cinnamon biscuits

I might have already mentioned this, but when I lived in London (and before I got promoted) I would bake something for my office almost as often as every other week. I loved doing it, and when there are only five of you it’s much easier. It’s also very appreciated and a sure way to get compliments – even if your baking doesn’t always deserve that much praise!

So when I was finally going to get to see my old colleagues in London the other weekend I wasn’t going to turn up empty-handed. I thought about what I wanted to bring them, and thought that biscuits would be what travelled best. I was tempted by cinnamon buns, especially since cinnamon bun day wasn’t too far away, but decided that they would probably get completely smashed in the suitcase and that biscuits were a safer option.

Now I couldn’t just make one kind of biscuits – as we know from my previous biscuit posts which explain the Swedish tradition of seven types of biscuits – but, though I would have loved to have been able to bring my friends seven kinds of biscuits, seven felt a bit much. So I settled on three.

Then came the issue of what do I make? The first thing that popped into mind was chokladsnittar, a lovely, crisp, chocolate biscuit topped with pärlsocker (pearl sugar). I also knew I wanted to make something with cinnamon, where I didn’t want the chokladsnittar and the cinnamon biscuits to be too similar I set to Googling and found a recipe for what turned out to be fantastic cinnamon biscuits. Really.

 

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Lastly I was considering making the hallongrottor. I’ve made them for work before and know that they like them, but then I changed my mind. S and I had just watched the Great British Bake Off biscuit episode (I make him download them for me and we watch them together when he’s here on the weekends) and they’d made Viennese whirls. I’ve never made biscuits with that type of dough, so it made me curious to try. However, I didn’t think that two biscuits sandwiched together and filled with jam and icing would last the flight – so instead I made another type of piped biscuit I remember from when I was little; a Strassburgare. It’s made using the same dough as a Viennese, but often dipped in chocolate, or maybe with a small filling of jam – like the hallongrotton. I chose the chocolate.

Now the cinnamon and chocolate biscuits made it over to London without a glitch, but I hadn’t quite accounted for the Strassburgare’s brittle texture. When I opened my bag that evening half of them had disintegrated into crumbs. They still tasted nice, but it was quite a disappointment not to be able to present the sweet little biscuits the way they looked the night before.

Though this post is technically about all of the biscuits, I’ll only post the recipe for the cinnamon ones here. The other two will come later in the days to follow (and in shorter posts).


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Ingredients (ca 30 biscuits depending on size)

125 g soft butter

250 ml brown sugar

50 ml syrup

1 egg

500 ml flour

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 pinch salt

white sugar (for rolling)


Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the syrup and the egg.

Combine the dry ingredients and add to the butter mix. Cover with cling-film and leave in the fridge for 30-40 minutes.

Make little balls of the dough and roll in the white sugar.

Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 12-15 minutes.

 


The cinnamon biscuits went without a glitch, and I think (since I’ve never made them before) they turned out just like they should. The chocolate and Strassburgare though – not so much.

First I had a mishap with my dough for the chocolate biscuits. I don’t know if the butter was too hot or whatever, but it wouldn’t roll out. Technically it’s supposed to be baked in two or three ‘rectangles’ and then diagonally cut just as they come out of the oven to create little parallelogram shapes. But mine just wouldn’t cooperate, so I rolled them into little balls which I flattened slightly with my palm before baking.

Then I had to completely change the shape of my Strassburgare. If to be dipped in chocolate, they’re usually piped with a star-tip in a compacted, swirly, several s:s shape (Google it and you’ll see what I mean) but when I was going to pipe them out the seams of my piping bag burst open! I don’t know if it was just bad quality or if the dough was slightly too solid – but when I changed over to one of my disposable plastic piping bags it came out smoothly. Unfortunately this meant I lost the star shape, so I decided to pipe them round instead.

Either way, my colleagues were delighted with my visit and my biscuits, and I hope they weren’t just being nice to me!

/t

 

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a japanese sunday

This weekend I went to London to see S. As I wrote last week, we had our first wedding anniversary on the 19th, and he was here the weekend before to celebrate. On top of this, I had already booked in that I would come to London this weekend because there was a Japanese harvest festival on the Sunday that we were going to go to. So I took Friday and Monday off and had a long weekend in the city I used to call home seven months ago. (I still called Stockholm home too!)

Now I don’t know if it’s because I was introduced to Japanese food at an early-ish age (mum is a huge sushi fan and dad’s wife is half-Japanese) or because it just appeals to me on a taste and texture level (probably a bit of both), but I really like Japanese food. I love sushi, and it has been one of my great sorrows that S doesn’t (lol) –  but he’s starting to open up to it a bit! But I also really like their meat/chicken and noodle dishes – yakitori, yakiniku, teriyaki, tonkatsu, katsu curry, ramen, udon, and so on – as well as for example lotus roots and yuzu.

Either way I love it, and since S and I had said we would double celebrate our anniversary (nice dinner and Bridget Jones’ Baby in Stockholm the weekend before and nice dinner in London the weekend after) my wish had been to go to Sticks’n’Sushi, a Danish restaurant group having branched out in London. We’ve been there before with friends, but since S is now getting more adventurous with the sushi bit, we thought it could be nice to go just the two of us.

The day started at Trafalgar Square though, at the Japan Matsuri (a harvest festival) where we were treated to some Japanese food and culture. We bought some really nice Gyoza and a Hirata bun (sorry, no picture of that), and were then treated to a Japan Airlines bento box in the Guest Section. The bento box was apparently what they serve first and business class passengers on JAL, and though a few things were not quite to my taste (I don’t like mackerel for example), most of it were really nice. We were also given a bag of Scottish shortbread – which is never wrong!

We were supposed to have lunch with a friend from uni, but since we’d had so much food at the festival we decided to invite her to dinner instead. Unfortunately, S started feeling bad in the afternoon and by dinner-time he was too sick to go out! So I ended up having dinner with just my friend, while S was at home and asleep.

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It wasn’t quite what we’d planned, but the food was still nice. We had a sharing plate of sushi and three sticks each, and then shared three desserts (they’re quite small). The sticks were pork belly, chicken skewer, and chicken meatballs, and the sushi was salmon, tuna, sea bass, and prawn nigiri, and pink Alaska, spicy tuna, and gypsy roll maki. For dessert we shared a vanilla bean crème brulée, a cheesecake with yuzu and crumble, and a macha moji ice-cream. A real treat.

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The food at Sticks’n’Sushi is always great, and if you’re a sushi lover I definitely recommend it. I’ve only been to the Canary Wharf branch though, and the service there isn’t always great. When I came to the restaurant (15 minutes late because I had to drive poor S back home since he was feeling sick) they told me my friend hadn’t arrived yet. So I text her and she said she was already at our table! I went up to the waiter who seated me and he said “No, there’s no one here. Look.” and took me further in the restaurant. Then he said “Unless it’s her.” and pointed at my friend. Hrm!

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It then took at least 20 minutes until we got to order, despite the waiter coming up and taking our drinks order, giving us water, and serving us our drinks. It also took ages before anyone came to take our dessert order or let us pay the bill. And it’s not like there were a lot of people in the restaurant, or few staff working. Needless to say, we didn’t tip them (but still had to pay the service charge included in the bill – I don’t really like it when they do that).

If the service is good, Sticks’n’Sushi is a great place to go. If the service isn’t great – the food still is. And they have a lot of nice fruity (non-alcoholic) drinks. I definitely recommend it for any fellow sushi-lovers out there!

/t