The Recipe I Had To Share – Rose Pistachio Shortbread

Rose Pistachio Shortbread | My Blue&White Kitchen

I didn't actually plan this to happen. Maybe you think "but she already posted a cookie recipe a few weeks ago!". Well, I can't blame you. This is probably considered "bad food blogging" to some standards, as a nice mix of different kinds of recipes is seen as being the ideal. However, as I'm not really organized when it comes to blogging at the moment (Will there be a post next week? What will it be about? Guys, I have no idea.), you're going to see what's going on in my kitchen anyway, blog or not. As it's December and holiday season, it's mostly sweet things, such as cookies. Okay, and pomegranate seeds in my morning yogurt but that's another story.

At 9pm last week, I suddenly got the urge to bake a batch of rose shortbread. You know when inspiration hits and there's just no way you could resist running into your kitchen? That happens every now and then, or at least it does happen to me. I was inspired by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks and Ashley of Gather & Feast who both blogged about rose shortbread a while ago. As I was making the dough, the idea of adding pistachios crossed my mind (probably cause I'm a sucker for Aran Goyoaga's Pistachio Sandies; a must-bake). First, I planned to make only round cookies, but that tiny dalahäst cookie cutter wanted to play along as well so I let him. He's just too cute, right?

I still wasn't completely sure whether I would blog about these beauties or not, but after getting rave reviews from a bunch of wonderful women at my most favorite yarn store, I knew I had no choice. It would be madness to keep you in the dark.

These are lovely for the holiday season but they would also be wonderful to serve at a wedding or a baby shower. Please note that the scent, strength, and quality of rosewater varies depending on which brand you use. If in doubt, start by adding only two thirds of the amount of rose water the recipe calls for, taste, and add more if necessary. The flavor should be present but not overwhelming. For these cookies, I used Steenbergs organic rose water.

Hope you're all having a wonderful and not too stressful pre-Christmas week!


Rose Pistachio Shortbread

makes 3 to 4 sheets, depending on the size of your cookies

300 g (5 ½ dl; 2 ⅓ cups) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
200 g (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
100 g (1 dl + 1 tbsp; ½ cup) granulated sugar
1 egg (European size M; U.S. size L)
1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1 tbsp rose water
1 tbsp rose petals + more for sprinkling
45 g (¼ cup) pistachios, roughly chopped


In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl if necessary. Add the vanilla and rose water and mix. Add flour and mix until just combined. Finally, add the rose petals and pistachios. The dough will feel quite sticky, but resist the temptation to add more flour, as this would result in hard shortbread. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll out the dough to about 0,5 cm / 0.2" thick. Cut out the shortbread using a cookie cutter of your choice. Place onto the prepared baking sheets. Should the dough get too warm, put it back to the fridge for a while, as it's easiest to work with a well chilled dough. Sprinkle with rose petals.

Bake on the middle rack for 10 to 15 minutes or until they start to get golden brown around the edges. Should you bake shortbread of different sizes at the same time, be sure to take out the smaller ones earlier. Remove from the oven. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let cool completely before storing in a tin box or a jar.


Rose Pistachio Shortbread | My Blue&White Kitchen

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Saint Lucia's Day – Saffron Knots with Orange Almond Filling for Life & Thyme

Saffron Knots with Orange Almond Filling | My Blue&White Kitchen

December is a month packed full with holidays and traditions, especially in the Nordic countries. Last Saturday, we celebrated Finland's Independence Day, one of the most festive days of the year. I made rack of lamb with roasted Provençal vegetables (haha, totally neither Finnish nor Nordic but delicious). For dessert, I made a vanilla parfait with roasted cinnamon plum sauce and gingerbread. The parfait was really nice but a tad too sweet for my taste; it need a few tweaks before it's ready to be shared.

Next Saturday, December 13, is Saint Lucia's Day. It's mainly celebrated by the Swedish-speaking community but few can escape the lovely sound of the Lucia song or the luscious saffron buns. And let's be honest: every occasion that brings some joy and light into these dark Nordic winter days is more than welcome. Saint Lucia's Day is the very essence of that; according to the Julian calendar it was the longest night of the year. Lucia, the girl wearing a white cotton gown with a red sash tied around her waist and a crown made of lingonberry twigs, was believed to bring the light into the winter darkness.


"The night treads heavily
around yards and dwellings
In places unreached by sun,
the shadows brood
Into our dark house she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia."

 

So when I was asked to contribute a holiday recipe to Life & Thyme, I knew I had to share a Saint Lucia's Day treat. As I already shared the traditional saffron buns last year, I decided to create a new version of the old classic. I used the basic Nordic cardamom-spiced bun dough but used saffron instead of cardamom. I decided to fill the saffron buns with a delicious orange almond filling and shape them into knots. The result was everything I could have asked for, or to be honest, it was even better. The orange flavor works wonderfully with the saffron and the filling makes these knots a treat made in the Nordic winter heaven.

You can read the recipe on Life & Thyme where I also share how I'm spending my Christmas. One word: unplug.

Should you be interested in Saint Lucia's Day and how it's celebrated here in the Nordic countries, I recommend watching the fun and informative video on the official sites of Sweden.

Happy baking!


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Winter Wreath Making

Last week, I made my very own wreath. It was surprisingly easy and quick to make, and I really enjoyed the process of gathering the greens from the forest and turning them into something else, something new. A winter wreath.

To make your own wreath, you need sturdy, green wire. You can also use a wire frame and attach the greens with additional wire. Scissors make the work easier; regular, sharp scissors work fine but I think I'll get floral shears soon. Especially so, as I was at Virpi Mikkonen's (the creative soul behind Vanelja) book launch party yesterday where we not only ate a bunch of delicious treats from her absolutely gorgeous book Kiitos Hyvää but also learned about flower arranging from the talented Hennamari Asunta. Gloves would protect your hands, especially if you work with greens that have needles or thorns. Naturally, you also need greens, preferably evergreen. I gathered lingonberry and fir twigs from the forest and bought a rose hip branch from a florist. For hanging, you need ribbon or twine.

First, you form a sturdy round from the wire. You can skip this step should you use a premade wire frame. Gather a small bundle of greens. Attach it to the wire frame by wrapping wire around the stems and wire frame. Don't cut the wire. Add another bundle and make sure that it overlaps the previous bundle by half. Continue until you reach the starting point. Finally, attach the berry branches. 

I made this wreath having St. Lucia's Day on my mind which is celebrated on December 13 (I wrote about it last year). Next week, I'll share a luscious saffron knot recipe with you all so stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!


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November Love&Inspiration

My Blue&White Kitchen

Happy Advent Sunday, folks! November was full of delicious links, good music, and thoughtful posts. Below, you'll find some of my very favorites. I'm currently working on something special for next week and turning the quinces I brought with me from Spain into luscious membrillo. This is my first time working with quinces so wish me luck!

Some exciting things I would like to mention: the Almond Cookies with Amaretto were featured on Food52's 8 Food Blog Links We Love this week. And for all my German-speaking readers: I had the honor to be featured on Zeitmagazin's weekly Sonntagsessen series today. Hope you enjoy! 


» Obsessed with these two songs (both discover via Turntable Kitchen).

» This Chocolate Chestnut Cake from Skye is on my to-bake list. 

» Belén's Raspberry Cream with Buckwheat Crispies reminds me of Whipped Lingonberry Porridge which I made again a few weeks ago.

» Molly making lefse (traditional Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes and flour) for the New York Times!!! One word: epic.

» These Gingerbread Bundt Cake pictures from Linda Lomelino are insane! Pure beauty. I also loved this interview on Coco Cake Land. Nordic melancholy? Yes.

» So glad I stumbled upon Gather & Feast, a lovely Melbourne-based blog!

» This Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread is just killing me! (And I'm definitely not going to start on how awesome the elk story is...)

» Maintaining a Long-term Blog

» How haven't I known that Pumpkin Butter is a thing? Awesome!

» What a gorgeous Persimmon & Pomegranate Salad with Burrata

» Whole Grain Coconut Oil Pie Crust, y'all!

» I need these boots.

» Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pumpkin Seed Dukkah – what a genius recipe and top-notch photography!

» This Chai Masala Pumpkin Pie with Black Tea Caramel is probably the most gorgeous pie I've ever seen.

» The post that made my day

» Malted Apple Tarte Tatin and Poached Pears with Pecan Granola 

» Meg made Baked Oatmeal inspired by the recipe I blogged about last winter! 

» I'm OBSESSED with the Serial podcast.

» Caramelized Fennel Bulbs with Goat Cheese 

» He has all my respect. Also, can't wait to get my hands on his book, Hand Made Baking!

» Can't wait to bake this Savory Feta Cheese & Kalamata Olive Cake from Foolproof Living!

» Omg, omg, omg! The new Star Wars trailer!

» Made Beth's luscious Soft & Sweet Buttermilk Bread as well as Spicy Butternut Squash & Chickpea Stew from Amy Chaplin's At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. These recipes are keepers!

 

>>><<<

And for all of you who, like me, still haven't got any Christmas presents yet, a reminder: with the promo code LOVEBLUE&WHITE you get 15% off from all STITCH products until January 31th! 


Mama goat & baby goat(<3) or how I got traumatized
watching a goat giving birth.


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Christmas Baking Kickoff – Almond Cookies with Amaretto

Almond Cookies with Amaretto | My Blue&White Kitchen

Today, I'm going to be a real European and ignore Thanksgiving altogether. Let's move right to Christmas and Christmas cookies, shall we? Because the truth is that after you've stuffed your face with turkey and pumpkin pie, you'll need to focus on Christmas. Next Sunday is Advent Sunday so one is officially allowed to be crazy excited about Christmas. [Okay, some of you may have started a bit earlier. Yeah, including yours truly.] For me, getting into Christmas mood means to drink glögg, Scandinavian mulled wine, on a daily basis, write Christmas cards, and bake Christmas cookies. Lots of cookies that is.

For several weeks each year, my kitchen turns into a kingdom of flour, butter, sugar, and nuts. I have a pretty long list of cookies I have to bake every. single. year., including numerous from delicious:days as well as old family favorites. For a cookie recipe to be included into my yearly repertoire, it has to be outstanding. One that you just can't get enough of. One that people fight over to get the last one from the tin box. Folks, I just found a new one.

These almond cookies are to die for. Seriously. I gave a bunch of them to people to see if it was just me who couldn't get enough of these treats (okay, just wanted to share the love). It's probably needless to say that these cookies got rave reviews. My favorite was from my dad stating in a matter-of-fact voice "You're going to bake more of these for Christmas, right?". Right.

The recipe is from Steph's debut cookbook, Easy Gourmet. Most of you probably know her. She's the creative soul behind i am a food blog. The one who puts miso in her mashed potatoes and makes ridiculously cute Totoro grilled cheese (that your friend sends you images of via WhatsApp and you reply with a Totoro cake pic). She also happened to be Saveur Magazine's 2014 Editor's Choice for Best Cooking Blog AND Blog of the Year. Oh and did I already mention that she's one of the sweetest persons I've made friends with on the internet? Yeah, that's Steph.

Easy Gourmet is like i am a food blog but on paper. Steph made an incredible job with this book; she not only developed, cooked, and shot all the recipes but also did the layout as well! 100% her; 100% real. The book is full of tasty and approachable recipes. You can find classics, such as Paella, Porchetta, and Pavlova, but also recipes with a modern, Steph-ish twist, such as Bone Marrow Pasta, French Onion Grilled Cheese, and Lemon Meringue S'Mores. A book for kitchen witches and wizards as well as for those ones who want to become one.

These cookies are full of almondy goodness; crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. The original recipe calls for 1 tsp almond extract but because I didn't have any at hand and because booze in baked goods is always a good idea, I used amaretto instead. Also, I belong to the range of people who love their cookies topped with flaky sea salt, so I just couldn't resist sprinkling some on top of these ones as well. I also want to mention that if you are one of those people lucky enough to live in a region free of salmonella in eggs (me!) or just aren't afraid of salmonella, then be sure to grab a spoon and dig it deep into the dough before shaping any cookies. The dough tastes excellent (also an important criteria for any great cookie recipe). I may or may not have eaten a fair share of the dough before and during the process of shaping cookies. Call me cookie dough monster.

Enjoy.


Almond Cookies with Amaretto

slightly adapted from Easy Gourmet by Stephanie Le, p. 218
makes 18 cookies

140 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour 
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine sea salt
114 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
100 g (½ cup) granulated sugar
110 g (½ cup) light muscovado sugar
115 g (1 cup) almond flour
1 egg (European size M; U.S. size L)
1 tbsp amaretto liqueur
100 g (1 cup) almonds, roughly chopped
50 g (½ cup) sliced almonds
flaky sea salt, to sprinkle

powdered sugar, to decorate


Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. With a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugars, and almond flour until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Stir in the amaretto liqueur. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Finally, add the chopped almonds. At this point, the dough will be quite soft but should be easy to work with.

Scoop up 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and flaky sea salt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Chilling the cookies before baking will keep them from spreading too much during baking.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Bake on the middle rack for about 12 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown but the center still feels slightly soft to the touch. Cool on the sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. To finish, dust with powdered sugar.


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