Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chestnut Soup

I've mentioned already that I love chestnuts, haven't I?! Not only can you use them to make wonderful cakes or muffins, but also to make soups. Soups are the perfect comfort food when the days get colder. This fall, I have a favorite soup recipe and, of course, I want to share it with you. For me, this is one of those recipes you don't only cook once. You don't have a endless list of ingredients and the cooking part is so easy that there is not even a need to have the recipe at hand. If you also like chestnuts, try this recipe! I wouldn't serve it as a starter, though. It's really nourishing and makes a nice casual dinner for itself - for friends, or just for yourself.

(from: Coopzeitung 44/2012)

1/2 tablespoon butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
400g frozen chestnuts, let them unfreeze before cooking the soup
8dl water
1/4 teaspoon salt
a pinch of pepper
1 dl cream, if you like

Let the butter melt in a large pan. Add the sugar and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the chestnuts and sauté for another 2 minutes. Then, add the water, reduce the heat. Let the soup simmer for about 25 minutes. Purée the soup, season with salt and pepper according to your taste. If you like, beat the cream until fluffy and serve the soup with a dollop of cream.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cranberry and Pistachio Brownies

Lately, I thought that I haven't made brownies in quite a while now. I brought these to the office together with this cake last Monday. Trish Deseine's brownie recipe just is a winner! And you can adapt it the way you like it. This time, I gave it a twist with cranberries and pistachios.

(adapted from Trish Deseine - I love Cake)

90g butter
120g dark chocolate
2 eggs, beaten
225g sugar
90g flour
50g whole unsalted pistachios
50g dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a brownie tin of about 18x23cm with parchment paper.

Slowly melt the chocolate together with the butter. Let cool slightly. Then, add the eggs and then the sugar and the flour. Beat fast but carefully. Then, add the pistachios and the cranberries. Fill the batter into your prepared tin and bake for about 25 minutes. The top should be crunchy but inside the brownies should be soft and gooey. Let cool (you can also serve them warm together with ice cream for instance) and cut into squares. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Dani, associate of our team, invited me to his birthday party and - surprise - the first thing I said was: "Yay, I'll bring the cake!" :-) Only that this cake did not even make it to the party... I brought it to the office yesterday morning, together with some brownies, and Dani decided to place it in the kitchen on our floor... So, no cake left for the evening, but we got delicious nibbles at the Times restaurant in Zurich. Thanks Dani for a perfect start into the week!

(adapted from the lovely Technicolor Kitchen. Recipe seems familiar to you?! It's the same basic recipe as here, it can be modified in various ways)

315g all purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
375g granulated sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g dark chocolate chips
a good handful of toasted almond slivers
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

For the glaze:
100ml heavy cream
100g dark chocolate, grated or chopped into small chunks

Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt into a bowl.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is very light in color – almost white – and the texture is fluffy, about 8 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once or twice during the process to ensure that the butter is evenly incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients; stop mixing as soon as the flour is incorporated. Fold the chocolate chips and the almonds in by hand using a stiff spatula, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden and risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes over a wire rack, then carefully unmold onto the rack. I usually let Bundt cakes cool completely in the pan and then release them. Dust with icing sugar before serving or make the chocolate glaze: Bring 100ml cream to the boil, then take away from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Pour over your cake.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Chestnut Muffins

I'm spending a lot of time in the kitchen these days. It's so much fun to try out new recipes with all the lovely food that is in season now... Especially, pumpkin and chestnuts! That's what I really really love about fall! I have a sweet chestnut recipe for you. It's dead easy and quick to make. These muffins are not too heavy and they were the perfect Sunday treat for me, mum and Wolfgang.

(Original recipe in German: here)

180g soft butter
120g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g chestnut purée
0.5dl milk
3 eggs
140g flour
20g cornstarch
1/2 sachet baking powder
100g dark chocolate
100ml cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12-mould muffin pan with paper cases.

Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until fluffy (about 8 minutes). In another bowl, mix chestnut purée and milk with the electric hand mixer. Then, add the eggs and beat until you have a smooth batter. Add this to the butter-mixture and combine well.

Sift together flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Mix until well combined. Then, fill your batter into the prepared paper cases with two tablespoons (a piping bag works well, of course).

Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Then, take out of the oven. Let cool. For the glaze, bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan. When boiling, take away from the heat and mix in the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Spread your glaze onto the muffins. Sprinkle with sugar pearls if you like.

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