Merry Christmas and a happy new year

img_4169Yes, it’s this time of the year. Here in Norway it’s the third Christmas day. We just keep counting Christmas days until it’s New Years Eve. So when you get invited between Christmas and New Year’s they might say: How about 4th Christmas day, 5pm? aka 29th of December.Here we’re really trying to get as many free time as possible. All shops are closed from lunch on the 24th on and 1st and 2nd Christmas day are the reddest days (along with the Constitution day in May) you can think of. Those days everything is closed (most gas stations too, well you pay with a card anyway).

Christmas time has pretty serious rules for most people: you meet with the family, eat loooooads of food (certain types) and relax. Presents are opened on Christmas Eve and brought by Julenisse (Santa).

We made a few Christmas cookies and our friends got homemade cocoa powder for hot chocolate accompanied with raspberry flavor marshmallows. Making marshmallows is way easier than I assumed, fun and taste so much better than shop bought ones.

img_4044As a Christmas cake I prepared a hazelnut mocca cake and yesterday we made a batch of chocolates filled with caramel. That was fun too.

img_4136Homemade marshmallows with raspberry flavor adapted from Smittenkitchen

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp + 2,5 tsp gelatin powder
  • 0.5 cup + 0.5 cup cold water
  • 2 cups of cane sugar
  • 0.5 cup light syrup
  • 0.25tsp salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 0.25 tsp ground vanilla
  • 10 drops raspberry flavor
  • Take a big baking pan with a high edge (I used 25cm x 40cm baking pan), rub the bottom and edges it with oil before you dust them with powdered sugar. Set aside.
  • Pour 0.5 cup of water in the big bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle with the gelatin powder.
  • In a pot with a thick bottom heat the sugar, syrup, salt and second 0.5 cup of water on low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then crank up the heat to medium and bring to a boil (no stirring required). Let boil until the thermometer registers 240F. Then take off the heat and pour the mixture over the gelatin mixture. With the balloon wisp whisk until volume has tripled (takes a while).
  • In the meanwhile, take a clean bowl and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  • Add the vanilla and raspberry flavor (you can exchange to any other flavor if you like to, but be careful with adding too much at once) and the beaten egg whites to the gelatin sugar mixture and beat until just combined.
  • Pour into your prepared pan, smooth the  surface and sift powered sugar on top until completely covered. Let sit for at least 3 hours until the marshmallows have completely firmed up. Then run a knife around the corner, place on a cutting board and cut into cubes. Make sure to roll all the marshmallows in powdered sugar so that all edges of each marshmallow are covered with it. If not they are going to stick to everything.
  • Keep in an airtight freezer bag and enjoy as long as they last.

img_4134img_4135And then the Christmas cake. A little bit of work is required but it’s worth it.

img_4184Christmas cake with hazelnuts and mocca adapted from Lise Finckenhagen

For the cake

  • 8 large eggs
  • 300gr sugar
  • 200gr brown sugar
  • 450gr butter, soft
  • 300gr all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 tsp ground vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50gr cocoa powder
  • 100gr ground hazelnuts (preferably roasted before grounded)
  • 1 strong espresso
  • 100ml sour cream or creme fraiche

For the mocca ganache

  • 300gr dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
  • 250ml heavy cream
  • 50ml espresso

Prepare the cakes

  • Preheat the oven to 160C and place baking paper in two springform pans (24cm diameter).
  • Whip the eggs with 100gr of the sugar to a thick and pale foam.
  • In another bowl beat the butter with the other sugars to a fluffy cream.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa, vanilla and baking powder.
  • Mix the egg sugar foam into the butter cream and add the ground hazelnuts, flour mixture , espresso and sour cream.
  • Divide the batter into the two pans and bake for ca 50-60min in the next lowest level. Check with a tooth pick or cake tester if done.
  • Take out, let cool down completely before you take them out of their pans. Cut the top of the cakes clean but don’t throw it out. Instead toast it at 180C for about 10min in the oven. Let cool completely before you transform it into fine crumbs in a blender.
  • Cut each cake into 2 even layers.

Prepare the ganache

  • Chop the chocolate finely.
  • In a sauce pan bring the cream with the espresso to boil, then pour it slowly over the chopped chocolate. And start right away to stir the mixture with a spatula beginning from the middle until everything is mixed well.
  • The ganache is supposed to be shiny blank, but thick and elastic.

Assembling the cake

Place the first layer onto a platter, spread a thin layer of mocca ganache on top and cover with the next cake layer. Continue this way until all cake layers are used and finish with covering the top of the last cake layer and the edges of the cake with ganache. Set the cake for about 15min into the refrigerator that the ganache firms up a bit.

Then spread the toasted cake crumbs on top of the cake and cover the edges with them.

Chocolate. Who doesn’t like chocolate? If white, milk or dark chocolate, most people love chocolate and to make it home isn’t that tricky but you’ll need a thermometer to make it turn out well. Chocolate which isn’t tempered correctly won’t shrink to make it possible to get out of a mold, neither snap when you break a piece of and it’s turning grey instead of shiny.

How to temper chocolate – the easy way.

Chop your chocolate finely, and melt 2/3 of it over a water bath, don’t let it get warmer than 45-50C (for dark chocolate). And never ever get a drop of water into it or it’s ruined (pulls together, becomes a sticky mass which can’t be melted).

Then mix the remaining 1/3 into it, mix well and the temperature should be between 30-32C when all the chocolate is melted.

img_4211Now to the chocolates filled with caramel

For about 40 pieces you need

  • 300gr dark chocolate, 70% cocoa

For the caramel filling adapted from David Lebovitz

  • 15gr + 15gr salted butter, cold and cubed
  • 100gr sugar
  • 80gr light syrup
  • 0.25 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 0.25 tsp ground vanilla
  • 90ml heavy cream
  • Temper the chocolate and fill a little bit into each mold, shake them a little around that the chocolate covers all edges of each mold and set into the refrigerator to set. (Keep the remaining chocolate warm, it’s needed as a lid once the caramel has been filled into the molds.)

img_4201

  • In a small sauce pan bring the cream with the butter, vanilla and salt to boil, take of the heat and keep warm.
  • In another sauce pan with a thick bottom, bring the sugar with syrup to a boil. Stir every now and then and keep boiling until the thermometer registers 155C.
  • Take off the heat, pour the cream mixture into it and stir until combined.

Put back on the heat and boil until the thermometer reads 127C. img_4203

 

  • Again take it off the heat and stir in the butter cubes. Stir until completely dissolved.
  • Then fill a little bit of caramel into each mold, set them back into the refrigerator for a couple of minutes.

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  • Fill each of the chocolate molds with a thin layer of chocolate to make a lid. Set into the refrigerator until completely set.
  • Once everything is firmed up each chocolate can be pushed out of its mold. Enjoy.

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It has been a while since my last post and we have been for a short vacation to Tenerife and just recently our boy and I visited Germany. Those trips were wonderful and we had a lot of fun.

8433bf3e-4bd4-4129-a598-1b4e49ac9a9dThe warmth of Tenerife warmed our bodies and souls before we came back to a rainy Trondheim. I even ran a half marathon there and realized once again that I’m not made for running in humidity and heat. The next race isn’t planned yet but we should start soon. First I think I’ll need a new pair of running shoes since it’s just too wet to run in 5-fingers here right now. I don’t mind the break from running at all (but I know I’m going to regret it when I’ve to start training again…)

Somebody was ready to take the airport bus at 3.30am in the morning, in the best mood possible 🙂

img_3736img_3785 img_3853 img_3832 My souvenir from the half marathon, the sock wasn’t perfectly in place…oops img_3951Our munchkin and I went to Germany and I’d worried how it’s going to be, traveling alone with a lot of luggage and a 2y old munchkin. I shouldn’t have worried cause it wasn’t necessary. He’s the best travel companion you can think of. He got his own small suitcase for all future trips. For now are only two planned: one to San Fransisco and one to Germany but more are waiting.

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Boom…looks like after an explosion or kids paradise at my friends place. Her two boys played for hours with munchkin while the grown ups could chat. Biggest problem most of those toys had to be packed into our suitcases later since we got them as a present..

 

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He’s a true frequent flyer, flying on silver level from now on. He knows his ways around and how he gets to the lounge in Amsterdam. And don’t be surprised on the plane when he tells you, that you have to put the seat belt on for as long as the belt sign is turned on.img_4119We wish every one out there a late merry Christmas and a fantastic and exciting year 2016!

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7 thoughts on “Merry Christmas and a happy new year

      • I do too. I’m lucky to work from home so I was able to enjoy my kids when they were home from school and visit my parents. The kids older now, so Christmas has a whole different kind of feeling, but my daughter is a teen (son is grown) so it’s still nice to spend time together during Winter Break from school.

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