Monday, December 29, 2014

Almond Marble Cake

Food allergies are very annoying and yet becoming more and more common in the Western world. Having a peanut allergy myself, I know how careful one has to be when choosing food. Over the last years, many of my friends have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. As I am a passionate baker, I was looking for delicious recipes all over the Internet in order to prepare yummy alternatives for my guests when hosting a dinner party. I have to admit that at the beginning I was a bit lost because many websites just suggest preparing fruit salads instead. But when everyone eats cake, gluten intolerant people, who most of the time used to eat cake before, don't want to be consoled with a less appealing dish. 

But while considering the topic, I realised that gluten-containing foods are unfortunately used for many deserts. This means that even though you don't necessarily prepare cake, many deserts still contain gluten. To date I observe that also most bakeries do not really deal with the situation and the concerned persons are left out when the sweetmeats are put on the desert tables. Some countries are already one step ahead indeed, like Germany for instance, where in many bakeries you can already order your favourite cake in gluten free. I hope this inspires the neighbouring countries as well.  

For one loaf you need:

4 eggs
200g sugar
200g powdered almonds
5 drops almond extract
50g butter
25 cocoa powder
30g chocolate spread

Preheat the oven to 180°

Whisk together the eggs and the sugar on full speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered almonds and the almond extract. Then add the butter and mix until you get homogeneous batter.  

Separate the batter in two halves. Add the chocolate spread and the cocoa powder to one.

Fill the cake mold with the help of two ladles (or normal tablespoons, depending on the pattern you want to get) altering the white and chocolate batter. When both batters are gone, take a fork, put it into the dough at one end of the mold and push it to the other end. Now you got the final swirl.

Bake for 45 minutes.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014


There are some foods, when you think of them, a whole scenario is launched in your head, and a wonderful journey is starting. Spritzgebäck is one of them. When I think Spritzgebäck, I think about snow, about mountains, about a cozy spot with a fireplace, where people are sitting together, drinking hot chocolate or coffee. And I feel it's Christmas time. Christmas time is a wonderful time I find. When people take the time to sit with their families and friends to enjoy the little culinary wonders of the season and just let the magic happen. Over here, it is also very common to gather with family or friends and bake for the whole day. I used to do that a lot with my friends when I was a student and great memories were created, which will make us smile for a long time. 

Spritzgebäck is specifically known in Germany or Austria, and figure among the all-time classics and are considered one of the best Christmas cookies. When I was younger, my family used to go to Austria for Christmas, and my parents always bought them to accompany the Christmas coffee. Years before, my grandfather even made them himself. There was a small gap between generations, but here I am, baking them again. And for now, still determined to continue, because they are just so delicious. You can have them with or without chocolate, make cookie sandwiched with a little bit of jam in between or even a chocolate ganache and enjoy them. The good thing is, you can bake loads of them, and if they survive the first tastings, keep them the whole advent season. 

For around 25 cookies you need:

300g butter
260g icing sugar
150 ml milk
130g cornstarch
1 pinch of salt
500g flour
125g good quality dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180°

In a bowl, whisk together the butter, icing sugar and cornstarch. Add the milk and a pinch of salt. Then mix again. Now pour in the flour gradually. Knead the dough for a few seconds, then put the batter into a piping bag with a medium-sized star nozzle and press little S shapes or circles on a baking sheet. 

Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown.

While the cookies are cooling down, prepare the chocolate coating. Melt the chocolate bain-marie style and dip 1/3 of the cookies and place them on a cooling tray. 


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hazelnut Raspberry Thumbprints

End of the year, here we come! 

Even though the end of the year awakes magic memories, it's also the busiest time when it comes to work. Nevertheless, I guess the sparkle has reached most of you and the ovens are running on full speed. For me it was only a few days ago that I found the time to let the magic happen. On Thursday night I came back straight from work, and grabbed two old recipes of lovely Christmas cookies. The recipe was warmly welcomed and devoured by my colleagues, who were lucky enough to not have gone on holiday too early. 

So now I'm back, just on time, to start my baking marathon and share with you some of my favorite Christmas recipes. I am glad I could make it; because enriching one's festive baking library is something I always love while blogging around Christmas. This special recipe also proves that not every single festive cookie has to have cinnamon in it. The nutty and fruity combination definitely made its way up into my top 5 of Christmas cookies. This jammy treat is a traditional German recipe and a so-called incontournable. When used in the French language, it really expresses that there is just no way of getting around it. 

For around 20 cookies you need:

120g butter
110g sugar
1 egg 
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g flour
1 pinch of salt
120 finely chopped hazelnuts
raspberry jam

In a large bowl whisk together the butter and 100g of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed of your mixer and gradually add the flour and a pinch of salt. 

Wrap the dough into cling film and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 160°.

In a small bowl mix the hazelnuts and the remaining sugar. 

Using your hands, roll the dough into 3 cm large balls. Dip them in the egg white, rolling them in order to cover the balls completely. Then, dip the balls into the chopped hazelnuts, coating completely. Place the dough balls on a baking sheet. Using your thumb, gently press the center of each cookie in to form a central well.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and gently press down the centers of the cookies again. Return them to the oven and continue baking them for another 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Once, taken out of the oven, let them cool for a few seconds on a wire rack.

With a teaspoon now scoop the jam into the center of each cookie.


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