December 30, 2012

52.2/52 Walnuss-Makronen/Walnut Macaroons

You guys! I can't believe that this is the last post of 2012!
I really did it! I baked my way through 2012 and it really was fun.

I must apologize for posting more (Christmas) cookies as the last recipes but after all that cookie baking I am just not baking anything special for New Year's, I'm sorry...

So now what? I haven't decided what my next 'project' for 2013 will be. I think I will keep up this blog for the occasional recipe posting (because it's not like I will stop baking now...) but not for another 52 cakes'n'bakes.

So without further ado, let me present you with my very last post for 2012:

Walnuss Makronen/Walnut Macaroons
Adapted from

4 egg whites
pinch of salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200 g powdered sugar
400 g walnuts, coarsely ground
edible paper wafer discs (Back-Oblaten) (optional)
  • Beat egg whites and salt until stiff. Stir in powdered sugar. Add walnuts. 
  • Using two teapsoons, make little heaps (on the Oblaten or straight on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper). 
  • Bake at 150°C (300°F) for 30 minutes.
My modifications:
I used vanilla extract instead of butter-vanilla-aroma. I made half on Oblaten, half straight on baking sheet and I liked the ones without Oblaten better.

The taste:
But be aware that they are very crunchy in the beginning (and I was already disappointed) but they get better and more moist the longer you store them in an air-tight container.

What are your projects for 2013? Any 365 or 52 projects?

52.1/52 Chocolate Mint Thumbprints

Each Christmas, there has to be at least one cookie with mint, right?

Chocolate Mint Thumbprints
Adapted from Provecho Peru

290 g (2 cups) flour
75 g (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
227 g (1 cup) butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
210 g (1/2 cup) sugar
120 g (3/4 cup) chocolate chips
3 tablespoons (45 g) butter
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mix and beat until just combined.
  • Place 210 g (1/2 cup) sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 2.5 cm/1-inch balls, then roll in sugar. Place balls on baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes. Take out of the oven and make a small indentation in the center of each ball. This works best using the bottom of a wooden cooking spoon. Bake cookies for another 5 minutes and let cool.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter and add peppermint extract. Let cool a bit, then put into small plastic bad, cut off a tiny corner, and pipe chocolate into 'thumbprints'. Allow chocolate to harden.

My modifications:
I omitted the 1 tablespoon of shortening in the chocolate filling (which didn't cause any problems).

The taste:
Very good! A bit like a brownie cookie with filling.

December 23, 2012

51.1/52 Eggnog Cookies

My grandma loves eggnog. And I have to admit that I like it more and more each year.
One of the gifts I will give my grandma this Christmas is homemade eggnog. I hope she will like it as I think that the rum I used was the kind that is actually too strong for eggnog...

These cookies were made with store-bought eggnog though.

Eggnog Cookies
Adapted from The Recipe Critic
250 g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
170 g (3/4 cup) butter, room temperature
150 ml (1/2 cup) eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon nutmeg
300 g (2 1/4 cups) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

200 g (1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons eggnog
  • Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks. Beat until smooth.
  • In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to the eggnog-butter mixture and beat until just combined.
  • Using two teaspoons, form small balls and put onto prepared cookie sheet, leaving enough room in-between balls. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
  • Bake 15-18 minutes. Let cool.
  • Combine powdered sugar and eggnog to make the glazing. Drizzle over the cookies and let dry.

My modifications:

The taste:
I wasn't so convinced right away. But after a couple of days: mmmmhhhh! I guess they just need some time to develop their full flavor. Right now still an 'infrequent-calssic'.

Do you bake any 'alcoholic' cookies for Christmas?

51.2/52 Lemon-Curd-Cookies

What's not to love about lemon curd?

Adapted from freundin special 23/2009

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 g butter, room temperature
75 g powdered sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt
150 g ground almonds (without skin)
150 g flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon Limoncello
125 g lemon curd
1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Beat vanilla, butter, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and salt. Add almonds, flour, lemon zest and Limoncello and knead until you have a smooth dough. Let cool in fridge for about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Roll out dough on a floured surface and cut out about 70 hearts (or any other shape). Cut out a smaller heart in the middle of half of the already cut out hearts (these will make the top ones later when you put them together). Bake for 10-12 minutes and let cool.
  • Put a small amount of lemon curd on each bottom heart (without hole), put top hearts (with hole) on top. Dust with powdered sugar.

My modifications:

The taste:
Very good! But they could be even more lemony. Maybe add a bit more lemon zest to the dough or even lemon juice instead of Limoncello?

December 16, 2012

50.2/52 Cardamom Cookies with Rock Candy Sugar / Kardamomkekse mit Kandis

If you read my last post you might wonder what my 'classics' are, the cookies I make every Christmas including this year:
Basler Brunsli (chocolate cookie from Basel, Switzerland)
Vanillekipferl (vanilla crescents)
Witwenküsse ('widow kisses' - merinuges with chocolate and almonds)
Feenspitzen ('fairy tips' - the best EVER! cookie with Toffifee candy with meringue...)
Lebkuchen (the German classic, no need for translation I think)
Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars)

Then there are some 'infrequent-classics' that I don't make every year but every 2 to 3 years. Of those I made this year:
Kokosberge (coconut mountains)

You can see (almost) all cookies I made this year in this post.

And one of the new recipes this year:

Cardamom Cookies with Rock Candy Sugar / Kardamomkekse mit Kandis
Adapted from some magazin that I unfortunately don't remember. And it doesn't say on this one page that I ripped out. If anyone knows, please comment. Thanks!

75 g (1/3 cup or 5 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1 knife point lemon zest
1 egg
110 g (1 cup) flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
80 g (2.8 oz) brown rock candy/sugar
vanilla sugar
  • Beat butter with sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add egg and continue to beat. Quickly work in flour and cardamom. 
  • Grind rock candy/sugar coarsely (works best in a mortar), fold into the dough. Cool dough for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F) (180°C (350°F) convection).
  • Make small balls and put onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave enough room between the balls. 
  • Bake for about 12 minutes until golden brown. Roll in vanilla sugar when still warm.

My modifications:
None. Except for the recipe just saying 'flour' without the measurement. I just guessed/tried.

The taste:
Very good. I'm still a little undecided about the rock candy/sugar though. I hope you have good teeth as they make the cookies quite crunchy... Could be one of those 'infrequent-classics' but I'm not quite sure yet.

What are your 'classics' to bake every Christmas?

50.1/52 Schoko-Marzipan-Makronen / Chocolate-Marzipan-Macaroons

Are you like me when it comes to Christmas cookie baking?
I always want to bake my 'classic' cookies, those that everyone loves and that I bake every year.
But then I come across so many new recipes that look so good so that I need to try some of them as well, and decide if they could become one of those 'classics'.

So this is the one of the cookie recipes that I tried for the first time this year.

And the ingredients are a little harder to translate than usually.
For my German speaking readers I put the German words in parentheses because they just make a bit more sense...
To all my English speaking readers: I am sorry if something doesn't make sense. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Schoko-Marzipan-Makronen / Chocolate-Marzipan-Macaroons
Adapted from Für Sie 23/2012

6 egg whites
200 g (1 cup) sugar
200 g (7 oz) marzipan paste (Marzipanrohmasse)
50 g (1.8 oz) chocolate shavings (Vollmilch-Raspelschokolade)
250 g (2 1/2 cups) ground almonds
70 g (1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon) flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
pinch of salt
35-40 edible paper wafer discs (Back-Oblaten)
100 g (3.5 oz) white coating chocolate (weisse Kouvertüre)
  • Combine egg whites and sugar in a cooking pan. Grate marzipan into the egg-sugar mix. Heat on low heat, stirring constantly until marzipan is melted. Let cool a bit. Add chocolate shavings.
  • Combine almonds, flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add marzipan-mix and stir to combine.
  • Using two teaspoon, put small heaps of 'dough' on each paper wafer. Bake in prehated oven at 160°C (320°F) on second lowest rack for 12-14 minutes. Let cool.
  • Melt white coating chocolate. Transfer to a freezer bag, cut off very small tip and decorate as you wish. Let dry.

My modifications:

The taste:
Very good and very moist. But they're not on top of the list for next year. Let's call it an 'infrequent-classic' (can be made again but not every year).

Which cookies did you make for the first time this year?

50/52 Christmas Cookies pt. 1

Details to follow...

December 9, 2012

49/52 Gingerbread Muffins with Chocolate Glaze

Let's start the Christmas baking extravaganza with something other than cookies.
Mini muffins, for example. Almost the same, just less crispy.

I made these mini muffins for a Christmas get-together from work and everybody seemed to like them.

Gingerbread Muffins with Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Martha Stewart (muffins and glaze)
Makes 12 regular or 36 mini muffins

2 teaspoons baking soda
340 g (2 1/2 cups) flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
114 g (1 stick) butter, room temperature
150 g (2/3 cup) brown sugar
250 ml (1 cup) molasses
2 eggs, room temperature

80 g dark chocolate
125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream

  • Preheat oven to 170°C (350°F). Line muffin tin with paper cups. 
  • Bring 250 ml (1 cup) water to the boil, add baking soda, set aside.
  • Combine flour, spices, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Cream the butter until light. Add the brown sugar and beat for 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.
  • Fill muffin paper cups 3/4 full, then bake for 20-25 minutes (regular muffins) or 10-12 minutes (mini muffins). Let cool completely before decorating.
  •  For the glaze, break the chocolate into smaller pieces. Heat up the cream, and pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Let the glaze stand for another 10 minutes.
  • Dip the muffins into the glaze, let them drip for a couple of seconds, then turn right-side up. It does take a couple of hours for the glaze to completely set, so please plan ahead to avoid disappointment.

My modifications:
I added 2 additional teaspoons of gingerbread spice (the spice mixture used for German gingerbreads). To me, it just didn't taste gingerbready enough before.
I also added 1 teaspoon of gingerbread spice to the glaze.

The taste:
Good. But I somehow expected more. But they were good. But nothing more.

What would you bring to a Christmas get-together from work?

December 2, 2012

48/52 Banana-Apple-Oatmeal-Muffins

I'm back from a beautiful vacation in sunny California, being thrown right into Christmas.
And snow. Today.
There is no sign of Christmas or even advent in our apartment yet but I hope to change that today. Happy 1. advent, by the way! Hope y'all will do some candle burning today.

So before all the christmas-cookie-baking-and-eating-extravaganza commences, I thought that baking something quick and light and healthy would be good. Oh I know, that's totally not how it works, 1. advent and all. But that's just the way it is this year. I promise you will get to read tons of Christmas recipes right here, just starting next week.

Until then I will (hopefully) enjoy some healthy muffins, take endless trips to the basement to make this apartment look christmassy....

Adapted from Jess Jones

250 g (2 1/2 cups) oats
250 g (1 cup) yoghurt (low fat if you like)
2 eggs
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 banana
1 apple
  • Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
  • Blend all ingredients in your food processor or blender or blend with your immersion blender until oats are smooth.
  • Pour batter into muffin tin (greased or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray) or silicone muffin pan. Try to avoid paper liners as the muffins will stick to those.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
My modifications:
I used 1 banana and 1 apple instead of 2 bananas. Just felt like doing that. But you can of course use 2 bananas and no apple like the original recipe suggests.
The cinnamon is also my addition.

The taste:
Like solid oatmeal (if that makes sense). I love the taste of apple in them, so I would definately use the apple again. It's a perfect breakfast muffin and it tastes healthy but very good.

What's your favorite healthy snack at the moment?

November 25, 2012

47/52 Cinnamon Rolls

I love Joy the Baker.
Who couldn't love her and all her baking and cooking and blogging and podcasting.

I bought her cook book right after it was published but haven't made any of the recipes yet.
This had to be changed so I finally made something this week:

Giant Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Glaze
Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson

1 package (1/4 oz / 7 g)active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon plus 50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
150 ml (1/2 cup) milk, room temperature
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
420 g (2 3/4 cups) flour plus 100 g (3/4 cup) for kneading
3/4 teaspoon salt
114 g (1 stick) butter, softened

115 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
100 g (1/2 cup) packed brown sugar
70 g (1/2 cup) finely chopped pecans
40 g (1/4 cup) raisins (optional)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch ground cloves
3 tablespoons maple syrup
114 g (1 stick) butter, melted

280 g (2 cups) powdered sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) buttermilk

For the dough, combine yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of the granulated sugar in your stand mixer bowl. Heat 60 ml (1/4 cup) water so that it feels warm to the touch (not too hot). Add to the yeast-sugar, stir to combine, let sit for about 10 minutes until foamy.

Add remaining 50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Whisk until combined, then put the bowl in your mixer. Add the 420 g (2 3/4 cups) flour and the salt and mix with the dough hook on medium speed until the dough starts to come together. Turn to medium-high and knead for about 4 minutes. Add softened butter and knead for another 6 minutes. The dough will be wet and sticky. Place dough on a floured surface and using your hands, knead 40 g (1/3 cup) flour into the dough. Set to rest in a large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Make the filling while the dough rises: combine sugars, pecans, raisins (if you want), cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Stir in maple syrup and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, put it onto a floured surface again and gently knead it until it is no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Knead for about 2 minutes and let rise again for about 5 minutes. Roll it into a 25x50 cm (10x20 in) square and brush with half of the melted butter. Pour all of the filling onto the dough, spread evenly but leave a border at one of the short sides. From the short side, roll the dough into a tight roll. Pinch along the edge to seal. Place seam side down on a cutting board and cut into 8 equal slices.

Arrange slices in a greased 20x30 cm (9x13 in) baking pan. Each slice will have some room on all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. (Refrigerate overnight if you want to bake them the next morning).

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Bake rolls in the upper third of the oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Drizzle with the remaining half of melted butter just after the rolls come out of the oven.

Make the icing while the rolls cool: whisk together powdered sugar and buttermilk until smooth. Drizzle over the warm rolls and serve.

My modifications:
I used almonds instead of pecans. And I did use raisins.
I used only 210 g (1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar for the glaze which was totally enough.

The taste:
Perfect for a yummy breakfast. Or as a snack any time of day.
But - and I'm almost afraid to criticize Joy - waaaaay too sweet. I love sweetness and sugar and everything but this is definitely too much. So next time I will omit the maple sirup, the sugar and half of the brown sugar. I think that will make it perfect.

What do you bake for breakfast?

November 18, 2012

46/52 Green Onion Jalapeño Cornbread

Thanksgiving and cornbread are inseparable.
But cornbread without Thanksgiving is possible and highly recommended.
Since we don't celebrate Thanksgiving like in the States (at least not on the same date and not in the same way), we don't have a choice but to eat it whenever.

But to all my American readers: Happy Thanksgiving! I hope y'all will have a wonderful celebration on Thursday (with lots of cornbread)!

Green Onion Jalapeño Cornbread
Adapted from Epicurious

100 g (3/4 cup) flour
100 g (3/4 cup) cornmeal
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4-6 green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons jalapeños, minced with seeds
310 ml (1 1/4 cups) buttermilk
2 eggs
57 g (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
  • Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • Stir in onions and jalapeños.
  • Whisk together buttermilk and eggs, then whisk in melted butter.
  • Add buttermilk mix to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes. Let cool.

My modifications:
None. Except for using other kinds of chilis since jalapeños are, unfortunately, not widely available here.

The taste:
It does taste good. But ... (and it's a big but) ... way too moist and spongy. I know, usually it is a good thing if a cake or something like that is moist. But in my opinion, cornbread has to be more dry and crumbly. If you think so as well, this cornbread is not for you. It really does taste good, just not how I like my cornbread. 

What do you bake for Thanksgiving?

November 11, 2012

45/52 Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cake

I was looking for a cornbread recipe and ended up with this one.
I hope you don't mind.

Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cake
Adapted from Williams Sonoma 

380 g (2 1/2 cups) flour plus 2 tablespoons
65 g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
340 g (12 oz.) chocolate chips
170 g (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
240 g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
240 ml (1 cup) dark molasses
240 ml (1 cup) very hot water
  • Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
  • Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl.
  • In a small bowl, combine the chocolate chips with the 2 tablespoons flour.
  • Beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.
  • Whisk together the molasses and hot water. Add to the butter mix, alternating with the flour mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan (Bundt or brownie). Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely.
My modifications:
No allspice. And a bit less chocolate chips (270 g instead of 340 g).
About the molasses: I am sure that you could substitute them with honey. I assume that it would give the cake an even more authentic gingerbread taste.

The taste:
Chocolate and Christmas is always a good combination. This cake is no exception. 

What is your favorite Christmas cake?

November 4, 2012

44/52 Coconut Chai Coffee Cake

Reuniting with a friend after 20 years. Even though you're just 35 years old.
That's what I did this week. Exciting, isn't it?

An occasion like that calls for a special cake.
Nothing fancy. Suiting the season. Warm, cozy, comforting.
Serving as good company when you're trying to catch up on such a long period of time.

When Tracy Shutterbean posted a picture of this Coconut Chai Coffee Cake on Instagram not too long ago, I instantly knew that this would be it:

Coconut Chai Coffee Cake
Adapted from Tracy Shutterbean

115 g (1/2 cup) butter, melted 
85 g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour 
150 g (3/4 cup) packed light brown sugar 
80 g (1 cup) unsweetened flaked (or shredded) coconut 
1 teaspoon ground cardamom 
1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/2 teaspoon salt 

325 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
350 g (1 1/2) cups packed light brown sugar 
115 g (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature 
250 g (1 cup) plain yogurt (or sour cream) 
2 large eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). 
  • Mix all crumble ingredients together until combined. Put in the fridge. 
  • For the cake, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and put aside. 
  • Beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the yogurt (and/or sour cream). Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the flour mix until just combined. 
  • Pour batter into prepared spring form pan and spread evenly. 
  • Sprinkle the crumbles over the top. 
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes. Let cool before serving. 
My modifications: 
Except for using 2/3 yogurt and 1/3 sour cream. 
And shredded coconut instead of flaked because that's all I could get. And I think it might be even better because you can actually crumble it on top so that it gives you nice round crumbles.  

The taste: 
Just heavenly.
Spicy. Warm. Comforting. Autumnal. A tiny bit christmassy.
Moist inside. Crumbly on top.
Perfect for any reunion. Or any occassion in fall and winter.
I think this is one of my favorites of the 44 bakes I've made this year so far. 

What would you bake for a special reunion? 

October 28, 2012

43/52 Apple Cookies

I really should have baked Halloween cookies this week. 
Too bad that I only thought of that now... 
(Yes, go ahead, laugh at me. No problem.)

But these apple cookies are not so bad, either. 
Except they don't have anything to do with Halloween, damnit...

Apple Cookies
Adapted from Living at Home

For the dough:
160 g butter
3 tablespoons (or bags) apple tea
200 g flour
1 packet vanilla pudding powder
80 g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons apple juice

For the glaze:
4 tablespoons apple juice
50 g powdered sugar

For the filling:
150 g apple jelly

  •  Melt the butter over medium heat (or microwave until luquid), add loose tea or tea bags and let sit for about 10 minutes. If you used loose tea sieve through a fine colander, or just remove tea bags. Cool butter in the fridge until it is solid again.
  • Knead all dough ingredients together until smooth. Wrap in saran wrap and let cool in the fridge for about 1 hour. Use your rolling pin to roll out dough and cut out little apples. Put a hole in half of them. 
  • Note: if you don't need apple shapes and want to avoid rolling out the dough, form dough into a log, wrap in saran wrap and freeze for about 1 hour. Take out and cut off slices. Put a hole in half of them.
  •  Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F). Bake cookies for about 12-15 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown. Take out and let cool completely.
  • For the glaze mix apple juice and powdered sugar and glaze that half of the cookies with the hole in them. Let dry.
  • Heat apple jelly to make it easier to spread and brush on those cookies without the hole. Put a glazed cookie on top, lightly pressing it on.
  what?! you think they look like a misshapen pac-man? no way!
My modifications:
I used apple juice instead of Calvados. Because I had it at home and because I didn't need the alcohol.
I used a tea called "Wintergenuss" (winter indulgence) to infuse with the butter. Besides apples it has a slight cinnamon taste.
I sliced the cookies because a) I don't have a cookie cutter shaped like an apple, b) I was lazy, and c) the most important thing is that these cookies taste like apples, not look like them.

The taste:
Like apple. Without the vitamins.
Is that a good thing, you might ask? Yes, in this case, it just may be.

What are you baking for Halloween? Something scary, I hope!

October 21, 2012

42/52 Maltesers Ovomaltine Layer Cake

Do you like malt? I do.
Maltesers, Ovomaltine, malt beer - you name it.

I never thought about a malt cake until I saw a recipe on Pinterest of a cake decorated with halved Maltesers. Come on - not only does it look amazing, it also sounds very good.

So for our birthday celebration dinner with my hubby's aunt, uncle, and cousin, I just had to try it.
I did mix two different recipes though because I did not like the frosting of the original recipe too much. But see below for yourselves.

And believe me, it really is called Ovomaltine in Switzerland.

Maltesers Ovomaltine Layer Cake
Adapted from Poires au Chocolat

Note: This will be enough for a 5-6in baking pan only. Double the ingredients for a regular sized pan and adjust the baking time to about 30-35 minutes.

65 g flour
65 g butter, room temperature
65 g sugar
35 g Ovomaltine
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1.5 tablespoons milk
1.5 tablespoons boiling water
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F).
  • Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg.
  • Fold in flour, Ovomaltine, and baking powder until just combined.
  • Add milk and fold in. Add boiling water and mix quickly.
  • Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Let cool completely and slice lengthwise (once or twice, depending on the height of the cake). Fill and decorate with Ovomaltine frosting (see recipe below).
Ovomaltine Frosting
Adapted from Bake!Bake!Bake!

Note: This will make enough for a regular sized cake or 2 5-6in cakes.

250 g powdered sugar
45 g Ovomaltine
125 g butter, soft
2 tablespoons water, boiling
75 g Maltesers
  • Mix sugar, Ovomaltine and butter until combined. 
  • Add boiling water while mixing to get a smooth buttercream. 
  • Fill and decorate cake. 
  • Cut Maltesers in halves with a sharp knife and decorate the cake shortly before serving so that they keep their crunchiness.

My modifications:
Both recipes use Horlicks instead of Ovomaltine. Since I cannot buy Horlicks here in Switzerland, I had to go with Ovomaltine. Horlicks is white and Ovomaltine is brown which not only changed the color but also the taste, I'm sure. The original frosting recipe adds cocoa to the Horlicks which I didn't feel necessary with the Ovomaltine.

The taste:
When I first tasted it I though that everybody would say that it is waaaaaay too sweet. I thought it was way too sweet. But if you embrace the sweetness it is actually very, very good. It was a total hit with our guests and they can be critical with cakes sometimes.
Just be warned of its sweetness. Or did I already mention that?!

Is there a flavor that you really like but never though about as an ingredient for cake or other baked goodies?

October 14, 2012

41/52 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

There's no denying it. Fall is here. 
But that's not a problem - at least not for me - as I love fall. 
The colors, the fresh crisp air, cozy evenings with lit candles... 

And pumpkins. Let's not forget pumpkins. 
Until a couple of years ago, I loved the look of them but not the taste. 
I'm really glad this changed and pumpkins have become a big part of my autumnal cuisine.
Hence, today's choice of baking...

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
Adapted from Bake at 350

300 g (2 cups) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
227 g (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
275 g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
200 g (8 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
  • Combine flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
  • Whisk together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  • Add the egg and vanilla and combine well. 
  • Add pumpkin. 
  • Fold in the flour mix until just combined. 
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan (about 20x30 cm or 13x9 in) and bake for about 35 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars.

My modifications:
Since I had it at home, I used pumpkin pie spice which made it a bit easier. Use about 2.5-3 teaspoons if you wanna do the same.
I "only" used 200 g (8 oz.) of chocolate chips instead of the suggested 12 oz. (340 g). I love chocolate but that was definitely enough.
In Germany, we don't really know or eat canned pumpkin. There is only pickled pumpkin so I gave it a try. Of course I drained the pumpkin before adding it to the batter but what I didn't consider is that the butter could still curdle. And it did. But I just processed the batter with my hand blender and it was all good. So to all my readers in Germany: pickled pumpkin works well, don't worry about the possible curdling and just blend away...

The taste:
Autumnally going on Christmassy which means totally yummy (at least in my terms). I felt that the pumpkin flavor came out better on the second day so make it one day ahead if you can.

What do you love about the fall season?

October 7, 2012

40/52 Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

Doesn't the name of this cake already give you a good feeling?
That's what it did to me when I stumbled upon the recipe a while ago.

Fresh, light, citrussy grapefruit meets heavy, green olive oil - how much more intense can it get?
At least that's what I thought...

I decided to make this cake to bring to work to celebrate my birthday. To make it easier and prettier, I chose to bake small, individual cakes so that everybody could have one.

Please do read all the way to the end of the post. "The taste" should be an especially interesting (and surprising) read today.

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from The Yellow House

1-2 grapefruits, depending on the size
200 g (1 cup) sugar
about 2 tablespoons buttermilk (or plain yoghurt), amount depending on size of grapefruit
3 eggs
160 ml (2/3 cup) olive oil
140 g (1 3/4 cups) flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
grapefruit juice

  • Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
  • Zest the grapefruits into a bowl. Add sugar and combine well to let the grapefruit flavor the sugar.
  • Squeeze half a grapefruit (or more, if you have very small grapefruits) into a measuring cup. Add buttermilk or yoghurt to make 160 ml (2/3 cup). Add to bowl with sugar/zest mix and whisk well. Whisk in the eggs and olive oil.
  • In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Slowly stir into wet ingredients until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan (loaf or bundt) and bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before glazing.
  • For glazing, take cake out of pan. Squeeze other grapefruit half and mix powdered sugar with grapefruit juice. Take small amounts of juice and stir well to reach the perfect glaze consistency. Use a spoon of knife to glaze the cake evenly.
My modifications:
I only used all-purpose flour instead of a mix of all-purpose and whole weat flour.
For the glaze I only used powdered sugar instead of a mix of brown and powdered sugar. I made this one first, as suggested in the original recipe, but didn't like it. Who wants to bite on the brown sugar pieces that don't dissolve? I don't so I went back to the classic glaze with just powdered sugar.
As I said above, I made small, individual cakes so the baking time went down to 20-25 minutes. And of course I didn't take them out of their paper pans for glazing.

The taste:
Moist, citrussy, and veeeeery good!
BUT - and this was a huge disappointment to me - they taste like your "ordinary" lemon cake. And trust me, I had all me colleagues to confirm this. After taking the first bite, they ALL said "Mmmh, lemon cake". Maybe it was my grapefruit. Maybe it just wasn't grapefruity enough. And it is just a citrus fruit after all, just like lemon.
As for the olive oil, you can taste it a teeny, tiny bit. But only if you know that it is in there...

Sorry for not showing you the glazed version. It was very late when I glazed them and then they all went to work with me...
Any recipes you tried that did not meet your expectations at all?

September 30, 2012

39/52 Apple-Chocolate-Cake

I didn't tell you but we were off to Croatia last week. My husband's birthday was celebrated loudly with the Croatian part of his family and a Cappuccino layer cake was baked for him by one of his cousins.

Coming back home and facing the first day of work again, I had to bake something that the hubby could take to work for a belated birthday celebration there.

We had apples, chocolate, and the basic cake ingredients at home. So what would have made more sense than trying a recipe that combines everything I had at hand?

Adapted from Chefkoch

3 apples 
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
1 tablespoon honey 
190 g (6.7 oz) butter, soft 
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar 
3 eggs 
120 g (4.2 oz) dark chocolate 
250 g (2 cups) flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
200 ml (7/8 cup) heavy cream 
powdered sugar for dusting 
  • Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). 
  • Peel apples, remove core, and cut into slices. Mix lemon juice, honey, and a bit of water and marinate apples while preparing the cake batter.
  • Beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. 
  • Melt chocolate over hot water (or in microwave) and add to butter mix. 
  • Combine flour and baking powder and mix into batter, alternating with heavy cream. 
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and arrange apple slices on top, pushing them a little into the batter. 
  • Bake for 45 minutes, covering with baking parchment after 30 minutes. 
My modifications: 
I used only 3 instead of 4 apples. 
And less butter (190 g instead of 250 g), more chocolate (120 g instead of 100 g), and more cream (200 ml instead of 150 ml). 
And I baked it for only 45 minutes instead of 60 minutes. 

The taste: 
I don't know! 
My hubby took the whole cake to work and didn't bring back a single crumb... I guess that's a good sign though. He said that everybody liked it but he thought it was a bit on the dry side. It just seems to be my luck with chocolate cake lately.

Is there anything you baked but didn't even eat/try for yourself?

September 23, 2012

38/52 Pumpkin-Apple-Pizza

I recently reveiced this recipe for a Pumpkin Tarte Flambée in my inbox and immediately wanted to try it.
Reading through it again to prepare my shopping list, I didn't really feel like it anymore. Mostly due to laziness (having to roll out the dough really thin just kind of put me off...).
So I started looking for similar recipes, also Pumpkin Pizzas, and just created my own mix of them all.


Feeds 4

1 ready-made pizza dough
3 tablespoons sour cream salt & pepper
marjoram (or other herbs)
2 tablespoons parmesan, grated
1 onion, sliced
400 g (14 oz) pumpkin (or squash - I used butternut), peeled & thinly sliced
2 small apples, peeled & thinly sliced
100 g (3.5 oz) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

  • Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F) (or according to package instructions). Put pizza dough on baking sheet. 
  • Season sour cream with salt & pepper and herb of your choice (I used dried marjoram) and spread evenly on dough. 
  • Sprinkle parmesan evenly over sour cream. 
  • First arrange onion slices, then pumpkin slices, then apple slices on sour cream-parmesan. 
  • Crumble feta over it and bake for about 30 minutes (or however long your pumpkin and dough need). Serve with (green) salad.

My modifications: 
None, since this is my own creation.
If you like meat, you could modify it by adding bacon pieces. I'm sure that would be nice as well.

The taste: 
Like autumn... Like more...

What is your favorite autumn (baking) recipe?