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 dried 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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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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Saint Lucia's Day – Swedish Saffron Buns

Swedish Saffron Buns :: my blue&white kitchen

I should be writing my Master's thesis but instead I want to talk about Saint Lucia's Day and saffron buns. They are just too luscious not to blog about.

Swedish Saffron Buns :: my blue&white kitchen
Swedish Saffron Buns :: my blue&white kitchen

Saint Lucia's Day is celebrated in Scandinavia on December 13. In Finland, it's mostly celebrated among the Swedish-speaking Finns. Although we have never really celebrated Saint Lucia's at home, I've always loved this church feast day.

Swedish Saffron Buns :: my blue&white kitchen

Every year on Saint Lucia's Day pupils from my city's Swedish school came to our school. A girl, Lucia, led the beautiful procession of young girls dressed in white gowns holding a single candle each. She wore a white cotton gown and a red sash was tied around her waist. On her head, she wore a crown of candles and in her hands she held a single candle. And all along they sang this beautiful song, luciasången.

"Natten går tunga fjät,
runt gård och stuva,
Kring jord som sol'n förlät,
skuggorna ruva.
Då i vårt mörka hus,
stiger med tända ljus,
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia"

"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."

According to the Julian calendar this was the longest night of the year. Lucia was believed to bring the light into the winter darkness.

Swedish Saffron Buns :: my blue&white kitchen

The other reason why I loved this day was, and still is, food. Saffron buns to be exact. Luscious with a gorgeous yellow color coming in many different traditional shapes. They are rich and sweet, spiced with saffron. Let me warn you – if you don't like saffron then these buns aren't for you. They are best enjoyed with a cup of coffee, mulled wine, or a big glass of cold milk. So good.

So next Friday, it's Saint Lucia's Day. Will you bake saffron buns with me?

Swedish Saffron Buns :: my blue&white kitchen

Swedish Saffron Buns – 'Lussekatter'

makes about 20 lussekatter
adapted from Monikas Jul by Monika Ahlgren, p. 155

I made lussekatter, buns formed into a S-shape, but as I already mentioned there are many different shapes for these traditional buns. This is the first time I made buns using this two-dough-method. I read about it in Monika Ahlgren's cookbook and was eager to try it. Don't be afraid to make two doughs! It's neither more work nor does it take more time to make. Thanks to this method the buns rose especially well!

Dough 1
50 g (
~ 3.5 tbsp) unsalted butter
5 dl (
2 cups; 17 fl oz) whole milk
50 g (1.7 oz) fresh yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
12–13 dl (
760–825 g; 5–5 ½ cups; 27–29 oz) bread flour (for us Scandinavians vetemjöl special)

Dough 2
1 g saffron
1 tsp granulated sugar
125 g (4
½ oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 dl (170 g; 0.8 cups; 6 oz) granulated sugar
1 egg (M) 
5 dl (320 g; 2 cups; 11 oz) bread flour (for us Scandinavians vetemjöl special

1 egg, lightly beaten, to brush
small handful of raisins, for decorating

Dough 1
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and flour. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the milk. Wait until the milk mixture is lukewarm and add the crumbled yeast. With a spoon, stir until the yeast is completely dissolved.

Transfer the milk mixture into a large mixing bowl (you can make the dough by hand, like me, or in a stand mixer). Gradually add the dry ingredients and knead the dough until it comes clean off the sides of the bowl. Don't overwork the dough! Shape into a ball and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour.


Dough 2
In a mortar, grind the saffron threads to a fine powder with one teaspoon of sugar. This will make the grinding easier. However, if you use grinded saffron, which I don't recommend, you can skip this step. In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and grinded saffron.

Combine the two doughs. Gradually add the flour while kneading. First it will look like a big mess but will come together eventually. Knead until well combined and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Shaping the buns
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into 40 x 1,5 cm ropes. To shape the lussekatter: roll both ends of each rope tight in opposite directions into a S-shape. Place the buns on the baking sheets. Remember to leave enough space between the buns to allow for them to expand. Cover the shaped buns with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 225°C (435°F).

Brush the buns with a lightly beaten egg and place one raisin in each circle. Bake the buns for 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown in color. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

The buns are best enjoyed the same day!

I think this short video from the official sites of Sweden is quite informative and fun to watch.


Let the Christmas Baking Begin – German Hazelnut Macaroons

my blue&white kitchen

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.

– Edith Sitwell

The first of December. The land was covered in snow and the sun shone in all its glory. It shone so bright that I had a hard time to see the road as I drove to work (read: hazard driving). "What a perfect start for this exciting month!", I thought to myself.

December will be filled with all sorts of cookies – some will be traditional, like these ones, while others will be more on the experimental side. Baking will be inevitable – fresh yeast will be sitting in my fridge on a regular basis. There is also a big chance you will be served a pot of meat stew if you happen to stop by. As you see, it's all about flour in your hair, the smell of cinnamon & cardamom in the air, and joyous moments of creating and recreating memories.

German Hazelnut Macaroons :: my blue&white kitchen
German Hazelnut Macaroons :: my blue&white kitchen

This is a traditional German Christmas cookie recipe. I make several batches every year. They are absolutely delicious and quick to make. How flat or fluffy your cookies will come out, depends on how long you whip your meringue. I usually whip the egg whites and sugar for 4 to 5 minutes. This way the cookies will be fluffy but the top will even out as it bakes.

I would love to hear what you are baking for the holiday season. So please, leave a comment!

(I made these for a special someone. But SHHHH, he/she doesn't have a clue yet. It's supposed to be a surprise.)

German Hazelnut Macaroons

slightly adapted from Ruokaposti 8/1985
makes about 20 cookies

160 g (5.6 oz) hazelnut flour (I grind mine from whole, unblanched hazelnuts)
2 egg whites (M)
130 g (4.6 oz; 1 ½ dl; 0.6 cups) granulated sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

whole hazelnuts, for decorating

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°C). Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together both flours and baking powder. Set aside.

Place the egg whites and sugar in a clean & dry medium-sized bowl. Whip on full speed or until stiff. With a stand mixer this takes 4 to 5 minutes. With a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients.

With the help of two spoons, portion the macaroons on the lined baking tray. Top each one with a whole hazelnut. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. The macaroons should now still be light in color and the center slightly soft to the touch (they will get firm as they cool down). Take them out and let cool completely. The macaroons can be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 weeks.

German Hazelnut Macaroons :: my blue&white kitchen

 I wish you all HAPPY COOKIE BAKING!