Sunday, June 24, 2012

Granola Bars

When you work hard, you need good food. I usually don't survive the day without little snacks between the meals. Granola bars are super and tasty energy boosters. It's not the first time that I made granola bars myself - remember these?! Here comes a version for the non-addicts. They are quick and easy to make and you can also modify the ingredients. Just pay attention that you stick to the ratio of dry and wet ingredients. You can use other seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin... omit the dried fruit if you don't like it and add chocolate chunks instead... Create granola bars according to your taste.

(slightly adapted from: Geschenkideen aus der Küche by Nicky Stich)

100g sliced almonds
50g desiccated coconut
75g rolled oats
50g butter
50g brown sugar
50g maple syrup
1 tablespoon honey
50g dried fruit, diced (I used raisins and apricots)
1 pinch of sea salt
50g rice krispies (I didn't have any, so I used 50g of hazelnuts, roughly chopped)

Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix almonds, coconut, oats and hazelnuts and scatter onto the tray. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until lightly brown. Mix them with wooden ladle a few times while baking so that they brown evenly.

Melt butter, sugar, maple syrup and honey in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved and you have a thick brown syrup.

Line a square baking tin with parchment paper (about 22x30cm, I used my brownie tin, a 28cm diameter springform pan will, according to the recipe, also do). In a large bowl, mix the nut and oat mixture with the salt and the dried fruit. Pour the syrup over your mixture and mix thoroughly.

With moistened hands or with a large ladle, press your batter into the baking tin until its evenly flattened. Put the tin into the refridgerator for about half an hour so that the mixture gets firm.

With the help of the overlapping parchment paper, lift the firm mixture out of the tin and cut into bars with a large knife. Store in an airtight container in a cold place. Keeps up to two weeks.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Baked Apricots with Lemon Tea

No fancy cakes or cookies this weekend... Just these apricots in a syrup infused with lemon verbena, vanilla and star anise... Flavours in perfect harmony. Together with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, these were a wonderful dessert on this warm lazy summer weekend.

(from my beloved Tender by Nigel Slater)

500g fresh apricots
a handful of lemon verbena or 2 verveine tea bags
2-3 tablespoons sugar
2 star anise
1 vanilla pod

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wash the apricots, cut them into halves and remove the stone. Lay the halves into a shallow baking dish.

Bring water to the boil, pour into a heatproof  measuring jug to come up to 750ml. Drop the leaves or tea bags and leave them for 5 minutes, then fish them out and throw them away. Stir the sugar into the tea until it has dissolved, then pour over the apricots, tucking in the star anise and the vanilla pod as you go.

Bake the apricot for about forty minutes, until they are tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before chilling them thoroughly. You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Melissa, my fellow peanut butter addict, invited us girls over for brunch last weekend. I remember the last time I was at her place... we sat at in her cosy kitchen and developed this list. Of course, I was going to bake something with peanut butter for our little get-together this Sunday! I thought that these muffins are a nice addition to a brunch buffet. The two addicts were really pleased ;-)

(from the always fabulous delicious:days)

75g butter
75g peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
100g sugar
2 eggs
3 mid-sized mashed ripe bananas
1 tbsp sunflower oil
125 ml milk
1 tsp baking soda
250g flour
3 tsp baking powder
icing sugar for dusting

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

Whisk together in a large bowl the eggs, butter, peanut butter and sugar (all at room temperature), then fold in the squashed banana and a tablespoon of sunflower oil. Mix lightly.

In a separate bowl, combine milk and baking soda, in another, the flour with the baking powder.
Now add to the large bowl parts of the milk mixture alternating with parts of the flour mix, until everything is combined. This way you can quickly judge the consistency of the dough: add some more milk, if the batter is too firm, an extra tablespoon of flour, if too runny. Don’t overdo the batter.

Pour the batter into your paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 25-35 minutes. Poke muffins with a wooden skewer to see if they are done – the skewer should come out quite dry and clean. Remove muffins from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes, then carefully turn the muffins out of the tin.

Dust with icing sugar, once completely cooled down.

I got 16 muffins. You can also just bake one cake instead of muffins.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lemon Verbena Shortbread

I have all sorts of new herbs out on my balcony. I think that the lemon verbena is my favourite. You can use it to make tea. You can also use it to make cookies! I wanted to make shortbread and I could imagine in my thoughts already that a hint of lemon might fit well for this tender buttery cookie. It worked! It's a wonderful combination. And I loved the warm and subtle lemony scent that filled my flat after I had baked these cookies...

(adapted from here)

100g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp lemon verbena, finely chopped
140g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp lemon zest
210g plain all-purpose flour
3 large egg yolks
granulated sugar (for coating)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Whisk the icing sugar and herbs together in a bowl. Add the butter, lemon zest and mix with an electric hand mixer until smooth and light in colour. Add the flour and mix until well combined. Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms. I first used the electric mixer and then my hands to form the dough into a disk. Chill in the refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes).

Roll the dough out to 1 cm thickness. Cut the dough with a cookie cutter and toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat.

Place the sugar-coated cookie on a parchment lined tray and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges. I rolled out the dough thinner than 1cm, baked it for about 10 minutes and ended up with 20 cookies.

The fabulous glass dish comes from Wohnallerlei, a charming little shop near the Rigiplatz in Zurich. Silvia sells all sorts of beautiful home accessories. I go there whenever I'm on the lookout for new things for decorating. Plates, cups, postcards, napkins, ribbons... I love all the different colors, patterns and materials... I usually have a hard time narrowing my choice down to a few things only ;-) Go check it out! Also, if you need a cute present, this surely is the right place.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Seed Cookies

It's been a while since I've made peanut butter cookies... But lately, I spotted a recipe by Dan Lepard on the Guardian. Every single one of his recipes is just a hit! These cookies have a wonderful gentle flavour. Peanut butter and pumpkin seeds are a surprisingly good combination! Peanut butter addicts, give this one a try! Seriously good stuff!

(from here)

175g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
75g unsalted butter, melted
200g brown sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g pumpkin seeds, plus extra to finish
125g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Beat together the peanut butter, melted butter and sugar until smooth, add the eggs and vanilla, and beat again. Stir in the seeds, flour and soda until smooth. Line a tray with nonstick baking paper, spoon 30g blobs of dough on to it spaced 4-5cm apart, sprinkle with more pumpkin seeds and bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Linzer Muffins

It's my mum's birthday today! I am almost out of the door already because I'm going to visit her of course! But I wanted to share the recipe of today's muffin creation with you first. I had the spontaneous idea to fill these hazelnut and cinnamon flavoured muffins with some raspberry jam. Now, they remind me very much of Linzer tart. Let's see what my family thinks of them :-) have a nice weekend guys!

Linzer Muffins
(adapted from an old recipe from Saisonküche)

150g soft butter
150g sugar
2 eggs
180g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
150g ground hazelnuts
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
0.25dl milk
raspberry jam

Line a muffins tray with 12 paper cases. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add one egg after the other and beat for about 3 minutes until foamy. Add milk and mix again shortly. Then, add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and ground hazelnuts and mix well with the electric mixer.

Fill the batter into your prepared muffins cases and bake for about 25 minutes. Take them out of the oven. Fill the raspberry jam into a piping bag fitted with a small, pointed nozzle. Pop the piping nozzle into each baked muffin and squirt in a teaspoon's worth of jam.

Let cool and dust with icing sugar before serving.

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