Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cinnamon Squares

Here we go again… I bought another baking book. Should've known that I was entering dangerous territory when I went into a bookshop yesterday together with Daniela. She was looking for a good read for her vacation when I stumbled over Jeanny's lovely baking book. And I simply couldn't resist. But seriously, this book is really worth it. It is beautifully designed and oh-so-cute and I think I want to test almost every single recipe in there! Let's start with these cinnamon squares. No-fuss recipe - delicious result. And the good thing about them is that, if you have your usual basic baking ingredients at home, you can always bake them spontaneously.

(from the lovely Zucker, Zimt und Liebe by Virginia Horstmann)

200g softened butter
200g brown sugar
110g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a large pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
275g flour
4-6 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease a 20x30 cm baking tin with butter and line with parchment paper (I used my 23x18 brownie tin and another small baking tin).

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until creamy. Add baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Then, add the eggs and after that, the flour. Beat until well combined. You will end up with a rather thick dough.

Spread the dough into your baking tin with a ladle and bake for about half an hour. Don't overbake, it's ok if it's a little soft in the middle still. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar immediately.

Let cool down, cut into squares.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fennel and Orange Salad with Rocket, Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

As promised, here it comes: The recipe for the fabulous salad I served for brunch last weekend. Not only is it oh-so-delicious, it's also a pretty and colorful addition to any buffet. Deb from Smitten Kitchen originally made it with blood oranges and added some mint leaves and lime zest which, I imagine, is also very delicious. I didn't have all those ingredients at home so I adapted the recipe a little. I added some rocket and dried cranberries and was very pleased with the outcome. This salad goes really well with grilled or smoked salmon.

(slightly adapted from: Smitten Kitchen)

a handful of walnuts (or hazelnuts)
2 medium-large fennel bulbs, leaves and stems trimmed off
black pepper
juice of one lemon
3 large oranges (or blood oranges)
(1 small shallot - I left that out)
rocket salad
dried cranberries
olive oil

Place the nuts in a dry skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, to toast. Then, let cool. If you use hazelnuts, roll them around in a dishcloth, to discard any loose skins. Coarsely chop. Set aside.

Slice about half an inch from the bottom of the fennel and discard. Slice the fennel very thinly in a mandoline or with a knife, starting with flat bottom side. Toss in a serving bowl with salt, pepper and lemon juice. 

Trim all peel and pith from the oranges. Holding the peeled fruit over the bowl containing the fennel, use a sharp knife to cut sections from the membrane and let them drop into the bowl. Squeeze the remaining membrane over the bowl to sprinkle the salad with the remaining juice, discard the membrane.

Add rocket, cranberries, nuts and olive oil.  

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Pear and Almond Muffins

Ever since the new year started, it's been kind of quiet around here, I know. And don't get me wrong when I'm saying this, but in the past few weeks, cooking and baking just hasn't been the most important thing to me. Except for cream cheese brownies. Cream cheese brownies are always important. I made a huge batch of them for my Qi Gong friends last weekend. But other than that, I'd say that, lately, there have been more different colors of nail polish in my fridge than food. But you know, a girl has to set her priorities. Like holiday plans for instance. So today, I had Evelyn and Andrea over for an important meeting (brunch) in order to discuss our holidays in Sardinia this fall. I made some muffins for this occasion - muffins always go with brunch. I also made a delicious salad - coming up soon. So don't worry you guys, this blog is still up and running!

(slightly adapted from the lovely Löffelchen voll Zucker)

For about 16 muffins:

75g rolled oats
200g all-purpose flour
75g whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
85g soft butter
150g brown sugar
250ml milk
2 eggs
2-3 firm pears, peeled, cores removed, cut into small pieces
50g ground almonds
50g slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin pan with paper cases.

In a large bowl, mix the rolled oats, the flours, the baking powder, the cinnamon and the salt. In another bowl, mix the soft butter and the sugar with an electric hand mixer. Then, add the milk and the eggs. Add this mixture to the dry mixture and beat with the mixer until well combined. Then, add the pears and the ground almonds.

Fill the dough into your muffin cases and top with the slivered almonds. Bake for about 25 minutes. Test whether they are done with a wooden skewer.

These muffins keep for a few days in an airtight container.

Related Posts with Thumbnails