The Rusk Story

I was raised by Norwegians and Swedes.  When babies were teething they would get a thick piece of sweet toasted bread, a rusk, to teeth on.  Those rusks were so delicious that I would try and sneak one before my baby sisters would get hold of them.  Rusks must of been hard to get or too expensive or made by my grandmother who lived far away or adults like them as much as I did, because after we were done teething we didn't get those special rusks any more. 

My mom would make something she would call a rusk, but I knew that they were only stale hot dog or hamburger buns buttered and a bit of sugar sprinkled on the top and toasted in the oven. No comparison to the real rusks.

The memory of those rusks haunted me.  No, I don't think haunted is too strong of a word.  Some of you may understand what it is to have a taste memory that can't be satisfied.  I looked thru family cookbooks, Scandinavian cookbooks, asked family (they only remembered the stale buns). Nothing.

When my grandmother, Grandma Jackie, passed away I inherited some of her cookbooks.  When I was paging thru the Swedish Institute of America Cookbook there was a recipe for rusks.  I thought it was too good to be true, until I made them.  The same wonderful rusks that I remembered!

We now make our cinnamon rolls and breakfast buns out of that same rusk dough.  We also halve and toast some of the buns keeping the rusk memory alive.  Turns out it wasn't just me that remembered these treats.        

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New Beans!

We just had four new kinds of cocoa beans delivered to the factory. They come to us in burlap sacks weighing around 150lbs. We have had beans from Ghana and Dominican Republic before and are looking forward to working with this years crop.  We have never had beans from Vietnam before.  They came in smelling uniquely delicious.

Given that every bean is different we take time to check out roast times and recipes to find work best with each individual variety. This is what makes artisan chocolate so special.

Look for these new bars to be popping up sometime between September and Christmas.  

Midsummer!

Midsummer is the biggest party of the year in Scandinavian countries.  So big that Sweden is considering changing their national day from June 6 to Midsummer.  Midsummer is technically on the longest day of the year (between June 19 and 21).  In Sweden it starts the Friday after June 19th. 

It is celebrated with picnics, piles of strawberries (on cakes or otherwise), lots of time in nature, bonfires, maypole dancing, and symbols of the sun everywhere.  If you have crayfish to boil, this is the time to do it.  But more than anything, plenty of time with family and friends.