Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

31 July 2009

Happy Friday!

Taken by PH with his cell phone while having dinner at Joseph's in St. Wolfgang, Austria.

27 July 2009

Daring Baker

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

As I have been away for most of the month, I knew I was a bit pressed for time for this month's Daring Baker. Plus, it was PH's birthday and a birthday cake was needed. So what's a girl to do but make a Chocolate Cheesecake with a Milan cookie crust. That's right - Daring Baker and Birthday Caker Maker all in one.

I crushed the Milan cookies and mixed them with butter to make a cookie crumb crust for the cake. Then, I dipped the Milan cookies in chocolate and crushed nuts. The kids actually helped with the cake so it more than a little messy (warning for photo). The result - the cookies on their own were good, and the cookie crust was good but not great. The lemon flavor in the Milan cookies really comes through. The crust would have been perfect with a plain or lemon cheesecake. Overall, a successful Daring Baker/Birthday Cake Medley.

My Assistant shows off the final result!
And this Assistant conducted several taste tests!

A quick quiet cup of tea.

Happy Birthday PH!

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows
Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested (I used lemon and it was fine)
1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

25 July 2009

A Hike Up Schafberg

From Wolfgangsee, there is a cog train that transports you 5850 feet to the top of Schafberg

But why ride, when you can hike!

And with views like this, I'd say we made the right choice!

Here's where we are going! Really it's not that far - just another hour straight up!

And through some cows who are clearing the path for us!

Cows and alpine mountains - just call me Heidi!

Not far now and look at how far we have come!

We made it up Schafberg!

And here's the reward (along with a little lunch from Hotel Schafbergspitze, accessible only by cog train or hiking trail!).

But the fog begins to roll in . . .

. . . and then back out again!

Let's ride down just to experience it (and save my knees).
Until our next visit!

22 July 2009

A Belated Thank You

How do you thank someone for sharing their secret sunset spot with you . . . Perhaps a Cafe Melange . . .
Or a treat from Demel's in Salzburg . . .
. . . or Demel's in Vienna? (See what you have done to me!)

Maybe Roses . . .

. . . Or Sunflowers?

GrĂ¼ner Veltliner? Austrian, of course!

I suppose the view from one of my favorite spots will have to do.
A special thank you to our new friend for sharing Austria.