maple walnut scones

A few weeks ago my friend J choose this recipe from Baked’s “New Frontiers in Baking” for me to bake, but because I was sure that maple extract could not be found in Berlin, I gave up on them immediately. But then just a week later my BFF Tracy from my time at Norwalk high school (a time when BFF might not have been used as an acronym yet), whom I hadn’t seen in 20 years found me on fb. Since she was going on a short holiday to Europe with her husband and daughter, she spontaneously decided to come to Berlin for a day. She asked me what she could bring from Florida and I asked for maple extract (among other things). It was an incredibly great day and I am immensely happy we have found each other again (even though I’m sorry I have to admit fb made it happen).

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maple walnut scones
 
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Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
dough:
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups (340g) butter, cubed and cold
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
frosting:
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. Add the butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until you get little cornflake – sized pieces.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, the buttermilk and the maple extract, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently knead the dough.
  4. Add the walnuts to the dough and knead gently.
  5. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and use your hands to shape the dough into two discs.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350° F / 176°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Cut each disk into 6 wedges with a knife and brush each scone with buttermilk and sprinkle with raw sugar.
  8. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes (rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time) or until the scones are golden brown.
  9. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Add icing.

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Sorry, this picture turned out blurry…

 

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chocolate bread

I have been looking for recipes that require a lot of chocolate because I need to reduce my chocolate stash that has been magically building up in the last months. So after baking my favourite brownies last week I searched for a new recipe and came across this chocolate bread. It is adapted from my Paula Deen.

chocolate bread
 
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Author:
Yields: 25
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 (190g) cup sugar
  • ¾ cup (145g) caster sugar
  • ¾ cup (85g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup & 2 tablespoons (150ml) crème fraiche
  • ½ cup & 6 tablespoons (200ml) milk
  • 1 cup (340ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups (320g) chopped chocolate
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F / 162° C.
  2. Grease two loaf pans (total size: 18 by 4,5-inch (46x12 cm) and line them with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  4. Beat in the milk, crème fraiche, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the chocolate pieces and pour the batter into the prepared pans.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 80 minutes and let cool in the pans for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the bread from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

 

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I added a caramel chocolate to the dark chocolate and the chocolate bread turned out nicely moist and slightly gooey.

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my favourite brownies

I’ve been making these brownies for at least 15 years, so I’m not sure where the recipe actually originated. It is one of my most used recipes, these brownies were especially popular at parties, where my friends would get the munchies for no apparent reason…

It’s a very basic recipe and you can use milk or dark chocolate, or a mix of both and you can add chocolate chips or nuts or marshmallows.

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my favourite brownies
 
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Author:
Yields: 20
Ingredients
  • 7 oz (200g) chocolate
  • 4 eggs (L)
  • 1½ cups & 4 tablespoons (340g) sugar
  • 11½ tablespoons (170ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup & 7 tablespoons (175g) flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9 by 13 inch (22 x 28cm) baking pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate over a hot water bath. Some people melt chocolate in a microwave, but since I don't have one, I'm not sure how well that works.
  3. Cream the eggs and the sugar and then add the vegetable oil.
  4. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract, beat well.
  5. Preheat oven to 320° F / 160° C
  6. Then add the melted chocolate. It will sink to the bottom of the bowl, so scrape the bowl with a spatula to add evenly to the batter.
  7. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and then add the chopped chocolate or nuts or....
  8. Bake for 25 minutes and let the pan cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. If the brownies are too gooey in the centre bake again for another 10 to 15 minutes.

 

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rose salt + lemon

antidote

Antidote Choco is a bean-to-bar maker based in Brooklyn founded by Red R. Thalhammer. Their chocolate is made with a 50/50 blend of raw & roasted Arriba Nacional cacao from Ecuador. The cacao is organic certified and they use very little whole (unrefined) cane sugar. Their chocolates are vegan and gluten free.

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This is a 77% raw chocolate with rose salt + lemon.

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It’s not my usual go-to-chocolate because of the high cocoa percentage, but I was still intrigued by the flavour combination. The bar has a strong snap, the colour is very dark, and the lemon and salt flakes are visible on one side of the bar. The melt is grainy, the lemon taste hits you first, followed by the salt. It’s quite intense, not very sweet, but not too bitter. As far as raw chocolate goes, this is quite interesting, even though I prefer milk chocolates.

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Ingredients: 77% raw & roasted organic cacao. cacao beans, whole cane sugar, cacao butter, lemon, andes mountain rose salt, soy lecithin (0,5%, gmo-free) [certified organic] 2.3 oz bar

Zutaten: 77% roh und gerösteter Bio Kakao. Kakaobohnen, Voll-Rohrzucker, Kakaobutter, Anden-Bergsalz, Zitrone, Sojalecithin (0,5%, gentechnik frei) [biologisch kontrolliert] 65g

This bar is available at a few online shops. I bought it online from Schoko-Express. Price approx. €4,75.

Images by Axel Lambrette (thank you!!!)

sambirano valley 50% with fleur de sel

benoît nihant

Benoît Nihant is a Belgian bean to bar producer, who is a trained engineer and used to work as project manager for multinational companies. Around the age of 30 he changed gears and entered the world of chocolate. On his website he states that he hunts down fine cocoa beans, which he buys at a fair and just price directly from the plantations.

nihant

This bar is made from trinitario cocoa from the Somia plantation in Madagascar and has been stone ground and conched for 70 hours.  The bar is quite delicate and smells slightly of caramel. The melt is grainy, which is common for a stone ground chocolate. It isn’t too sweet, has a slight acidity, and it is not salty and smooth enough for my taste. The chocolate is not too bad, but not quite my taste.

nihant_2

Ingredients: Organic cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, sea salt from Guérande. 1,76 oz

Zutaten: Kakaobohnen, Rohrzucker, Voll Milchpulver, Kakaobutter, Zeesaltz. (sic!) [Biologischer Anbau] 50g

This is available at various online shops. I bought it from the Berliner Kaffeerösterei – a micro-coffee roaster, online store, coffee shop, patisserie – with a good selection of chocolates in Berlin. Price approx. € 4,80.

Images by Axel Lambrette (thank you!!!)

cream cheese bundt cake

I came across this recipe when I was looking for another scone recipe and I thought I’d give it a try. It’s a very simple bundt cake which I adapted from lecker.

cream cheese bundt

cream cheese bundt cake
 
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Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup & 1 tablespoons (250g) butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups & 3 tablespoons (400g) all purpose flour
  • 6½ tablespoons (100g) cream cheese
  • 13 tablespoons (100g) sour cream or crème double
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (50g) soft brown sugar
  • 5 eggs (M)
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2–3 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Grease and flour a 10 inch / 26cm cake pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F / 175° C
  3. In a large bowl cream the sugar, cream cheese and sour cream with the butter, add the eggs one at a time.
  4. Then add the dry ingredients and the milk and beat just until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes.
  7. Dust with confectioner's sugar when the cake is fully cooled.

 

I usually don’t have a lot of luck with getting a cake out of a pan without destroying it, but this one worked out fine.

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kristálysó (crystal salt)

rózsavölgyi csokoládé

rózsavölgyi csokoládé is a hungarian bean-to-bar producer with a shop in Budapest. Their cocoa beans are sourced from two main growers: Cacao San José (the Franceschi family) in Venezuela, which also supplies Domori, and Bertil Akesson in Madagascar and they produce single origin chocolates. They have won several awards, for example a bronze award from the Academy of Chocolate for their “Olives and Bread 77%” chocolate in 2013.

I bought this salted bar in Berlin, but when a friend of mine travelled to Budapest I asked him to bring a few more of their bars, because I was also intrigued by the “Olives and Bread” bar. Unfortunately the shop was closed due to the summer shutdown of the factory. As the bar was already a few days over its best-by-date, I had to take the pictures myself in a hurry, so please excuse the poor quality…

rosz

This bar is a milk chocolate with 40% cocoa solids and salt. The bars are packaged really beautifully and the chocolate itself has a lovely pattern.

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The chocolate melts nicely and has a slightly malty note. It is not very salty, but since it is already past its best-by-date I’m not sure if it has already lost some of its flavour. I would like to give a fresh batch another try, I think this chocolate could be quite interesting.

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Ingredients: sugar, cocoa mass, milk powder, cocoa butter, lecithin of soya, vanilla, salt
cocoa content min. 39%, 2.5 oz

Zutaten: Zucker, Kakaomasse, Milchpulver, Kakaobutter, Sojalecithin, Vanille, Salz, 39% mind. Bio Kakaomasse, 70g

The chocolates are available online at Rózsavölgyi, I bought it in Berlin from Chocolaterie Estrellas. Price approx. 4€.