Flammkuchen – Quick & Easy Rustic German Fare!

Not sure why on my 46 years on this planet have I never made, let alone ate Flammkuchen until today!! There was a bar which specialized in them and speciality beers in Den Bosch but sadly closed down with Covid. If you are a fan of thin crust pizza (which I am) this is a must try. I was inspired when I saw Hugo Kennis making a “Duits hapjes platter on the 5 Uur Live show – recipes are here. In the same episode, he also made curryworst but I’ll totally pass on that but I know the kids would love it.

My plan was to make two types of Flammkuchen. Salmon & Leeks and Spek & Red Onion and both were so good! After the first two, the kids were still hungry so I used the 3rd & 4th sheet – one for a combo of the aforementioned as I still had leftovers. And then for a treat, I made one with apples and cinnamon. Clearly a success as there was not a single piece left!! I look forward to being creative and making new combinations in the the future.

A Flam What?

Flammkuchen pronounced flam-KOOK-en) also known by its French name “Tarte Flambée” comes from South Germany and the Alsace region of France (along the southwestern French-German border).  According to the wikipedia entry, it was made as a way to test the heat of the oven the farmers used to make bread. Then they added some ingredients as topping, and voila – a whole new kind of “pizza” was created.

What is the difference between Flammkuchen and Pizza?

Unlike traditional pizza, Flammkuchen or Tarte Flambée does not have an underlying layer of tomato sauce under cheese (normally mozzarella) and toppings. While you can use any toppings that you like for you flammkuchen, the most traditional combination includes bacon and caramelized onions. And instead of cheese, Flammkuchen uses crème fraîche or cottage cheese (fromage blanc or weißer Käse) seasoned with a sprinkle of nutmeg and black pepper. Your options are endless – just google Flammkuchen or Tarte Flambee recipes and you’ll see soooo many options. Here is one in English from The Guardian. I’ve seen some which look so good including this Green Asparagus, Feta & Red Onion from Jumbo’s recipe guide in Dutch – that is one that I’d make next for sure!

Dough – make or buy?

Like with pizza, you can buy or make our own dough. For me, I never make my own. But this dough is quite simple – a mixture of flour, salt, water, and oil that mixes together well and kneads nice and smooth. But I figure why bother, when you can get a four pack of pre-rolled out, perfectly formed rectangle sheets at Sligo for less than €2. I need to mention that Sligro is my second favorite shop in the Netherlands. And maybe from past posts, you probably know that Amazing Oriental is first. Maybe one day I’ll do a blog post on those two shops. I already did one on Intratuin – being more than your average garden center – it’s another great shop – even for non-green thumbs like myself. Anyway back to the dough and the main difference from your typical pizza is that there is no yeast or other leavening agent. It’s just a pretty simple dough. So it doesn’t rise – just try and get it as thin as you can. Or be like me and buy the base.

Tips when making.

1.) Less is really is more in this dish. Like when you make a pizza, if you add too many toppings, it won’t crisp up and you end up with a soggy base – yuck! So, same concept -keep the toppings light! You are better off with a few an one big mushy one.

2.) If you are using spek (bacon pieces) do first pan from they so they are crispy. If using onions, I recommend you pan fry them too – or alternatively let them soak in water for a bit before putting on, otherwise, they can burn too quickly as your oven is really hot!

3.) If you are in the US or a place you cannot find creme fraiche, you can mix of sour cream and Greek yogurt.

4.) It can be tricky to slide the Flammkuchen onto a baking tray, so just make it already on the baking tray – but be sure you put down parchment paper – so they don’t stick!

So that was my experience with Flammkuchen. One day I’ll finally get to Italy and enjoy their pizza. For now I’ll fondly remember the escargot pizza in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, France which sounds awful to some but really SO GOOOOOD! Of course, I know Italian and Turkish pizza – what’s next to try? Polish Pizza?

Have a suggestion other than better quality food photos 🙂 – do let me know!

Easy Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

Today is a wet dreary, mid-January day and I just felt like soup. I’ve had zero appetite for the past week and I thought I needed to find a way to eat something (never thought I’d say that in my entire adult life) and perhaps some homemade soup might be a start. A classic tomato soup is easy to make, doesn’t require much effort and I am pretty sure the kids will like it too. And this one served with a grilled bread or even a cheese sandwich will probably go ever well. If they are not fans, well then I’ll toss the rest in my tiny freezer and eat the rest at a different date.

For anyone that knows me at all knows that I LOVE SOUP! Back in Boston, the New England Soup Factory was one of my favorite places to go – with locations at the time in Brookline, Newton & Salem they were close to work and home no matter where I was living. We used to pick up some frozen containers and keep them in the house in case we needed a quick meal. No idea where they have locations now – hopefully they are still booming like they were back in 2012. Before we moved abroad, I even bought their cookbook. For some reason though, I don’t pick it up much and make much of their soups, but rather find more inspiration from posts I see on the Pinterests, bloggers or from restaurants, etc. Maybe this post will inspire to make more?

Marjorie the co-owner, is featured on some How2Hero’s Videos where she makes some dishes and some of her amazing soups.
Spicy Chicken & Rice Flu Chaser Soup
Greek Orzo Lemon & Chicken
Vegetable Minestrone
Chinese Hot & Sour Soup
Creamy Tomato

I didn’t follow a recipe, but just went off how I’ve made it in the past. First create the basic mirepoix, add fresh tomatoes and broth cook – and in the end, I pureed it.

INGREDIENTS:

  •  2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 chicken and 1 vegetable stock tub
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Laurel Leaf (Bay leaf)
  • Optional: Basil leaves & tinned tomatoes
  • Salt & pepper to season

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel and roughly slice the carrots, slice the celery, and peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add all the prepped ingredients, then cook with lid ajar for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened. Add bit of salt & pepper.
  3. Add the stock tubs into a glass measuring cup, cover with about 1.5 litres of boiling water. Stir until dissolved.
  4. Add the stock to the veg pan with fresh whole tomatoes. Add tomato paste. Optional: Add a can of tinned tomato.
  5. Give it a good stir, add laurel leaf and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and remove laurel leaf. Optional stir through the basil leaves.
  7. Using a stick blender and pulse the soup until smooth. Taste and check the seasoning, then serve.

Do you have any favorite soups? Jamie Oliver often posts some really nice ones which look so easy and look so delicious! Like his Pistou Soup. I love minestrone soups, so any soups with veggies and beans together, I’m sure will be great!

How To Make Dutch Stamppot – “Boerenkool Met Worst” Recipe

If you are not new to my blog then you know I tend to write about the places we visit and things we do,  but today I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I cook.  I’m a huge fan of cooking and have a huge interest in a variety of kitchens – I love Italian, Mexican but I’m particularly fond of Asian cooking. I especially love Korean, Thai and Vietnamese dishes and just recently enjoyed a delicious home-cooked Indonesian meal including Rendang,  Kip sate and Nasi.  So my next experiment meal is going to be a variation of those dishes and maybe an additional one so I’m busy gathering recipes.  Not surprisingly I already have a lot of the ingredients here in the house from making homemade Sambal trassi. I will of course share those recipes and the outcome of my mini Indonesian meal.

But for this post which is about tonight’s dinner, I thought why not try something typically DUTCH!  Dutch cuisine you ask? I know – that you don’t hear a lot about.  No one says I feel like grabbing some Dutch takeaway. Not to say it’s not “good” but let’s be honest – the Dutch are known for many things and it’s not their cuisine.  When you think of “traditional Dutch food”, you probably think of Gouda cheese, stroopwaffels, pancakes/poffertjes and possibly even herring, but hands down the most traditional item is Stammpot. Ask a Dutchie the same thing – name a “traditional Dutch dish“, I am certain they’ll say Stamppot or Hutspot!  

When I think back to my first time in the Netherlands in Aug 1999, I ate this dish. Perhaps it was the sausage or the way it was cooked – no idea but truthfully, I have to say I was not a fan.  A bit like Bangers & Mash in the UK & Irish colcannon with sausages, here in the winter this is a staple meal in a lot of households in the Netherlands — just not the case here. I think the last time I made it was probably 5 years ago in Ireland!  Clearly, I’m not yet “ingeburgerd” but trying :).  It was brought up this weekend in a conversation, so when I was planning out dinner, I thought I’d give it a try.  The photos are not the best and most appealing looking images, but it actually came out pretty good and both kids liked it. A bit of the dinner conversation was about Dutch Hema on Youtube. I suspect they meant this one but will have to ask – as we didn’t look it up.

WHAT IS STAMPPOT?

Stamppot is a traditional Dutch dish made from a combination of potatoes mashed with one or several vegetables with a sausage on top.  These vegetable pairings traditionally include kale, sauerkraut, endive, spinach, turnip greens, or carrot & onion. (The combination of the latter two is known as hutspot.  It’s the ultimate “comfort food”. Perfect for a cold, dark & wet evenings. 

There is a variety of stamppot recipes in the Netherlands – and of course that is where personal taste preferences really comes into play but below are some of the most popular versions.

  • Boerenkoolstamppot (kale stamppot) – this is the one I made tonight and (I think) most popular!
  • Zuurkoolstamppot (sauerkraut stamppot)
  • Hutspot (onion and carrot stamppot)
  • Rauwe Andijviestamppot (raw endive stamppot)
  • Preistamppot (leek stamppot)

HISTORY BEHIND IT?

Exactly how the very first stamppot recipe originated is not completely clear, yet historians do know that many dishes were prepared in a large pot during the Middle Ages. According to legend, the recipe came from the cooked potato bits left behind by hastily departing Spanish soldiers during their Siege of Leiden in 1574 during the Eighty Years’ War, when the liberators breached the dikes of the lower lying polders surrounding the city. To this day the Dutch city still celebrates the Liberation of Leiden on 3rd October with a traditional Dutch hutspot.

WHICH TYPE OF ROOKWORST?

Now that you know you basically boil potatoes and veg and combine them you now have to figure out which type of “rookworst” to buy. As I stood in the section of my local Albert Heijn I really didn’t know which to choose, so I picked one from Unox brand. There were a LOT of choices including a vegetarian one. Wonder if you can get turkey worst or chicken worst? I’ve had Dutch friends recommend that I try the worst at the HEMA. But as I said before, I never make this meal so I don’t know a good worst from the bad one – so I just bought the one that was not the cheapest and not the most expensive.  Coming from the States, the best way to explain it (and you’ll see in the photo) is that it is most similar to a Polish Kielbasa – you simply pan fry it or boil it slightly to warm it up.    If there is a next time, I’ll try the recommended HEMA worst! 

I believe that most Dutch cook it all together in one pot, which makes the whole process much quicker and simpler, but I think the kale is a bit more ‘al dente’. I personally cook the kale separately until it’s softer, then I add it into the smashed potatoes.

THIS IS HOW I MAKE “MY VERSION” OF DUTCH BOERENKOOLSTAMPPOT MET WORST.

  1. Peel and chop potatoes (and any veg you are putting in).  I just started paying attention to the type of potatoes and now specifically for stamppot – there is a difference in how they cook – some are more starchy others more waxy. Of course this makes total sense but I don’t use a lot of potatoes in my cooking, so that is quite new to me. As for the kale, you can also chop it yourself but they have handy already washed & chopped kale in bags for around €1, so I just buy it like that. Extras can be used in smoothies and omelettes.

  2. Place all the vegetables in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender about 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook the worst until nicely browned on both sides and heated through.  I’ve read you can gently boil the worst or just heat it up – I prefer mine cut and grilled.

  4. Fry one half of onion and two cloves of garlic until brown.

  5. Drain the vegetables well, add a little butter then mash but don’t purée. You want to be a bit chunky. Season the stamppot with nutmeg, salt, and pepper and mix in cooked onion and garlic.

  6. Make a jus – (that’s simply a gravy for those who don’t know. Not sure if this is the traditional way but I like it this way… 

  7. Serve with worst arranged on top of a giant pile of mashed potatoes and some mustard on the side.  Of course, one of my kids asked for mayonnaise on the side! 🙂  

    I’ve read that some add fruit like pears on top!!!  I have NO IDEA why you’d do that… I don’t think it would taste good – correct me if I’m wrong.

Eet Smakelijk! Which means – enjoy your meal!

Another typical Dutch dish is Erwtensoep aka Snert – which is Pea Soup. I also make it a bit different than the Dutch way but next time I make it, I’ll post here. Oh and almost forget – hachee – which is something I learned last year and will make this year – Soren LOVES it!

Tell me have you tried Dutch Stamppot? Sound appealing? Do you make it a different way? You don’t have to limit yourself to the ways above – take mine or another from the internet and tweak it! I know someone who adds crispy spek (tiny bacon pieces into their mashed potatoes.

*Photo credit: lekkerensimpel.com

Restaurant Review: Day & Day Hot & Hot – Hot Pot Rotterdam

Hot Pot is a favorite among the Chinese. It’s so ubiquitous in China that it can be found just about everywhere – from the very north in Mongolia (where it’s believed to have originated) all the way to the south.  It’s also called “Chinese Fondue”.

After a bit of research, each in China region does it a little differently:  Beijing is known for lamb hotpot in a copper pot, Sichuan for their signature numbing-spicy broth, and the Cantonese region for fresh seafood.    I’ve only had Japanese “Shabu Shabu” – one of the different subsets about a half dozen times in Boston.  The phrase ”shabu-shabu” actually translates to “swish-swish.”  The motion you make when you move your meat from side to side in the hot broth to cook it.   

But for those who live here in the Netherlands don’t get confused with the restaurant chain Shabu Shabu – we made the mistake but it does NOT serve shabu shabu it’s a SUSHI restaurant.  Why they call themselves that is a mystery.

Seriously, whatever the version or edition you call it hot pot or shabu shabu essentially the cooking of raw ingredients into a pot of boiling broth at the table and enjoying it to the fullest is key!   I loved it before and I loved every minute of it this time. 

I once watched a program about a restaurant in Singapore that allows you to first catch your fresh, live seafood, put it in the cooler box, and then you drop them into your hot pot.  Yes, I know many will say that is so cruel – but is it any different than what we do with our lobsters and crab?  Maybe they are asleep in the cooler box like you do with lobsters in the freezer in Maine?  Not sure.  Anyway, here is their promotional video of the show – I still follow them on Insta.   One day if I ever make it to Singapore, I’ll definitely book a table.

Anyway, now you know a bit about hot pot, the rest of the post is going to be about our experience and our delicious food at a specific restaurant we just visited on Saturday night – Hot & Hot on the Goudsesingel in Rotterdam.   They have two more restaurants in Amsterdam too.

Day & Day Hot & Hot

A couple months ago we walked across the street from this place and from a distance, I was like what an odd name – Day & Day Hot & Hot = odd  Not even thinking what it was.  So then I find it extra funny now that here we are enjoying our meal in the oddly named restaurant.

Our table was booked a table at 8 pm, but when we arrived, the only tables available were in the back and it was very hot and steamy.  We’d be literally sitting so close to other couples, we requested a table towards the front.   The issue was that the two large tables were still dirty despite all the guests being long gone.  Maybe it is a cultural thing or lack of experience with the staff, but when I worked as a waitress, we’d never leave dirty tables especially the front.   Newly arriving guests shouldn’t arrive in your restaurant and the first thing they see is dirty tables.  Also, you’d always want to have guests in the window seats.  A restaurant that looks empty is never a good sign.    Their website says AUTHENTIC SICHUAN FLAVOR & ORIGINAL CHINESE DINING CULTURE but surely I’m reading into the second part too much! 🙂

FIRST YOU CHOOSE THE BROTH 

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise5

Based on my experience, I know that with hot pot restaurants you can split the pot where you can choose two or even three different soup bases to cook the food in.  Most people choose a half spicy and half plain stock.  This is great because those who are intolerant to spice don’t have to miss out on the fun and those who like spice and cool down a bit by adding some of the non-spicy broth to theirs.  We chose little spicy and mushroom and it was perfect, but we did need a little bit of help with the menu.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise2

W On the other side, mushrooms and spring onions. This side is mild and intended to cook your vegetables, but we mixed them up which was so yummy!  Here they had other choices like Pickled Cabbage and a tomato base – but we safely chose “little spicy” and it was plenty spicy for us.    How awful it would be if it was mouth numbing and you couldn’t enjoy it.

SAUCE CONTAINERS

The most popular hotpot dipping sauce for the Chinese is sesame paste. It compliments spices and meat wonderfully. Some places will just give you a bowl of sesame paste, but some places like this place have a condiments buffet for you to create your own sauce!

In the middle of the restaurant are all trays where you can make your own sauce. For example, there is soy, sesame, and barbecue sauce that you can finish with pieces of peanut, peppers, or spring onions.   Unfortunately and not sure how exactly but all the garlic was used and there was no more in stock.   Guess all the previous guests were garlic aficionados.  There is a “recommended recipe” card that you can follow or make your own.  Linn our waitress helped us along with a recommended one which was very delicious.   I used up all my sauce and had to go back and make a slightly different version but my mouth waters thinking about the yummy taste.

FOOD INGREDIENTS

Now it’s time to select the food!  You want variety here to bring out the flavor and compliment your sauce and your broth.  Most people will get one meat, one seafood, one tofu, one veggie, and one noodle or one rice dish to design a complete meal.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise10

Here you can make it as adventurous here as you want. The menu contains very different things like organs and blood. While I consider myself adventurous, I draw the line too, so we stuck with recognizable dishes, such as freshly cut beef tenderloin, a veggie platter,  mushroom platter, and some udon noodles.  That was plenty of food for the two of us.  Maybe next time, we’ll add is some lamb or seafood but all in all, it was very delicious and we had just enough for two people.

We ordered a beer each but neither of us knew much about the choices so we ordered two different ones – both were good.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise4

COOKING TIME

The time varies from a few seconds to five minutes.   You are given a slotted spoon and a ladle that you essentially dip your food in and that is how you cook and fish out your food.   Dip it into your sauce and enjoy!  In Boston we always had a bit of corn on the cob which you had to leave in forever, but we never ended up eating it.

Oh yeah, they were offering something new – a grill option.  Here you see a cook grilling some food and the menu choices – but we didn’t get anything.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise1StarsStripesAndMayonnaise3

So, in summary, we LOVED the food, the waitress Linn was very friendly and helpful in explaining how their restaurant works as it was our first time here.   We’ll definitely be back again – and I know for sure my 10 & 12-year-old would LOVE to eat here too and I will definitely bring him!

Overall we give it 8.5 out of 10.  Surely we’ll be back.

YuGuo is another Hot Pot restaurant in Rotterdam which I saw but due to location and reviews, I went with this one.   Perhaps one day we’ll try the other.  And I’ve been waiting to go to Yuan’s Hot Pot in Amsterdam for a while too.  But next Asian meal I hope will be Korean BBQ at Soul Sista on Witte de With. 

Know a great Hot Pot / Shabu Shabu place in the Netherlands – message me – I’d love to hear it.

 

 

 

Essential Buttercream Piping Techniques Workshop

On Saturday, I attended a wonderful 3-hour Essential Buttercream Piping Techniques workshop in Waalre, a suburb of Eindhoven.   It might sound far but it was about 1/2 hour from Den Bosch – so no biggie.   Lucky for me it was given in English.  Last year I took a Royal Icing course in Dutch, which was fine and I followed along perfectly, but when it’s given in your mother tongue, it’s just that much easier.

I found the course being advertised on an Expat Facebook group I belong to a few months back and after reading the description and seeing it was on a Saturday morning, I knew it would be perfect for what I wanted.  The course was €65 for 3 hours.

In this class you will learn to decorate cupcakes beautifully using buttercream and a variety of piping nozzles. You will create a classic swirl, rosettes, dots and frills.  This class is the perfect start to cake decorating.

During the class you will learn:

  • About the different types of buttercream
  • How to pipe using various piping nozzles
  • Techniques using essential Wilton 1M and 2D nozzles
  • How to pipe a rosette
  • How to pipe a classic swirl
  • How to achieve a 2-tone effect.

You will take away a set of 6 decorated buttercream cupcakes, 2 wilton piping nozzles and piping bags. You will leave with the confidence to decorate your own cupcakes at home.

I already new about the traditional American style buttercream as that is what we grew up eating and making.   But Italian Buttercream and Swiss Meringue Buttercream were new to me – in that I’ve never made them but I watch Preppy Kitchen making them so I knew how they were made.   He is a very talented baker by the way is funny so if you are looking for a new one to watch, John is your man.  We didn’t actually MAKE the icing but worked with it and got to enjoy it during our coffee break.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop16

There were six of us in total and we each had practice trays and our own supplies where we learned how to use the different tips.  We were given step-by–step instructions on how to do a classic swirl, rosette & how to create a 2-tone effect and so much more.   She even gave tips to each of us on how we could improve though out the course.  After each newly learned technique, we self practiced a bit until we were confident to do our real cupcakes.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop1

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop2StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop30

We all had individual work areas set up where we had space to practice the techniques we were learning … then when we were confident enough, we were able to do the real deal on our cupcakes.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop20

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop11

 

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop42
foto cedit: KMCakes

The six cupcakes which we decorated and took home were made using Swiss Meringue.  My kids were not the biggest fans of the taste but I’m sure it was only that they are not used it it and never had it.  They only ever had American Buttercream.   It’s the same with fondant – not fans.  It might grow on them – we’ll see… as I’ll make Swiss Meringue buttercream next time.  They tasted yummy to me.  But I normally don’t eat my own treats so I shared one with my SIL and will share the rest too….  They are just too pretty to eat.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop26

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop34

We even left  with a goody bag containing some piping bags, two tips, a recipe card and a yummy home-made cookie.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop29

Co-incidentally it is my son’s 12th birthday Monday and I’m making cupcakes for his traktatie at school.  Originally I was going to do Royal Icing cookies as that is my passion but as I did them for Sint and Kert Dinner, he wanted something different so we are doing cupcakes.

 

So perfect timing to use some of my new piping skills.   Here are the final cupcakes I whipped up last night quickly after hosting a family birthday party for my son at our house yesterday later afternoon with 6 kids & 6 adults.   Today during lunch when my kids came home for lunch, my daughter told me that a girl in S’s class said to her “tell your mom, she makes the best desserts”.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop41StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_workshop39

I’ve already recommend the workshops to my friends on Facebook, but the host, Kate, from KM Cakes  is so personable and professional.  The whole experience was just so lovely – it was really a great time.  I’ll definitely keep and eye out for future workshops.  She really knows what she is doing, is very clear at explaining – HIGLY recommend!  Her work is amazing  – just have a look at her site.  If you need a cake for an event like a birthday, party or even a wedding cake or just love treats – she has a cake club too – check out her site  and see her gallery for yourself.   Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Let me know if you’ve tried Swiss or Italian buttercream varieties before? Any tips? I know they are tricky to make and have a lot of steps, but I’m up for the challenge.  What about another interesting cooking/baking course in the Netherlands? I took a sushi making course and Korean kimchi making course, so I’m always up for learning how to make new dishes.

*NOTE:  This is not a sponsored post – all opinions are my own and I received no compensation.  It is simply me, sharing my experiences about this workshop. 

Royal Icing Cookie Decorating Workshop

Today I FINALLY was able to attend a Royal Icing Cookie Decorating workshop.  I’ve been wanting to do this for YEARS and for one reason or another I have not yet attended.  So when I saw this one being advertised in Eindhoven during a weekend morning, I jumped on it.   Most of them are located well over an hours drive and are often at night – I hate driving late in the the dark, light drizzle and alone.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_CookieDecoratingWorkshop2

The course was 100% in Nederlands but I was able to follow along just fine.  The printed directions for the cookies and icing – I’ll use google translate one time and I’ll be fine.

So glad I attended – it was the kick I needed to confirm I’d like to do more.    As it was a 3-hour course, we didn’t get the make the icing nor bake the cookies, but those were supplied.  We got to mix up the colors, so we could feel the correct consistency.   We learned about different nozzle brands and tip numbers – i.e. Wilton vs PME.  Learned the correct way to fill the piping bags and were given demonstrations on how to decorate each of our cookies and then set off on our own.

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_CookieDecoratingWorkshop4

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_CookieDecoratingWorkshop3

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_CookieDecoratingWorkshop5

We all had the same cookies but in the end, we all left with different styles – some were very VERY very detailed and meticulous… others a bit more creative and easy going.   I loved it and loved each person’s creativity!

These are mine – not 100% professional looking yet but hopefully you agree – not too bad for my first time!!

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_CookieDecoratingWorkshop6.jpg

For years now, my daughter and I have been watching so many amazing cookie designers in awe and our favorite Hani from Haniela’s and of course, Sweet Ambs and TheFlourBoxBakery!  Of course, now I follow some local Dutch ones too. Do you know any I need to follow – let me know!

They typically have to dry for a good 8 hours, but I did let my #1 fan and cookie lover, try the smallest cookie and her opinion was reassuring and gave me a yummy thumbs up!

REQUIRED SUPPLIES

So, now we just need to buy a few additional supplies and then we are now going to give our best at Royal Icing Cookie Decorating as a hobby.

MUST HAVES FOR BAKING COOKIES

Flour
Sugar
Baking powder
Butter
Eggs
Flavoring such as vanilla
And of course the needed tools like an oven, rolling pin, sheet pan, stand or hand mixer, extra large bowl, parchment paper, cookie cutters and a spatular.

MUST HAVES FOR ICING

3 or 4 couplers
3 nozzles size 2
1 or 2 nozzles size 1.5
Piping bags (disposable are handy)
Food coloring (gel)
Confectionary Sugar
Meringue powder
Needle tool
Extra bowls & spoons to mix up small batches of food coloring

HANDY BUT NOT NECESSARY

Edible food markers – ideal when you want to draw faces
Tip cover set
Icing bag ties
Stand Mixer – my #1 most wanted Christmas gift.  I just bought a hand mixer as my last one broke and this will work just fine for now!

Some addition helpful information:

SUGAR COOKIE TIPS

  • Sift all your dry ingredients
  • Use room temperature butter
  • Chill the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes (if you are using a chill-required recipe)
  • Roll it on a non-stick surface to avoid a mess
  • Use a straight rolling pin
  • Line cookie baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone pad for baking
  • Once they’re baking, do NOT open the oven door for a peek
  • Let cookies cool completely before icing them
  • Store cookies in a cool, dry place

ROYAL ICING TIPS

  • Sift powdered sugar
  • Mix until the shine is gone
  • Add water gradually to mixture
  • Cover icing with a damp towel
  • Use toothpick to add color to the icing
  • Color icing in small batches
  • Put icing immediately into piping bag
  • Always test icing stream before decorating
  • Give icing 30 mins to dry on cool, flat surface

FAIR WARNNG:  All friends and family should be prepared to receive cookies from M & I for every holiday and occasion from now on! 🙂 

Once I have all our supplies here  and we do our first set of cookies together, I’ll post about it and share photos… hopefully this week as we’re on herfstvakantie – if not, soon!  We are both very much looking forward to it!

UPDATE:  I still do not have a stand mixer so I’ve made a couple batches of cookies with a hand mixer – while it works somewhat – truthfully – it sucks and I NEED a stand mixer ASAP!  Here are some photos of the cookies I made.  Still far from professional but I’m getting the consistency better and experimenting with the cookie recipe – some are chewy some spread more but they all test yummy.  Oh and I desperately need more cutters… the ones I have are quite boring 🙂

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Cookies21

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Cookies22

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Cookies23

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Cookies24

Today I had one mom turn down a cookie as it had too much colouring on it. I thought for a minute she sounds like me – but at the same time, I know the coloring in the EU is much better than US, but still – Okay.  I’ve done s each and founds some natural solutions which I may try.   I’ll post them here for a “book mark” and in the future I can refer back.

Ways To Make Natural Dyes:

  • Pink: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons strawberry powder for every 1 cup of royal icing. You can dissolve the powder in 1 to 2 tablespoons water before you add it if you want to minimize the risk of clumps.
  • Red: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons beet powder for every 1 cup of royal icing. Dissolve the powder in 1 to 2 tablespoons water before you add it if you want to minimize the risk of clumps.
  • Orange: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons carrot powder for every 1 cup of royal icing. Dissolve the powder in 1 to 2 tablespoons water before you add it if you want to minimize the risk of clumps.
  • Yellow: Bring 1 cup of water and about 1/8 teaspoon (1 small pinch) saffron threads to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain, then return the mixture to the pot. Reduce to 3 to 4 tablespoons, then transfer to a small jar to cool completely. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon yellow color for every 1 cup of royal icing.
  • Green: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons matcha for every 1 cup royal icing, dissolving the powder in 1 to 2 tablespoons water before you add it if you like.
  • Blue: Combine 2 cups shredded red cabbage and 1 1/2 cups water in a small pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain, then return the mixture to the pot. Reduce to 3 to 4 tablespoons, then stir in a small pinch of baking soda—this will turn the color from purple to blue! Transfer to a jar to cool completely. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon blue color for every 1 cup of royal icing.
  • Purple: Combine 2 cups blueberries and 1/4 cup water in a small pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the berries burst and begin to break down. Use a potato masher to mash the berries, then strain the liquid, discarding the solids. Return the juice to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Reduce to 1/4 cup, then transfer to a jar to cool completely. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon purple color to 1 cup of royal icing.