Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pretty please with sugar on top?

Dear sister,
if I promise to make another batch of these cookies next week, will you promise to clean the bain marie for me? Pretty please with sugar on top? 
Imagine brownies. Imagine bite-size brownies. Imagine bite-size brownies that stay crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and nice for, say, 10 days in a tin box. You may say, I'm a dreamer, but clearly, I am not the only one, because Miss Martha-I-know-what-a-prison-looks-like-from-the-inside-cause-I-am-greedy-Stewart clearly also dreamt about such chocolate cookies and had her crew develop the recipe for crackled chocolate cookies. I found them first through Bakerella's blog and I must say that her's look prettier because they crackled nicer. But it's all about inner values anyway, right? I like them, my friends like them, my sister likes them, so what about you? 

 copyright of all photos j.

Crackled chocolate cookies (with sugar on top!)

100 gr of melted dark chocolate
80 gr of flour
30 gr of dutch cocoa powder
1 tsp. of baking powder
pinch of salt
60 gr of butter at room temperature
130 gr of brown sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 package of vanilla sugar
40 ml of milk
confectioner's sugar

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and let it cool off a little again. Beat the butter, the vanilla sugar and the brown sugar with a mixer until fluffy. Add the egg, the melted chocolate, then the flour, the salt, the cocoa powder and the baking powder, lastly the milk. Wrap the dough in plastic and put it into the freezer for about an hour. 
Preheat the oven  at 180°C when you take the dough out of the freezer. Cut the dough into small squares (2X2cm). Put some confectioner's sugar into a soup plate. With your hands, role each square into small balls which you then roll around in the confectioner's sugar until they are compeletly covered. Place the balls on a baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Bake for about 12-15 minutes.

The cookies taste great with this banana milk, so make sure you have some over-due bananas at home.

I found this recipe via Bakerella over on Martha's page, and converted the measurements from cups to gramms, slightly adapting the recipe. I must say that I found the original rather carelessly written. First thing on the directions is to preheat the oven. Then, you are supposed to leave the batter in the fridge for 2 hours. Okay, folks, who seriously would leave the oven on for 2 hours while the batter is cooling off in the fridge?? Even my so-not-state-of-the-art-oven heats up in, say, 10 minutes! So Martha, the recipe rocks, the directions don't!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

If life gives you leopard-skinned bananas...

I like simple things. Plain white sheets for example. They make you feel like you are waking up in a fancy-schmanzy hotel bed although it actually is Monday morning, minus 10 degrees outside, and you already pushed the snooze-button twice.
Or drawings. The most simple form of art, yet so elaborate, as they capture an idea instantly before it is then tuned up into a painting, which more often than not is far less interesting than the first simple sketches.
Or banana milk. So simple. Banana, milk, straw, ready, set, go.
It sometimes happens that I find leopard-skinned bananas in my kitchen. As I like my bananas best when they are still almost green (except for those you get in the tropics, but that's a whole different story), leopard-skinned bananas could be somewhat of a bummer. But hey, it's fashion week in Berlin and I hear leopard-print is up and coming, so banana milk actually passes as an it-girls accessoire, I guess. 
So, if life gives you leopard-skinned bananas, make banana milk! 

copyrigth of all photos j.

Banana milk

1 brownish-yellowish leopard-skinned banana
1 glas of milk

In a blender, thoroughly purée the banana, then add the milk and whisk until the mix is all bubbly and velvet-like. I usually don't add any sugar as the banana is sweet enough. Pour into a glass. Invite your five best friends, get two straws each, and see if you can all suckle the glass empty within one second!

Banana milk always is a winner, it makes you feel better instantly and it also tastes great with chocolate cookies! I know I am weird, but try this: take a spoon and stir the banana milk with it. The numbed sound that the spoon hitting the glas makes is one of my favorite sounds in the world. Makes me feel all warm and cozy. I warned you, I am weird.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

You can't deny you are a foodblogger...

... if you type in "googlehupf" instead of "gugelhupf" when searching for a recipe for German Bundt Cake online! Where is this going to end my dear readers? 
But lo and behold, we are not baking Bundt cake, or gugelhupf today. I promised last week that there was a savory recipe coming up, and here it is. Yes, reliability is my middle name (though my third name is procrastination, but you don't need to tell everyone about it, deal?).
Today's recipe is inspired by puff pastry tartelettes which a friend of mine recently prepared for me and a bunch of friends. She had mixed hazlenuts with cream cheese and used that as the pastries' filling. In my version,  I added apple slices, as I like the combination of cheese and fruit. So here we go, finally a sugar-free recipe again!

copyrigth of all photos j.

Savory hazelnut pastries with applefans and a nice bowl of greens

4 puff pastry squares
1 apple
1 lime
4 tbsp of ground hazelnuts
50 gr of cream cheese, if you like you can use goat cream cheese
1 egg yoke

a small handfull of lamb's lettuce per person
olive oil
lime juice

Defrost the puff pastry. Preheat the oven at 200 °C. In a dry pan, slightly roast the ground hazelnuts. Mix them with the cream cheese, some salt and pepper. Cut the apple into squares, and cut those squares long ways into thin slices, but make sure that you don't cut all the way through. That way, you can spread the slices apart a little, and they will unfold sort of like a fan. Cut the lime in half and sprinkle the apples with lime juice so that they won't turn brown.  Once the puff pastry has thawed, spread an equal amount of the cream cheese nut mixture on all four squares, leaving an edge, then place an applefan on top. Now take the egg yoke and brush it along the edge of each square. Put the pastry into the oven for about 15 minutes or until it has risen and turned golden brown. Rise and shine so to speak!
In the meantime, thoroughly clean the lamb's lettuce and prepare the vinaigrette, which in this case, does not really deserve that name because I substituted the vinegar with lime juice. I took 2 spoons of olive oil and one spoon of lime juice, some sugar, salt end pepper, quick and easy and also a good way to use up the lime.
Makes 2 servings and also tastes great the next day at work!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Say NO to New Year's resolutions!

Phew, the last few posts all featured sweets! It's best to wave goodbye your new year's resolutions now or you might as well stop reading here. I promise to bring on a hearty recipe soon, honestly, but in the meantime, we are baking a chocolate pound cake! I found this chocolate cake over on smitten kitchen already some time ago, and since it seemed full of dense, dark chocolate rather than full of sugar, I absolutely had to try it. One of the best things about this cake is that you only need one bowl -  a very essential criteria if you don't have a dishwasher and hate doing the dishes as much as I do. I liked the cake a lot, since its description was true: you get a very chocolaty but not overtly sweet cake. However, I thought it was laking something. Some cream, or maybe something fruity? I scanned my fridge and laid eyes on a jar of super tasty sour-peach-jam which I had gotten from a friend. She's a pharmacist and knows how to add an extra little pulverized vitamin C to her jams, a trick which I will have to apply as well when jam-making-season is in full swing again!
And, wow, what an explosion of flavors - chocolate with tard jam, gotta love it! Now that the jar is empty, I won't be baking this cake again until my friend will make some more jam next summer!

copyrigth of all photos j.

Chocolate pound cake

125 gr of butter at room temperature
225 gr of brown sugar
100 gr of white sugar
1 pakage of vanilla sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
240 ml of buttermilk
190 gr of flour
75 gr of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp of natron
1/2 tsp of baking powder
a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven at 180 °C. Line a pound cake pan with baking parchment or grease the pan thoroughly. In a large bowl, whisk the butter, then add the brown, white and vanilla sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add the buttermilk. At this point, things might start to look a little lumpy, but don't worry, it'll work out in the end! Now, add all the other dry ingredients and mix only until they are fully absorbed by the moist ingredients. Pour the dough into the baking pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a wooden stick that you poke into the cake comes out clean (= the cake is baked all the way through). While the cake is in the oven, you can go and have fun watching ickle and Lardee bake a cake. Let cool off in the pan for 10 minutes, then take the cake out of the pan.

I recommed a fruity jam to go with it, how about bitterorange jam for instance?

This cake was posted on smitten kitchen under the name of Everyday chocolate cake. I converted the measurements from cups to gr.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Salty caramel

The last year was full of great food experiences! There was a perfectly pink lambroast which we ate for Easter in Göteborg, seated at two packing cases which served as a make-shift table. There was freshly squeezed orange juice in Ojai during our California trip and an heirloom tomato sandwich prepared by my former host mom in the US. There were the dishes that my parents always prepare when I come home. And there were supper club dinners, a both delicious and social experience.  
2010 kind of was also the year that I came out: is there a more public way to confess that you are a foodie for life than to start your own foodblog?
Today's recipe is one of my personal food revelations of 2010 - salty caramel! It was the cherry on top of the ice cream of Thyme Supper Club's November dinner and since my sister liked it so much, I made some right before Christmas and gave it away to her for Christmas.
May your 2011 be full of salty caramel!  


 copyrigth of all photos j.

Salty caramel

200 gr of white granulated sugar
200 gr of heavy cream
50 gr of butter
fleur de sel

In a large pan, blend and melt all the ingredients minus the fleur de sel. It is important to use a pan with a large surface because you want the moisture to evaporate. Bring the mixture to a boil, but be careful, caramel gets incredibly hot! Cook until the caramel has a golden brown color. The caramel is just right, when it has reached the so called firmball stage. I quote Caroline from Thyme Supper Club here: "Cook to the firmball stage. This means having a bowl of cold water standing by. Drop a little caramel into the cold water, fish it out with your fingers and squeeze it. You want it to hold its shape, but to be squashy under pressure, like fudge or chewing gum."
Once the caramel has reached this stage, pour it onto a baking sheet and spread with a spoon or spatula. Dip the spoon into cold water so that the caramel won't stick too much to the spoon, but in any case, this part of the process is sort of messy. Let it cool of a little while, then sprinkle fleur de sel on top and cut the caramel into bite-size squares.

Fill into a nice glass jar and give it to a person you like or eat them all by yourself!

This salty caramel is made after Caroline's recipe which she shared on Thyme Supper Club's site.