Nutella twists by chef in disguise. They are actually much easier to make than what they seem

Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

Yup! I was the host of this month’s daring bakers challenge 🙂 and it could not have come at a better time. This month my blog turns 3 and what better way to celebrate the occasion that doing it with homemade bread?

Nutella twists by chef in disguise. They are actually much easier to make than what they seem

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The January 2014 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Francijn of “Koken in de Brouwerij“. She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).

stuffed cabbage rolls

The weather forecast promises a winter that is the coldest in 70 years and December delivers! After 3 days of none stop rain and snow, all you crave is comfort food.Something warm, that transports you back to your mum’s kitchen. You are a kid again, at your family’s dinner table, hungry, cold and a little gloomy but  the hot steam coming off the plate that mum set before you with a smile makes you feel better just by looking at it.

snow

Stuffed cabbage rolls is one of those recipes. Something my mum used to make on cold winter days. The cabbage leaves are neatly rolled and then cooked to perfection. They are so tender that they nearly melt into your mouth, the slow cooking brings out a subtle sweetness in them that pairs beautifully with the fresh tang of lemon juice and the faint garlic note from the garlic cloves nestled between them.

Sfogliatelle Ricci italian pastry

This month’s challenge was a real treat!

Sandie of the lovely blog, Crumbs of Love, was our November hostess. Sandie challenged us to make a traditional Italian dessert, along with its American version – Sfogliatelle (or better known in the US – lobster tails!) The flakey, 1000 layers of super thin dough, shaped into a horn and filled with a scrumptious filling. Così buono!

Sandie offered us the recipes for sfogliatelle ricci, sfogliatelle frolle and lobster tail. I chose to make sfogliatelle ricci because it somehow reminded me of an arabic dessert that my kids love that is called warbat. Warbat is a dessert made of layers of a very thin dough that are filled with cream and then drizzled with syrup. The crunch and crackle of the pastry layers, beautifully contrasted by the creamy filling, the hints of rosewater in the syrup. It is simply irresistable.

Sfogliatelle Ricci

Sfogliatelle riccia , it turns out is also made with a, flaky dough, similar to puff pastry or phyllo . It is then filled with a mixture of ricotta, semolina, sugar, cinnamon, eggs and some candied citrus and/or other fruit. It seemed like a dessert that would hit the same buttons as warbat so I knew the kids would love it. I on the other hand loved the challenge of making it! Despite how crazy life has been this month, I was determined not to miss this challenge, so I ended up starting the day before reveal day!Not a good idea when you have such a  demanding challenge to meet, a new pasta machine that you bought because of this challenge and still have to figure out how to use it and a flue that makes your head spin!

Individual vegetarian pot pie

Today I have a recipe for you that is good enough to make you step away from the grocer’s freezer section,and make your very own  pot pie from scratch. The name is certainly a mouth full but it is really not that hard to make and I am welling to bet that one bite of this pizza pot pie will change the way you look at pot pies forever. The frozen ready made pot pies don’t even stand a chance!

tres leches cake A tres leches cake, or torta de tres leches (from Spanish, “three milks cake”), is basically a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.The tres leches cake  is  very popular  in many parts of Central and South America.It is sometimes featured in cinco de Mayo celebrations. For this month it was our daring bakers challenge to make one.

The tres leches cake is super moist and decadent -as you might expect- but what is surprising is that it is not soggy. When you make the cake and pour the three milk mixture on it you will think “this is going to end in a disaster, there is no way that this little cake will absorb all this liquid” but it will!The cake’s ability to absorb all that liquid  is due to the fact that the tres leches cake is made of a sponge cake base,  sponge cakes as the name implies are full of bubbles. This distinct texture is why the tres leches is moist but not soggy