, making 2 double (book) turns and ending up with 16 layers of butter. If you want to use this dough for Danish pastry or chocolate croissants, I would make 3 single turns, so you end up with 27 layers.

Before shaping the croissants you want the dough to rest covered in the refrigerator for at least 45-60 minutes. And letting it sit covered for 5 minutes on the kitchen counter, letting the butter to soften up a bit.

Shaping the croissants:

fullsizeoutput_1eef.jpeg

Roll half the dough out to a 20x40 cm (8x16 inch) rectangle. Using a knife or pizza slicer to cut the dough. Cut the croissant triangles as shown in the picture. (you get 7, not 5 croissants from the dough, I missed the last 2 in the picture, sorry). Let the dough rest covered 5 minutes to relax the gluten a bit. 
Stretch the triangle, so you elongate it, be careful not to rip the dough. Roll the dough towards the tip of the triangle, making sure that the tip is on the underside of the croissant.Place the croissant on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spaced at least 5 cm (2 inch) apart.

Proof the croissant covered at maximum 85℉ (29.5℃) for 45-60 minutes until doubled in size. I have a proof setting on my oven, so I can use that, with a cup of boiling water sitting next to the baking sheet. But you can also proof the croissant on the kitchen counter, in a large air filled plastic bag.

Presheat oven to 350℉  (177℃) convection or 375℉ (190℃) foer non-convection.

Gently brush the croissants with egg wash, covering the exposed surfaces not allowing the egg wash to drip or pool.

Bake the croissants for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let the croissants on the baking sheet on the kitchen counter. 

Serve the croissants within a day. 

Enjoy!

y7P8gX3USIuet5IT8olPPg.jpg

 

Tip:

The unbaked pastry can be frozen just, after shaping, individually, and can be baked straight out of the freezer, just add about 5 more minutes to the baking time.

 

Tip:

Leftover croissants can be used for almond croissants. Make some frangipan (125 g almond flour, 125 g butter, 125 g powdered sugar, 12 g all-purpose flour and 1 large egg, all mixed together) and smear it inside the croissant, and on top, before baking it for xx minutes.

 

 

Chili Con Carne a la me

Beef, Dinner, Simmer FoodTove Balle-PedersenComment
Chili Con Carne a la me.

Chili Con Carne a la me.

This chili con carne is my version of a chili. You will find more original recipes out there. But this is the way I like it. Years ago I started out with the recipe my mom used, not spicy at all. Through the years my version became more spicy, more smokey and got more colors and beans. And one thing is for sure, we never had any toppings on my moms chili.

Serves 8-10.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef 
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 4 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can chipotle in adobo sauce, chop the chipotles, use less if you do not like it spicy
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, I use Valrhona 
  • 4-6 bell peppers, bite-sized diced
  • 6 cans beans, rinsed, I used black beans white beans, and red kidney beans
  • salt & pepper

Toppings:

  • sour cream
  • jalapeno, sliced
  • scallions, sliced
  • cheddar cheese
  • cilantro

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot. I use my large slow cooker, where the insert goes on the stovetop.  Sauté the onions until they are golden brown. Take the onions out and into a little bowl. 

Add a little more oil to the pot and brown the ground beef, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon. Try not to stir it to much, the more you move the meat around, the more you cool down the pan. And you want the meat to get some searing and color. When the meat is browned, add the tomato paste, letting it get some heat, to get a sweeter and deeper tomato flavor. Then add the garlic, onions, diced tomatoes, cocoa and the chipotle with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. 
Here you can add more spices like paprika, cayenne, cumin or chili powder. Before I fell in love with chipotle, I used fresh jalapeños and some smoked paprika in my chilies.
Let the chili cook covered at a low simmer for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally. I set my slow cooker to 8 hours on low.  

After 2-4 hours, (6 hours in slow cooker), add the bell peppers and after another 30 minutes add the rinsed beans, and let it simmer for yet another 30 minutes, before it is ready for the final seasoning and serving. 

Serve the chili with toppings to your likings and a few slices of good baguette.

Enjoy!