...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Food journal number 2: Kladdkaka and Chokladbollar

Hej! I'm still writing this from Quezon City, but in a fit of Sweden-nostalgia, I've decided to update my blog on some of the events that I wasn't able to put up here in the past (which include a picnic, and a bronze-age rock-carving viewing). I'll put them up eventually so that you will have something to look forward to (Bwahaha! As if!), but for now since I've just eaten the product of my Sweden-nostalgia (details below), I'm going to write about some Swedish desserts. Yehey for my chocolate-loving friends!

The product of my Sweden-nostalgia came straight out of the oven just about 20 minutes ago, and was eaten by me and mom almost immediately. In the recipe Marcus sent me, it's called a kladdkaka, and it looks like this (yes, I baked that myself, hooorah!):

When I first ate a this in Sweden, I was informed it was called a "sticky or messy cake". I'm convinced now that it was the hostess' bad English, though. From everybody else I have only heard it referred to as plain "chocolate cake". It's chewy and chocolatey --with surprisingly little cocoa in it at 3 tablespoons-- but what it dosn't have in cocoa it has in 3 cups (deciliters, actually) of sugar. Perhaps it should be renamed chocolate-flavored sugar cake? Anyway, the version I baked today didn't turn out as chewy as I expected; the actual cake (presuming the one we baked some months ago was "the actual cake") has more of a brownie-chewy consistency. Or perhaps it becomes more chewy as it cools, I'll know later when I take my second serving (Muhuwahaha!!!)

How to make a kladdkaka: Melt 100g of butter in the microwave and set aside. Tn the meantime, beat 2 eggs with 3 deciliters of sugar in a bowl (I used a 3/4-cup measurement for each decileter... its not my fault because you won't find a decileter container anywhere at SM, I can assure you. Anyway, I think they are roughly the same.) To this egg-sugar mixture (which you should beat very vigorously, or else use an electric beater which is best), you should mix in 1T of vanilla-sugar (I used confectioner's sugar) and 3T of cocoa. Mix in 2 deciliters of flour, and lastly the melted butter, until the mixture forms a kind of sludgy goo that you can place in a cakepan. 175 degrees C and 20 minutes later, you can enjoy your scrumptious Scandinavian (or should I say, nummy Nordic?) cake.

About Swedish chokladbollar, or chocolate balls (to which I'm almost sure Liz will say: "Chocolate have balls?!"), there's an interesting ethnic side-story. I've been told that before anyone in the whole of Sweden ever saw a black guy, the dark desert balls were actually called "Negroballs" (Um, is it appropriate to make that Liz joke here?) For obvious reasons, the original offended the sensibilities of some PC-Swedes when blacks actually did immigrate to their country eventually, thus the name has been changed to the more neutral "chocolate balls". In Germany though, I have seen a Swedish export which labelled the balls "Schweden bälchen" (literally "little Swedish balls" -- what's wrong with plain "chocolate balls" huh?). I've also read a suggestion online to call them "Ethnic balls" (say that again?) Like the chocolate cake though, chocolate balls have very little cocoa in them too. But hey, so does your Hershey's "chocolate" bar... The picture here is of the chocolate balls we made in Sweden, which we made again here in Quezon City last month with much success.

How to make chocolate balls: Mix 100g of butter with 1 deciliter of sugar (alternatively a 3/4-cup measurement, like I said), 2-3T of vanilla (or confectioner's) sugar and 3T of cocoa, until it forms a kind of a mass. Optionally you can add about 3T of alcohol of choice (or coffee, or both -- we used whisky one time, and rum at another time, to which we melted instant coffee). To the mass, you then pour in 3 and a half deciliters of oats (please, you do the math on how many 3/4-cup cups this is!), and --yes, this is serious-- proceed to manually mash the stuff with your bare hands, doing everything you can (from rolling it between your palms to making it oooze between your fingers) to grind the oats down to a nice, brown pulp! Then you can form them into balls which you should immediately roll on a plate of desiccated coconut (if you let the ball stand for too long, the surface becomes dry, and the coconut won't stick). Refrigerate the whole batch until they're quite firm, and yumyumyum!

My parents liked both the cake and the balls, just in case you're wondering (ahem ahem). So, just follow the instructions and you will soon feel like the Swedish chef himself. "Doodoodedooo, deedooo!"


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