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?