vrijdag 4 december 2009

Foody friday 's Saint Nicolas Speculoos

Sunday the children of Belgium and Holland celebrate Saint Nicolas. He is the patron saint of the Children. Children put their shoe out with a carrot for the horse of Saint Nicolas and hope that in the morning the carrot will be gone and there will be presents instead.
One of the presents we got every year was a plate full of candy.
The staples where, speculoos, oranges of clementines, golden chocolate coins, nicnac's ( a very small cokie in the shape of letters) and guimove( a sort of sweet) and of corse some chocolade figurines.
My hometown is famous for its very special speculoos.
What is it exactly. Well it is a big cookie, a bit soft and the main ingrediances are, real butter, cinnamon and almonds.On the picture above you see two different kind. The small cookies are the commercially made one. These are very sweet and hard and thin and you can get them in every shape.
The big ones are the ones where my hometown of Hasselt is famous for.
These ones contain almons (the commercial ones don't have that) and are thick and a bit soft.
The Dutch also have a sort of filled speculoos.

Here is the recipie that I got from my great grandmother, Anneke.
Cream 2,5 cups or 500 grams of sweet real butter.
Please do not subsitute the butter for crisco of margerine or something.I is a very big part of the flavour.

Then add 3 1/4 cups or 650 grams of dark brown sugar

Work in 4 XL or 5 L eggs

Then add 2 heaped theaspoons of cinnamon

Then it is time to add 6 cups or 1 kilo of plain four and the right amount of baking powder

Another vital part of speculoos of Hasselt and unique to that is 1 cup or 100 grams of almond powder and 1cup or 100 grams of slivered almond. This time my shop had no slivered almonds so I used all almond powder.

You need to work the dow by hand by now since it is a very heavy dow.
Don't work it to long. Just enough to combine everything. Then put it in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. Cover it with clingfilm.

Next day you preheat your oven at 325°F or 175 °C.
Take a piece of the dow and make a roll out of it about 2,5 inch or 6 to 7cm diameter
Slice fingerthick slices and put on a baking tray.

The baking tray should be coverded with some baking paper. Just flatten the slices ever so slightly. Leave room between the slices since they will spread.
Bake for 15 minutes.
The cookies should have only a lightly brown rim on the outside. The will be hard after cooling down but when you store them in a tin they should get softer.
You could keep them for weeks but I bet they won't have the time to get bad!
I know they are heavy on the calories but I only bake them for Saint Nicolas and for Christmas.
These cookies are for Belgium and Holland what Shortbread is for Scotland and Chocolade chip cookies are for the USA. Please try them, I know you will love them.

These days speculoos is so popular in Belgium that in the last two years they intruduced a speculoos paste that you can put on bread. It was the winning thing in a tv contest to invent something new and it is a huge succes.
Since this years there is also chocolate with pieces of crisp speculoos in it and there is even Speculoos ice cream.
I also use the paste to mix with buttercream and spread that on apple cupcakes. Yummy!

dinsdag 1 december 2009

Tree or more....kittens

I'm sorry I did get of track and left you all waiting for news and a new entry for "Three or more".
But know I have news. This is the best Three or more....We have new Maine Coon kittens.
Let me present them to your.
This is our " Arctic Litter"

This is little "Beluga Whale of the White Witch".

This is fat little " Polar Bear of the White Witch"

Brother number tree is chubby little " Arctic Fox of the White Witch".

And this is brother number 4, the odd one out with his blue coat. He is called:

"Spotted Seal of the White Witch"

All boys and OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHH so sweet.

How lovely Christmus will be with all these little chaps running around our feet!!!

A happy mum with her four sons. Still a bit looking a bit ragged but such a good mum.