Monday, June 22, 2015

Vote!

Recent Bakings...

To start off another baking poll,
here's an update on the things I've been baking lately:


World's Best M&M Cookies

Only I substituted the M&M's for chocolate chips. Still as delicious.
Good thing I gave them away, knowing me I would have wolved down the whole plate.
Self-control is a thing of the past I'm afraid.



Speaking of lacking self-control... I ate 5 out of the 6 ramekins I made of these apple crips...
Whoops!


Apple Crisp


And you have the power to add to my 'To-Eat' list by voting in the poll (above).
Merci!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Happy June! Spring Fruit Pavlova

Spring Fruit Pavlova


I started thinking to myself - "I'd better make the poll's winner now before Spring's over!" Spring fruit leaves much to the imagination to which fruit you could use. I chose strawberries and red berries, because I love those two on a pavlova. A pavlova requires very few ingredients, but lots of patience, as the baking time is usually around 1,5-2 hours on a very low heat. I don't mind it though. I whip up the egg whites in the early afternoon, put it in the oven, get on with my business, and in the late afternoon decorate the pavlova, and serve it for dessert. It's always a crowd pleaser!

Taste: 4.5 out of 5
Consistency: 3.5 out of 5
Overall appeal: 4.5 out of 5


Spring Fruit Pavlova




Spring Fruit Pavlova: Martha Stewart - Baking Handbook

Ingredients:
- 2 large egg whites (I used 3 medium egg whites)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 3 large strawberries (or more if you like), sliced in half

Instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw 6 circles of approximately 4 inches on the parchment-line baking sheet; set aside.
- Whisk the egg whites with the salt on high speed until they’re holding firm peaks but are not stiff. Gently add in the sugar, spoonful after spoonful, still beating, until you’ve got a bowl of gleaming, satiny, snowy meringue. Add a few drops of vanilla and fold in to combine.
- Using a large spoon, scoop six fluffy mounds of meringue onto the prepared baking sheet. Using the back of the spoon, form a well in the center of each mound, being careful not to make the meringue too thin in the center.
- Bake until just dry to the touch but still white in color, about 1 ½ hours. Transfer sheet to a wire rack and let meringues cool completely before carefully easing them off the parchment. Meringues can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
- When ready to serve, whip cream until it holds firm peaks and add the confectioners' sugar. Divide whipped cream among meringues, dolloping it in the wells. Garnish with fruit.
- Side note: Meringues are baked on very low heat so they stay perfectly white. It’s a good idea to check them periodically to make sure they don’t take on color. To test if the meringues are done, try lifting one off the parchment – if it comes away easily, it is ready; if not, continue baking , checking every five minutes. Moisture will cause meringues to soften, so avoid making them on particularly humid days.


Spring Fruit Pavlova

Vote!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Brown Sugar Pound Cake


Well, I keep on planning on baking the poll winner, which is by a very large margin the Spring Fruit Pavlova, but the weather is so dissappointing here in the Netherlands that I'm not in the mood for such a Summery dessert yet. I feel like we haven't had any glimpse of Summer yet, or for that matter even Spring is hard to find. As I am typing this, it is actually raining hail. I'm hoping the weather will clear up next week for my pavlova, but in the meanwhile I want to show you this brown sugar pound cake I made.

There's always an upside; weather like this is perfect for baking a pound cake. I spotted this recipe years ago when I first openend Martha Stewart's 'Baking Handbook'. And I can't believe it actually took me so long to finally make it. I love pound cake, and Lord knows I love sugar. This recipe uses brown sugar only - no white sugar at all. I definitely gives the pound cake a different taste. A more praline/caramel/salted-kind of taste (hard to describe). The pound cake was gone before I even noticed confirming its success!

Taste: 5- out of 5.
Moistness: 5 out of 5.
Overall appeal: 5- out of 5.




Brown Sugar Pound Cake: Martha Stewart - Baking Handbook

Ingredients: this will yield 2 pound cakes
◾ 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
◾ 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
◾ 2 teaspoons baking powder
◾ 1/2 teaspoon salt
◾ 2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
◾ 5 large eggs
◾ 3/4 cup buttermilk

Instructions:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch loaf pans (or up to six 5-3/4 by 3-1/4 inch miniloaves); set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined.
- Add the reserved flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula.
- Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean – about 1 hour (or 45 minutes if you are using miniloaves). Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cakes onto the rack to cool completely. Cakes can be kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, for up to 3 days.



Let's all just pretend that this is a very artsy, rustic photograph -
and not a quick iPhone picture taken before rushing off to work. :)

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Friday, May 8, 2015

Other Eats in London

Krispy Kreme

I do not apologize for this picture.

The picture is a bit messy, sloppy, raw, un-edited.
I just couldn't wait to eat wolf down these Krispy Kreme donuts.
Why other European Countries don't have Krispy Kreme is beyond me.
So for a donut-lover like myself, this was an actual highlight from my London trip.


And for a bit more sophistication, I ate breakfast at Caffé Concerto,
which has several locations in London, with an impressive pastry counter.

Caffé Concerto

Caffé Concerto


And last, but not least... the dessert from my first day in London,
a chocolate hazelnut cheesecake :)

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake


Have a lovely week everyone!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Laduree, Harrods in London

'Ello!

I was for a short trip (4 days) in lovely London, which felt like way too short of a trip to see the city properly. But I managed to visit Ladurée, as I feel like as a pastry-admirer I should always stop at Ladurée. Already having checked off every Ladurée location in Paris, this is my first non-French Ladurée location. And which lovelier setting could I possibly imagine than having Ladurée next to Chanel, Rolex, and Fendi in Harrods department store?!

Harrods

Ladurée, Harrods


I was in desperate need for chocolate after hiking up 7 floors of shopping heaven, so I ordered a hot chocolate, which is more like a molten bar of heavenly chocolate. If you remember, I made the recipe for Ladurée's hot chocolate a while ago, see here.

Ladurée, Harrods


Dorie Greenspan writes in her book Paris Sweets: "Whenever friends ask for a list of things they should do in Paris, I always tell them they must go to Ladurée for hot chocolate – it is one of the delights of being in the city. Chocolat chaud made in the Ladurée style is unabashedly rich, luxuriously thick, textbook smooth, and the kind of delicious that forces you to stop all reasonable conversation so you can sip and murmur, “Mmmmm.”"

Next to the chocolate chaud, I ordered a Ladurée favorite of mine - the St. Honoré Rose Framboise. I previously ordered a Saint Honoré Rose Framboise when I went on vacation in Paris during a Summer. Rose-flavours, whipped cream, and a rapsberry filling skyrockets this dessert into my all-time favorite pastries.

Ladurée, Harrods

Ladurée, Harrods


All in all, another wonderful visit to Ladurée.


Ladurée, Harrods


Baking the poll winner very soon - looks like it's going to be the Spring Pavlova!

Love,
Daniëlle



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

No Bake S'Mores Cheesecake

No-Bake S'Mores Cheesecakr


That's right. Those are letter-shaped Graham crackers. I got them at Ikea, oddly enough. Paired with Milka chocolates, makes this a very European cheesecake! Inspired by the American phenomenon s'mores. The cheesecake consists of a cookie base, no-bake cream cheese filling and a marshmallow fluff topping. Added with chocolate and cookie bits on top.

This cheesecake is a stroke of genius, because it combines all of those delicious ingredients you can't get enough of. Really the ultimate dessert! And because it's a no-bake cheesecake, the filling isn't too heavy to eat after a hefty dinner. But then again. don't be fooled by thinking it's a light on calories kind of dessert!

Taste: 5 out of 5.
Consistency: 4 out of 5.
Overall appeal: 4.5 out of 5.


No-Bake S'Mores Cheesecakr




No-Bake S'Mores Cheesecake: inspired by Nigella's cherry cheesecake.

Ingredients:
- 1 ¼  cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3/4 stick (75g) soft unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup double cream
- 10 ounces (300g) cream cheese at room temperature
- ½ cup confectionars' sugar
- 12 Hershey's chocolate mini bars

Instructions:
- Blitz the biscuits in a food processor (I don't own food processor, so I used a blender which worked really well) until beginning to turn to crumbs, then add the butter and whiz again to make the mixture clump.
- Press this mixture into a 8-inch (20cm) springform tin; press a little up the sides to form a slight ridge.
- Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth.
- Lightly whip the double cream, and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
- Spoon the cheesecake filling on top of the biscuit base and smooth with a spatula. Put it in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
- In the meanwhile you can make the marshmallow fluff frosting, see recipe below.
- Top the marshmallow fluff on the cheesecake base and decorate cheesecake with chocolate bits.


Marshmallow Frosting:

Ingredients:
- 2 large egg whites
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- ½ tbsp light corn syrup
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:
- In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and salt.
- Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the mixture until it is very warm and soft (but not dry) peaks form, about 4 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer to low and add the vanilla. Continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth, about 2 minutes more. Use right away. Toast them with a creme brulee torch if desired.


By the way, happy Easter!
This was my Easter table at home.

Easter Table


I'm just going to throw this question out there... does anyone know a good widget to put on a blog/website
to make recipes print easier? Thanks!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Vote!


Vote For What I Should Bake Next

No Bake S'Mores Cheesecake
Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
Easter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Poll Maker

Nutella - Banana Oat Muffins

Nutella - Banana Oat Muffins


I'm sure you expected a decorative Easter-themed post from me, but I couldn't resist whipping up these babies after I spotted the recipe on Pinterest. What's lovelier to bake in the morning than muffins? Nutella muffins! I ordered a Nutella cake for a co-worker of mine, who is the biggest Nutella-lover I know, and I gave me an idea to incorporate Nutella into the muffins. Along with two ripe bananas I had left, and some oats, these were the fabulous ingredients for these muffins. I baked them and stuffed 3 immediately into my mouth, leaving just enough muffins to be photographed :P! Rating: 5- out of 5.


Nutella - Banana Oat Muffins





Nutella Banana Oat Muffins: Chef in Training

Ingredients:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 bananas, mashed
- Nutella

Instructions:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until ingredients are well combined.
- In a large bowl, beat egg. Add milk, oil, vanilla and mashed bananas. Sir to mix ingredients until well combined.
- Add flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until ingredients are incorporated, do no over stir.
- Line a 12 muffin pan with 12 muffin tins or spray muffin tin generously with cooking spray.
- Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin tins.
- Add a teaspoon of Nutella to the top of each muffin and gently cut Nutella into batter with a knife or toothpick to produce pretty swirls.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


The Nutella cake I ordered for my Nutella-loving co-worker.

Nutella Cake

It was a good as it looks!