Last week I’ve been inspired by two posts from different blogs. Both present the South American cookies called ‘Alfajores’ which are very famous over there. When I’ve seen them and imagined how they taste I couldn’t resist to try them immediately. This was one of my plans for the weekend. I especially love the weekend time to use for baking as you don’t have such time pressure compared of doing something after work. But even last weekend was more or less fully booked, but in the end I found some time in between those plans to go for them which made me pretty happy. 😉

Mostly ‘Alfajores’ are filled with ‘dulce de leche’ which is very famous in South America. About two years ago I travelled to Argentina. I didn’t know this cream before but if I’d have known I’d just have gone for ‘dulce de leche’. 😉 There is not much to add here, but only that I simply love it… It’s kind of: I am in love with it! But I was also in love with Argentina, especially Buenos Aires. The city offers you lot of activities, very nice shops, bars and especially nice people. I really struggled when this journey ended and had to fight with my tears. But I know I will once go back again… 😉 so it’s fine now…

However, over there I made my benefits of this lovely cream and back home I immediately had it in my fridge. Anyhow it came never into my mind to make it myself. For some recipes it’s sometimes just not the right time, maybe because of other important things you have in your mind. But priorities can change and last weekend it was finally the right time to make it at home.

I adapted the ideas to either add coconut flour to the cookies or dip into chocolate from the following blogs Das Trüffelschwein (German) and The maker Girl. Same same but different! 🙂

Alfajores de Maizena:

200g butter, smooth,
120g fine sugar,
3 tsp vanilla sugar,
mix in a bowl until creamy

3 egg yolks,
add one after another while mixing

200g corn starch,
150g spelt flour,
½ tsp baking soda,
2 tsp baking powder
,
mix first in a separate bowl, then add small portions into the butter/sugar bowl until the dough is smooth, wrap into a cling film and put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes 

preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

roll the dough with approx. 7mm thickness onto a little floured surface, cut out the cookies with approx. 5cm diameter and put on the baking sheet and then into fridge for at least 10min

put into oven for approx. 12-14 minutes, and then let cool down

Dulce de Leche:

1 vanilla bean,
1 liter milk,
220g cane sugar,
boil up in a big pan on low heat, take off from heat

½ tsp baking soda,
1 tbsp water,
dissolve the baking soda in the water and stir into milk/sugar, put back to low heat and stir occasionally, it takes about 3-4 hours until the brown pasty Caramel is done

when ready remove the vanilla bean and fill into a prepared clean glass

If yes, you should definitely go for the following cookie recipe as it is one of my favourites.

Did you know that macadamia nuts are called as well ‘Queen of Nuts’? This is due to:
– the difficult production
– the very complicated processing
– the increasing demand
– and last but not least because they are pretty expensive due to all above points

Due to that I am always very careful when buying a pack of Macadamia nuts which I want to use for a baking recipe. The nuts are also known for their high percentage of fat. I propose that you shouldn’t eat a whole pack of these nuts everyday. 🙂 But enjoying them occasionally delights your taste of flavour which always happens when I use them for the cookies.

I mentioned my favourite base cookie recipe already in an older post and I am still using this one. Due to that I am not describing it anymore but you can have a look at the previous cookie post ‘in the land of cookies… and cookies…’.

The combination of additional ingredients in the current cookies is the following:
– 100g white chocolate, chopped
– 80g Macadamia nuts, chopped
– 80g either dried cherries or cranberries

Hope you can enjoy them very soon! 😉

I was so happy at the beginning of this week that on Thursday a friend of mine was celebrating her birthday and I would be able taking the opportunity to surprise her with some vegan cookies. Since the last vegan cookies a pretty long time passed, so it was about time finally to create some new ones for my recipe book. For sure not just for that, but also for all other friends who are apparently more and more becoming vegan.

As I know that the birthday girl does very much like peanut butter I thought immediately to go for the first vegan cookies I made once Peanut butter cashew cookies. But then my curiosity to create some new ones bet this thought. I stumbled in a pretty quick time over the following blog Vegan Guerilla and found the perfect recipe. The cookies are made with peanut butter with chocolate filled inside. What a nice combination I thought…
When I was at the grocery to buy all the stuff I needed I noticed that the peanut butter rows were not filled up anymore, they were just empty and below there was a note that they had to be taken off the assortment as some clients complained. Unfortunately I can’t remember anymore why it was sorted out, but it must have been something with an ingredient value which was either too low or too high. However, I needed an emergency plan and therefore I thought to go for almond butter. Almond butter isn’t as sweet as peanut butter but the taste of it is also very delicious.

The cookies turned out as expected and I was very happy giving them to her. As it was a present I needed also nice wrappings. For such occasions I am always going to a very nice shop called Bits & Bobs which is not far from my house. The shop is lovely!! I could spend several hours at this place as it has so much special products. They sell a lot of nice dishes and kitchen ware. Also you could buy some jewelry or nice postcards, napkins and and and… It is incredible, always when I enter this shop I feel immediately very warm and cozy. If you ever are in Zurich you should give it a try, it’s absolutely worth it.
It didn’t surprise me that I found the perfect wrapping there for the vegan birthday cookies. Poca Luz, te deseo lo mejor! 😉

Almond butter cookies filled with chocolate (found at Vegan Guerilla, recipe adjusted)

preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius

50g soy margarine,
100g oatmeal,
melt the margarine slowly in a pan, add the oatmeal and toast them for approx. 5 minutes on low heat until golden

200g spelt flour,
juice of 1 lime,
2 tsp baking soda,
2 tsp vanilla sugar,
4 tbsp almond butter,
100ml soy milk,
60g whole cane sugar,
4 tbsp maple syrup,
add into a big bowl, then add the toasted oatmeal into it and knead until all ingredients are incorporated well (if the pastry is too sticky add little flour)

approx. 100g of dark chocolate pieces,
make 5cm balls and add into each of them a piece of chocolate until it’s hidden into the ball, bake for approx. 16 minutes until lightly golden 

Do you also have some positive childhood memories where you still can feel how excited, satisfied or happy you were? I do so and one of my memories is when my mother baked my favourite type of baked goods. When she baked those croissants she made always plenty of them which was only positive for me. 😉 The croissants were filled with different jams and the texture of the pastry was very compact which is anyway something I love.

Then, some years ago I asked my mother if she still has the recipe of those Hörnchen. Unfortunately she negated and I was so disappointed thinking I might never make these Hörnchen myself and taste this wonderful pastry. 😦 The only thing I was told by my mother was that the pastry was mixed with mashed potatoes. My mother used to write down her recipes or cut out recipes from magazines and stick them into her recipe books. When I once visited her I went through all these books and folders hoping I could find the recipe, even my mother already told me she doesn’t have it anymore. 🙂 I couldn’t believe, it must be somewhere! Ok, it wasn’t…
That’s why I made some research in the internet. It was difficult as I didn’t know what the name was. When I have eaten them during my childhood it wasn’t important to know how they are named, they just had to be good. 🙂 Therefore I only said ‘Gipfeli’ to them which is the Swiss word for Croissants. Actually the Hörnchen have the shape of a Gipfeli but as the texture is different it can’t be named as Gipfeli. However, the research started bumpy but I persevered and got finally routed to a German food blog where I found the recipe for ‘Kartoffelhörnchen’. At this point I knew that this is a common pastry in Germany and therefore started to search with this definition and found lot more recipes. But the following which I mentioned before has definitely hit my expectations. Always when I bake them, I only use this recipe as it is totally reliable.

Might be it is not exactly the same recipe as my mother used. Probably it really isn’t. It is difficult to re-bake something which you adored in your childhood. Maybe not only because of the pastry but because of many other factors you felt during these moments. I am sure that all these factors made the Hörnchen also so delicious.

Well, I am not a child anymore and therefore absolutely satisfied with this recipe I have found. Hope you enjoy if you are going for it… 😉 Let me know…

Kartoffelhörnchen filled with apricot and strawberry jam (from Kochfun):

preheat oven to 225 degrees Celsius

250g potatoes, cook to mashed potatoes and let cool down completely, set aside

300g wholemeal or spelt flour,
1pck (about 14g) baking soda,
mix and form a whole in the middle

70g cane sugar,
1 pinch of salt,
5 drops of bitter almond aroma,
1 egg,
1 tbsp water,
add into bowl and cover with little flour, cover it with the mashed potatoes

50g butter, cut into small cubes,
add into bowl on top of the mashed potatoes and knead the dough until all ingredients are incorporated well and until even

make 3 portions from the dough and roll every portion onto a floured surface into a circle as thin as possible, cut into 8 pieces and put on the wide sides little less than 1 tsp of the jam of your choice (I used strawberry and apricot), roll the pieces up and put them onto the bakink sheet 

spread egg yolk to each of them and put into the preheated oven for approx. 17 minutes

As I told you in the last post I have been on vacation. During my stay in the south of France I passed several nice and cozy bakeries. I just love the traditional style of the shops and how they present their baked goods. I could spend a whole day just staring at these bakeries and I would be happy. 🙂

When we have been to St. Tropez we visited the Saturday market at Place des Lices. We generally love walking through markets and look at all these local products. I think going to a market in another place brings you along to local people and this is what I like most. Because of that we have been twice to the market, just to get the atmosphere back again and buying the last things we wanted before driving home. In the end we bought several sausages, cheese, fruits, jams and honey etc. Good food having for home to always keep the French holidays in our minds…:)

During this market visit I always stopped at the cookies stall as there was a big basket full of Navettes. I first didn’t know what Navettes are, therefore and also because I am into all types of cookies this was the first thing I did when I came back home. I have found a recipe which belongs to Navettes de Marseille and immediately gave it a try. But when I looked at the recipe I noted that they contain orange blossom water and from that moment on my motivation was almost gone as I didn’t know where I could find it. After trying it in the health shop I was told that I could certainly find it at the drugstore. Of course!!! Why this didn’t came into my mind before. And in the end I just had to make a few footsteps more to get it and I was excited to finally had the chance to give them a try…

Fill up your cookie boxes with Navettes if you like the straight flavour of butter with a touch of orange blossom water. You must like it! 😉

Navettes de Marseille, found at Arte TV:

500g butter at room temperature,
500g fine sugar,
mix in a big bowl until smoothly

5 eggs,
50ml orange blossom water,
add one egg after another, then the orange blossom water and incorporate well

1kg spelt flour,
sifting into the bowl and knead the pastry until all ingredients are incorporated, put the well covered bowl into the fridge for at least 24 hours, the pastry should not get dry during this time

take it out of the fridge and roll the pastry into 5cm inch roll, cut 3cm pieces and cut these pieces again into half, roll the piece in your hands, put it onto the baking sheet, make the ends pointy and press with your fingers into the middle of it, so it is going to get a boat shape (it is more difficult to write instead of doing it) 😉

put them into the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for approx. 15 minutes until lightly golden

I know, it’s a very long time ago when I posted anything on my blog. But having vacation twice within the last few weeks made it quite impossible to write anything. However, here I am again and happy to tell you some stories from the last weeks and also not to forget to post a very delicious recipe which I tried prior to my vacation. This is hopefully going to interest you, as it is totally worth to try it. 🙂

As I haven’t been on real vacation since more than a year I totally needed to have some weeks off. I am saying ‘real’ vacation because this means to me having at least two weeks off. Having less than two weeks can be absolutely relaxing and enjoying but coming back to your daily business after just a few days is letting me almost forget that I ever had any days off. However, in end of August it was time to go finally to my first stop this summer, Marrakech. I have never been to any of North African countries before and that’s why it was such a great experience. For me it was a totally different world. Walking through the famous place ‘Djemaa el Fna’ where you could see snake charmers or jugglers. Walking through the ‘Souks’ and immersing in different colours and smells. All of this was quite special for us and besides that we enjoyed very good Moroccan food. As we spent one week there we had no tight timeline and were therefore able to also stay sometimes just in our Riad ‘El Cadi’ and relax at the pool in a very silent atmosphere. Just great!! Back home we had first a temperature shock, as the temperature average in Marrakech was at 45 degrees Celsius, at home only 15-20 degrees. However, I used to cope with the weather and after one week working I packed my luggage again and drove together with my boyfriend to the south of France. We just came back yesterday and I am therefore still in the holiday mood. 😉 We really spent such a good time there. First we stopped in Cannes, then St. Tropez and in the end we have been to a hotel next to St. Tropez at the beach spending one entire week there which was just amazing. I am really asking myself why I live in a country which doesn’t have any sea access?! Well, at least I have the privilege to make vacation which is unfortunately not possible to everybody. I am very happy and grateful for that…

As I mentioned already in the beginning I want to share with you a wonderful tart recipe. I made this tart once a weekend we enjoyed a great time at the lake and it was absolutely the right time for it. The tart is very fresh through the blueberries and combined with the coconut flour a little nice sweetness is added to it. If you like those two ingredients you can’t make anything wrong. 🙂
I found the recipe at Nami Nami which I recently stumbled over. The original recipe contains rhubarb, but I just exchanged them with blueberries as I still had some left in the kitchen.


Coconut blueberry tart, found at Nami Nami (recipe adjusted):

Crust:
180g spelt flour,
2 tbsp caster sugar,
a pinch of salt,
combine and stift into a bowl

100g cold butter, cubed,
add and pinch until crumbly

1 egg,
add and combine the pastry quickly, wrap into a clingfilm and put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Filling:
300g blueberries,
1 tbsp lemon juice,
1 tsp sugar,
combine and let rest for at least 30 minutes

Butter a round cake mold, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface making the circle bigger than the mold and line the pastry onto it, blind bake at 200 degrees Celsius for approx. 15 minutes until lightly golden

Topping:
75g softened butter,
170g caster sugar,
1 tsp vanilla sugar,
cream until combined

250g sour cream,
2 eggs,
100g unsweetened shredded coconut,
add to the butter/sugar mixture and combine

take the pre-baked tart shell out of the oven, spread the blueberries on top and then the coconut topping over the blueberries

return to the oven for about 35 minutes, until the tart is golden brown

We had a wonderful day last week where the sun was shining and the temperature outside was already high in the early morning. On such days, I love to wake up and sit at my kitchen table for breakfast to just look at the early sun lights which are shimmering through the whole room. This is a time of day which I love most. But not just that, all is uprising next to me, not just my neighbours whose alarm clocks I can hear while it’s still very calm in our patio. As well the birds are waking up which begin to twitter and making happy and joyful sound. The shops and kiosks which are opening and putting their things in front of the shop as well as the coffee shops and restaurants which are starting to put their chairs on the street and prepare all the tables outside. While your way to work, you could meet the street construction workers who are saying hello to you when you pass by as you already know each other from seeing them every morning. A cat jumping out of the hedge. Children who are on their way to kindergarten, playing and laughing together and always discovering something.

All these moments are great and here to feel and enjoy. To show how great life is, at least for me. But there is really a small and tiny moment before everyone is awaking, could you feel it and do you know which moment I am thinking of? This is when I feel peace…

I made these muffins on such day and nothing could get wrong anymore. 😉 Hope you enjoy!

Lemon Muffins with Meringues topping (adapted from Cake & Kuchen):

preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare muffin pan either with greasing the moulds or placing paper moulds

for the muffins:
150g butter,
melt in a pan over low heat

juice of 2 (well washed) lemons,
1 shelled lemon,
set aside

3 eggs,
1
70g light brown sugar,
mix in a big bowl until double sized

180g spelt flour,
1/2 pack (about 8g) baking powder, 
pinch of salt,
mix and add to the egg-sugar mixture, add as well melted butter, the lemon juice and shell and stir shortly – only that all ingredients are incorporated! don’t overmix

fill into moulds and bake for approx. 30-35 minutes (this is for big size muffins, count less for small ones, approx. 20-25 minutes)

meringues:
100g of sugar,
2 egg whites,
mix the egg whites slowly (no egg yolk should fall into the bowl, it won’t work), add sugar with a spoon one after another, increase speed and mix for approx. 5 minutes or until the white is glazing and stiff

add meringues on the top of muffins for the last approx. 8 minutes of the entire baking time

Last Saturday I met one of my best friends again. It was long time ago when we’ve seen each other. Well, long time for our friendship means we haven’t seen each other for 3 weeks. 😉 But this is quite enough, especially as we couldn’t even talk by phone as usual. That’s why we had a lot to catch up as the last few weeks were for both intensive and therefore important to discuss finally with a friend.

Actually we wanted to go hiking and take some sausages with us to barbecue on a nice place in the middle of nature. But she noticed then that she had an appointment at the hairdresser, which she insisted to go as her hair needed it urgently. 🙂 As the appointment was in the middle of the day, it wasn’t worth it going for a hike but we decided to have a picnic anyway little bit more up the hills where you can drive up with the car. Well, I don’t want to tell more about our plans. We ended up on her balcony the whole afternoon. 😉

Anyway, from our perspective it is not very much important where to meet or end up. For us it is only important to be together at this time, this could be anywhere. So it was actually the best to do staying at her apartment, talking, eating and laughing. The whole afternoon was very nice and cozy. And our sausages from the grill, next to other food we put on it were excellent and we enjoyed it from the beginning to the end.

The day before, I thought on bringing anything else as well to our grill session. I decided to go for Scones again. I used the basic recipe (except exchanged the milk with buttermilk) which I mentioned already in a previous post and spiced them up with cheddar cheese and chive. Aaawwh, that was extremely delicious and absolutely my new favourite for savoury Scones. If you like cheddar cheese you must try them as well. Hopefully you can enjoy them as well during a lazy, cozy and funny afternoon as we did… 😉

Cheddar cheese and chive Scones:

Scones basic recipe
– use the recipe as mentioned in my older post (without lemon zest and buttermilk instead of whole milk)

– 150g of Cheddar cheese cut into small cubes
– 1 bunch of chives, cut
add into (dry ingredients) bowl before buttermilk and egg are being added,
stir together, knead the dough on a floured surface to a round flat cake shape with approx. 3cm height, cut into triangular pieces and put it onto the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until golden at 250 degrees Celsius

What are your favorite cookbooks? Do you have only one or more than one? I use to have several cookbooks, but also researching recipes online makes life often easier when finding something specific. But I still think that holding a cookbook in your hands and going through all the sites to find a recipe is something which is irreplaceable. 🙂

When I am reading a magazine I often go first to the recipe section. I have found the following recipe in an extra magazine called Vivai which comes out once in a few months together with the weekly Migros magazine. I am always interested into this magazine as it’s generally related to topics about producing food, eating and health. There are always some pretty good articles in there and looking this time into the recipe section made my baking heart bouncing. 🙂 As I love bread, or better said I even adore bread, this jumped across to my mind to make that in my kitchen immediately as well. And the best is, you don’t have to think about what you can eat together with your bread, because the additions are already integrated which is very useful when having a picnic or simply a very tasteful snack. I love such 2 in 1’s. 😉

If you love as well go for it and share with all who could need some new experiences about good tasting bread.

Rolled pesto zucchini bread (originally from Vivai magazine):

500g spelt flour,
10g salt,
add into a bowl, mix together and form a mould in the middle

20g yeast,
3dl tepid water,
let yeast dissolve in water

2 tbsp olive oil,
add into mould and knead everything together until dough is even, let double arise for approx. 1 hour

2 bunches of basilica, roughly chopped,
2 tbsp pine nuts,
25g ground parmesan cheese,
0.5dl olive oil,
put everything into a food processor for chopping and season with 1 tbsp lemon juice and salt and pepper

with little flour roll the dough into a rectangle with 5mm thickness, spread the pesto over the dough, put 200gr of grated zucchini (you can also choose another vegetable like carrots or leek) onto it and roll lengthwise, cut into 3cm rolls and put into a baked sheeted spring form pan, put into cold oven and bake for approx. 45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius

The following post belongs not to baking. When I created this blog a few months ago, I thought to post only articles which belong to baking. And indeed the most articles do so. But from time to time there are simply topics occurring into my mind which I would like to share with you as well.

Yesterday I have been to the blood donation. I started to donate blood two years ago when I noticed that my company supports that with organizing a blood donation day within our buildings once a year. As from that moment on I thought about donating blood in general. I came immediately to the question: Why to NOT donate blood? There was no reason for me to question that at all as 1) I am not struggling with seeing blood, as well as not struggling with getting prickled by a needle, 2) I can help with providing blood for different areas like in medicine, scientific and pharmaceutic and 3) I feel healthy and want to help others who aren’t, even if this happens indirectly.

Unfortunately blood donation is not so common in my surrounding, whether privately or in my working place. Usually when I come back from the donation I really try to motivate people to do as well. Mostly the people tell me the same, that they know it would be good, but anyhow..aaah.. you know… aaah..
Honestly, the most of them do not have any good reason to do not when I ask them. 😉 Well, I do what only I can do and everybody needs to decide his or herself. I am not going to judge on anybody at all.

At the donation it is always the same procedure. You have to fill out a questionnaire, going further to the blood pressure measuring, then getting prickled on the fingertip to measure your hemoglobin and then last to the doctor who tells you if are able to donate or not. Then you are ready and steady to lie down and give your blood which needs about 5 to 10 minutes. Yesterday I needed at least 10 minutes, it was a little bit slow. 🙂 At the time when my blood started to pour, two men joined the room as well, lied down and were finished before I was…zzzzz… 🙂 However, my bag was full sometime and then you have to wait a few minutes until you get up as the blood you still have in your body needs to find the way back to its place. Actually it is really no big deal..

They take 450ml blood of your body. Your body circulation will be regulated within the next 20 minutes. Your liquidity balance within 24 hours. The blood cell replacement within 2 weeks and the balance of your ferric loss within the next 8 weeks. You are going to feel renewed. Physically because of your renewed cells and psychologically because you help with giving your blood.

Think about…

😉