Homebaker’s Cookbook: Almond and Sesame Biscuits / Il Ricettario di Homebaker: Biscotti alle mandorle e sesamo

Some time ago I discovered reginelle palermitane, very simple but delicious biscuits. This recipe is simply inspired by the original biscuits, which I thought were the result of a mix between wheat flour and almonds an ingredient in fact missing in the original recipe, as found out after a fairly detailed study, nonetheless I decided to put in the mixture to make my own version for Homebaker’s Cookbook. I chose to use homebaker’s farina 400, a flour specific for biscuit baking. Since I started using it in my recipes for biscuits and crackers I keep a package in the pantry…the difference, compared to biscuits baked with all purpose flour, is tangible and all the baked goods resulting are definitely more crisp! These almond and sesame biscuits are not too sweet and are ideal for both breakfast and a coffee break.
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Homebaker’s Cookbook: Lemon and Vanilla Olive Oil Biscuits / Il Ricettario di Homebaker: Biscotti all’olio di oliva, limone e vaniglia

Once you crunch you can’t stop, don’t you agree with me? Usually I’m more of a crackers and grissini fan, but won’t say no to a crumbly sweet biscuit. And that’s what I propose for today’s Homebaker‘s Cookbook. What’s the secret to achieve such a result? Well with a calculated mixture of durum wheat semolina and cornstarch. In order to have healthier cookies I used olive oil instead of butter, so I suppose they will be lighter on your conscience as well as on your thighs compared to a common cookie! Flavouring is the most classic vanilla and lemon zest combo but I have no doubt that this recipe can be customized with the most disparate additions, from chopped walnuts, to chocolate chips, and spices like cinnamon, cardamom or saffron as well. I can’t wait to do other experiments myself…what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and bake these delicious biscuits, it’s easy peasy!
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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Semolina cheesecake/ Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Cheesecake al semolino

 

Here we are with a new recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. As some of you might know the past year I often travelled to one of the most beautiful cities in Italy: Naples. Falling in love with a proud Neapolitan I did not miss out on the opportunity to visit the city, admiring its culture, beauty but especially enjoying its gastronomic specialties. Specialties of which time by time I have written down the names, usually using my cellphone transferring all manually on post-its when back in Chiasso. Too often these notes are then forgotten, buried by piles of books that gradually accumulate while I research for other recipes during my work of testing and programming for the baking workshops I teach at Maroggia’s Mill. Usually I and end up finding the precious notes while I clear up the mess, which I must admit happens quite infrequently, peeking out from a notebook inviting me with their phosphorescent colors to undertake a new challenge in the kitchen. So it happened with the migliaccio, a typical dessert of the Campania tradition. Hold on, before unleashing horrified comments and anathemas. This recipe has nothing to do with the traditional recipe, if not as an inspiration for this cake that I renamed semolina cheesecake. Why a cheesecake? Well this cake has a crust and the filling as the traditional dessert too requires ricotta, which makes it in itself a sweet cheesecake. Did I convince you? Well I hope so. First of all I decided to use a very fine soft wheat semolina flour, which is great for making gnocchi alla romana too, and compared to the original recipes found online I added a much lower amount of sugar. The dough, made with 00 flour, is also slightly sweetened so if you want you can add ten grams of sugar if you prefer sweeter flavors. Raisins can be soaked in rum to give the sweet an edge and nothing prevents you from adding other ingredients in the semolina filling, may it be candied fruit, nuts, chocolate or fruit it’s up to your preferences. The dessert is fresh and light and if you want to make a simpler version you can skip on lining the cake tin with pastry, but remember to grease well the mold and sprinkle it with plenty of semolina!

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Semlor / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Semlor

The carnival is almost over, but in Ticino opportunities to celebrate do not lack. For this post for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook I propose a typical Shrove Tuesday recipe, from Sweden. No one will notice, we are still having fun after all aren’t we? In fact even in Sweden these soft rolls, flavoured with cardamom and filled with almond paste and cream, have become the national breakfast cake and snack and are sold in bakeries all over the country. And there’s no wondering why, they are simply irresistible!
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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Soft Milk Flatbreads / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Focaccine soffici al latte

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Yet another Friday with Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook and yet another bread: a flat bread. Nothing more handy. Flatbread can be stuffed, lends itself perfectly as an accompaniment to a main dish or serves beautiful as a simple snack. A soft and versatile bread that doesn’t need to be sliced and can be easily portioned by tearing it into smaller pieces. Ideal to have for breakfast as for lunch and dinner. This time around I wanted to try and enrich the dough with eggs and milk to make the bread as soft as I could. The result is great but I would recommend you to consume this bread when still hot or to warm it briefly in the oven or toaster after brushing it with a little water, to fully taste its softness and fragrance. You can flavour the dough with seeds, spices or chocolate chips for a tasty snack.
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Soft Milk Rolls / Panini al latte

I don’t know about you, but these rolls to me are all about childhood. The inevitable snack in the lunch box my mum would pack for school trips, an evergreen of impromptu snacks…the milk roll is the emblem of sharing made carbohydrate. Split it in two and enjoy it with the ones you love the most, stuff it with slices of ham or chocolate bars, wrap one in wax paper and place it safely in a little corner of your bag. The soft milk roll will never disappoint you!
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Liquorice and Beetroot Babka / Babka alla barbabietola e liquirizia

For those who know me well this recipe does not come as a surprise… you know ho much I love beetroot and licorice don’t you? I tried this babka for breakfast and it is simply delicious, pillowy soft and just slightly sweet, want a slice? Well, roll up your sleeves and get started baking!
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MTC Challenge: Indian Style Fried Chicken / MTC Challenge: Pollo fritto all’indiana

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Another month, another MTChallenge. Last challenge, the macaron, literally brought me to my knees and made me regret having a willpower which is close zero. Friendships, relationships…working hard on myself I learned the salutary principle of “Letting go” and understand that everything, EVERYTHING, in this brief life simply comes to an end. Not with the MTChallenge, I simply can’t let go. Like in the most cliché relationships which are ruled by a strong, and constant, imbalance between love and hate it’s impossible for me to desist. Kathy Bates in “Misery” you name her…MTChallenge is far worse than her smashing Paul Sheldon’s legs, I simply can’t get out of it! Last challenge’s winner was Silvia, not a surprise if you go taking a look at the recipe with which she won. It was virtually impossible for her to lose. I immediately said to myself: “She will bash us, she will”. Indeed, a massive bash arrived. Silvia’s fried chicken! So you think that frying is easy don’t you? You couldn’t be more wrong. Being quite experienced with frying (I think my closest friends have heard me billion times instructing them on double frying) I took courage and decided to use an ingredient I’ve never used for frying before. Almonds. Scared about its humidity content and surely quite fearful of burning them I never, EVER, used nuts to coat anything that needed a good old frying session. Of course it took an MTChallenge to throw myself into the boiling cauldron and overcome anxiety. The inspiration for the recipe came from India, as soon as I read Valentina’s original recipe. Blame it on the marinade (spices and spicy!), or the idea of accompanying the chicken with a sauce (firstly my mind went to a yogurt based dip and then moved on to an inevitable chutney, which I decided to mix with yogurt :D), but for certain if chicken is involved, at least where I come from, you have to venture into indian cuisine.

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Mock panettone with candied orange and dark chocolate / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Finti panettoncini all’arancia candita e cioccolato fondente

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It has been hanging around for a long time, this thought. Unfortunately having many things to do and little time to stop and think and do something about it…but I couldn’t stop thinking this blog was born thanks to my passion for sourdough but lately my recipes have been increasingly lacking this ingredient. What happened? Nothing serious, some of it is to blame on the discovery of long fermentation which can make yeasted bread more digestible and fresh for longer time, just like sourdough bread. A little blame is on “Cuochi d’artificio” for which I decided to restrain myself to the use of yeast, being sourdough leavening too complex. And last but not least lately time to plan refreshments and dough rising has failed me big time.

At the first occasion I knew I had to do something about it. I threw a quick loving glance to the jar of my dear Hannibal Dolores Frank, my liquid sourdough culture, and rolled up my sleeves. In a jiffy I found the right ingredients and I started to put down, off the cuff, the recipe for these mock panettoncini fo Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook. Mock because mind you, panettone is a serious matter. The recipe is regulated by a disciplinary from which you can not escape, and the commitment needed to come up with a good homemade panettone is remarkable. This recipe in a way is no exception and I don’t recommend it to the faint of heart, or better faint of hand. Unless you are familiar with very hydrated or high in fat doughs, if you’re not quite skilled with handling and shaping breads I warn you nervous breakdown is around the corner waiting for you. But if you are experienced or daring enough go all the way and this recipe will not disappoint you. These little panettoni are perfect for a special, and why not romantic, breakfast. Soft as a pillow and sweet, I tell you. Bake them on a Saturday afternoon for Sunday morning. Pop them for a while in the oven before you tasting them while cocooning in the warmth comfort of your bed, wide smile under your cappuccino foam moustache. That’s amore!

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Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook: Cinnamon and Hazelnut Rye Flour Babka / Il Ricettario del Mulino di Maroggia: Babka speziata alla cannella e noci con farina di segale

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Catch a Babka in the Rye! I haven’t been baking this soft and pillowy treat for a while and when Alessandro gave me the first few packets of Maroggia’s Mill rye flour I knew immediately I had to try and develop a recipe for Maroggia’s Mill Cookbook which had nothing to do with the idea we usually have of rye bread. Nothing better than a Babka. Would I be able to obtain a soft and pillowy crumb with such a flour, which as you know is not as rich in gluten as wheat flour? Well, I am proud to say that I made it! And my guinea pigs loved it. Of course it’s not as light and pillowy as it would be using wheat flour, but i can assure you its surprisingly soft and melts in the mouth beautifully.

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