April 29, 2015

17 | 52 Strawberry-Blueberry Crumb Bars

Fresh strawberries!
You just gotta do as much as you can using strawberries, while you can.
(Maybe in your part of the world you have fresh strawberries all year round but that's unfortunately not the case in Switzerland...)

And blueberries!
You just can't go wrong with blueberries.

Yes! Always!

Sorry for the very boring pictures - I can't seem to shoot any good pictures before everything's eaten up lately...

Strawberry-Blueberry Crumb Bars
Adapted from the baker upstairs

200 g (1 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
375 g (3 cups) flour
227 g (1 cup) cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, beaten
400 g (2 cups) fresh strawberries
200 g (2 cups) fresh blueberries
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
4 teaspoons corn starch
  • Preheat oven to 190ºC (375ºF).
  • Whisk together sugar, baking powder, salt, and flour. Add cold butter and mix in with your hands. Add the egg and make a crumbly dough. 
  • Press half of the dough onto the bottom of the prepared pan (23cm x 33xm / 9in x 13in). 
  • Wash your strawberries, chop off the green part and cut into quarters. Mix all berries with the 1/2 cup sugar and corn starch, then spread them on top of the dough in the pan. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the berry layer. 
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool.
My modifications:
None. Except for mixing strawberries and blueberries. The original recipe is for either one but not combined.

The taste:
Very good! Moist from the berries and very summery!
I stored it in the fridge and it actually tasted better the day after baking...

What's your favorite summer bake (with or without fruit)?

April 22, 2015

16 | 52 Perfect Blueberry Muffins

Now. When a recipe title has the word 'perfect' in it I get sceptical.
Perfect. I almost feel like there's no way it could live up to the expectations.

But this recipe did. Big time.
I mean - it's Blueberry Muffins we're talking about.
But still. It's Blueberry Muffins, y'all!

And they really were perfect.

Perfect Blueberry Muffins

For 9-10 smaller muffins:

71 g (5 tablesoons) butter, softened
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teapsoon lemon zest, grated
191 g (1 1/2 cups) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
100 g (3/4 cup) blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • Preheat oven to 190ºC (375ºF) and line muffin pan with paper liners.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, then sour cream and lemon zest.
  • Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Carefully fold in blueberries.
  • Fill muffin cups 3/4 (for smaller muffins) or almost full (for bigger muffins).
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until tops are golden brown.
 they were gone so quickly - I wasn't even able to take a good picture of the inside!

My modifications:
None. But next time I would omit the lemon zest or reduce it a bit. In my opinion, the muffins would even be more perfect then.
I also used frozen blueberries and it worked very well. There really is no need to defrost them. My dough did kind of freeze when I added the frozen berries but that wasn't a problem.
Oh - but I did double the recipe and received 12 perfect standard sized muffins with a great muffin top. So if you would like your muffins to be on the bigger side with muffin top - please double the amounts above. If you like your muffins smaller and without muffin top - use the amounts above.

The taste:
Perfect! What more can I say? They taste exactly like I want them to taste. And they taste really American. I know, that might sound a bit weird but it's true.

What's your favorite and most perfect muffin recipe?

April 15, 2015

15 | 52 Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

A classic. Always good. Comfort food.

Also perfect for Easter. 
I know, I know. Easter is over. 
But it will come around again next year, right?

 All muffins were gone before I had a chance to photograph them...

Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

320 g (2 1/2 cups) flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon all-spice
300 g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
110 g (1/2 cup) packed brown sugar
4 eggs
240 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
120 g (1/2 cup) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 medium/big carrots, shredded

225 g (8 oz) cream cheese
113 g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
500 g (4 cups) powdered sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Preheat oven to 175ºC (350ºF). Line muffin tin with paper cups.
  • Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and powder, and spices) in a bowl.
  • In a big bowl, beat eggs. Add sugars, oil, sour cream, and vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour mix slowly until just combined. Fold in carrots.
  • Fill muffin papers 2/3 and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool.
  • For the frosting, beat together cream cheese and butter. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Frost muffins as you like.
    My modifications: 
    I reduced the white sugar to 200 g (1 cup), I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and I reduced the amount of powdered sugar in the frosting (because 500 g/4 cups is just an insanely high amount...)
    Next time, I would reduce the overall amount of ingredients by 1/3 because I had way to much batter. Besides the regular muffin pan with 12 muffins, I was also able to fill 6 small paper loaf forms... 

    The taste:
    Good but I've had better carrot cake. It didn't really taste like carrots, actually. And it also wasn't very moist. It also wasn't dry - don't get me wrong - but it wasn't 'carrot-cake-moist'. Do you know what I mean? So all in all they were okay but I will most likely not make this recipe again.

    Do you have a favorite Carrot Cake recipe?

    April 8, 2015

    14 | 52 Italian Easter Bread (aka Sweet Yeast Wreaths, aka Easter Nests)

    I know. Easter is over.
    (I hope y'all had a good one!)

    But these little wreaths are just called 'Easter'. They can, in fact, be made any time.
    They're also called 'Italian' while I am not so sure that they are only that.
    And they're called 'Bread'. When clearly they are wreaths.

    So again - don't let the name fool you. Make them any time. And call them whatever you want. 
    I would go with 'Sweet Yeast Wreath'. Or, if you want to keep the Easter theme: 'Easter Nests'. 

    Italian Easter Bread (aka Sweet Yeast Wreaths, aka Easter Nests)

    Makes 4-6 wreaths

    1 package dry yeast
    300 ml (1 1/4 cups) milk
    76 g (1/3 cup) butter, softened
    2 eggs, beaten
    100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
    500 g (4 cups) flour
    1 egg combined with 1 tablespoon of water
    6 raw (dyed) eggs (optional if it is not Easter)
    sprinkles/pearl sugar (optional)
    • Combine yeast, warm milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and about half of the flour in large bowl. Using your dough hook, knead until smooth. Add more flour until you get a firm dough (it might be a bit more or a bit less than 4 cups) and knead until it is nice and smooth. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. 
    • Divide into 8 or 12 pieces, roll each piece into a thick rope, 'braid' two ropes together and form a circle/wreath/nest, pinching the ends together.
    • Place wreaths on baking sheet with lined parchment paper. Cover and let rise for about another hour. 
    • Brush each wreath with beaten egg combined with 1 tablespoon of water. Put on sprinkles or pearl sugar, if you are using them. Place 1 raw egg into the middle of each wreath, carefully pressing it down.
    • Bake at 175ºC (350ºF) for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on rack.
    My modifications:
    I used whole wheat flour for 1/3 of those 4 cups of flour. I didn't intend to but then ran out of the regular flour.... And a bit of whole wheat never hurts, right? It just made the dough a bit darker.
    I also didn't dye the eggs. And I omitted the sprinkles.
    Because I had enough things to do on Easter Sunday morning as it was, I made the dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge overnight.

    The taste:
    Good. But for my taste, they are too sweet to eat with anything savory (like cheese or lunch meats) but not sweet enough to really be a sweet bread. They are somewhere in-between and that bothered me a tiny bit. I wouldn't make them again like this. Either sweeter or not sweet at all.

    What's your favorite Easter brunch (baking) recipe?

    April 1, 2015

    13 | 52 Easter Egg Cookies

    There's still enough time to makes these for Easter!
    Maybe you can even include them in your egg hunt!
    (What do you mean, you don't do any egg hunting anymore?!)

    Browsing through Easter recipes online, I found these two Easter Egg Cookie recipes and couldn't decide which one to make. 
    Chocolate? Chocolate! Lemon? Lemon! Alright. Both then. 
    It's Easter, after all. And if we can't eat them all, I'm sure the Easter Bunny will help us...

    (Maybe I should start ironing my tea towels...)

    Filled Chocolate Easter Egg Cookies
    From Donna Hay

    65 g (1/3 cup) butter, cold and in pieces
    40 g (1/4 cup) powdered sugar
    75 g (1/2 cup) flour
    2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
    1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    1 1/4 egg yolk
    white chocolate, melted, for decorating

    200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
    125 ml (1/2 cup) cream
    • Preheat oven to 180ºC (355ºF). 
    • Process all cookie ingredients (except for the white chocolate) in a food processor until a soft dough forms. Or - the way I do it - use your hands to knead all ingredients together until you have a soft dough. Wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    • Roll dough between two sheets of baking paper to about 3mm thick. Using your Easter egg cooie cutter, cut out cookies, place on cookie sheet (on baking paper) and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
    • For the filling, melt chocolate and cream together in a small saucepan over low heat. Put in the fridge until cooled down. Spread a bit of filling on half of the cookies, making sandwiches with the other half.
    • Melt white chocolate and decorate cookies to your taste.
    My modifications:
    None. Oh actually, yes. I only used 1 egg yolk. Because 1 1/4 egg yolks? Seriously???
    And I only needed half of the filling...

    The taste:
    I haven't tasted them yet! Will update you asap!

    Sunny Side Up - Lemony Easter Egg Cookies

    For the cookies:
    150 g (2/3 cup) butter, cold and in pieces
    75 g (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon milk
    150 g (1 1/4 cups) flour
    75 g (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) cornstarch
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 sachet vanilla sugar
    lemon peel of 1 lemon, grated

    For the filling and glaze:
    lemon curd
    40 ml (3 1/2 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
    130 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
    • Preheat oven to 180ºC (355ºF). 
    • Process all cookie ingredients (except for the white chocolate) in a food processor until a soft dough forms. Or - the way I do it - use your hands to knead all ingredients together until you have a soft dough. Wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    • Roll dough between two sheets of baking paper to about 3mm thick. Using your Easter egg cooie cutter, cut out cookies (half of them with an additional small round hole in the lower half), place on cookie sheet (on baking paper) and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
    • Make a simple glace from lemon juice and powdered sugar and put on the cookies with hole. Let dry. Put a blotch of lemon curd on the other half of the cookies and sandwich with glazed tops.
    My modifications:
    The original recipe used a different method of combining the ingredients for the dough and said to bake the cookies at 200ºC (390ºF). But that's it.

    The taste:
    Yummy! Very lemony. But I love that. Lemony is good.

    What's your favorite baking recipe for Easter?