Easter Bunnies and Ducks – Almond Shortbread for Easter

Cookies, Recipes

Yeah, Easter is coming up! It´s time to get the bunnies- and ducks-cutters out of the drawer and start a serious cookie-baking-session.

Hasen und Enten 2

The recipe for the shortbread is from my grandma in Tirol. Whenever we grandkids visited her, she spoiled us with great food, a choice of delicious cakes, and cookies.

My grandma made the cookies herself, even when she was over 90 years old. She cut out cute flowers and little pigs and lovingly decorated the cookies with jam and chocolate glazing. The cookies all looked different. She painted happy faces on the pigs, and delicate petals on the flowers. Happy cookies! I like thinking back to those days.

I´ve had grandma´s recipe for a long time, but have only now tried it for these bunnies and ducks. I can really recommend it. The shortbread is delicious, thanks to the almonds and the demerara sugar; it is not too sweet, but just right. It has to be cold when you roll it out. If it is too warm, it will be too soft for rolling and cutting.

Hasen und Enten 1

If you want smoother shortbread, take 2 ½ cups (300 g flour) instead of 1 ¾ cup (200 g) flour and 1 cup (100 g) almonds.

I used a toothpick dipped into chocolate glazing for decorating the cookies; I did not have a brush. The bunnies are therefore not anywhere near perfect. Well, never mind. I had fun decorating the cookies! And as I said, they taste delicious.

Hasen und Enten 4

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cup (200 g) flour
1 cup (100 g) ground almonds
⅔ cup (150 g) butter, cold (lactose-free, if you are very sensitive)
½ cup (100 g) demerara sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
Possibly 1 tbsp. milk or cream, lactose-free

Filling (optional):
Apricot jam

Chocolate glazing:
3.5 oz. (100 g) dark chocolate, lactose-free (e.g. Lindt 70%; Merci 72%)
1 tbsp. butter (lactose-free, if you are very sensitive)
This amount of chocolate glazing will probably be more than you will need for the cookies. I had some glazing left when I was done decorating.

Sugar icing:
4-5 heaped tablespoons confectioner´s sugar, sieved
Water
Red food coloring

Prepare the shortbread dough. I prefer using my kitchen machine for this; it is really fast and easy:
Put flour, ground almonds and sugar into a big mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour. Add egg and yolk. With the dough hook, knead at low speed until the ingredients combine. Keep kneading until you get a smooth dough. If the dough is too dry and does not combine well, add 1 tbsp. of milk or cream. If the batter is sticky, add a bit of flour. Cool for about an hour (fridge).

You can make the shortbread by hand instead: Put flour, almonds and sugar onto the working surface. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour. Dig a little hole into the middle of the flour and add the egg and the yolk. Quickly knead to a smooth dough with your hands. If the dough is too dry and does not combine well, add 1 tbsp. of milk or cream. If the batter is sticky, add a bit more flour. Cool for about an hour (fridge).

Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C) (convection oven). Cover two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Lightly dust the work surface with flour. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until about one tenth of an inch thick. With cookie cutters, cut out any shapes you like. Put the cookies onto the baking sheets and bake for about 8 minutes. They should be light, only a little golden at the edge.

Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for a bit. They will be very soft when they are hot and will crumble easily! After a couple of minutes, transfer to a cooling rack and let the cookies cool completely.

Decorating:
Chocolate glazing: Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Melt chocolate and butter in a small pot in a double boiler or at low heat on the oven. Stir well until the glazing is smooth.

For the white sugar icing, put the confectioner´s sugar into a small bowl. Carefully add water until the icing is rather thick. If should not run off the cookies when you brush them with the icing.

For the pink sugar icing, put some spoons from the white icing into another small bowl and add some drops of red food coloring. Start with only few drops; keep adding color until the icing is the pink (or red) you want.

Fill the cooled cookies with apricot jam, or leave them as they are. Decorate with chocolate glazing, sugar icing, sugar pearls, sugar writing,…, whatever you want. Go play and have fun!

Hasen und Enten 5

By the way, I used grated almonds for the bunnies´ „fur“.

Hasen und Enten 6

Depending on the size of the cookies, you will get about 50 cookies – single ones, not filled ones!

Advertisements

Bread with Walnuts and Carrots

Bread, Recipes

Last weekend was weird. I had had enough cakes, cookies and jelly donuts for a while, so I did not feel like baking anything sweet. I still wanted to bake, but did not know what.

One reason for my frustration with sweets was that my last attempts at baking did not work out. Friday I wanted to bake Chocolate-Peanutbutter-Whoopies. Instead of pretty round whoopies, I created rock-like lumps. They got bigger in your mouth if you tried to eat them – not good. I must admit that I cannot blame the recipe, but only myself. I had been distracted when making the batter and had made a mistake – oops, my own fault.

The next day, Saturday, I made marble cake. I thought I could fight the Whoopies-frustration this way, and I also needed something to post on my blog. Well, the cake turned out great, but the frosting did not really go with it. No blog post. Frustrating again.

So Sunday I was running back and forth between my kitchen and my baking books. I wanted to bake, but what?

The solution was baking bread. I would be able to roam about the kitchen, and the result would not be sweet (we still had to eat the marble cake, which was more than enough sweet stuff for the weekend). Also, not much could go wrong. Fresh bread smells and tastes incredible, especially if it still slightly warm. Each bite is pure pleasure.

Brot mit Walnüssen und Karotten 3

Brot mit Walnüssen und Karotten 4

There are so many recipes in this book that I always find something I am curious to try – this time light yeast bread with walnuts and carrots. As with carrot cake, the carrots make the bread moist, but do not make the bread taste like carrots.

Brot mit Walnüssen und Karotten 5

Brot mit Walnüssen und Karotten 6

The bread saved my baking-weekend and (partially) brought back my belief in my baking skills. I had already started to doubt those.

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cups (200 g) flour
¾ cup (100 g) spelt flour, light
1 ¾ cups (200 g) whole wheat flour
1 package (7 g) active dry yeast
1 egg, room temperature
½ cup (⅛ l) milk, lactose-free, lukewarm
½ cup (⅛ l) water, lukewarm
1 teaspoon salt
50 g walnuts, coarsely chopped
100 g carrots, finely grated

Preparation:
In a big mixing bowl, combine flour, spelt flour and whole wheat flour, salt and dry yeast. Add lukewarm milk, water and eggs. Knead to a smooth dough with the kitchen machine, using the dough hook. Add the carrots and the walnuts and knead for about five minutes. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about an hour.

Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 355° F (180° C) (conventional oven).

Thoroughly knead the dough once more. Separate into two equal halves. Form each half into a longish bread. Place the two loaves onto the baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise for about 30 minutes.

Brot mit Walnüssen und Karotten 1Having risen for the second time: off to the oven!

Sprinkle the bread with water, or slightly brush it with water. Bake for about 30 minutes. The bread will be done if a knock against the bottom sounds hollow.

Brot mit Walnüssen und Karotten 2

From: Ager, B. (2010). Lass dich verführen 3. Hall in Tirol, Wien: Berenkamp.

Pecan Cookies with Chocolate

Cookies, Recipes

I am still in search of the perfect cookie… Last week I attended a five-days long advanced training at university. Because of my lactose-intolerance and fructose-intolerance, I sometimes have a hard time finding agreeable food at the cafeteria or in restaurants. So I decided to take some home-made cookies with me, just in case – I do not like being hungry!

Here they are, the Pecan Cookies with Dark Chocolate (lactose-free):

PekanCookies 1

 and the Pecan Cookies with White Chocolate (not lactose-free):

 PekanCookies 2

I was right with my skepticism concerning cafeteria food. As suspected, the food was not ideal for me. I wasn´t starving, though, rather the opposite – I felt stuffed by all those grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato-mozzarella-wraps! Not even the lactase pills helped. I think next time I´ll bring home-made granola with me instead of cookies, and buy lactose-free joghurt at the supermarket!

Of course I still ate the cookies, despite feeling stuffed. The cookies had that irresistible “have-one-more” taste…

PekanCookies 3

The cookies also passed the quality-test at home: My teenager-son emptied the cookie tin in no time. He then called me while I was in that advanced training and told me he wanted more cookies. So. It seems that with this recipe, I might be one step closer to the perfect cookie!

To my surprise, all my test-eaters preferred the lactose-free variety with the dark chocolate to the original white-chocolate-variety.

PekanCookies 4

Ingredients:
1⅛ cup (250 g) soft butter (lactose-free, if you are very sensitive to lactose)
½ cup (100 g) sugar
1⅛ cup (200 g) brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla sugar
4 cups (400 g) flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
¾ cup (100 g) pecans, chopped

For lactose-free cookies:
7.2 oz. (200 g) dark chocolate, lactose-free, coarsely chopped (e.g. Lindt 70%, Merci 72%)

For cookies with lactose:
7.2 oz. (200 g white) chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preparation:
In a small bowl, combine flour,, salt and baking powder.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla sugar with a hand mixer or the kitchen machine until fluffy. Add one egg and beat it in for at least one minute, then add the second egg and beat in for another minute.

Add the flour mixture and beat until you get a smooth batter. Do not overbeat.

With a wooden spoon, fold in the chopped nuts and the chopped chocolate.

Separate the batter into two portions and press each portion into a log of about 6-7 inches (15-18 cm). The diameter should be 2-3 inches, depending on how big you want your cookies. I prefer large cookies!

Wrap the logs into cling foil and store in the fridge for about two hours or more. The cold logs will be firm.

Now it´s time for baking the cookies: Cover baking sheets with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 340° F (170° C).

Remove the cling foil. Cut the logs into slices of about an inch. If necessary, press the slices into a round shape. I did not manage to make my logs as round as planned, so I had to shape the cookies by hand. This was quick and easy and no problem at all.

Put the cookies onto the baking sheets. Make sure you leave enough space between them; they will rise and spread. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until they are quite flat and golden brown at the edge.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a short time, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes about 24 large cookies.

 PekanCookies 5

Adapted from:

Tarek Malouf (2013), Kuchenglück. Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke Verlag.

“Red Heart Cupcakes”, or: Buckwheat-Cupcakes with Cream Cheese-Mascarpone-Topping

Cupcakes, Recipes

WANTED:

  • A new camera which makes better pictures than the cheap old one I own. I tried to tell Santa about this wish, but he obviously didn´t listen. Any recommendations for a good camera are welcome!
  • A recipe for the perfect brownie. Not too chocolaty, not too sweet, preferably with walnuts.
  • A recipe for the perfect Oatmeal Cookie. Crunchy, not too sweet, maybe with caramel of walnuts or chocolate chips.
  • A recipe for the perfect Sacher Cake with the perfect frosting.
  • A recipe for the perfect lactose-free caramel spread which I can use as a filling or topping for cakes and cupcakes.
  • A recipe for the perfect cupcake.

There are some recipes which are perfect. The Cinnamon Rolls from my last entry are, or my Grandma´s “Linzer Augen”. They are perfect the way they are, no improvement possible.

And then there are those recipes which are quite good, but still lack the certain something, at least in my opinion. Some of those you will find in the list above.

Eventually I´ll find them, those perfect recipes. Until then I have an excuse for experimenting with various recipes and baking away happily!

These Red Heart Cupcakes, for example, happened because I wanted to create an interesting sponge, one which can also stand alone. I adapted a recipe for Buckwheat Cake so that it was just right for 12 muffins. They are filled with cranberry jam and taste great, even without frosting.

Red Heart Cupcakes

I wanted to frost them with the Cream Cheese Frosting by Linda Lomelino, but found that I had neither enough cream cheese nor enough whipping cream. I therefore used cream cheese, mascarpone, whipping cream and sugar. The frosting perfectly matches the tart flavor of the buckwheat sponge. This cupcake might not be perfect, but it´s close!

I named the cupcake „Red Heart Cupcake“. First of all because the sponge has a red cranberry jam heart, and second, well, it´s Valentine´s day soon. So the name fits the occasion, doesn´t it?

Red Heart Cupcake 3

Red Heart Cupcake 4

Red Heart Cupcake 5

Red Heart Cupcake 6

Ingredients:
1 stick (125 g) butter, room temperature (lactose-free, if you are very sensitive)
½ cup (125 g) sugar
3 eggs
½ cup (100 g) buckwheat flour
1 cup (125 g) ground almonds
1 tsp. baking soda
Cranberry jam

Frosting:
7.2 oz. (200 g) cream cheese, lactose-free
3,5 oz. (100g) mascarpone, lactose-free
1¼ cup (300 ml) whipping cream, lactose-free
1 tbsp. Vanilla sugar (no vanillin)
¾ cup (85 g) powdered sugar, sieved

Preheat the oven to 355° C (conventional oven) or 340° C (convection oven).

Put 12 muffin-liners into a muffin baking tray.

Separate the eggs. Put the egg whites into a mixing bowl, the yolks into a small bowl.

In a mixing bowl, combine buckwheat flour, ground almonds and baking soda.

In another mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with the hand mixer or the kitchen machine until light and fluffy. Add one yolk after the other; beat each yolk in for at least one minute.

Beat the egg whites until stiff.

Whisk one third of the beaten egg whites into the butter mixture. Carefully fold in the flour-almonds mixture, then the rest of the beaten egg whites.

Fill the muffin liners with the batter until they are half full. Put one teaspoon of cranberry jam into the center of each muffin. Spoon the remaining batter over the jam; the jam should be completely covered. The liners should be two thirds full, not more. The batter will rise while baking

Bake for 35-40 minutes. The muffins will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Take the muffins out of the oven and let them cool.

Frosting:
In a mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff.

In a second mixing bowl, whisk together cream cheese, mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla sugar.

Add the whipped cream. Beat at low to medium speed with a hand mixer until the mixture has combined well and gets smooth and stiff. If the topping is runny, put it in the fridge for a while.

Fill the topping into an icing bag and decorate the cupcakes with the topping. If you do not have an icing bag, spoon the topping onto the cupcakes and spread it with a butter knife. Decorate as you wish.

 Red Heart Cupcakes 2

Muffins: Adapted from my former neighbor Margit´s recipe for Buckwheat Cake. Thanks!

Topping: Adapted from: Call-me-cupcake.blogspot.se

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Uncategorized

I got the recipe for these Cinnamon Rolls from a crime novel. In Diane Mott Davidson´s crime novel series, the heroine Goldy runs a catering business in Colorado. In between preparing buffets for wedding receptions, parties and school lunches, she solves all kinds of complicated small town murder cases. I enjoyed the novels very much, not only because of the witty writing style, but also because of the interesting recipes which Goldy provides every now and then.

Diane Mott Davidson

In “The Last Suppers”, Goldy makes “Monster Cinnamon Rolls”, as she calls them. They sounded so good that I had to bake them. When I made them the first time, I followed the directions in the book to the letter. At the end of this experiment, I knew how the rolls had gotten their name. They were delicious, but enormous, way too big for one person to eat. If you want to know what I mean: I will give you the original amounts of ingredients at the end of the recipe. Trust me – you won´t believe how much sugar there is in the original recipe!

Zimtschnecken 2

Anyway, the rolls, were delicious, but too much. I have been adapting the recipe numerous times until I was finally satisfied with the result. There´s definitely something about this combination of soft yeast dough, the cinnamon and brown sugar filling, the luscious cinnamon-caramel which accumulates at the bottom of the pan during the baking process, and the delightful cream cheese frosting.

 

Zimtschnecken 3

Zimtschnecken 3 (2)

Zimtschnecken 4

Ingredients:

Dough:
¾ stick (90 g) butter
½ cup (120 ml) milk, lactose-free
¼ cup (60 ml) water
⅜ cup (80 g) sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 ¼-ounce envelopes  (14 g) active dry yeast
2 large eggs
4 ¼ to 4 ¾ cups (500g – 630 g) all-purpose flour

Filling:
2 cups (350 g) brown sugar
1 stick (125 g) butter, softened
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Frosting:
6.5 oz. (200 g) cream cheese, lactose-free
¼ cup (60 ml) whipping cream, lactose-free
2 tbsp. vanilla sugar
1 ½ to 2 cups (130 g to 200 g) powdered sugar, sifted (I prefer 1 ½ cups)

For the dough, heat butter, milk, sugar, water and salt in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool. The mixture should be lukewarm when added to the yeast-flour mixture.

Put 4 ¼ cups flour, yeast, and eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the lukewarm milk mixture. Beat until well combined, using a kitchen machine and a dough hook. Keep beating; add flour until you get a stiff dough. Knead for about five minutes until you get a smooth dough.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it is about twice as big; about 1 hour.

Prepare the baking pan while the dough is rising: butter a baking pan of about 9 x 13 inches. Alternatively, adjust a baking frame to this size and put it onto a baking sheet which is covered with baking parchment.

Punch the dough down. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a rectangle of about 20 inches by 30 inches (about 50 cm by 75 cm).

For the filling, beat butter, brown sugar and ground cinnamon with a hand mixer until well combined. Spread the mixture on the dough evenly. Roll the dough up, starting from the small side. Cut the log of dough into 12 pieces of about 1 ½ inches. Place the rolls into the buttered pan or the baking frame. Cover them with a kitchen towel and let them rise until they are twice as big, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175° C). Bake the rolls for about 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese, whipping cream and vanilla sugar with a hand mixer until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. The mixture should remain smooth and not become stiff.

Frost the cinnamon rolls once they have cooled down.

You want to give the original recipe a try? Well, here is what you need:

Dough:
You have to double the ingredients, with one exception: you need 5 eggs. Roll the dough to a rectangle of 24 inches by 36 inches, and make the rolls 2 inches high. You get 12 rolls again, but those are twice as big as mine.

Since you have the double amount of dough, you need two baking pans of the size stated above. Put 6 rolls into each baking pan. The rolls will be very big, almost like small cakes!

Filling:
You need 5 cups brown sugar (Yes! 5 cups! This is not a typing mistake!!!), 2 ½ sticks butter, and 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon. The butter and the sugar will melt while baking and accumulate at the bottom of the pan, where they will be soaked up by the rolls. Delicious, and extremely sweet.

Frosting:
You need ½ pound cream cheese, ¼ cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar or 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 3-4 cups powdered sugar, depending on how sweet you want the rolls.

I like sugar, but this version is a bit too sweet for me. I find my version very sweet already!

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Cakes, Recipes

Moist marzipan-chocolate cake, fluffy chocolate mousse, crisp chocolate shavings – sounds tempting, doesn´t it? If I see such a cake in a store or a café, I´ll have to pass. These cakes are extremely rich in lactose and simply not good for me.

I do not have to deny myself those treats, though. The recipe for this Chocolate-Mousse-Cake is from “Traumhafte Torten” by Adolf Anderson. Adapting it in such a way that the cake is lactose-free is really easy. Instead of normal cream, I use lactose-free cream, and instead of normal dark chocolate, I use lactose-free dark chocolate. And that´s it.

Schoko Mousse Torte 7

The combination of moist, fluffy and crisp is absolutely convincing, especially if you enjoy all three layers in one bite. Crisp and smooth at the same time. Maybe a bit rich, but well. Sometimes we have to treat ourselves, don´t we?

Schoko Mousse Torte 3

Schoko Mousse 4

Schoko Mousse Torte 2

Ingredients:

Cake:
5.7 oz (160 g) marzipan paste
⅓ cup (80 g) sugar
3 eggs
⅓ cup (40 g) plain flour
⅓ cup (35 g) unsweetened cocoa
1.4 oz (40 g) butter
1.4 oz (40 g) good-quality dark chocolate, lactose-free (e.g. Lindt 70%, Merci 72%)

Chocolate mousse:
3 ⅛ cups (750 ml) whipping cream
9 oz (250 g) good-quality dark chocolate, lactose-free (e.g. Lindt 70%, Merci 72%)

Topping:
3.5 oz (100 g) good-quality dark chocolate, lactose-free (e.g. Lindt 70%, Merci 72%)

Preparation:
Prepare two sheets of baking parchment: With a pen or a pencil draw a circle of 8 inches on the first sheet, a circle of 10 inches on the second sheet. This is easiest done by using an adjustable cake ring: Adjust the cake ring to the appropriate size, then follow the outline with a pen or pencil.

Flip the baking parchment over so that the marks are on the bottom side. This way the batter will not touch the pencil- or pen-mark. Put the baking parchment onto two baking sheets.

Preheat the oven to 320° F (160° C) if you have a convection oven, to 170° C (340° F) if you have a conventional oven.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces. In a small pot, melt the butter at low heat. Add the chopped chocolate and dissolve it in the butter.

Sieve flour and cocoa into a small bowl.

Cut the marzipan paste into small pieces. Put the marzipan pieces into a mixing bowl and add 1.4 oz (40 g; about 3 tbsp.) sugar. With the kitchen machine or a hand mixer, beat at low to medium speed until the mixture is crumbly. Gradually add two eggs. Beat until the mixture is smooth.

In a second mixing bowl, beat the third egg with 1.4 oz (40 g) sugar with the kitchen machine or a hand mixer until fluffy.

Add the marzipan-mixture to the egg-mixture and thoroughly beat with the kitchen machine or the hand mixer.

Carefully fold in the cocoa-flour-mixture, then stir in the melted chocolate-butter mixture. I used a whisk for this.

Spread the batter onto the baking parchment in the circular shapes you drew on the parchment. The batter will be thin, about one third of an inch. Distribute the batter between the two circles so that both circles are equally thin (or thick, whichever you prefer). I just estimated how much batter I would need for each circle; this worked well.

Bake the cakes for 15-20 minutes. Check frequently; they should not get dark. Remove from the oven and let them cool.

Chocolate Mousse:
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put the pieces into a mixing bowl. In a small pot, bring 1 ⅛ cup (250 ml) whipping cream to a boil. Pour one third of the cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Pour the second third over the chocolate, stir again. Pour the last third over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is completely smooth. Let the mixture cool until it feels lukewarm or even slightly cold on your lips.

With the kitchen machine or hand mixer, beat the remaining whipping cream (2 cups) until fluffy and creamy (not stiff). Whisk three tablespoons of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Put the larger cake into the cake ring or an appropriate cake pan. Pour half of the chocolate mousse onto the cake and spread evenly. Put the smaller cake onto the chocolate mousse. Pour the remaining chocolate mousse into the cake ring and spread evenly.

Let the cake cool for about two hours.

For the topping, chop the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler or on the oven at very low heat. Spread the liquid chocolate onto an even surface, e.g. a marble slab or a baking sheet (I used the latter). Let the chocolate cool at room temperature.

When the chocolate is firm but not totally hard, shave off chocolate shavings with a metal spatula. I used a cheese slicer for this, the only instrument with a sharp edge I found in the house.

Take off the cake ring or cake pan. Liberally decorate the Chocolate Mousse Cake with the chocolate shavings. Enjoy!

Schoko Mousse Torte 5

Graham Rolls

Bread, Recipes

Who doesn´t like the smell of home-made bread in the house? Biting into a warm, fresh, crisp roll? I love that. I am always overjoyed when I have the chance to eat home-made bread.

Grahamweckerl 3

Recently I came upon a book on baking bread. There were lots of wonderful recipes in it, so I immediately bought the book . It was worth it. If you ask me, spending money on good-quality, inspiring cookbooks and baking books always is! I found myself drooling over the pictures and recipes while looking through the book.

Here is the recipe for graham rolls. Don´t worry about making yeast dough. I always make yeast dough using active dry yeast: I just knead all the ingredients together and let the dough rise in a warm place. It always works.

Grahamweckerl 1

Grahamweckerl 2

Ingredients:

10 oz. (280 g) water, lukewarm
7 g (= 1 bag) active dry yeast
2 cups plus 1 tbsp. (250 g) plain flour
2 cups plus 1 tbsp. (250 g) whole wheat flour
3 tbsp. (25 g) oat bran or wheat bran
1 ½ tsp. (10 g) salt
1 tsp. (5 g) sugar
2 tbsp. (20 g) vegetable oil

Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Put all the ingredients into a big bowl. Either use a kitchen machine with a dough hook, or knead by hand until the dough is soft and silky. With a kitchen machine, this will take about five minutes.

Cover the bowl with a clean cloth or kitchen towel. Let the dough rest at a warm place for about 40 minutes. It should now have risen and be notably bigger and fluffier than before.

Knead the dough again, either using a kitchen machine or by hand. This will remove the air from the dough.

Form a kind of „sausage“ and cut it into six pieces of about the same size. With a rolling pin, roll each piece into a thin oval sheet.

Roll each oval sheet into a graham roll, starting with the narrow side. Put the six graham rolls onto the baking sheet, with the seam at the bottom. Cover the rolls with a moist cloth or kitchen towel and let them rest for 35 minutes.

While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 390° F (200° C; conventional oven).

Bake for about 20 minutes.

From: Ager, B. (2010). Lass dich verführen 3. Hall in Tirol, Wien: Berenkamp.

Chocolate Shock Cookies

Cookies, Recipes

A friend of mine is a baker. He likes to experiment – in his shop you will at times find goodies like chocolate with extra-hot chili (he grows the chili himself!) or cookies with lavender. For his birthday, I will give him these cookies, with the recipe attached – maybe he will like them and sell them in his store!

Schoko Schock 4

Schoko Schock 5

Schoko Schock 6

The original recipe uses white chocolate, which contains lactose. I wanted to make a lactose-free version for myself, so I produced a second batch in which I replaced the white chocolate with chopped walnuts. I must admit that I like this version better than the one with white chocolate. The walnuts go extremely well with the dark chocolate batter!

Schoko Schock 3

The cookies did not turn out as pretty as I had hoped, so I initially did not want to publish the recipe on my blog. Only when I realized that the kids kept walking into the kitchen to get another cookie, I tried one – and changed my opinion. The cookies are not too sweet and have an intense and smooth chocolaty taste. They are just the way a rich chocolate cookie should be, even if they do not look perfect!

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups (300 g) flour
1 ⅓ cup (100 g) unsweetened cocoa (sieved)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup / 4 sticks (250 g) butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 tbsp. sugar beet syrup
1 tsp. vanilla sugar (not vanillin)
2 large eggs, room temperature

Version 1 (= containing lactose):
1 cup (150 g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (150 g) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Decoration:
⅓ cup (50 g) white chocolate

Version 2 (= lactose-free)
1 cup (150 g) dark chocolate, lactose-free, coarsely chopped
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. (150 g) walnuts, coarsely chopped
Decoration:
⅓ cup (50 g) milk chocolate, lactose-free

Preheat the oven to 375 ° F (190° C) (convection oven: 355° F,180° C). Cover baking sheets with baking parchment.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In another mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and syrup with a handmixer or kitchen machine until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla sugar and beat for another three minutes.

Add the flour-cocoa-mixture. Beat it into the batter with the hand mixer/kitchen machine at low speed or with a wooden spoon. The batter will be quite heavy and firm.

Version 1 (= containing lactose): Add the chopped chocolate and stir into the batter with a wooden spoon.

Version 2 (= lactose-free): Add the chopped chocolate and the chopped walnuts and stir into the batter with a wooden spoon.

Drop tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheets and bake for about 10-13 minutes. Keep your eye on the cookies – they get burnt at the edges fast! Rather take them out of the oven a little early than keep them in the oven too long. They will firm up when they cool.

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool.

Decoration:
Place the cookies side by side on a cooling rack, a baking sheet or baking parchment. If you use a cooling rack, place baking parchment beneath it – it will make tidying up the working surface a lot easier!

For the glazing, coarsely chop while chocolate (version 1) or lactose-free milk chocolate (version 2). Melt in a double boiler or on the stove at very low heat. Put the melted chocolate into a small plastic bag and cut off an edge. You now have a self-made icing bag.

Decorate the cookies with the glazing by moving the icing bag over the cookies diagonally.

Schoko Schock Cookies 1

Makes about 30 large cookies.

 

Adapted from: Cynthia Barcomi´s Backbuch (2007), München: Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag.

Crispbread

Bread, Recipes

Baking and eating cookies was great fun, but now it is enough. I ate a lot of delicious food during the festive days, and I still feel full and stuffed. I really need some days without sweets and rich food!

Fortunately the new cookery and baking books I got for Christmas are very inspiring. We will somehow have to make space for them in our bookshelves (same problem as every year), but they will provide me with plenty recipes and ideas.

For a start, I wanted to make this crispbread, which sounded very healthy and simple. I also thought it would be a good way to find out if the recipes in my new book on baking bread would work or not. You can only find out by trying, can´t you?

When preparing the batter, I seriously doubted this recipe. It said that you should spread the batter onto the baking parchment. My batter was almost liquid, more like a soup than a batter! I was about to add more flour, but decided to stick to the recipe. It was good that I did. The flour soon thickened, and I could follow the instructions easily.

The crispbread tastes fantastic! It is crunchy and grainy, great with dips or as a quick snack. The book on baking bread has definitely passed the test. I have even already baked the next bread – Graham rolls. More about those soon!

Knäckebrot 1

Knäckebrot 2

Ingredients:
1 cup (120 g) spelt flour (I took spelt flour 1050, which is a rather dark flour)
1⅔ cups (120 g) rolled oats
⅔ (100 g) sunflower seeds
⅓ cup (50 g) sesame
¼ cup (50 g) linseed (=flaxseed)
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups plus 3 tbsp. (500 ml) water

Preheat the oven to 340° F 170° C (convection oven) or 375° F (190° C) (conventional oven).

Cover two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Put spelt flour, rolled oats, sunflower seeds, sesame, linseed, salt and olive oil into a big mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add the water and stir again. The mixture will be very liquid initially, but will thicken within a minute or two. Stir until this has happened.

Stir the thickened mixture once more, then pour half of the mixture on each baking sheet. Spread evenly so that the batter is very thin.

Bake for about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and cut into small squares or rectangles. This has to be done now because when the crispbread is done, it will be so hard that it will be impossible to cut it.

Put the baking sheets into the oven again and bake for about 40 minutes.

Do not store the crispbread in an airtight tin, but in the open! This way it will stay crunchy.

 Knäckebrot 3

Knäckebrot 4

From: Ager, B. (2010). Lass dich verführen 3. Hall in Tirol, Wien: Berenkamp.

Oreo Chocolates and Caramelized Nuts (“Knusperle”)

Cookies, Recipes

This December was a bit different from what I had expected. An injured daughter (nothing serious), a very ill cat, a minor car accident, some other “small” troubles, and a massive cold interrupted my plans very much. With all those things going on, I did not get around to baking as much as I would have liked to. At least I managed to make my favorite cookies:

Weihnachtskekse 1

Walnut Cookies, Heart-shaped cookies with Rosehip-Jam, Wachauer Cookies (with chocolate shortcrust and vanilla-buttercream-filling), Marzipan Crescents, Ischler Cookies, Coconut Wedges.

I especiall like it when there is a big plate full of Christmass cookies. In my opinion, this just looks beautiful, very festive and Christmassy.

Keksteller Weihnachten 1

Keksteller Weihnachten 2

I will give you two more recipes now, the rest will follow next year!

Oreo Chocolates

I came across the recipe for these Oreo Chocolates last week, at schaufenster.diepresse.com. They sounded so good that I had to try the recipe. Oero cookies are one of the few store-bought cookies which do not contain lactose, and I am always ready to experiment when I discover a recipe which uses Oreos. In this recipe, Oreos were combined with cream cheese, and the mixture was coated with chocolate – it HAD to taste great, I thought. Well, it does!

Oreo Kugeln 1

In the original recipe, the balls were coated with white chocolate, then decorated with dark-chocolate-patterns and red and white sugar sprinkles. They looked very pretty.

Because of the lactose intolerance, I could not use white chocolate, so I dipped the Oreo Chocolates into dark chocolate. I did not have red and green sugar sprinkles at home, so I used chocolate sprinkles and decorating sugar instead. For decorating these balls, you can use anything you want – go play!

Oreo Kugeln 2

Ingredients:
32 Oreo Cookies (in Austria: 2 packages of Oreo Cookies)
7 oz. (200 g) cream cheese, lactose-free

Chocolate glazing:
200 g dark chocolate, lactose-free (Lindt 70%, Merci 72%)
1-2 tbsp. butter

Slice the Oreo Cookies open. Scratch out the filling with a knife and put the filling into a mixing bowl.

Add the cream cheese to the Oreo-filling. With a hand mixer, combine well.

Put the rest of the Oreos into a plastic bag. With a rolling pin, smash them into very small crumbs. Alternatively you can grind them in a food processor. I prefer the rolling pin method as my food processer somehow cannot grind cookies well.

Add the crumbs to the cream cheese mixture and combine well.

Form balls of about 1 inch diameter. Cool for about one hour.

Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment.

For the chocolate glazing, cut the chocolate into small pieces. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Add more butter if the glazing is too thick.

Place the balls onto a fork and dip them into the chocolate glazing; they should be completely coated with chocolate glazing. Put the balls onto the baking sheet and immediately decorate with sugar sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, decorating sugar.

Depending on how big you make them, you will get about 25 Oreo Chocolates.

Store in the fridge.

Nuts in Caramel / “Knusperle”

This is another of my favorite cookies. The recipe is not as simple as it seems. I have made these cookies lots of times, but am always surprised by how much work they are. First of all, it takes a long time until all the nuts are roasted. Second, you might burn your fingers because the nuts and the caramel get unbelievably hot. And finally you will have to work really fast in order to separate the caramel-nuts-mixture into small cookie-sized portions. If you are too slow, you will get a huge caramel-nut-lump which you will never ever get apart again. Lots of work – but the result will be overwhelming, I promise!

Knusperle 3

Knusperle 2

Ingredients:

1 ⅔ cup (375 g) sugar
⅔ sticks (80 g) butter
1 cup (125 g) whole hazelnuts
1 cup (125 g) peeled almond halves
1 cup (125 g) walnut halves

Chocolate glazing:
About 100 g dark chocolate, lactose-free (Lindt 70%, Merci 72%)
2 tbsp. butter

Heat the oven to 350° F (175°) C.

Spread the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and roast for about 10-15 minutes. The skins should get dry and start to crack. Keep an eye on the hazelnuts: if they get too dark, they will taste burnt and bitter.

When the hazelnuts are roasted, pour them onto an (old) kitchen towel. Close the towel over the nuts and rub them against each other so that the skins will come off. Be careful – the nuts will be very hot! It might be a good idea to wear kitchen gloves while doing this. It is okay if you cannot get all the skins off; it will not matter.

Put the roasted and skinned hazelnuts into a heat resistant bowl.

Roast the almond halves until light brown, add them to the hazelnuts. Roast the walnuts until light brown, add to the other nuts.

Put all the nuts onto the baking sheet again; do not turn off the oven.

Generously butter a second baking sheet.

In a big pan, melt a small amount of the sugar at medium heatd. Gradually add the rest of the sugar and melt until golden brown or light brown.

Now you will have to work fast: Put the baking sheet with the nuts into the oven to warm the nut mixture.

Also put the buttered baking sheet into the oven.

Add the butter to the melted sugar and stir in well.

Remove the buttered baking sheet from the oven and place it onto a heat-resistant coaster.

Remove the baking sheet with the nut mixture from the oven and stir the hot nuts into the caramel until they are thoroughly coated with caramel.

Pour the mixture onto the warm, buttered baking sheet. Make sure you spread the mixture over the entire baking sheet. This will make it easier to form cookie-sized portions as some of the nuts will have separated already.

With two wet teaspoons, immediately separate the caramel-nut-mixture into small, cookies sized heaps. The mixture will firm up fast, so you will have to hurry! Let the mixture cool.

Chocolate glazing:
Cut the chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter.

Coat the bottoms of the Caramelized Nuts with chocolate glazing.

Depending on the size, you will get about 70 cookies.

Knusperle 1

From: Neef, K. (1995). Nürnberger Weihnachtsbackbuch. München: Walter Hädecke Verlag.