For the January daring cooks challenge we got to make snow :)

Being an expat in the UAE, I dearly miss winter! It is now mid January and the temperatures during the day are still in the late 20s C! I am told this is as cold as it is going to get! and as enchanting as the phrase “eternal summer” may be, actually living through it eventually gets to you. Especially if you are someone who loves the rain and enjoys going for a trip through the seasons even if it happens in the space of one month.

So when this month’s challenge was announced with the promise “oeufs a la neige will ensure that you have a bit of snow wherever you are in the world” I was more than excited to give it a go.

I love recipes that feature a blend of spices. There is something about the smell and the combination of flavors that I simply can’t resist.

For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread. I chose to make the lightest: peperkoek.

Dutche peperkoek

Peperkoek or Kruidkoek is a Dutch sweet quick bread made with a wonderful blend of warming spices like cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Many recipes also feature succade (candied citrus peel) . Peperkoek is traditionally served at breakfast in Holland with a thick layer of butter on top, as a replacement for regular bread. However due to its sweet taste it is also served as a snack or packed in the kids’ lunch boxes

My son loves pancakes! If it was up to him we will have them every morning! and although I do have quite a few pancake recipes ranging from vegan pancakes to carrot cake pancakes and Arabic Atayef pancakes, I am always on the look out for new and interesting pancake recipes.  Dutch baby pancakes have been on my list of recipes to try for quite some time.

Dutch baby pancakes, sometimes called a German pancakes, or a Dutch puff, are  sweet baked pancakes that are very similar to a popovers. They are derived from the German pfannkuchen and they are made with eggs, flour, sugar and milk, and usually seasoned with vanilla and cinnamon. Occasionally fruit or another flavoring is also added.

Despite not having any leavening agents, they do puff up beautifully in the oven, watching them bake is really fun, especially for an excited, hungry 5 year old :) Sadly they do deflate quickly when you take them out of the oven

Strawberries

The November Daring Baker’s challenge took us for a ride! Luisa from Rise of the Sourdough Preacher challenged us to make Paris-Brest, a beautiful pastry celebrating the Paris-Brest bicycle race.

A Paris–Brest is a French dessert, made of choux pastry and a praline flavoured cream.The pastry was created in 1910 to celebrate the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race which began in 1891. The Paris brest is always shaped like a circle. The circular shape is supposed to represent the bicycle wheel.

Our Arabic Flavor  recipe for  the month of September was Mamounia, a wonderful Syrian dessert that comes from the city of Aleppo.

Mamounia is a smooth and velvety semolina pudding that is usually topped with cinnamon and nuts and it is served with string cheese, cream and pita bread. I know the idea of combining pudding with bread and cheese may seem odd  at first but keep in mind that this is a breakfast dish in Syria. The mamounia pudding is served early in the morning to provide a sweet start of the day that will  give you enough energy to sustain you all day long. While the cheese and the bread are added to balance the sweetness of the mamounia.