One of my favorite childhood comfort foods, and although you can add lots of different flavors, I like mine simple just made with milk and sugar!
I remembered what my grandmother made me when I use to sleep over at her place without my parents. It made me feel safe and warm and occasionally I still make this for myself when I get nostalgic about my childhood.
125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
4 tbsp semolina
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp cocoa or chocolate powder
grated chocolate for decoration
Pour the milk in the small saucepan and heat it on medium to high temperature until it boils.
Lower the temperature to medium low and add semolina and sugar. Whisk it intensively until it thickens. Remove from the heat.
Divide it in two equal parts. In one part mix in the cocoa powder.
You can add so many different flavors according to your desires: cinnamon, honey, nuts, dried fruits.
Zvonimir’s note: I made this so many times that I developed a variation that combines step one and two. Not only is it quicker to make, it’s also smoother, perfect thickness, with lower chance of lumps. Downside: it takes some practice, so it might take a few tries to get the results you came here for. If you’re up for the challenge (and for the rewards), here’s how it goes. Add sugar before the milk boils (it raises the boiling temperature). As the milk comes close to boil but not yet boiling, lower the heat, (not too low, you still want it to boil eventually). Start slowly adding semolina and stir with a spatula (not a whisk). Keep going at a pace where semolina doesn’t get a chance to form lumps before you stir it away. Keep going until the milk surface starts resisting semolina grains and they start taking longer to sink (you’ll know it when you see it) as the milk comes even closer to boil. At that point stop adding semolina, optionally lower the heat a bit more, depending on your stove, and keep stirring diligently, keeping the semolina from getting stuck on the bottom.
Zvonimir’s extra tips: now if you mastered that and want more, there’s a way to make it even softer while keeping the consistency. Yes, really. I discovered this by accident, like a lot of great things sometimes are, but then played with it and practiced to get the technique right. Do everything the same up to a point when you’re adding semolina, but stop before you put the right amount of semolina into the milk. This would normally make a runnier semolina, so we need to do something to get the thickness back. Add extra fine breadcrumbs that taste as bland as possible, while constantly stirring (the same way you would semolina). The breadcrumbs need to soften and combine with the semolina so you need to cook it on lower heat than usual, for longer. The breadcrumbs you use will make a big difference so experiment with the type/brand (some may affect the aroma), amount, when you add them and the heat. You don’t want them to overtake the semolina. Use a lot less breadcrumbs than semolina. Breadcrumbs are a lot less sticky than semolina and they will make the semolina fluffier and lighter. When you get the technique down, no one will be able to tell what the secret ingredient is 😉 Now wait until you hear about my pancake tips…
This is one of those recipes I got from a friend’s grandmother written in an old notebook. It didn’t even have baking temperature nor time written! Well, in the old days they had wooden stoves and weren’t able to regulate it anyway, so this does make sense 🙂
Combination of chocolate and walnuts with a zesty jam will win you over forever 😀
For the dough
100 g (7 tbsp) butter
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
1 egg yolk
100 g (1 cup) pastry flour
100 g (1 cup) ground walnuts
For the cream
150 g (10 tbsp) softened butter
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
4 egg yolks
150 g (10 tbsp) melted dark chocolate
5 egg whites
For the chocolate glaze
100 g (6 1/2 tbsp) dark chocolate
50 g (1/4 cup) butter
2 tbsp oil
1 beaten egg
jam of your choice (I used black current jam)
Knead the dough from all the dough ingredients, wrap in cling wrap and let it rest for half an hour in the refrigerator.
Roll the dough and place it in a round 26 cm (10 in) diameter pie pan.
Bake in a preheated oven on 170 °C (340 °F) until baked only half way! (10-12 min).
Meanwhile make the cream. Melt the chocolate either on steam or in the microwave.
In a separate bowl beat egg whites until firm peak.
In a large bowl, mix sugar with egg yolks until foamy, add the butter and the melted chocolate.
With spatula gently mix in previously firmly beaten egg whites.
Take the halfway baked cake out of the oven and spread the jam thinly on the dough.
Pour the cream on the jam. Bake until done, for another 10-15 minutes.
Cool the cake before you put the glaze on.
For the glaze melt the chocolate with butter and oil. Remove from heat and add the beaten egg. This is grandma’s secret touch 🙂
Serving: Sprinkle with some finely chopped walnuts for decoration!
We all have some old recipes passed done from generations before. What’s yours?
Since I recently became a Mum, being busy with the baby doesn’t give me much time to eat 😂 That’s why I like to make smoothies and shakes to get my vitamins and minerals faster 😉 Having a healthy drink helps a lot!
half of pineapple
450 g (2 3/4 cups) fresh strawberries
250 ml (1 cup) of milk of your choice (I use almond milk)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp grated ginger
Mix all ingredients in the blender. This quantity makes two 300 ml glasses.
Tip: Freeze pineapple ahead for smoother texture and the colder punch!
When Zvonimir and I arrived to Canada, it was just before Christmas season, and eggnog was one of our first “must try” discoveries. Inspired by the ongoing competition between hot chocolate and eggnog, we decided to make a fusion and end this story in an everlasting love affair 🙂
With Christmas on its way, we thought you might like to try this as a decadent, creamy, winter dessert 😀
2-3 ginger cookies (optional) for a crunchy twist!
2 small vanilla instant pudding (3.4 ounces each)
375 ml (1½ cup) milk
500 ml (2 cups) of eggnog
230 ml (8 oz or 1 cup) Cool whip or whipped cream
200 g (3/4 cup) melted chocolate of your choice
Mix the pudding, eggnog and milk in a bowl for about 2 minutes, then mix in the cool whip or whipped cream (without actually whipping it, confusing, I know).
Put half of the mixture in a glass, add some crushed ginger cookies, and pour the rest of the mixture over the cookies. Serve the mousse in bowls or any way you like.
Melt the chocolate on steam or in the microwave.
Place the melted chocolate on top, cool overnight in the fridge and enjoy eating it the next day.
This week is all about Christmas cookies 🙂 This is one of many variations of classic Linzer cookies that are very popular in Croatia. Traditionally they come with a hole on one side, allowing jam some breathing room and an audience 😉
They originally came to our Christmas tables from Linz, Austria, which is where they got the name from. Interestingly, they originated as a small version of world’s oldest torte recipe: Linzer Torte. Torte was created in the 17th and the cookies took two more centuries to develop, seeing the first light of day in the 19th century.
300 g (2 1/4 cup) all purpose flour
60 g (1/3 cup) starch
90 g (1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp) of powdered sugar
20 g (2 tbsp) vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
210 g (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) cold butter, cut into slices
4 egg yolks
Knead the dough from all the ingredients.
Let it rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200 °C (395 °F).
Roll out thinly and make cookies in shapes of your choice with a variety of molds. I used Christmas tree mold because Christmas 😀
Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Bake for 10 minutes.
When cooled, spread them with the jam of your choice ( I used apricot), connect two by two and decorate according to your own inspiration.
For decoration mix egg whites with powered sugar to make the icing and sprinkle them with colorful decorations.
Tell us what’s your favorite Christmas cookie in the comments bellow!
Every Christmas, a platter of cookies is something I always look forward to. I have a TO BAKE Christmas list with a new addition every year. A few years back I made these delicious crinkles, and they keep reappearing on the list 😀 These are simple to make and fun to eat, great way to include your kids in spending quality family time baking 🙂
Makes about 40 cookies
225 g (1 cup) good quality dark chocolate (at least 78% cocoa)
60 g (1/4 cup) butter
100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
225 g (1 3/4 cup) all purpose flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp of cinnamon
icing sugar for dusting
Brake chocolate roughly into pieces and stir together with the butter.
Melt the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler on steam. Stir constantly until the ingredients dissolve. When done remove from the heat and cool off.
Mix the eggs with sugar on high speed until the mixture is light and thick, add the vanilla extract and slowly add melted chocolate.
In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to taste. Stir them into the egg and chocolate mixture, cover, and then store in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours. Dough should be sufficiently chilled and firm so it can be nicely shaped.
Preheat the oven to 170 °C (340 °F).
Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper.
Shape the cookies with hands into balls, size a bit less than the size of a walnut.
Roll them in powdered sugar until they are completely covered.
Place them on a baking sheet and bake them for 10-12 minutes until they get crust on the outside. They should still remain soft inside.
Cool them on the rack before serving.
What will you bake for the first time this Christmas?
Tasty cocoa cookies dipped into chocolate and filled with delicious cream that resembles the cream used for cream puffs. This type of cookie is typical for northern and eastern Croatia. These are traditional cookies prepared for many occasions, especially Christmas and weddings. They can also be yellow with cocoa cream.
makes 20 combined cookies
200 g (1 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
140 g (1/2 cup) butter
70 g (6 tbsp) granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp cocoa
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
100 g (1/3 cup) butter
10 g (1 tbsp) vanilla sugar
60 g (1/3 cup) dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
Of the ingredients knead the dough, roll out thinly between two sheets of parchment paper and cut into circles. I used shot glass 😀
Bake them between 5-10 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 °C (355 °F). They just need to get a little color. You need to take them out even if they are a bit soft, leave them on the cooling rack, they will later harden. Let them cool completely.
In the meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Melt the chocolate with oil and dip half of the cookies. Let them cool on the rack before connecting them with cream.
For the cream, mix eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar until combined.
Cook the cream in double boiler or on low heat. Steer with spatula. That way the cream doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook the cream until it’s thick. Let it cool off completely. In the cooled cream mix in well-made butter.
Combine chocolate covered cookie with the uncovered one with cream.
Hot chocolate is wonderful way to warm yourself on a cold winter day. It’s smooth, creamy and decadent. A dessert you can drink! With a touch of a holiday spirit, it can be a great addition to your festive table.
Many European countries use poppy seeds in desserts. I use it often because of its specific flavor that I really enjoy. Did you know that poppy seeds are rich source of thiamine, folate, and several essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc?
For this gluten free cake, you will need little time to prepare and even less to indulge 😀 Choice of jam is up to you. I used homemade sour cherry jam since sweet and sour complement each other creating a divine taste 🙂
7 eggs divided
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
140 g (10 tbsp) butter at room temperature
2 tsp baking soda
200 g (1 1/4 cup) ground poppy seeds
zest of one lemon
jam of your choice (I used sour cherry jam and it was perfect!)
100 g (1/2 cup) dark chocolate
100 ml (1/4 cup) whipped cream
Preheat oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
Divide eggs in two separate mixing bowls.
Separately whip butter until foamy.
Beat egg yolks with 6 tbsp of sugar until foamy.
Add whipped butter to the egg yolk mixture and mix until combined.
Combine poppy seeds with baking soda and lemon zest and add to the egg yolk mixture. Mix well.
Mix egg whites with 6 tbsp of sugar until stiff.
With a spatula add beaten egg whites to the batter.
Bake in a baking pan covered with parchment paper for about 40 min until golden brown.
Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate glaze. Heat the cream up to boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate broken in pieces. Mix until chocolate is incorporated.
Spread your jam of choice on the baked cake and pour chocolate glaze on top.
Enjoy with your favorite cup of coffee or tea!
Have you ever tried a poppy seed dessert? What was your favorite?
The first print references to marble cake began appearing in the last quarter of the 19th century. One popular variation of this recipe during Victorian times was “Harlequin cake”, which was baked with checker-board patterns. Early recipes use molasses and spices to achieve the dark-colored batter.
Today, we use cocoa and it tastes like a having a piece of chocolate with your sponge cake 😀
This, easy to make, simple cake is usually served around Easter, but I usually make it on the weekends when I don’t plan on baking but still crave something sweet, since all the ingredients are in my staple.
4 eggs divided
280 g (1 1/3 cups) granulated sugar
20 g (1 1/2 tbsp) vanilla sugar
zest from one lemon
120 g (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter
10 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
280 g (2 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
10 g (2 1/2 tsp) baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp rum (optional)
Preheat oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
Separate egg yolks form egg whites in two separate bowls.
Mix in self standing mixer or with electric beater egg yolks and sugar until foamy.
Add vanilla sugar, lemon zest and butter. Mix until combined.
Add progressively milk and oil, and at the end alternately mix in flour mixed with baking powder.
Beat egg whites until stiff.
With spatula, mix in egg white mixture in the egg yolk mixture until combined.
Divide prepared batter into two parts.
In one part add cocoa and rum.
Greased pan sprinkle with bread crumbs, pour the yellow batter and then the brown batter.
Bake the cake in preheated oven at 200 °C (390 °F) for 20 min and another 30 min on 150 °C (300 °F) until golden brown.
After the cake is done, cool it off on the rack.
Before serving sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Do you have your go to cake when craving something sweet?
In Croatia, getting fresh produce was easy and accessible. Many of our friends and acquaintances had their own gardens and orchards sharing their produce. I got some fresh figs from Dalmatia as a gift and they ended up in tartelettes 🙂 They were as sweet as honey, and as smooth as butter. Enjoy this easy to make tartelettes recipe and try it out with other fruits if you are not a fan of figs 😉
Ingredients (for 6 tartelettes)
For the shortcrust pastry
220 g (2 cups) all purpose flour
50 g (4 tbsp) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
130 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, beaten
For the filling
5-6 fresh ripe figs
2 tbsp maple syrup
oatmeal for sprinkle
With electric mixer, in a bowl, mix together flour, salt and sugar until combined.
Add butter, and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Gradually stream beaten egg into the flour mixture and knead until the dough comes together.
Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and shape into a flattened disk.
Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
While the dough rests in the fridge, prepare the filling.
Mix figs with maple syrup with hand mixer until smooth.
Preheat oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
Butter a six mold muffin pan.
Take the chilled dough, make six equal balls and put each in a muffin mold. Spread the dough in each mold with your hands. Make sure that you covered the whole mold.
Divide the filling so that each tartelette has enough and sprinkle them with oatmeal.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
August screams blackberries! This summer fruit, full of dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K makes it a great choice for making desserts, jams and other sweet goodies.
These easy to make squares can make a quick, healthy, snack for any occasion. You can substitute regular flour and oats with gluten free options according to your preference. For the crunch feeling you may substitute ground walnuts with chopped ones. For that matter, use a nut of your liking. Walnuts are my favorite 🙂
200 g (1 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
120 g (1 1/2 cup) oats + handful for sprinkling
220 g (1 cup) firmly packed brown sugar + 1 tbsp for sprinkling
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
30 g (1/3 cup) ground walnuts
230 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
300 g (2 cup) fresh blackberries
1 tbsp brown sugar for tossing the blackberries
1 tbsp cornstarch
Preheat oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
Cover the baking pan with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick cooking spray or brush with oil.
In a small bowl, toss blackberries with sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
In the standing mixer bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts. Mix until fully combined. You can use a hand electrical mixer we well.
Add the softened butter and beat on low speed, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Spoon half of the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan. Gently press mixture into bottom of the pan.
Top with the coated blackberries.
Sprinkle with remaining oatmeal mixture. NOTE: do not press down on the mixture.
Strawberry season is at its peak and there is no better time to share this tart recipe with you. Since my birthday is at beginning of June, I always had strawberry birthday cake as long as I can remember. They bring beautiful memories of my childhood birthday parties and are for sure one of my favorite fruit. I love preparing desserts with them 😀
This simple and delightful tart is perfect for warm spring or summer days. Strawberries and balsamic are epic together, and the addition of fresh basil leaves takes this tart beyond the cake 😉
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Tools you need
Mixing bowls in different sizes for all three components: pastry, strawberries and mascarpone cream.