March 25, 2013

12*52 Easter Scones

Easter is around the corner.
Are y'all planning a nice get-together with family and/or friends?
I always enjoy a typical Easter brunch.
And since I already missed presenting you with a Valentine's Day recipe before Valentine's Day, I won't make the same mistake again...

Easter Scones

500 g flour
50 g brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pintch of salt
120g butter, room temperature
2 eggs
220 ml buttermilk
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
  • Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Add butter in flocks, eggs, and buttermilk and knead until you have a smooth dough. Add more flour if dough is too sticky.
  • Roll out dough on a floured surface (about 3 cm/1.2 in thick) and cut out scones with any Easter cookie cutter you may have. Put scones on baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
  • Mix egg yolk and milk in a cup and brush scones with mix.
  • Bake on middle rack for 16-18 minutes and serve while still warm.
My modifications:
But next time I would omit the cinnamon and replace it with lemon or lime zest. It would just taste more Easterly like that.

The taste:
Like good scones are supposed to taste like. Definitely best when still warm.

What is your favorite Easter baking recipe?


March 18, 2013

11*52 Cake Pops

Ah, cake pops. Finally. But not the real deal to some...

Let me explain: I bought one of those silicone cake pop pans a while ago because it was on sale.
I know that a lot of people will say that baking cake pops (as opposed to mashing them up with cream cheese or the like) is not the real thing.
Okay, maybe it is not the original thing but it sure is cake pops.

Anyway, my godson turned 2 last week so what better occassion to try the pan?

I found it very hard to find a recipe online for baked cake pops. The recipe that was included with the pan didn't really appeal to me because it called for 3 eggs and no baking powder. To me, that just sounded like it's going to be really omelett-y and not very rising, if you know what I mean...

Lemon Cake Pops
Adapted from 'Yuki Sunaneko' who posted it in a forum on Chefkoch

150 g (1 1/4 cups) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
125 g (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
1 egg
75 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
75 ml (1/3 cup) Sprite

300 g (10 oz) white chocolate, for dipping
sprinkles, glitter if you wish

Chocolate Cake Pops
ingredients as above but
35 g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder (in addition)
90 ml (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) milk (instead of Sprite)
300 g (10 oz) milk chocolate, for dipping (instead of white chocolate)

  • Mix all ingredients (except for the chocolate). Fill into prepared cake pop mold. 
  • Bake in preheated oven at 180°C (355°F) for 20 minutes.
  • Let cool before opening the mold and taking out the cake pop balls.
  • Melt chocolate, dip sticks into chocolate before inserting into balls. Coat all cake pops with melted chocolate and decorate with sprinkles or glitter.
My modifications:
I made the lemon cake pops first and I wouldn't make them again. This recipe might be nice for muffins or even a cake but the Sprite makes it too fluffy for cake pops. It was a lot of trouble to get them out of the pan in one piece, then onto the sticks in one piece, and covered in chocolate without falling apart. They did taste good though.
The chocolate ones I created myself and they were a lot more dense than the lemon ones (but still moist enough) so they were a lot easier to get out of the pan and to cover with chocolate.

The taste:
Yummy. And they look so pretty!
But they would taste even better if it wasn't that much work. I'm not sure when I will make them again.

Have you ever baked something that wasn't really worth the effort?

March 10, 2013

10*52 Chestnut-Chocolate-Pie

Do you know Vermicelles?

If you're not Swiss, or live in Switzerland, or dine in Switzerland often, then you are probably thinking of pasta right now.

Completely wrong, sorry.

The Swiss Vermicelles is a chestnut puree usually served as a fall/winter desert with whipped cream and meringues. You can find a bit more info here and a recipe how to make it from scratch here . In Switzerland it is a bit easier to make as you can buy the ready-made puree in blocks or in tubes.

The hubby and I recently bought two slices of very yummy chestnut layer cake at a local bakery. Layers of sponge cake and whipped cream topped with Vermicelles. One slice and you are not hungry anymore for the rest of the day...
But because we both love chestnuts and Vermicelles so much I started searching for Vermicelles cakes and stumbled upon this week's recipe. Enjoy a bit of 'swissness' :)

Adapted from Annemarie Wildeisen

100 g (1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon) butter, soft
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
2 packages vanilla sugar or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
400 g (14 oz) chestnut puree/Vermicelles
3 egg whites

150 g (5.3 oz) apricot jam
200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate
150 ml (5.5 fl oz) heavy cream
  • Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla (sugar) until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat until light again.
  • Add chestnut puree and combine well.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff. Add 1/3 of beaten egg whites with a whisk, then fold in the rest with a (silicone) scraper. Fill into prepared springform pan (bottom dressed with parchment paper).
  • Bake at 180°C (355°F) for 45 minutes. Take out and let cool.
  • Heat up apricot jam in a pan. Either blend to make it smooth or scrape through a fine sieve. Spread evenly onto cake and sides.
  • Heat up the heavy cream. Remove from heat and add the chocolate in pieces. Stir only after chocolate has melted. Let cool a bit. Cover cake and sides generously with ganache.

My modifications:
The original recipe calls for 80 g sugar, I just reduced it a bit since the chestnut puree is also sweetened already. And it was totally sweet enough.
I also omitted 3 tablespoons of kirsch (or alternatively: rum) just because I'm not the biggest fan of it. It would make it more Swiss though.

The taste:
Very good. Not very cake-like though. But the combination with the chocolate ganache is lovely. Maybe next time I would use a smaller springform to get a higher cake.

What desert is typical for your country but might not be known to many people outside of your country?

March 3, 2013

9*52 Strawberry-Lemon-Bars

Remember, right after Valentine's Day I told you that I had planned to bake something pink and heart-shaped but then was too sick?
I couldn't get the recipe for that pink and heart-shaped something out of my head so I made it now.
Just not heart-shaped. But pink. And full of summer flavors. Lemon and strawberry.
What could be better? Not much, I think.

Adapted from Backbube

300 g (0.7 lb) strawberries, frozen
300 g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
300 ml (1 1/4 cups) lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
150 g (1 1/8 cups) flour
50 g (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar
2 x 75 g (2 x 1/3 cup) butter
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
75 g (1/2 cup) corn starch
  • Defrost strawberries.
  • For the crust, combine flour, powdered sugar, salt, 2 tablespoons cold water and half the cold butter (in pieces) and knead until combined to a nice shortcrust dough.
  • Distribute dough evenly on the bottom of a prepared square spring form. Let cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Using a fork, poke some holes into the crust and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Blend together strawberries and lemon juice until smooth and without fruit pieces. Add sugar and remaining butter and bring to a boil in a saucepan. 
  • Mix starch with 7 tablespoons water and stir well to avoid clumps. Add to the strawberry mix, let boil for 1 minute, stir constantly. 
  • Take pan off the heat. In a small bowl, mix egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of the strawberry 'jam', then put back into the saucepan to combine with all the strawberry 'jam'. Pour on top of the crust and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Let cool. Cut into squares or bars.

My modifications:
Except for not cutting out hearts. Just plain old squares/bars.
Oh, and I changed the name. Backbube called them 'Pink Lemon Hearts' but I think 'Strawberry-Lemon-Bars' is more fitting (especially since I didn't make hearts).

The taste:
You usually have me at 'strawberry'. And this is no exception. These bars are so so so so good! I could really bathe in them. 
The strawberry puree/jam/topping was a bit wobbly and gooey and I am not really sure if it is supposed to be like that. But it was so very tasty nonetheless. I might try a little less starch next time, that might do the trick.

What fruit do you love, especially in or on cake?