And it was coffee and coffee some more

How did everybody spend their Christmas? I hope you had a lovely time. We ate the most wonderful dinner of Roast Pork, Chicken Salad, Pan de Jamon (a Venezuelan tradition, I’ll show you later) and Hallacas (another tradition). And for dessert, I made the world’s best Pistachio Sandies (I can’t WAIT to show you) and this lucious…creamy, dreamy and light Mocha Mousse.

I figures we would need something light after a heavy dinner. So this mousse totally filled the bill.  And you can have it firming up in the fridge in just a few minutes. You probably have all the ingredients there in your kitchen. I adapted the recipe from wonderful and talented La Tartine Gourmand. So this is a mousse, the french way. Meaning, raw egg whites. We are not concerned about that (besides there were no pregnant women or anythign like that) but if you are, you can use pasteurized eggs.

I just changed a few things, I changed the cream for milk and butter (all I had, besides who doesn’t love the flavor of butter on chocolate?) and the addition of coffee. I think everyone should have chocolate mousse on their repertories, is great for parties and I don’t think anyone would turn down Mousse au Chocolat (Yes I love saying that, why?) Make this. Is pure love.

Chocolate Mocha Mousse

Adapted from La Tartine Gourmand

4 oz dark chocolate, 70 %

1/8 cup of milk

1/8 cup of strong brewed coffee

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons white sugar

3 egg whites

Pinch of salt

Chop the dark chocolate coarsely and place in a bowl along with the milk, coffee and butter.. Melt over a pot of simmering water. Stir to combine everything and then let it cool down in the counter top for about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk the eggs firm with a pinch of salt. When they start to form soft peaks, add gradually the sugar, never stopping to beat.

Fold carefully the egg whites into the chocolate, making sure to keep the preparation light. Divide the mousse between glasses and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Decorate with chocolate shavings or powdered sugar.

Now let’s talk some music! Have you heard of Regine Spektor right? my goddd she is AMAZING. Not only is her voice out of the world, but her lyrics are one of the most inspirational things I’ve always read. I adore to write and people like her make it a pleasure to feel inspired.

“And history books forgot about us
And the Bible didn’t mention us
The Bible didn’t mention us, not even once…”

-Samson by Regina Spektor.

 

Thanks for everyone who stops by and just looks at the pictures. I am so thankful for each one of you.

You are beautiful – Part IV

Here we are! the last day of the making of this cake. I kid you not, for somebody not so experienced like me, it took me quite a while to get this done. I stress too much when I have to frost a cake cause I’m not very good at it. But this SMBC was very forgiving. Anyway…onto the cake! I made Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake. I had read raved reviews about it, and is so simple I could not pass it up. I didn’t have Hershey’s  cocoa powder, but I used natural cocoa and it worked. The batter is very very thin and the recipe said it would be enough for 2 9-inch cakes. I don’t know what is it with me, but the recipes yield me ALWAYS too little. Be it dough, or batter, is never enough even when the recipe says it would be. I had to double it! I had my doubts when I read 1 and 3/4 cups of flour. For 2 9-inch cakes? really? I should have doubled it right away and follow my instinct, but I decided to trust the recipe. Only to double it at the end.

I guess the lesson is to follow your gut always. But despite that, this cake is AMAZING. Is the moistest chocolate cake I’ve come across, and I have to agree when they say is the cup of boiling water (I did half water, half coffee) I will do this again in a pinch, and turn them into cupcakes as well. I did not, however, try the frosting recipe that came with the cake cause I needed a white frosting, but the cake is really great and I recommend it. I divided the 2 cakes in half to make a 4 layer cake, and filled it with the coconut cream I made earlier on. I have to say it again, this cream is the BOMB.

Then I made a crumb coating for the cake and let it set a while in the fridge. After that it was just frost away (I still got come crumbs in) and make the chocolate decorations (those ones I didn’t make before hand) and stick them to the cake. I made the owl I told you about, and also some pine trees. Of course I got the idea from the beautiful Dessert for Breakfast (even though her’s is a million times prettier) and some adornments around the owl. I think it looked very pretty and I was very pleased with the results. My friend LOVED her cake and so did everybody else. The cake was gone in seconds.

I swear that literally, everybody in the party congratulated me on the cake! actually, I got not ont but two (!!) marriage proposals thanks to this cake. And one of the guys has a girlfriend. Is just how good this cake was, the combination with the moist cake, the sweet coconut cream and the smooth and not so sweet icing was perrrfect. I will make this entire cake again, and I do not regret the little work it required, it was worth it. Each element was great on its own, but better together.

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake

Recipe from Hershey’s Kitchens

I followed the recipe exactly, except I double it to fill my 2 9-inch cake pans and I used another brand of natural cocoa powder.

2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water (Or half water, half strong coffee, which I recommend)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Notes: To make frosting the cake easier, pop them in the freezer for a while so they’re easier to handle.

Make a crumb coat for the cake, specially if your frosting is white.

To avoid ruining your cake plate with frosting, put the cake over several sticks of parchment paper before frosting, that way you can take them out when you’re done.

Make sure your frosting is not too cold when you’re putting the chocolate decorations, or else they won’t stick properly.

I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures of the inside, it was very dark and it disappeared too fast! But trust me here, if you know a coconut fan, this cake will melt their hearts. And yours too!

oh boy, do I have some wonderful traditional holiday recipes for you coming up! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends! Thanks for reading! 😉


You are beautiful – Part III

For the frosting of this cake I decided to make a beautiful Swiss Meringue Buttercream (or SMBC) because honestly, I hate regular buttercream and I needed something white and beautiful. And my girlfriend hates whipped cream (I know, woah…) so I decided to give this a try. I had never made one but I read wonderful things (“Best frosting ever!” “Perfect texture!” “Favorite of everyone!”) Also, I loved the fact that it isn’t just made out of powdered sugar and butter. Specially because I almost never have the powdered stuff around. But it still just need egg whites, sugar and butter. Plus, the flavoring, that can be something from chocolate or vanilla to caramel and coffee, lemon…possibilities are endless.

I know It kinda looks like mayo (sorry for the revolting image) but its nothing like!

I wanted vanilla, but I needed this frosting to be perfectly white, and the only vanilla extract I own, is the really dark one and that would stain my frosting.  So I let it be like that and didn’t use any flavoring. It didn’t need one anyway, turns out…and Apperently SMBC is intimidating and is easy to get it wrong. Needless to say I was scared to death when I mas making it. Scrambled egg whites! Curdling! Frosting soup! Oh my god, I just couldn’t stand see 1 and a half cups of butter go to waste! I had to do this right. I read a bunch of tips around and I was really confident.

It frosted and spread like a dream!

I patiently did what I was told and waited for the frosting to become a mess and my head to explode, but continue beating until it came together. Okay, I know this sounds like it was a disaster, but this was totally the other way around. My frosting came together in mere minutes, and it didn’t even went through the weird soupy stage. I was surprised how easy this was! even I couldn’t screw it up! So if you’re scared, don’t worry, the first step is to be calm because, trust me, this isn’t hard at all, you just need to get everything at the right temperature (no need for thermometer) and you’re done.

My tips and notes in italic below.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe Adapted from: Poires au Chocolat

Frosts and fills and 2 layer, 9-inch cake.

3 egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar *

pinch of salt (never forget this)

1 1/4 cups butter (2 and a half sticks), at room temperature (you want them to be cool but soft)

1 tsp vanilla extract (Use a clear one for a perfectly white frosting)

Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl** over a pan of simmering water. Whisk frequently, keeping it over the heat, until the mixture reaches 160F/ 70C and the sugar has dissolved***.  Transfer the mixture to a mixer with a whisk attached and beat on medium-high for 8 minutes, until stiff peaks have formed and the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Turn down the speed to medium and start adding small chunks of butter, checking that it has incorporated before adding more. Just keep beating and eventually it comes together, after about 5 minutes.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

Notes:

*This frosting is not very sweet, but that’s how I needed it. You could add a full cup, or even 1 and a half cups, but make sure they melt in the whites.

*Use the metal bowl of the stand mixer over a pan of simmering water and you’ve got an instant double boiler.

**You don’t need to know the exact temperature, it just needs to be hot enough to dissolve the sugar, and you can check that by rubbing the mixture between your clean fingers and feel if it’s still grainy. Whisk constantly.

-Also, some recipes tell you to change to the paddle attachment after the whites and whipped. I don’t have that attachment and the frosting worked wonderfully by leaving the whisk attachment on and beating in medium-high speed.

-Never add the butter if the whites are still hot or they will melt and become soupy.

-Mine didn’t curdle, but it could happen, and if it does, just don’t panic and beat the life out of the frosting. It WILL come together. Believe.


And you know what? everything they say about the frosting is true! is the smoothest frosting ever, so shiny and pretty. It spreads beautifully, it doesn’t crust, you can refrigerate it days before you need it, or even freeze it. Just remember to thaw it and then whip it back into consistency. The flavor is excellent because is not too sweet, it’s light and not too strong to overwhelm the cake. I will definitely make this again and i encourage you to try it. You will never go back to canned or shortcut frosting again!

Ps. Sorry for the delayed post. I’ve had a rough couple of days, going to bed at 4 am and waking up at 8, doing a little working and a little partying too. Thanks for being here. Tomorrow I will present the whole cake and reactions.

You are beautilfu – Part II

Hello there again, welcome to the second part of this birthday cake-making. Yesterday we talked the Decoration, made out of chocolate (what else) and today I’d like yo tell you about the filling. You see, my best friend, is a very picky eater, but (oddly) she likes coconut. A lot. So I decided the cake will be filled with a delish coconut cream.

 I looked everywhere for a recipe I liked, but pretty much all of them were just heavy cream with shredded coconut stirred in. I wanted full and complete coconut flavor. Finally, I found this beautiful blog called Ravenous Couple and they had the most incredible recipe for a coconut dessert (check it out! is really original and delicious!), involving every part of the coconut! and one of the layers is a coconut cream made with actual coconut milk. I loved the recipe and decided to use it as my filling.

Is almost like a custard, and really simple to make, you don’t even have to temper the eggs. I have to tell you, this is THE most incredible coconut dessert I have ever tasted. Is so rich and creamy and thick, almost like a pudding and with pure coconut delicate flavor. I didn’t even add vanilla in hopes to obtain the purest flavor. You WANT to make this. I beg you.

I don’t remember where, but I once read that if you mix toasted coconut with milk and leave it covered in the fridge for a day, the coconut flavor is amazing. I tried it but with the half and half instead of milk and it worked! I highly recommend that step and I’m adding it below. Please, please, please make this. Even if is just to eat as a pudding. I’m guessing you could also add some sugar on top, broil it, and have a wonderful coconut creme brulee! Mmm I need to try that…I’m tempted to make another batch just for me and not the cake…

Coconut Cream

Adapted from Ravenous Couple 

Enough to fill a 3 layer 9-inch cake

1 c Half and Half
1 c coconut milk
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 ts kosher salt
1 ts vanilla extract (Optional, omit for pure coconut flavor)
2 eggs
1 c toasted coconut 
 
If you want to amp up the coconut flavor, mix the toasted coconut with the half and half and let it sit in the fridge, covered for a few hours, preferably, a day.
 
Add the half and half and toasted coconut mixture, coconut milk, egg, sugar, salt, vanilla extract (if using), and cornstarch in sauce pan and whisk together well. Under low heat and constant whisking, heat the mixture until it thickens to a creamy consistency. Pour in a bowl and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours.
 
 
Oh, and can I please you with a little music? This song and video is by Mika (this man is a freaking genius. Amazing voice) and it’s called Big Girl (You are Beautiful) and the song is bubbly, cheerful, funny and really truthful (go curves!)
 
 
It keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator, I made it 2 days before I needed it.
Tomorrow we’ll talk frosting! One of my biggest fears regarding cakes.
Do you like coconut? If you don’t, I will still recommend making this, it could transform you, is THAT good.
 

You are beautiful – Part I

Crafts. They are lovely right? Such a great and useful hobby. Too bad I suck at it. Big time. I was always mocked as a little girl in school because my play-dough “flowers” looked more like big colorful deformed mounds. I can’t use a scissor to save my life. So I become very frustrated when I want to decorate or make bake goods prettier. I usually take the easy route and pour ganache over everything. But someone special, requires a little more effort. So for my best friend ever’s birthday I’m making the best and prettiest cake. I can’t give you much details about it yet, but this will be the first of a series of posts leading to the finished cake.

Today, I’ll make a small tutorial (I never thought I would be making a tutorial!) on chocolate decorations. I couldn’t find one I liked enough, so I’ll try my best here. Is a beautiful and incredibly easy way to turn a normal cake or cupcake into something really special and personalized. Sure, everyone tells you you can make curls, hearts, stars, letters or random pretty forms, but seriously you can make almost anything if you have a design. For instance, my best friend’s favorite animals are owls, so that’s what I’m making, as well as many different things to show you how easy (and fun!) it is. Ready? pour yourself a glass of (non-alcoholic for me, thanks) eggnog and let’s get started! 😀

  You need a few things. Chocolate of course. I used a variety that doesn’t need tempering and is the best thing ever. If you can find it, is very useful and helpful here. If not, there are plenty of great tutorials on tempering chocolate. I’m using dark chocolate here but use the one you like the most. Now, you need parchment paper. Quite a bit depending in your decorating needs. For basic chocolate decorating, that’s it! Only 2 things. Now, if you’re like me and drawing or designing is not your strength, you’ll want to use lovely google to find the shape or design you want and then print it. Also, some scotch tape, cause (at least for me) it always saves the day. Aaaand a scissor.

Okay, you want to have everything ready before melting the chocolate, to the first thing is to make a parchment paper cone. You could use a plastic bag, but I find the parchment paper to be stronger and more controllable. Use what you feel comfortable with. Making the cone looks DEAD easy, but me being me, spent about 5 minutes trying to find the correct way to twist it, and then having scotch tape in my mouth…I cried out of frustration (Why I can NEVER do these things?!) and asked my mommy for help…*sigh* but eventually, the second time around, did it. Here it is…

Ta dah! the uggliest cone ever! don’t make fun of it…

I followed this video but used tape to secure the ends as I was sure I would find a way to screw that up. Once you have that done, we’re going to prepare our designs to be piped. Cut a piece of parchment paper a little larger then your printed shape or design and tape them together. Again, if you’re like me, you’ll want to tape them to the table so they won’t move as you pipe the chocolate over them…

See? that was easy. Now, melt the chocolate. I use the microwave and never had any problems, just be careful with times. Make the first time very short and see how this chocolate reacts and then go from there. You don’t want it steaming hot, just melted and warm. 

Pour the chocolate in your cone, but don’t fill more than half at the time. Fold your cone over itself and keep folding until almost the top of the chocolate. Hold it tight and firm but not too hard as you cut the tip off cause it will go flying everywhere (been there…)Make sure not to cut too big. It all depends on what your design is like, but remember you can always cut more, but if you go too big, you’ll have to start over. Remember, the thinner the line, the more delicate and more likely to break.

And now just, pipe! try to keep a steady hand, and with figures like these you want all the lines and/or dots to be touching, that way when you lift it up, it will be one whole piece. After you’re done piping, let it firm up at room temperature or (me, being impatient) the fridge. Sometimes, even the freezer will do it.

Just make sure you have room in the fridge for this to fit completely flat. Carefully transfer it and it will take about 2 minutes. I love when things are so fast, that way I’m not tempted to screw the whole thing before its done. Now you remove it! Most likely, the edges of the figure will lift off the paper on their own, and you just have to carefully peel it all off. If is too hard, maybe give it another minute in the fridge and try again. You can use them right away, stick them in the fridge until you need them, or if you’re just doing a tutorial, you take the pictures and melt them again to use another time.

An owl! not the prettiest, mind you, but I’m getting better! Now, I wanted this piece to be flat, but you can make your figure round-ish by placing it in a can, or for example, I do this little thing for the wings in butterflies to lift off in an angle, first, before piping, you have to fold the paper right in the middle of the body of the butterfly, like this..

And then you unfold it and pipe like you normally would. Let it set for about 30 seconds before folding it every so slightly, at the angle you want the wings to be, and place the butterfly between to objects to hold the wings up, like this…

You can also do this in the fridge, using the items there, and then really carefully peel it off the paper. I love this part, is really satisfying. Also I must tell you this is the prettiest butterfly I’ve made to date! you’re in luck! I should probabaly mention that the inspiration from all this cam from one of the most gorgeour cakes I’ve ever seen at Pores au Chocolat and the other one at Desserts for Breakfast. Such talented ladies! 

Voila! a delicate and gorgeous butterfly. I assure you this makes everything pretty. I’ve considered wearing it in my head so people will like me better.

So now you see you can make pretty much anything, hearts, animals, flowers, names, even faces if you get creative enough! and most of you are probably more skilled than me at this and will wind up with prettier pieces. I will just need the owl, some trees and my best girl’s name. I think this is one of the most wonderful ways to personalize a cake and show that you care.

 

Sorry for the picture. Ugly, ugly, but I was running out of daylight. By the way, that’s my name, not hers.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you want some of the shapes to hold themselves up better and give them a little more dimension, you can make a base for them, by just doing this…

Let them harden and then glue the pieces together with a little more chocolate and let it harden again.

All you have to do now is put the pieces (carefully) in your cake or cupcake! They will adhere quite easily to frosting.

If while piping, the chocolate in your cone starts hardening, pop it in the microwave for about 8 – 10 seconds, that should do it, and continue with your work. If you have leftover chocolate, I like to create a little mold out of tin foil, pour it in, let it harden in the fridge and them save it with the rest of my chocolate. You can always melt again and re-use. Just discard your cone and make a new one for the best results!

But really, the most important thing to remember here is that, if I could do it, a 5 year old with ADHD can do it. And they will probably cry less. Get creative and you can make pretty much anything! And everyone likes chocolate figures.

I hope this is helpful and please feel free to ask anything, comment with feedback or even criticize! I’m here to learn from you too 😉

Have you worked with chocolate? like it? Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks! tune in tomorrow for part II!



I Choose You

This post was supposed to be for about 2 months ago. I know, I’m lazy. I don’t know what happened, really. But is now here and as far recipes, is one of my favorites! So, so simple and delicious. Actually, I have 2 recipes for you today. This is a Peanut Butter Duo Post. 😀 How exciting is that?! I can’t wait to tell you about this dead-easy recipes. I present today Peanut Butter Balls and the word’s easiest and fastest Peanut Butter Cookies. Complete with a chocolate version aswell! You’re welcome.

I love peanut butter. I LOVE peanut butter. I wanna be buried with a jar of the stuff. Unfortunately, is REALLY expensive here (would you pay 26 dollars for a jar of PB? you get the idea. No, I’m not kidding) So when I was gifted this jar, I took care of it like GOLD. I wanted to enjoy it by itself. Spoonfuls, on a piece of toast. On oatmeal once. But I had a bit leftover and wanted something a little more special so I came up with these. These are not too sweet treats, really natural and the truffles can easily be made vegan with almond milk and vegan chocolate. It satisfies that common chocolate-pb craving. Sweet and salty.

And of course, I love salt in desserts. The crunch, the way they amp up the flavor…gorgeous I tell you. My favorite thing is definitely the truffles. The crackly chocolate shell covering a creamy peanut butter-y center? Oh my…I want to have this for dessert everyday! And it can be done in just minutes. You can serve them up in your holiday table and pretend you’re fancy. Or maybe you really are. I’ll just speak for myself here…right. Oh, and the cookies and flourless. Huge plus. I love flourless treats. So I’m giving you a gluten free and a vegan recipe, how’s that for versatility? 😉

Yes, you’re reading right, 5 ingredients! 6 if you want the chocolate version and 7 if you decide to add the coarse salt on top (which I TOTALLY) recommend. Okay 7 ingredients doesn’t seem like so little, but when one is vanilla and the other salt, you can’t really count them right?

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe Adapted from Joy The Baker

1 cup all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter

1 cup sugar (I like brown better but choose what you have)

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

Few drops of vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (Optional. For the chocolate version below)

Coarse or Sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a baking sheet with butter and set aside.  In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Add egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes.  Roll into walnut sized balls and create a cris-cross pattern with a fork.   Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool on a baking sheet for two minutes at least.

For a chocolate version, make the dough as instructed and  melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 20 seconds interval and then add to the dough and mix to combine completely. Bake the same way as the plain ones.

Decorate the cookies with a light sprinkling of sea salt on top.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Balls

Recipe by me

Most Peanut butter balls recipe call for tons of butter and powdered sugar. I hate this, I want to taste the peanut butter, so this is a simpler, far creamier and softer, much less sweet candy-like recipe. Natural and peanut butter-y. This is kind of like a PB ganache without the chocolate mixed in, but instead, poured on top and hardened.

1 cup natural smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup sugar (I used granulated, use powdered for a smoother result)

1/3 cup of evaporated milk (You can use heavy cream, half and half or plain milk)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coarse or sea salt to decorate

1 cup chocolate chips or chunks (to dip)

In a medium heat proof bowl, pour the milk or cream and sugar. Pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix, trying to dissolve the sugar. The mixture should be hot, not warm. Next, add the peanut butter to the milk-sugar mixture, as well as the vanilla and stir everything together. It will be very creamy and sticky. If you think is too dry, add more milk or cream. Let the mixture cool down and stick in the fridge until completely cold, 1-2 hours.

When the mixture has hardened and cooled, melt your chocolate in the microwave or double boiler and put it aside for a moment to cool down a bit while you make the balls.

Prepare a large cookie or baking sheet with parchment paper. Take small spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture and roll them in your hands quickly to make a ball and place on the paper. Make them as big or small as you’d like, I like mine really small. Work fast to avoid too much melting. Now, with a fork, drop the balls, one by one, in the melted chocolate and roll them around to coat. Pick it up again with the fork (not pinching it, just carrying it) and tap the fork a bit in the edge of the bowl to get rid of excess chocolate. Drop the ball again in the parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt. Continue until you’re done with all the balls and place them in the fridge to harden. 10-15 minutes is okay, but they will have a better texture in 30 minutes.

Enjoy! I’m off to send my picture to Tastespotting (Hope they’ll take it!)

Ps. I have no idea why I chose that tittle. Those words just spoke to me.

Thanks for reading!

February

This is my comeback post. I hope this makes up for the absence (:

Recipe first. I loooove biscotti! Is so easy, so fancy and guilt free. I only say that because it rarely has any fat, so is lower in calorie than most cookies. But still, it can be just as delicious and pretty. This one is Pumpkin & Caramelized Hazelnuts Biscotti. Only I made it with butternut squash instead of pumpkin. I have a SERIOUS obsession with those things. Specially when they’re all small and cute. I can’t walk past them in the vegetable section without giggling uncontrollably and reaching for one. Or two. I just adore them, but now I have to come up with things to do with them before they go bad. You won’t miss the pumpkin in these, trust me, they are incredible!

I followed Simply Recipes’ recipe. Mainly because it is really simple  (recipe, simple? I swear that was totally unintentional) and pretty much every other recipe I found was based on that one. It worked out perfectly and I think the hazelnuts are such an amazing and seasonal addition. And caramelizing them? Best. Idea. Ever. Crunchy, toasty, buttery, fragant…I don’t know how to describe my love for hazelnuts either. I have a weird love for a lot of food items. Is a problem I tell you…

Anyway, I also used brown sugar instead of white because…everything is better with brown sugar. Oh, and don’t you DARE to even think about using unsalted butter when caramelizing the nuts. Is a SIN!…Okay you can use unsalted if is all you have, but please make sure to add a sprinkling of salt when melting the sugar. Trust me here ,yes? Please? Just a kiss of salt makes everything so much better. Everybody loved this and it was done in a pinch. Try it!

Caramelized Hazelnuts

Recipe by me

1 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted. (You can remove the skins if you’d like)

1/3 cup of white sugar

1 TBSP of salted butter (or use unsalted and add a big pinch when melting the sugar)

Get ready a greased cookie sheet or a large piece of parchment paper.

Throw the sugar in a pan heat over medium to high heat. The sugar will start to melt in the middle. Push the sugar around the sides to the center a little, and then swirl the pan around  to give all the sugar a chance to melt. You do not want to stir at this point or you can create sugar cristals that are hard to melt. Depending on your liking here you can let the sugar cook  to a light golden or a darker amber color. I like it really dark, just before it starts to burn and become bitter. At this point, throw in the tablespoon of butter, stirring quickly and then pour the hazelnuts, stirring to coat them all. Working quickly, pour the whole thing in the parchment paper (or greased cookie sheet) and spread in one layer. Let it cool until it hardens significantly.

At this point, depending on your use for the hazelnuts, you can break it into pieces and eat as candy, grind them in a food processor to make a nice hazelnut praline, or chop them roughly to use in desserts (like the biscotti)

Pumpkin & Caramelized Hazelnuts Biscotti

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 batch of caramelized hazelnuts, chopped.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Give it a rough stir to  combine the ingredients, the dough will be crumbly. Add the chopped hazelnuts and try to incorporate them too.

Flour your hands and a clean kitchen surface and lightly knead the dough. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Form the dough into a large log, roughly about 15-20 inches by 6-7 inches. Bake for 22-30 minutes at 350ºF, until the center is firm to the touch. (

Let biscotti cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife cut into 1 inch wide pieces. Turn the oven to 300ºF and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.

And now this song…oh god. It makes me heart curl up and twist. I don’t know if that makes any sense but the lyrics and so, so beautiful. I’ve cried several times just listening to it. And this dance choreographed by Emily Shock does it so much justice. Heartbreaking in the best way.