Zucchini Bread

I met some resistance from our resident Indian on the notion of using zucchini in a sweet dish, but by the end of the third slice, we rounded up another zucchini bread convert.

Servings: one 8×4 in loaf pan

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (about half a nut)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (100 g)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, or beans from 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 cup of grated zucchini (~ 1 small zucchini)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C
  2. Grease the loaf pan
  3. Mix the eggs, zucchini, sugar, butter, vanilla in a bowl
  4. Separately combine the dry ingredients
  5. Gradually incorporate the flour mix into the egg mix; stir well to prevent a lumpy batter
  6. Pour the batter in the loaf pan and tamp it
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick/chopstick comes out clean
  8. Cool for 30 minutes before attempting to unmold

Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake

I love the way the nutmeg and almond flavors play off of each other in this recipe. For next time – the blueberries are so sweet that using less sugar would bring better balance to the cake (adjusted recipe below).

Serves: one 22 cm cake pan, or 8 slices (I used a springform cake pan – very easy to release the cake)

Ingredients

  • 50 g melted butter (around 1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 100 g almond slivers
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup quark and 1/4 cup plain yogurt (possible substitute: 1/2 cup of sour cream)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • half of a nutmeg (ground) – I would estimate this is between 1/4 – 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • sliced almonds, to sprinkle on top

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C, using the convection setting (without the convection setting: 175 C)
  2. Combine the butter and sugar; mix it until the sugar is dissolved
  3. Add the egg, almond extract, milk, yogurt, and quark
  4. Separately mix the dry ingredients together
  5. Gradually add the dry mix into the wet mix, making sure to incorporate the flour smoothly in the batter
  6. Fold in the blueberries and slivered almonds
  7. Spread the batter in the cake pan
  8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the cake comes out clean
  9. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top
  10. Let the cake rest for about 20 minutes before trying to unmold it

Puff Pastry Almond Pear Tart

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I’ve been on a baking kick lately. I think it’s because I’m immersed in a culture that loves sweets more than Americans. Pears and almonds complement each other so well, and they are in abundance in Germany. This tart came together surprisingly fast because the puff pastry crust was store-bought. I’m not ashamed. I used a 26 cm springform, which yields around 8 slices of tasty.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of puff pastry (“Blättertieg”), thawed
  • 200 g marzipan
  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 4 small ripe pears, peeled, cored, and halved
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Line a 26 cm springform with the puff pastry.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the marzipan, almond meal, eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and salt.
  4. Pour the mixture over the puff pastry, and spread it evenly with a spatula.
  5. Place the pears cut side up in a radial pattern.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  7. Cool to room temperature before serving.

 

 

Almond Horn Cookies

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These cookies are made of marzipan (almond paste and sugar), which is a very popular food in Germany. I hadn’t realized how tasty marzipan is until we moved here – I’ve made these cookies about four times now, and they were instantly devoured every time. It gets a little messy, so the best order of operations is laid out below.

Servings: 8 cookies

Ingredients

  • 200 g marzipan (1 packet)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g sliced almonds
  • 50 g dark chocolate
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup milk (I just eyeballed it)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp sugar, set aside

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C.
  2. Spread the sliced almonds on a dish.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with some baking paper.
  4. In a small saucepan on extremely low heat, melt the chocolate, milk, and butter. Keep an eye on this so that it doesn’t boil or burn. Stir occasionally. When the mixture is well combined, stir in the 2 tsp sugar.
  5. Combine the egg, almond extract, 2 tbsp sugar, marzipan, and almond meal in a bowl. I mixed this by hand. It gets all over the place.
  6. Take about 1 tbsp of the mixture and roll it into a log directly on the dish with sliced almonds.
  7. Fold the log into a horn shape, and place it on the cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  10. Dip the ends in the chocolate mixture.
  11. Refrigerate until the chocolate has cooled into a shell, around 3o minutes.
  12. Try not to eat the whole pan.

 

Puff Pastry Pecan Pie

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Super easy pecan pie – takes around an hour to make.

Ingredients

  • puff pastry (enough to line your pie pan; 1 packet should do the trick)
  • 200 g pecans
  • 400 ml caramel sauce or about 36 unwrapped soft caramels
  • 100 g brown sugar (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • vanilla beans from 1 vanilla pod
  • 50 g butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Lay the puff pastry out to thaw.
  3. Line your tart/pie pan with the puff pastry.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes with pie weights (baking blind). I laid a piece of parchment paper on the puff pastry and used about 1 kg of dried black beans as pie weights.
  5. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the caramel, butter, and milk.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
  7. Slowly fold the caramel sauce and lemon juice into the egg mixture.
  8. Pour the caramel mixture in the pan.
  9. Arrange the pecan pieces in a radial pattern.
  10. Bake the pie for 45-50 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool until the filling is set, around 30 minutes.

Lemon Blueberry Bread

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This cake reminds me of lemon and blueberry muffins from when I was a kid. Soft, gooey blueberries in moist and warm cake that leaves a lemony aftertaste… Drool.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of room temperature butter (or heat briefly in the microwave for about 30 sec)
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp of lemon zest (I used about 2 lemons)
    • It’s easiest to zest the lemons and then juice them. Hanging onto a whole lemon while grating its rind is easier than a slippery peel.
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice (about 1 lemon), remove the seeds
  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package of fresh blueberries, washed and tossed in 2 tbsp of flour
    • Tossing the blueberries in flour keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the pan
  • 1/2 cup of milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Butter or grease the bread pan. I used a 10.5″ x 4.5″ x 3″ pan.
  3. Beat the eggs, butter, sugar, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Try not to overbeat the eggs.
  4. Separately mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt.
  5. Alternately combine the dry mix and milk in the butter-egg mixture. Stir to combine.
  6. Fold the lemon zest and blueberries into the batter.
  7. Pour into the bread pan.
  8. Bake for 60 minutes. Check for done-ness by inserting a toothpick or wooden kabob skewer or (if you grew up in an Asian house) wooden chopstick in the middle of the bread. It should come out clean, without any clumps.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
  10. Slide a knife around the edges of the pan (careful not to scratch the bottom of the pan) to loosen the bread.
  11. Invert the pan to remove the bread.
  12. Set on a wire rack to cool for another 10-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

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I used this recipe to start, and added a couple of my own ideas to it.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk

Frosting

  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 packages of raspberries (I will use 4-5 packages next time so that the top will be covered with raspberries.)

Directions

Cake

  1. Grease a 10.5″ x 4.5″ x 3″ pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together.
  4. Separately, mix the vanilla and milk together.
  5. In a third container, beat the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes with an electric mixer.
  6. Add the egg, mix, then add the egg yolk.
  7. Alternately mix the flour and liquids in parts until you get a smooth batter.
  8. Pour and spread the batter in the cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean.
  9. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  10. Invert to remove the cake. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes more.
  11. Cut the cake lengthwise in half.

Frosting

  1. Whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together.
  2. Separately beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Slowly (and in parts!) add the sugar/cocoa powder to the butter and mix well. Alternate adding the dry mix with the liquid vanilla/milk mix. Beat until you get a smooth frosting.

Putting the Cake Together

  1. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting between the layers of the cake.
  2. Cover the rest of the cake with the frosting.
  3. Outline the bottom of the cake with raspberries, and fill in the cake from the bottom to the top.
  4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.