I’ve been baking a lot this fall, and I have craved more cinnamon and spiced baked goods than usual. Most of the recipes that I’ve tried have not been perfect, and I’m still waiting to bake them a second time to make it right. I’ve made molasses spice cookies that were wonderful but a bit too dense, so I have to figure out the amount of flour and maybe which flour to use (I made the first batch with spelt flour, which has a higher protein level than all purpose flour) – but I will definitely share the recipe here. I’ve also made pumpkin spice latte cupcakes (recipe here), since I really love Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks (such a shame that the PSL “season” is so short – they have already moved on to the Gingerbread Latte in the Red Cups by now ;-(). But I’ve also made a few pumpkin spice loaves, which are wonderful to share with a crowd or to cut into portions and freeze for the days you need a quick sugar fix.
Pumpkin Spice Loaf
(I baked mine in a disposable 26 cm (10 inch) loaf pan)
250 g flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon (10 grams) baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
113 g butter, softened
250 g light brown sugar
120 ml buttermilk
150 g pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 180° C.
In a bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, set aside. Cream the butter and the sugar together in another medium-large bowl, this is easier and quicker using an electric mixer or a stand mixer. Add one egg at a time, mix well after each addition.
Add the flour mixture in batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix until combined. Finally, add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
Fill your loaf pan with the batter and put it on a cookie sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool. Turn your loaf out of the pan and frost as desired.
For the first batch, in the pictures, I frosted with a brown butter frosting, but that was too buttery – even for me ;). For the next loaf, I made a simple royal icing and that was perfect. Just mix a good amount (1-2 cups) of powdered sugar with a couple of tablespoons of milk or water, maybe a tiny splash of vanilla until desired consistency.
I don’t know about you, but for me, I start longing for fall season and hot cocoa’s and blankets and everything cinnamon as soon as the school starts after the summer. Normally, the summer doesn’t end until at least later in September around here, but this year it seems to be coming to an end already.
The weather is still nice and fairly warm, but the air has more crispness to it, and the alley of linden trees opposite the park are already loosing their leaves. So I guess I can go right ahead with some fall inspired recipes, right?
This weekend I really wanted to make something with cinnamon but didn’t have the patience to wait for a yeasted dough to prove. So I decided to try to make cinnamon swirl scones and I was happy that I did! The scones are ready in no time and they were really delicious. I had mine with a cup of tea, the perfect accompagnement!
I did google around for a couple of recipes, but in the end I adapted my recipe for lemon scones (here)
Cinnamon Swirl Scones
(12 small scones or 6 bigger ones)
280 grams flour
50 grams light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
115 grams butter, cold, cut into cubes
120 ml buttermilk
For the swirl:
40 grams light brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
30 grams butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 180 ° C.
Begin by mixing together the ingredients for the cinnamon swirl in a small bowl, then set it aside.
In a medium or large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and the baking powder.
Rub the cold butter into the flour mixture with your hands until it resembles coarse crumbs. The bigger the butter crumbs, the flakier your scones will be.
In a separate medium bowl or mixing jug, whisk the egg and the buttermilk together. I strongly suggest that you use buttermilk for this recipe, as you will get lighter and fluffier scones. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can put 2 tablespoons of plain yoghurt into a measuring cup and fill it up with milk to the 120 ml mark (this is not a scientific method, just something I do when I don’t have buttermilk).
Add the liquid to the flour mixture and very lightly mix it together. I use a rubber spatula for this. Don’t overwork the dough, the trick to fluffy, airy scones is to not touch the dough more than necessary.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a rough rectangle. Drizzle or smear the cinnamon-mixture over the rectangle, then fold it over in thirds, like a letter. With your hands, form the rectangle into a round if you are looking for bigger scones, or into a longer log if you are looking for smaller (but more) scones. I always do the latter.
With a pizza wheel, cut triangles of dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until lightly brown around the edges. Let the scones sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you want to glaze them, just mix powdered sugar with a little bit of water or milk at a time until you have the right consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the scones and finally – dig in!
Bonne rentrée, everyone!
For me and this blog that has a double meaning, as in a Back to School welcome, but also a Back to Blogging matter of speaking. I wasn’t able to blog for the past months, and the hiatus took longer than expected.
In any case, what better way to welcome the new school year and the crisp air of early fall than a batch of Chocolate Cupcakes with a fluffy frosting? I couldn’t think of a better way either, so here you go. Also – Nutella. While I’m not such a huuuge fan of Nutella myself, I’ve never met a child who doesn’t devour it religiously…. Including mine. My daughter prefers it right out of the jar or blended and fluffed with butter and sugar to a frosting. My daughter actually eats the frosting off the cupcakes and leaves the rest of the cupcakes to me, that’s how it goes in this household.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Sweetapolita.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting
12 standard sized cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
95 grams flour
150 grams sugar
30 grams dark cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
80 ml buttermilk
60 ml brewed coffee, hot
50 grams butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
225 grams butter, softened
190 grams powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
125 grams good quality dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
100 grams Nutella
1 tablespoon milk
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180 ° C and prepare your cupcake tins by lining them with cupcake liners.
In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift together the dry ingredients, i.e. the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch and salt. In another bowl or measuring cup, mix together the wet ingredients, i.e. the melted butter, buttermilk, egg, vanilla and coffee. Add the wet ingredients to the mixer bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix on low at first to prevent any splashing, then increase speed to medium for a couple of minutes. The batter will be quite thin. Divide the batter between the cupcake liners (fill only about ⅔ full, as the cupcakes will rise quite a bit) and bake for about 18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove the cupcakes from the pan and leave them to cool on a wire rack.
To make the frosting, combine the powdered sugar and the butter in a bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low for about 1 minute, then add the vanilla and mix to combine. Add the melted, cooled chocolate and beat on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Finally, add the Nutella, milk and a pinch of salt and beat on medium to high speed for another minute or two.
Pipe or spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and top with sprinkles for an extra festive effect.
This is what it looks like after my daughter has had her share..;)
Spring is finally here and here to stay! A couple of weeks ago I finally decided to get one of those lounge furniture sets for my balcony in stead of a dining table. I’ve been wanting to change for a couple of years but somehow I thought we needed a dining table outside even if in the end we never ate outside….
So now I’m all for lounging outside in the sun. And even though I would love to have white or rosé wine all day long, it’s better to have a non-alcoholic drink on hand as well.
I think that home made iced tea is perfect on a sunny day. And you can always change it up with different teas or with different kinds of syrups/cordials, and you can sweeten it exactly to your own taste.
For this years first pitcher of home made iced tea, I made black tea that I sweetened with Grenadine Syrup.
3 tea bags of choice (or the equivalent in loose tea leaves)
240 ml (1 cup) of almost boiling water
120 ml (½ cup) of good quality grenadine syrup or your syrup/cordial of choice.
1, 5 litres (about 6 cups) of cold water
Make a strong tea concentrate of the 3 tea bags and the hot water. Let it cool, then add it to a large pitcher and mix in the grenadine syrup. Fill it up with ice and cold water, stir to mix and serve.
PS: I just realised that this is the first recipe completely without butter :-P!
I’m so sorry for the lack of posts lately, I was really only planning to take one week off during the winter holidays, but then I cut my finger so that I couldn’t really cook and then it was difficult getting back in the saddle – I’m sure you all know how that goes.
Anyway – soft pretzels. Who doesn’t love them? My daughter love them even more than I do, so I decided to make them for her, first and foremost. Here in Switzerland we eat them mostly plain or with butter (duh, in our case), but you also see them filled like a sandwich with cheese or ham or both.
The recipe is taken from my trusted Browned Eyed Baker, only tweaked here and there with the measurements. Head over to her site if you need the recipe in cups and ounces.
360 ml warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast (7 grams)
about 600 grams flour
60 grams of butter, melted
2.5 litres of water
90 grams baking soda
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water for the egg wash
coarse salt for sprinkling (I used fleur de sel)
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the water, the sugar and the salt and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam.
Add the flour and the butter, mix on low with the hook attachment until all of the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm spot until double in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 230 ° C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.
Pour the 2.5 litres of water into a large, wide pot (I used a Dutch oven), add the baking soda and bring to a boil.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough to a rope, about 50 cm. Form a pretzel by holding each end of the rope, make a U-shape, cross them over each other and press them onto the bottom of the U. Place them onto the parchment lined baking sheets.
Carefully place the pretzels into the boiling water, 2-3 at a time (or how many will fit comfortably in your pot), for about 30 seconds. Remove them using a large slotted spoon, place them back on the baking sheet. Brush the pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.
Bake for about 12-14 minutes until dark golden brown in colour. Transfer to a wire rack for cooling before serving.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.
It doesn’t matter if you share these with your significant other, with friends and family or simply keep them to yourself.
I knew I wanted to make something for Valentine’s Day, and when I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to make heart shaped brownies. I haven’t been making brownies for years, but I took Ree’s word for it that they were delicious, and they are. They are very rich and decadent, though, so a little goes a long way, but they are perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Dark Chocolate Brownies
(slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman, head over to her site to get the recipe in cups and ounces)
225 grams butter
150 grams dark chocolate
35 grams cocoa powder
350 grams sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
175 grams flour
120 grams dark chocolate chips
Powdered sugar for decorating
Preheat your oven to 180 °C. Grease or line a square (I used 23×23 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
In a medium-large saucepan, melt the butter with the chocolate over low heat, stir occasionally until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Add the sugar and vanilla and stir to combine, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
Gently stir in the flour until halfway incorporated, then add the chocolate chips and just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread out to even out the top and place it in the oven.
Bake for about 40 minutes. Insert a wooden skewer to the middle of the brownie, if it’s overly gooey, let it bake for 5-10 minutes more.
Allow to cool completely, then sift some powdered sugar over the brownies. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes or cut into squares.
When they are still warm, the brownies will seem overly gooey and soft, but as they cool, they will firm up. Ree says they are best served several hours after baking or even the next day.
Again, these brownies are rich and decadent and chocolate-y, so a little goes a long way.
In general, I’m not afraid of trying new things. I’m not adventurous, but I’m not afraid to try new stuff in the kitchen or craft projects. The first time I try something new, something that might seem daring or difficult, I just concentrate, follow the recipe or the instructions to the T and hope for the best. If it doesn’t turn out, I toss it in the bin and wait a few months before trying again.
So when the macaron craze popped up a few years ago, I decided to give it a try. If I remember well, the first batch was perfect, but the 2nd and 3rd didn’t turn out the way I wanted. So I went back to follow the recipe step by step and that’s when the macarons turn out perfect every time. Also, this is one of the recipes where you need a scale in order to get the proportions right.
What’s so fun with macarons is that there are so many flavours you can make, and you can mix and match almost endlessly.
This time, I made simple Chocolate Macarons, as I was making them for a friend’s birthday, one who’s a real Chocoholic, and therefore also filled them with a chocolate ganache.
Recipe and method taken from Tartelette. She made a tutorial called “Demystifying Macarons”
90 grams egg whites (from about 3 eggs), at room temperature
pinch of salt
30 grams granulated sugar
185 grams powdered sugar
15 grams cocoa powder
110 grams almond meal (finely ground almonds)
Ingredients for the ganache:
200 grams chocolate (I used a mix of dark and milk chocolate in this case), chopped
100 ml cream
If you have a food processor, blitz the already ground almonds to make a really fine almond meal, then add the powdered sugar and blitz again until the two ingredients a finely mixed together. Sift this mixture through a fine mesh sieve, then set aside.
In a large bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until you have a firm, glossy meringue.
Add the almond mixture to the egg whites at a time and carefully fold them in with a rubber spatula, a couple of quick strokes first, then slow down. The mixture should flow like magma. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes (I counted the first couple of times, then you get a feel for it). If you are not sure, place a bit of the mixture on a plate – if the top flattens on it’s own, you are good to go, if not, give the mixture a couple of more turns with the spatula. Be careful not to over mix.
Prepare 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. I usually turn the baking sheets upside down and place my silicone mats on top. This ensures a more flat surface to pipe your macarons on.
Fill your mixture in to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (0.5 cm diameter), and pipe small rounds (about 3-4 cm) onto the prepared baking sheets. Let the macarons sit on the counter for 45 minutes to one hour before baking in order to harden the shells.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 160 ° C (or if you have an convection oven, preheat to 140 ° C). Bake the macaron shells for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. If you use a convection oven, you can bake all 2-3 sheets at the same time).
Let the shells cool completely, and place them in the refrigerator for 48 hours. This will give the macarons the crisp shell and chewy centre. Alternatively, you can make them ahead and freeze them until you need them.
To make the ganache, slowly heat the cream until it’s almost boiling. Take away from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then stir to incorporate and mix until smooth. Set aside until cool.
To assemble the macarons, line them up two by two, then pipe or spoon some of your ganache onto one of the shells, and sandwich them together with another.
And now – enjoy!
When I just started working, I was lucky and found a job in the Airline Industry. It was exiting and also a bit glamorous at the time, and the best thing about it, was that we had access to cheap (although stand-by) flights all over the world. My friend M. had relocated back to California, so I frequently went to visit her.
One of the best things about visiting her, was that we “always” went out for breakfast. Usually we went to a local breakfast place in Laguna and I would always order stuff that I wouldn’t find in Switzerland. So it was mostly pancakes or French toast. I was never able to recreate that perfect fluffiness that makes the American pancakes until this recipe – so they are truly the best buttermilk pancakes!
Personally, I think that pancakes are best when someone makes them for you, so maybe you could get your significant other to make them for you this weekend? Or, of course, since Valentine’s Day is coming up in a week – what better way to show your love than surprise your significant other with them?
The recipe is adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker, head over to her site if you need the recipe in cups and ounces.
Best Buttermilk Pancakes
280 grams flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
480 ml buttermilk
50 grams sour cream
3 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
oil or butter to grease the pan
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another large bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, the eggs and the melted butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix gently until just combined, but do not over mix. Allow the batter to rest for about 10 minutes before cooking your pancakes.
I use a ⅓ cup measure to scoop batter into the pan, cook until the edges are set and the first side is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until the second side is golden brown. Serve immediately, with lot’s of maple syrup and a little bit of butter.
I’ve been wanting to make something with peanut butter for a while. I have the feeling that I am the only person in Switzerland who likes peanut butter, but of course that’s not true, they do sell it in every grocery store. I was originally going for home made peanut butter cups, but when I was so incredibly graciously gifted with Hershey’s kisses for Christmas (Thank you so much, M & D!), I decided that I wanted to make those cute Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies.
I didn’t want to use all the Hershey’s kisses for baking (since we don’t have them here in Switzerland), so I left some of the cookies bare at first, decorating them with melted chocolate once cooled.
I don’t know how many of you out there like peanut butter but if you like it just a little bit, you should try these. Those of you who have unlimited access to Hershey’s kisses, you should definitely try these. I used a recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker, but substituted the shortening for butter (obviously….). Head over to her site if you want the original recipe and/or if you want the recipe in cups and ounces.
Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
48 Hershey’s kisses, unwrapped
113 grams butter, softened
150 grams peanut butter
125 grams light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
210 grams flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Sugar to roll the cookies in
Preheat oven to 190° C.
In a medium bowl or using you stand mixer, cream the butter and the peanut butter together until well combined. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, the milk and the vanilla extract, mix well. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well combined.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned. Immediately press one Hershey’s kiss into the centre of each cookie. The cookie will crack around the edges. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Isn’t there something about the smell of a sweet yeasted dough in your kitchen that oozes comfort? And if you pair it with cinnamon, all you want to do is to curl up on your couch with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate to accompany your afternoon snack. Right? Or maybe it’s just me. Anyway, I love this version of cinnamon buns. They look so delicate, almost like a blossom, kind of sophisticated. But the taste is just as comforting as your preferred blanket – these will make your day. They freeze very well, so you don’t have to eat all at once – and you have one ready in no time should you be in need of a pick-me-up!
I used the same yeasted dough recipe as for the King’s Cake, just because it was so easy to make, but also so so delicious. I just omitted the raisins and added a teaspoon of cardamom, which will give the taste more depth, and it compliments the cinnamon very well.
75 grams butter, melted
300 ml milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
30 grams yeast (I used a 7 grams packet of dry yeast)
approximately 500 grams flour
For the filling:
100 grams butter, softened
25 grams sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, the salt, the dry yeast, the cardamom and most of the flour. In a large measuring cup, mix together the milk and the melted butter. The mixture should not be too hot. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and lightly knead until you have a smooth dough (I used the dough hook on my stand mixer for this). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until double in size, about one hour.
After one hour, push down the dough without really kneading it , cover it again with plastic wrap and let it rise again until double in size, about one hour.
In the meantime, mix together the softened butter with the sugar and cinnamon in bowl, set aside.
Preheat your oven to 200° C
When the dough is risen, turn it out on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a rectangle about 50 x 30 cm. Spread the cinnamon-sugar-butter onto the surface, then fold the dough over lengthwise. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut strips of the dough.
Twist and turn each strip of dough a couple of times, then wrap the twisted strip of dough around your fingers before securing the end by pushing it down the top. I just realised that it sounds very complicated. There’s a video here (in Norwegian, but you will get the point) that shows it.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a clean tea towel and let them rest for about 20-30 minutes.
Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
If you’re like me, you can sprinkle some royal icing on top for decoration.