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November 16, 2012

Easy Canapés for Christmas: Gingerbread sticks with blue cheese dip

Pepparkakor & blue cheese-0077 sml

In Sweden, they love pairing blue cheese and ginger biscuits.  Yes, we agree, it sounds odd - but it is really, really lovely.

We've taken it one step further and now we make the ginger biscuits into sticks (a bit like grissini) - and serve them as a pre-dinner snack or canape with a blue cheese 'mash' or dip.

Pepparkakspinnar med ädelost - Gingerbread sticks with blue cheese mash

This is a great canapé for Christmas gatherings, and is perfect for advanced preparation, because the gingerbread dough has to be made the day before baking. The dough is exactly the same as for traditional pepparkakor biscuits, so you can use leftovers to make them (the dough keeps for about a week in the fridge). The blue cheese mash doesn’t need blue cheese or use any potatoes, either!

Ingredients:

For the gingerbread biscuits:

- 150ml water

- 400g sugar

- 300g butter

- 100ml golden syrup

- 1 tbsp ground cloves

- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

- 1 tbsp ground ginger

- 2 tsp baking powder

- 650g plain flour

For the blue cheese mash:

- 200g Stilton cheese

- crème fraîche

- a nice drop of runny honey or golden syrup 

Method:

- Sift the baking powder and half of the flour into a bowl.

- In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to the boil. As soon as the sugar has dissolved, add the syrup, butter and all the spices, mix and combine. Be careful with the hot liquid.

- Take the mixture off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.

- Add the mixed flour and baking powder and blend well. Turn it out onto a surface and gradually combine the other half of the flour until you have a good dough that doesn’t stick to your fingers. Add extra flour if needed, and try not to over-knead the dough.

- Wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.

- When you’re ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and leave it for 30 minutes.

- Preheat the oven to 225°C.

- Use your hands to roll out sticks from the dough - about 30cm long, and just less than 1cm thick. Think along the lines of bread sticks or grissini. Don’t worry about perfect shapes, either. For the amount of cheese mash in this recipe, you’ll need about 30 sticks. Think about making more in case some sticks break during baking.

- Place each stick on a baking tray and bake for 7-8 minutes, depending on how thick they are. They need to be dark brown and baked through.

- Once done, remove the sticks from the tray with a think spatula and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container.

- When you’re ready to serve, mash the cheese into 2 or 3 tablespoons of crème fraîche, and add the drop of honey or syrup - the sweetness contrasts wonderfully with the saltiness of the cheese. Mix or whisk it well, but not for too long, or else it’ll go a little bit green. The consistency needs to be enough to dip, so add more crème fraîche if necessary.

- Arrange the sticks in a jar, and tie a festive ribbon around it. Serve the dip in a bowl on the side.

Perfect when serving Scandinavian Mulled Wine.

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