Mini-muffins: baking as a gift

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Two weeks ago, I started a 42 weeks long sugar-strike: no added sugar or sweets of any kind until the 26th of February. I don’t want to bother you with the details and the “whys” and the “hows” of this decision, but one thing I was a bit worried taking this step was my blog. Not being able to taste and try and eat what I make will be surely a big challenge, but then I thought: well, OK, baking is more like Science, so the really important thing is not to taste but to follow the recipe. And in all truth, if I want to develop something new or make my own adaptations and try new things there will always be a number of people willing to make the “sacrifice” of tasting my concoctions on my behalf, my husband, for example, has already signed up very happily.

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Pistachio, Orange e chocolate Runeberg Cakes, or Dante’s Peaks

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Last week on Friday Finland celebrated Johan Runeberg, national poet and namesake of one the most popular and loved sweets, the Runeber Cake. As most things in Finland people stick to the traditional recipe in q almost religious way: a tall tower of almonds and breadcrumbs sponge and a shiny topping of raspberry jam glaze surrounded by a layer of sweet icing.

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Hazelnut and orange cake: it’s time for celebration.

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Last week it was my husband’s birthday. As a tradition, I asked what kind of cake he would have liked to celebrate his special day and for the first time in 10 years I was given free rein to make whatever I felt like. I could have gone for some wacky flavours or some strange ingredients but I guessed that my conservative audience would have appreciated a more traditional, albeit new (at least for my kitchen), combination.

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Lemon Tart: Spring in a dessert, whatever the weather.

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One thing I learned since moving to Finland is that there’s no point in making projects and plans around weather and seasons, as there’s a quite good chance one might end up never do anything at all. If you live in Finland and you are waiting for a scorching hot Sunday to have a barbeque with friends or a sunny day without a drop of rain on sight to go for a walk by the lake, you might as well not even waste your time and just find yourself a nice book to read in the comfort of your home.

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Chocolate and marmalade bread and butter pudding

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Imagine of being in charge of breakfast on Easter Monday and the cupboard in the house is empty. If you take a trip to the local a patisserie before 9am you might even find and buy croissant and local sweets, but considering time and day it is quite likely that what you bought is at least one day old, dry, not at its prime. If then, on top of that, you go to a supermarket and buy some freshly made still warm bread you can be practically sure that the stale pastry will not even make its way out of the bag.

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Trio of sablée biscuits: the best cookies ever.

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This weekend I won’t bore you with a long text or an endless story of why this bake is great (only a lot of pictures!). You will just need to know that these are the most scrumptious biscuits with the greatest melt-in-the-mouth texture. And they are also very easy to make, just remember to not overheat the pastry. Thanks Michel Roux for the best bullet-proof pâte sablée recipe.

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