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Cookie dough terrine

3 Nov

Oh my sweet tooth, sometimes it makes me create little recipes without having planned any of it. Last night after dinner was such a moment, I felt like I needed something chocolaty and quick. And voila, this nice and tasty cookie dough terrine came out.

Cookie dough terrine

Ingredients:

1 stick butter or margarine

3/4 cups brown sugar

Salt

1 cup flour

Dark chocolate chips

Strawberries (fresh or frozen)

Preparation:

1) Use soft butter or let the butter melt in a small pot.

2) Combine the butter, sugar, salt and chocolate chips and stir.

3) Now add the flour until you receive a smooth dough texture.

4) Place the dough in small ceramic terrines and decorate with two strawberries.

4) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390-400 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for about 15 min.

 

For the cookie dough base I used this recipe:

http://www.centercutcook.com/edible-egg-less-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough/

Mousse au chocolat

29 May

Who does not like desserts?

As far as I know, almost nobody. I am sure that out of a group of 10, a maximum of 1-2 persons do not have a sweet tooth and do not get attracted by a sweet seduction after a good meal. For you as a hobby chef, that is good news. Offering a tasty dessert at a dinner party will make your guests happy. That being said, do not skip dessert :)

My experience is that desserts with dark chocolate always are a perfect fit after any kind of main course. They go well with digestives like liqueurs, an espresso or your glass of red or white wine.

I was invited to a dinner party last night and decided to go with mousse au chocolat. Turns out, it was a good choice: It is quick to make and you only need 4 ingredients.

mousse au chocolat

Ingredients (serves 6-7 people):

200g dark chocolate (60% cocoa)

100g very dark chocolate (85% cocoa)

20g white chocolate

400ml whipping cream

2 eggs

Raspberries for decoration

Preparation:

1. Melt all the dark chocolate in a bain-marie.

What is a bain-marie? You do not want to destroy the chocolate by melting it at a too hot temperature. Therefore, you use a bowl or small pot that you place in a larger pot with hot water. Stir the chocolate while melting it and make sure that no water spills into the chocolate. This would make the chocolate flaky instead of smooth.

Put aside and let cool down. The consistency of the chocolate has to be viscous (not liquid) before you continue processing it.

2. Separate egg white from yolks. In separate bowls,  whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and the egg yolks until they are fluffy.

3. Whip the cream with a hand mixer until it has a very firm consistency. Takes about 2-3 min.

4. Prepare a bowl that is large enough for all ingredients. Use a spatula and not a hand mixer from now on as you want to slowly combine all ingredients.

Start with the fluffy egg yolks by adding them to your bowl.

Now stir in the chocolate.

Add the egg whites.

Finally, work in the whipped cream. Leave about 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream for decoration.

5. Serve the mousse straight away or chill it in the fridge (good idea if you want to prepare the mousse in advance). It is important that the mousse is firm like a pudding. Should that not be the case, cool it in an ice bath by placing the bowl into a larger bowl with ice-cube infused water or in the fridge until it gets firm.

6. Decoration: Melt the white chocolate in a bain-marie (just like the dark chocolate earlier). Wash a few raspberries. In a small bowl, put a scoop of mousse au chocolate and decorate it with a spoon of whipped cream, 2-3 raspberries and drizzle a few lines of white chocolate on top of the mousse. Enjoy with pleasure.

 

Mini Franzis (Franzbrötchen)

24 Jan

Hamburg is my home base. A very lovely city that is not as hyped as other European cities (Berlin, London, Paris) and my hidden gem with loads of outside activities to do, secret spots to discover off the path, a varied culinary scene and the best about it: Some traditional Hamburgeois foods. Nothing too fancy. Simple and tasty. That`s what is Hamburg to me.

Why not take the occasion to introduce you to what Hamburg has to offer.

Franzbrötchen

My number 1 is our local answer to French croissants called Franzbrötchen (Franz roll for a literal translation). Franzbrötchen are sweet cinnamon buns and in most bakeries you will find them with varieties of toppings (pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, chocolate). They are a very good accessory for your weekend breakfast table.

They look very artsy and I have not dared to bake them on my on so far. It turns out that making them is not difficult at all so I recommend that you give it a try. The more difficult part about the recipe is to get the yeast dough right. Follow those steps and I am sure you will succeed:

Ingredients (for 10-12 small rolls)

Yeast dough:

125 ml milk

35g butter

250 g wholewheat flour

1 teaspoon dry yeast (or 1og fresh yeast)

35 sugar

1 egg

1 pinch of salt

Topping:

40g butter

40g brown sugar or honey

1.5 tablespoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons seeds (e.g. pumpkin or sunflower)

2 tablespoons milk

Preparation:

1) Heat up the milk to medium temperature (no boiling) in a small pot, then add the butter and let it melt, too.

2) In a bowl, combine the flour with the yeast and a pinch of salt. Mix in all other ingredients: The milk-butter-liquid, sugar and egg. Stir by hand or with a hand mixer until the dough is smooth and gooey. Put the dough aside (minimum room temperature at 18 degrees or warmer) and let it double in size. Meanwhile start preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

3) Now comes the topping: Melt the butter and combine with the sugar, cinnamon and seeds.

4) Knead the dough once more and roll it out to a square on a dry surface sprinkled with flour. Your square should be the size of 20x60cm rectangle.
5) Apply the topping and roll the dough. Cut small, 7cm wide trapezes (picture 1)
6) Turn the trapeze on the long side and gently press a hole in the middle using a spatula or a rolling pin (picture 2+3).
7) Lay out the rolls on a baking tray leaving enough space between them so the don’t stick together while baking and brush the rolls with milk before you put them in the oven. Don’t forget to grease the baking tray or line it out with baking paper.
8) Bake for 10-12 min until golden and serve while still warm.
Picture 1:  Apply the topping on the dough and roll it. Cut small, 7cm wide trapezes.

IMG_20160123_104039

Picture 2: Turn the trapeze on the long side

IMG_20160123_104028

Picture 3: Press a hole in the middle using a spatula or a rolling pin

IMG_20160123_104112

Picture 4: Leave enough space on the baking tray and brush the rolls with milk before you put them in the oven

IMG_20160123_104219

Inspired by this German recipe: http://www.oetker.de/rezepte/r/franzbroetchen.html

Fruit & nut cake

18 Oct

What is a good alternative to a breakfast cereal or porridge? If you like sweet for breakfast then my answer is: Cake. Not that it has to be a large piece with whipped cream. I am looking for something healthy that gives me an energy boost for the day.

Today I tried out a wholegrain recipe with nuts and a lot of fruit. Delicious it was. Top it up with butter, jam or honey and a coffee and I guarantee you an excellent start into the day!
Fruit & nut cake

Ingredients

2oog wholegrain wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 pinch of salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup raisins

Fruit in sirup (e.g. walnut, fig, grapes, orange, lemon) – I used 2 walnuts, 2 tablespoons grapes and 2 large orange slices

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup water

1 egg

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven at 220 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt.
  3. Add the hazelnuts, brown sugar and raisins.
  4. Cut the preserved fruit into smaller pieces and add them to the bowl.
  5. Pour in the buttermilk and water bit by bit and stir well. The dough should not be too liquid.
  6. Mix in the egg.
  7. Transfer the dough into a baking pan and drizzle with sugar.
  8. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.

Tip: If you experience difficulty finding fruit in sirup use dried fruit instead and leave it in a bowl with warm water for about 30 min before adding it to the dough. That way you allow the fruit to absorb water and it gets softer. Fruit in sirup is a delicacy in countries like Greece where the mild climate lets fruit grow in abundance. The sirup preserves the fruit and gives it a very juicy and sweet taste.

Carrot cake: Moist and delicious

31 May

Somehow this month is coming along with plenty of cake occasions for me: Birthdays, weddings, a job change and sometimes simply a sweet tooth on a weekend afternoon made me look through my collection of cake recipes. I stumbled across a carrot cake recipe that I was given by my German friend Mareike about three years ago. What I love about this recipe? This carrot cake is very soft, moist and the frosting gives it just the right amount of sweetness. You almost can’t stop after one piece, I swear. A practical side effect on top: It is made without nuts which is perfect for people with nut allergies and instead of spending quite an amount of time grating carrots you use a jar of carrot baby meal.

Carrot cake

Ingredients:

25o g vegetable oil

400 g cast sugar

4 eggs

500 g flour

1 pack vanilla sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla aroma (in Germany: Butter-Vanille-Aroma)

1 pack baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

380 g carrot baby meal (e.g. 2-3 jars Hipp baby meal depending on size or 400g of boiled and smashed carrots)

Frosting:

75 g butter

250 g powder sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla aroma (in Germany: Butter-Vanille-Aroma)

75 g cream cheese

Preparation

1) Except for the carrots, whisk all ingredients together until you have a smooth dough. Then add the carrots and bake at 190 degrees for 35 min (important: do not preheat the oven). You can use a normal deep dish baking pan, a cake tin or even a Auflaufform.

2) As soon as the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool down.

3) Prepare the frosting by whisking together all ingredients as indicated above and spread a thin layer over the cake.

Tip: If you do want to eat the cake immediately I suggest to store it in the fridge so that the frosting doesn’t dry out.

Simone’s home-made granola

22 Mar

Granola

Muesli and granola are my favorite breakfast meals. Paired with fruit they give you a powerful start into the day.

For a while I have been looking for a simple and kind of healthy granola recipe. I got inspired by Simone, our Airbnb host in Copenhagen, last weekend. She was so kind to invite us for breakfast on the Sunday morning and made us here home-made granola with yoghurt. Yummm.

I couldn’t resist to try my own version of it once back home and here is the result:

Ingredients:

Sunflower seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Sesame seeds

Raisins

Honey

Ratio: 1/2 cup of seeds & raisins on 1 large tablespoon honey

Simone used nuts as well (hazelnuts and almonds if I recall it right) and skipped the raisins. It’s up to you to decide which seeds or nuts you want to combine. Definitely use honey instead of brown or white sugar.

Preparation:

1) Preheat a pan and put a large scoop of honey in it as soon as the pan is warm (use medium heat, you don’t want to burn it)

2) While stirring let the honey melt. Then add your mix of seeds and raisins and keep on stirring.

3) Wait for the honey to caramelize. You will notice the caramelization by the change of color that will go from light brown to brown. Don’t wait for a dark brown nuance, that might burn your seeds.

4) Serve while still warm or let cool down and store in an air-tight container (e.g. Tupperware, glass jar).

P.S. Should you be planning a Copenhagen trip and not be sure about accomodation yet, I suggest to check out Simone’s apartment on Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.de/rooms/2547851

Everybody loves…a pumpkin pie

9 Nov

Before the wonderful pumpkin season is over I want to share a very easy pumpkin pie recipe with you. In Germany, pumpkin pies are not very common to my surprise. Pumpkins are everywhere though!

I have seen many recipes using a ton of cream. I prefer it a little simpler with just a sip of cream. If you want to make somebody a nice surprise, bake the pie in a muffin pan. Serve while still warm with a dab of whipped cream and you will make their day!

Pumpkin pie

Pie Crust

1 cup flour

1 pinch salt

1/3 cup vegetable shortening (in Germany I use Butterschmalz)

2 tablespoons cold water

Preparation:

1) In bowl, combine flour and salt. Then mix in the vegetable shortening and finally add the cold water. Mix until the dough is smooth and holds together.

2) I usually leave the dough in the fridge for about 30 min.

3) On a clean surface, sprinkled with flour, roll out the dough. It should be about 1-2 mm high and round. Tips: Use plastic wrap to roll out the dough.

Filling

1 pumpkin (e.g. Hokkaido pumpkin)

Cinnamon powder, ground cloves (1/2 teaspoon each)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

Preparation:

1) In a large pot, bring about 2 l of water to a boil. Meanwhile, clean and cut the pumpkin into slices or cubes. You do not need to remove the skin.

2) Boil the pumpkin at medium heat until soft. This takes about 10-15 min. Drain and put aside to let it cool down.

3) In a blender mix the pumpkin pieces until you receive a smooth pumpkin paste.

4) Transfer into a bowl and season with cinnamon powder and ground cloves. Stir in the sugar and then add the cream. For a spicier taste, add more cinnamon and cloves.

Baking

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

2) Use a pie baking pan or round ceramic bowl to bake the pie.

3) Instead of greasing out the baking pan, I used baking paper so that the pie would not stick to the baking pan.

4) Place the dough in the baking pan and with your fingers line it into the baking pan.

5) Fill with pumpkin puree and bake for about 20-25 min until the crust has a nice brown color.

For the pie crust, I used this recipe: https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/28518/homemade-pie-crust-recipe/ 

Liquid pleasures: Home-made smoothies

21 Oct

What’s healthier than ice cream? Smoothies. What’s better than juice? Smoothies. What makes you happy? Smoothies.

Voilà, I officially declare the smoothie our remedy for the upcoming winter months. My sister Becci believes in her breakfast smoothie. It took me a while to become a fan myself but now I think she is right. Smoothies without sugar added are an incredible refreshment and great start into the day. Maybe it is the bright color that fascinates. No, actually it is both: Taste and color!

Good news for you: There is very little that can go wrong with smoothies. All you need is a decent blender and you are ready to start smoothie-mania.

Red smoothie

I have prepared a selection of my favorite smoothies for you (quantities make 1-2 servings). Feel free to mix and match veggies and fruit:

Pink Power (see picture above)

Red beet (1/2 piece)

Banana (1 piece)

Soy milk or coconut milk (1 cup)

Vanilla flavoring or sugar (1 spoon)

Coconut flakes for decoration

Cucumber Mellow

Cucumber (1/2 piece)

Lemon (juice of 1/2 fruit)

Buttermilk (1 cup)

Pepper and Sweet Paprika as seasoning

Green and white smoothie

Green Zombie Variations (see picture above)

(1)

Spinach leaves (1 handful)

Soy milk (1 cup)

Coconut flakes (1-2 tablespoons)

(2)

Spinach leaves (1 handful)

Banana (1 piece)

Soy milk or butter milk (1 cup)

Lin seeds (1-2 tablespoons)

Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)

Coconut flakes (1-2 tablespoons)

Honey (1 tablespoon)

(3)

Diced apple (1 piece)

Banana (1 piece)

Spinach leaves (1 handful)

Lemon (juice of 1/2 fruit)

Celery (optional, 1 stick)

Fresh ginger (optional, 1 inch)

Tropical Breeze

Banana (1 piece)

Mango (1/2 piece)

Orange juice (1 cup)

Banana Classic (see picture above)

Banana (1 piece)

Milk or vanilla flavored soy milk (1 cup)

Ice cubes (3-4 pieces)

Weekend treat

Diced pineapple (1 cup)

Frozen or fresh raspberry (1/2 cup)

Soy milk (1 cup)

Mint leaves (a few leaves)

Crumbled chocolate muffin (1/2 piece)

Preparation:

1) Clean, peel and cut all ingredients as needed. Then add them to your blender and mix for 1-2 minutes until the liquid is smooth. Add 2-3 ice cubes if you like or a little water if the smoothie mixture does not come out liquid enough.

2) The smoothies can be stored in the fridge for a few hours but should be consumed the same day.

No preservatives are used: Therefore, the smoothie`s color can change quickly and they look and taste better if consumed immediately.

Portuguese tomato jam (doce de tomate)

17 Aug

Tomato jam? Wouldn’t you normally use fruit to make jam? That is right and yet it is also what make this jam so fabulous. It’s my latest discovery from Portugal. I recently spent a weekend in Lisbon and Cristiana, a Portuguese friend of ours, told me to try it. I would have not imagined that ripe, caramelized tomatoes and a sip of Port wine could create such a mouth-watering delicacy.

While the tomato season is still on,  I strongly recommend you to get at least 1 kilo (2 pounds) of very ripe tomatoes and to give it a shot yourself. The good thing about jams is that you barely cook them for longer than 10-15 min. You want to avoid caramelizing your ingredients too much because that would change the taste. The trick is to let the water evaporate a little bit and then to seal the jam in jars while it is still hot.

For one kilo of tomatoes, you will need 3 medium size glass jars of 160 ml (5 oz) as shown in the picture.

The jam is fantastic on whole grain bread or with a slice of cheese (e.g. goat cheese) or meat (e.g. steak).

Doce de tomate

Ingredients:

1 kg tomatoes (very ripe)

370 g brown cane sugar

50 ml port wine (preferred kind: Ruby port)

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 tablespoon lemon zest (from an untreated lemon), about 1 tablespoon

Preparation:

1) In a large pot, cook the tomatoes until the skin comes off (this takes about 10 min). Drain the tomatoes under cold water and immediately take off their skin. In a blender, process the tomatoes. Transfer the tomato sauce back into your cooking pot.

2) Stir in the sugar, port wine and season with cinnamon, cloves and the grated lemon zest. Bring to a boil at maximum heat and cook for 5-10 min. Stir well while you keep the jam at high temperature.

3) As soon as the texture becomes jelly, lower the heat and simmer for another 5-10 min.

4) Sterilize the glass jars by dipping them in boiling water or by pouring hot water over them. Use a pair of tongs, you can easily burn your fingers.

5) Fill in the jam up to the top of the jar and fix the lid tightly. For my jars I used rubber rings and metal clamps, a normal lid will do as well.

6) Store the jam in a cool, dark place or in the fridge. Sealed jars should last you at least 6 months.

Tip:

Add a pinch of pepper and chili powder for a little kick.

 

 

 

Red wine chocolate muffins (Rotweinkuchen)

6 Jul

Have you ever wondered what to do with leftover red wine apart from pouring it down the sink? Cook with it :) Red wine sauce, coq au vin…and red wine cake, that’s what comes to my mind when I think of how to use wine in the kitchen.
I am planning on starting a muffin challenge with my readers soon so stay tuned for more. This red wine chocolate muffin recipe is my first teaser and is both a great breakfast or a delicious desert after dinner.
Redwine chocolate muffin
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins):
1 cup soft butter or margarine (I like to use vegan Alsan)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup red wine
4 eggs
cinnamon, vanilla aroma, ground cloves (optional), baking powder (1 tablespoon)
cocoa powder to color the dough (2-3 tablespoons)
1 pack chocolate chips

 

Preparation:
1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) In a large bowl, whisk the butter until soft. Then add the sugar and the eggs and mix well.
3) Flavor the dough with cinnamon, vanilla aroma and ground cloves.
4) In a separate bowl combine the flour with the baking powder.
5) Now start stirring in a bit of the flour/baking powder mix, then subsequently add red wine and flour mix until the dough is smooth.
6) Finally, add the cocoa powder and the chocolate chips.
7) Fill the dough into muffin forms or in a cake pan that you have greased with butter or oil and bake for 20-50 min (20 min for the muffins, 50 min for the cake).
Tip: Serve with whipped cream while still warm. 
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