Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Hello! The past few days have been quite wonderful!!! Stefan and I moved to a new home in Ranelagh, my family came over to Dublin to spend Christmas with us and I got a new job!  I still don’t get it! I just want to wish you all a magical Christmas filled with joy and happiness! Our Christmas started with freshly baked scones, hot chocolate and fruit. It’s time to watch some fairy tales and cosy up by the fireplace. Cannot wait for the evening feast!
My family
Me eating Trdelník (Chimney Cake)
Grafton Street
Fruit Scones
Our Christmas Tree

Have a wonderful Christmas!!!



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Czech Christmas Cookies

Most of Checks start baking Christmas cookies around December 6, right after St. Nicholas day! It is a big tradition, grandmothers, grandfathers, moms, dads and kids, everyone wants to participate! Some watch the cookie masters and some sneak around the kitchen to get a piece of a broken cookie or taste lovely creams and chocolate. Most of us like this time of the year, it’s a little stressful but so worth it!
Oatmeal Cookies
 I remember that my grandparents once baked 6o kilos of cookies, which was mental! They all were so perfect and delicious. My grandfather wouldn’t allow any mistakes, he was one big perfectionist! Since I live in Dublin and my grandparents don’t bake anymore, I have to do it myself. I LOVE IT! I can’t imagine Christmas without Linecké Cukroví and Vanilkové Rohlíčky, these are the only cookies that MUST be served during the whole Christmas time!
Vanilla Crescents and Czech style Linzer Cookies!
 If you decide to bake some of the cookies I baked this year have patience and enjoy! I always make sure I have some wine to drink, fabulous Christmas music to listen to and plenty of time to bake. Happy baking!

Oatmeal Cookies:

350g porridge oats
250g melted butter
200g icing sugar
150g raisins
3 eggs
50g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
2tbsp dark rum (rum essence is an option)

In a small bowl, mix raisins with rum and let aside for a while. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. In a large bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients together with the raisins and rum. Mix well, until all ingredients are combined properly. Feel free to use different nuts and seeds if desired. Using a tea spoon scoop small balls/mounds about 5cm apart on cooking sheets. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. If you melt some dark chocolate and pour it gently over over the cookies you will make them taste even better!

Vanilla Crescents:

300g plain flour
200g butter
100g ground walnuts
1tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
40g icing sugar (plus extra for coating)
Heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until completely incorporated. Place the dough in a plastic bag and cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Form walnut-size pieces of dough into crescent/roll shapes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 -15 minutes or until golden brown. While still warm, roll in icing sugar. When cookies are cool, store them in an airtight container. These delicious crescents will keep several weeks.

Czech Style Linzer Cookies:

900g plain flour
600g butter
300g icing sugar
3 egg yolks

Filling and decoration:

½ jar raspberry jam
1tbsp dark rum (optional)
3tbsp icing (powdered) sugar
In a large bowl, using your hands mix all ingredients until well combined. Divide the dough in half, cover each half with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm (at least 30 minutes). Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one half of dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it’s about 5 mm thick. Using a 5 cm cookie cutter cut out the cookies.
Place the cookies about 3 cm apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centres of half of the cookies on the baking sheet. Reroll any scraps and cut out the remaining cookies. Repeat with the second half of dough. If the dough gets too soft, place it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes or until golden around the edges. Please note that the cookies burn very easily! Remove from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool.
Place the cut out cookies into a container or a small bowl and coat in icing sugar (powdered sugar). Spread a thin layer of jam on the bottom surface of the full cookies. Place the cut-out cookie on top and press them gently together.  Store them in an airtight container. The cookies can be stored in a cool place for several weeks.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent Sunday

Hey! Hope you all had a lovely weekend! I started mine with baking traditional Christmas cookies, which took me most of my Friday night. It was fun and I will post some photos and recipes soon!! On Saturday evening we went to a birthday party of our two great friends, but we took it really easy as today we took the train to beautiful Dún Laoghaire where we go every year for one reason. We go to the wonderful SWEA Christmas Bazaar! As every year we bought a lot of goodies that we usually can’t buy here in Ireland, drank some mulled wine, ate hot dogs and watched the "Luciatåg" performance. It was a very good day and I can say that I got into the Christmas mood. Cannot wait until my family are here and we can all cosy up in front the telly and enjoy a lot of good Christmas food and drinks. This Christmas will be so different to any other Christmases before.