31 December 2011


Ønsker alle et godt nytår...wishing everyone a happy new year!


29 December 2011

RECIPE: Holiday Horns to New Year’s Eve

Traditionally, marizpan cakes or kranskager are only made for special occasions like weddings and anniversaries as a whole tiered cake or cornucopia decorated with Danish flags. This picture is from our wedding…you will notice that there are both Danish and Mexican flags on the cake to honor the heritage of the two of us. You can say that karen.kransekage_copywe are quite the ‘mexi-scan’ couple who observe each other’s traditions.
These make great dessert treats for your New Year’s Eve guest…especially, if they have never had the pleasure of enjoying a single bite. Though this recipe is originally intended for making horn-shaped ones, be creative and/or make simple little bites for your friends and family to enjoy.
Just remember to decorate them either with a little zig-zag of icing and/or dip them in dark chocolate. Of course, if you serve these right at midnight…sparklers are a nice touch!

Google the word ‘kransekage’ and look at the images for inspiration…and let your creativity be your guide.

Here is his recipe for making kransekage-nut horns.


Click here for the original Danish Recipe by our cousin Claus Meyer

200g (7oz) Marzipan Raw
Or make your own raw marzipan, pulverize whole almonds and blend in sugar to you have a thick paste using 133g (4.7oz or about a cup) almonds and 66g (1/3c) cane sugar
50g (1/4 c)cane sugar
22 egg whites
For Decoration: chopped nuts (almonds or hazelnuts), icing and/or good quality dark chocolate.

SPECIAL TOOLS: (1) Pastry bag…with (1) large round - #806 or (1) large star tip - #826*
*Remember this is a thick paste …so, choose which one works best for you.

1: Mix raw marzipan (or your mixture) and cane sugar together well in a food processor so you have a homogeneous mass without lumps. Then, add egg whites and mix so that it is "ready to use" i.e.: soft enough to be squeezed through a pastry bag.

2: Add the chopped nuts in a pan and squeeze the mixture into small sausages. (Reference size: large shrimp or the length of your middle finger). Next, place the sausages on a baking sheet with baking parchment with the nuts up. Shape gently like a horn and press them lightly so they are slightly higher and no more triangular than "sausage shaped".

3: Bake at 425F (220C) for approx 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Place an additional empty baking sheet under each full sheet to avoid burning the bottoms of each horn.

4: Cool on a wire rack before you serve them and/or dip the bottom in a good dark chocolate. You may also add icing using a pastry bag with a piping tip or plastic bag with small tip cut off at the end to swirl it on top.

clip_image001These will keep in freezer for at least one month.

Note: The horns can also be frozen for a few days in freezer bags. Just make sure to squeeze all air from the bags so that they remain moist and soft upon thawing.

Happy New Year / Godt Nytår !

24 December 2011

SPECIAL : 24 Days of TOPLESS December

Discover something new* each day of December…just CLICK on day
to see what Danish tradition you may learn or perhaps, make your own.
*cool christmas links / recipes / decorations / songs / etc.
tp_calendar day jul banner

Remember only new days are revealed per *julekalendar!
I hope you enjoy these as much as I have come to share and cherish them
over the years.
*Danish for ‘Christmas Calendar’.

week four
tp_calendar day jul 24RECIPE: Ris a l‘amande / Almond Rice Pudding
tp_calendar day jul 23 DIY/RECIPE: Julegris / Christmas Piggy
tp_calendar day jul 22DIY: Holiday Crackers! …the kind that go POP!
tp_calendar day jul 21RECIPE: Kanelsnegle / Cinnamon Snails
tp_calendar day jul 20DIY: Kravlenisser / Crawling Elves
tp_calendar day jul 19RECIPE: Gravad Laks / Cured Salmon
tp_calendar day jul 18RECIPE: Rødkål / Red Cabbage
week three
tp_calendar day jul 17RECIPE: Julesild / Christmas Herring
tp_calendar day jul 16RECIPE: Nature’s  Holiday Anti-freeze…Meyer’s Apple Gløgg
tp_calendar day jul 15HOW TO: The Simple Delicate Art of Hygge
tp_calendar day jul 14DIY: Kræmmerhus / Christmas Cones
tp_calendar day jul 13RECIPE: Vanillekrans / Vanilla Wreaths Cookies
tp_calendar day jul 12RECIPE: It’s Uber-Skuber Time!

tp_calendar day jul 11DIY: Modern Julekrans / Christmas Wreath
week two
tp_calendar day jul 10RECIPE: Julescones / Danish Christmas Scones
tp_calendar day jul 09DIY: Mini-Modern Juletræ / Christmas Tree.
tp_calendar day jul 08RECIPE: Julesnaps / Danish Christmas Snaps
tp_calendar day jul 07DIY: Smell the Inspiration!
 tp_calendar day jul 06 DIY: Bake an Ornament 
tp_calendar day jul 05RECIPE: Making Mom’s Mulled Wine - Ulla’s Gløgg
tp_calendar day jul 04DIY: Gift Tags
week one
tp_calendar day jul 03RECIPE: Brunkager / Danish Spice Cookies
tp_calendar day jul 02DIY: Julehjerte / Danish Christmas Hearts
tp_calendar day jul 01Danish Traditions

10 November 2011

KØKKEN/KITCHEN TIPS: Just Grate…to ‘Cut the Butter’!

The baking term to ‘cut in’ comes from the fact that you are adding a solid fat (ex: shortening / butter) into dry ingredients (ex: flour) to form small particles. This crucial step is how dough gets its flakiness and/or lightness. By forming these small pellets of coated flour, the formation of gluten is stalled which allows for small pockets air to form and thus, creating lighter layers to form. But, getting there can be easily meddled if the right step is not followed.

Here is a list of various techniques that have evolved for ‘cutting butter’
depending on whether you kick it old school or rely on modern appliances to ease your game:

Old Time Fingertip Technique:
This way always required one to have a very cold light touch in order to avoid melting the fat by our simple body temperature.
Possible butter meltdown, sticky fingers and inconsistent shapes.

27 October 2011

NEWS / NYHEDER: Honoring my Bedstemor's Recipes

In the next few weeks I will begin a series called, 'Missa's Mad House'.

This new recipe series will honor the recipes passed down to me by my Danish grandmother. The series name is named in her honor with a silly play on the Danish word for food, 'mad'...thus, the name, 'Missa's Mad House'. It will include copies of her original recipes translated and made especially for you to enjoy.

Hope you will enjoy them as much as me.
Karen : )

14 October 2011


Realizing minimal posting (back pain still here) and the need to revamp the old layout.
Hoping you like the new redeux...and that pain subsides to increase my posts.
Aside from a need to increase my posts, I am open to suggestions regarding how to improve this site.
Just leave comments below...and I'll do my best to respond.


24 August 2011


and it's happening in Copenhagen this weekend August 27-28, 2011.
This is no mere annual gathering of foodies in their finest wear sitting  at tables pontificating about the glorious light texture of some dessert. 

Welcome to real food for real people!

Not only does the word ‘mad’ mean food in Danish, it’s double entendre is a wonderful play on the crazed mayhem that will be experienced at this event.
This year’s theme is a play on the wild and organic palette pleaser of nature’s bounty…with PLANT Kingdom!

mad food camp

15 June 2011

NEXT UP : Pancake/Pandekager Flip-off!

It's all about whether the Danes or Americans make the... BEST ONE!

and in the works...
my smør campaign full of stories and buttery good recipes
for open face sandwiches!

05 May 2011


In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, here is a Latin TOPLESS recipe for you.
Though you might not associate anything south of the border as topless, they do compensate for it gastronomically by making some of the most delicious open face style corn-based flat cakes,  commonly known as a traditional sope (pronounced "SOH-peh").
File:Koeh-283.jpgTo understand Mexican cooking, you must first appreciate the role corn has played in forming the foundation of it’s wonderful cuisine.  Maize as it was known to the Mesoamerican people became part of the Latin speaking cultures though their domination of the New World.
This wild grain was cultivated into various varieties throughout the Americas. Today, it’s form is known to the English speaking world as ‘corn’.  Since the first European contact this grain has found acceptance through the globe as a suitable harvest for most climates.
It is with this basic natural food source that most Latin meals are prepared. Mexican cuisine, in particular, uses maize as the foundation for most of it’s dishes in the same manner that Europe used wheat.  In essence, these corn-based flat variations range from the basic tortilla to the thicker ones used as the ‘bread-like’ foundation for their own version of ‘going topless’.  This is especially true for sopes.
Originating in the region of Culiacán these traditional maize based tortilla-like rimmed patties are now found all over Mexico by various names and forms. Most recipes call for  the use of lard to fry them in.  However, you will find that in this recipe the lard is omitted. They are baked here to make them a little healthier to enjoy…but, mind you these are equally enjoyable to the fried versions.
Now mind you, if you have a Mexican comal or cast-iron flat griddle you can also make these delicious little cakes on it.

Makes about 18-24
3 cups masa harina* (check in the ethnic aisle or a Hispanic grocery store)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder…adds a little fluff to them
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of garlic powder
2 cups hot water…plus, extra 1/2 cup - if necessary
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup grated Monterrey jack cheese
*do not substitute masa harina with regular corn meal…as the masa is a finely ground corn flour meal from corn that has been soaked in lime and then, force dried before going to the mill.

OPTIONAL TOOLS (If available)
http://0.tqn.com/d/mexicanfood/1/0/w/2/comal.gifMexican comal

1:  Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (ALTERNATE: Using a comal, clean and preheat on high)
2: Whisk together masa harina, baking powder, salt and dash of garlic powder /in bowl. Stir in hot water a little at a time until mixing with your hands until it forms soft ball of dough. It will go from lumpy to forming a solid ball. Let stand 5 minutes under a towel.  Then, stir egg, then oil into dough.  Mix until you have a nice pliable ball of dough. Use extra water, if necessary.  Allow to rest another 5 minutes under a damp towel.
3:  Divide the dough with a pastry cutter or deep knife until you have even amount of 1/4 cup size mounds.  Cover with a damp towel until you need them.
4:  SHAPING THE SOPES: Make the dough into 3-inch round by about 1/4-inch thick disks one at a time using one of the following methods:
   A: AUTHENTIC WAY: Shape with your hands into a small disc like a pizza.
   B:  Use a rolling pin (palote) between two sheets of plastic.
   C: Use a tortilla press (tortilladora) between two sheets of plastic.
Place a disk on a lightly corn floured work surface. Press indentation in center of disk using small drinking glass or ramekin, then shape 1/2-inch edge around indentation with your fingers. Repeat with remaining dough. If you are not baking right away, cover with a slightly damp towel.
AUTHENTIC WAY: Skip any further shaping and proceed to baking.
4. BAKING: Place in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until sopes begin to look dry.
AUTHENTIC WAY: Place unformed dough on the hot comal until one side begins to slightly brown…not too much. Turn over and slightly press with fingers in the middle to make a shallow rim. Turn over again until you have lightly browned discs. Remove carefully and place on a surface to form the final ridges of the sopes by pinching the edges up. Careful as dough is still hot. Repeat for each disc.
Both using the methods of baking and a dry grill creates sopes that are  lower in calories than the traditional frying method.
5. Sprinkle each indentation with 2 tsp. grated Monterey Jack cheese.  Return to oven, and bake 5 minutes more, or until cheese has melted. Optional, if freezing the formed sopes allow them to thaw a bit before baking in the same manner and adding cheese.
6. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool slightly on cookie rack before handling.
NOTE: If you plan to freeze them for future, do not bake them.  Simply in a freezer proof plastic bag separating them with a piece of parchment paper.  Then when you are ready to eat them allow them to thaw before baking as directed above.

A. Fill each with a layer of refried beans...I cook my own and then mash them.
B. Add your favorite salsa...or add a nicely roasted chile.
C. Add your favorite filling (already prepared...carnitas, steak, chicken, shrimp, veggies, etc). Heck, add whatever tickles your palette!
D. Sprinkle with queso fresco, cilantro, and garnish with avocado slices ...or whatever you like

[pics to follow]

24 April 2011

15 March 2011


dear TOPLESS BREAD followers:

an apology is owed you for my delinquent posts.

i am currently recovering from stupid fall (yes, i did say stupid - inquire and i will give details about how bruises can be the color of danish remoulade - ha!) that has not been easy with an existing back injury. 

so, please be patient with me and i will resume once energy is high and pain is low.

: )

27 February 2011

Heavenly Sweet Carnival Buns!

(Note: adjustments made for types of yeast used)

Because Fastelavn* is just around the corner and my back pain has kept me out of the usual food blogging loop, I am going to share this wonder recipe for heavenly sweet carnival buns /  hellige fastelavnsboller by Danish Food Blogger Mira Arkin (Miras Madblog) instead of reposting my own recipe again.  This recipe comes from her mother-in-law Marit whom her husband  swears makes the most super tasty one’s he has ever enjoyed. Well, any woman who has enough courage to try and make what a husband considers the best of his mother’s recipes deserves translation to a new audience.  Thus, this recipe comes to you with Mira’s little tweaking of her mother-in-law’s recipe with little translated changes by me.

Since I believe the more carnival buns / fastelavnsboller recipes the better, here is her heavenly recipe for you all to prepare and share.  Enjoy!

 mira arkin_fastelavnsboller

Danish Carnival Sweet Buns with Marzipan and Apples

‘Fastelavnsboller med æble og marcipan’

Serves 20

INGREDIENTS / Ingredienser

BUNS / boller

English Metric   ENGLISH DANSK
3-3/8 c 375 g   flour hvedemel – måske mere
2/3 c 150 g   cold butter, cut into cubes koldt smør skåret i tern
1 tsp 1 knsp.   fine salt fint salt
1/3 c 75 g   sugar sukker
* *   yeast* gær *
9 tbsp 1½ dl.   milk mælk
1 1   egg æg

*  Special note:

      For Cake Yeast , use 25g

      For Active Dry Yeast, use about one packet (10g)

      For Instant Dry Yeast, use about one packet (8g)

  FILLING / fyld

English Metric   ENGLISH DANSK
7/8 c 200 g   marzipan marcipan
2 lbs 1 kg   apples æbler
1/3 c 75 g   sugar sukker
1/2 1/2   vanilla bean stang vanilje


1: Crumble the butter into the flour as you would do it for a short pastry. I do it in the bowl for my mixer, which I then use to knead the dough for me as well. Mix sugar and salt in.

2: Warm milk. I pop it in the microwave. Make sure that you do not boil the milk as the yeast does not like it too hot. Dissolve yeast in the warm milk. Stir in the egg and pour into the flour mixture.

3: Mix the dough together in a mixer or by hand. Knead thoroughly for 5-10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours.

4: While the dough is rising make the apple purée. Peel apples, remove core and slice apples into smaller pieces and place in a deep pan. Add sugar and  split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds into the apple/sugar mixture. Make sure to mix the apples with the vanilla and finally, add the pod to the mix. Cover the pot with a lid and let the apples cook down over medium heat. Once the apples have cooked down a bit, roughly mash them a bit with a fork. It doesn’t matter that it’s a little rough. (You don’t want apple sauce). This takes approx. 10 minutes. Let bog cool down before using it.

mira arkin_fastelavnsboller apples

5: Turn the dough  onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a large rectangle of approx. 4 mm. thick. Cut into 18-20 squares - use a pizza wheel.

6: Cut the marzipan into 20 slices and set aside. Now place 2 tsp. applesauce first followed by 1 slice of marzipan in the middle of each piece of the dough. Gather the corners and squeeze the dough together (see picture below) to seal. Be careful not to gather too much dough as that will make a very thick bottom.  There should also be no cracks in the ball of dough. Otherwise,  the filling will run out during baking. If there are hole(s) in the dough, simply patch it with an extra blob of dough that you just moisturize with a little water so it will glue to the rest. Now place the rolls with the gathered seam-side down on 2 baking sheets with wax paper and let them rise for another 25 minutes while you heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (this is shy of 400 degrees Fahrenheit).

mira arkin_fastelavnsboller dough

7:  Bake buns for 15-20 minutes until they are nicely browned. Decorate with chocolate chips or good quality chocolate while the buns are warm.  Let them cool on a wire rack. Of course, these taste best warm.

Buns can be frozen after they have cooled down.


Enjoy more recipes by Mira Arkin...in Danish here at her food blog:

Miras Madblog


*Fastelavn is the name for Carnival in Denmark which is either the Sunday or Monday before Ash Wednesday. Fastelavn evolved from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating in the days before Lent, but after Denmark became a Protestant nation, the holiday became less specifically religious. This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday and is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween, with children dressing up in costumes and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast. The holiday is generally considered to be a time for children's fun and family games. (Wikipedia: Carnival in Denmark).

Fastelavn is pronounced Fas-tuh-lown.


Old scene from the traditional Fastelavn game of ‘beating the barrel’.  In medieval times, a live cat was placed inside while children beat on the barrel until it broke allowing the cat to escape. The cat was then chased out of town taking all the collective bad luck and evil spirits with it.

Today, a cat is no longer used and the barrel is similarly filled with candies and treats like a Mexican piñata and only decorated to look like the cat that once hid inside.  The child who finally breaks the barrel open is crowned ‘the King or Queen of Cats’ and given a golden crown to wear.

And of course, the wonderful sweet pastry treat every child receives is a Fastelavnsboller…one of these heavenly sweet buns!

09 January 2011

TOPLESS Video of the Month : 01.2011

It’s the beginning of a new year and thus, my quest for providing informative and sometimes entertaining videos on Danish Open Face Sandwiches continues.

This month's video is courtesy of one of GeoBeats with its informative travel video beats highlighting Copenhagen in this one. 

It happens to be one of the few good recent videos on both this unique cuisine and the infamous name behind one of Copenhagen’s most famous places to enjoy Smørrebrød. Take a moment to view this  wonderful interview with world renown chef and owner of the famous family run restaurant of the same name, IDA DAVIDSEN.  She is sure to make you want to taste one…soon!
TITLE: Smörrebröd Copenhagen Denmark
By: Pernille Kierfulff-Hansen

Personal Note:
If you have never tasted one of these creations, she is the grand dame of this wonderful cuisine.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...