Monday, April 6, 2015

Swedish Vanilla Buns

Y'all need to get yourselves some Swedish friends. If you do, you will find yourself the lucky recipient of delicious gummy treats, and sehr lecker (German for very delicious) confections. Plus, you can listen to Abba and Ace of Base without irony or shame. We have these really fun Swedish friends in our Crew. Thanks to them, we have been able to enjoy some really great foods. We've had KöttbullarLussebullarSwedish candies, and these wonderful vanilla-filled buns, Vaniljbullar. We've also bonded over our favorite TV Show, and what we feel is the best Döner Kebap spot in all of Berlin—so these are obviously my people. We made these the other week and goodness gracious, they were a delight. 

I realize it's kind of mean of me to post these on here, because some of the ingredients are specialty ingredients that you can't just pick up at the local grocery store, unless you live in Sweden. BUT, maybe that is what Amazon is for? Or maybe you can just try to find Swedish friends—and I'm really just promoting international relations and should be commended for doing so. 

Vanilla filled buns (Vaniljbullar)

Yields: about 20

1 cup of milk
25 g yeast
75g butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
about 3 1/2 cups flour

Filling (makes about 1 1/2 cups of vanilla cream, but I would make a little extra):
1/2 cup dream powder
1/2 cup milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons maizena
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
**this site has a recipe they use for the filling that doesn't use the powder
Melted butter

Making the Dough:

Heat the milk to 98° and dissolve a bit of yeast in it. Stir butter and sugar until smooth in a large bowl. Add the egg, the rest of the yeast, the warm milk and yeast mixture and stir. Add the flour and stir until it's a smooth dough. Let rise under a cloth until doubled in size.

Making the Filling:
Mix cream, milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla sugar in a saucepan and stir. Heat gently, stirring until the cream almost begins to simmer but do not boil. The cream will thicken. Take the pan off the heat and place in cold water in the sink or pour over the cream in a bowl (otherwise the residual heat in the pan to make vanilla ice cream becomes too hot and it can curdle).

Making the buns:
Roll out the dough into a large square. Cut out round holes, about 10 cm in diameter. Add a good sized dollop of filling and pinch the bun into a little bundle. Place the bun on baking paper with the seam facing down. Let the buns rise for an hour under a cloth. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees.

When the buns are cool, brush them with melted butter and dip them into sugar. Now EAT!

(You can freeze the buns before you brush them with butter and sugar, if you want to save them for a later date; or if you live by yourself and can't eat 20 buns in one sitting, no matter how badly you want to.)

Friday, March 27, 2015

I call these Suuuuuuuuuuper Good Cookies

Last summer, I came across this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies and I was intrigued. I'm not really a pretzel lover (except the freshly baked doughy, salty kind) so I thought of other salty snacks. I have heard tale of people using potato chips in cookies, but I wanted to try panko crumbs. I liked the idea of the texture and saltiness that this would lend to the classic, steady, wonderful Chocolate Chip Cookie. I also added a few ingredients from my other favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe—the comination which I think makes a soft, chewy, chocolatey, semi-salty Suuuuuuuuuuper Good Cookie.

When I made these for my dear friend Jessica and her family, her son went crazy for them. After quite a bit of scientific research (aka: taste testing), we decided it's the best cookie dough you'll ever have. That's right, I said it, and I ain't backing away from it. I just dropped that gauntlet, and that mic. Now get to your own Very Official research and let me know what you think!

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 sticks (7 ounces, or 200 grams—yes, my Europe is showing) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 bars of good semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks (I use 70% cacao)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with silpats or baking paper. 

Whisk flour, baking powder, wheat germ, flax seed, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.

In another bowl, beat butter until soft and creamy. Add sugars at medium-low speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. 

Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats, panko, and chocolate, and mix until well incorporated. Seeing as how I'm lo-fi now with my lack of kitchen gadgets, I get in there with my hands and make sure there's no flour pockets left.
Roll dough into three equal sized logs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight (but eat some of that first—f'reals). Once properly chilled, cut off pieces that are about 1/2" thick and round the dough. Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart, 8-12 per sheet—they will still spread a lot.

Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Let cool completely before gently moving cookies to wire rack. They will be fragile, especially on the edges.

**Side note, the dough freezes really well, too. So I like to keep some cookie dough in the freezer that I can bake up for any occasional company or visitors that may come by (hint, hint).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hallo, and Coconut Encrusted French Toast

Aaaaaaand we're back! I've had a few friends try to talk me into getting the food blog back up and running, but for a while, I had approximately three jobs and was planning a move to Germany and then adjusting to said move. So, it's been a bit busy. But now, I've adjusted to my new life and and my terrible attempts at the German language and not getting lost in Berlin all day, errrrrryday.

There are definitely some adjustments that I've had to make—with different ingredients and measurements and other factors. For instance, cream cheese is lighter here and doesn't make as dense and thick of a cheesecake. Additionally, you can't find the brown sugar that we know and love (people always think I'm talking about turbinado sugar which is not even close) in the bigger grocery markets, but you can find it in some Asian markets. How am I supposed to make chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar?!? Also, the granulated sugar is beet sugar, not cane sugar. These are only a few examples, and I'm sure I'll talk about more of them over time. So, this blog will be about new recipes, and different things I'm learning from living in a "new to me" place and also food love from my travels.

On to the goods...

As a freelancer, I have the luxury of working from home. Which means sometimes I make a fancy breakfast for myself because, I do what I want! American-style breakfasts aren't readily available and I needed some french toast. So I did a search through the recipes that I've clipped over the years and found this one from Two Peas & Their Pod. I obviously had to make some adjustments due to using what I had on hand—also, note that the coconut or "kokos" you can find here is different than the sweetened flaked coconut you can find in the states, which the original recipe calls for.

Coconut Encrusted French Toast

3 eggs
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup coconut flakes (we only have this kind here)
6 slices of whole-grain, nutty bread

Maple butter:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter

Coconut yogurt sauce:
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg

Blueberries for serving

1. In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place the shredded coconut on a plate. Dip both sides of each slice of bread into the egg mixture and poke holes in bread so it absorbs some of the batter. Dip both sides of the coated bread into the shredded coconut. Drizzle a little egg mixture on top of the coconut to make it stick to the bread.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan or a griddle to medium to medium-high heat. Cook the slices of bread until golden brown on one side and then turn and cook the other side.

3. Serve with maple butter, coconut yogurt sauce, and blueberries. (I also suggest fresh ginger or "ingwer" tea and poached eggs on the side—breakfast is the best/most important meal of the day, so get it proper!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

pumpkin dulce de leche pie

I made this for a friend's Pie Party last week, and remembered how much love I this particular combination of ingredients. It adds and extra-special twist and uniqueness to this classic holiday confection.This recipe is adapted from my mom's Pumpkin Pie recipe (my all-time favorite) and Recipe Girl's Dulce De Leche Pumpkin Toffee Pie. Combining the two makes for an incredible dessert. Just in time for Thanksgiving!

1 unbaked pie crust that fits in a deep pie dish
3/4 can of dulce de leche (microwaved for about 20 seconds to soften)
1 1/4 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon flour
2 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400° and move the rack to the second-to-bottom position (this is important—it will bubble over too much if you don't move the rack down). Scoop the softened dulce de leche in unbaked pie shell and set aside. Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices and flour in a mixing bowl. Add eggs; mix well. Add evaporated milk, water and vanilla. Mix well. Pour mixture into shell, on top of dulce de leche. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until center jiggles only slightly. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

guest post: overnight french toast with orange gala syrup

A little while ago—totally out of the blue—I was asked by Appliances Online (out of the UK) to do a guest post for their blog. They asked if I could do something related to family traditions and I immediately knew what I wanted to make, eat and gush about. If you want the recipe for something that has the words "Orange" and "Gala" in the title, I suggest you go to this link.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

candy bar cookies

This cookie is one of my family favorites. I mean, "Candy Bar" is in the title. We typically only had them around the holidays, because they are a bit of work, and therefore saved for special occasions. Well this week, I decided that a special occasion was going to be Saturday, and I needed to make and eat these dudes. Really good decision, I tell you. Maybe you should do the same?

Candy Bar Cookies

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons canned milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

Caramel Filling:
30 caramels
1/4 cup canned milk
1/4 butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Chocolate Topping:
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 canned milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and blend well. Mix in vanilla, canned milk and salt. Blend in flour. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes. Cover with plastic and roll out into a rectangle about 1/8" thick. Cut dough into squares or rectangles (trim off uneven edges and roll out and cut again until you run out of dough. Bake at 325° for 12-16 minute until lightly brown. Cool.

In the meantime, melt chocolate chips in the canned milk. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Set aside to cool.

Melt caramels with canned milk in double boiler. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.

Spread 1 caramel filling on each piece of shortbread. Top with 1/2 teaspoon chocolate, then top with a pecan. (I found that it was easier to top with all the caramel first, then all the chocolate, then the pecans—rather than fully assembling each cookie, one at a time.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gooey Butter Cake

Three words: Gooey, Butter and Cake.

So you are paying attention now, right? Cause yeah, it's as rich and amazing as it sounds. I have a few friends from what they call, "The Lou" (St. Louis) and this is a classic dessert from that region. One of my best girls Emily gave me a killer awesome Christmas present a few years back, in the form of a binder full of her family's favorite recipes. So she and her mom get all the accolades that this cake deserves. There are quite a few recipes out there for this dish, but I can't imagine anything being more gooey, more buttery and more ridiculously awesome than this particular cake. So, go make this happen in your life, too—it's just necessary. Trust me and the Hintze family.

1 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter

1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup flour
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar

To make the crust, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Pat into the bottom and sides of a greased 9x9 pan. To make the filling, beat sugar and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg. Then add flour and evaporated milk alternately, mixing after each addition. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Mix at medium speed until well blended. Pour batter on the top of crust. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Bake at 350° for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is nearly set. Do not overcook. Serve after cooled in pan till room temperature (after more powdered sugar is sprinkled on top for garnish). 

Monday, October 1, 2012

re-post: flourless peanut butter cookies

(photo via Instagram)

I made these cookies last night and posted them on my Instagram and had a few of my gluten-free friends ask me for the recipe. I've made them before, but I thought I'd re-post, with a few changes and tips that I've added since then. You have to follow the recipe pretty darn exactly, or they just don't turn out quite right. I'm not gluten free, but I would still choose this over a recipe with flour in it. They have the perfect texture I'm looking for in a PB cookie. Chewy and soft, but still a little bit crumbly. Plus, they are crazy easy to make and even easier to shove in your mouth. 

1 cup smooth peanut butter (I've tried natural PB and it doesn't work as well, unless you use Skippy Natural Creamy PB. This recipe is all about the right textures, and you have to use the right type of PB)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°. In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla and baking soda and mix for 1 1/2 minutes (before, it called for two, and it seemed too greasy and didn't crumble a little bit, which I like). Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop out the dough, then roll into a compact ball (This size is just right for getting the perfect cookie - however, this makes less cookies than a normal batch, approximately 16, so you may want to double your batch, depending on your needs/self control). Use a fork dipped in sugar to make a criss cross pattern on the top of the cookie. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Rest the cookies for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack—this is important! Let cookies sit on wire rack at least 5 minutes before consuming to your heart's content. 

***I can't stress enough how you have to follow this recipe exactly to get the perfect PB cookie. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

grandpa's favorite butterscotch brownies

A few weeks ago, we had an impromptu family reunion on my dad's side to celebrate a large milestone in my Aunt's life. All of my cousins on that side, except four came out to celebrate with her. My sister was kind enough to put together a luncheon for everyone and she had asked my Aunt Donna what desserts she would like. Aunt Donna's first response was, "My dad's favorite Butterscotch brownies." My Gramps used to LOVE these. He loved most treats, but these were his all-time favorite. So, they have a special place in my family history (which of course is food related—we may have a problem—but we don't care—you don't know our life!) These guys are addicting. So when you make them, which I suggest you do immediately, make sure there are people to share with—or you may wake up in a haze with an empty pan of brownies next to you.

Grandpa's Favorite Butterscotch Brownies

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease an 8x8 pan. Combine the dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl; set aside. Mix the eggs, butter and vanilla together until combined. Stir in dry ingredients. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. While brownies are baking, make the frosting.

Combine brown sugar and butter and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add milk and powdered sugar, and beat until thick. If you overbeat, the frosting will be too dry, so stop when it becomes thick. Spread frosting onto hot brownies and cool to room temperature before slicing and stuffing your face.

Monday, September 10, 2012

streusel coffee cake

When I was in New York last year, I finally got to try the Clinton Street Baking Company for breakfast. I wanted to eat every single item on the menu. My Mom has had the cookbook for a while, so I knew I needed to go to the real thing while I was there. It was a crazy wait, but like all good things—worth it. My parents gave me the cookbook this year for my birthday and I couldn't have been more pleased. I am so excited to make everything from this book! I found this recipe for Buttermilk Streusel Coffee Cake and I knew I had to make it. I didn't have buttermilk, which was a problem, but I did have greek yogurt and some left over half and half from another recipe and decided to take the gamble and substitute this concoction for buttermilk. The gamble paid off, everyone loved the cake, and now I have a new favorite in the arsenal of breakfast coffee cakes.

Streusel Coffee Cake, adapted from Clinton Street Baking Company

Streusel Topping

3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup graham-cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup half and half or milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan. Mix all the Streusel Topping ingredients together in a mixing bowl and set aside.

For the cake, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, two at a time, mixing until well blended. Mix in the greek yogurt mixture and vanilla extract. Sift together and sir in the remaining dry ingredients. (Mixture will be very thick, almost like cookie batter)

Fill the pan halfway with the batter. Sprinkle with two-thirds of the Streusel Topping. Add the rest of the batter. Top with remaining on-third streusel.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (My bundt pan may have been a little small, cause some of the batter spilled over while baking, so make sure you have the right size pan and put foil on the bottom of your oven, just in case.)

Cool. To unmold, place a plate firmly on top of the pan and flip, being carful to preserve the streusel.