Sunday, April 24, 2016

Banana Oat Muffins

It is big fun to cook and to bake for Julia and for the whole family. Our girl likes almost everything which also makes this an easy task. Lately, I've been cooking much more again and I greatly enjoy it. On the hunt for suitable family recipes, I stumbled over this blog, Tiny Spoon, which I can really recommend to all mums who like to cook. There are a lot of fabulous recipes, from baby purée to dessert. I made these muffins this morning and we all really liked them. Easy to whip up, not too sweet, perfect for brunch or as an afternoon snack for kids (and adults).




Recipe
(slightly adapted from the lovely Tiny Spoon)

80ml maple sirup
80ml sunflower oil (or coconut oil)
2 eggs
50 ml milk (or almond milk)
3 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 sachet vanilla sugar)
1 teapoon cinnamon
30g rolled oats
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
200g wholemeal flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a muffin tin with paper cases.

In a large bowl, combine maple sirop, oil, eggs and milk. Mash the bananas with a fork and add to the wet mixture. Add vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add to your wet ingredients and mix until all is combined. I used a hand whisk for this. 

Fill the dough into your muffins cases. Be carefull not to overfill your muffin cases. Sprinkle with a few oats and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer, whether the muffins are done.


Monday, March 28, 2016

One

Our wonderful daughter turned one last week. It's truly unbelievable - a year went by and now, she's such a big girl already. The past three months have been rather intense, though. I've caught a bad flu twice and Julia's also been sick a couple of times. She's really not a difficult kid, but she's probably not the world's best sleeper. That's why lately, whenever I had some time to myself, I tried to catch up on sleep and there wasn't much time left for anything else. Apologies to all of you for having abandoned my blog for so long. For Julia's first birthday, in any case, there had to be cake! I settled for this lovely blueberry carrot cake. Blueberries and coconut are a nice twist to the traditional carrot cake. They render it moist and fluffy. Julia really liked it. In fact, we all did.




Blueberry Carrot Cake

180g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
one pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g dessicated coconut
2 eggs
140g canola oil
150g sugar
250g ground carrots
125g blueberries (fresh or frozen, if you use frozen, don't defrost them before using)

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Butter a cake tin (ca. 11x25cm) and line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and coconut. Set aside. In another bowl, combine eggs, oil and sugar and mix with an electric whisk for 3-4 minutes until the batter is smooth. The, add carrots and combine. Fill half your dough into the prepared tin. Roll half of the blueberries in a bit of flour and scatter onto the cake mix. Then fill in the rest of the dough and place the rest of the blueberries on top of it. You might want to press them into the dough a little.

Bake your cake for about 60-70 minutes (with my oven, it took less then 60 minutes so it really depends on your oven). Test with w wooden skewer, whether it's done.

I served this cake just as it was, mostly because Julia is not used to sugar and I did not want to go over the top, but otherwise it would surely be delicious with a cream cheese frosting.

This is, by the way, the kind of cake to make a day or two ahead because it tastes better after some time.


Sunday, January 03, 2016

Maltesers Brownies

I hope that the new year has treated you well so far. I enjoyed lots of quality time with my family in these first few days of 2016. But let's go back to our New Year's Eve dinner for a moment because I would never want to deprive you of what I consider to be some of the best brownies I've ever had. These really are quite special. They are rich and chocolatey, but not too sweet. The malt milk powder gives them their distinct taste and the cream cheese frosting is simply to die for... This is what I call "love at first bite".




Recipe
(from the sensational "Lomelinos Backen" by Linda Lomelino)

Ingredients

For the Brownies:
75g dark chocolate (I used 70%)
125g butter
150g plain flour
175g milk powder (I used Horlicks malt powder which we got from England, I don't know whether this is available in Switzerland, but I will let you know once I find out)
180g sugar
50g cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:
75g soft butter
120g icing sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)

25g dark chocolate
25g Maltesers
a pinch of fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a brownie tin (about 15x25cm) with parchment paper. 

Chop the chocolate into coarse pieces and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. In a bowl, mix flour, milk powder, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix eggs and vanilla. Sift in flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. The dough will be very thick, but the recipe says that this is alright. Add chopped chocolate. Fill the dough into your prepared tin and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Let the brownies cool in the tin.

When the brownies have cooled completely, make the frosting: Beat the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add sugar, cocoa powder and milk powder and keep beating. Then, add vanilla and cream cheese until you have a smooth cream. With a spatula, spread the frosting on top of your brownies. Chop chocolate and maltesers and scatter on top. Sprinkle a little fleur de sel onto the brownies. I used about 50g of maltesers and left out the dark chocolate and the fleur de sel because Edi doesn't like the combination of chocolate and salt which is a shame, but what are you going to do… 



Monday, December 28, 2015

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These cupcakes where the grand finale to my Christmas baking session. I brought them along for the family Christmas dinner at my dad's yesterday. And now that the festivities are over, I must say that this year, it was particularly lovely with the two babies Julia and Fynn around. They both played along really well and seemed to enjoy it. My mum always tells me that the year I was born, she had been looking forward to Christmas so much and, apparently, I then spent the evening crying under the Christmas tree. But Julia, to our great joy, really had a fun time. We'll have a few quiet days at home now until the new year starts and I am so curious what it will bring. Have a good start everyone and see you in 2016.




Recipe
(from the fabulous "Cake Days" by the Hummingbird Bakery) 

Ingredients
For the sponge
120g unsalted butter, softened
300g caster sugar
2 large eggs
20g cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring (such as Dr Oetker)
1 tsp vanilla essence
300g plain flour
1 tsp salt
240ml buttermilk
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting

100g unsalted butter, softened
600g icing sugar
250g full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)


Coloured sprinkles, to decorate (optional)
One or two 12-hole deep muffin tins

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.

Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition and mixing in the scrapings from the sides of the bowl.

In a separate, small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla essence to form a paste. Add the paste to the batter, mixing thoroughly until the paste is completely incorporated.

Sift together the flour and salt in another bowl, then add the flour to the batter in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk and mixing thoroughly after each addition. Lastly, in another bowl, mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda together by hand and add it to the cake batter, mixing it in until it is fully incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the paper cases, so that they are two-thirds full, using any remaining batter to fill up to four more cases in another tin. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a short while in the tin, then place on a wire rack to cool completely before you frost them.

Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment, and mixing on a low speed, beat the butter and icing sugar together until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is sandy in texture. Add the cream cheese and mix together slowly until everything is incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and beat the frosting until it is soft and fluffy.

Cover all cupcakes with 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese frosting, smoothing it down with a palette knife and making a swirl in the middle of the frosting for a decorative finish. Sprinkle with whatever decoration you fancy. I used crushed candy canes and sugar stars. 



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Brownies

It's true: children make you realize how time flies. It's the 24th of December and our little daughter is 9 months old already. Julia is healthy and happy and she's conquering her world on all fours now. She has already spent a considerable amount in the kitchen with me and I'm looking forward to baking together with her. But for now, I'm just really grateful for having had a wonderful - demanding, but wonderful - year full of discoveries.

I was thinking about 2015 lately and I realized that I haven't baked a single batch of brownies in the past 12 months. And as I cannot let this year go by without having had a proper brownie, I decided to bake brownies for our annual family Christmas feast. These here are wonderfully rich with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, some crunch from the walnuts and a festive flavor from the spices. Perfect to please a crowd. And with that, I wish all of you a merry Christmas and happy holidays.




Recipe
(Original recipe in German here)

200g dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
250g butter
100g walnuts, coarsly chopped
150g flour
0.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon or gingerbread spice mixture (I used gingerbread spice because I just love the smell of it)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 eggs
200g sugar
icing sugar, for dusting

Line a brownie tin (about 25x25cm) with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a saucepan, melt dark and milk chocolate together with the butter on low heat. Stir occasionally. When everything has melted, set aside and let cool a bit.

In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt, the spice, the cocoa powder and the walnuts. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat sugar end eggs with an electric mixer until pale, thick and creamy. Then, add, the melted chocolate and mix well. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix until all is well combined.

Pour your mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool in the tin. Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar before serving.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Eggnog Biscotti

I managed to bake one batch of cookies this year! I'm not a big pro with the cookies, but, somehow, I've always had a thing for biscotti and they just never fail me. I really adore these. The freshly grated nutmeg makes them smell amazing and they look pretty with the glaze, don't they?




Recipe
(from here)

Biscotti:
280g all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
85g unsalted butter, room temperature

133g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon rum
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs

For the glaze:
28g unsalted butter, softened
120g icing sugar
generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
about 1 tablespoon whole milk

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.

Biscotti: in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.


Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in vanilla, rum and nutmeg. Beat in eggs one at a time. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients and mix just until a dough forms.


Divide dough in half and shape each half in a log about 15x5cm. Place the logs about 7.5cm apart onto prepared sheets and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let stand for 20 minutes – leave the oven on. Line another large baking sheet with baking paper.


Slice biscotti into little less than 2cm slices. Place slices onto prepared sheet and bake fo 10 minutes. Turn all slices carefully, and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet over a wire rack.

Glaze: whisk butter, sugar and nutmeg until mixture starts to get creamy. Add milk gradually, whisking until drizzable consistency. Drizzle biscotti with glaze and set aside until glaze is dry, about 20 minutes.
Biscotti can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days – without the glaze they last even longer.

Makes about 20.




Sunday, December 20, 2015

Corn Flakes Crispy Cakes

Here comes the ultimate kids' treat for Christmas! Many of you might know these, but there's a twist to this recipe here you might not have guessed. I've rediscovered Nigella Lawson's old TV shows lately and in her version of these (she calls them "chocolate crispy cakes"), she uses butter and mars bars for the coating. What you end up with - and I'd like to quote Nigella on this one - is a "tremendously good goo. A kind of chocolate stickiness ribboned through with caramel and still having the chewiness of nougat… Can't really be improved!"




Recipe
(from here - I recommend watching the whole video! It's big fun!)

50g mars bars
50g butter
70g corn flakes

(I doubled the amount)

Prepare enough mini-muffin paper cases. To be honest, I didn't count them, but you'll end up with enough to feed a bunch of people.

In a medium saucepan, slowly melt butter and mars bars. Do this on a low heat. Be patient - it'll take a moment. Then, stir in the corn flakes and mix well until they are covered with the butter-chocolate mix.

Then, transfer spoonfuls into the mini-muffin cases. Let cool in the fridge for at least an hour or so.



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cinnamon, Walnut and Apple Granola

By now, making granola has also become a Christmas tradition. I like to hand it out as a gift in little glass jars with a pretty ribbon on it. This year, I slightly adapted Ella Woodward's Cinnamon and Pecan granola and I think, the combination really fits for Christmas.




Recipe
(adapted from this recipe)

Makes one large container of granola.

2 and a 1/2 cups of oats
1 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of almonds
1/2 cup of flax seeds
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of dried apple, diced into small pieces
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
3 teaspoons of cinnamon

You can use any kind of cup.

Place the walnuts and almonds in a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds so that they are partially crushed. Then add them to a large mixing bowl with all the other dry ingredients, except the apple pieces and cinnamon, and stir together.

Next, melt the coconut oil with the maple syrup and cinnamon on the stove or in a small saucepan. Once it has dissolved into a sweet liquid add it to the dry bowl and mix well. This should form a delicious oaty nutty bowl, which is slightly sticky.

Place the mixture into a baking tray and bake for about 30-40 minutes at 180C, until crunchy. During this time you’ll need to stir the mixture to ensure that every bit of the granola gets nicely toasted and the top doesn’t burn.

Once the granola is cooked perfectly remove the tray from the oven and allow it to cool, then stir in the apple pieces. Store the granola in an air-tight container to keep it wonderfully fresh and crunchy.



Sunday, December 13, 2015

White Chocolate Fudge with Fleur de Sel

I haven't baked any Christmas cookies yet and I'm not so sure that I will. But, I've started to make some edible gifts this weekend. This recipe here is easy and fabulous. I'm sure we all agree that the combination of caramel and salt is delicious. It was the addition of white chocolate that drew my attention to this recipe. Funnily, I'm not usually a big fan of white chocolate, but I immediately thought that here, it would work really well. And it did!




Recipe
(to read the original recipe in German, click here)

2.5dl heavy cream
250g sugar
80g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
fleur de sel

Line a brownie tin (about 20x20cm) with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring sugar and heavy cream to the boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 30-40 minutes until the batter thickens and has got a brown, caramel-like color. Take away from the heat and stir in the white chocolate. Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted.

Immediately pour your batter into the brownie tin. Let cool in the fridge for a few hours. Then, cut into squares.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Last weekend, it was particularly foggy. The kind of weather that calls for comfort food. Most people would agree that a mug of hot chocolate definitely belongs to the category of comfort food. And so I thought, hot chocolate cupcakes would do the trick. And they really do taste like a cup of sweet hot chocolate - wonderful!




Recipe
(from one of my absolute favourites: Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery)

For the dough:

240ml milk
25g chocolate powder (the kind you use for hot chocolate like Banago or M-Quick from Migros)
80g soft butter
280g sugar
240g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a 12-mould muffin pan with paper cases. With the recipes from this book, I usually end up with about 15 cupcakes.

In a small saucepan, warm up the milk and dissolve the chocolate powder. Set aside and let cool.

In a bowl, mix butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt with an electric hand mixer on low speed until you have a fine crumbly batter.

Mix chocolate milk and eggs and add to the cake batter in three additions while constantly mixing. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time. Mix until you have a smooth batter.

Fill your batter into the prepared cases. Don't overfill them or they will spill while baking! Two thirds is fine. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer whether they are done. Let cool completely after baking.

For the frosting:

60ml milk
30g chocolate powder
500g icing sugar
160g very soft butter

Warm up the milk and mix with the chocolate powder. Let cool In a bowl, mix butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until you have a powdery batter. Slowly add the chocolate milk while constantly mixing. On high speed, mix until you have a fluffy batter.

Spread the frosting on your cupcakes with a palette knife and decorate with sugar pearls… whatever you feel like or fits for the occasion.



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