Hazelnut Canestrelli

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Canestrelli (literally little baskets) are crumbly, flower-shaped, Italian cookies from Piedmont and Liguria region. This is a revisited version with hazelnut flour. These cookies are the perfect treat for breakfast or snack time, delicious with a cup of tea  or a cappuccino. Although the original recipe of plain Canestrelli recalls for hard-boiled egg yolks, I just used egg yolks but either way it will works beautifully.

Buon Appetito !!!

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Poto by Ale Gambini – BreadLoveAndDreams.com

Yields : 20 cookies

Difficulty : easy

Prep Time : 1h   20 min.

Cook Time : 10 min.

INGREDIENTS

1.77 (225 gr.) flour 00

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 egg yolks

7 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

powdered sugar, to sprinkle

DIRECTIONS

- Toast the hazelnuts in a large skillet for a couple of minutes. Allow to cool.

- Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor or high speed blender.

- In a large bowl sift flour then add hazelnuts and sugar and blend the ingredients together.

- Add egg yolks, vanilla extract and mix well.

- Cut the butter into small cubes than add them to the flour mixture and knead until a firm and smooth dough forms.

- Wrap the cookie dough with cling paper and let rest in the fridge for an hour.

- Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.

- Roll the dough 1/2 inch thick on a work surface.

- Cut the dough with a flower-shaped cookie cutter and make a hole into the center with a small flower-shaped cookie cutter or with the back of a pastry tip.

- Place the cookies on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes.

- Allow to cool on a cooling rack than sprinkle with plenty of powdered sugar.

Mercato Comunale Di Milano (Milanese Indoor Market)

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The indoor markets are a staple of the city of Milan (Italy). This is the Mercato Comunale Prealpi, one of the many indoor markets in town; with about 15 family-owned stalls it offers a large variety of fresh produce, meat, fish, fresh bread, pastries, cured meats, cheeses, pre-prepared gourmet foods and much more. One of the thing I love about indoor markets is the friendly atmosphere that reigns as soon as you enter the gates, chat with the vendors and ask for cooking tips is always a pleasant must. The majority of the shops are owned by the same family from decades, the quality of the products is high and the prices are reasonable and affordable.

The city’s oldest and largest indoor food market is located in Piazza Wagner, just outside the city center near of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. It is held Monday through Saturday from 8.30 am to 1pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 15.30 to 7:30pm; 19 stalls of mouthwatering food and quality stuff.

I highly recommend to all those who are visiting Milan, to stop and shop at the nearest indoor market to breathe a bit of authentic Milan.

Buon spesa e buon appetito!!!

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Photo by Ale Gambini – BreadLoveAndDreams.com

Barbajada (Hot Chocolate & Coffee Drink)

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Photo by Maurizio “OttO” De Togni

Barbajada was a popular Milanese hot drink in the 19th century, made with whipped chocolate, milk and coffee in equal parts, along with any amount of sugar, and topped with cream. It was served cold in summer and hot in winter, with a slice of Panettone (Christmas sweet bread).This special recipe was created by Domenico Barbaia, a waiter in a café. This drink was so successful that Barbaia become a theatrical manager and owner of the Caffe’ dei Virtuosi (Virtuous Cafe’) in the luxury venue of Piazza della Scala.

This recipe serves 4 people

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
16 oz. whole milk
4 shots of espresso coffee
whipped cream, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan put the sifted powdered cocoa and sugar. Combine well the two ingredients then add slowly the cold milk and the coffee. Cook at medium heat, beating constantly with a whisk, or with a hand blender, until the surface will form a strong foam. Pour into cups and serve hot with fresh whipped cream on top.

Holiday Season In Italy

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Finally I’m in Milan (Italy) to spend Christmas with my beloved family. During my stay I’ll have the privilege and pleasure of visiting Parma, the Italian Capital of Gastronomy as well as other gastronomic cities of Emilia Romagna region (Reggio Emilia, Modena, Zibello); I’ll see, smell and taste the outstanding products of the Italian tradition. My journey will also include the visit of small and precious little “gems” like Lake Orta (a beautiful lake in northern Italy west of Lake Maggiore) and Valle d’Aosta Region, places full of history, art and amazing food. But first of all I’ll enjoy my hometown Milan, the city where I was born and raised, the city of my roots and memories. I’m gonna visit my favorite spots in town and I’ll try to discover some new.

Stay tuned and let the Holiday Celebrations begin !!!

Official Contributor for Expo 2015 World Recipes and Honest Cooking

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I’m flattered to announce that I’m an official contributor for the Expo Milan 2015 world recipes and for the prestigious online food magazine Honest Cooking.

Follow my recipes, my passion and my dreams now on Expo 2015 World Recipes

http://worldrecipes.expo2015.org/en/recipes/f-bread_love_and_dreams_492.html

I’ll be effective on Honest Cooking starting January 2015

http://honestcooking.com

Learn How To Make Classic Italian Focaccia

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Learn how to make classic Italian focaccia following the episode #3 of my web cooking series Baking Bread.

It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s delicious.

And don’t forget to vote for Baking Bread in the category Best Instructional Web Series at the 6th Annual Taste Awards!!!

http://tastetv.com/awards/vote.html

Yield : 10 x 15 inch Focaccia

Difficulty : intermediate

Prep time : 20 min. + 35 mins for leavening

Baking time : 20 min.

Tools : wooden spoon
spray bottle
10 x 15 inch baking pan

INGREDIENTS

1.1 lb. flour 00
7 gr active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 tsp salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) / coarse sea salt / lukewarm water , for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

- Proof the yeast adding 1/4 cup of lukewarm water and a teaspoon of sugar. Stir until dissolved and wait ’til bubbles form on top.

- In a large bowl combine flour and salt then make a well and add the yeast, the EVOO and the water. Stir together all the ingredients with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms.

- Drizzle with EVOO and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.

- Grease with EVOO a 10 x15 inch baking pan.

- Transfer the dough onto the greased pan, then stretch it gently with the palm of your hands.

- With your fingertips, make little dimples on the surface of the dough.

- Sprinkle with a generous amount of EVOO, coarse sea salt and spray some water over it.

-Preheat oven at 400 F degrees.

-Cover the dough again with the kitchen towel and allow to rest for 25 minutes.

-Remove the cover and make other dimples being very careful not to break the bubbles of the dough.

-Sprinkle the dimples with a little EVOO.

-Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

-Transfer the focaccia on wire rack and allow to cool before slicing.