Making Almond Paste Candies – Easy Recipe

Marzipan is a delicious, sweet, sticky substance made from almonds. It is often called almond paste and looks like a thick, white dough. It resembles fondant but is much more flavorful. In Norway it is often rolled into large disks to drape over cream filled cakes, making them beautifully decorated and also very tasty. Or you can mold it and make beautiful and fun creations. In Norway marzipan it is also sold as candy, in chocolate covered shapes during Easter and Christmas. Almond paste is made mainly from almond meal mixed with powdered sugar and egg whites. It is not easy to make good, smooth marzipan from scratch, so it is recommended to purchase it ready made for various recipes.   During holidays it is fun to roll it out into simple shapes to dip in melted chocolate for a beautiful and tasty treat. I’ve been able to find almond paste at our local grocery store, and Amazon sells it as well. The brand in this link seems to be very high quality and suitable for rolling, while Odense is a cheaper brand that will probably work well for making shapes. With Christmas quickly approaching,  I decided to purchase a piece from our local supermarket along with some delicious European chocolate from Aldi, a discount grocery store chain based in Germany. They have stores all over the U.S. as well, and I happen to live close to one of them and was thrilled to find […] Read more »

Dulce de Leche: Easy, Delicious Caramel Cake Filling Recipe

  And now, presenting a delicious, creamy food that I discovered a while back; you could say a year ago or so, or you could say several decades ago, depending on how you see it. I found this recipe for cake filling not too long ago. People were talking about how easy it was to make, and how different and delightful it tasted. I decided to give it a try. When it was done, I tasted it and discovered that I had made a product I remember from my childhood, a caramel flavored sandwich spread: HAPÅ! It was quite a revelation, the least I expected, and there was no doubt about it! It was exactly like Hapå both with regard to flavor, texture, and color. It never would have occurred to me to use this product as cake filling, however, but why not? It is smooth, sweet, looks and tastes a bit like caramel, glossy and pretty and very easy to prepare. Since then I have discovered the same product at supermarkets, in the Mexican area of the international section labeled “Dulce de Leche”. So obviously it is not really a Norwegian food, but can be found in various countries of the world under different names. But for me it will always be Hapå! It will take 2 hours of your time to prepare although you mostly leave it alone during that time. So if you are going to be at […] Read more »

Malted Milk Cookies, Family Favorite Recipe

      One of the cookie recipes my family has come to treasure the most, Malted Milk Cookies,  is a recipe I originally found in Taste of Home Magazine years ago. These unique cookies quickly became my husband’s all-time favorite. And with good reason: Rich flavor and chewy-crunchy texture, in addition to looking very inviting and simply beautiful! It is an excellent recipe that I have shared with a multitude of people over the years. People go Ga-Ga over these scrumptious cookies, and if brought to a pot-luck or party, they go hunting to figure out who made them in order to ask for the recipe! These cookies contain ingredients that aren’t commonly found in ordinary cookie recipes, but still are amazingly fitting flavor wise, which make them different in a truly special way. If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance! To give unique, but really special flavor to these cookies, malted milk balls are crushed and added to the batter; and even though I’m normally not a fan of these candies, they are an absolutely fantastic addition to this recipe! But it doesn’t stop there: just a small amount of chocolate drink mix is also added, which boosts the flavor without giving away that it’s chocolate… Sneaky, huh? And 2 teaspoons vanilla, not just […] Read more »

How to Easily Bake Perfect, Professional Looking Cookies

  When serving cookies of different kinds, I am often asked the question “Did YOU make these cookies?” Um… yeah… “How do you get them so round???” Well, that part is easy enough. Here’s what I do to ensure even, just about perfectly round cookies, making them look like they were baked by a professional, and certainly not by me: I use an ice cream scoop, similar to this one (click to buy on Amazon). (Mine is slightly larger; 45mm) I have three different sizes that I use for different recipes: I prefer the middle one (45mm) for most of my cookies. The cookies end up nice and large, but not overly so. They end up anywhere from 2 1/2 – 4 in. in diameter, depending on the type of dough used, and how much the cookies spread out. The larger scoop (55mm) would make jumbo sized cookies. The smaller scoop (35mm), gives cookies approximately the size of an Oreo. I think that’s generally much too small!! (Although there’s a time and a place for that size, too.) I love cookies, and I want a big one, not a little one! And it looks much more generous when you serve others. When being served, I would feel greedy if I helped myself to more than two cookies, and I would imagine others feeling the same way. Taking one cookie is expected. Taking a second shows you really love them! Compliments […] Read more »

Morning in My Back Yard

Looking out of my family room window this morning, this is what I saw: It’s not that seeing deer on our property is so unusual, but seeing a handsome buck standing so still and majestically in the middle of the lawn, where I can get a good shot of him, is not quite as common. We see deer frequently, and as much damage as they can do to our trees and garden, I still never tire of seeing them. They are so beautiful and graceful, and I love taking pictures of them.   They seem well fed around here, though their preferred food seems to be our apple trees or any other tree we have ever planted. They have destroyed approximately 90% of all the trees we have planted; in majority, it’s been maple, apple, flowering pear, and dogwood trees. We love these trees, and so do the deer. It’s a constant battle, but I still love to look at them, and I’d rather have them around than not, even if it meant saving our trees. Read more »

Simple, Fun Christmas Decorating

Last weekend, we, like so many others in the US, decorated for Christmas. Christmas decorating is not really my favorite thing to be doing, though once it is all up, it does look so beautiful and gets me in the spirit of the season. Growing up in Norway, tradition was to decorate on the day we called “Little Christmas Eve”, December 23. Christmas Eve was the major celebration when we’d officially start Christmas, eat a special Christmas dinner, open gifts etc. In December, we’d decorate in purple for Advent, the time in awaiting the birth of Jesus Christ. Then, on the 23rd, we’d change the colors and decorate for Christmas. In the US, in my experience people generally seem to be celebrating Christmas throughout December up until the 25th, then everything comes to an abrupt end. In Norway, however, the week between the 24th and New Years, “Romjula”, is all about Christmas. In fact, the 25th, 26th and 27th are called 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Christmas Day, which are Holidays, and all stores are closed. Families get together, visiting and celebrating. It is a peaceful time with no errands or shopping to be done. Regarding decorating, last year was the year of a new tradition: Let the kids go excitingly at it while I watch in awe and see it all come together! My decorating style is fairly simple, and once I figure out what looks good, I want it […] Read more »