Archive | Desserts

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More Than Just a Coffee Break

In Sweden, fika punctuates the day

By Leah Schroeder 

Take Time to Fika

Functioning as both a verb and a noun, the concept of fika is simple. It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it. You can do it alone, you can do it with friends. You can do it at home, in a park or at work. But the essential thing is that you do it, that you make time to take a break: That’s what fika is all about.

—From Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall, available for pre-order now at

Photo by Leah Schroeder.

My family and I were thrilled to find ourselves in Sweden this past summer. Besides fantastic furniture design, beautiful landscapes and friendly natives, during our three weeks in Sweden I discovered a new love of a daily Swedish ritual, fika. In Swedish, fika simply means “to drink coffee,” but it is much more than that.

I have lost track of the many times I experienced fika last summer. I enjoyed fika on a … Read More

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Chokladbollar served up at coffee break. Photo by D. Lucas Landis.


Chocolate Balls

Chokladbollar served up at coffee break. Photo by D. Lucas Landis.

Recipe by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall from Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Illustration by Johanna Kindvall.

In the Swedish kitchen you can never be afraid of butter. This recipe is all about butter … and a little chocolate. Although they are served at most Swedish cafés, chokladbollar are very popular for making at home because they are so easy. Because they’re so commonplace, you can almost judge an entire café based on the quality of its chokladbollar: A good one has a creamy chocolate texture, offset by the chewiness of the oats. Made with oats, they’re also gluten-free.

Makes 20–25 balls 

2 cups rolled oat
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
About ½ cup shredded coconut

In a food processor, pulse the oats into a coarse meal. You want just a little bit of texture, so don’t grind them all the way. If you don’t have a food processor, use the smallest oats you can find, as they are better for the final texture of the chocolate … Read More

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Swedish Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

Recipe by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall from Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Illustration by Johanna Kindvall.

Bullar (buns) are perhaps the quintessential component to a Swedish coffee break, and vete in Swedish means “wheat.” Vetebullar is therefore the general term for wheat-based dough that can be turned into any number of bun creations.

Kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) and kardemummabullar (cardamom buns) are common variations on this type of bun, and while the traditional “roll” form is common, there are twisted varieties as well. Typically they are baked and served in paper liners. Kanelbullar are such an iconic pastry that an entire day in Sweden is devoted to them (October 4, for those considering celebrating).

This recipe combines both filling varieties, and once you’ve mastered the dough, you can start experimenting with your own fillings. If a Swede knows one thing, it’s this:

No matter what the variation, bullar are always best fresh out of the oven, and make for a wonderful-smelling kitchen.

Makes 30 to 36 buns, or 2 lengths 


7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons … Read More

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beer soup

Cooking with Beer

Who says you can’t have beer for dinner—
or dessert?

  Photography by D. Lucas Landis  

Cooking with beer is as simple as using wine or stock. In Belgium and Britain, where little wine is produced, beer is often used for cooking. When braising with beer, think about balancing its bitterness with fat, salt and something sweet like caramelized onions or carrots. It really doesn’t matter which beer you use—as long as it is bitter.

—Jennifer McLagan, from Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes, Ten Speed Press, September 2014

Beer Soup

Though this soup is simple, its flavors are surprisingly complex. The beer and the well-toasted bread add bitterness, while the cream balances them. Don’t forget freshly grated nutmeg; it adds to the flavor. Followed by cheese (a good cheddar, perhaps) and a salad, it makes a light dinner.

Serves 4 generously

4 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
1 cup amber beer
⅔ cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon dark rye flour
Sea salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
Nutmeg, freshly ground
4 slices country-style sourdough bread, well toasted

Pour the beef stock, beer and cream into a saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and bring to a gentle … Read More

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Fig shortcake

Fig Shortcake Topping with Crème Fraîche

Each summer we celebrate the arrival of strawberries by making shortcake. Why not do the same with fall figs? Make a batch of your favorite shortcake (we like this one from our friends at Edible Ojai:, then serve this as a brunch treat or for a special dessert.

Serves 6 


6–8 figs, stems removed, chopped

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh ginger (about a 2-inch piece), finely chopped

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon lime juice, about 1/2 lime

1 tablespoon honey

4 ounces crème Fraîche

6 shortcakes, sliced in half horizontally

Place the figs, brown sugar, ginger, salt and water in a pan over medium heat. Cook for about 10–15 minutes, until the figs are soft. Add the lime juice and stir in. Remove from the heat.

Place the crème Fraîche and honey in a small mixing bowl. Whisk together. Feel free to add more honey for a sweeter mixture.

Plate the shortcakes. Add 1–2 spoonfuls of the fig mixture and then drizzle the crème Fraîche on top. Serve.

Crème Fraîche

To make crème Fraîche at home, add 1 tablespoon cultured buttermilk to 1 cup fresh heavy cream. Stir and cover. Leave … Read More

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panna cotta

Orange Panna Cotta with Marigold and Bergamot

Yield: 4 large ramekins

For panna cotta:
½ cup orange juice
2¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1½ cups cream
1 cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup powdered sugar
Pinch salt
Coconut oil for coating ramekins

1 cup orange juice
½ cup sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 whole cloves
Handful of miniature marigold flowers and bergamot flower heads

Whisk the orange juice into the gelatin, set aside. In a medium pan over low heat put the cream, milk, sour cream, vanilla, powdered sugar and salt. Heat through but don’t allow to boil. Whisk in the gelatin/orange mixture. Heat through. Pour this mixture into the ramekins greased with the coconut oil. Chill for at least 3–4 hours.

To make the glaze, over medium heat place the orange juice, sugar, lemon juice, orange zest and cloves. Reduce this mixture to ⅓ cup. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To serve, take the marigold flower petals and remove the white end that attaches to the flower (this tends to be bitter). Remove the petals of the bergamot flower. Pour a bit of the glaze over each ramekin. Decorate each one with both … Read More

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Rustic tart

Rustic Mulberry Almond Tart

Serves 8–10 

For the crust:
1¼ cups flour
½ cup sugar
⅔ cup unroasted ground almonds
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons lemon juice

For the filling:
2½ cups mulberries, rinsed but the stems do not need to be removed
⅔ cup sugar
1½ tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sliced almonds

To finish:
Powdered sugar

For the crust, whisk together the flour, sugar, almonds, cinnamon and salt in a medium-size bowl. Place the butter in the bowl and, using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks crumbly. Add the egg yolk and the lemon juice and mix with a fork until it is incorporated. The dough will be very crumbly at this point. Place the dough on a floured countertop. Push through the dougha couple of times until you can form a rough ball. Flatten into a disk. Place the disk in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for 15–20 minutes.

In another medium bowl place the mulberries, sugar, flour, zest, orange and lemon juices. Mix gently with … Read More

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Cheese Board

Cheese Board with Edible Flowers

Try edible flowers on your next cheese board. Select a variety of hard and soft cheeses to accompany flowers from your garden or the farmers market. Or try these suggestions from Oh Mamma’s on the Avenue Gourmet Cheese Shop & Deli in South Bend:

Blue Stilton, Stichelton or cherry Wensleydale with lavender, English daisies and yarrow.

Humboldt Fog with basil flowers, lilacs and fresh blueberries.

J2K Capraio Frosty Echo soft ripened goat cheese (made by Oh Mamma’s Cheese Shop) with peach or eggplant blossoms and purple coneflower or rose petals.

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Spiced Cupcakes with Milkweed Blossoms

The flowers of a common “weed” make for gorgeous edible toppers on these ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon cupcakes.

Yield: 12 cupcakes

½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon soda
1 cup yogurt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
Pinch salt
2 milkweed flower heads

Preheat oven to 350˚. Cream the butter, sugar, honey and molasses. Add the egg and beat well. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together. Alternate mixing the flour mixture and the yogurt to the butter mixture until just combined. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the batter into muffin tins. Bake for 25–28 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, in a mixing bowl cream the butter, sugar, milk, vanilla and salt together. Pick only the flowers off of the milkweed flower heads. After frosting the cupcake, arrange the flowers on top of each cupcake. Serve.

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Whiskey Custard


Recipe courtesy of Hello, Donuts!

Use this custard to fill donuts or layer cakes, or simply eat it by the spoonful after it comes off of the stovetop. (I have tried all three and highly recommend each option.)

Yield: Makes enough to fill 50 donut holes

1 cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon goodquality whiskey (like Journeyman Distillery’s Featherbone Bourbon Whiskey)

1 egg

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Pinch of salt

½ tablespoon butter

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the cream and whiskey in a medium-size saucepan until it is nearly boiling. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add a small amount of the warm cream into the egg mixture and whisk quickly to incorporate all of the ingredients. This will temper, or warm, the eggs so that they don’t cook too quickly and scramble. Once tempered, pour the egg mixture into the rest of the cream, whisking constantly as you pour them together. Continue whisking for about 2 minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. If you have a few lumps in your custard, Read More

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