Monday, 9 December 2013

What's that smell?

There is the odour of the season gently wafting through our rooms - smells of baking, of chocolate and nuts and butter. This weekend saw a fair bit of baking - including that of a friend who currently has no kitchen and joined in with his cookie-baking hereabouts, so the oven really did work for its keep. Now we're about finished with the making of all the cookies and goodies for the Xmas coffee table - just two more kinds to go, one of them designed to use up the egg-whites that get left over from other kinds of cookies.

I do the quite-traditional German style baking, where you have one kind of basic cookie dough and turn it into different kinds by adding diverse yumminess enhancers - such as sour (red currant) gelee between two cookies and then coating the top with chocolate. Or doing the same, but with praline (what the Germans call Nougat) instead of the jam. Or adding marzipan to them, stuck onto a single cookie with help of more praline. And then leaving a few ones plain, too - makes four kinds of different cookies from one kneading and baking.

Should you want to join in the baking craze, here's one post with previous recipes, and here is the recipe for the Lemon Thingies.

And because it's almost traditional by now to share a recipe with you at about this time of year, here is one that I took into the canon of things to bake in the season last year: Chocolate-coffee-nut-spheroids. It's one of the "use up your leftover egg whites" recipes - typical German butter cookies call for more egg yolks than whole eggs, so you are saddled with egg whites. I store them into a lock&lock box until I get around to using them; my sister once told me she also freezes them when she has to keep them for a longer while, or when she wants to save them for something larger involving more of the stuff later in the year. I usually base these recipes on 2 egg whites for writing them down, and then prepare double or triple this amount (depending on the number of whites, and the amount of final objects desired).


200 g mixed nuts (I usually go for a little less than a third walnuts, and the rest almonds and hazelnuts in about similar amounts), chopped not too finely
80 g sugar
100 g dark chocolate, molten
2 egg-whites
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder

2 drops bitter almond aroma
1 generous pinch of baking soda

Dissolve coffee powder in about 2 teaspoons of water, then add all the other ingredients. (The baking soda is not in there as a leavening agent, but to neutralise the acid in the coffee, which together with the walnuts can taste unpleasant to some folks.) With wet hands, form small spheres (I place a water bowl beside me to re-wet my hands as needed, and make the spheres about 1.5 to 2 cm in diameter).
Bake for 15 mins at 150° C (fan oven). After cooling, place into a tin to store. Or eat them right away. (Maybe not all of them at once, though...)

I love those little thingies. If you are going to bake them, I hope you'll enjoy them too!

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