Sunday, April 27, 2014

Matcha and Lime Cookies

Next to the colored eggs and my Easter bunnies, I also made these green little cuties last weekend. I just didn't have time to post them here yet since I've been away on holiday for a few days last week. At a car racing training in Germany, can you believe it?! Co-driver only, of course, but guys, that was quite a ride. And now that Edi brought me home in one piece, I finally have time to share this recipe with you. I had bookmarked it in one of my cookbooks ages ago and ever since I've cleaned out my kitchen cupboard and found my tin of matcha powder again, I've been wanting to give this recipe a try. I thought that these cookies would make nice Easter goodies. They get their bright-green color from the matcha powder which, in Switzerland, you can get in Asia shops. Color-wise, matcha and lime are the perfect combination and their flavors go together wonderfully. Complex and bitter versus fresh and sweet - builds a perfect harmony.

(from Delicious Days by Nicole Stich)

80g icing sugar
2 teaspoons matcha powder
3 limes
150g cold butter
1 pinch of salt
200g flour
25-50g corn starch
3 egg yolks
75g sugar

Sift icing sugar and matcha powder into a large bowl. Wash one of the limes with hot water and grate the zest. Cut butter into cubes and, together with the lime zest and salt, add to the sugar. With your electric hand mixer (I used the dough hook), mix until you have a bright-green smooth dough. Then, add flour and corn starch. Mix again. Then, add the eggs.

Form the dough into a flat disk and wrap into cling film. Put into the refrigerator for at least one hour. You can also leave this dough in the fridge for about 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan-assisted: 150°C) and line two baking trays with parchment paper. Wash the other two limes with hot water, grate the zest and grind in a mortar together with 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix with the rest of the sugar and put into a bowl.

Dust your work surface with a little flour and roll out your dough (about 5-7 millimeters). Cut out your cookies with a cookie cutter of your choice. Toss the cookies into your sugar-lime mix until they are covered with lime sugar. Align the cookies in the tray and bake in the middle of the oven. Depending on how thick the cookies are, that takes 10-15 minutes. They should be baked thoroughly, but they should not be brown around the edges. Take out of the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Keep in an air- and light-tight container.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Friday afternoon at Sibylle's was a blast. I just loved spending time with her family in their cozy little house. She's a wonderful host and a big thank you goes out to her - we all had such a great time. And on the pictures below, you can see some of the beautiful eggs we colored. Sibylle had also made a delicious plaited loaf and it reminded me of how much I actually like to bake bread. Since it's Easter, I decided to make little bunnies instead of a plait. One of these is going to be a little Easter present for Edi, my one and only. Time to formally introduce the man to you guys since, for quite some time now, he's been such a precious part of my life. It all started with me bringing cake over to his office - which is why I usually jokingly tend to claim that I've enchanted him with cake. Cooking or baking for your loved one just is a wonderful thing. I truly believe that all the love and affection goes into the food. Well, Liebe geht durch den Magen, or how do you say in English?! The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

(from Betty Bossi - Knuspriges Brot und köstliche Brotgerichte)

Makes four bunnies:

500g flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
ca. 15g yeast, in crumbs
1/2 tablespoon sugar
125g soft butter
3 - 3.5dl milk
1 egg yolk
a splash of cream

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Add yeast, sugar, butter and milk and knead (with the kitchen aid or with your hands) until you have a soft and smooth dough (if you do it with your hands like I did, it takes about 10 minutes). Form a ball, put into your bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until its size has doubled (about 2 - 3 hours).

Spread a little flour on your kitchen surface. Cut your dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long thick strand. Then, cut off about a fourth of the strand to form the bunny head. Form a ball and with a knife or with scissors, make a cut to make the bunny ears. To make the body of the bunny, make a knot into the longer strand. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Put the two "body parts" onto the tray. The head and the body will stick together better if you use a little water on the spot where they come together. Repeat for the other three bunnies and let them rise again for another half hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Use a raisin to make a bunny eye. In a small bowl, mix egg yolk and cream and brush onto your bunnies. Bake them in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes. If you take them out of the oven and knock onto the bottom with your finger, it should make a hollow sound. Let cool on a wire rack.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vanilla Cupcakes

Is it Easter already again?! Time flies, doesn't it? But I've been having a slow start today and I'm looking forward to a few days off now. This afternoon, I'm going to go over to Evelyn's sister Sibylle. As usual, she has invited her family and a bunch of other people to her house for the annual Easter egg coloring session. Last year, it was big fun and I have no doubt that we are going to have a great time today as well. I just finished decorating these cupcakes which I'm going to bring along for the dessert buffet and I thought, I might just have time to share them with you before I have to leave. Happy Easter you guys!

(from one of my absolute favourites: Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery)

For the dough:

80g soft butter
280g sugar
1/2 sachet of vanilla sugar
240g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
240ml milk

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a 12-mould muffin pan with paper cases.

In a bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla sugar, flour, baking powder and salt with an electric hand mixer on low speed until you have a fine crumbly batter.

Mix milk and eggs and add to the cake batter in three additions while constantly mixing. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time. Mix until you have a smooth batter.

Fill your batter into the prepared cases. Don't overfill them or they will spill while baking! Two thirds is fine. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer whether they are done. Let cool completely after baking.

For the frosting:

500g icing sugar
1/2 sachet of vanilla sugar
160g very soft butter
50ml milk

In a bowl, mix butter, icing sugar and vanilla sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until you have a powdery batter. Slowly add the milk while constantly mixing. On high speed, mix until you have a fluffy batter.

Spread the frosting on your cupcakes with a palette knife and decorate with sugar flowers or sugar pearls… whatever you feel like or fits for the occasion.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Crème Fraiche Cake with Raspberries

I've been having doubts about my cake karma this weekend. The recipe sounded delicious. It's one of those that instantly attract my attention. I mean, crème fraiche cake. Also, it looked like total no-fuss recipe. And it was - until I released my cake from the baking tin. All the berries had gone to the bottom, they were oozing and the cake kind of sunk and lost its shape while I was decorating it with the icing. Well, it wasn't that bad, but I'm a perfectionist. And I've truly made better looking cakes... But in the end, it was still delicious and I even managed to get a few nice shots. So I decided to share it with you anyway. Since I still don't exactly know what went wrong, I can't give you any precise advise on this one. Just make sure your cake is baked thoroughly. I might have taken it out of the oven too early. And you might want to try and use frozen berries. Maybe the result will be better.

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

for the dough:
175g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of baking soda
115g softened butter
150g sugar
2 eggs
(I added the scraped out seeds of a vanilla pod)
200g crème fraiche
200g raspberries (frozen work as well)
2 tablespoons brown sugar

for the glaze:
100g icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a 25cm cake tin with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one after the other. Beat until well combined. Add vanilla seeds if you want to.

Add about a third of the flour to the creamy mixture, keep mixing. Then, add some of the crème fraiche and mix. Keep alternating between the two while constantly beating and until everything is well combined. Then, carefully, add the raspberries and fill the dough into your prepared tin. Sprinkle with the brown sugar.

Bake for about 60-70 minutes. Cover with aluminium foil if it browns too much during the last third of the baking time. Test with a wooden skewer whether your cake is done. The skewer should come out clean. Take out of the oven and let cool.

When your cake has cooled, release from the tin. For the icing, combine icing sugar and milk in a small bowl. With a spoon, spread over your cake.

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