Let me take you to a
delicious culinary journey

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Alfajores


Alfajores are South American cookies filled with milk jam which they call Dulce de Leche. This delicous cookie can trace its origins back to Spain. However, with the exchanges of tradtitions and products, the south Americans developped their very own versions of Alfajores. For example whereas in the south the recipe is very similar to this one, in the north they bake it with only cornmeal and replace the dulce de leche with melasses. They say that there exist more than 15 variations of the once Spanish version of Alfajores.


For me it was the first time I tried a South American recipe. I never tried Dulce de Leche before and I have to admit that it's surprisingly yummy. Here in Europe they call it milk jam, and I was always a bit sceptical towards this product. But now I see, there was no reason to it. The combination of the crunchy not too sweet cookies and the milk jam with a small note of coconut make a complete and nice-tasting exotic cookie.

























Even though I used to prepare all kind of desserts and dishes, somehow my favorite recipes always end up to be cookie recipes. Maybe it's due to all the good memories I have of cookie-baking. For 3 or 4 years now I have gathered with my friends before Christmas and baked tons of cookies. This year, we also prepared a large range, but they were so much appreciated by friends and family, that I didn't even have the time to take pictures.  Next year I have either to be faster, or hide them better from their fans. 

 























For around 30 cookies you need:

100g butter
75g sugar
1 egg + 2 egg yolks 
130g flour
130g cornmeal (type Maïzena)
1ts baking powder

200g Dulce de Leche (milk jam)
50g coconut powder


Preheat the oven to 180°

In a large bowl whisk together the butter and the sugar until you get a creamy dough. Add the egg and the egg yolks. Then add the flour, cornmeal and the baking powder. Mix again and when you see that you need a little more flour, add the same quantity of flour and cornmeal. 

Roll out the dough on the work surface and cut the cookies out with a cookie cutter. The dough shouldn't be thicker than 3mm. Place the cookies on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until they get golden brown.

Spread the Dulce de Leche on one cookie and top with another. Then roll them in coconut powder.

Enjoy!!!!



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Little Prince Cookies


This is definitely like traveling back in time. In this part of Europe, the little prince’s cookie is a childhood classic and I guess everyone reading this article will have childhood memories popping up in his mind. If for breakfast, the 10 o’clock break at school, or a milk and cookies session among friends, most of us do remember this cookie.

 


I remember, when I grew older and started traveling with school or participated in sports weeks, my mom always packed some little prince cookies for me. So even now, almost 15 years later, this cookie is related to primary school or traveling. Thinking of the cookie is like starting a diashow of childhood memories.

 

Recently, I discovered the recipe of the homemade version in one of my cookbooks and I decided that after the homemade oreos’ success I’d try these. And this is the outcome. I have to say I am satisfied with the result. For the chocolate ganache it is very important that you take chocolate of good quality. For me Côte d’Or is the one and only chocolate when it comes to preparing a ganache, especially the milk chocolate.


For 10 Cookies you need:

140g flour
50g sugar
60g salted butter
6cl liquid cream
1ts vanilla extract
1 egg yolk

For the Ganache: 

200g milk chocolate
8cl liquid cream


Preheat the oven to 180C°

Cut the butter into little pieces. Add the flour and the sugar and mix until the dough looks like breadcrumbs. Now you can add the liquid cream and the vanilla extract and mix again until you get an even dough. Put the dough into the fridge for 30min.

Roll out the dough on the work surface and cut the cookies out with a cookie cutter. The dough shouldn't be thicker than 2-3mm. Place the cookies on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until they get golden brown.

*******

Cut the milk chocolate into little pieces and melt it in a sauce pan with the liquid cream. Mix until you get a thick cream. 

*******

Spread the ganache on one cookie and top with another. 

Enjoy!!!!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vanilla Whoopies with Chocolate Spread


It's time for something new!! While browsing other foodblogs or online shops to buy new recipe books I got really curious what these Whoopie Pies (Whoopies) really are. Some look very sophisticated, others funny. At the beginning I thought they were just a variation of the famous Macaroons, but the dough is completely different.

























Originally, Whoopie Pies were made out of chocolate cake, gingerbread or pumpkin cake with a sweet and soft creamy filling or frosting. However this recipe makes me think more of a very soft cookie dough. Depending on what dough you take, you can also shape them with a decorating bag. For this time, I used cookie cutters. 


Depending on the size you can serve them with a coffee, or as I did, because my cookie cutters were just so big, make an entire dessert out of it. The vanilla dough allows you to take almost whatever filling or icing you want. The recipe suggests chocolate spread, but I also tried it with Speculoos spread and raspberry jam. Depending on how big they are, and for what purpose you want to serve them, you can vary between the different fillings.


For 25 whoopie pies you need:

Dough

500g flour
1 bag of baking powder
3 eggs 
150g sugar
125g soft butter
2 bags vanilla sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Filling and Decoration

1 jar of chocolate spread
black melted chocolate
sugar hearts (or other sugar decoration)


Preheat the oven to 170C°

In a middle-sized bowl whisk together the flour and the baking powder. Add the eggs, the sugar and the butter. Mix the ingredients with your hands. Now add the vanilla sugar and the vanilla extract.

Roll out the dough on the work surface and cut the cookies out with a cookie cutter. Place the cookies on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until they get golden brown. Let them cool down before you start decorating. 

******

Put the chocolate spread into a decorating bag. Put the spread on the inner side of a cookie. Take another cookie and decorate it with the melted chocolate and the sugar hearts. Now put the two halves together. 

Enjoy!!!!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Coconut Berry Cake


After a small summer break, I am back in my kitchen trying new recipes. This summer was all about eating. It was not the plan at the beginning, but it ended up like that. It started with our holidays in Croatia, where we were spoilt with delicious sea food and loads of ice cream. Heading to the south of France I was back to fine cuisine and last but not least, being back in Belgrade brought me back to a wide range of lovely desserts. But during all this time, I was not the one to prepare the food. I liked the fact that I was enjoying what others prepared or what we simply ordered in pastry shops. 


But only a few seconds after having arrived back home the question " What to prepare next" popped already up in my head. I love berries. So I was looking for something new, something I have never tried before. And then I found the Coconut Berry cake. I have to say this cake is an all-rounder. You could easily enjoy it for breakfast. It's not too sweet yet very fruity or in the afternoon with a nice cup of coffee. The perfect cake to bring along when you're invited for coffee I guess. 


The coconut might scare some of you off, but really it's only a fine coconut note and no intense coconut taste. It's just how it should be. As you might have noticed I am totally satisfied with the result. I will definitely bake it again, and maybe even change the fruits. I will let you know what the result is. I was thinking about peaches or nectarines. Maybe even Mango. It seems as if there were a lot of variations to try. 


























For 8 servings you need:

80g butter
 big eggs
20 cl coconut milk
250g flour
1 bag baking powder
120g sugar
150 berry mix



preheat the oven to 180°C

Melt the butter in a saucepan. In a middle-sized bowl whisk together the eggs and the coconut milk. Add the flour, the baking soda, the sugar and the melted butter and mix until you get an even dough. Finally add the berries and mix again. 

Put the dough into a cake pan and let it bake for 50 min. 

Let the cake cool down before you take it out of the pan.

Enjoy!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Rocket Leek Tart with a Touch of Parmesan

Time for something savory again!



Home sweet home indeed! I'm back to my growing library and today I found this little recipe for a nice savory tart! I have to admit that I was quite excited preparing this tart, because it's one of the first times that I prepare the dough by myself. I also really like the rectangular base, it changes a bit from the round ones and I find it gives the tart a little something. For the shooting however I had the impression that it was a bit more difficult to get a nice composition.


I took a lot of cookbooks to Belgrade, but most of them convinced me with their lovely desserts and not with their savory dishes. But well.. at some point there is enough sugar and you need something salty. Since I've not done a lot of savory tarts in my life so far, it was a nice challenge for me. I can say that I am satisfied with the result, but next time, I'll do some minor changes with the rocket-leek mix. I will definitely add some pine nuts, because they go very well with the rocket salad. And for the salt lovers among you I highly recommend to add some salt. For me it's not so much of a problem, I'm not a huge fan, but I can imagine that for others something might be missing.


The good thing about savory tarts is that you can enjoy them in summer and in winter. And even if the weather doesn't really know whether to spoil us with sun and heat or to upset us with rain and cold, you can always enjoy a savory tart. This one is quite light, so ideal for summer.





















               



I'd say rocket salad is one of my favorite salads because of it's unique taste. It's spicy and adds a certain something to your salads or dishes. The italians for example add rocket salad to their beef filets when they serve it as a Tagliata. The French like to serve them with Roquefort, pine nuts and strawberries. There are a lot of combinations, but the rocket salad-leek one convinced me in particular.

























For 4-6 servings you need:

Dough:

185g flour
125g butter cut into small cubes
1-2 tbs cold water

Filling:

150g rocket salad
1 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 white portion of the leek
2 eggs
125 ml milk
125 ml cream

decoration:

parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 210°

For the dough:

Put the flour into a middle-sized bowl. Cut the butter into little cubes and mix with the flour. Mix with your hands until it looks like little bread crumbs. Add the cold water (really cold water!) and mix again. Now start kneading the dough (still with your hands!) for around 20 seconds until it gets very soft. Form a little ball out of it, wrap it into cling film and refrigerate it for 30min.


For the filling:

In a large frying pan heat the oil, add the 2 crushed garlic cloves and the chopped white portion of the leek. Brown them for 5 minutes. Then add the rocket salad and cook it for one more minute. 


Let the filling cool down until it's time to get started with the tart. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out. Now transfer it to your tart base. I used a rectangular one and it's a bit more difficult to get it into the base, but don't worry it's absolutely manageable. The easiest way is to take baking paper and to transfer it like that. Cover the dough with baking paper and put it into the oven for 10 minutes. Afterwards remove the baking paper and bake for another 5 minutes.

Now it's time to put it all together. Take the rocket leek mixture and put it onto your dough. In a small bowl whisk the eggs, the cream and the milk together. Pour this mixture over your vegetables and put the tart into the oven. The temperature needed for the baking of the tart as a whole is only 180°

Bake for 50 minutes in the oven.

Now you can put some parmesan pieces on the hot tart, they will melt and add an additional flavor to your tart.

Enjoy!!! 









Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chocolate - Speculoos Cupcakes

Spartacus by Chloé S.


It's been a while since I last posted on my foodblog. This is not due to a lack of motivation, but I was traveling a lot during my last month in Belgrade. Moreover the extreme heat in general and the high temperatures in my flat, didn't motivate me to put something into the oven. As our air conditioner couldn't handle the natural heat I didn't really dare to test its competences with artificial heat. But now I am back in Luxembourg, home sweet cold home!

























My love for cupcakes started when I went to see a good friend in Paris back in 2010. She really loves cupcakes too and took me to that lovely little cupcake place near Pigale called Chloé S. As pink is one of my favorite colors I liked the place immediately. From the counter to the cutlery everything is pink. It's a really cosy place and the staff is really friendly. You can also buy cupcake accessories in the shop.
Chloé S. has become really successful with her little cupcake shop. She published her first book in March 2012 and I couldn't wait to buy it.

This is only the first cupcake recipe of a long long long long series!!

               























For 20 cupcakes you need :

140g flour
6 eggs
1/2 bag baking powder
160g sugar
400g dark chocolate
240g butter
1 jar of speculoos spread


For the icing you need:

250g soft butter
3 tbs icing sugar
1 tbs speculoos spread
5 speculoos biscuits



Preheat the oven to 165°

Dough:

In a middle-sized bowl whisk together the flour and the baking powder. In a large bowl beat the eggs and add the sugar. Melt the chocolate over a hot water bath, then add it to the eggs and sugar mixture. Mix the three ingredients very well and add the butter. Finally add the flour & baking powder mix.


Place the paper muffin cups into the mold and add 1tbs of dough. Then add a tsp of speculoos spread onto the dough and fill the muffin cup 3/4 full with chocolate dough again. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes.


Icing:

Mix the soft butter and the icing sugar until you get an even mixture. Then add the speculoos spread and mix again. Fill this mixture into a pastry bag and start decorating your cupcakes. Place a piece of speculoos biscuit on top of every cupcake.

Enjoy!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cherry Clafoutis

Ladies and Gentlemen, the summer season is officially opened!


Lucky us! Since two weeks we've been spoilt with beautiful weather! The sunny days are back, and Belgrade has come alive again. The terraces are crowded and the markets offer their tastiest fruits. You can't be but in a great mood walking around the city and smelling summer wherever you go. Even the "beaches" reopened and people gather at the Ada lake or at the shores of Sava and the Danube. 


During these days I've been walking around a lot, and wherever I was looking, people were enjoying fruit desserts. So I thought, time has really come to make some fruit dessert by myself. For my clafoutis I wanted some contrast. That's why I chose the sour cherries to make it. I didn't have sour cherries in a while, but not later than two weeks ago I re-tried this lovely ice cup at my favorite coffee shop here in Belgrade. This cup unites sweet vanilla ice-cream, chocolate pudding and sour cherries. I really enjoyed this cup, so I thought it might be a good idea to reproduce a sweet-sour combination. I can say, I'm satisfied with the outcome.


























This was the first time I actually ate clafoutis. I've lived in France for more than 4 years and never tried any clafoutis. (I guess this is due to my favorite french dessert : Moelleux au chocolat (Chocolate Lava Cake)). I will try to make some more clafoutis, most probably with strawberries or raspberries. I will comment on this post, letting you know if they can top the cherries!

I tried the recipe in two different kind of molds. One rectangular shaped tart form, and (to portion and bring to work) the muffin form. Personally I am more satisfied with the first option, but according to those who tried both, the difference is insignificant! So, for those who like even and smaller portions, I recommend you to use the muffin form. 



For 8 servings you need:

500g cherries
100g flour
2 large eggs
80g sugar
30cl milk
20cl liquid cream

Preheat the oven to 210°

Wash the cherries, remove the stems and pits and spread them on the bottom of your mold. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, the sugar and the eggs. Add the milk and the liquid cream and mix until you get an even dough. Pour the dough onto the cherries and bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!!!



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Apple Oatmeal Muffins with a Touch of Almonds


Mmmmh.... :)


I just realized it's been a while since my last blogpost! I've been quite busy over the last month, and actually wasn't that much in town. From Beirut to Skopje to Sarajevo and back. Unfortunately, spending much time in transportation, didn't really leave me much time for baking or cooking. However on this sunny morning I was preparing some food for the upcoming week and I thought would be great to have nice desserts to bring to work. And these lovely little apple muffins are the outcome. As you might notice, again, the oats made it into a new recipe. I think I have to face it, I'm about to become a huge fan of these tiny flakes!!! 




For 10 muffins:

1 medium apple
10 g crushed roasted almonds
30g oat flakes
60g brown sugar
1 package vanilla sugar
100g flour
1 ts baking powder
1 egg
6cl milk
50g melted butter



Preheat the oven to 180°

Cut the apple into small cubes.

In a small bowl mix the butter, the egg and the milk until you get an even mixture. In a large bowl whisk the flour, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, baking powder, crushed almonds and the oat flakes. Add the liquid mixture and mix until you get an even dough. Now add the apple cubes and mix again. Put the mix into muffin cups and put them into the oven.

Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes

Enjoy!!!


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