Archive | December, 2010

Happy New Year / My First Macarons

31 Dec

I’m saying goodbye to the year 2010 by baking and more baking. On Chirstmas Eve, I got as a gift from my hubby, a scale. A beautiful scale that could end my counting and measuring difficulties in the kitchen. So… the first thing that came up to my mind is trying to do some macarons. French macarons. I have a desire to bake the perfect macaron. And I’ve been going through different foodblogs where I found recipes and beautiful amazing pictures about macarons. I read alot about it. I read on MyTartelette a complete tutorial on macarons, I liked it, it was very helpful. But as they say, Practice makes Perfect.

So I followed the instructions and measurements and the result wasn’t at all like the macarons I see on many nice foodblogs. Mine were feetless, a little bit runny when piping, had some cracks on the sides and they expanded after baking. They tasted good, I liked the strong taste of almonds. I’m not saying that I’m satisfied with these unperfect macarons, but I can say that I’m happy to have tried them. I’m sure the next many times I bake macarons, they will be better until I’m completely satisfied.

Few more hours and 2011 begins. 2010 was a fine year, in which I started my blog. I want to wish everyone a beautiful year where you can fulfill your dreams, feel joy inside your heart, be healthy, take few risks and be adventurous without writing down any New Year Resolutions that could limit us and force us to accomplish them.

Enjoy your night, eat good food, stay safe and I’ll see you next year!!!

Bûche De Noël With Almond Cream Filling

25 Dec

Merry Christmas. Joyeux Noël. Buon Natale.

I love this holiday, I love what glorious feelings Christmas can give us. There are feeling of hoping, of loving others, of sharing with others, of helping, of thinking of others. I love the family gathering on Christmas Eve, the joy that brings to our hearts, the fact that all the family members are close to each others. There’s no such feeling than the feeling of being with the family on holy and merry occasions.

Usually we don’t buy from stores a bûche de Noël. So I stayed home this past thursday baking, all day long and night, I was up till 1h30 am, icing the spiced cookies and decorating them the buttons sweets, which I loved alot, baking and filling ( and at the same time, doing the dishes of all these baked stuff too) two cakes, one mocha chocolate roulade  and an almond filling roulade. We prefer to make desserts at home, a thing we’re pretty sure of is that we know what are the ingredients, what kinds we are using, what we are putting inside the cakes and the most important is that our cakes are not too buttery, as the store-bought cakes. This bûche de Noël is so delicious, as everyone said. I love it because it’s light, fluffy and has a nutty flavor. The toasted almonds give a great beautiful taste to the cream. I’m so delighted having baked all these good sweets, cookies, spiced cookies, chocolate clusters, mocha chocolate bûche de Noël and this Bûche de Noël with almond cream filling. Loved all the baking I did, worth the fatigue.

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Bûche De Noël/ Mocha Chocolate Roulade

25 Dec

Merry Christmas.Joyeux Noël. Buon Natale.

Hope this christmas brings to everyone, peace, joy, love, good health, prosperity. Hope Christmas Eve was a blissful night to everyone, and that you enjoyed it to the maximum, I know I did. Our night was full of great company, great relatives, great talks, great laughs, great food. And I was full from the begining of the evening. The table was full, of every kind of food, cheeses, hams, stuffed doughs, home-made pizzas, hummus and baba ghanouj dipping, fried meat(kebbe)… and the desserts, there was the ones I prepared, cookies, chocolate clusters and two bûches de noël.

As I mentioned before, I prepared different kinds of desserts, and I wanted to end the baking this week with the prestigious dessert, a Bûche De Noël. I made two bûches. In this post I will write about the one I chose from a magazine, Olive, the Mocha Chocolate Roulade.

The bûche was a success, everyone loved it and it was abit different, not buttery, strong chocolate and coffee flavors, soft and moist than the store-bought bûches. It was so delicious. I was very happy baking this roulade.

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Spiced & Iced Christmas Cookies

24 Dec

Happy Holidays. Enjoy your Christmas Eve.

I love baking, and specially when there’s a special occasion. My favourite occasion, Christmas. I already prepared different kinds of chocolate clusters and some cookies . I found this recipe of cinnamon and spices cookies, in a magazine, GoodFood, and since I love cinnamon, I wanted to give it a try.

I enjoyed alot icing the cookies and decorating them with some colored candies. The kids will love them, I know I did.

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Christmas Chocolate Clusters

22 Dec

Happy Holidays.

The Christmas baking is continuing. Yesterday I prepared some chocolate clusters, some with almonds and Rice Krispies, others with dried figs and pecans. They are delicious. The combination between the nuts and dried fruits is great, coated with dark chocolate, so yummiiiiii. I also liked to sprinkle some cocoa powder over, a touch of magic.

I love this kind of sweets, small, bite-size, cute to nibble and very easy to make, and they are presentable to give to guests. Tonight I’m making also chocolate clusters with toasted hazelnuts.

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Christmas Cookies

21 Dec

Happy Holidays.

I have started my Christmas baking. It is a busy week, the kitchen full of chocolate, sugar, butter, recipes and books. Yesterday I made a batch of sugar cookies with orange zest. It’s a simple recipe and delicious. I love to have different kind of sweets displayed on the table, on Christmas eve, after we have ate our dinner. Everyone will chose whatever he or she likes even though our stomachs are full of appetizers, wine, meat and salads, and I like my eyes to enjoy the beautiful desserts’ shapes and colors .



This cookies recipe is my mom’s. Simple ingredients, simple flavors. I decided this time to make some thumbprints shapes and I added a little orange jam. For others, I added some pine nuts to the cookie dough.

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Two Birthdays

13 Dec

It is the holidays, I love Christmas time. Full of joy. Two birthdays and three desserts. Few days ago was my nephew’s 4th birthday and two days ago my birthday. I wanted to do the classic tiramisu, which I love the most, it is my favourite dessert.

The two others cakes I found in the magazine Taste Italia, December/Christmas issue.  I have chosen these cakes because they weren’t classic, they had nice ingredients and their pictures in the magazine were so mouth-watering.

The first cake was a semolina cake with orange syrup. I liked the cake; every bite was full of orange flavor.

 The other cake was an almond chocolate cake with ricotta filling. It was a rich, dense, moist cake. My sister liked it alot.

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Maacroun

6 Dec

Maacroun is a dessert that’s also prepared on Eid el Berbara and it is one of the most delicious sweets. I prepared the dough myself, my first time, and the result was a huge success. Everyone liked it.

Maacroun is either baked or fried then soaked in sugar syrup, Qater. I prefered to go with the frying thing, since it’s more delicious. And because it’s been a long time since I ate fried maacroun.

The preparation of the dough is so easy. It has to sit for a while covered with a blanket or so. I couldn’t wait more than 10 minutes. The result was a delicious sweet crunchy pastry. The important thing about Maacroun is that, they are best eaten after hours or the next day because the dough will absorb all the sugar syrup and it will be softer, sweeter, the flavors more stable.

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Qatayef

6 Dec

Qatayef is an Arabic dessert made from a simple dough batter. It is prepared on holidays. And specially on Eid el Berbara. And it is similar and cooked like pancakes. Filled with either cream, Ashta, and served with sugar syrup (Qater), or a mixture of walnuts, sugar and orange blossom water, this one could also be deep-fried.

We made a batch at home, this past weekend, and filled them with Ashta and a mixture of walnuts. The cooked doughs were so delicious, I ate few plain qatayef, without any filling. Since I love doughs, I couldn’t just look at them and fill them, I had to eat few pieces. So delicious…they were fluffy, light and soft.

Preparing the batter is so easy, and takes no time. And cooking the Qatayef is a fun thing to do.

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Eid el Berbara or Saint Barbara’s Day

6 Dec

Kids wearing costumes for a competition party at Eid el Berbara

Eid el Berbara, celebrated on December 4th, is a very popular holiday here in Lebanon, specially among children because they have the occasion to disguise the way they like, to wear any kind of costumes, scary masks. It is the eastern Halloween.

This holiday refers to Saint Barbara who disguised herself in different characters in order to escape the Romans who were persecuting her. She used to hide in wheat fields. That’s why we eat this wheat  dessert at Sainte Barbara’s Day.

Boiled wheat topped with cashews, almonds, walnuts, raisins, sultanas and sweetened with either sugar or honey.

The children wear their costumes or masks and tour the neighborhood, visit the houses for trick or treats… They receive either sweets, candy or money…. and when present at your doorstep, they start singing a special song for Saint Berbara.

 

As for the traditional food, several sweets are prepared for this occasions. And yummii, how delicious they are!!!  There are, boiled whole wheat, flavored with anis, served with almonds, blanched or unblanched, pistachios, raisins, walnuts, pine nuts, and sweetened with either sugar or honey and with a drizzle of orange blosson water. Also a sweet called Qatayef, a sweet dough like a crêpe filled with either ashta (cream), which we drizzle over some sugar syrup (Qater) and rose petals cooked with sugar syrup, or a mixture of crushed walnuts with sugar and orange blossom water.  And a fried dough soaked in sugar syrup called Maacroun.

Qatayef with mixture of walnuts, sugar & orange blossom water

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