Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nutella Buns

I absolutely promise to provide a better picture for this recipe later. I've just been trying about a new kind of method with making buns, one I could have freshly baked buns more often. As it now is, I rarely make them just because it seems such a project with leavening for several times and all that. Now I only baked a couple of them, which are the ones you can see in the picture. But I promise more photos will follow later on. There aren't the best-looking ones either.

These are like cinnamon buns, just with Nutella inside. I'm not exactly sure how much cinnamon buns differ from what is understood with cinnamon buns in Finland, these are the Finnish kind, the ones I've learned to make and love since childhood. For now, being busy to get this recipe into the World Nutella Day round-up, I'll give just in Finnish measurements and will come back later to give the converted measurements.

Nutella Buns

5 dl milk
50 g fresh yeast
2 eggs
2 dl sugar
1 tbs cardamom
1½ tsp salt
about 1 kilo flour
200 g butter

Take out everything you need for the dough a couple of hours before baking so that the ingredients are at room temperature when you start.

Crumble the yeast to milk (body-temperatured) and stir. Add the eggs, sugar and spices stirring well. Add a little flour first, mix it up and then add some more kneading with your hand (or with a stand mixer). Add the soft butter and continue kneading until the dough detaches from the sides of the bowl and doesn't stick to your hand.

Let the dough leaven under a towel until doubled.

Press the air bubbles out of the dough. Let the dough rest under a towel for 10 minutes. Form the dough into desired sizes and shapes. Let the buns rise under a towel.

Break the consistency of an egg and use the egg to "grease" the buns.

Bake the buns in the middle of the oven in 225 C for about 10 minutes.


This recipe is part of the 5th World Nutella Day round-up. Sara Rosso of Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle Fabio of Bleeding Espresso with put together all of the entries of this year World Nutella Day round-up.

Happy World Nutella Day!

This is my start for celebrating the 5th World Nutella Day! This wonderful day is hosted by Sara Rosso of Ms. Adventures in Italy, Michelle Fabio of Bleeding Espresso. This post is just in case I don't have time to finish my "real" post today. I'm baking something out of Nutella today, but we'll see if it makes it on the blog today as well. Anyway, have a great nutella-y day!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Deep-dish pizza

Oh dear. Just looking at these photos again makes my stomach grumble. I have to confess: I had to grab a bite to eat between editing the photos and writing this entry.

This pizza pie I made on the second day of 2011. Granted, I have never tasted Chicago-style pizza in Chicago or anywhere in the US, so I can't make comparisons with the real thing. But I do have a deep-dish pizza favorite: when we go to a Finnish chain restaurant Rosso, it's not uncommon that I pick their deep-dish pizza. I find it delicious and worth choosing over and over again. This has been my best try at trying to  create the same taste experience at home. This was everything a deep-dish pizza in my opinion should be: soft and pie-like in the middle, generously topped, cheese meltingly delicious and the base providing just enough crunch.

I found this recipe from a Finnish food blog, the author of which had picked it up from a Finnish magazine years ago. I was a little surprised the dough contained no other oil than what was used for greasing, but this recipe really works like a charm. These pictures are from my second time I made it.


200 ml / a scant cup of water
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
ca 450 ml / almost 2 cups flour
3 tsp active dry yeast

vegetable oil for greasing the dish

Mix together the flour, dry yeast, salt and sugar. Add the 42 C / 108 F temperatured water and knead the dough until the texture is smooth. Let rise under a towel until the size doubles.

Pat the risen dough into the greased dish. Add the tomato sauce and chosen toppings.

Bake in the lowest part of the oven in 250 C / 500 F for about 15 minutes.

This kind of pizza is also very fulfilling so you don't need to eat as much of it to be full than with a regular thin-crust pizza.

This to me looks just right. This is how I like my deep-dish pizza!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

Although this blog has been quiet lately, I still want to take the time and wish you all a wonderful this year! I really hope that I can put more effort into this blog from now on. I have some recipes to share with you even as it is and even more ideas about what to do in the future. I also tried out some new things during Christmas, but unfortunately on so tight a schedule that I didn't have time to take decent photos.  Successes encouraged me to give then another try though and even though some of the are holiday dishes, I'm pretty sure you will see them here sometime later, and if not sooner, then around next Christmas.

All in all, I wish you all a happy and a blessed year 2011!

A scene from my current town on the last day of 2010.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Vermont Apple Pie

My new cook book mentioned this treat as a Thanksgiving dish so to honor that American holiday I made this exactly a week ago on Thanksgiving Thursday night. And yum! This is good! This has a little bit of the fall with the apples, a little bit of Christmas with the gingerbread, little bit of both with cinnamon. So the pie felt very fitting at this time of year, because Thanksgiving is a holiday that is somewhere halfway between fall and Christmas. My taste buds enjoyed this pie even better after it had cooled down and, apparently, so did my hubby's. This seemed to taste better by the day. My first experience with the new cook book was definitely a good one, and it wouldn't be impossible, if I made this a second time before baking anything else from the book!

I give the recipe in European measurements as that's how it was given in the book as well. I trust this recipe is a familiar one to American readers already. Also, the recipe uses a pie crust recipe from the same book. That recipe will follow the actual Vermont Apple Pie recipe. I cut down the amount of apples as it seemed to be so much (the apples were big and my mold wasn't huge). I give my changes in brackets. For this pie mold I'd also cut down the pie crust next time as well. I'm not sure, if cutting it to half would be too much. I intend to make this again and when I do, I'll try making it with less pie crust and afterwards can give my comments regarding this question. 

Vermont Apple Pie

1 unbaked pie crust (for that recipe scroll down)
8-10 apples (5)
1 dl sugar
1½ dl crushed gingerbread cookies
1 T flour
½ tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1 dl crushed walnuts (I used a nut mix)
50 g melted butter
3/4 dl maple syrup

Turn on the oven to 175 C. Peel the apples and core them. Cut them into slices and place half of them on top of the pie crust. Mix sugar, crushed gingerbread cookies, flour, cinnamon, salt, walnuts and butter well together in a bowl. Spread half of the mix on top of the apples. Place the remaining apples on top and sprinkle the rest of the mix on top of them. Bake for 50 minutes. Heat the maple syrup until it almost boils. Pour over the apples. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Pie Crust

½ dl orange juice
1 egg
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt
5 dl flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar
200 g butter

Mix the orange juice, egg, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Mix the flour and vanilla sugar in a big bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and put in with the flour. Use a knife to cut the butter to smaller and smaller pieces until it has blended in with the flour. Add the orange juice mixture and mix until the whole thing is mouldable. Cover with a kitchen film and keep in cool for at least four hours.

I have to admit something. I noticed the "cool for 4 hours" when I was didn't have time to cool for 4 hours, so my pie crust stayed in the fridge for max 30 minutes. Then I just pressed it on to my pie mold. The rest of the recipe (which I'm not posting now, as this pie only needed unbaked pie crust) would have showed that this pie crust makes both the bottom and the top of a pie and that is one reason why I thought it might be good to have a little less of it in this pie, because it only needs the bottom and in my opinion it doesn't have to be as thick as it now was. 

Anyway, I loved this pie and I'm really glad that even with the occasional exhaustion my new job is giving me, I managed to bake something for Thanksgiving. The weekend is going to be a busy one with not a lot of time staying at home, but next week I'm hoping I'll manage to get some Christmas baking done too.l

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

American Sweets

On my third day at my new job, a book representative was visiting at the school's teachers' lounge. He had with him all kinds of books, mainly story books though. There was one box that included books related to arts and crafts, holidays and - food. I browsed through a Christmas related book from the box, before this particular cook book caught my eye. After flipping through its pages a while, I was pretty convinced that this is the book for me! It is not a surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly that I like American food and pastries and as the price was right too (I purchased this for 14 €) I didn't need long to decide. Besides, I told myself that as an English teacher, who is supposed to introduce the target culture as well as the language, this book is practically a must to keep up my professionalism! ;)

The book is written by Jill Parker and Joyce Parker, a mother and daughter and the photography is by Patrik Giardino, Jill's husband. The content is divided under seven sub-categories: 1) Cookies & Bars, 2) Muffins & more 3) Coffee cakes, 4) Cakes & Cheesecakes, 5) Pies & more, 6) Candy and 7) Kids, Sweets. The recipes have been adapted to the Scandinavian cooking and are in Finnish.

There are great many recipes I look forward to trying out, the Chocolate Fudge Triple Layer Cake of the cover not being the last on my list. Hopefully I'll have time very soon to try out the first ones from this book and share with you my experiences with it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seasoned tea

This picture has been waiting to be published for great many weeks. I have been busier than in a long time these past couple of weeks. October 25th I was in a job interview and only a couple of hours after leaving the school, the head called me saying that I got the job. This triggered a snowball effect. The town where I started work this Monday was so far from where I have lived the past five years that it wasn't possible to work from there. I had to start apartment hunting with my hubby. Over three weeks after that phone call, I am now posting this from our new home. (I even have a bigger kitchen now!) I made this warm drink just a day or two before that interview and having a mile long "to do" list and checking them off one by one throughout the weeks, publishing this finally is the next thing to cross off from my list. (I'm glad I'm back blogwise as well to something I consider normal life, although starting my very first job after graduation still takes some adjusting and I might not be able to post as often as I'd like.)

I spotted this recipe from the website of the magazine I'm subscribing, Kotivinkki. This was named tea glögg at their site. Glögg is a Nordic equivalent to mulled wine, at least that's what Wikipedia says about it. I prefer my glögg without alcohol and that is the kind that is typically sold in Finnish grocery stores too. The most usual base for non-alcoholic glögg is grape juice, although I've seen varieties with other juices too. This recipe, then again, uses tea as the base. This isn't really glögg in the real sense of it, at least to me, a glögg lover, but I did really like this drink as well. The words that in my opinion best describe this drink is liquid gingerbread. A cup of this warms you up nicely after a cold day. It's easy too, first of all, easy to make, and moreover, you only have to make it once and after that just boil some water to enjoy it...

... because, this recipe makes a concentrate. I made it according to the original recipe, but the amount has lasted more than four servings to me. I probably drink it a little blander than meant? It's been strong enough for me. The concentrate I bottled up and keep it in the fridge: still some left!

I didn't left my concentrate to acquire taste overnight, a couple of hours seemed to do the trick. The cinnamon stick is in the glass for photogenic reasons. But remember, they are re-usable!

Seasoned tea or Tea glögg or Liquid gingerbread

500 ml / generous 2 cups water
4 bags of black tea, e.g. English Breakfast (I used vanilla seasoned black tea)
1 cinnamon stick
I tsp cloves
2 T honey

Bring the water to boil and put the teabags and spices in. Take out the teabags after 5 minutes. Let the liquid acquire taste for a couple of hours or over night. Add the honey. Bland the drink with hot water to taste.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple oatmeal crumble

I love that I live in a country where all four seasons show. I know that the Finnish winter is long by some standards and more prominent than some of the other seasons, but we still get all four of them, no doubt about that. It seems to me that mostly when one season is drawing to an end, I am ready for the next one to roll in. Having four seasons gives the year, and life in general, more of a rhythm and pace. During these last 12 months, I've loved our seasons more than maybe ever before.

Last winter was at times very, very cold and snowier than I can remember for a very long time. When you're wearing enough, the coldness isn't a problem. Besides, you can always go inside, where it's warm, and in Finland it really is warm inside, because the houses are properly insulated and keep the cold out even when it's absolutely freezing outside. And I adored the luxury of having a lot of snow. The summer again war a lot warmer than a typical Finnish summer. I loved the warm weather, but by the end of August, I definitely was ready to welcome fall.

I love fall. True enough that I love all seasons, but I do love fall. I love it when the weather gets crisp and it's easy to breath. I love the bright wonderful colors that maple trees and aspens flaunt with. And when the leaves drop down to the ground and make a rustling sound when you walk through them. Later they might get a silver lining from the morning frost. I'm a visual person and can just stop on my way to look at something I think is beautiful. I love the colors of autumn. To me, apples seem to mirror  all those colors and things I love about fall. So that's why, fall is the perfect time to make apple oatmeal crumble.

I couldn't believe myself, when I realized I haven't posted this recipe! This, my absolute favorite fall dessert! A recipe that I have, in my opinion, pruned into perfection by making it all over again, with little tweaks and modifications. It certainly is time to share it now! This is the ultimate comfort food for me.

Apple oatmeal crumble

1 BIG apple or a couple of smaller ones
2 tbl brown sugar
about 100 g / 1 stick (½ cup) butter
1 dl /  ½ cup sugar
2 tsp powdered cinnamon
3 dl  / a full cup oatmeal

Butter the dish. Peel the apple(s) and slice them and then put them in the dish. Crumble the brown sugar on top of the apple slices. Prepare the tosca crumble by melting the butter and sugar on a saucepan. Mix in the cinnamon and then the oatmeal. Mix together and add on top of the apples. Bake in 200 C / 390 F for about 20 min. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy preferably wearing comfortable clothes and watching your favorite show on television. Best when warm, but works well warmed up in the microwave oven the next day, assuming there's some left.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Fake" rye bread

Rye bread - A Finnish thing

I'm a subscriber (and I always struggle with spelling that word!) of a Finnish magazine Kotivinkki that also publishes recipes of really good-looking and tempting dishes. For some reason, however, I have not really tried out the recipes before. Maybe it's because I don't want to get my precious magazine all covered with flour and stains that I usually can't escape when cooking or baking from a cook book or some written recipe. I don't know. Anyway, this month's issue was dropped down to our mailbox and the theme of this month's recipes in the food section was something that finally made me use the magazine as my guideline in the kitchen. Bread.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sweet potato soup

Oh. My. Word. 

This was THE fall dish for me. My new go-to comfort food to rescue me from the dreary rains of the season that I know are just around the corner. Trying to scare and depress me. But I'm not afraid. Because I have this recipe up my sleeve. And candles. (And the occasional bite of something chocolaty, which I'm not going to say out loud, because my new healthy diet, where by the way this dish falls into.)

This soups was as simple as it gets. It didn't take too much time either. So ideal for fall. Even the color's right and reminds me of maple trees that can get so bright orange that they're like torches burning bright even when it rains. This soup made me feel satisfied and comforted and hopefully you will have the same feeling. On the side I served some rolls I made the day before. The dough was from my go-to bread recipe, with the exception of improvising with seeds and flours.

Sweet potato soup

approx. 1 kilo / 2.2 pounds sweet potato
1 liter / 4 1/5 cup water
two vegetable stock cubes
freshly ground pepper to your taste

Peel the sweet potato(es) and cut them into rough cubes. Put them in the pot and add the water. When the water is boiling add the stock cubes and the pepper. Let cook until the sweet potato is soft and done. Puree the soup. Done. ENJOY!

I told you it was simple :)

The Simplest Sweet Potato Soup on FoodistaThe Simplest Sweet Potato Soup
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