Monthly Archives: August 2014

malted chocolate chip blondies

I actually really want to start baking at least one thing from each of my cookbooks, but I come across so many interesting recipes online, that I can rarely decide which recipe to try first! This recipe posted by Brown Eyed Baker actually was the perfect solution – it’s a recipe from a book that I own too, Baked’s “New Frontiers in Baking” cookbook. I think there’s only one recipe I’ve tried so far from this beautiful book (but many, many times) their upstate cheesecake – so I guess it’s really time to try something else.

So the first thing I did was go out to buy dark brown sugar at the Asian/African supermarket around the corner. They didn’t have any. But they always have malted milk powder, another thing that’s not easy to find in Berlin. Then I went to look for Maltesers (or Whoppers, if you’re in the US) at the one place I had bought them a couple of times over the last year, just to find that they don’t carry them anymore. I bought the next best thing – a bar of malted chocolate by Ovomaltine.

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When I got home a friend called to ask me if I knew where she could buy pure vanilla extract, her usual place wasn’t selling it anymore. So there you have it – three things that are not easy to find in Germany. By the way soft brown sugar and graham crackers are also virtually impossible to find! So if you have any hints, please let me know!

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malted chocolate chip blondies
 
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Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
  • 2⅓ (290g) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 14 tablespoons (200g) butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups (350g) soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (L)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bar Ovomaltine chocolate, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9 by 13 inch (22 x 28cm) baking pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F / 175° C
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and malted milk powder.
  4. In another bowl cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs and the vanilla, and beat again until combined.
  6. Add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  7. Then add the chopped chocolate and beat for maybe 10 seconds.
  8. Spread the batter evenly in the the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Let the pan cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

 

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lemon peach yogurt cake

I choose this recipe because I had a lonely lemon lying around and lots of yogurt in the fridge. And it’s summer, so maybe some fruit is called for once in a while. My cake testers at work were slightly astonished, but they didn’t complain.

This recipe is again adapted loosely from Smitten Kitchen, who in turn adapted it loosely from Ina Garten.

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lemon peach yogurt cake
 
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Author:
Yields: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups + 2 tablespoons (200g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (235ml) plain whole-milk yogurt
  • ½ cup (95g) sugar
  • ½ cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 4 eggs (S)
  • grated zest from 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 peaches, halved
  • ⅓ cup (75ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175 °C.
  2. Grease a 10 inch / 26 cm cake pan and line with parchment paper.
  3. Sift together 1½ cups flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place the peaches in the batter.
  6. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

 

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double chocolate banana bread

Those three bananas that were turning brown in my kitchen just needed to be made to good use, so what to bake if not a banana bread. And with all that chocolate in my cupboards, this double chocolate banana bread just seemed to be the perfect solution. I adapted this recipe from smitten kitchen.

But unfortunately this banana bread did not turn out too great. First I couldn’t get it out of the pan – it fell apart completely – so parchment paper always from now on! And then it was burned at the edges but not quite done in the middle. That’s my wonky oven for you! I tried a piece of the nearly done, but not yet burned bread and it tasted great, so hopefully you’ll have more luck trying this recipe. Maybe you should stick to smitten kitchen’s original recipe…

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double chocolate banana bread
 
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Author:
Yields: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup (115g) butter, melted
  • ¾ cup (150g) light brown sugar
  • 1 egg (L)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55g) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (180g) semisweet and white chocolate, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 14 inch long loaf pan.
  2. Melt the butter and add the bananas and mash them while heating them slightly.
  3. In a bowl whisk the brown sugar, egg and vanilla, then add the banana and butter mixture.
  4. Sift the baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder over the wet ingredients.
  5. Stir with a spoon until just combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out batter-free.
  8. Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack.

 

The very dreary looking banana bread:

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salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies

You might have already guessed which three words stuck out and made me want to bake these cookies… salted, white and chocolate. This recipe is very closely adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who in turn adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated.

Since I was too lazy to really measure the 2 1/2 inches that the cookies should be placed apart on the baking sheet, I just eyeballed it.

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Of course this happened:

 

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But a few did look like cookies after all. And the wobbly cookies tasted just as well…

salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ¾ cup (150g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (190g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (50g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg (L)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (160g) oats
  • 5 ounces (150g) (good-quality) white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt.
  3. In another bowl beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  4. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
  5. Add the flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated.
  6. Then add the oats and the chopped white chocolate and mix until well incorporated.
  7. Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175° C.
  9. Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough between palms into balls, then place the dough on the lined baking sheets about 2½ inches apart.
  10. Press down each ball to about ¾-inch thickness.
  11. Sprinkle two or three flakes of sea salt on each cookie.
  12. Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through.
  13. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.

 

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honey pecan bread

I guess there’s no better time to bake something christmassy than the middle of August – no one expects it… I stumbled across this recipe in a (German) book that I bought a very long time ago called “Basic Baking“. I haven’t baked anything from it in years, because I’ve rarely been very happy with the results, but I thought I could give it another try.

This is a variation of a typical German “Honigkuchen” (Honey Cake), which is quite similar to a Gingerbread cake.

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I made one with and one without pecans.

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Honey Pecan Bread
 
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Author:
Yields: 20
Ingredients
  • 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ pound (250g) honey
  • ½ cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup & 3 tablespoons (100g) ground almonds (or hazelnuts)
  • 1 cup (230ml) buttermilk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (16g) baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 egg
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (115g) chopped pecans (or more)
Instructions
  1. Slightly heat the honey and brown sugar, set aside.
  2. Grease and lightly flour a 13-inch (33cm) baking pan. If you don't want the bread to become too huge you can also use a 13 inch and a 6 inch (15cm) pan.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, lemon zest and cinnamon in a bowl.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° F / 175 °C.
  5. Stir molasses, vanilla extract and egg into the honey mixture until just combined.
  6. Pour the honey over the flour and mix until well combined.
  7. Pour the batter into prepared baking pan(s) and tap the pans gently
  8. on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

 

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d-fusion lattesal

domori

This bar won Silver at the Academy of Chocolate in 2009. Domori is a company based in None, Italy and is devoted to fighting the destruction of premium varieties of cocoa and the rainforest. On their plantation in Venezuela, they grow Criollo beans, which are generally believed to be the highest quality of cocoa beans. Domori was awarded the Palme d’Or at the 2011 Salon du Chocolat in Bologna and is the only Italian company to have won the Best Chocolate Award in the single-origin dark chocolate category every year since 2003.

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This is one of my favourite bars, even though it is not quite as salty as I would like it to be. The chocolate bar is flat, has a good snap and melts incredibly smoothly. It is supposed to have a hint of banana and citrus fruits, but I experienced rather a milky caramel with just hints of salt. I would say that this is one of the milk chocolates that immediately makes you understand the difference between a regular Milka or Cadbury bar and a high quality chocolate bar.

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Ingredienti: Zucchero di canna, burro di cacao, latte intero in polvere, pasta di cacao, sale di Guérande (0,4%). Emulsionante: lecitina di soia. Cacao min. 45%.

Ingredients: Cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole powdered milk, cocoa mass, Guérande salt (0,4%). Emulsifier: soy lecithin. 45% min. cocoa

Zutaten: Rohrzucker, Kakaobutter, Vollmilchpulver, Kakaopaste, Guérande Salz (0,4%), Emulgator: Sojalecithin. Kakao mind. 45%

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This bar is available at various online stores. I bought it in Berlin at Winterfeldt-Schokoladen, a shop in Schöneberg. They also have an online shop. Price approx. €3,50 (25g) to €5,90 (50g).

Images by Axel Lambrette

fleur de sel

GEPA

GEPA is an alternative fair trade organisation based in Wuppertal, Germany. Their chocolates are made without emulsifiers, conched for up to 48 hours, cocoa butter is the only added fat and their wrapping is aluminium free. For their milk chocolate they use organic milk provided by a milk cooperative.

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The bar smells slightly like coffee with milk. It melts nicely and it is sweet, but not overpoweringly so. The salt grains are not evenly distributed, some pieces of chocolate have a burst of salt where you can feel the coarse salt grains, other pieces are just plain milk chocolate. The chocolate itself has a hint of vanilla and a bit of acidity at the end. Although it’s a decent chocolate, it might not make it quite to my top ten list, because it is not salty enough for me. This could be the right milk chocolate for someone who is trying a salted chocolate for the first time and doesn’t want to be overpowered.

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Zutaten: Rohrohrzucker, Vollmilchpulver (25 %), Kakaobutter, Kakaomasse, Pyramidensalz 0,5 % (Fleur de Sel), Vanille-Extrakt, Kakao: 37% mind. [Fair-Handelsanteil der Zutaten insgesamt: 99,5%; aus kontrolliert ökologischem Anbau]

Ingredients: Raw cane sugar, whole milk powder (25%), cocoa butter, cocoa mass, fleur de sel 0,5%, vanilla extract, cocoa min. 37% [fair trade ingredients 99%, organic]

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This bar is available in many grocery stores in Germany as well as online. I bought it in the grocery section of a department store in Berlin. Price approx. €2,30.

Images by Axel Lambrette