Monday, October 26, 2015

Monkey Bread

Guys, I hope you're up for something decadent. Because I've got just the thing for you. This is butter-sugar-cinnamon heaven! I've bookmarked this recipe ages ago and stumbled over it again when browsing through this lovely book in order to find a Sunday treat. It's not that difficult to make and the fun part is that you have to put the individual dough balls into a sugar can to shake so that they are covered in sugar. That's a great task for kids by the way.

(from Virginia Horstmann's "Zucker, Zimt & Liebe")

For the dough:
260g flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
120ml buttermilk
80ml milk
75g butter, melted

For the crust:
100g white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
150g brown sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon

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

The recipe says that this yields 12 little cakes - I ended up with 9. 

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Butter a muffin pan (I lined it with muffin cases).

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add melted butter, buttermilk and milk and combine everything either with a wooden spoon or with your hands. The dough is quite sticky.

For the crust, put the white sugar into a sealable can. 

With a teaspoon, form little dough balls. One after the other, throw them into the sugar can and shake well. Put 6 sugar-coated dough balls into each muffin case.

Mix melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and pour this mixture over your little cakes. Bake them for about twenty minutes.

Once they are baked and cooled down, make your glaze by combining the icing sugar with the milk and pouring this mixture over your little cakes.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chestnut, Almond and Chocolate Bundt Cake

Come fall, chestnut cake always goes onto my to-bake list. I found this recipe on Fräulein Klein's blog and I am extremely pleased with the outcome. The combination of chestnut purée, ground almonds and melted dark chocolate leads to a flavorful and rich cake with great texture. Jacqueline helped me with the decoration and look what a pretty cake we had for coffee today. I was all the more happy when Jacqueline did not, as usual, just pick the sprinkles off her piece of cake and leave the rest on the plate, but when she dug in and declared this cake "unbelievably delicious".

(from the fabulous Fräulein Klein)

100g dark chocolate
250g butter, soft
150g sugar
seeds of one vanilla pod
4 eggs
250g flour
100g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g chestnut purée
2 teaspoons kirsch liqueur (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter and flour a 2l bundt cake tin.

Melt chocolate over a hot water bath and let cool. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one. In another bowl, mix flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Add to your butter-sugar-egg mixture and beat well. Then, add chestnut purée, melted chocolate and kirsch liqueur and beat well. 

Fill the dough into your prepared cake tin and bake the cake for about 50-55 minutes. A skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean.

Dust with icing sugar or decorate with sugar or chocolate icing and sprinkles. I thought, roasted slivered almonds would be nice as well. I made the icing with icing sugar and a splash of milk.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cocoa, Pear and Pecan Muffins

Every year, there's a moment when, all of a sudden, you realize that it has become fall. It is foggy in the morning, the air is crisp, leaves lie on the streets and the trees burst with reddish colors. I found these beautiful leaves when I went for a walk with Julia last weekend and immediately thought that I wanted use them for my food photos. My cocoa, pear and pecan muffins were a spontaneous creation on Sunday morning. They are delicious after baking when they are still a little warm - and also the day after when the flavor has intensified.

(adapted from Leila Lindholm's "Piece of Cake")

100g olive oil
200ml milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla sugar
180g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large pear, peeled, cored, diced
80g pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a muffin tray with 12 moulds with paper cups.

In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until foamy. Add milk and olive oil. In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add to your wet ingredients. Mix until well combined. Add the pear and about 2/3 of your pecans. 

Fill the dough into your prepared paper cups. Top with the remaining pecan pieces. 

Bake for about 20 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer whether your muffins are done. No dough should stick to the skewer. Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then, remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Spelt Bread with Nuts

I made this bread two weeks ago for brunch, but haven't gotten around to uploading this post until now. I'm not very keen on white bread so this is just the kind of bread I like. It's packed with nuts which give it richness and a wonderful flavor. It goes well with cheese. Or just with butter. Plain and simple. Actually, that's the way I enjoy a slice of bread the most.

(Original Recipe in German here)

400g spelt flour
400g flour mixture of wheat and rye (German recipe suggests „Bauernmehl“)
12g salt
30g yeast
1 tablespoon honey
5dl water, luke-warm
75g walnuts
75g hazelnuts
75g almonds

In a bowl, mix flour and salt. Press the flour down in the middle so that you have a hollow.

Crumble the yeast with your fingers and mix with the honey and about half of the luke-warm water. Pour this mixture into the hollow. Mix this with some of the flour from the edge so that you have a yeast sponge in the middle. Then dust this with some flour. Set aside at a warm place for about 45 minutes. In the meantime, coarsly chop the nuts.

After 45 minutes, add the rest of the water to the dough and mix everything with a wooden spoon. Then, on a surface dusted with flour, knead with your hands until you have a smooth dough – for about 3 minutes. Then, add the nuts and knead again for about 3 minutes. Put your dough into a large bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let rise until the dough’s size has doubled.

Take the dough out of the bowl and form a loaf. Place onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with a wet towel and let rise again for about half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 230°C. With a knife, cut in the dough crosswise so that you have a grid-pattern. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for another 30 minutes. Brush the bread with water for a bout 4 times while baking so that it will get a crunchy crust.

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