Hazelnut Cake By A Nut

September 27, 2008

When I started this blog, cooking as a topic was far from my thoughts.  I take after my mother where cooking skills are concerned.  One day, she would make an excellent dish.  Then, another day, when we are expecting to enjoy the same dish, she would serve us something entirely different though it would go by the same name.  She has a penchant for giving an ingredient a miss or adding an altogether new one every time she cooks, thus making no two versions of a dish the same, ever again.

Like my mother, I too did not use to have the habit of jotting down recipes.  On the other hand, the veteran cooks in the family, are veterans simply for the fact that they follow the recipe, handed down for generations, to the pinch.  Ofcourse, there are some who simply have a gift for it.  Like my brother, for instance.  And my husband.  I might have easily mistaken this for a masculine privilege if I had not seen this manifest in my aunts as well.  All that they touch, turn into delicious mouth watering food!  This seems to have been the case since their very first experimental dish.

As for me, cooking is forever an experiment that always results in a happy stomach but only an occasional gratified tongue.  My only consolation is so far I have caused no health risks by making people come for a second helping.  But how I would love to lay my hands on those recipes that have made every cook a success!  That is why I have asked my mother-in-law to write me the traditional day-to-day recipes.  I am also thinking of starting a seperate blog with just those recipes as and when I try each one of those.

In the meanwhile, I tried my hand at “Hazelnut Chocolate Torte” from “Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Cookbook”.  My inspiration was, once again, http://www.creampuffsinvenice.ca/.

Hazelnut Cake Collage
Hazelnut Cake Slice 

What I learnt from this experience:

1. It was not mentioned in this recipe, but roast the hazelnuts to bring out the flavor.
2. Do not grind the hazelnuts when they are warm as they would become a paste when you might want them dry.
3. You really have to be a huge fan of Hazelnuts to really appreciate this cake – it is THAT RICH.
4. If you are not that big a fan, do not help yourself to a huge slice.
5. The frosting in this recipe was amazing.  Try it with chocolate cake if you do not prefer hazelnut.

Other sites that I stumbled across during this process that are worth mentioning:

http://www.joyofbaking.com/
http://smittenkitchen.com/

Overall, this took me three days, and three injuries to self, in the form of cuts and burns, to make; and it has left me with more enthusiam to bake than ever!

Dreams to Cookies – Drommar

September 14, 2008

How did we ever survive without the internet!  How did we use to find our way on the roads?  How did we use to connect with people?  How did we use to get information?  How did we use to kill time?

Whatever may have become out-dated, there is one thing that has stood up to the evolution and monopoly of the internet.  And that is face-to-face gossiping.  In fact, the internet has supplemented this pastime in inventive ways!  Ofcourse, it is nice to chat online, but it gets even better, when you meet up in person to follow up on the chat and exchange more discoveries made on google or facebook or orkut.  Yes, yes, the internet brings people together and also, miraculously, manages to keep them together – friends, enemies and bystanders alike.

Luckily, like you grow out of teenage, you grow up in the cyber-age as well.  There is such a thing as “downtime” even while spying!  So you eventually find other ways to use the medium.  Once upon a time, it used to be so difficult to get a book or find somebody knowledgeable to educate you on some subject that might have taken your fancy.  For me, many an interest have just been a dream due to lack of resources, or perhaps want of resourcefulness.  It is not the case anymore.

I too discovered blogging.  And productive blogging at that.  People sharing their experiences on pursuing their hobbies inspire you to take up yours where you left off or start anew.  Three things that benefitted me thanks to blogging are – one, blogging itself.  I have always found writing soothing and it is a great vent.  Two – trying my hand at creative things that I wouldn’t have thought possible of me otherwise – like sculpting, for instance, however amateur it might be.  Three – appreciation and awareness.  I had no idea that there was so much talent in each and everyone of us.  For me, whether I have a talent or not, I find this a means to developing it.  And the best part is, you get recognition – you do not have to become famous or be learned or acclaimed before one takes notice, and you can find like minded people without having to be obliged.

Yesterday, we got a last minute invitation to an uncle’s (in fact, two uncles’)  birthday party.  I felt like making something to bring for my aunt, the hostess.  Days of browsing lead to fruition as I ended up making Dromar – Swedish Dream Cookies, and packed them in a hand-made gift box.

Here is the link that inspired me to make the cookies: http://creampuffsinvenice.ca/2006/11/05/to-sleep-perchance-to-dream/.
Here is the link to the recipe (can also get here from the link above): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/SWEDISH-DREAM-COOKIES-DROMMAR-104424.
Here is the link to instructions for making the origami box: http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-box.html.

I used 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1 teaspoon baking soda in place of 1 teaspoon baker’s ammonia as advised at http://www.foodsubs.com/Leaven.html#baker’s%20ammonia.  To make the gift box, I used old calendar pages to make 2 origami boxes, one of which served as the lid.

Drommar
Boxed Drommar
Gift Box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Such a simple thing, it is.  If you really think about it, everything in life is simple.  A piece of cake.  Or cookie, if you will.  Crunch!