Biscotti with Chocolate Chips and Roasted Hazelnuts

Other, Recipes

I have wanted to make these Biscotti many times, but never got around to it, mostly because other recipes came in between. Last week I finally succeeded in making them. When I looked through my baking books, I kept coming back to this recipe. I was intrigued by the fact that the Biscotti would be baked twice, and by the mouth-watering list of ingredients. As I had never made Biscotti before, though, I had no real idea about what they would taste like.

Biscotti Schoko 4

Now that I know how good they are, I regret not having made them much earlier. They were incredible. Lots of dark chocolate and roasted hazelnuts in a crunchy dough. You can probably keep them in an airtight container for about three days, but I can only guess that. They did not last that long.

In these Biscotti, the chocolate-flavor is so intense that you should really use high-quality dark chocolate. It´s definitely worth it.

Biscotti Schoko 3

Ingredients:

2 ¾ cups (280 g) flour
½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla sugar
¾ cup (175 g) sugar
2 eggs
⅜ cup (45 g) butter
6.2 oz. (175 g) high-quality dark chocolate, lactose-free (Lindt 70%, Merci 72%)
3.5 oz (100 g) hazelnuts

Roast the hazelnuts in a large pan at medium temperature until they become fragrant and the skins crack. Pour the hazelnuts onto a kitchen towel and let them cool a little – they will be really hot! Close the towel over the hazelnuts and rub the nuts against each other so that the skins will come off. Do not worry if they do not come off completely. Let the nuts cool down.

Coarsely chop the roasted hazelnuts.

Coarsely chop the chocolate. Mix with the hazelnuts and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 355° F (180° C).

Cover a baking sheet with baking paper.

In a small pot, melt the butter at low heat. Let it cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, ground hazelnuts, baking soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla sugar, and sugar.

In a small mixing bowl, beat together eggs and melted butter.

Pour the egg-mixture into the flour-mixture. Beat it in well, using a wooden spoon.

Stir the roasted, chopped hazelnuts and the chopped chocolate into the dough.

Mould the batter into two to three small loafs, about 8 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. This might be a little tricky, as the dough is rather dry. You might have to press it together well to keep the loaves from falling apart.

Biscotti Schoko 1

Bake the loaves in the oven for about 25 minutes. Take them out and let them cool on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes.

Turn the oven to 340° F (170° C). Cover another baking sheet with baking paper.

With a sharp knife, cut the loaves diagonally into slices of about ⅔ – ¾ of an inch. I did this directly on the baking sheet. That seemed easier than transporting the loaves to a cutting board and cutting them there.

Biscotti Schoko 2

Put the slices on the baking sheet. Bake them for 7 minutes, then turn them around and bake them for another 6-8 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the Biscotti cool down.

Store the Biscotti in an airtight container, so that they will stay crispy.

 Biscotti Schoko 5

Adapted from: Cynthia Barcomi (2010), Backen: I Love Baking, München: Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag.

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Crunchy Granola with Nuts

Granola, Recipes

My kids love breakfast cereals – unfortunately those from the stores, with lots of sugar. For them they are an easy and quick breakfast. They do not care about the fact that they contain a lot of sugar. They like the taste, and the fact that all they have to do in the morning is pour the cereal into a bowl, add the milk and eat. No laborious spreading of butter and jam on a slice of bread. Much easier.

About a year ago I accidentally discovered a recipe for homemade granola, a chocolate granola. I was fascinated. I had had no idea that you can bake your own granola! I immediately tried the recipe and was thrilled by the result. The kids even ate it for breakfast, even though it was not as sweet as the cereals from the store.

I have since been making our granola myself, in different varieties. Apart from the fact that those granolas are a lot healthier than those from the stores, for me this has the additional advantage that I can create a granola that I myself can eat without problems. For example, most recipes bind the dry ingredients with maple syrup or honey. I use rice syrup instead. I also omit dried fruit and use more nuts instead. The granola thus does not contain a lot of fructose and is okay for me.

This variety is a crunchy mixture of flakes and nuts.

Müsli mit Nüssen 1

Granola mit Nüssen 2

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup (100 g) rolled oats
1 ¼ cup (100 g) spelt flakes
½ cup (90 g) oat bran
½ cup (55 g) almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup (65 g) walnuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup (65 g) hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup coconut flakes
1-2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

For the more or less fructose-free variety:
½ cup (120 ml) rice syrup

For the variety containing fructose:
½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C).

Cover a baking sheet with baking paper.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the coconut flakes.

Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the coconut flakes and bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove the granola from the oven and let it cool down.

Store in an airtight container.

 Granola mit Nüssen 3

Adapted from:

http://call-me-cupcake.blogspot.co.at

Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Topping

Cupcakes, Recipes

What can I say about this recipe? This is the most delicious cupcake I have ever had. Honestly.

Schokocupcakes 1

Unfortunately, this cupcake has two downsides. Downside number 1 are the calories. As you will see when looking at the ingredients, the topping contains an unbelievable amount of chocolate. This makes sure that the cupcakes taste incredible, but unfortunately it also makes them contain a lot of calories. Since I do not eat such super-rich cupcakes every day, though, this is okay for me.

The sponge makes up for all the chocolate a little bit. It contains cocoa powder and even whole-grain spelt flour. That means it is almost healthy, isn´t it?

The second downside is the fact that such a lot of high quality lactose-free chocolate is very expensive. I therefore use a mixture of cheaper lactose-free chocolate, e.g. Bensdorp Kochschokolade 42% or Manner Schokolade 70%, and more expensive lactose-free chocolate as e.g. Lindt or Merci. This time I used about 150 g Bensdorp Kochschokolade and about 300 g Merci chocolate.

Schokocupcakes 5

Ingredients:
Sponge:
40 ml sunflower oil
1 ¼ sticks (140 g) butter, softened
1 ½ cup (180 g) powdered sugar
2 eggs
⅓ cup (40 g) cocoa powder
90 ml boiling water
1 ½ cup (150 g) wholemeal spelt flour
2 TL baking powder
1 pinch salt

Topping:
1 ¼ cup (285 ml) whipping cream
2 tbsp. butter
16.4 oz. (465 g) dark chocolate, lactose-free
7 oz. (200 g) mascarpone, lactose-free

Prepare the ganache for the topping the day before you make the cupcakes:
Chop the chocolate into really small pieces.

In a small pot, bring the whipping cream to a boil. Immediately remove the pot from the oven.

Stir the chopped chocolate and the 2 tbsp. butter into the whipping cream until smooth.

Mix this ganache with an immersion blender for 3 minutes.

Chill the ganache in a cool place overnight. Not in the fridge – it will be too cold! If you do not have a cool place, keep the pot with the ganache in the kitchen and put it into the fridge one hour before you finish making the topping.

The next day, prepare the sponge:
Preheat the oven to 355° F (180° C).

Put 12 cupcake liners into a muffin baking tray. I have a standard muffin baking tray of the sort you can buy in Austrian stores. As far as I know, professional muffin baking trays are a bit deeper. With my tray, the batter made 15 cupcakes. Depending on your muffin baking tray, it might be a good idea to prepare an additional one, just in case.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

Melt sunflower oil, butter and powdered sugar in a double boiler and stir well.

Beat the eggs with a hand mixer at maximum speed for about 40 seconds until fluffy.

Stir the eggs into the butter-mixture.

Dissolve the cocoa powder in the boiling water. You will get a kind of cocoa paste. Stir it into the eggs-butter-mixture immediately.

Add the flour mixture and stir until the ingredients have combined. The batter will be very soft, almost liquid.

Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, each ¾ full.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. They will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Take the muffin baking tray out of the oven and let the cupcakes cool.

Schokocupcakes 3

Finishing:
Beat the ganache with the hand mixer for 30 seconds at maximum speed. If the ganache is rather soft, put it into the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Add the mascarpone to the ganache. Beat for 10 seconds at high speed.

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 any way you wish.

 Schokocupcakes 4

Adapted from: Gruber, R. (2013, 2. Aufl.), 130 g Liebe. Wien: Christian Brandstätter Verlag.

Peace Pastry (“Versöhnungsstangerl”)

Other, Recipes

It is really hard to find an English equivalent for the German word “Versöhnungsstangerl”. Reconciliation Sticks? Appeasement Strips? I went for Peace Pastry. I think it is closest to what the German name wants to express.

I do not know how the pastry got its name. Maybe because the pastry tastes so good that you will forget about any fights and arguments when you have one? Or maybe because the wife would serve them to her husband if she wanted to apologize for whatever she did wrong? I have no idea. Whenever I make them, we keep wondering and guessing.

Versöhnungsstangerl 6

I discovered the recipe in the Sacher baking book many years ago. I cannot remember anymore why I tried it. The recipe looked so simple and not spectacular at all. There was also no picture. I assume I just had all the ingredients at home and felt like trying something new.

It was definitely worth the try. This pastry is really easy and quick to prepare, and the result is heavenly. You could really forget about arguing when eating them!

Versöhnungsstangerl 7

Ingredients:
Dough:
10 oz. (270 g) puff pastry, lactose-free (e.g. “Tante Fanny´s Blätterteig”)

Filling:
3.5 oz. (100 g) marzipan paste
2 tbsp. rum or 2 tbsp. milk, lactose-free
1 egg
1 ½ cup (150 g) ground hazelnuts

Additionally:
2 egg yolks
½ cup (50 g) ground (or chopped) hazelnuts
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).

Put baking paper on two baking sheets.

About ten minutes before you start baking, take the puff pastry out of the package. It will thus get a bit softer and easier to handle.

Roll the pastry into a rectangle.

Cut the marzipan paste into small pieces. Add the rum or the milk and beat with a hand mixer or a kitchen machine until smooth. There might still be small lumps of marzipan, but do not worry about those. It is not really a problem.

Add the egg and beat it in well.

Add the ground hazelnuts.

Spread the nut mixture on the lower half of the puff pastry rectangle. Fold the upper half over the lower half. Go over the pastry dough with a rolling pin once.

Versöhnungsstangerl 1Versöhnungsstangerl 2

Cut the pastry dough into strips of a bit more than half an inch. Twist each strip twice and put them onto the baking sheets.

Versöhnungsstangerl 4

Chill in a cold place for about 20 minutes, if you have the time for it. I usually skip this step.

Whisk the egg yolks. Brush the pastry strips with the whisked yolks. Sprinkle the strips with the ground (or chopped) hazelnuts.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy. The pastry tastes warm as well as cold.

Versöhnungsstangerl 5

Comment 1:
I have also tried baking the Peace Pastry with walnuts, which I usually like better than hazelnuts. I would not recommend it. With walnuts, the pastry does not get as crunchy and crispy as with hazelnuts. I definitely prefer the hazelnut version.

Comment 2:
This recipe will make about 20 pieces of pastry. If I have friends over, I usually make the double amount. The pastry is so light and good that people usually have at least three to four pieces. 20 pieces will rather not be enough if there are more than five people.

Adapted from: Kellermann, M. (1994), Das große Sacher Kochbuch. Weyarn: Seehamer Verlag GmbH.