Soft Chocolate Amarettini

Dear Thuy,

here is an invitation to bake the Amarettini you liked so much on a snowy December Saturday when Roy is skiing.

What you need:

  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 120 gr icing sugar, plus 2-3 spoons for dusting the Amarettini
  • 200 gr grounded almonds  
  • 1/2 Vanilla pod
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp Amaretto (Almond Liquor) – Alternatively Chocolate Liquor can be used too

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, add 75gr icing sugar.

Slit open the Vanilla pod and scrape out the pulp. Mix Vanilla pulp, Cocoa powder, 45gr Icing sugar and almonds in a bowl. Grind everything well in a food processor. 

Mix the Almonds/Cocoa blend spoonful into the merengue. Also add 2 tbsp of Amaretto or Chocolate Liquor. 

Place the mixture in the fridge and let it chill for 10 mins.

In the meantime prepare a backing tray with baking parchment. 

Using your moistened hands, form small spheres (∅ ca. 2cm) and place them on the backing tray, leaving enough space between them.  

Dust the Amarettini with icing sugar and let them dry well for 3 hours. 

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Bake the Amarettini for 15 mins. Let them cool down and dust again with icing sugar. 

Ready to go and really delightful, darling! 

Gâteau au chocolat

The best chocolate cake you will ever have and you know why? It’s almost pure dark chocolate enriched with butter, eggs and sugar, almost no flour. What makes it even more special is that I kept the recipe to myself for the last 10 years, but there is a copyright expiration time for everything, right?

I got this chocolate slice of paradise from my Luxembourgish friend, Aimée, when living in Gran Canaria. She was my boss’ neighbour and working for Luxair. I wanted to escape the winter in Munich so I took one semester off University and moved to Maspalomas at the Atlantic coast and took a job there for half a year. At some point in life each one of us dreams to live on an island, it seems so idyllic and a very nice dream to dream but reality might be very different…

Anyhow, this post is not about my escape on the Canarian Islands but about the awesome Gâteau au chocolat recipe, that dates back to ancient times in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. 

What you need! And get it really quick! 

  • 200 gr Dark Chocolate (e.g. Côte D’or, Callebaut or Ritter Sport 50% Cocoa would do it too) 
  • 100 gr butter
  • 150 gr white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 gr flour

Give a bain-marie to the chocolate and butter or let it melt at very low temperature on the stove. In the meantime beat the eggs and sugar until foamy.  

Add the chocolate/butter mixture to the eggs and mix them really well, add 50 gr wheat flour and you are done.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F and bake for 16- 20(max!) minutes, depending on your oven. I bake for 17 minutes sharp and it has this soft, moist, chocolatey texture that makes it melt on your tongue and crave for more.

It’s delightful, darling! I promise!

Tiramisu di Aquileia

During my studies I joined my friend Evita and her family many times on their boat, anchored in the port of Aquileia. We went sailing for an extended weekend or longer in the summer vacation. Awesome! Why am I telling you this? There is were one of Evita’s Italian friends gave me this Tiramisu recipe, that I now do for years and it still delights me!

the quantities below make for 4-6 portions

What you need:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 egg white
  • 60 g icing sugar
  • 40 g refined sugar
  • 500g Mascarpone
  • ca. 300g Biscotti (ladyfinger biscuits)
  • 3- 4 spoons Amaretto (you could leave it out if you’ll have kids at the table)
  • 250ml strong Coffee
  • Cocoa powder

How to do it:

Beat the egg yolks and powder sugar until foamy, add mascarpone but be very careful, don’t stir to hard as it may get very fluid and you don’t want that, believe me! Do not use a mixer, try to fold the mascarpone in, slowly.

Use a mixer to beat the egg white with refined sugar until fluffy and fold it into the egg yolk/mascarpone mix. First chapter ended.

Turn on your coffee machine and make some strong coffee to dip in the Biscotti.

Prepare the container, add a bottom layer of the cream you just made. Dip the biscotti briefly in coffee (don’t let them absorb too much coffee) and start creating a biscotti layer, then add another cream layer. Normally you have 3 cream layers & 2 biscotti layers. Finish with a cream layer & dust heavily with cocoa powder.

Done! Keep it for at least 2-3 hours in the fridge before serving. It’s delightful, darling and you are done in less the half an hour.

Banana Bread aka Bananarama

Originally called Banana-Bread but I still don’t know exactly why – maybe because of the loaf pan it’s baked in. Let me know if you know the real reason. I would be very interested to know.

What you need: 

  • 250g wheat or whole-grain spelt flour 
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pouch Vanilla sugar
  • 150g soft butter  
  • 125g refined or brown sugar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 ml milk 
  • 250g ripe Banana (2-3 pieces depending on size)
  • Powder sugar to decorate

How to do it:

Actually you should decide to bake Banana- Bread with really ripe bananas, almost at the point of going bad, their sweetness will give flavour to your pastry.

  • Pre-heat the oven at 180° C/ 356°F
  • Mix flour, baking soda, salt and Vanilla sugar. Beat sugar & butter until foamy (use a mixer), add eggs. Bit by bit start adding milk & the flour mix. 
  • Crumple the bananas & mix them with the rest of ingredients. Fill the mix into a buttered loaf pan & backe for 45-50 Minutes. 
  • Remove Banana bread from the baking tray and let it cool before serving. Dust with powder sugar. 

Extra Tipps:

If you want to do it even more nourishing, you can add chunked walnuts to it. I didn’t decide if it is a dessert or not but it is a very good traveling fare no matter if hiking in Alps or flying to Menorca for breakfast or to snack on something. 

It’s delightful, darling! – no matter how or where you decide to savour it!

For the love of Brioche

I have been experimenting for over a year now with Brioche recipes as I see it as the basis of all possible Brioche versions – it is a hard world out there – I had to keep a journal to record all learnings along the way.

I did not decide yet if it is a dessert or a kind of bread to me but anyhow I could eat it at any time of day – plain or with marmalade. What I enjoy more than eating is the scent during baking which is capturing every inch of the apartment. 

Or just pronouncing the word “brioche” feels like a slingshot in my gustative nerves, the word is filling your mouth with a tender, buttery and soft pastry for a silent explosion on “sshhh”

Enough! 

The winner is Clément, Aurélie Bastien’s father in law. I don’t know any of the two personally but I want to crown them both herewith. See their story here: La brioche de Clément 

What you need:

  • 500g flour 
  • 60g butter at room temperature
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 250 ml slightly warm milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 poach dry yeast (from Alnatura – and I tell you why I prefer it: it happened a few times when I took fresh yeast that the Brioches taste like it)

for later:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • coarse sugar for decoration

Decide for one big or multiple small baking moulds. 

I prefer the small, typical Brioche baking moulds. I have the 9cm size for the time being and the above dough makes for 8 brioches. The perfect size in my eyes is the 8cm ø. If you don’t have any yet, I suggest to buy this size. Also you can use muffin moulds.  

If you have a kitchen aid, now is the time to turn it on! If not prepare yourself for a good hand work! 

How to:

As always warm the milk slightly, add 1-2 spoons of sugar and the yeast, stir until sugar and yeast dissolved, add the egg. 

Put flour and salt in a bowl, add the milk mix and the butter cut in small pieces and the pinch of salt.

Start kneading until you have a homogeneous but slightly sticky body.

Then let the dough rise in a warm place for 1h. 

Following reopen the kneading process for another 3 minutes using the kitchen aid, 5-10 min by hand.

Prepare the moulds and partition the dough into 8 parts and shape them into spheres. Take the spheres one by one and separate part of the pastry(size of a walnut) to put on top of the main brioche corpus. 

Place the bigger spheres into moulds and form a small pit so you can place the walnut size dough ball into it. 

Let them rest for another hour. They should double the volume during that time.

After that paint them with egg yolk and decorate with coarse sugar. Preheat the oven in the meantime to 150°C/ 302°F. Bake for 35- 40 mins. 

Trick for softnessKeep in mind that if you take the small brioche moulds, you should add a container with water inside the oven (basically to bake them with vapours). If you decided for just one big brioche it is NOT necessary as it will most probably be too moist and partly crude after the baking time. 

It’s delightful, darling! 

Take some self-made Raspberry- Rhubarb marmalade and just enjoy the dolce vita! 

Blueberry Pies Forever

The Blue series is an homage to my love for Blueberries. I will keep posting recipes I tried and loved! 

This one I got from my friend Sarah a few years back. The pie is juicy, not too sweet, giving the stage to Blueberries. 

It’s an amazing breakfast treat in summer! And always a specialty to those waking up to it. 

Be cautious – if you bite too wildly, the juice splatters all over you! But enjoy it, there are stain removers that work pretty well these days. 

the quantities below make for 3 custom sized pies

What you need: 

  • 500g wheat flour 
  • 1/2 cube fresh yeast or a pouch dry yeast(whatever is available in your country and makes for 500g flour) 
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 ml milk 
  • 35g melted butter
  • one pinch of salt
  • 5 spoons refined sugar 
  • at least 200g Blueberries PER pie

How to:

  • warm up the milk a bit and crumble the yeast into it. Stir until the yeast dissolves. 
  • Put this and all other ingredients into a bowl and start working on it. After kneading properly, the dough should rest for at least 1,5- 2h. 

Finish line:

  • Prepare the trays or Quicheforms- whatever you have.
  • Pre-heat the oven on 180° C/ 356°F
  • Roll the pastry to fit the bottom of your forms and disperse the Blueberries to cover every piece of it. Don’t be close-fisted with the blueberries – it pays off, believe me!
  • Bake it for 20 mins. Let it cool off a bit before serving. You can powder it with some icing sugar. 

It’s delightfully fruity and juicy, darling! 

Blueberry Pies Forever – deutsch

Am liebsten würde ich die Blaubeeren selber pflücken, reinbeißen, sie riechen und am Ast fühlen. Aber leider hatte ich noch nicht die Gelegenheit dazu. Sagt Bescheid falls ihr in Münchens Nähe ein Feld/Hof kennt! 

Dieses Pie- Rezept habe ich von meiner Freundin Sarah. Die Pie ist saftig, nicht sehr süss. Die Blaubeeren stehen im Rampenlicht!

Die angegebenen Mengen ergeben 3 Pies

Zutaten:

  • 500g Weizenmehl
  • 1 Würfel frische Hefe oder 1 Päcken Trocken- Hefe (ich nehme die von Alnatura gern, sie funktioniert immer gut) 
  • 2 Eier
  • 100 ml Milch 
  • 35g geschmolzene Butter
  • eine Prise Salz
  • 5 Löffel Zucker
  • und mindestens 200g Blaubeeren JE Pie

Die nächsten Schritte:

  • Die Milch kurz aufwärmen, lauwarm, ein Löffel Zucker dazugeben und die Hefe in der Milch auflösen.
  • Die Milch zu den anderen Zutaten hinzugeben und die Knetparty kann schon losgehen. Der Teig muss mindestens 1,5 -2 Stunden ruhen, die Masse muss sich verdoppeln. 

Nach der Ruhezeit:

  • Den Ofen auf 180° C vorheizen, die Back- oder Quicheformen vorbereiten. Buttern oder mit Backpapier belegen. 
  • Den Teig in 3 teilen und 3 Böden für die Backformen ausrollen. Die Blaubeeren auf den Teig verteilen. Nicht geizig mit Blaubeerenmenge sein!! Es zahlt sich aus!
  • 20 Minuten backen, abkühlen lassen und vor dem Servieren mit Puderzucker bestreuen. 

Es ist wunderbar fruchtig und saftig, Liebes! 

Walnut Cantuccini — Walnuss Cantuccini

I discovered this recipe a couple of years ago during my “Plätzchen” recipe hunt for Christmas. Most probably they were meant for Christmas as they contain anise and orange zest. 

But believe me, they can be baked all year long, no matter the season with huge success. I bake double the quantity every time 

as they are gone in seconds.

the quantities below make for around 25 Cantuccini, depending on the size you choose and how much you nibble during the baking process.

Preparations:

Pre-heat the oven on 180° C/ 356°F

Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper. 

Ingredients:

  • 50g dried cranberries and 125 g walnuts chopped in chunky pieces
  • 1 tsp organic orange zest (that you can skip, depending on season or preferences)
  • 2 Star anise mortared, or just 1/2 tsp. anise powder you can buy in every supermarket 
  • 125g wheat flour 
  • 1 tip of a knife baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100g cane sugar 
  • 1 medium sized egg 
  • 20 g cold butter cut into small pieces

for later:

  • 2 pouches Bourbon Vanilla Sugar 

Put all dry ingredients (except of nuts & cranberries) in a bowl, whisk the egg slightly, add it to the mix and also add the 20g butter. Knead everything swiftly and add the nuts and cranberries at the end.

Partition the dough in 3 portions and shape them into a rolls (diameter ca. 3 cm). 

Put the Bourbon Vanilla Sugar on a flat plate and roll the Cantuccini rolls in it. Place them on the baking tray and flatten them slightly. 

Bake them for 20 mins. Take them out of the oven and lower the temperature to 140°C/284°F. Let the rolls cool a bit and then cut them into oblique pieces (1,5-2cm).

Now they already look like Cantuccini — the cut surfaces should face upwards in the baking tray. Bake them another 15- 20 mins. Let them cool on a cooling rack. 

You can store them for at least 2 weeks in a closed container. They stay crunchy and delicious. 

They are delightful, darling! 

Walnuss Cantuccini

Das Rezept habe ich vor ein paar Jahren auf Plätzchen-Rezept-Jagd entdeckt. Wenn ich mich nicht täusche war es in einem Extra-Heft des ARD Buffets. 

Der köstliche Duft der Cantuccini in der Luft beflügelt die Seele das ganze Jahr über. Wenn ihr wollt, könnt ihr die Hälfte der Anismenge und die geriebene Orangenschale in der Nicht-Weihnachtszeit weglassen. 

Ich würde außerdem empfehlen die doppelte Menge zu backen – sie sind weg in null Komma nichts!

Die u.a. Mengen ergeben ca. 25 Stück 

Vorbereitungen:

Ofen auf 180° C vorheizen

1 bzw. 2 Backbleche mit Backpapier belegen

Zutaten:

  • 50g getrocknete Cranberries und 
  • 125g Walnüsse in grobe Stücke hacken.
  • 1 TL unbehandelte Orangenschale
  • 125g Mehl
  • 1 Msp Backpulver
  • 1 Prise Salz
  • 100g Rohrzucker
  • 2 Sternanis fein mörsern
  • 1 Ei (verquirlt) 
  • 20g kalte Butter in kleine Stücke schneiden

für Später:

  • 2 Päckchen Burbon Vanillezucker

Alle Zutaten rasch verkneten, am Ende Cranberries und Walnüsse untermischen. 

Den Teig in 3 große Portionen teilen, jeweils auf ein wenig Mehl zu einer Rolle (Diameter ca. 3 cm) formen, in 2 Pck. Burbon-Vanillezucker wälzen, leicht flach drücken. Die Rollen 20 Minuten backen. Herausnehmen und etwas abkühlen lassen. Das große Naschen beginnt schon jetzt!

Die Backofentemperatur auf 140° C reduzieren. Die Rollen schräg in 1,5-2 cm breite Stücke schneiden und mit den Schnittflächen nach oben auf das Blech legen. Weitere 15 Minuten knusprig backen (eher trocknen). Cantucinni anschließend auf ein Kuchengitter auskühlen lassen.

Du kannst sie mindestens 2 Wochen in einer geschlossen Dose oder Glas aufbewahren. Sie blieben knusprig & deliziös!