Elderflower syrup

Scented Nectar

Elderflower syrupIngredients

– 50 elderflower heads

– 2,4 kg of granulated sugar

– 2 unwaxed lemons

– 3 litres of water

– 50g of citric acidElderflower syrupFirst of all  inspect elderflowers carefully and remove unwanted guests (do not wash the flowers!). Elderflower syrupAfter that, place the lemon slices and the elderflower heads into a big bowl, large enough to accommodate 4/5 litres. Bring the water and the sugar to a boil in a large pot. Remove from heat and let cool for around 45 minutes.Elderflower syrupAdd the citric acid and pour the lukewarm liquid over the elderflowers and the lemon slices. Stir the mixture well for around 5 minutes. Elderflower syrupPlace a towel over the bowl and let the syrup stir in a cool and dark place for 3-5 days. Stir the mixture twice a day.Elderflower syrupAfter 3-5 days, take a sieve and lay a clean tea towel inside it to strain the syrup. Discard the flowers and the lemons. Pour the filtered syrup into clean glass bottles or jars. Store the syrup in the refrigerator or freezer. Elderflower syrup can be kept in the freezer since the high sugar content keeps it from freezing. Elderflower syrupServe the syrup diluted with soda (4 parts water and 1 part elderflower cordial), with white wine or Prosecco and some mint leaves.

The ideal period to pick elderflowers is May-June … and this is where I picked up mines : Elderflower syrupCanale Quarantia, Foci dell’Isonzo (Italy)

Enjoy your drink,

Anna

Snowman macarons

Macarons à la LinzerSnowman macarons

Ingredients

For the shells:

– 200g of almond meal

– 200g of powdered sugar

– 200g of caster sugar

– 146g of egg whites

– 5cl of water

– edible pearls, edible snowflakes, ribbons and food decorating pens

Snowman macarons

Combine the caster sugar and the water in a saucepan, place over medium heat and bring to 118°. In the meanwhile put half of the the egg whites in a mixer bowl and whip them on medium speed to soft peaks. Pour the 118° syrup in a thin, steady stream into the whipping egg whites.

Continue whipping the meringue on medium speed until the temperature drops to 50°.

In a large bowl combine the almond meal, the caster sugar and the other half of the egg whites and mix well.

Add a small part of the meringue to the almond paste and mix gently, then add the rest of the meringue, fold and scratch the surface until the batter starts to run glossy.

Put the mixture in a pastry bag with a large tip and form two circles (one big and one small) on parchment lined sheet pans. Allow the macarons shells to sit for 1 hour until the surface feels dry to the touch.

Preheat the oven to 150° and bake the shells for approximately 14 minutes. Cool the macarons shells on the sheet pans.

Snowman macarons

For the Linzer filling:

– 120g of red currant jam

– 38g of walnut meal

– 38g of almond meal

– 2 tsp of cinnamon

– 20g of powdered sugar

– the peel of 1 lemon

Mix together all the ingredients until smooth. Fill your snowman macarons with the Linzer filling. Decorate the snowmen with edible snowflakes and pearls, food decorating pens and ribbons.

Snowman macarons

I wish you all a sweet Christmas time!!

Bon appétit,

Anna

Santa’s buttons

Santa's buttons

I’ve found these buttons in my living room near the Christmas tree… I think Santa came too early and lost something from his jacket!

Ingredients

For the shortcrust pastry:

– 125g of butter

– 2 egg yolks

– 250g of flour

– 100g of granulated sugar

– 1 pinch of salt

– 1 tsp of cinnamon

– lemon zest

Santa's buttons

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until you obtain a dough ball.

Put the dough in the fridge for around 30 minutes. After that roll it out on a floured surface.

Take two round baking moulds with different diameters, cut out your biscuits and form four holes in the middle (I used a chopstick).

Santa's buttons

Preheat the oven to 175° C (347° F). Put your biscuits in the oven and bake for around 13 minutes or until golden on top.

Pass a ribbon trough the holes and here you have your delicious button biscuits, a perfect Christmas baking idea!

Have a sweet Christmas time!!

Bon appétit,

Anna

Homemade cereal bars

2ridNo butter, cream or food coloring. Just 3 natural ingredients for a simple but surprising result.

Ingredients

– 500g of mixed cereals/müsli (rolled oats, dried fruits, almonds, hazelnuts, raisins, chocolate chips…)

– 3 tbsp of honey

– 200g of dark chocolate

3ridPreheat the oven to 175° C (347° F). Put the chocolate in a bowl, place it over a sucepan of simmering water and wait until it’s melted. Let the chocolate cool slightly.

In the meanwhile mix together the cereals and the honey. Pour the chocolate into the mixture.

Put the mixture in a baking pan (around 25cm x 30cm) lined with parchment paper. Use a spatula to press the cereals and to compact the mixture. Bake for around 15 minutes.

4rid

Press and compact the mixture again with a spatula. Let the müsli cool. With a sharp knife cut the cereals in bars or little cubes. If you want you can decorate your bars with white chocolate, paper stripes or ribbons.

5rid

Bon appétit,

Anna

Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

When I started making my chocolate chip cookies my digital scale stopped working so I decided to proceed in a 100% American way: for the first time I used the “cups” system! To be honest I never loved it that much but after today I changed my mind! Try these soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies perfect also as ice cream cookies sandwiches.

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of butter (220g)

– 3/4 cup of granulated sugar (150g)

– 3/4 cup of brown sugar (165g)

– 2 cup of flour (256g)

– 1/4 cup of potato starch (35g)

– 1 cup of chocolate chips (180g)

– 1/2 cup of ground hazelnuts (70g)

– 2 big eggs

– 1  1/2 teaspoon  of baking soda

– 1 teaspoon of salt

Chocolate chip cookies

In a bowl, whisk together the butter, the brown sugar and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at time, each one mixed in completely before adding the next.

Pass through a sieve the flour, the potato starch, the salt, the baking soda. Add them to the butter dough and mix slowly. Stir in the chocolate chips and the hazelnuts.

Put the dough in a plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Chocolate chip cookies

Preheat the oven to 175° C  (347° F).

Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges (20 minutes).

The best way to savour your cookies in summer is to fill them with a delicious ice cream!!!

Chocolate chip cookies

Bon appétit,

Anna

Midsummer cheesecake

Midsummer cheesecake

After a long period away from my baking oven, after tooooo much store bought desserts, after months living in the city of chocolate, Brussels, now I’m back to my kitchen!! Today’s cake is a delicious cheesecake perfect for summer dinners or a picnic with friends! Enjoy..

Ingredients

For the pie crust

– 200g of whole-wheat biscuits

– 60g of melted butter

– the juice of 1/2 lemon

For the filling

– 200g of Philadelphia

– 200g of ricotta

– 130g of granulated sugar

– 100g of cream

– 30g of yogurt

– 3 eggs

– 1/2 spoon of flour

– the bark of 1 lemon

– 1 vanilla bean

Midsummer cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 160°C  (320°F).

For the crust grind the biscuits finely in a food processor. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the biscuits. Put the biscuits mixture in a cake pan and press firmly to cover the whole surface of the pan (edges included). Pour the lemon juice on the surface. Your crust is now ready to be covered by the cheese mixture.

For the filling put the ricotta, the Philadelphia, the sugar, the cream, the yogurt, the eggs, the vanilla and the lemon  bark in a large bowl and mix slowly. Stir in the flour.

Midsummer cheesecake

Pour the cheese mixture on the biscuits crust and bake for 1 hour (160°C – 320°F).

Let the cheesecake cool for 2 hours and conserve it in the fridge. Serve the cake at room temperature and decorate it giving vent to your creativity!

Midsummer cheesecake

Bon appétit,

Anna