Wednesday, 31 August 2011

How To Chop an Onion

     I enjoyed making this video on how to quickly chop an onion with no tears and hope you find it useful next time you are in the kitchen.



An Adventure with Baklava

My first attempt baking a gourmet treat from Turkey

Pecan filling with a Pistachio top drenched in Honey Syrup

Mix 1 cup water with 1 cup White sugar and simmer with 1/2 cup honey and 1Tablespoon Vanilla Extract for approx. 30 minutes until it is a nice syrup.

Hand crush 2-2.5 cups of nuts, Walnut or Pecan, set aside.

Crush a handful of pistachio for your topping, set aside.

1 box of Phyllo dough, separate at the center perforation into two stacks. Use one half of the Phyllo for your layers as they fit perfectly in the dish.

Melt 3/4 cup of non-salted butter.

Butter a 9x13 glass casserole dish

Lay two sheets of phyllo on the bottom and brush a thin layer of melted butter on top. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered.  Sprinkle top buttered sheet with a thin layer of nuts. 

Repeat until you run out of nuts, two sheets, butter, nuts, two sheets, butter, nuts, finish the top with 8 sheets as you did the bottom buttering in between every two sheets.

Dip your fingertips into the melted butter (so your fingers wont stick) and slice the Baklava on the diagonal with a sharp knife, moving from corner to corner.  Make 3 slices lengthwise from top to bottom resulting in 4 rows and creating the diamond pieces.  Make slices deep but not through to the bottom, this will help the syrup to stay within the layers and not just pool on the bottom beneath the layers.

Bake in an oven set at 350 degrees for approx. 25-30 minutes, watch closely for when it becomes golden brown in color, it's done.

After allowing it to cool for a little while, pour your warm honey syrup into the lines you sliced in the Baklava and over the top.  Sprinkle Pistachio topping on top while the glaze is still warm and sticky.

Allow it to set for a few hours and up to overnight to let the syrup seep into the layers of the Baklava.

Use an inverted spatula to remove your diamond pieces and prepare to impress your friends if any last that long : )

If I can do it...So can you!
It takes a little while to make the first time but don't let that deter you as it gets easier and easier each time.  Trust me, you'll soon be whipping out fancy Baklava for your friends in under an hour and look like quite the amazing baker!  It's delicious!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Tia Maria Torte

     A family birthday tradition in my house growing up was to pick the cake we wanted and mom would bake it for us.  Every year as a child I always chose German Chocolate with the Coconut Pecan Frosting, yum.  As the years have gone by we have continued this family tradition and as an adult I changed it up by choosing a different dessert every year.  For the most part I have always made it for myself as I was the only one to venture off to live thousands of miles away from where my family still resides.  I chose a lot of favorites, Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Hot Fudge Brownie Sundaes, really it was whatever I was craving at the time.  This last year found me wanting a layered cake with White Cream and Strawberries, it was delicious.  
     When it came time this year for my sweetheart to celebrate a very special birthday, his 50th.  I asked him to give his cake of choice a lot of thought and to give me a few options so that the final decision would be a surprise.  The one I settled on was the Tia Maria Torte.  He loves Chocolate Chip Cookies and the foundation of this treat is comprised of those and fresh whipped cream.  Whats not to love?  So if you have a special someone celebrating and want to impress them, try this at home and I promise, you won't be disappointed.
     This being my first attempt at this dessert I went to where else but the World Wide Web for suggestions.  Many recipes I found online listed prepackaged cookies but darn it...I wanted it to be more special than that and yet still didn't have tons of time to make it.  I decided on the packaged dough in the refrigerator department at the local market.  If you have the time you can certainly make the cookies yourself or buy your favorite cookie in a bag.
     Since we were celebrating a 50th birthday of course I chose to bake 50 cookies and 3 packages at 18 cookies each would be just enough to pull that off.  The cookies bake in only 12 minutes per their instruction, no fuss and no mess.  While they cooled I was able to make the whipped cream.  33% Whipping cream beaten with cold beaters in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form and you are ready for the next step.  Dunking the cookies!  Assembling the Torte and topping it with your choice of goodies is tons of fun.  As it was my first time making this Torte I can assure you that I will be making it again and again as it was a beautiful cake, it tasted amazing and I certainly impressed myself with how easy it was to make.


2cups chilled whipping cream
1/4cup Confectioners Sugar
2lbs Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3cup milk (I used 2%)
2/3cup Tia Maria Liqueur
1oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate


Whip cream with sugar in a chilled bowl till stiff
Combine Milk and Tia Maria in a bowl
Dip cookies in Milk and Tia Maria mixture QUICKLY
Lay flat one layer of cookies in an ungreased Spring Form pan 
Fill in open spaces with broken pieces of cookies
Spread a layer of whipped cream on top
Repeat this process 2x ending with a top layer of whipped cream
Grate Chocolate over top
Refrigerate for 24hrs to fully set

An option for the top besides grated chocolate could be chocolate chips : )

As a side note to you...if you decide to make this recipe please share with me how it turned out for you or if you have made a version of this already please share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and any comments you wish, Thank you : )

Bon Appetit! Smacznego!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Celebrating 50yrs with 50 Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello and welcome to my blog and first entry. 

Coming soon...A fun option for celebrating a special birthday...The Tia Maria Torte.
The "how to" on baking and assembling a bakery quality torte that takes very little time to produce and looks and tastes fantastic!
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