ischoklad

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coconut ice chocolate with mint & pistachio marzipan

ice chocolate with mint and pistachios - photo philip blankenship

Traditionally made from just chocolate and coconut oil, ice chocolate is one of the most popular homemade sweet treats in Sweden during the Holidays. The name refers to the iciness created by the coconut oil when the chocolate melts in your mouth. For that reason it’s important to serve it icy cold and also because this luscious candy will melt in your hand as well as in your mouth.

This version has taken a step away from the original with added mint, fresh pistachio topping and a simple homemade pistachio marzipan filling.

ice chocolate with mint and pistachio marzipan - photo philip blankenship

Ice chocolate can be poured into small paper cups but due to the unique consistency, aluminum molds make the perfect serving cups.

ingredients

12 oz dark chocolate

6 oz coconut oil

6 drops peppermint oil

1 cup raw unsalted pistachio nuts

3 tablespoons honey

directions

Roughly chop ¼ cup pistachio nuts and set aside for the topping.

Finely chop the remaining ¾ cups pistachio nuts in a food processor or by hand. Add honey and mix until incorporated.

Roll marzipan paste into about 80 ½ inch balls and drop into aluminum molds placed on a tray.

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl placed over a hot water bath.

Stir in peppermint oil and fill aluminum molds, completely covering the pistachio marzipan.

Wait until slightly set, then sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts.

Refrigerate.

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Makes about 80 chocolates.

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Photography by Philip Blankenship.

homemade earl grey cream

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bergamot earl grey cream tea with champagne raisins & cocoa nibs

Homemade Earl Gray Cream Tea - photo philip blankenship

In addition to knowing the quality of the ingredients, personallisation is always a motive for making things from scratch. This delicious mix has all the components of a perfect cup of earl grey cream including some extra sweetness from fruity grapes and nutty bitterness from cocoa nibs.

Earl gray tea’s distinct flavor comes from bergamot orange, a sour orange mostly used for tea and perfume. The fragrant oil is extracted from the peel and considering how frequently the fruit is used in finished products it is surprisingly hard to find fresh. When our little garden tree is off season I order mine from buy exotic fruits. If bergamot orange is unavailable, a combination of various citrus fruits will make a refreshing substitute.

For this tea I dried champagne grapes in a dehydrator but regular grapes (or store bought raisins) would be equally flavorful.

Bergamot Earl Gray Cream Tea - photo philip blankenship

ingredients
8 oz black Assam loose tea (organic here and here)
1 ½ cups champagne raisins (or regular raisins)
1 cup dried bergamot orange peel (bergamot oranges here)
1 cup raw cocoa nibs (organic here)
½ oz dried corn flowers (organic here)
3 tablespoons ground fresh whole vanilla pods
directions

To dry citrus peel, break up the colored part of the peel into small pieces and dry in a dehydrator or in an oven on the lowest setting until they feel dry and light. Check every 30 minutes as the time vary between dehydrators and ovens from about 1-4 hours. Leave to cool.

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Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Lasts for 6-12 months but becomes weaker with time. Freeze for longer shelf life.

Makes about 7 cups loose tea.

Earl Gray Cream Tea - photo philip blankenship

Photography by Philip Blankenship.

swedish cheesecake

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gluten free swedish cheesecake served with whipped cream and cloudberries

Scandinavian cheesecake - photo philip blankenship

Since 2004 Swedes have celebrated “ostkakans dag” (cheesecake day) on November 14, a glorious day simply dedicated to cheesecakes. It is fascinating how many ways a simple combination of eggs and dairy can be prepared with more or less varied results. Most countries and even regions have their own idea of the perfect cheesecake and Sweden is no exception. Born and raised in southern Sweden with a mom from northern Norway, this is my ideal creation. The soft and grainy texture reminds me of baked rice pudding and soufflé. It’s typical of Småland (a province close to my home town) and so is the addition of sweet and bitter almond. Cloudberries typically grow only at high alpine altitudes and was introduced as a must condiment by my mom.

There are many slightly different recipes creating this type of cheesecake, some from scratch, some using ricotta or cottage cheese. I prefer using cottage cheese, still making it from scratch, recipe here. Ricotta cheese can be equally substituted for variation.

ingredients

2 cups firm (or strained) cottage cheese

2 eggs

2 yolks

½ cup cream

2 tablespoons honey

4 drops almond extract

¼ cup roughly chopped raw almonds

3 tablespoon potato starch

3 tablespoons milk powder

directions

Mix all ingredients and fill 6 buttered ramekins.

Bake at 350F/175C for about 50 minutes until the cheesecakes turn golden brown and almost set. They should be a little jiggly but will firm up slightly when they cool.

Serve luke warm or cold with soft whipped cold cream and jam or fresh berries.

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Serves 6.

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Photography by Philip Blankenship.

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