Hazelnut praline paste

It’s creamy, luscious, sweet with a nutty side… Without further ado, let me introduce you to my homemade hazelnut praline paste. Traditionally, praline is caramelized nuts- usually hazelnuts and almonds-pulverized and turned into a paste.

I won’t lie, it’s my first attempt and it was successful! It’s so easy to make, with only a few ingredients. I prefer buying hazelnuts raw and roasting them myself. I love it when roasted hazelnuts release their aromas! The key is to do not burn the caramel. When burned, caramel has that nasty bitter flavor, that I’m pretty much sure nobody likes.

If you want your praline paste to be successful, the key is to be patient with caramel, do not stir it and do not burn it! When burned, caramel has that nasty bitter flavor, that I’m pretty much sure nobody likes.

 

 

caramelized hazelnuts

hazelnuts

pan hazelnut praline

 

 


Hazelnut praline paste

Servings: 8              Cooking time: 30 minutes             Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • teaspoons vegetable oil
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Place hazelnuts in a sheet pan

  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until hazelnuts becomes aromatic and skin begins to break.

  4. Remove from oven and place the hazelnuts on a clean kitchen towel. Rub the hazelnuts together to remove the skin from them. Set aside.

  5. Place sugar and water in a pan over medium-low heat. Do not stir. When sugar starts turning an amber color and turns into caramel, add the hazelnuts and whirl the pan around so hazelnuts get coated in the caramel. DO NOT OVERCOOK CARAMEL!

  6. Place this mixture on a Silpat or a parchment lined sheet pan. Spread it with a spoon until hazelnuts are all in a single layer and cool down for 2-3 hours.

  7. When mixture hardens and cools, break it into little pieces.

  8. Place pieces in a food processor or blender. Process until the mixture turns into a paste. If the mixture does not come together, add the vegetable oil.

  9. Pour this mixture into a jar. If can be used right away, frozen or refrigerated.


     Σπιτική πραλίνα φουντουκιού

praline4

Στη ζαχαροπλαστική με τη λέξη πραλίνα αναφερόμαστε στους καραμελωμένους ξηρούς καρπούς –συνήθως φουντούκια ή αμύγδαλα– που αλέθονται έπειτα στο μπλέντερ για να γίνουν κρέμα.

Μερίδες: 8             Χρόνος ψησίματος: 30 λεπτά          Βαθμός δυσκολίας: εύκολο

ΥΛΙΚΑ:

  • 3 κούπες ωμά φουντούκια
  • 1 1/2 κούπες κρυσταλλική ζάχαρη
  • 3 κουταλιές της σούπας νερό
  • 2 κουταλάκια του γλυκού ηλιέλαιο ή καλαμποκέλαιο

ΕΚΤΕΛΕΣΗ:

  1. Προθερμαίνουμε τον φούρνο στους 180 βαθμούς.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Βάζουμε τα φουντούκια σε ένα ταψί και ψήνουμε για 15-20 λεπτά ή μέχρι τα φουντούκια βγάλουν τα αρώματα τους και η φλούδα αρχίζει να σπάει.
  3. Τα βγάζουμε από το φούρνο και τα τοποθετούμε σε μια καθαρή πετσέτα κουζίνας, τρίβουμε τα φουντούκια μεταξύ τους και αφαιρούμε τη φλούδα. Τα αφήνουμε στην άκρη.
  4. Σε ένα αντικολλητικό τηγάνι, σε χαμηλή προς μέτρια θερμοκρασία, βάζουμε τη ζάχαρη με το νερό. Δεν ανακατεύουμε. όταν η ζάχαρη αρχίζει να παίρνει χρυσο προς καραμελένιο χρώμα, προσθέτουμε τα φουντούκια και κουνάμε το τηγάνι έτσι ώστε να καλυφθούν τα φουντούκια με την καραμέλα. ΠΡΟΣΟΧΗ ΜΗΝ ΚΑΕΙ Η ΚΑΡΑΜΕΛΑ!
  5. Τοποθετούμε το μείγμα σε αντικολλητικό χαρτί και με ένα κουτάλι το απλώνουμε παντού και το αφήνουμε να κρυώσει για  2-3 ώρες.
  6. Όταν το μείγμα σκληρύνει και κρυώσει, σπάστε το σε μικρά όσο γίνεται κομμάτια.
  7. Βάλτε τα στο μπλέντερ ή  food processor. Αρχίστε να πολτοποιείτε το μείγμα,αν δείτε πως δν δένει, προσθέστουμε το λάδι σιγά σιγά.
  8. Βάλτε το σε αποστειρωμένα βαζάκια και η πραλίνα σας είναι έτοιμη.
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Fountoukopita-Chocolate syrup soaked hazelnut cake

Today’s  cake  is part of my childhood memories. The original cake is a spiced walnut cake soaked in syrup,so delicious. My mom though adds some chocolate in the syrup and it gets so irresistible!

Today we take  a traditional Greek walnut cake and kick it up a notch! I substitute walnuts with hazelnuts and the results were heavenly. Fluffy,moist hazelnut cake soaked in chocolate syrup,promised to satisfy the pickiest taste buds! Do not fear the sugar,is really well balanced and isn’t overwhelming at all.

 

panoramic-hazelnut

cake-haze

hazelnut-cake-slice

 


FOUNTOUKOPITA-CHOCOLATE SYRUP SOAKED HAZELNUT CAKE

Yield: 12 servings           Cooking time: 35-40 minutes         Difficulty:easy

For the cake

  • 7 oz (200 grams) unsalted  butter,soften
  • 1 cup of sugar.
  • 5 eggs,room temperature and separated yolks from egg whites
  • 2 cups finely ground hazelnuts
  • 1/2  cup GF bread crumbs.
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour for baking
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup cognac or rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the syrup:

  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate

DIRECTIONS:

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350 F.  Grease with butter a bundt cake or a 10x 10 inch cake pan and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer,beat the egg whites until a steady peaks appear. Refrigerate  until needed.
  3. In a small bowl add the dry ingredients:flour,bread crumbs,baking powder,salt,hazelnuts. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl,beat with a hand mixer butter and sugar,until pale and creamy.
  5. Add the egg yolks and beat in medium speed until yolks well-incorporated.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in the batter and beat until dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
  7. Add  rum and beat for a minute.
  8. Take the beaten egg whites from the fridge and add 1/3 at a time and fold with a rubber spatula.,gently.
  9. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

While is baking,make your syrup:

  1. Simply,add all syrup ingredients and let it simmer in a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until thickens slightly. Let it cool down completely.
  2. When your cake is ready and piping hot,straight from the oven pour cold chocolate syrup on top and let it sit until cools down. Cake will  absorb syrup.

TIPS: 

  • We need cold syrup and hot cake or cooled cake and hot syrup
  • You can keep the remaining chocolate syrup,and add it in your kid’s milk, your coffee or your pancakes!

ΦΟΥΝΤΟΥΚΟΠΙΤΑ ΜΕ ΣΙΡΟΠΙ ΣΟΚΟΛΑΤΑΣ

Μερίδες:12             Χρόνος ψησίματος: 35-40 λεπτά            Βαθμός δυσκολίας: εύκολο

Μία οικογενειακή συνταγή καρυδόπιτας ,με μια μικρή παραλλαγή. Αφράτο,μαλακό, με ισορροπημένη γεύση. Δε θα μπορείτε να αντισταθείτε!

choco-haze-slice

ΥΛΙΚΑ:

  • 200 γραμ. βούτυρο,μαλακό σε θερμοκρασία δωματίου
  • 1 κούπα ζάχαρη κρυσταλλική
  • 5 αυγα,χωρισμένοι οι κρόκοι από τα ασπράδια
  • 2 κούπες φουντούκι,τριμμένο
  • 1/2 cup τριμμένη φρυγανιά χωρίς γλουτένη
  • 1/2 κούπα αλεύρι ζαχαροπλαστικής χωρίς γλουτένη
  • 1 κουταλιά της σούπας μπέικιν πάουντερ
  • 1/2 κουταλάκι του γλυκού μπέικιν σόδα
  • ξύσμα από ένα πορτοκάλι
  • 1/2 κούπα ρούμι ή κονιάκ
  • 1 κουταλάκι του γλυκού εκχύλισμα βανίλιαςΓια το σιρόπι:
  • 3 κούπες νερό
  • 2 κούπες ζάχαρη κρυσταλλική
  • 2/3 σκούρα κουβερτούρα

ΕΚΤΕΛΕΣΗ:

  1. Προθερμαίνουμε το φούρνο στους 180 βαθμούς. Βουτυρώνουμε καλά ενα ταψί και το αφήνουμε στην άκρη.
  2. Χτυπάμε τα σπράδια μαρέγκα και βάζουμε το μπωλ στο ψυγειο.
  3. Σε ένα μικρο μπωλ ανακατεύουμε τα ξηρά υλικά: αλεύρι,τριμμένη φρυγανιά,μπέικιν πάουντερ,μπέικιν σόδα,αλάτι και φουντούκια. Αφήστε το στην άκρη.
  4. Σε ένα μεσαίο μπωλ,χτυπάμε σε μεσαία ταχύτητα με το μίξερ χειρός το βούτυρο και τη ζάχαρη,μέχρι να έχουμε ένα αφράτο μείγμα και ελαφρά κρεμώδες.
  5. Προσθέτουμε τους κρόκους και συνεχίζουμε το χτύπημα μέχρι οι κρόκοι να ομογενοποιηθούν.
  6. Έπειτα,προσθέστε τα ξηρά υλικά στο μείγμα και συνεχίστε το χτύπημα για 1 με 2 λεπτά.
  7. Προσθέστε το ρούμι,τη βανίλια και το ξύσμα.
  8. Με μία ελαστική σπάτουλα,προσθέτουμε 1 ⁄ 3 κάθε φορά το μείγμα της μαρέγκας και ανακατέψτε ελαφρά από κάτω προς τα πάνω.
  9. Βάλτε το μείγμα στο βουτυρωμένο ταψί και ψήστε για 35-40 λεπτά.

Όσο ψήνετε,φτιάξτε το σιρόπι:

Πολύ απλά βάλτε όλα τα υλικά για το σιρόπι σε ,μία βαθειά κατσαρόλα και αφήστε το να σιγοβράσει σε μέτρια φωτιά για 10 με 15 λεπτά,μέχρι το σιρόπι να γίνει ελαφρώς παχύρευστο.Αφήστε το να κρυώσει εντελώς.
Όταν το κέικ σας είναι ετοιμο και καυτό από το φούρνο,περιχύστε σιγά σιγά το σιρόπι. Αφήστε το να απορροφήσει όλο το σιρόπι.
TIPS:

  • Χρειαζόμαστε κρύο σιρόπι και καυτό κέικ ή καυτό σιρόπι και κρύο κέικ. 
  • Μπορείτε να κρατήσετε το περισσευάμενο σοκολατένιο σιρόπι για τις τηγανίτες,τις βάφλες,στο γάλα των παιδιών,ακόμα και στον καφέ σας!

Homemade nutella. (vegan,gluten free and sugar free)

nutella 2Cacao,vanilla and sugar. We all know they taste good. But what is more important is,how to make something scrumptious,sweet,luscious with the richness of the cacao and the beautiful aromas of the vanilla. A real temptation! Something,though,not overloaded with sugar and packed with calories. Well,that now has become a challenge!

As a kid, I have always loved chocolate hazelnut spread,cookies,cake and cheesecake,and as an adult,too! Who doesn’t?You see,chocolate is so addictive,it can be eaten as breakfast,brunch,lunch,dinner.

Growing up as a Greek, they are a lot of traditions to follow and some of those are making cookies for every occasion and celebration,baklava,syrupy cakes because it’s most likely an unwritten law. “You can’t pay a visit without buying something sweet or making it!” It’s preposterous! Cooking with heart and soul! That’s my heritage and my prerogative…The warm hospitality someone can offer you…

I have a crystal-clear memory of sneaking in the kitchen,enjoying secretly and silently a jar of a chocolate hazelnut spread,with my always loyal and foodie partner in crime,my little brother… Of course,few times we got caught by our mother. There has always been a lot of hidden sweets in our house. But our mother,was making us either a cake or baking cookies,tarts and sweet pies,without to much sugar. Wherever she could,she was substituting sugar with pure honey,an ingredient full of protein and vitamins.

An irresistible healthy version of chocolate hazelnut spread! The presence of hazelnuts and cocoa is profound, and cohesive.

 

Prep time:10 minutes

serves: 2 cups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ½ cups hazelnut,roasted
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cacao powder
  • ¼ cup date syrup,or pureed dates,or 1 1/2 teaspoon Stevia powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk.

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a food processor or a high speed blender,add the hazelnuts. Blend until the hazelnut has become a smooth butter.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor or blender,and blend until it turns into a smooth spread.
  3. You may need to add more milk,to get that spread consistency.
  4. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

sugar free nutella


Financier apple-pear tart

Yesterday,we bought  some juicy fruits and of course I wanted to make a dessert with them! While I was thinking what kind of tart should I make,I remembered a Greek food magazine my mother left me months ago,with apple pies. This magazine has some great apple pies from around the world, so I made this one from France. Vive la France!

This tart is like tart tatin..very delicious,simple and moist!

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 3 big golden apples
  • 2 bosc pears
  • 100 gr. unsalted butter
  • 100 gr. brown sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • juice from one lemon

For the Financier cake:

  • 100 gr. almond flour
  • 120 gr. brown sugar
  • 100 gr. GF all purpose flour
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. GF baking powder
  • orange zest
  • 120 gr. unsalted butter,melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. rum (optional)

For the garnish:

  • 100 gr. walnuts
  • 100 gr. hazelnuts,toasted
  • 30 ml. water

How to make it:

Preheat the oven at 350 F.

Take a 9 inch cake mold or a pan and grease it with a butter.

Sprinkle the brown sugar. Peel and cut the apples and pears about 1/2 inch thick. I add Bosc pears,because there are sweeter than the other pears. But you can put any kind you want.

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In a medium bowl dissolve the cinnamon in the lemon juice and mix the fruits. Then spread them in the cake mold.

Make the cake: In a big bowl mix all the ingredients together except the butter. Whisk well,till the batter is smooth. In the end add the butter and pour it  into the cake mold.image

Bake for 30 minutes. When is done let it cool  first for 15-20 minutes.

Make the garnish: In a small sauce pan add the sugar and water. When it comes to a boil add the toasted hazelnuts  and walnuts. Mix well,in a medium heat,till the hazelnuts and walnuts caramelize.

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Flip the apple-pear tart and  add the caramelized hazelnuts and walnuts on the top.

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* You can keep it in the fridge 3-4 days.

The tart is just heavenly tasty! The orange zest with the fruits make the tart so light! The cake is moist and light! Enjoy!

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Mini white chocolate-coconut and mocha brownies

imageIt’s been almost a week since the last time I made a dessert and I think it’s time for one of the most luscious and sinful desserts!

I was trying to make a white chocolate brownie,but I couldn’t find the recipe that I like. Finally, I found this recipe and of course,I made few modifications…!

We’ll need:

  • 6 oz white chocolate
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose GF flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts,chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut,toasted.
  • zest from one lemon

How we make it:

Preheat oven at 350 F

Grease a 8x8x2 inch pan,or do as I did. Grease a mini muffin tin.

In a heavy saucepan,melt the chocolate with the butter,in a medium high heat. Stir well.When is melted,set aside and let it cool for 10 minutes.

Add the eggs and the sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon and then add the flour,the zest,the vanilla extract and the chopped hazelnuts.

For the white mocha brownies,simply add 1 tsp of instant coffee in

Add extra hazelnuts on the top and the toasted coconut.

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Pour the mixture into the pan or muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes. If you’ll bake it in a pan it needs 25 minutes. If  you’ll bake it in a muffin tin you’ll need 15 minutes.

The taste is unbelievably amazing! White chocolate does not overpower the other ingredients. The lemon zest freshens up the whole brownie! You should try this!

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Lemon glazed apricot cake

Happy Friday everyone! Finally, Friday has come and I’m always excited when that day comes because Anna and I can have daddy with us! He’s working really hard and weekends he’s only ours!

Yesterday I bought some organic apricots,really juicy and the aroma was so perfect that I couldn’t resist not to make a nice cake! So, I found this really nice recipe and as usual I made few modifications.

So here we go:

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown  sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon Amaretto
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup GF all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup diced fresh apricot (or dry apricot soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)
  • 3-4  dried figs(optional)

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut extract

chopped hazelnuts for garnish

Heat the oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl cream together the butter and sugar until well combined and creamy.

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Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla and Amaretto.

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To the butter/sugar mixture add all at once the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth.  Fold in the chopped apricots and figs.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35  minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan.   After 30 minutes you may need to loosely cover the top of the cake with foil to prevent over-browning.   Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the cake out into a wire rack to cool completely.

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For the glaze:

Mix together all the ingredients for the glaze.

When the cake is cool,pour the glaze over the top and decorate it with some hazelnuts.

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It’s so moist and not overly sweet. The lemon glaze balances the sweetness. Is just perfect!!!

 


Biscotti with Amaretto and apricots

Today,Anna had play date with her friend Luke! She was so happy,cheering,screaming from joy and sharing her toys!Kids had really good time! Moms,too!Drinking coffee with Jelena ,chatting and chasing the little ones!

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Of course,coffee without cookie is impossible…! Jelena’s trying  not to eat sweets,unlike me!I tried to make something with low sugar and easy. And biscotti came on my mind…!I’ve never made before,and without knowing the process,I thought that it was difficult to make.But I was wrong…Is one of the most easiest recipes,you can combine different flavors! So I made a lemony Amaretto biscotti with dried apricots and hazelnuts. I found the recipe from Giada De Laurentiis,but I made some modifications.

  • 2 cups GF all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Amaretto
  • 3/4 coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest,amaretto  and salt in a large bowl to blend.Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the hazelnuts and apricots.

biscotti

Form the dough into  a long log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes.Let it  cool for 30 minutes. Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

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Enjoy!!

 


Carrot balls with hazelnuts

This week,I was in a chocolate withdraw,just to test myself if I can resist and it works..so far!! I really love chocolate,but I also want to eat something less fatty,as much as I can!  The ideas were coming and go,and I couldn’t find something to satisfy my palate.  Last week, I found a recipe with not so much sugar,healthier than I usually make and very delightful..!To be honest,I was a little bit  skeptical and hesitant about this recipe,but it turned out to be very delicious!

I made this carrot balls,of course,I made some modifications like I always do!

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What we need:

  • 400 gr shredded carrots
  • 120 gr. sugar
  • 160 gr. hazelnuts,finely shredded
  • 1 tspn. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Amaretto
  • 2 tbsp. orange juice

How to make it:

In a saucepan,put the shredded carrots with sugar and stir well in a medium heat,until the water from carrots evaporate. Remove from the heat and let it cool. When it’s completely cool,add the remaining ingredients and mix all together. With your hands wet,shape the mixture into small balls and roll them into shredded hazelnut. I made my experiment and roll them in shredded coconut,too.! Put them in a bowl with a lid and keep them in the fridge for 1 hour.

The mixture will look kind of deformed,but don’t worry about it. Keep your hands wet,while you shape them and it will be just fine!