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Posts Tagged ‘Finland’

These simple and delicate sandwiches are perfect to give as gifts around the holidays. Home made goodies have a warming effect on people, one of the reasons why I love to bake. Well, there’s that and I have allergies.

I used the following recipe to make about a dozen raspberry-filled lusikkaleivat and packaged them for a bake sale. Use any jam you like, and for you nut-eaters Nutella would probably rock as a filling.

  • 1 cup soft salted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • raspberry jam (If it’s too thin, reduce in a pan and cool completely. I use a whole fruit jam.)

Cream the butter and sugar. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the yolk and vanilla to the butter and blend well. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended together.

Note: Finns will brown the butter to bring out a nutty flavor. I’ve made these both ways and prefer room temperature butter. Using the browned butter will yield a crumbly dough that you spoon onto the pan. I like a flatter cookie because they are easier to eat, remember the thickness of the finished cookie will be twice as thick as one cookie!

Drop tablespoons of the dough on a parchment sheet covered pan, press them flat with your palm. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350ºF, or until the edges just start to brown. You should have enough to make a dozen sandwiched cookies.

The dough:
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The cookies, ready to be given to lucky friends:
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2013-11-30 09.54.54

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One of the cookie recipes I made for the Austin Bakes for Bastrop bake sale was Finnish Peppernuts, but despite the name they did not contain nuts.  The original recipe from Beatrice Ojakangas’ Great Holiday Baking Book (Random House 1994) calls for ground hazelnuts, for which the cookies are shaped after.  Many people might know them as Pfefernüsse the German name for this round, holiday spiced cookie.

peppernuts

peppernuts hot out of the oven

I modified the recipe to make half a batch first, just in case there might be other tweaks to make.

Adapted from Peppernuts by Beatrice Ojakangas

  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Turn on the oven to 375ºF.  Cream the butter, sugar and egg until smooth.  Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a separate bowl.  Mix the flour into the butter and sugar.  Form 1/2 inch balls and place 1/2 inch apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 8 minutes, just until the bottom is lightly browned.

Pfefernusse Cookies (photo: Martha Compton)

Pfefernusse Cookies (photo: Martha Compton)

These would be cute in gift bags tied with a decorative ribbon or natural twine.  I put eight into individual bags for the bake sale.

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Breads: Finnish Nissua

Both of my grans baked their breads at home, well after arthritis and aches set in.  My parents generation enjoyed sharing these coveted loaves, not knowing what a legacy these women would leave behind. 

I am now in the possession of some of grandma C’s recipes (thanks to Dad) and grandma K’s Brown Bread recipe (thanks to Aunty C).  Both of these require some deciphering before I can perform my first attempt.  For now, I’ve made a cardamom spiced bread topped with vanilla icing.  The perfect companion to a cup of cocoa in the middle of winter.

This recipe makes three manageable sized loaves.  I gave one to my neighbour who has been ill with the flu.  The first loaf vanished straight out of the oven practically!  The last one was used for french toast.

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dry active yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (110ºF/45ºC)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 5 cups white bread flour
  • 2/3 cup red currants
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a small bowl combine the yeast and water, let stand for 10 minutes until frothy.

Warm the milk over low heat until it is steaming.  Remove from the heat and add the butter, sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. 

Pour the milk mixture into a large bowl and beat in the eggs, yolks, 1 1/2 cups of the flour, cardamom and finally the yeast.  Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Stir in the flour gradually, beating well to incorporate the flour.  Knead for 8 minutes then coat with oil to rise for an hour.

Punch down the dough to release the gases and divide into three equal parts.  Start with the first third of the dough, lightly roll into a rope then cut into three.  Braid the three pieces and place on a baking sheet.  Repeat to the other two lumps of dough.  Let the braided loaves rest and rise for 45 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and bake for 30 minutes.

Mix the icing sugar and vanilla until well combined to form a sweet sauce.  Drizzle over cooled loaves.

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