Thursday, October 6, 2011

Coffee Chocolate Macarons

I know, I know, everybody has been posting about macarons. I know that it isn't very original to post about it. But I don't care. I love macarons. I really do. So I don't care what you think about this post. Okay, I admit I really do care about what you think, but you gotta cut me some slack. I love macarons and so I am going to write about them.

This is my first time ever making macarons and to tell you the truth....I was scared. Really scared. This summer, while eating my way through France, I bought a beautiful book about macarons. I read the entire book (well, the words I could understand.... my French isn't very good). I read some more on the internet. And then I read some more on the internet. I just love Google!

Every time I thought about making macarons I found an excuse not to make them. But I finally gathered all my courage and just jumped. And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. The actual making isn't very difficult, it's just a tricky batter that makes it difficult. Let me put your mind at ease. They weren't perfect.

I overmixed the meringue and I overmixed the batter (hmmm.... am I detecting a patron? Surely not?). When I was baking the cookies I had to let them in the oven for a lot longer. When the cookies had cooled off they were a bit chewy and tough.... not exactly the result I was going for. And of course they didn't have the pretty feet you expect in a good macaron. But despite that they still tasted good, so I decided to finish them with a ganache. No surprises there.

The big surprise came actually the next day. For some mysterious reason the cookies were absolutely perfect the next day. The texture had changed from chewy and tough into crunchy on the outside, but soft and light on the inside. How is that possible? Maybe it had something to do with the ganache? I have absolutely no idea, but I also don't really care.

So all in all I am very pleased with the end result and can't wait to make more macarons. (what? More macarons? Yes, more macarons. Don't hate me for it...). Oh, and I can't really tell you how much macarons this recipe makes, because mine were a bit on the (really) big side. If you need a bit more info on macarons I can recommend the blog of Tartelette, the queen of macarons.


Coffee Chocolate Macarons


For the cookies:
90 grams egg whites (about 3, 1-2 days old, room temperature)
30 grams granulated sugar
200 grams confectioners' sugar
110 grams almonds
1 teaspoon espresso powder

For the filling:

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons espresso powder


Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Whip the egg whites into a foam in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

Gradually add the sugar so the egg whites turn into a glossy meringue. Don't overbeat the meringue.

In a foodprocessor mix the almonds, confectioners' sugar and espresso powder until the almonds are very finely ground. If you want you can sift the mixture to make sure there are no big pieces left.

Add the almond mixture to the meringue.

Start with a quick mix in, then slow down. The batter should still be thick but should also be able to form a slight ribbon.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds onto the baking sheets.

Preheat the oven to 150˚C (300˚F).

Let the macarons sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes.

Bake the macarons for 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan.

Put the chopped chocolate with the espresso powder in a bowl.

Pour the boiling heavy cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes gently stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted.

Let the ganache cool down until it is thick enough to pipe.

Pair the cookies to make sure they have the same size.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the ganache.

Pipe a big dot of ganache on one cookie and gently press the other cookie on the ganache. Make sure the ganache spreads evenly to all the sides.

 Source: adapted from Tartelette

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Split-Level Pudding

I can't remember the last time I had homemade pudding. I really can't. And when I think about pudding it doesn't make me very happy. But somehow, while reading Baking, from my home to yours, I found myself lingering at the pudding recipes. Especially the vanilla-chocolate pudding appealed to me and so I decided to make some.

I think it was the first time I ever made pudding and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The recipe worked really well and the taste and structure are exactly as you would expect. It is a handy dessert because you have to prepare it in advance and of course serving it in one-person sized ramekins never hurt anybody.

Oh, and don't worry... I don't have incredible small hands and don't walk around with chipped nailpolish on my fingers. Azira was kind enough to assist me. And of course for her it is okay to walk around with chipped nailpolish on her fingers.... just so you know.


Split-Level Pudding

Yield: 6 servings


For the chocolate layer:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the vanilla layer:
2 1/4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Set out 6 ramekins or pudding cups, each holding 1/2-3/4 cup.

Put the chocolate in a small bowl.

Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate.

Let sit for 2 minutes, then gently stir to blend.

Divide the chocolate ganache among the cups and set aside.

Bring 2 cups of milk and 3 tablespoons of sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan.

Meanwhile, put the cornstarch and salt in a food processor and blend. Set aside.

Put the remaining sugar and the egg yolks in the processor and blend for 1 minute.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and pulse briefly to mix. Add the dry ingredients and pulse again to mix.

Let the machine run and slowly add the hot milk mixture.

Process for a few seconds, then pour everything back in the saucepan.

Put the pan over medium heat and whisk continuously until the pudding thickens and start to bubble.

Don't let the pudding boil.

Put the pudding back into the food processor and pulse a couple of times.

Add the butter and vanilla and pulse until everything is well blended.

Divide the pudding over the cups. The chocolate might come up along the sides, but that doesn't matter.

Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of each pudding to create an airtight seal.

Refrigerate the puddings for at least 4 hours.

Source: Baking, from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

About two weeks ago Nikki, my oldest girl, decided she wanted to learn how to cook. She really didn't like it when I was sick, because there was no unlimited supply of baked goodies. I just love the way a child's mind sometimes works.... But despite that it made me very proud when she announced she wanted to learn to cook. It isn't always easy to cook with kids, but from time to time I give it a try.

I asked her what she wanted to make and as she looooves lemons she wanted to make lemon cupcakes. Okay, no problem there. That is simple enough. But then she said she wanted lemon coconut cupcakes. And now I was facing a problem. I had never made lemon coconut cupcakes. I didn't even know if it was a known combination. I really didn't want to disappoint her so we searched for a recipe. Obviously we found one, because otherwise I wouldn't be writing about it.

We had a lot of fun. I let her do all the work (except putting the cupcakes in the oven and taking them out again). And she did a fantastic job. Of course the project took about three times as long to finish but that didn't bother me one bit. She had fun and hopefully she will continue having fun in the kitchen. I hope she will come to love it as much as I do!

The batter for these cupcakes is a little strange because of the coconut milk, but the end result is great. You can taste both the coconut and the lemon, but they are both not overwhelming.


Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup butter
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 stick butter
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 3/4 - 2 cups confectioners' sugar


Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Line a muffin tray with paper cups.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add the coconut and set aside.

In a small bowl zest the lemon.

Add the sugar and rub with your fingers so the sugar and zest are well mixed. Set aside.

Beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy.

Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes.

Add the egg and beat for 3 minutes.

In four additions add the coconut milk and flour mixture until everything is mixed well.

Divide the batter into the paper cups. Bake for 18-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes completely cool on a rack before frosting.

For the frosting cream the butter in a large bowl of a stand mixer.

Slowly add the confectioners' sugar (the amount depending on how sweet you want it).

Add the lemon juice to taste. Beat on high speed until fluffy and smooth.

Frost the cupcakes by simply spreading it on top or by piping it.

Top of with a little extra shredded coconut.

Source: adapted from Good Life Eats

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate-Orange Buttercream

For my mother's birthday I had planned to bake this cake, unfortunately I wasn't feeling good enough, so I had to let it go. But by that time the cake had managed to wriggle into my head and under my skin. I couldn't let go of it. I had so looked forward to making it. So I asked my self: Why not just make it? I mean... do you really need a special occasion to make a cake? Well, it is usually better to have a good reason, because otherwise I'd be baking cakes like this all the time and I'm pretty sure my hips would not agree with that.

But because I had been looking forward to this cake for a while I decided to just bake it and let the pounds fall where they may.... And I have to tell you... I'm glad I did. This is one good cake. Moist, fluffy, flavorful and chocolatey. Just the way I like it! And the frosting... oh my god that frosting is sooooooooo good. I had a hard time trying to restrain myself and not just eat the whole bowl up! That really would have added a lot of pounds!

Though the flavor of the frosting is quite orangy it isn't overwhelming and you can still taste the cake. It really is a great combination!

The recipe called for two 9-inch cake pans, which I didn't have. I used two 8-inch spring pans and had to add quite bit more baking time, but I actually think it turned out better. It made for a beautiful high layered cake which looks very impressive but is really not that hard to put together.

So if you have a special occasion coming up (or not) or just want to score points with a chocolate-lover, this cake will do the trick!


Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate-Orange Buttercream


For the cake:
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 1/2 stick butter, room temperature
4 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
7 tablespoons water (or more)
3 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


Preheat the oven to 170˚C (325˚F).

Butter and flour the sides two 8-inch spring pans. Cover the bottom with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool to barely lukewarm.

Over a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk and yogurt.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat together the sugar and butter until smooth.

Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time.

Mix in the melted chocolate until smooth.

Mix in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture, in 3 additions each.

Divide the batter between the two pans.

Bake the cakes for 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (If you're using 9-inch pans, bake for 30 minutes.)

Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto racks. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom and let the cakes cool completely.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. Let cool to barely lukewarm, but still pourable.

In a small saucepan mix together the cocoa powder and water. Stir over medium-low heat until smooth and thick but still pourable. If necessary add more water by teaspoonsful. Let cool.

Beat together the butter, 1/3 cup of confectioners' sugar and the orange zest.

Add the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt and beat again until smooth.

Beat in the cocoa mixture.

Gradually add the remaining 1 2/3 cups of confectioners' sugar and beat until the frosting is smooth.

Cover the sides of your platter with 4 strips of parchment paper.

Place 1 layer of the cake on top of the platter and spread a thick layer of frosting on top of the cake.

Carefully place the second cake on top.

Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, making swirls as you go.

Remove the strips of parchment paper and serve the cake at room temperature.

Source: slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

Monday, September 26, 2011

Soft Garlic Knots

In my last post I mentioned I caught a cold. While writing that post I was positive it was over.... It was not. The day after that post it came back with a vengeance. These last two weeks I have been completely floored by a very nasty sinus infection. It took a while for the antibiotics to kick in, but fortunately they did.

I'm still not feeling up to par, but I've been so bored I just had to do something...anything.... and so I ended up with something that looks complicated but was actually extremely simple to whip up. Soft Garlic Knots.These are great with a big bowl of soup or a nice stew, which is what I'm currently craving at the start of fall!

The dough is a bit sticky, but it helps to have a free hand with flour when tying these up. Don't be scared, it was really easy to make the knots.


Soft Garlic Knots

Yield: 10 rolls


For the dough:
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

For the glaze:
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning


In a standmixer with the paddle attachment combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.

Add the olive oil, milk and water and mix until the ingredients form a dough.

Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will be a little sticky, but shouldn't be too sticky. If necessary add one tablespoon of flour a time and knead for a short time.

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 1 hour until the dough has doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough in 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch long roll and tie the dough in a knot.

Take the end lying underneath the knot and tuck it in the center on top. Take the other end and tuck it in the center on the bottom.

Transfer the rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cover the rolls with a clean kitchen towel let rise for 45 minutes.

Make the glaze by chopping the garlic very finely or putting it through a garlic press.

Mix the garlic with the melted butter and the seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F).

Brush the glaze on the rolls. Bake until slightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.

Serve warm.

Source: Annie's Eats

Monday, September 12, 2011

Snickery Squares

Fall has only just started and already I have caught my first cold of the season. Great. So these past few days have mostly been spent resting. Luckily I'm already starting to feel much better. The fever is gone and I can breath much easier!

When I'm feeling sick I love eating some comfort food and comfort food for me is not chicken soup, but something with chocolate! I found a nice recipe that didn't require me to do too much work and which filled all my needs! You can easily cut this recipe into three parts, making it seem as if you barely have to do anything at all! I just love that in a recipe!


Snickery Squares

Yield: 16 squares


For the crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cold, in small pieces
1 large egg yolk

For the filling:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup salted peanuts
3/4 - 1 cup dulce de leche

For the topping:
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 stick butter, room temperature, in 8 pieces


Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Butter an 8-inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

Start with making the crust. In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, confectioners' sugar and salt. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal.

Pour the egg yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds. Stop before the dough comes together in a ball.

Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan.

With a fork prick the dough all over.

Slide the pan with the sheet into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until it takes on just a little color around the edges.

Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool to room temperature before filling.

To make the filling line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Put the sugar and water in a thick-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

Keep the heat fairly high and continue to cook until it just starts to color.

Add the peanuts and, with a long spoon, immediately start stirring to coat the peanuts.

The peanuts will turn white. Keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel and the nuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel.

Remove the pan from the heat and spread the nuts out onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool to room temperature.

When the nuts are cool enough break them into pieces, making the nuts as loose as possible.

Stir 3/4 of the peanuts into the dulce de leche and spread this mixture over the crust.

Chop the rest of the peanuts finely.

To make the topping melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.

Remove the chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, until the butter is completely blended into the chocolate.

Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche. Smooth the top and sprinkle the finely chopped peanuts over it.

Put the pan into a refrigerator for 20 minutes. If you'd like to serve them cool, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours.

Cut into 16 squares.

Source: Slightly adapted from Baking, from my home to yours, by Dorie Greenspan

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Plum Torte

The season for stone fruits is almost over, but luckily there are still plenty of plums. I stumbled on some fantastic plums. They were juice and sweet, with just a hint of tartness. Just the way I like them. After eating a bunch I still had a lot leftover and I wanted to put them to good use. And so I set out to find a good recipe for something nice.

I found a recipe of Amanda Hesser's Purple Plum Torte. It sounded very easy and delicious so I set to work. And it turned out amazing. Yes, the plums sunk to the bottom, but that was supposed to happen this time! It looks like a very dense cake, but it isn't. It is light, slightly sweet and the plums are fruity and soft with still that slight tartness in them. Lovely.

I took the cake over to my parents-in-law and it was almost gone when I left. It didn't last long. Apparently this cake freezes very well, but I have yet to try that out. It is, however, extremely simple to make, so that alone is reason enough to give this recipe a try!


Plum Torte

Yield:  1 9-inch torte


1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A large pinch of salt
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick of butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
10-12 plums, halved and pitted (enough to fit in the pan)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F).

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a mixer beat together the sugar and butter until creamy and light in color.

Beat in the dry ingredients and then the eggs.

Scrape the batter into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan.

Cover the top of the batter with the plums, skin side up.

Sprinkle the top of the batter and plums with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, the lemonjuice and the cinnamon.

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the cake is golden.

Let the cake cool on a rack, then unmold.

Source: slightly adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, Amanda Hesser

Friday, September 2, 2011

Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I have seen different versions of this bread circulate the internet and every time I came across one it made me mouthwater. It looks so good. So I finally decided to give it a try. I remembered I had a recipe in Baking, from my home to yours and since that book has yet to let me down I thought it a good recipe to start with. It is not a complicated recipe, but it is time-consuming, so I suggest making this on a lazy day. The reason it is time-consuming is of course the yeast-based dough. It needs to rise a couple of times.

But if you have a lazy day coming up, be sure to make this bread, because it is good. It is soft and sweet and absolutely delicious. It makes your home smell like a bakery. The minute it was cooled down enough we devoured about half of it.

Don't let the recipe scare you. If I can make this bread succesfully on the first try, anybody can!


Yield: 1 loaf


For the bread:
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
1/4 cup + a pinch sugar
1 1/4 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch grated nutmeg
3 3/4 to 4 cups flour

For the swirl:
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons butter, softened to a spreadable consistency


Put the yeast in a small bowl, add the pinch of sugar and stir in 1/4 cup milk. Let rest for 3 minutes, then stir.

In a standmixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the remaining milk, the butter and the 1/4 cup of sugar and mix on low speed for two minutes.

Add the salt, egg, vanilla and nutmeg and mix again for one minute.

Add the yeast mixture and beat on medium-low speed for one minute.

Turn the mixer off and add 2 3/4 cup of the flour. Mix on low speed just until the flour is worked into the mixture. Switch to the dough hook. Don't worry. It's supposed to be sticky!

Add another cup of flour and mix on medium speed for a couple of minutes. If the dough does not come together and away from the sides of the bowl, add up to 1/4 cup of flour more, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Keep the mixer at medium and continue to knead the dough for 3 minutes, until it is smooth and has a buttery sheen. The dough will be very soft.

Butter a large bowl and put the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

Put the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it and put it into the freezer for 30 minutes.

Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.

Make sure the raisins are nice and moist. If necessary you can put them in hot water for a few minutes. Drain them and dry them on paper towels.

Put the dough on a large lightly floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 12x18-inches.

Spread two tablespoons of the softened butter on the surface of the dough.

Sprinkle over the sugar-mixture and scatter the raisins.

Starting from the short side of the dough, roll the dough up. Make sure to roll snugly.

Fit the dough into the buttered pan, seam down. Tuck the ends under the loaf.

Cover the pan loosely with wax paper and set in a warm place. Let rise for 45 minutes until the dough comes just a little above the edge of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 190˚C (375˚F).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and brush the top of the loaf with it.

Put the loaf pan on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes cover the loaf loosely with foil and bake for another 25 minutes until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom of the pan is tapped.

Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes.

Unmold the loaf and let the loaf cool, right side up, to room temperature on the rack.


Source: slightly adapted from Baking, from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brown Sugar - Cinnamon Peach Pie

I'm still trying to make the most of the last of this summer's produce. And with a mission in my mind I set out to make something nice with what will probably be my last fresh peaches for this year. I had already made peach ice cream and peach jam, but had not really baked with peaches. Given my success with the blackberry rhubarb pie I decided to try a Peach Pie.

I found a wonderful recipe which to me feels like summer crossing over into fall. The perfect tribute to summer and a warm welcome to fall. A combo of two great flavors: peach and cinnamon. I never knew they worked so well together. But oh boy, do they work well together.

I'm really starting to get the hang of pies, so I can't wait to try out other flavors, but for now I'm just going to give you this recipe and hope you try it sometime, because it is well worth your time and energy.


Brown Sugar - Cinnamon Peach Pie

Yield: 1 9-inch pie


For the pie crust:

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup, cold butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
4-6 tablespoons ice cold water

For the peach filling:
6-8 large fresh peaches
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, cut into little pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten


Start by making the pie crust.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a foodprocessor fitted with a metal blade.

Add the butter and mix until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add the water with 2 tablespoons a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough holds together.

Divide the dough in two discs, making one larger than the other, and wrap them in plastic wrap.

Put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the biggest disc of dough and put it into a greased 9-inch pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F).

Make the filling when you are ready to use it. You can't let it stand to long because then the peaches will give off too much liquid.

Peel the peaches, cut in half and take out the pit. Cut the halves into 1/2-inch thick slices and cut those slices in half.

Whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add the peaches and the lemon juice and stir until everything is well coated.

Pour the filling into the pie pan.

Put the pieces of butter on top of the filling.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut it into long strips.

Place the strips of dough onto the filling and weave them together.

Press the ends of the strips together with the edge of the pie crust. Fold back the overhanging dough and crimp the edges.

Brush the top with the egg, then sprinkle with the leftover 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Put the pie into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes on 220˚C (425˚F), then reduce the temperature to 190˚C (375˚F) and bake for another 40 minutes.

Transfer the pie pan to a cooling rack and let cool.

Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Sources: pie crust adapted from Southern Pies, filling adapted from Pink Parsley

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Death by Chocolate Mousse

In case you hadn't noticed....I have a soft spot for chocolate. I love it! Doesn't really matter in what kind of form or shape it comes. And so it goes without saying that I love chocolate mousse. But there are a lot of different recipes for chocolate mousse and a lot of differences in taste. A while ago I posted a recipe for a simple and very nice chocolate mousse, but this is my absolute favorite recipe.

It takes more time to make and is a little more complicated, but once you get the hang of it that won't be a problem anymore. And after you taste this chocolate mousse you'll know it was totally worth the effort. Because it tastes divine. It is chocolate at it's best. It is so good you can't stop eating it, even when you know you really shouldn't eat any more. It's that good!

I usually make one big bowl, but this is also very nice in smaller bowls, so you get individual portions. It is a perfect dessert for a fancy dinner party. You have to prepare it ahead and it is so good your guests will love it. All you have to do is add a bit of whipped cream and your done!

For this chocolate mousse it is important to use a good quality chocolate. And it is made with raw eggs so keep in mind it is not suitable for everybody.


Chocolate Mousse

Yield: enough for 8 persons


4 egg yolks
3/4 cup caster sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, use a good quality
4 tablespoons strong coffee
1 1/2 stick softened butter
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon caster sugar


In a heatproof bowl beat together the egg yolks and sugar until it is thick, pale yellow and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon.

Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat for 3-4 minutes until it is foamy and hot.

Put the bowl over cold water and beat again for 3-4 minutes until the mixture has cooled off and forms again a slowly dissolving ribbon. It should have the consistency of mayonaise.

In a double boiler melt the chocolate with the coffee until completely smooth.

Remove from the heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time.

Mix together the egg yolk mixture and chocolate mixture until smooth. Make sure the chocolate mixture is still slightly warm, this will help with making the mixture smooth.

Beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar on the egg whites and continue to beat until stiff.

Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Pour the mixture into a bowl or several small bowls and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Serve with whipped cream.

Source: slightly adapted from Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Friday, August 26, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes

The end of summer is drawing near and I find myself unwilling to let it go. These past few weeks the weather has already been rainy and to perk myself up I try to make the most of the summers produce. Knowing it is already a bit late for strawberries, I couldn't help myself and bought a bunch.

The next thing I did was look for a way to turn these strawberries into something yummy. And I found something alright. Strawberry Cupcakes! A lovely cake with the taste of strawberries topped with a strawberry swiss meringue buttercream. It is strawberry-bliss!

The cake is moist and fluffy and the buttercream tastes like strawberry ice cream. If I'm completely honest I think I'd ditch the cake altogether and just eat the frosting, it is so good!


Strawberry Cupcakes

Yield: 1 dozen


1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher or coarse salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2/3 cup strawberries, rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup strawberries, rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Fill a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a foodprocessor or blender and blend the strawberries to a puree until completely smooth.

In a small bowl mix together the vanilla, strawberry puree and milk and set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

Slowly add egg and egg whites and mix on medium speed until well blended.

Put the mixer on a low speed and add half the flour mixture until just blended.

Add the milk mixture and mix until just blended.

Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just blended. Scrape down the bowl to make sure the entire mixture is smooth.

Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake cups and bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are just dry to the touch.

Let the cupcakes cool completely before taking them out of the tin.

To make the frosting blend the strawberries in a food processor or blender until you have a completely smooth puree.

Put a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and combine the egg whites and suger. Whisking frequently, heat the mixture until it reaches 71°C (160°F) and the sugar has dissolved.

Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Put the speed on medium and start adding the butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time. After each addition has been completely incorporated, add more.

It might take a while before the frosting looks good. If it looks soupy or curdled just continue to beat for about 3-5 minutes (or longer). It can be that the butter was to soft, so it sometimes helps to put the mixture briefly in the refrigerator.

Add the strawberry puree and blend until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a tip of your choice with the frosting and frost away!

Source: cupcakes slightly adapted from Sprinkles on Martha Stewart, frosting from Annies Eats

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fun with Royal Icing

This weekend we had a birthday party and there were going to be several kids. So I offered to make some cookies. I had already made sugar cookies with royal icing ones and my fingers were itching to give it another try. The first time I kept it really simple, but now I upped the stakes a bit.
And I have to say... I was very pleased with the results. I made a lot more cookies then these pictures show, but didn't get a chance to really photograph them until after the party... hence there are only a few left. I made several kind of hearts, different butterflies, small cars and dinosaurs. I also made daisies, but all I could think about were eggs, sunnyside up... So daisies.... not so great. I'm gonna keep working on those!
I opted to make my life as easy as possible and made most cookies while still wet. I only gave the cars some details after the royal icing had set.
So I had a lot of fun this weekend and can't wait to try it again! I am definitely hooked!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Caramel Corn

I'm feeling more and more confident with making caramel lately, so I decided to try a simple recipe I've been ogling for a while now: Caramel Corn. I love sweet popcorn, but had never been able to make a good version... enter this recipe. I found the recipe on Amateur Gourmet and after reading all the comments felt confident enough to try it.

And I have to say.... it really is an easy recipe. It worked perfectly and I didn't even have to start over again, because nothing went wrong. That is the kind of recipe I like!

So, if your in the mood for a sweet popcorn, try this one! I made half the recipe and I snacked on it for about a week. I don't know if it can be kept longer, but after a week this popcorn still tasted good!


Caramel Corn


1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 quarts of popped corn


Preheat the oven to 100˚C (200˚F). Put parchment paper on one or two large baking sheets.

In a thick bottomed saucepan melt the butter.

Stir in the corn syrup, sugar and salt.

While stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.

Once the mixture boils, let boil for 5 minutes without stirring.

Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Take care of your hands as the mixture will foam!

Pour the mixture over the popped corn and mix well.

Spread the corn onto the baking sheets and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Wait till it has cooled down before you start eating!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blackberry Rhubarb Pie

I know... it's a crappy picture. A crappy picture of a messy slice of pie. But that shouldn't matter when it comes to food. Because lets face it.... not everything you cook or bake turns out spectacular.... Most of the times it is the exact opposite. Well, at least in my case.

I've said it before and I will say it again, because I'm not ashamed of it (well, most of the time not...) I am not a great cook. I tend to rush things. Especially towards the end of a complicated recipe. Most of the time I don't even know what I'm doing and just try to wing it. Which brings me back to the messy slice of pie. I had never made a latice top for a pie before, so it turned out a bit.... how shall I put this delicately.... clumsily. But all that changed when I started eating that pie. All my dissatisfaction dissapeared, because let me tell you... that is one heck of a pie. It is one of the best fruit pies I ever had. Honestly! It was tart and sweet at the same time. The crust was sturdy enough to hold the filling, yet crumbly at the same time. We ate it slightly warm with whipped cream and it was like a little piece of heaven!

It was merely chance that had me make it in the first place. I bought some of the last rhubarb of the season at a farmers market and the next day we went picking blackberries again. So what do you do when you have to use them as soon as possible? Combine! And I am so glad I did. If you happen to stumble upon some rhubarb and blackberries....please make this pie. You will not regret it!


Blackberry Rhubarb Pie

Yield: 1 9-inch pie


For the pie crust:

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup, cold butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
4-6 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:

350 gram blackberries
200 gram rhubarb
250 gram sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter


Start by making the pie dough.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a foodprocessor fitted with a metal blade.

Add the butter and mix until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add the water with 2 tablespoons a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough holds together.

Divide the dough in two discs, making one larger than the other, and wrap them in plastic wrap.

Put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the biggest disc of dough and put it into a greased 9-inch pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F).

To prepare the filling cut the rhubarb in pieces.

In a big bowl gently mix together the blackberries, rhubarb, sugar and flour.

Pour the filling into the pie crust.

Cut the tablespoon of butter in small pieces and place these on top of the filling.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut it into long strips.

Place the strips of dough onto the filling and weave them together.

Press the ends of the strips together with the edge of the pie crust. Fold back the overhanging dough and crimp the edges.

Bake for the pie for 15 minutes on 200˚C (400˚F) then turn the temperature down to 180˚C (350˚F) and bake until the pie is done, about 30-35 minutes.

Let the pie cool to roomtemperature. Serve with whipped cream.

Sources: pie crust adapted from Southern Pies, filling adapted from

Monday, August 15, 2011

Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze

I recently discovered a new blog that I think I'm going to like very much! It is the blog of The Pastry Affair. So far I've tried only one recipe, but I think that is going to change very soon....

It all started out with a delicious looking Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze. The great thing about this cake is that is looks fantastic because of the chocolate glaze, but is extremely easy to make. Now I know that the picture isn't great, but I really didn't stand a chance... I put the glaze on right after dinner because I had been to busy earlier and then when the cake was finished two girls demanded to eat it. RIGHT NOW!

Please don't let that put you off of this cake. It is moist, flavorful and the chocolate glaze makes it sinfully delicious! And because it is so easy to make, it makes for a great weekday dessert! It'll also work great if you want to impress someone...


Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze


Banana Cake
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Chocolate Glaze
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter


Preheat the oven to 170˚C (325˚F).

Grease two 20 cm (8-inch) baking pans.

In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a different bowl, mix the butter and two sugars together until light and fluffly.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the bananas and vanilla and mix together.

Beat in the flour and buttermilk in 5 additions, starting and ending with the flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the two baking pans.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the baking pans.

Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

In a double boiler melt the chocolate and butter until smooth.

You might need to let it cool slightly until it is thick enough to spread. But don't let it cool too long or it will be difficult to spread.

Start with glazing the top of the bottom cake. Put the second cake on top of the first cake. Now glaze the rest of the cakes.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I made Jam!

When we came home from France we brought with us a truckload of peaches. Very ripe peaches. It was way too much. We ate quite a few, made Peach Ice Cream, but were still left with a bunch of peaches. So I decided to do something I have been wanting to do, but was always to afraid to try.... make Jam.

And I have to say that is was easy. Okay, I first had to google and call both my mother and mother-in-law for tips and tricks, but the actual proces was really easy. So I first made a Peach Vanilla Bean Jam

And a week later we picked a lot of blackberries and so I turned those into a Blackberry Vanilla Bean Jam.

I'm not going to give you an actual recipe or describe everything in full detail. For both the jams I used old jam jars, which I completely sterilized.

I used two different kind of sugars to see the differences between the jams. For the Peach Vanilla Jam I used a sugar with a higher pectine level, so the ratio fruit-sugar was 1250 gram fruit - 500 gram sugar. For the Blackberry Vanilla Bean Jam I used a sugar that needed a higher ratio: 50%-50%. To both jams I added the seeds of a vanilla bean and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Lemon juice contains a lot of pectine which thickens the jams.

The blackberry jam ended up a little too thick, but it still tastes great! I'll definitely make jam more often!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Frittata with Artichoke, Leek and Goatcheese

I'm sorry for being negligent for the past couple of days. The girls were on a 4-day sleep-over with their grandparents, so we just spent those days enjoying each other and doing things without the kids. Although of course I missed them a lot, it is always so much fun to just be together. We dinned out a lot, went shopping, stayed up way too late. In short, acted like we were 10 years younger.

Okay, back to business: Frittatas...

One of the reasons I love frittatas is because it is so versatile and easy. It is basically a large omelet. You can start out with all kinds of ingredients. I usually add thinly sliced potatoes to turn it into a full dinner. It is also a great way to make a meatless meal!

In this version I used artichokes, leek and goatcheese, but you can adjust it however you like. You can also make half a recipe. You can add different vegetables, different cheeses, add some bacon or ham, use fresh herbs or change nothing at all. Do whatever feels right to you!


Frittata with Artichoke, Leek and Goatcheese

Yield: a dinner for 4 people


10 eggs
2 - 3 large potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped seperately
8 ounces of artichokes (can or frozen), quartered
2 leeks, sliced in rings
5 ounces soft goatcheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper


Parboil the thinly sliced potatoes for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the broiler.

In a medium bowl beat loose the eggs with salt, pepper and 1 chopped clove of garlic.

Crumble the goatcheese and add this to the egg mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and 1 clove of garlic. Bake for a few minutes.

Add the leek and artichokes and bake again for a few minutes. Add the potato slices and mix carefully to rearrange all the ingredients.

Turn the heat low and add the egg/cheese mixture.

Let everything bake for 15-20 minutes, then put the pan under the broiler to bake until the frittata is done.

Cut the frittata in pieces. You can serve this dish warm, but it is cold also very good. It is great to take along to a picknick!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Caramel Frappucino

I know I'm not alone when I say I have a weak spot for a caramel frappucino. But whereas many of you are actually able to go to a Starbucks and order a yummy frappucino, for me that is not so easy. The nearest Starbucks is quite a long ride from here and so I'm forced to go without them for long periods of time.

This has always bothered me, but after making the Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce I was inspired. I figured that this caramel sauce might very well be the key ingredient to making my own Caramel Frappucino. So I did what most reasonable people would do... I turned to Google. I found an article on Ezine with a recipe they claimed was the original Starbucks recipe.

Now I'm a very sceptical person, so I thought....yeah right, but figured it couldn't hurt to try it out. And you know what.... It was great! And you know what else? It was easy! So now I'm probably going to have to start watching my intake.... because it does not look good for my waistline....

So, if you love Caramel Frappucino's... go make this... you won't regret it!


Caramel Frappucino

Yield: 1 large or 2 small frappucino's


1/2 cup cold coffee
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups ice
3 tablespoons Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Whipped cream
Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce


In a bowl mix the coffee, milk, sugar and caramel sauce. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Pour the coffee/milk mixture into a blender or foodprocessor. Add the ice.

Blend until the ice is crushed.

Pour everything into a tall glass.

Top with whipped cream and a swirl of the caramel sauce.

Drink and enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

This summer I'm really enjoying making my own ice cream. This is mostly caused by a book I got: The Perfect Scoop. I absolutely love this book. When I first got it I read it front to back and noticed a recipe for Salted Butter Caramel Sauce. As much as I love caramel sauce, this title just didn't appeal to me. So I completely forgot about it. Then I suddenly spotted a recipe for Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce on Annie's Eats and for some bizarre reason this sauce did appeal to me. When I read through the recipe I was surprised that it originated from The Perfect Scoop.

Annie turned this sauce for me into something heavenly! And it was so simple I'm ashamed I didn't think of it myself... She left out the butter and added.....wait for it.... vanilla bean. Simple right? But by doing this she instantly made this so much more appealing. Well, for me anyway....

I was a bit scared of making the caramel, because it is not one of my fortes. And indeed, I overstirred the first batch, causing great lumps to form in my melting sugar that I couldn't get out before burning the sugar.... Okay, no problem, I cleaned the pan (not an easy thing to do if your impatient) and started again. Thankfully this time it worked out!

The sauce is great. So far we've put it on top of vanilla ice cream (of course), pancakes (as a syrup) and I used it to make a caramel frappucino. Don't worry I'll post that recipe asap.

So go ahead and make this divine caramel sauce, you won't regret it!


Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Yield: 1 1/2 cups


1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the cream in a bowl. With a knife scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add the seeds to the cream. Stir and let sit while you prepare the caramel.

Spread the sugar in an large thick-bottomed saucepan. Try to make the layer as evenly and thinly as possible.

When the sugar is starting to liquify, gently stir it towards the center.

Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar has melted. Make sure you don't overstir.

Once the caramel becomes a dark amber color, take the pan from the heat immediately.

Carefully whisk in half of the cream with vanilla seeds. The mixture will start to bubble violently, so be careful of your  hands.

Stir until the cream is well incorporated, then add the rest of the cream, stirring again until well incorporated.

Stir in the salt and vanilla.

If lumps have formed during this, put the pan on very low heat and stir until all the lumps have dissolved.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If needed, it can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.

Source: Annie's Eats, originally from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.