Tag Archives: easy

sweet cherry amaretti

A few weeks ago I went shopping for a birthday present with a friend and we walked past a greek deli that had quite a variety of cookies and cakes in their display. My friend bought sour cherry amaretti and we were both quite enthusiastic about them. My friend was quite sure that they were based on Yotam Ottolenghi’s sour cherry amaretti recipe so I decided to try making them myself. I’ve made two different versions – one with sweet cherries & without the almond extract – and one exactly as suggested by the recipe.

I prefer the sweet cherry version.

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sweet cherry amaretti
 
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Yields: 20
Ingredients
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons (60g) dried sweet cherries
  • 10 tablespoons (120g) sugar
  • 2 cups & 2 tablespoons (180g) ground almonds
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 egg whites (L)
  • confectioner's sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 340°F / 170°C.
  2. Mix the ground almonds, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a bowl.
  3. In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites and honey into soft peaks.
  4. Fold the egg whites gently into the other ingredients.
  5. Add the cherries.
  6. Form walnut-sized balls and roll generously in icing sugar. The dough is quite sticky so it will be easier to roll the balls in the icing sugar rather than in your hands.
  7. Place the amaretti on a baking tray and flatten slightly.
  8. Bake for 12 mins, until slightly coloured but still gooey inside.
  9. Leave to cool.

 

And these are the sour cherry amaretti. For Ottolenghi’s ingredients check this site.

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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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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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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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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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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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pear walnut cake

A few weeks ago summer finally arrived in Berlin and temperatures reached a balmy 90° F (33° C) – since then the weather has been alternating between rain, storms and a chilly 68° F (20° C) and heat waves. On that first summery Sunday I had planned to get up early and bake before it got too hot, but the plan was thwarted when I went to a friend’s annual roof top summer party and didn’t really get to bed at a decent time… Despite the slight headache and incredible temperatures in my kitchen I made this pear walnut cake.

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This cake is adapted by The Complete Magnolia Cookbook. The pears make it sweet and moist and I added a little bit of chocolate, because that’s really never a bad idea.

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And if you actually let the cake cool off before you try to get it out of the pan, it won’t crumble to pieces – see chocolate crème fraîche cake if you want to see what happens when you’re slightly impatient like me.

pear walnut cake
 
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Yields: 12
Ingredients
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (190g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar (not firmly packed)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup & 2 tablespoons (235ml) sunflower oil
  • 3 eggs (L)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (115g) chopped walnuts
  • ⅓ cup (50g) chocolate, chopped
pears:
  • 2 pears, cut into pieces (2½ cups / 450g)
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
Instructions
  1. Grease a 10 inch / 26 cm pan.
  2. Peel and cut the pears into small pieces. Add the sugar and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F / 175°C.
  4. Combine the flour, sugars, baking soda and the salt in a bowl.
  5. Carefully stir in the oil, vanilla extract and the eggs, then mix well.
  6. Add the walnuts, pears and chocolate.
  7. Spoon the batter into the greased pan.
  8. Bake for 60 minutes or a little longer until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes before removing it from the pan. Then let it cool on a wire rack.

 

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cream scones

This is my second scone test for my upcoming holiday and it is adapted from Cynthia Barcomi‘s first book. A long time ago when I didn’t live in Berlin and would come here at least once a year for the Berlin Film Festival, I would always stop by Barcomi’s coffee shop to buy cookies, muffins and bagels to take back home (then Dortmund). It was the only place I knew of where this kind of baked goods were sold at that time. This was many, many, many years ago (I feel old) and Barcomi’s has since expanded, Cynthia Barcomi has published a number of cookbooks and cookies, muffins and bagels are sold in many other places now too. Her classic cream scone recipe calls for chocolate and currants. I don’t really care for currants, so I left those out. And because I wanted to see how the scones taste without the chocolate I divided the dough and added less chocolate (1,8 ounces / 50g) to half of the dough.

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I used my hands to mix the ingredients instead of my 25-year-old hand mixer because I might be making these scones in a holiday home without appliances, but I felt like my hands were trapped in quicksand. I managed to untangle my fingers from the dough after a while, but I think the next time I’ll try mixing the dough at least with a spoon or a fork first.

After I divided the dough I formed two circles (one with and one without chocolate) and cut each into 4 pieces instead of the 8 mentioned in the recipe. The scones should bake for 18 to 20 minutes until they are lightly golden, but both the plain and the chocolate scones didn’t turn golden after 22 minutes, so I took them out nonetheless – my oven is a little bit whacky – and they were definitely done. Both varieties tasted great and kept for another day without turning dry.

cream scones
 
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Yields: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 ¾ cups (350g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ to ½ cup (50g bis 80g) of sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) cold butter
  • 5 ½ ounces (160ml) heavy cream
  • 1 egg (M)
optional:
  • chocolate (3,5 ounces / 100g) and currants (½ cup / 75g)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F / 220° C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly whisk the cream and the egg in a bowl.
  3. Throw all the dry ingredients into another bowl. Add the butter and rub together with your fingers to make a reasonably crumbed mixture.
  4. Add the egg&cream mixture and work the dough until everything is mixed, don’t overmix.
  5. Lift the ball of soft dough out of the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Knead the mixture just a little. Pat the dough gently with your hands and form a circle to a thickness of approx. 2,5 cm (slightly under 1 inch) and cut it into 8 pie triangles.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

 

 

creamscone

This is my favourite scone recipe so far. Let’s see how the next scone recipe holds up…

chocolate crème fraîche cake

I bought a new cake pan last Saturday, which I wanted to use as soon as possible. And I wanted to try a recipe from a cookbook I’ve never used before. Quite a while ago one of my friends brought back The Complete Magnolia Cookbook from her New York trip as a gift for me and sadly enough (the cake tasted great!) I hadn’t tried any of the recipes so far. Unfortunately there are not a lot pictures in the cookbook, which makes it harder to decide what to bake if you’ve never been to the actual Magnolia Bakery.

This cake is adapted from The Complete Magnolia Cookbook’s chocolate sour cream cake with chocolate chips, mainly because sour cream is practically impossible to find in Germany. If you come across something labelled sour cream in a German store it is usually some kind of yoghurt based milk product with spices and herbs. I really miss “real” sour cream!!!

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By the way, this is what happens when you don’t grease and flour the pan properly and then don’t let it cool off long enough and then thump the pan impatiently on the countertop….

Don’t let the battered look deceive you, the cake tasted great and stayed moist for quite a few days.

chocolate crème fraîche cake
 
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Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces (85g) coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 and ½ cups (355ml) boiling water
  • ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2⅔ cup (535g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (L) at room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (175ml) crème fraîche
  • ½ cup (100g) (or more) coarsely chopped chocolate (milk or dark)
Instructions
  1. Grease and flour a 10 inch / 26cm cake pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 325° F / 165° C
  3. Boil the water and melt the 3 ounces of chocolate with it. Stir until fully melted and then set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl whip together the flour, baking soda and salt - you can sift if you want, but I didn't.
  5. In a another, larger bowl cream the sugar with the butter, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and the dry ingredients and beat just until smooth.
  6. Add the crème fraîche and the melted chocolate water.
  7. Finally stir in the chopped chocolate pieces and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 70-80 minutes.

 

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