Wild Garlic Brioche

ImageAfter I had watched Julie and Julia, I totally became a Julia Child fan. I first thought Meryl Streep’s performance to be incredibly strange with her stiff movements and her strange way to talk, but then I saw original footage of Julia Child and I realized: Meryl Streep was just perfect in that role…Julia Child is the strange one….which only made her more likeable. She is so clumsy and awkward and just awesome. Maybe I like her so much because I see myself in her….but I don’t want to go into that.
To cut a long story short: I got Julia Child’s “French Cooking” for my birthday and tried the first recipe last week. French cooking is not for busy people but it is relaxing and almost meditative. I made brioche and added wild garlic because….well, because I can.
Brioche is a very heavy yeast dough with loads of butter and egg. They are usually served as a sweet bread with jam. But mine are salty and taste delicious with some cream cheese. They are great for picnics or barbecues.

Brioche (one big or 8-12 muffin sized ones)
1 package dry yeast
3 Tbsp hot water (to dissolve the yeast)
¼ tsp salt
½ Tbsp sugar

Dissolve the yeast with the salt and sugar in the hot water. After five minutes it has to create bubbles on top (if not, the yeast has gone bad and you need to retry with another package)

260 g all-purpose flour
½ tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
170g chilled butter

Mix flour, sugar, salt, eggs and the dissolved yeast in a bowl. The dough will be very sticky and soft. Put the dough onto a working surface and throw, lift and scrap it until it has enough body to be kneaded. Vigorously knead it to make it more elastic until it barely sticks to your hand. Now to the butter. Soften the butter and knead it until it has roughly the same consistency as the dough. Add it bit by bit to the dough.
If you want to add flavor (like wild garlic) add it when adding the butter.
Once the butter is incorporated, the dough should be smooth. Place the dough in a bowl, sprinkle it with flour and cover it with plastic foil or a damp towel.
The dough now has to rise for 1/12-2 hours at room temperature.
After it has risen by at least 2/3 punch it down and knead for a moment.
Now it has to rise for 4-5 hours in the refrigerator until it has doubled in size. You can also let it rest in the fridge overnight, but you have to put a weight on the dough in order to prevent it from rising too much.
If you made too much dough, you can freeze a portion now for later usage.
After the dough has risen, knead it down again and put it in a buttered pan (I used a muffin pan).
Now it has to rise again for 2 hours until it has doubled in size again.
Glaze the brioche with egg wash (I forgot to do that) and bake it for 20-30 min at 190°C until they are deeply golden.

If you also want to fall in love with Julia Child, here is the clip from her show where she makes brioche: http://www.wgbh.org/articles/The-French-Chef-Brioche-7033

Killarney Cottage Scones

ImageThis week was St. Patrick‘s day. I usually miss it as no one except for the Irish pubs celebrate it. But thanks to American TV series, I remembered it this year and celebrated it in my own way. Several years ago, my mother and I travelled through Ireland. I do not remember too much about it, but I fondly remember three things: the lusciously green grass (it really is that green), my first Guinness (it somehow tastes better over there), and the little rose-framed cottage at the entrance of a park, where we used to have tea and scones. Scones have a very particular taste. They are not sweet, taste of soda and are relatively dry. But eaten with clotted cream, jam and tea, they are just wonderful. Several years later, I visited my friend T. in Glasgow and we had tea at a wonderful tearoom. The scones where just like they were in Ireland, the same taste, the same texture and I felt as if I was sitting in front of the cottage again. Back in Germany you can’t get that kind of pastry anywhere. A bakery recently took scones on their menu, but they really are just dense yeast rolls… :( My disappointment about the yeasty things inspired me to make scones this week, which took me right back to Ireland.

As you can’t buy clotted cream around here, and it is really difficult to make, I use crème double. For the jam I buy the really good stuff…don’t be cheap here.

For 9-10 scones you’ll need:

450g flour

5 1/2 tsp. baking powder

120g butter

2 eggs

5 tbsp. Milk

Salt

+ raisins, dried cherries, cranberries or chocolate drops if you like

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C

Mix everything together (don’t mix too long)

Roll the dough 2cm thick and cut out circles (7cm in diameter)

Bake for 12-15 mins.

 

Let them cool and serve with clotted cream (or crème fraiche) and jam…don’t forget the tea! :)

Mom’s Birthday Cake

ImageToday was my mother’s birthday (yay!)….so naturally I made a cake for her. Because we are currently having wonderful weather, I decided on something fruity. It’s a sponge cake with a layer of strawberry, a layer of German vanilla buttercream (made with custard) and fresh strawberries and one layer chocolate ganache. It is covered in blue buttercream (again, the one with the custard)… here I aimed for an ombré effect. The roses on the top are real…I definitely had no time to make them from sugar paste….writing papers for university is just killing me right now. That’s also the reason why I did not include a recipe this week….sorry :/

I hope you like it & Happy Birthday, Mutti. 

The Sisterhood of the Coffee Mug

My two best friends and IImage are having our twentieth anniversary this year (yes, this truly is unbelievably long). We met in elementary school and ever since fought our fights together. After seeing each other every day for thirteen years we now give our best to keep in touch over spatial and temporal distances. So far, our friendship survived because we are bound together by our past…and our love for a solid kaffeklatsch. Since one of those lovely ladies is in town at the moment, naturally, we went out having coffee (we can recommend http://www.strandcafe-frankfurt.de/…and not only for the charming waiter). In honor of my two favorite coffee-sippers and life-improvers I made tiny Mocha Cupcakes with a caramel filling and a Mascapone topping.

For one batch of mini Cupcakes:

  • 33g dark chocolate
  • 84g hot espresso                        
  • 42g butter, softened
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 1 eggs
  • 100g flour
  • 1/3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp. soda
  • 10g cocoa powder (unsweetened)

Preheat the fan oven to 180°C. Melt Chocolate together with the espresso. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg. Let the melted chocolate mixture cool, then gradually add the dry ingredients and the melted chocolate to the butter sugar mixture. Spoon evenly among the lined mini cupcake pan. Bake for 8-10 min.

For the Filling:

Salted Caramel or any other caramel sauce. http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-salted-caramel-recipe/

For the Topping:

  • 250g Mascapone
  • 2-3 tbsp. icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp. Espresso, Kaluha or Baileys
  • Combine everything and beat until creamy

Combine everything and beat until creamy.

I put a chocolate covered espresso bean on top.

So far, all those who have tried these cupcakes told me they are delicious :)

 

~ With love from me to Moe & Tepu. Stay sive. ~

Vegan Cupcakes

ImageAfter several requests I had a try at baking vegan. I had doubts about it… I mean, how can you bake without two of four key ingredients? The answer: you can…but you shouldn’t expect too much.

I especially worried about the cakes not rising without any eggs. But they do! You just use more rising agents. The cupcakes turned out fluffy but not as airy as conventional ones. They stayed relatively moist (which is not necessarily a bad thing). But concerning texture, those vegan cupcakes don’t have to hide behind their buttery relatives.

Concerning the taste, I am still not completely convinces. There is not much in there to give taste. The only two ingredients possibly contributing to taste are vanilla and soya yoghurt. The latter turned out to be the crucial point. I used a soya yoghurt from the supermarket and it looked and smelled horribly. It was lumpy and grey and just confirmed every prejudice I have towards soya. I used it anyway (I didn’t have much of a choice since the shops are closed on Sundays) and hoped for the soya yoghurt to be overpowered by vanilla. Sadly, it was the other way around and those cupcakes smell like a vanilla version of the yoghurt. I strongly (!) recommend using a soya yoghurt you know and like….

The “buttercream” tastes pretty good, there is no significant difference to the regular one.

I also filled the cupcakes with strawberry jam. There usually is no animal product in jam but particularly strict vegans check how the fruit is harvested.

I did not use any sprinkles because most of them are not vegan. Many are made with gelatin or beeswax or use colors that somehow are not vegan. Colors are a difficult topic anyway.  My pink color happened to be synthetic, which usually is something people don’t like, but since many red colors are produced by crushing beetles, in this case, being synthetic is an advantage. Alternatively you could make your own food colors with beet root for example…if you like your buttercream to slightly taste like beet root….

How to make your own food coloring:  http://eatplaylovemore.com/2013/11/10/diy-natural-food-coloring/

Vegan Vanilla Cupcake

1 cup soya yogurt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
150g raw cane sugar
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 vanilla pod
180g flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the fan oven to 170°C. Mix together yoghurt and vinegar let it sit for a few minutes. Put the sugar, oil, vanilla pod, salt and yoghurt together in a bowl and mix together. Sift the flour, soda and baking powder and add gradually to the mixture. Line your cupcake tin with papers and fill them 2/3 up. Bake for 22 minutes.

Vegan Buttercream

100g Soya/Sunflower Spread
330g icing sugar
1 vanilla pod
2 tsp. water

Mix the vegetable spread until pale. Add the sifted icing sugar, vanilla pod and 2 tsp of water and mix for 10 minutes. Fill the cooled cupcakes with strawberry jam and top them with buttercream.

 

I’ll definitely make them again with another yoghurt…Do you have any recommendations? :)

Valentine’s Cookies

I personally have never even once celebrated Valentine’s Day. It’s not much of a tradition here and it might be better that way given the tragic “single on Valentine’s day” comments I read on the internet. For me, this year’s Valentine’s Day was primarily end-of-term day and therefore still worth celebrating.

But I know that there are many people who actually celebrate Valentine’s (Surprisingly the pope for example) so I made melting heart cookies for those of you.

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Melting Hearts

180g Butter

60g Custard Powder (Puddingpulver)

60g Icing Sugar

1tsp Baking powder

180g plain flour

+Buttercream

+Strawberry jam

Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the custard powder and icing sugar. Add the baking powder and flour. Powder a surface with icing sugar and roll out your dough. Cut out little hearts and bake them on a lined baking tray at 180°C for 13 minutes.

Buttercream filling:

60g Butter

110g icing sugar

Zests of ½ Lemon

Splash of lemon juice.

Mix everything until the sugar is dissolved and the buttercream is fluffy. Fill the hearts.

 

For all others, who don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, may it be because you don’t believe in corporate holidays or don’t have anyone to celebrate with (even though, considering the pope, you obviously don’t even need anyone), I made chocolate peanut cookies  because I believe the combination of nuts and chocolate is always worth celebrating!

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Chocolate Peanut Cookies

200g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)

50g salted peanuts

100g Peanut butter (creamy)

100g  unrefined cane sugar (Vollrohrzucker)

50g raw cane sugar (Rohrohrzucker)

2 eggs

100g flour

½ tsp baking powder

Melt the chocolate. Beat the peanut butter and the two sugars until creamy. Add the eggs. Let the melted chocolate cool, then add to peanut butter mixture. Add the flour.

Chop the peanuts. Use a spoon to make walnut sized balls of dough and roll them in the chopped peanuts.

Bake at 180°C for 13 minutes.

 

Don’t beat yourself up over some silly holiday and have a cookie instead!

A Trial of Patience

ImageThis week I got inspired by the many layers of clothing I am wearing because of the indecisive weather outside (5°C, rainy, feet are freezing, rooms are overheated). So, I made a layered cake, a German Baumkuchen (trans. Tree cake). Everyone was like “Oh god, that’s too hard to make!” But it really isn’t. Everyone just thinks it is, because it is so traditional and every pastry chef has to make one in his master exam. Typically it is made on a rotating spit behind which open fire is burning. The batter is poured over the spit repeatedly so that layers are created. These are supposed to resemble growth rings, hence the name.

Here is a picture of the traditional baking process:

But, since I don’t have rotating spits and open fire, I baked the cake just layer by layer in my oven and suddenly it is a very easy cake to make…. If you are a patient person.  

For the Baumkuchen you will need:

6 Eggs

100g icing sugar

120g Caster Sugar

200g Butter (room temperature)

150g Marzipan (in pieces)

100g flour

1/3 Vanilla bean

Lemon zest of ½ Lemon

+ Apricot jam

+ 200g dark chocolate

  1. Line a 24cm baking tin and preheat the oven to 250°C
  2. Separate the eggs
  3. Beat the egg whites with some salt and the caster sugar until forming peaks
  4. Beat the butter, marzipan, icing sugar, vanilla and Lemon. Gradually add the egg yolks.
  5. Fold the egg whites and the flour into the butter mixture
  6. Spread 2-3 tbsp. of the batter into the tin
  7. Bake for 4 minutes. Then spread 2-3 tbsp. of batter onto the baked layer and bake again for 4 min. Repeat that procedure until there is no batter left.
  8. Let the cake cool.
  9. Let the apricot jam (about 100g) come to a boil. Then brush the cake with it.
  10. Once the cake is completely cooled cover it with chocolate.

I cut out small round cakes and painted a flowery embroidery pattern with white chocolate on top of them (obviously I am too patient).

The cake is really delicate and not hard to make. I mean, it takes some time to bake all the layers but if you skip the fussy painting part, and leave the cake in one piece, it’s done in under one hour (excluding cooling time). So, try it.

The Rise of The Yeast

For recreational reasons (end of term stress) I made dough this week. Dough does not need much attention, especially if you have a machine doing all the muscle work for you, and you can use the proving time for homework, cleaning or napping. In addition to that, every time I make dough, I am totally amazed by the power of yeast. (Plus, the warm, silky dough feels pretty amazing between the hands…but this is probably a strange thing to say…)

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I made authentic IKEA Kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon rolls), which like everything else from IKEA, come with assembly instructions.

I made them in an alternative knot form and I recommend eating them warm from the oven as they definitely don’t get better with time. But if you eat them straight away, they are incredibly soft and crispy at the same time.

http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_GB/pdf/Kanelbullar_RecipeCard_UK&IE_A5.pdf

ImageFor the pizza swirls, you simply roll up pizza and then cut finger-thick slices, laying them flat on a baking tray and bake them until nice and brown (220°C)

For the dough: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/recipe/pizza-dough

For the sauce:

Blitz together…

1/2 can of tomato pieces

1 garlic glovr

1 splash of balsamic vinegar

1 handful of basil

tsp. dried oregano

seasoning

For the topping (optional, use whatever you like)

Mozzarella (freshly grated)

Gouda (freshly grated)

Kalamata Olives (sliced)

A little warning: Don’t make them if you don’t like to make them over and over again, since people will expect you to ;)

 

Macaron Magic

ImageThis week I felt French, somehow, and therefore I put some French music on and baked macarons. The thing is, macarons aren’t that easy to make, as it turned out.

There are many different recipes, each with its own strange and seemingly superstitious practices. I am not going to lie, I felt pretty stupid following that kitchen hocus-pocus. But after the first macarons I made (following a simple recipe) turned out horribly, I started believing in French macaron magic.

ImageFor the second round of baking, I chose the recipe of macaron-grand-master Pierre Hermé and they were just perfect. I will never use any other recipe ever again….even though it is really complicated.

 

The recipe for the macaron shells:

>>First of all you need to separate the egg whites several days in advance and refrigerate During that time the egg whites lose their elasticity.<<

150g ground almonds (skinless)

150g icing sugar (Puderzucker)

55g “liquefied” egg whites

150g caster sugar (Kristallzucker)

Water

55g “liquefied” egg whites

Food coloring (paste or powder)

  1. Put the almonds and the icing sugar in a blender and ground until you have a fine powder. Sift the mixture into a bowl.
  2. Mix 55g egg whites with food coloring of your choice and pour over the almond-sugar powder. Don’t mix!
  3. Put 55g egg whites into a mixing bowl
  4. Put the caster sugar into a small sauce pan and pour water inside until the sugar is slightly covered (approx. 50ml). Heat the sugar water until it reaches 115°C. Start mixing the egg whites until the sugar syrup reaches 118°C. Once the sugar syrup is hot enough, pour it slowly into the egg whites while mixing them. Be careful, otherwise you’ll get solid bonbons within your egg whites, or you’ll make scrambled eggs. Let it mix and thereby cool down until you can touch it and it does not feel hot anymore (about 50°C)
  5. Fold the fluffy egg whites into the almond-mixture. Don’t be shy, the egg whites are fairly stable.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe rounds onto lined baking trays (I use a template underneath my baking paper http://bluejellybeans.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/template-macarons.jpg)
  7. Let the baking tray fall from a low height so that any air bubbles inside the macarons can pop. Let the macarons sit for at least 30 mins. They will form a skin and stop being sticky.
  8. Preheat the fan oven to 180°C then bake them for 10-12 min. Quickly Open and shut  the oven after 5min and again after 8 min.
  9. Let the macaron shells cool.

You can fill them with jams, marmalade, ganache, curds, caramel, etc.

 I chose passion fruit curd and salted caramel as fillings

Passion fruit Curd:

60g passion fruit (without seeds)

55g sugar

1 egg

1 tsp corn starch (Stärke)

90g butter

Put the passion fruit and the sugar into a sauce pan and bring everything to a boil. Mix the egg and the starch in a bowl. Pour the boiling fruit sugar mixture over the egg mix while stirring. Put everything back into the sauce pan and boil again until thickened. Let everything cool for 10 mins. Then mix in the butter and refrigerate for several hours.

 Salted Caramel:

The recipe for the caramel can be found here http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-salted-caramel-recipe/

Before serving, you should refrigerate them for 24 hours.

Even though they are a lot or work, I still recommend making them. They look very cute and are really delicious :)

New Year’s Resolution

Or how to bake your way out of a quarter life crisis (who’s joining me?)

I have challenged myself:  This year I’ll be doing a baking challenge. Each and every week I’ll bake something different, take a picture of it and post it right here. Why? Because I want to force myself to spend more time with what I love to do rather than what I have to do, keep the rest of life from interfering and make hand moisturizer redundant. (I am telling you, butter is the best moisturizer ever!)

Two weeks of baking have already passed and four different bakes arouse from it.

The first week I baked Blondies (white Brownies). I’m afraid I can’t give any recipes for those, because I improvised and I’m actually not too happy with the results (even though my way to friendly judges seemed to have liked them)

White Chocolate-Lemon-Macadamia Blondies

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White Chocolate-Pistachio-Cranberry Blondies

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Yesterday I baked wonderful cookies. I really love making them because they can easily be stored and you can give them away as little presents.

I made a batch of wonderfully moist and soft Better-than-Brownies-Cookies:

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The recipe can be found here: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2009/07/22/better-than-brownies-chocolate-cookies/

Just a little tip: let the dough rest for a while before you scoop it onto your baking tray in order to let it firm up a bit.

I also made those awesome and very classic New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies. Those are first class American cookies…just how you would imagine them to be.

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The recipe can be found here: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2012/10/16/the-new-york-times-chocolate-chip-cookies/

A little tip again: You can make them with flour type 1050 or even whole grain flour and with only raw cane sugar/ whole cane sugar. They will turn out a bit more full-bodied. ;)

I hope my judges will like them.