Happy Swedish Cream Bun Day

“Huh, because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth”

Happy Semla Day! Fettisdagen 2020!

Hope you all ate your fair share of yummy Semlor yesterday! We sure did in this family. Goodness me, I stuffed my face! (As one should. It is the tradition after all. Okay… maybe not

tradition but it certainly is expected.

Even Buddy (the Dog) was tempted by my little Mini – Semlor.

Mini Semla and Buddy the Dog

Honestly, SO darn cute. They were the kids’ favourites.

It’s the first time in 20 years that I’ve made my own Semlor. God only knows why. They were so easy to make!!

Semlor is part of the Swedish DNA. There are a few things I miss from “home”. Like, things that feel essentially Swedish in a way.

Generally food related but isn’t that always the way?

Anyway, Semlor is definitely one of those things…

Semlor are sweet cardamom buns traditionally filled with an Almond Paste and custard filling. But you can fill them with jam or chocolate or anything you like really. I’ll post a few variations in my next blog post.

Semlor - Swedish Cream Buns

Love, Jess ❤️

Swedish Sockerkaka

First week back and boy do we feel it.

I’ve overslept twice for starters. Tuesday, when my parents were flying back to Sweden and I was meant to wake them up (!) and then on again on Wednesday. (Luckily I got the kids to school in time!). I wrapped that up nicely with falling asleep at 8pm whilst putting the toddler back to sleep last night!!

We’re all tired though I think and it’s January. We’re allowed to be a bit out of sorts. It’s grey and slow and a bit eurgh right?

I’ve been doing a lot of “freezer cooking” this week – stews, tarts, pies – that sort of thing. But obviously missed my baking so decided to bring out the easiest (and tastiest) recipe there is.

I made a delicious Swedish Sockerkaka. It’s basically a Vanilla Sponge cake made in a pretty Bundt mould.

It’s one of the first things I ever made on my own. (yeah okay, bar chokladbollar, but they don’t require cooking so don’t really count!)

* A note about the Crumb mix though…

Like a said – it’s essentially a vanilla sponge cake. However; it’s all about the crumb. A lot of the taste and consistency lie in the crumb. If you have access to a Scandinavian shop I really recommend you get a Wasa Breadcrumb mix. It’s got a bit more ”umph” and flavour – it’s really worth it. (It’s a mixture of wheat and rye bread crumbs)

Ingredients:

• 3 eggs

• 3 dl caster sugar

• 3 1/2 dl plain flour

• 2 tsk baking powder

• 1 1/2 dl milk

• 50 g softened butter

How to:

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F, gas 4, fan 155°C).

⁃ Thoroughly grease a 2 litre or 24 cm sockerkaka mould and sprinkle with *Wasa breadcrumbs

⁃ Beat the eggs and sugars with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

⁃ Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and then carefully fold into the mixture.

⁃ Melt the butter and then add the milk. Bring to a boil and then add to the mixture, beating on the lowest setting until evenly mixed

⁃ Pour the mixture into the mould and then bake at the bottom of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the mixture begins to pull away from the mould.

Sockerkaka

Enjoy!

Love, Jess ❤️

Pretzel Turtle Treats

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to getting back to normality. (Whatever that may be!)

I’ve loved spending some quality time with my family and friends, but I kind of want the every day hustle and bustle back now. (I’m not looking forward to the school run though, that’s another beast altogether).

Speaking of Beasts, we’ve been watching Dracula on BBC one. We’re loving it so far, the first episode was a tad too gruesome for my liking (I’m a massive scaredy-cat to be fair), but all in all very enjoyable. Sister Agatha completely steals the show! Next and last episode tonight.

Anyway, the holidays are very much about food and sweet things in this house. One of my favourite Christmas treats are these Pretzels turtles. I first saw Pioneer woman making these a few years back and they are ever so delicious and super easy to make! Here’s how you make them:

• 24 whole Mini-pretzels

• 24 whole Individually Wrapped Toffees or caramels (either works!)

• Good Quality Milk Chocolate, Melted

• 24 whole Pecan Halves

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

Place the pecan halves in a single layer on a baking sheet or a silicone baking mat. Arrange the pretzels neatly on the pan, then top each pretzel with a caramel/toffee.

Place the pan into the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the caramels are softened (but definitely not melting.) Remove the pan from the oven.

Gently press a pecan half onto each caramel, just enough for the caramel to fill the pretzel. Set them aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. When the pretzel/caramels are cooled, remove them from the baking sheet. Spoon small dollops (1 1/2 teaspoon helpings) of chocolate all over the baking mat, then lightly drop each pretzel onto the middle of each dollop, making sure they’re centered.

Allow them to cool completely before serving.

Enjoy!

Love, Jess

❤️

Black Forest Gâteau Trifle

Every year I say to myself “this year will be different. I’ll be ready with all my Christmas prep far in advance and it will all be a breeze.”

Yes… But that just isn’t possible with three kids, cake sales, PTA stuff, teacher’s gifts, Christmas baking, cooking, parties, work and everything in between. For me anyway!

But I do love Christmas. And I love Christmas food! But it can get stressful, particularly if you’re catering for a big family and friends. So I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are super yummy but also quick and easy.

So this is where the Black Forest Gâteau Trifle comes in to play.

Last year a good friend of mine introduced me to this recipe, hands down the best trifle ever. It’s rich, sumptuous and above else, so easy to make.

The original recipe is by the Hairy Bikers! I have made this making my own custard, but honestly, using good quality shop bought quality custard works just as well!

Recipe:

For the chocolate custard

• 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

• 300ml whole milk

• 300ml double cream

• 1 vanilla pod, split

• 6 egg yolks

• 100g caster sugar

• 2 tbsp cocoa powder

• 1 tbsp cornflour

For the trifle

• 500g chocolate cake or brownies

• 50g black cherry or Morello cherry jam

• 100g kirsch or cherry brandy

• 300g pitted black cherries

• 200g amaretti biscuits

• 500ml double cream

• Chocolate curls, to decorate

Option 1:

1. First make the custard as this will need to chill before you make up the trifle. Melt the chocolate – either in the microwave or very carefully in a bain marie (a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water). Leave to cool.

2. Put the milk and cream into a saucepan with the vanilla pod and bring to just-below boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse until cooled slightly.

3. Put the egg yolks, caster sugar, cocoa powder and cornflour into a bowl and whisk, preferably with electric beaters, until the mixture is very well aerated, pale and stiff enough so that it keeps shape when you trail the beaters through it.

4. Pour the slightly cooled milk and cream mixture over the eggs, mixing as you go, then stir in the melted chocolate. Mix thoroughly, then rinse out the saucepan and return the custard to it. Cook, stirring constantly until the custard thickens – this can take anything between 10 and 20 minutes depending on how high you dare have the heat. Do not have it on too low a heat as it will not thicken, but make sure you do not let the mixture boil and keep stirring.

5. When the custard has thickened to the point of thick double cream, transfer to a jug and cover with clingfilm to stop a skin from forming. When cool, transfer to the fridge – the custard will continue to thicken while it chills.

Option 2:

1. Gently heat your shop bought custard with the melted chocolate and let it rest.

2. To make the trifle, cut the brownies or chocolate cake into fairly thin slices and spread with the jam. Sandwich together and arrange in the bottom of a large trifle bowl. Pour over the kirsch or cherry brandy, then sprinkle over the cherries.

3. Put a layer of the amaretti biscuits over the cherries, then pour over the custard in a thick, even layer. If you have time, place in the fridge until almost ready to serve, again covered in cling film.

4. Whisk the double cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks, then smooth this over the custard. Decorate with chocolate curls.

Enjoy!

Jess ❤️

Adorable Cloud Macarons

I don’t know about you guys but I’m a sucker for a Wedding, Christening, a Welcome party, Baby gender reveal party and any other joyous family occasion. I love them!

But I’m a wreck. Generally before, during and after the event.

I used to be more cynical, but since kids I can often be seen ugly crying at your events. Soz.

Our best friend sang. I cried. Photo cred: Matilda Söderström

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, maybe it’s the hormone, maybe it’s the wine, I don’t know, but it just gets me.

Father dancing with daughter – I cry. Photo montage – I cry.

Mum speech – I cry.

Poem readings – I cry.

Puppies or babies – I cry.

Recently we celebrated our youngest addition, baby Laban, to our extended family tree. It was a wonderful party with family and friends with lots of tears (obvs) and laughter.

Camilla, my niece, bestie and Laban’s mother, is a fantastic baker and she made these adorable cloud macarons that I just had to share!

Here is the recipe:

170 g icing sugar

110 g sifted almond flour

90 g egg whites (about 3)

2 tablespoons sugar

For the Passion fruit filling:

125 g white chocolate

50 g passion fruit purée

2 teaspoons of honey

2 tablespoons double cream

Preheat your oven to 125. Sift and then mix the almond flour and icing sugar in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites. Top tip: Make sure the bowl is clean and dry beforehand!

Add the sugar and keep whipping until smooth and glossy.

Now carefully add the almond flour and icing sugar and the food colouring (if you’re using it).

Mix until the mixture is smooth and lumpfree.

Top tip!

1. Prep your baking sheet and make sure you’ve marked the size and shape of your macaron beforehand – it’ll make it super easy and straightforward to pipe your macaroons later.

2. Have a little bowl with water next to your baking sheet for dipping your finger and gently pressing down the “ends” with!

Now pipe your macarons onto a baking sheet. Let the macarons rest 45 minutes.

Bake for about 20 minutes in the lower part of your oven.

One way of knowing they’re done is to gently lift one and if you can easily remove it from the baking paper then you’re done.

Let your macaroons cool completely.

For the filling:

Break down the chocolate into smaller pieces.

Weigh the passionfruit purée.

Heat the chocolate and passion fruit gently in pan.

Stir gently from time to time. The filling is done when the white chocolate has melted completely and the filling is smooth and glossy.

Now add your food colouring and set the mixture in your fridge for at least two hours.

Once set and you’re happy with the mixture its ready to be piped in between your macarons.

Happy Cloud

Enjoy! ❤️

Love, Jess

Syltgrottor/Thumbprint cookies

I love baking and my kids love baking.

I don’t however always love baking with the kids. Often it can be stressful, messy and chaotic.

But it CAN be enjoyable. What you need is some fool proof easy recipes and you’ll be ready for anything. Well, most things.

I go for recipes that are straightforward and that requires some kind of decorating part later. Kids are particularly ace at this part!

(Unless you’re a perfectionist like me and do find it mildly stressful too. You learn to breathe through it.)

I recently found this recipe in a Swedish magazine and it’s a winner. It’s definitely fool proof and your cookies will always turn out well! Your kids will love making these too, adding the jam and whatnot.

So as part of my Swedish, easy to make, kid friendly recipes, I’m going to kick things off with Syltgrottor (I hear they’re similar to Thumbprint cookies? Can anyone confirm?) .

Syltgrottor are a mixture between a shortbread and a Viennese type biscuit.

This recipe is a winner, and has never let me down.

***The key here is to not overwork the dough and chilling the dough before baking***

• 4 1/2 dl flour

• 1 dl caster sugar

• 1 tsp bakingpowder

• 2 tsp vanilla extract

• 200 g butter (room temp)

For the filling:

Your favourite type of jam. Recently we used Cloudberry and Wild Strawberry jam.

Recipe:

Turn your oven to 200°C. (180c if fan assisted)

Cream your butter and sugar. Once creamed, add your vanilla extract. Mix your dry ingredients in separate bowl.

Now quickly mix the ingredients until it all just comes together. (Don’t overwork the mixture!)

Let your dough rest in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into a cylinder and then pinch off and roll each small piece, (about the size of a walnut), into small balls.

Now place the gently into fairy cake tins. Make a hole in the cookie using your thumb and add your jam. Pop into your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

Take the cookies out and let them cool on a cooling rack.

Enjoy. ❤️

Love, Jess

Edible Christmas Tree

Everyone loves a Christmas film don’t they?

But what I really look forward to is the Christmas cooking programmes. I’ve watched them all; Delia, Nigella, Jamie and Gordon – and I love them all. This year I’ve been watching Mary Berry’s Christmas Party; it’s brilliant.

And who knew there was so many ways to prepare roast potatoes?!

Anyway. Something that Nigella said in one of her Christmas specials (whilst preparing six individual poussins. As you do.), was about having people over at Christmas. She was reminiscing about her mother getting hysterical about mass catering.

“I don’t want to make myself miserable trying to keep everyone else happy. Food has to be really great to eat. But above easy on me.”

I’m with you there Nigella. We’re having people over at Christmas and I want to make tasty, yet easy to make food.

I saw an edible Christmas Tree recipe online recently and had to try it. (Honestly, any recipe with the words puff pastry, chocolate and cinnamon in it and I’m all over it).

This. Is. A. Winner.

I don’t know if I can call it a recipe, I mean it’s so easy to make! Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Here’s the recipe:

You’ll need:

2 x sheets of puff pastry

Chocolate spread

Cinnamon

Caster Sugar

100g good quality dark chocolate

1 beaten egg (for the eggwash)

Sharp knife of pizza slicer

1. Put your puff pastry on an oven tray and using your sharp knife of pizza slice cut out a Christmas Tree.

2. Lift off one of the sheets of puff pastry and put it to one side.

3. Take your chocolate spread and dollop the spread over the sheet on the oven tray. Spread it out evenly.

4. Lay the other sheet over the other and brush with egg-wash.

5. Sprinkle a good amount (about a tablespoon) of the cinnamon sugar on top.

6. Pop it into your oven for about 18 minutes.

7. Once your Christmas tree is in the oven take out your chopped chocolate. You can either heat in the microwave or over a pot of boiling water on the stove. Just make sure you don’t burn the chocolate.

8. Once out and cooled a little bit sprinkle some icing sugar on top.

9. Serve straight away

Enjoy.❤️

Love, Jess