Christmas Goodies - Pralines and Cakes



It's like the entire world is baking for Christmas at the moment. Can you smell all the lovely aromas coming at you from your monitors?
Cookies galore everywhere you go. One of my favorite Food Blogger has completely gone wild too. Check out her mouthwatering cookies.

It is a fantastic tradition.

Every year, at this time my shopping cart at the grocery store is not filled with the usual fruit and vegetables but jam packed with raisins, flour, sugar, eggs and all things nice! I know my kitchen is gonna look like hell afterwards, but I also know that the cookies I just took out of the oven are gonna give me that ultra satisfaction.

This year besides the usual cookie recipes, I decided to make a few new treats. Something a little different to share with friends and family. I mean, I can only go to so many friends or neighbors places and when they all have the Vanille Kipferl, it kind of starts hanging out of my throat! Although I love the good ole Austrian Kipferl I decided to omit it from my baking list this year.

Instead I picked up two very interesting recipes from a German food magazine and decided to give those a try.


I would not call them cookies in anyway. One has a more cake like texture and the other is unmistakably a praline. Both taste completely incredible. So, before I share the recipes for them I do want to tell you to make a larger batch of each. They will make beautiful gifts for neighbors, teachers, friends and just about anyone you want to show special appreciation to.

Enjoy!



Nougat Orange Treats



This cake-like treat is filled with the chocolaty nougat. I'm talking rich molten chocolate nougat not the typical white nougat type made with sugar or honey and roasted nuts. This is the type which contains only sugar, cocoa butter, almonds, and cocoa mass and is often called Gianduia.

The wonderful spices, cinnamon and ground cloves, give it that wonderful Christmas aroma that always keeps you coming back for more. Finally the tangy hint of orange zest provide a refreshing flavor making this just to hard to resist.

Ingredients:
2 oranges - zested and 100 ml juice saved
200g - Gianduia Nougat (click on link to order now) - cut into cubes
6 eggs
400g + 150g - brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon ground clove powder
500g ground almonds
75 g flour



Method:
Prepare a baking pan lined with some waxed paper (about 32 x 39 cm). Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl mix the eggs, 400g sugar, cinnamon, cloves and half of the orange zest with an electric mixer until it is thick and creamy - about 6-8 minutes. With a rubber spatula fold in the ground almonds and flour. Pour in the orange juice and stir until incorporated. Mix the nougat cubes into the batter.

Spread the entire mixture onto the baking pan and smooth with the rubber spatula- Bake for approx. 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the rest of the orange zest with the sugar. Mix with 1 tablespoon cold water.

Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool. Then tip out on a large board. Cut into small squares. Gently roll each piece in the orange sugar.

Storing:
When kept in cool, dry air tight containers, this should last 2-3 weeks.

These treats are a heading their way to Danielle of Habeas Brulee, who is the host of Sugar High Friday this time round. Danielle has chosen a very fitting theme - Sugar Art.





Havana Pralines



Havana never tasted so good. This is a quick and easy to make praline with smooth marzipan, almonds and a touch of rum. A very grown-up type of treat, perfect for after the Christmas dinner, when all the kids are tucked away in bed. Sit back into the sofa with your loved ones around and bite into this crunchy praline. Trust me you will not be able to stop at just one.
I find that these are so classy that they would also make a great little bring-along for a New Year's party. What ever the occasion - one thing is for sure, these sinfully good treats will make you add one or two new resolutions to your list. But for now - enjoy it guilt-free!

Ingredients:

50g brown sugar
Vanilla pod - split and the pulp removed
150g + 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
200g bittersweet chocolate
200g Marzipan (click on link to order now)
2 tablespoon brown rum
400g whole milk chocolate



Method:

In a large pan bring sugar and 50 ml water to a boil. Keep mixing until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vanilla pulp and 150g flaked almonds. Mix well and roast the almonds until they turn golden. Allow the entire mixture to cool.

In a bowl melt the bittersweet chocolate over a pot of boiling water. Add the almond mixture and gently fold into the chocolate. Spread a piece of baking/waxed paper out on your kitchen counter. Spread the almond-chocolate mixture on to the baking/waxed paper. Place a second sheet over the top. Using a rolling pin roll the mixture flat - to about 1 cm thickness. Place in the fridge to cool for 2 hours.

Mix the marzipan with the rum and using your hands knead to a smooth texture. Take the almond-chocolate mixture out of the fridge. Remove the top sheet of paper and place the marzipan mixture on top. Gently spread it flat with your finger tips. Replace the baking paper on top of the marzipan and once again roll evenly with a rolling pin. You now have two layer - an almond-chocolate layer and a marzipan-rum layer.

Using a sharp knife cut the pralines into small bite-sized squares.

In a steam bath melt the whole milk chocolate. Using a fork dip each marzipan square in the melted chocolate, allow to drip and scrape the bottom across the bowl. Place on a baking tray to dry. Decorate with some flaked almond pieces.



Storing:
In a plastic or metal air-tight container these will stay 1-2 weeks fresh. Keep in a cool place - but not in the fridge!




Verdict:

Ohhhhhh! If this does not sweeten up your Christmas this year then I do not know what will!! LOL! First: Soeren just could not get enough of the Nougat Orange treats. He got addicted to them and normally ate 3 pieces in one go. Everyone who I have served these too were wonderfully surprised and of course I had to give out the recipe to everyone.
As for the pralines - well I had to hide them away from myself!! I made this to give away and I am afraid until Christmas actually does come around there will be none left. These are such fantastic pralines that every chocoholic needs to give these a try.

Just think of me when you bite into these luscious Christmas goodies.

Reminder!


The counter on the First Giving site reads US$ 25,050.70! Incredible we have surpassed last years mark! You can help by donating to the Menu For Hope III charity this year - United Nations World Food Programme by bidding on some great prizes. The list of all the spectacular prizes can be viewed on Chez Pim's campaign prize page.
Please help us raise more money for Menu For Hope!
More details on how to bid can be found here.




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21 comments:

  1. I saw marzipan the other day and pondered what I could do with it! :D

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  2. If I did those Pralines I would have to hide them away for myself also! I would go nuts for those.
    Great post Meeta.

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  3. Those pralines look delicious Meeta, wish i could grab a mouthfull right now! Happy Holidays!!

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  4. Your photos are absolutely amazing. Everything looks delicious.

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  5. Meeta: Your donation for the auction, Dorie's baking book, has been so helpful in us raising money for Menu For Hope III, and those truffles are the 'icing on the cake'! We're up to $26,000, and climbing daily, thanks to your readers who've been bidding, and your tasty truffles alongside!

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  6. WOW Meeta, both of those Christmas treats look great !! And the pics truly justify them, they seem to speak of all that you have described about the cookies and a lot more too !! I wish I could have atleast one bite of each !! :-(

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  7. Amazing meeta!!!!! I m drooling all over the pics!!!!! (haven't read the recipe as yet :P) Now I am on my way to read it :)

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  8. Meeta..the food looks so amazing... and waiting for the next gen comp when u put ur hand inside the comp and take the food..lol..loved the blog..

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  9. Meeta- I happily clicked your link to "mouthwatering cookies", hoping to find some more inspiration for my baking, imagine my surprise when what I found actually was my baking! You've managed to inspire me with your baking though, I made my own marzipan this year so I'm definitely trying out your pralines. Thanks for the recipe and I'm glad you like my baking!

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  10. Beautiful treats, Meeta! I love them! They are professional looking and sound so yummy =)

    Merry Christmas!
    xoxo

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  11. Meeta, your Xmas treats look very cute and lovely. :) Happy Holidays!

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  12. Lovely pics with a christmasy feel. Happy Holidays

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  13. Those look amazing ! love your pictures

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  14. The pralines look delicious Meeta and the pictures are the best part, love them absolutely amazing. Happy holidays!

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  15. Meeta, you're a great baker and an artist! The treats are really pretty and delightful!

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  16. Happy holidays, Meeta! Looking forward to more beautiful photographs and recipes in the new year:)

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  17. Meeta, these pralines look like perfection!

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  18. I only wish these treats were actually heading my way!

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  19. Jeff Give the pralines a go. They are so easy to make and taste fantastic.
    Tanna Isn't that just awful when you make something you know you have to cut back on. Next time I will make a double batch, one for the pressies and another for me!
    Meena Open wide - here comes a mouthful now LOL!
    Kristen Thanks so much!
    David It's been an amazing expereince and you have been a great "caretaker" for us in Europe. I too thank all my readers.
    Priya Thank you for your comments. Easiest way to a biteful is making them. Hehe!
    Rooma Hope you like the recipes as much as the pics.
    Caterina Yes, that would be cool. This way I'll be baking double time to keep filling the empty spaces in the posts LOL!
    Brilynn I have enjoyed your entire XMAS baking series and was in awe. I am truly honored that this post inspired you too.
    Lisa Thank you for the compliment!
    WP, Sandeepa, Krithika Thanks! Appreciate it!
    Mandira Thank you so much. Glad you liked them.
    Gattina Coming from you this is a huge compliment. I really appreciate it.
    Latha Stay tuned! I am lookin forward to hearing about your trials with my recipes. It is always great reading your mails.
    Esther Thank you so much!
    Danielle Close your eyes and imagine. Open wide can you taste them?

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  20. The pralines look absolutely divine!!! perfect dessert, as you said:)

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta