A first birthday is more of an event than a second one is, I agree, but a birthday is a birthday, I say. After all, it's not everyday that one gets to look back and see how far one has come while feeling good about the changes in oneself.
I thought someone, maybe one or two of you, would remember that I've been around here for a just a bit over two years and wish me a happy birthday. If we're getting down to the brass tacks, I am now two years and three weeks old. Yes, my second birthday celebrations are overdue by three weeks!!!
Then again, I guess I am expecting too much when even the lady who writes here seems to have forgotten all about it.
Last birthday, she made a lot of noise about my turning one, and had party with lots of sweet goodies. This year……………….
I'm sorry, the sadness of it all got to me and I couldn't go on. I did some investigating and discovered that all is not yet lost as far as my birthday goes. The lady who writes here hasn't forgotten my birthday, after all. True, I do remember her mentioning it on and off a couple of times, now I come to think of it.
Turns out she was planning a surprise and then before she could get down to it a vacation happened! Flimsy sounding excuse, if you ask me. She didn't forget her vacation, did she now?
Hey, the one and only chance I get to say what I feel here, and SHE's back and taken control! Oh well, I'll let her get on with what she has to say, not that I have a choice…..
Oh, Oh, I'd better get in on this act before it gets out of hand. That's my blog letting off a bit of steam and getting carried away!
True, this blog turned two a couple of weeks ago when I was away on vacation. I had planned to write this post as soon as I got back, but that didn't happen. The flu decided to pay a rather unwelcome visit and then over stayed its welcome (not!).
Now, I couldn't let a birthday here go without mentioning or celebrating it, even though a bit belatedly.
Two years, over 300 posts and more than 200, 000 visitors - these are just statistics. These numbers do not tell of the numerous mails I have received with good words and wishes for my blog. They do not tell of just how closer the world has come to me, with so many of us connecting over good food.
These statistics can never begin to describe the wonderful, helpful and supportive community that I am proud to be a part of. In the past two years, many in this community have become very good friends.
The funny thing is that I have never met most of them, though I hope I can and I will meet them (outside the virtual world) some day.
This blog has ensured that I explored the world of good food a whole lot more than I would ever have if I hadn't started blogging. I must say, it has also given me a voice that I didn't really know I had.
I can now bake a decent loaf of bread, bake and decorate a cake using basic skills. I have to confess that the "macaron" and "French bread" still has me stumped, though I'm sure I will conquer them both some day (I hope!).
Now, birthdays are no fun without food. There is this almost special connection between birthday celebrations and cake. For a change, let's get a bit adventurous and celebrate with some "Sandbakkelser"!
Sandbakkelser (also called Sand Tarts because of the ground almonds, I understand) are small Scandinavian almond cookies or tarts. These are crumbly, hollow almond cookies are baked in 2" fluted sandbakkel tins/ moulds. They are usually served as they are (as cookies) or can be filled with fillings like fruit, whipped cream, etc as for tarts. Whichever way you serve them, they are the perfect bite-sized dessert, though from what I have read about them, it seems these cookies are traditionally a Christmas time treat.
I had bought some small fluted tart tins/ moulds sometime back, thinking they would be got to make tartelettes for appetizers. It now turns out that they are perfect for sandbakkelser!
I also had quie a bit of ground almonds left over from making macarons and this seemed a great way to use that up too.
I used half this recipe from "Petite Sweets: Bite-Size Desserts to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth" by Beatrice Ojakangas. Below is my halved version, from that recipe. My sandbakkelser are a little different from Ms. Ojakangas' recipe.
The original recipe requires 3/4 stick of butter for the halved recipe. Here I get 100gm slabs of butter so I used 3/4 of that which is a bit less. I didn't blanch my almonds and ground them skin and all so my sandbakkelser are specked with brown.
The original recipe suggests filling the sandbakkelser with berry preserves and whipped cream. My cookies didn't last long enough to be filled with anything!
75gm butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup blanched almonds, pulverized or ground
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/2 a large egg, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until well blended and light. Blend in the almonds, almond extract, and egg. Stir in the flour to form a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until it forms a smooth ball. Add a bit more flour if needed to make a stiff dough. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
Lightly butter or coat with nonstick spray 2 dozen fluted sandbakkel tins or tart tins. Pinch off parts of the dough and, using your thumb, press into the tart pans to make a thick, even layer.
Place filled tins on a baking sheet for easier handling. Bake at 190C for 12-15 minutes or until the sandbakkelser are golden. Remove from oven and allow them to cool in the tins. To remove the tins, gently tap the tin until the tart comes out.
Serve unfilled (upside down on a serving plate to reveal the impression from the pan), or invert the tart shells so that the cavity is upright. Just before serving, spoon the chocolate mascarpone mousse into the tart shells.
This recipe makes 24 sandbakkelser.
Now to the next, final and perhaps most exciting part of this celebratory post.
Last year, I decided to have an event to celebrate a birthday here. This year, I thought I'd do something different from that.
Variety is always fun and an event means everyone would have to cook something, take pictures, post, link here, e-mail entries……….! And then I would have to go through everything, do a round-up. It seems to me that that's too much work all around.
So this time, I'm going to give away a copy of Petite Sweets: Bite-Size Desserts to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth by Beatrice Ojakangas (from which the sandbakkelser were made).
That's right, no hard work at all but there's a catch (haven't you all realized that there's always a catch to everything somewhere?).
All you need to do is to leave a comment at this post telling me what you like about this blog. Only one comment per person, please.
I know, I know, it's a very sycophantic thing to do but tell me, honestly, who doesn't like to hear something nice about themselves (That's my blog talking, by the way!) and if this is the one way of doing it………..
Actually, criticism is welcome too, but rudeness shall not be tolerated. Tell me what you don't like about this blog or if there's something you would like to see that is different or improved and maybe I can do something about it, if it is within my scheme of things.
You have till the 30th of November (that's 10 days from today) to leave comments here, after which date I will randomly pick one lucky person who shall take home this lovely book.
All those silent readers who visit this blog, this is open to you too, whether you have a blog or not. So please do come out and have your say and who knows, Lady Luck may be on your side.
I will be happy to send this book anywhere in the world.
Please make sure to enter your email address in the appropriate field so that I can contact you should you win.