I am back, and baking again!

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Red apples on a tree. Picture from pioneerdad.com

 

This summer went fast! I had so many plans what to do, and to make a blog entry of, but…..
The truth is, time just flied, and my life went full cray cray for many reasons and it has been difficult to hang on on it.

First of all, I found out that one of my dreams came true: I got pregnant! The joy to the whole family was enormous, but as I knew what will happen, shortly after, huge nausea took over me. I’ve experienced that before also (this is my third pregnancy), but this time there was something new added on constant nausea, dizziness and throwing up: awful fatigue. I have NEVER been that tired! Due to my rheumas, I know what chronic tiredness is, but this was something unimaginable. So it took all of my strength to cope with basic normal daily stuff like getting up from bed and make breakfast, stay awake to go to toilet and make lunch at some point etc. I barely managed to deal with studies, and I got so happy when summer holiday started! Because of that, everything extra, including this blog, had to be put to rest for some time. Now I am back on my feet and pregnancy is on half way, so everything is much easier!

Secondly, whole our family got ourselves in common hobby: judo. Tho I have been in the role of coach/maintenance/support/driver, since with rheumas I cannot do that myself, no matter how much I would want to!
That has been taking bunch of time recently but in a good way. That is one of the best sports existing truly, trains whole body and mind as really few sports can do!

Also, my husband got a new job, which starts later this year and he has to go to courses for that, so daily schedules has been pretty full! BUT! All these are just good news, and now life rolls in its own rhythm and routines takes over, I also have more time to focus on blogs and building nest and preparing everything for new family member to join us at winter!

As I mentioned, I’m back and baking again. It’s already fall, so beautiful one also,I might add, and season of berries has passed already, except for lingonberries!!! This year was not so good with blueberries, but we got some of them from our forests in any case. Long ago I have put in freezer our black- and red currants for winter: fresh juice made of those in winter colds is really the heart of finnish winter. But lingonberries! Those red jewels of our forests, super-food, healthy in more ways than is known. Still after cold nights and warm sunny days those grows huge, bigger than I’ve ever seen actually! Many places are already empty of those, but our forest has them so much still. At this moment also my family is in there picking them. I will bake something delicious of those and make own blog entry of lingonberry!

But most important thing is, that now is a season of APPLES. Finnish apples are delicious, not necessarily sweetest possible, but really wonderful nevertheless. Unfortunately our garden doesn’t have any apple trees, but we are fortunate to have such neighbor with many trees, and were lucky to get some apples from them. So, today I am going to bake an Apple pie, my own version of more traditional recipe.

Traditionally apples goes together with cinnamon, a combination which really works especially at Christmas, but I don’t always want to use cinnamon especially since my husband hates it, but for chance it is nice to do something else instead. So I created this version few years ago, and replaced cinnamon with brown sugar. I had to write the whole recipe new and try few times with right measurements since my current oven is a bit bigger than previous ones, so naturally baking tray is bigger also, in this case inside measurements are 33cm times 45cm. This recipe makes huge pie, where you get to cut bunch of squares to be served to many many people, or to be frozen for later usage. What I have found out, this pie gets even better if you freeze it, the moist stays perfectly and structure doesn’t suffer at all. To me, pie has to be moist and “fluffy”, yet crumbly  and tender. Not at all firm and tight.
Original recipe told to melt butter fully liquid and add it in dough last, but then structure becomes more stiff and firm. So I made a solution to melt butter only half way: so it is soft and starts to get liquid just tiny bit, but not much! It has to stay firm still!  And I add it together with eggs and sugar, whipping takes only one moment and it becomes so so fluffy and big and firm foam! Thus, the structure of baked pie is just perfect for my taste!

You need:
4 eggs
2,5 cups of sugar
4 teaspoons of vanilla sugar
4 teaspoons of baking powder
5,75 cups of wheat flour
3 cups of milk
250grams of semi-melted butter

4-6 apples
Few table spoons of brown sugar

First you need to peel apples and chop them in small squares. Put them in bowl and add brown sugar on them right away and stir good so sugar covers them equally everywhere. Then put bowl to wait.

In bowl measure wheat flour, vanilla sugar and baking powder and mix them good. Melt butter in another big bowl so it is soft but not liquid. Add sugar and eggs. Use mixer to make them fluffy and hard.

Now combine flour mix with egg-sugar mix in small doses mixing all the time and add milk after each time you add flours. Mix till smooth but not too long, or it will get flat.

On baking tray put baking paper, pour dough on it and with spatula smooth it everywhere. Then add apple squares evenly everywhere (I had a bit too little of them) and put in pre-heated oven in 175deg for about hour. Remember, time varies between different ovens, also gas oven may behave differently than this electric I use. Do the tooth pick test to be sure when it is done!

When out of oven, let it cool on counter on its paper. Cut in squares of wished sizes, store or serve with vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream. I used thick vanilla sauce which was perfect choice for this!

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Yummy!!! 

So here was this long long post, thank you if you read this far, hopefully soon I will manage to post something else also than baking stuffs 😀 Tho I have to admit, I enjoy greatly making these posts!

Later I will make a “bet” and keep blog entries of it, keep an eye on here to see more!

I wish your autumn starts nicely wherever you are and that you have fresh apples to eat!

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Storm trooper birthday cake!

As I said, still one more baking update of birthday party bakings. I also made a chocolate dream -Swiss roll, but of that I shut my lips for now. Maybe some other time 😉

I mentioned earlier, how my friend is a huge fan of Star Wars, and thus subject for cake was easy to choose. It has to be storm trooper. Also this I made gluten- and lactose free, THE best cake recipe I have ever tried: so stiff but moist and soft at the same time! I will use this always from now on. Later I can make DIY post of it, if you want.

I cut the cake on 3 slices, moist it with milk with vanilla sugar in it and filled with berry-cream-curd which I made of own berries from own yard. As organic as it can get!

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I let it settle in for some hours, while I did other baking, and eventually I covered this with whipped cream. Storm trooper I made of sugar frosting: first I printed a picture of trooper, cut it off from paper and made a slightly bigger shape of it on black frosting. Then on white frosting I drew lines with wooden toothpick and cut it off. All the rest, like eyes, ventilator things, stripes, other shapes, I drew with toothpick and cut off or just left marks. Then after setting white part on the black part, I filled “holes” and pits and stripes with black sugar icing from Wilton, to draw some sort of 3D-effect on it. It didn’t end up as good as I would wanted, but honestly I ran out of time and I couldn’t do more. The main thing though was, everyone loved it nevertheless! Next time I will know how much it takes time and can prepare for it better!

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Looks messier than it should but it was delicious anyway!

I’m sorry I don’t have more pictures of different stages of making it, I didn’t intent of making this here but I got message request of it, so here it goes 🙂

Hope you liked this! Now I’m off to enjoy awesomely beautiful summer day!

 

Gluten free muffins (DIY, sort of)

The second thing I made for my friends birthday, was muffins. I didn’t want to make over-fancy cupcakes, even if those also has their place and time, this time I wanted to make basic, tasty and moist muffin which is enough to silent any kind of sweet tooth.

Luckily, from the miraculous world of internet, I found great recipe which I modified a bit and result was great.

This portion of dough was enough for 12 big ones (and tiny bit was left over actually) or 15 smaller ones.

You need:

125 grams of butter, soft but not melted fully
2 desilitres of sugar
2 eggs
4,5 desilitre  of gluten free flour mix
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 table spoons of dark cocoa powder
1,5 desilitres of water, milk or cold coffee.
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Put oven to heat on 225 deg of Celsius.
Fill a muffin tray with muffin papers. In this case I used Star War papers, since my friend is a huge fan of Star Wars and especially Storm Troopers.

Then start making dough by combining butter and sugar and whip it with mixer till its fluffy and rich.

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After that, add eggs one by one whipping strongly after each.

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When that is done, combine baking powder and cocoa powder with flours and mix them carefully with a spoon. Add them in dough in turns with coffee/water/milk (I used coffee) while whipping all the time with medium speed, and it should end up looking nice smooth chocolate dough as below.

Then just put dough in muffin moulds with spoon. Dough should be stiff enough so it is easy to do without huge mess (been there, seen that also…)

Bake them in oven about 10 minutes, my oven took more like 15 minutes but I did fill the moulds pretty full so it might have something to do with it. If you are not sure when to take them out from oven, you can check are they done by using wooden toothpick: stick it in a middle part of a muffin and if it comes out clean when you pull it out, it is done. If toothpick is wet or has much crumbs on it, leave them still in oven for few minutes. This is good to remember no matter are you making muffins or cakes or pies, same trick works every time.
After muffins are out, let them cool fully and you can freely decorate them as you wish. These became so fat and huge, I didn’t want to put too much cover on them so I just melted dark chocolate and pulled some stripes on them. Delicious!!!

If I would’ve have more chocolate, I would chop that and add in dough, that would’ve been awesome addition on a bite to have soft chocolate pieces in. Or any of your preferred pieces again, berries, candies, mints, anything you like.

I also made another portion of muffins, but that time I left cocoa powder off and replaced 1,5 desilitres of flour with coconut flakes. And added a bit of vanilla sugar, also vanilla extract works if you prefer that. Those I decorated just with sugar icing and tiny sugar stars (joke of Star Wars). Tastes good anyway!

So here ends this long post! Thank you if you read this far and I would be really happy to hear, if you make something like this and tell me how it was! I will be making yet one more post of this specific birthday baking operation, but my next subject ought to be my other love: GARDENING!

DIY Coconut-chocolate cookies

I am alive!!!

After spending few weeks in a sick bed, finally I feel alive. Oh how I hate viruses! The one and only good thing about laying in bed first in fever and flu, then suffering stomach flu, is that inevitably some kilos are lost.

So, to avoid bigger harms to come, those lost kilos has to be brought back, right? So it happens, that a very dear friend of mine is about to celebrate her birthday, and asked me to bake for her. And will I ever say no to baking? 😉 Also, of course, when baking something new, the quality has to be checked and few pieces tasted before deciding whether to give them to anyone else 😉

Today, full of energy, I went to grocery store to buy things I need for baking. But forgot the most important things and had to drive there again. Me and my memory…
This time everything I bake has to be gluten- and lactose free. Interesting to try something new! Even if I have done such things earlier too, now I want to do something slightly different. Starting from cookies.

This recipe is so simple, anyone can make these! Plus, on this simple base anyone can add their favourite things in and make one recipe on many!  So here it comes:

Coconut-chocolate cookies

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Sooo yummy!!!

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You need:
200 g  coconut flakes
150 g  sugar
2 eggs

Optionally you can add in some raisins, dried berries, dried fruits, chocolate chips, anything you want. But I think you already know me, I went for CHOCOLATE. I used dark chocolate, which has minimum 50% of cocoa in it, because it just gives the perfect strong taste on any baking. Of course any other chocolate can be used as well, white chocolate would make an interesting flavour!

All you need to do, is to put eggs and sugar in a bowl and whip it with mixer till it is hard. After that you add coconut flakes and optional additions and mix it all.

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When it is mixed even, with spoon put small “dumplings” on baking tray,  leave some space between them in case they melt and spreads. You can smooth them a bit with fingers to form more cookie-like shape.

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Then they are ready for oven, which is already heated to 200 deg of Celsius. Bake about 10 min,  till edges starts to be golden-brownish and delicious. Baking time may vary due to difference of ovens, so keep an eye on them when baking. I use, as usual, my best kitchen helper: digital timer with alarm  to remind me of baking time. Another story is then, will I remember to click start-button when I put tray in oven…

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Let cookies cool fully on table before storing them, so they wont break in pieces.

So that’s it! It really doesn’t take much time to make these, and from this portion you get around 25 delicious cookies, depending of size, I made pretty chubby ones. You get more if you make them thinner, they will be more fragile ones but being so sweet, for sure thinner ones are perfect also to kill the craving for sweets. Unless that craving comes from something else entirely, as I made a notion earlier 😉

Let me know if you did these and how did you like them!!!

Cakes! Cakes everywhere!

 

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Sugarmonkey! 

Past week I was pretty busy with my studies as well as works, which were plenty now suddenly: I had a pyrowork order to be filled with schedule, two birthday parties to arrange and also 1st of May celebrating to prepare. Plus one dead-line of important part of school, which, I missed. With one day. With non-working connection OF COURSE.  Well that’s another war to fight. I comfort myself with the things I love, and already have told what it is…. Baking.

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A bit un-finished table setting…

This monkey cake was made for a small party of 9-yrs birthday, where 4 boys were getting on sugar coma. Party went good even if weather was bad, monkey cake was liked by everyone. Liked even that much, that birthday boy said the monkey is way too cute to be eaten, and thus I had to wrap it in plastic and give it to keep on a shelf as decoration!
Cake was made with normal vanilla cake with chocolate mousse filling, cream on top and decoration of sugar monkey and chocolate bananas. Flowers were added by kids, I was just testing new tools i got.

The actual birthday celebrating happened at Saturday, and that went really smoothly. I also made mead and munkki-doughnuts, but forgot to take more pictures due to fuzz of guests and such. But it was a blast, everyone adored the cake which was bigger than I usually make, was made of chocolate and had white chocolate-nougat filling and lots of cream on it. This time I used waffle-based cake picture which i attached with a thin layer of lime curd. The reason for using a picture was, well, picture. Some time ago I saw this picture and couldn’t resist buying it. Its so gorgeous! Everyone loved it. I mean, who would NOT love dinosaurs!!!

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The epic fight. We won, dinosaurs (obviously) lost.
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Mmmmmm……….

And these are the pics I managed to take before it got destroyed. It was also gluten-free, which was pretty easy to make and taste was even better than normal cakes has!

So there it was, my cake-filled week, with rain. Weekend was really beautiful and sunny, even summer weather came and one miracle was witnessed here by many:
I was wearing a skirt.
That does not happen often. But now, the beautiful sunny day of Sunday (ha ha!) got to see my naturally oh-so-white and pale legs (and I’m talking of the paleness which makes eyes wet) au natural and I’m sure the shine of it was seen far away…

Its late now and I am tired of doing gardening after work, of that I will write later, since I made some discoveries! I’m so exited to plan this yard and garden!

Till then, lets keep our sweet teeth satisfied!

Springtime celebration

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(Picture borrowed from juhlat.fi)

As 1st of May draws closer, I find myself adding some baking and kitchen work in my calendar. In my country, in addition to colorful balloons and paper tape decorations and spring celebration,  traditionally we get one sort of mead to drink and doughnut-like pastries to eat, among with other goodies,but these two are my personal favourites. I love to make all by myself, even if everything is available in stores too, but home-made mead and pastries has a special feeling and taste, inevitably they are much better.

Since I am some sort of explorer on baking, I always search for some updates on baking. And this year I took start on these in advance. My old recipe took a new turn when I combined it with one of my favourite flavour: coconut. Also I didn’t make them the usual doughnut shape -a ring with a hole on the middle- but instead small balls which I then fried in oil. At some point oil got too hot, and surface baked just wonderfully leaving the heart still bit doughy- really wonderfully soft and moist, coconut taste was just great amount and I just could not stop eating after just one….

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Traditionally we roll these in sugar, the finer the better. Unfortunately I didn’t have that real fine sugar so had to use the normal one making these a bit messy looking, but hey-those ARE messy to eat anyway and sugar is everywhere so why to care! Taste was  awesome nevertheless!

Traditional holed one I later had with my favourite coffee with a pinch of chocolate powder :3

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So now it is time for me to go outside to do some gardening to burn some of calories these goodies brought me, but don’t worry; I’m never letting go all of them and will save some amount always as a memory of great delicacy!

Ps. Tomorrow I will make The Mead and will share it here (unless my typical luck causes some catastrophe upon working!)

“The longing for sweets is really a yearning for love or “sweetness.” ― Marion Woodman

One thing, that has always made me happy, is baking. Ever since I got into it somewhere at my junior high, I have been baking always something; using old well-proven great-grandma’s recipes as well as searching something new or updating my favourite ones in a mission of finding The Perfect pastry. Unfortunately this passion for baking shows, not in my wallet but on my waist…. But it is so worth it!!!

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Triple-chocolate stripe doughnuts ❤

I love to make bread as well and other salty pasties, and garlic bread buns are my favourites of my doings. But absolutely wonderful and inspiring and challenging adventure for me is cakes. I don’t fancy too “complicated” cakes, but love to make something new of more traditional cream cake. Of course if needed, I do other things too, for example a friend of mine wanted a Minecraft cake for her son, so I made it using marzipan and candies. My problem and challenge always is the SIZE of the cake! I always tend to make some monstrous cake which weights like bag of stones and could feed a small village!   20150604_132205

Today I had pretty rough day and I was tired when got home. I knew I still have some work to do and send; deadline is today. And OF COURSE I had left everything on last moment. So, I got a nice hot cup of coffee, prepare everything and sit at my computer. I logged in on my working platform -just to find out it is unavailable due to maintenance on system till late evening. Felt like a winner!

So instead of working and sweating on some final works with computer, I started to crave something chocolaty. REALLY chocolaty. That meant that a moment later I found myself baking delicious wonderful chocolate pie, as we call it. Or Mocha pie, Mocha squares, Chocolate squares….. Dear child has many names.

I didn’t have chocolate sprinkles, unfortunately, but it will have to do like this now. As the topping includes real coffee, just now I realised how wonderfully more it would be mocha-like, if coffee would be added also in the dough itself! Something to do the next time I’m creating a serious sugar coma!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI didn’t have patience to take better pictures before this got destroyed,  the urge was too damn strong!!! Now with over-sweet feeling I am ready to face the final school work of this course!