Saturday, August 29, 2015

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini are very happening at our household at the moment. I always have a batch of them at home since Jacqueline recently claimed that she likes them so much. Also, I have started to feed Julia some veggie purée and she, too, seems to like zucchini a lot. Zucchini can also be used for baking wonderful cakes. They have a very neutral taste and they give this cake its tender and moist texture. I like the addition of black chocolate chunks, dried cranberries and walnuts. The round and full flavor comes from the cinnamon and the nutmeg. This lovely cake can be prepared in no time - as you know, to me, this is one of the major selection criteria when choosing recipes these days ;-) If you prepare it a day ahead, the flavor can intensify. And, by the way, meet our cat Mia (see photo at the end of this post). She loves to sneak around while I photograph my cakes and, this time, she even made it onto one of the pictures.

(from the fabulous smitten kitchen)

makes 2 loaves or approximately 24 muffins:

3 large eggs
235 ml olive or vegetable oil
350 grams cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
375 grams all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
55 grams chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
115 grams dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)

Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and flour two 25cm loaf pans. Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using. Stir this into the egg mixture.

Divide the batter into prepared pans. Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lemon and Hazelnut Cantuccini

I haven't made cookies for quite a while now. I stumbled over this recipe when I was looking for something suitable for coffee with my neighbour and her two girls. I actually had a healthy snack in mind, like granola bars or something, but when I saw this recipe, I couldn't resist. So cantuccini it is - granola bars can wait.

(from the fabulous "Homemade" by Yvette Van Boven)

1 pinch of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
250g flour
2 eggs, beaten
125g sugar
1 sachet of vanilla sugar
grated zest of 2 lemons
50ml sunflower oil
50ml milk
100g chopped hazelnuts

Makes about 24 cookies.

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat two thirds of the eggs (you will need the rest to brush the biscotti with later). While beating the eggs, add sugar, then vanilla sugar, lemon zest and oil.

Sift in flour and beat well. Then, add milk. If your dough seems to thick, add more milk. Add the chopped hazelnuts and mix well. Divide the dough into two even portions and, on the baking tray, form two loafs. Brush with the leftover egg mixture.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Take out of the oven and let cool a bit. Then, with a sharp knife, cut into pieces (about 1.5cm thick). Line the cantuccini on the baking tray again and bake for ten minutes on each side. Then, let cool on a wire rack.

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