Krupnik- Traditional Polish Barley Soup

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We are having the coldest winter in New Jersey since 1950’s. Today, the temperature was just  2 degrees F  plus a windshield reaching -12F. Brrrr…. Can’t wait for the winter to end. In the meantime, I’m trying to keep warm with a warming bowl of soup. Today, I’m making traditional Polish soup made with barley, called KRUPNIK. [pronounced: croopneek]

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Cheesecake House aka Witch’s Hut ;)

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Today I’m sharing another one of my childhood favorite desserts. We call it in polish CHATKA BABY JAGI [ hatca bubi yugi] , which would translate as Witch Yaga’s Hut 😉 I have no idea who came up with this name 🙂 However, if you look at it, you will not be surprised that the name stuck with this cake. Maybe it doesn’t sound too appetizing but it tastes delicious. I think the person who came up with this recipe, really liked the story of “Hansel and Gretel“. This is a fairy tail that I remember my mom used to read to me as a bad time story when I was a little girl. The fairy tail was written by Grimm Brothers and originated in Germany. 

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In case you’re not familiar with it 😉 ,  It is a story about a brother and sister who are left in the woods by their evil step mother. The kids wander around the forest unable to find the way back home when they see a house made out of chocolate and candy. Hungry kids start eating it and all of a sudden the old witch comes out of the house and catches them. She takes them inside the house and lets them eat as much candy as they want so they become really fat and then she can EAT them. As any other fairy tail this one has happy ending as well. The kids are able to escape and find their father. They all live happily ever after 🙂

It is a really interesting fairy tail. I will make sure to read it to my daughter when she gets a little older  🙂  

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In the meantime I made the dessert that was inspired by that story 🙂 

This is a very easy dessert to make. It takes few minutes to prepare but it does have to chill in the fridge for couple of hours. Minimum of 4 h should be fine but preferably overnight. This dessert reminds me of my childhood. I used to make it with my mom as a small girl. It’s a fun dessert for kids because you can tell them the story of Hansel and Gretel while you make it 🙂 The kids can also decorate it from outside if they want to. 

I haven’t made it for years but recently I was craving it and I decided to prepare it. My proportions were a little off since I haven’t made it in a long time. I did make couple of mistakes but the recipe I will give you is the adjusted one. If you don’t make the same mistakes I did, it will come out PERFECT.

First of all, make sure that your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. I did not wait long enough for my butter to get to the room temperature and as a result it didn’t mix well with the cream cheese. When you look at the pictures, you can see that my cocoa filling has small bits of butter. It still tastes good but it doesn’t look as pretty as it should.

Second, I used too many tea biscuits, and as a result there was not enough cream to fill the inside of the cake. I fixed it by adding some heavy cream inside. I quickly whipped heavy cream with few tbsp. of confectioner sugar and filled the inside. I’ve noticed that some people put candy or even fruits inside. Chocolate truffle candy or any other would work. That’s why you see on my picture the white circle inside the cake 😉 I used 7 rows of cookies. (7 X 3). With this recipe, 5 rows would be enough.  

 Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup confectioner sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 1/2 cup cool whip
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 boxes tea biscuits
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

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 For the chocolate covering

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp. of butter
  • 2 tbsp. of heavy cream or milk

 How to make it:

  1. Mix together the butter and cream cheese using hand mixer or food processor. Add the cool whip and powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. 
  2. Divide the cream in half and add cocoa powder to one half.
  3. Lay out 5 x 3 row of the tea biscuits on the aluminium foil (see pictures below)
  4. Spread half the mixture over the biscuits. The mixture is pretty thick so spreading the first layers will require a little patience. Just make sure to put small amount of cream all over the biscuits and then slowly and gently spread it making sure the biscuits stay aligned. I started with the white cream first but you can do the chocolate one. It doesn’t matter
  5. Lay the second layer of biscuits and the cream
  6. Close the house by pulling the aluminium foil up and making it into a shape of a triangle
  7. Leave it in the fridge for an hour before you cover the house with chocolate
  8. After an hour, prepare the chocolate covering by melting chocolate chips with butter. You can do it in the microwave or on the stove top using a double broiler. Add a little milk or heavy cream to help the mixture come together and make it not too thick so it’s easier to cover the cake
  9. Let the chocolate cool for few minutes and then spread it over the cake
  10. You can decorate it using coconut flakes or sprinkles or leave it as it is like I did
  11. ENJOY!!!

 Step by step pictures

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Mushrooms Soup

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Today for lunch traditional polish mushrooms soup. The weather is not getting any better yet, so why not make yourself a little warmer with another bowl of tasty soup. Last time we had a chicken corn soup, today I want to share with you mushrooms soup.  Mushrooms soup is very well known In Poland. Typically, it is made out of mushrooms that people pick up themselves in the forest. Picking up mushrooms is a family activity. It is one of my dad’s biggest hobbies. He can spend hours walking around the forest and looking for different mushrooms. My dad had even an article written about his mushroom picking adventure in a local Polish newspaper 😉  http://www.lowiczanin.info/regiony/okolice-lowicza/wydarzenie/-80-prawdziwkow-znalazl-grzybiarz/

 Be AWARE though, if you don’t know anything about mushrooms, I don’t recommend looking for them yourself. It can be dangerous. My dad comes from the family that LOVES mushrooms and he knows a lot about different kinds of mushrooms and which once are edible or not.

So what do we do with all those mushrooms found? Well, there are many recipes available. One of them is mushrooms soup.

This soup is really EASY to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint package of mushrooms (2 cups)
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. of sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. of black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup of cooked macaroni of choice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

To make it:

  1. Clean the mushrooms with the  paper towel and slice them

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  1. Finely chop the onion
  2. Heat up 1 tbsp. of olive oil in the pan and brown the onion with mushrooms. Don’t add any salt to the mushrooms. If you do, they will release a lot of water and won’t brown
  3. Once the mushrooms and onions are browned (approx. 5 minutes) sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside
  4. Warm up the chicken stock in the pan and add the mushrooms with onions. 
  5. Add chopped parsley
  6. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes
  7. Add sour cream to the bowl and add 1/2 cup of the hot soup to the sour cream. Stir well. Add another 1/2 cup and stir again. 
  8. Return everything to the pot with the soup 
  9. Cook for another 2 minutes and turn the heat off
  10. The soup is done. I like to eat it with macaroni. But you can eat it with garlic bread or anything you like 

ENJOY!!!! Thanks for reading!!!

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Caramel Puffed Rice Cones

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This was my favorite dessert when I was a little girl and I still love it today 🙂  It is also a very popular Polish dessert. We call it “SZYSZKI” in polish [pronounced schischky], which means cone, because it looks like a pinecone 🙂
We used to make SZYSZKI with my mom for different family occasions and holidays. Now, I make it almost every week because my daughter LOVES them so much. They are gone in minutes. Even my husband (who is not a big dessert person)  likes to eat them.

The best part about making those cute caramel cones, is the fact that they take literally minutes to make and require only 4 ingredients 🙂

So to make this yummy dessert you will need:

  • 250 gram of caramel candy  (I use cow tales but Nips also work great, or any other caramel candy)
  • 2 tbsp. of butter (use a little more butter if you are using Nips as they are a little hard)
  • 2 cups puffed rice
  • 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder

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Traditionally szsyszki are made without cocoa powder but I think it adds a nice flavor and looks pretty. I eat with my eyes so it is important to me that the food looks good 🙂

It is very quick and simple to make. If you have last minutes guests and nothing sweet to serve with tea or coffee, this is your go to dessert. Just make sure to always have caramel candy and a big pack of puffed rice on hand. (like I do) 😉

To make it just melt the candy and the butter in the pot. Add a little bit of milk to help the mixture come together. Once you have a smooth mixture like that:

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Add the cocoa powder and mix until well incorporated.

Add the puffed rice and stir well

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Start making the cones. Make sure to make your hands wet by inserting them into cold water. To make it into a cone shape, form your hand into a cone and squeeze it a little on top. The mixture will be hot, so be careful, don’t burn your hands 😉

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 ENJOY !!!!

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