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Alfajores Argentinean Style

1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest (graded rind)

1 (11.5 ounce) jar dulce de leche (caramel sauce)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, allowing each yolk to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla rum, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest with the last egg. Gently fold in the flour mixture with a spoon, making a crumbly dough. When the dough becomes cohesive enough, press it together into a ball with your hands. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Roll out the dough, using as little flour as possible, about 1/4 inch thick. The dough will have an unusual consistency. Cut with a small round cookie cutter. Continue pressing the dough together, rolling it out, and cutting until you have used it all. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake in the preheated oven until set but not browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies immediately to cool on a wire rack.
Spread the underside of a cooled cookie with a teaspoon of dulce de leche, then sandwich together with another cookie until the caramel oozes out the sides. Roll the sides in the shredded coconut.

Peach Blackberry Pavlovas


6 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 large peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons peach schnapps liqueur
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional fresh blackberries


Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, on high until stiff peaks form.
Drop meringue into six mounds on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Shape into 3-1/2-in. cups with the back of a spoon. Bake at 225° until set and dry, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Turn oven off; leave meringues in oven for 1-1/2 hours.
In a large saucepan, combine the peaches, blackberries, sugar and liqueur. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until sugar is dissolved, 3-4 minutes. In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form.
Spoon fruit mixture into meringue shells; top with whipped cream. Garnish with additional blackberries.

Raspberry Linzer Cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1-1/3 cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs, separated
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup seedless raspberry or apricot preserves


Cream butter, gradually adding 2/3 cup sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape dough into a ball; cover and refrigerate until firm, 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°. On a surface dusted with confectioners' sugar, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness; cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Using a floured 1-in. cookie cutter, cut out centers of half of the cookies.
Beat egg whites until frothy. Mix almonds and remaining sugar. Brush cookies with egg whites; sprinkle with almond mixture. Bake solid and window cookies 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Spread 2 teaspoons raspberry preserves over the bottoms of solid cookies. Top with window cookies, almond side up.

Editor’s Note: For variety, substitute your favorite preserves in place of raspberry or apricot.

Belgian Fruit Beer Brownies

1 cup Cherazz Belgian Fruit Beer*
1/2 cup butter
1 ounce Bakers dark chocolate
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour the beer into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil the beer until it is reduced by half - about 5 - 10 minutes. Let the reduced beer cool.
Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add chocolate to the butter and melt over low heat, continually stirring until combined - about 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, add eggs and sugars and mix well. Add in the reduced beer, vanilla, butter and chocolate mixture and salt and stir well to combine. Add in the flour and cocoa power to bowl and continue to stir until the mixture is combined.
Pour brownie mixture into a greased baking pan and put in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool and serve with fresh berries and a beer!

Recipe Notes

* Use another fruit beer if you want; or a chocolate stout. Note, if using stout, skip step 2.

Pecan Butter Tarts

1 package refrigerated pie crust
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Vanilla ice cream, optional


Preheat oven to 425°. Line 12 muffin cups with foil liners. (Do not use paper-lined foil liners.)
On a work surface, unroll crust. Cut 12 circles with a floured 4-in. round cookie cutter (save remaining crust for another use). Gently press pastry circles onto bottom and up sides of foil liners. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine raisins and water; microwave on high 2 minutes. Drain; cool slightly.
In a small bowl, mix egg, brown sugars, melted butter, vanilla and salt until blended; stir in pecans and raisins. Spoon into crust cups, dividing evenly.
Bake on a lower oven rack until filling just begins to bubble up and crusts are light golden brown, 7-9 minutes (do not over bake). Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. If desired, serve with ice cream.

Almond Ginger Cookies


1 cup shortening
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 350°. Cream shortening, 1/2 cup sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extract. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in ginger.
Shape into 1-in. balls. Roll in remaining sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Press an almond slice into center of each cookie.
Bake until edges are lightly browned, 9-11 minutes. Cool 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

Međimurje gibanica (four filling layer cake)

For filo pastry:

1 kg (2.20 lb) soft flour
pinch of salt
600 ml (20 fl oz) water
oil for coating pastry
1 tablespoon lard for coating the baking pan
Walnut filling:

200 g (7 oz) ground walnuts
100 g (3.5 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons rum
100 ml (3.4 fl oz) milk
Poppy seed filling:

200 g (7 oz) ground poppy seeds
100 g (3.5 oz) sugar
200 ml (6.8 fl oz) milk
Apple filling:

1 kg (2.20 lb) apples (600 g/21 oz grated apples)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Cheese filling:

500 g (17.6 oz) fresh cottage cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
For coating:

200 ml (6.8 fl oz) sour cream
1 egg


Prepare a smooth and soft filo pastry made of flour, salt and lukewarm water and mix it with an electric mixer. Briefly kneed on a slightly floured surface. Divide in two parts, coat with oil and cover with plastic foil. Leave stand in refrigerator for an hour, and you can also leave it over night.

During that time prepare the fillings. Mix the ground walnuts and sugar. Pour rum and warm milk and mix it all well.
In the same way mix the ground poppy seeds, sugar and warm milk.
Peel and grate the apples, then add sugar and cinnamon and mix it all well. To prepare cheese filling first mix the egg, sugar and salt, and then mix it all together well with a strained cheese.
For the coating, mix well the sour cream and egg to get a smooth mixture.

Sprinkle the tablecloth well with flour, and then put the pastry onto it. Roll thinly, and then use the upper parts of your palms to pull the pastry from the middle towards outside until you get a thin and see-through filo pastry. Remove the thick edges with scissors. Repeat the procedure with the other half of the pastry.

Use paper or cardboard to make a scheme of the baking pan (20×35 cm/7.9×14 in). Use it to cut the pastry with scissors in multiple pieces (you will require 10 sheets). Sprinkle the pastry slightly with flour and let dry for about 30 minutes.

Coat the bottom of the baking pan with lard. Place a sheet of filo pastry, sprinkle with oil and place another sheet. Sprinkle with oil and then distribute the poppy seed filling. Then again place a sheet of filo pastry, sprinkle with oil, place another sheet, sprinkle with oil and then distribute cheese filling. Continue with walnut and apple fillings. Gently squeeze the juice from the apples before you distribute them onto the pastry. Finish off with two sheets of pastry, over which you distribute the sour cream and egg coating.

Before baking use a toothpick to prick the pastry in multiple places, all the way to the bottom. Bake in an oven previously heated to 180 °C (356 °F) for about an hour.

Orange Natilla Custard Pie


1 cup whole milk
1 orange peel strip
1 lemon peel strip
1 whole star anise
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
5 to 6 tablespoons cold water
4 large eggs
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Orange peel curls, optional


In a small saucepan, heat the milk, orange peel, lemon peel and star anise until bubbles form around sides of pan, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Cool. Cover and steep overnight in the refrigerator.
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
Roll out pastry to 1/8-in. thickness; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edge.
Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Fill with dried beans, uncooked rice or pie weights. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes. Remove foil and weights; bake 5 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Strain milk mixture, discarding peels and star anise. In a blender, combine the eggs, condensed milk, strained milk, sugar, orange juice, cinnamon and vanilla; cover and process until smooth. Pour into crust.
In a small bowl, whisk egg and water; brush over pastry edge. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until center is almost set. (Pie surface will still jiggle. Custard will set upon cooling.) Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Sprinkle with cinnamon just before serving. Garnish with orange peel curls if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Caraway Seed Rye Bread


2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons salt
2-1/2 cups rye flour
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add brown sugar, caraway, oil, salt and remaining water; mix well. Stir in rye flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down; divide in half. Shape each half into a ball; place in 2 greased 8-in. round baking pans or ovenproof skillets. Flatten balls to a 6-in. diameter. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Flaky Danish Braids


1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
1 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons 2% milk

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In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, combine milk, butter, egg, sugar, salt, yeast mixture and 2-1/2 cups flour; beat on medium speed 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
In a large bowl, combine filling ingredients. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four portions. Roll each portion into a 12x8-in. rectangle. Spread each with a quarter of the filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal.
For each roll, starting 1 in. from one end, make two lengthwise cuts, making three sections. Braid the sections together, cut sides up. Pinch ends to seal; tuck under. Place braids on greased baking sheets. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool slightly. For icing, in a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over warm braids.



2 cups coarse semolina
1/4 cup fine semolina
1 cup of yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Sugar Syrup
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
1 tsp. orange blossom water (or rose water, or lemon)
cardamom pods, optional

How to make

1. Mix the 3/4 cup sugar and melted butter together and then then add in the yogurt. Mix until well combined.
2. In another bowl, mix together the coarse and fine semolina, the salt and baking soda.
3. After this is combined, add it in to the yogurt mixture. Mix well and place the batter into a greased 9x12 or 9x13 baking pan. Smooth the mixture out on top with a spoon or by shaking the pan.
3. If you want to blanch your own almonds, place a couple handful of almonds into a pot of boiling water and remove them after about 30-60 seconds. Then rinse them off with cold water and peel off the skin. Alternatively, you can buy pre-blanched almonds or use them with the skin on.
4. Score the basbousa with a knife into small squares and place an almond in the middle of each square.
5. Place into a preheated 350 F degree oven for about 35-40 mins, until the top is browned to your liking.
6. While the basbousa is cooking, you can prepare the sugar syrup by bringing to a boil over medium high heat, the sugar, water, and cardamom if desired. Boil for about 5-10 mins and then remove from the heat. Remove the cardamom and add in the orange blossom water.
7. When you basbousa is done, remove from the oven and pour over half the syrup. If you want to brown it further, you can broil in the over for another 2-3 mins or so. Then remove and pour on the remaining sugar syrup.
8. Cut through the scored lines and when the basbousa has cooled, remove from the pan one by one.

English Rhubarb Crumble


8 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup cold butter
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a saucepan, combine rhubarb and 3/4 cup sugar. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes.
Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, oats and remaining sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly; sprinkle over rhubarb. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar; stir in cream. Cook and stir over low heat until a thermometer reads 160° and mixture thickens, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Serve warm over rhubarb crumble.

Editor's Note
If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.


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