Thursday, September 16, 2010

Irish coffee muffins

Autumn has come to Dublin and I love it! The weather changes constantly, the trees are turning yellow, red and orange, the sky is blue and the air is crisp and clear. For me autumn is the time you start enjoying cosy evenings in with hearty stews, warm freshly baked bread with home made jam for breakfast and hot drinks in front of the open fire.
After living 4 years in Ireland, in several cold and damp apartments and houses, you might think I have learnt to drink whiskey. Unfortunately I still have a lot to learn when it comes to appreciating strong alcoholic drinks for their flavour and not effect, but I have come so far that one year ago I learnt to like Irish Coffee. Strange for someone who does not drink either coffee or whiskey, but it sure is something special with sipping hot coffee with a kick of whiskey through a layer of cold, thick cream that just makes me crave for more. Yesterday it was premier for our first Irish coffee for this season but I have taken the concept a little further; a very traditional Swedish cake recipe has been transformed in to muffins with flavours inspired by the Irish coffee. Here is the recipe for 12 delicious muffins that has to be tried.

130 grams butter, room temperature
170 grams caster sugar
2 eggs
280 grams plain flour
2tsp baking powder
150ml milk
2tsp cocoa powder
2tbsp coffee liquor (tia maria or kahlua)
2tbsp Irish whiskey

Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add one egg at the time while still beating the mixture. Add flour and baking through a fine sieve and stir in the milk into a smooth, thick batter. Divide into to bowls. Flavour one part of the batter with the whiskey, flavour the other part with cocoa powder and coffee liqour. Add the white mix to the brown and give a little stir to create a marbled effect. Divide into 12 muffin cups and bake on 175C for 15 min .

Carrot bread

I bake almost all the bread we eat here at home, but sometimes I find myself getting a little bored with eating the same types of bread every day, so the other day I decided to try something new; carrot bread. We all know how good carrot cake is and I dare to promise you that this bread will be just as popular. It is first of all very tasty but the big plus is that it is very healthy; packed with seeds, carrots and wheat germ.This recipe here will give you 8 large buns.

25 grams freash yeast
25 grams butter
250ml water
200ml grated carrot
75 grams whole wheat flour
25 grams lins seeds
25 grams sunflower seeds
25 grams wheat germ
250 grams strong white flour
1tsp salt

Melt butter and add water,let go luke warm. Dissolve the yeast the liquid and add carrots, seeds, wholewheat flour and salt, mix this into a thisk paste. Slowly add the white flour while working the dough, you might not need all flour or you might need to add a little more flour to get the right texture.The dough should not be too sticky. Knead the dough until it is elastic and easy to work. Let prove under a damp cloth until it has doubled in size.
Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and divide into 8 pieces, shape into little balls and let prove again on a baking tray lined with baking paper for 30min. bake on 225C for about 20min.

Blackberries; jam and biscuits.

A couple of weeks ago Martin and myself went for a walk in the evening around the area we live in. Not too far from our house there is a little stream that has blackberry bushes growing all around it and I have been there several times this summer to see how long it will be before the berries are ripe enough to pick. Little did I know that this very evening, walking down along the stream, the berries were just sitting there ripe and ready, waiting to be picked. Since we were without baskets or buckets I took my scarf off and used as an improvised bag to carry the berries in and within 20min we had picked around a litre.
I decided to make a jam out of the berries just the way i did the Raspberry jam earlier this year, and after a couple of weeks in the fridge the jam was turned in to shortbread biscuits with lemon icing. Lovely with a cup of tea.

130 grams butter, room temperature
60 grams caster sugar
200 grams plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1 egg


5tbsp icing sugar
jucie and zest of a lemon
50ml blackberry jam

Beat sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and continue beating until smooth. Add flour and baking powder and quickly work into a dough. Divide in to 6 pieces, shape rolls the length of the baking tray and gently push down a little. With your finger make a well in the middle of the roll and fill with the jam.
Bake on 180C 12-15min, or until golden in colour.
Mix icing sugar with a little lemon juice to create a smooth icing. Drizzle icing over the jam/pastry lengths and cut in to 2 cm wide biscuits and sprinkle some lemon zest on top.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


If you go to Sweden you will soon realise that we have a great variety of baked goods, and that there is a bakery in almost every corner. A lot of our traditional pastries and cakes are very similar to French, Italian, German and English pastries, but there is a few things that we Swedes proudly brag about being so very Swedish and original, and buns are certainly one of them. What might surprise many people is the generous amount of spices used to flavour these pastries. The use of spices such as cardamom and cinnamon goes back to the 1600's when the export of spices increased and therefor made it possible for the less fortunate people get their hands on them. It used to be only the royalty who could afford such treats as spices of this kind.

The bun itself has been made since around 1950, when ingredients like butter, white flour and sugar became cheaper and the Swedish people became richer. The traditional bun is a sort of brioche-like dough flavoured with cinnamon, butter and sugar, rolled out to the classical swirl shape. The bun is for us Swedes what a croissant is for the French; an essential part of our food culture. There is even a day for the cinnamon bun, the 4th of October, and that very day will be honoured with bun baking here in my cottage in Dublin.

Today there is endless variations and one of my personal favourites is the cardamom bun, mainly because I love cardamom but also because instead of the pearl sugar, usually used for decoration, this kind of bun is brushed with melted butter after baked and then dipped in caster sugar.


50 grams fresh yeast
500ml milk
150grams butter
85 grams caster sugar
1tsp salt
900 grams plain flour
1tsp cardamom, ground


100grams butter, room temperature
80grams caster sugar
2tbsp cardamom, ground


1 egg
25 grams butter
caster sugar

Melt butter in a pan and add milk, let it be luke warm. Add the butter and milk to the yeast in a large bowl and mix until the yeast has dissolved. Add sugar, salt and cardamom. Add 2/3 of the flour, mix into a paste. Gradually add more flour while working the paste into a dough, you might not need all flour, the dough is good when it is elastic and easy to work. Let prove under a cloth until it has doubled in size.

Gently knead the dough on a floured surface. Divide into 2 pieces. Roll out to big squares about 2cm thick. Spread the butter evenly over the dough, sprinkle with sugar and cardamom. You can either roll together like a swiss roll and cut into little swirls, or fold once and cut into strips that you twist around little swirly braids. Let rise for about 30min on a baking tray on baking paper or in muffins paper cups.

Brush with beaten egg and bake for 8-10min on 220C.

When cooled down brush with melted butter and dip in caster sugar.