Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Thursday, 20th May 2010
Liana and I had an amazing time at the Xavier Rudd concert last night. Xavier had the entire audience up, dancing and singing. The light show was amazing. He wowed us with his talent for playing various musical instruments (didgeridoos, guitars, banjo, drums) simultaneously and he did all this in his bare feet. For those of you who don’t know who Xavier is (I didn’t until last night), he is an Australian singer/songwriter, surf/roots artist. His lyrics are inspirational, I left the concert feeling the most relaxed I have felt in a long time and I can see why Liana loves him so much.
I definitely needed last night, especially with the week I’ve had in the kitchen. I was so happy the weekend was over and thought my luck would turn, unfortunately that didn’t happen. I attempted a few other cookies for the bridal shower and out of 3 recipes, only 1 will see the cookie tray, Hazelnut-Orange Rochers. This recipe was super easy, all you need is a food processor, and in no time at all you have a wonderful nutty batter perfumed of orange. I’ll warn you, the batter is super sticky and you definitely want to keep the batter in the fridge in between baking each batch.
The only difficult part of the recipe was removing the skins from the hazelnuts. I baked the hazelnuts for about 8 minutes, placed small batches in a tea towel and rubbed them together to remove the skins. I found that keeping the hazelnuts warm, (on a cookie sheet, in the oven with the door slightly ajar) helped with the task of removing the skins quicker. It’s one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted, loaded with hazelnuts, chewy centre with a hint of orange.
I decided to take a break from cookies and took a few minutes to leaf through some of my cookbooks and came across this recipe for Warm Strawberry Cake, baked in a teacup, it looked so pretty I just had to make them. I am always looking for recipes that will help me use some of the preserves I made from last summer’s harvest. I went a little crazy last year and I have, what seems like, an endless supply of strawberry jam, freezer and cooked. I was a little concerned baking the cakes in my teacups but fortunately they survived the heat of the oven and the cakes came out beautifully and I decorated them simply with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar and some fresh strawberries. The light, warm, vanilla cake combined with the warm strawberry conserve and the fresh strawberry was a wonderful combination.
The Hazelnut-Orange Rochers and the Warm Strawberry Cake recipes are both keepers and I am going to play around a bit with the recipes, switching out the nuts and the berries to come up with some other winning combinations.
Just a little fyi, I have chosen the gourmet cupcake recipe for V’s bridal shower. I have actually decided to make not 1 but 2 different cupcakes, Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes and Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Icing. I think it will not only be a nice contrast of colour when displaying them on the cookie tables, but it will also give the guests a variety from which to choose.
Warm Strawberry Cakes and Hazelnut-Orange Rochers
- Warm Strawberry Cakes
- Hazelnut-Orange Rochers
Warm Strawberry Cakes Baked In A Teacup
(from Cupcakes – Susanna Tee)
Makes 6 cakes
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 4 tablespoons strawberry conserve
- generous 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- generous 3/4 cup self-rising white flour
- 1 pound/450 g small whole fresh strawberries
- confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180° C). Grease 6 heavy, round teacups with butter. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the strawberry conserve in the bottom of each teacup.
- Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and, using a large metal spoon or spatula, fold it into the mixture. Spoon the batter into the teacups.
- Line the bottom of a roasting pan with a tea towel. Stand the cups in the roasting pan, then pour enough hot water to come one-third up the sides of the cups. Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown, and a skewer, inserted in the center, comes out clean. If over-browning, cover the cakes with a sheet of foil. Leave the cakes to cool for 2-3 minutes, then carefully lift the cups from the pan and place them on saucers.
- Place a few of the whole strawberries on each cake , then dust them with sifted confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm with the remaining strawberries.
(from Martha Stewart)
- 12 ounces blanched hazelnuts, toasted (about 2 1/2 cups), plus 53 hazelnut halves for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 3 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
- Pulse toasted hazelnuts, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor until finely ground (mixture should be powdery). Add egg whites and orange zest and juice, and pulse until combined. Transfer batter to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Nest 2 baking sheets (to prevent bottoms of cookies from browning too quickly), and line top sheet with parchment. Drop tablespoons of batter onto lined sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Shape each into a mound, top with 2 hazelnut halves, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Refrigerate remaining batter.
- Bake cookies, rotating sheets from front to back halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 23 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
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