The answer to life, the universe and everything: lime & white chocolate shortbread

21 Jul

 

lime & white chocolate shortbread

 

Last weekend, it was the most specialest (!) birthday of the year, and this year was even more specialer than usual! :D

How exciting is turning 42!?

Well, I wouldn’t know. But my partner’s 42nd birthday was pretty exciting, I can tell you!

Exciting enough to come up with a new recipe:

lime & white chocolate shortbread!

I think it’s the best summer biscuit ever. I looove the limey freshness.

 

And this is how it’s done:

Lime & White Chocolate Shortbread Biscuits

Ingredients
250 g flour
70 g sugar
125 g butter
1 egg
1 pinch salt
zest of 2 limes
200 g white chocolate

Method
Cute the butter into small pieces. Lightly beat the egg with a fork or other weapon of choice. Sift the flour with the sugar, then rub in the butter. Rub thoroughly. Add the egg, salt and zest of 1 lime and work it all into one nice dough. Cover with cling film and chill for a bit. Roll out and cut out in beautiful 4s and 2s and hearts.
Bake at 170° C for about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Decorate the shortbread biscuits with the chocolate and the zest of the second lime. It helps if you melt the chocolate first.

Eurovision baking: something rotten in the state of Denmark

12 May

something rotten
Ugh.

Dear reader, I have learned a valuable lesson this week: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

If you want to create artificial mould on your cake that looks as real as possible, you will end up regretting it. Especially when you’re more than a bit paranoid about rotten food.

Ugh.

Let’s talk about the nice part, then: the cake!

It’s my own creation, apple & almond biscuit bread. I based the recipe on what I’ve been told is a typical Danish dessert, some sort of trifle thing. The cake was seriously yum, very moist, and the tartness of the apples set off the sweetness of the almond biscuits in a lovely way.

There was not a single piece of cake left by the end of the party, wich says a lot considering the way it looked!

Unfortunately, though, I cannot give you the recipe. It’s not that I am withholding it on purpose – it’s just that I can’t quite say how much of what I used. I should start making notes when I’m on one of my baking experiments! I am ever so sorry.

Now. For the gross bit.

I mixed some flour and icing sugar for the basis of the mouldy bits and used a little brush to apply it to the cake. Then I added blue and green food colouring (the powdery stuff rather than the liquid colours I usually prefer) and did some more applying of disgusting stuff onto my lovely apple and almond biscuits bread.

I was hoping it would look real but the result still overwhelmed me. And not only in a good way…

But! It was perfect for our Denmark-themed Eurovision party. And some perfomers’ outfits looked more offensive than my mouldy bread.

I hope you all watched the show and cheered for Conchita. What a night!

Next year’s party motto: Wurst Käs Szenario. (Sorry, the awful pun only works in German.)

What’s the wurst that can happen!?

Eurovision baking: Danish Viking ships

12 May

danish viking ship biscuits

One of the four things I am constantly thinking about is the next Eurovision party. (And you don’t want to know the other three things…)

So when we went to the Hedeby (Haithabu) Viking Musem on 2nd January, I looked at everything there with our Eurovision Viking party in mind. You cannot start preparing early enough!

Incidentally, my man found his inspiration for a Eurovision Viking party costume there. (He went dressed as a rune stone, hoping that this would mean an excuse for him not to move all night.)

And I found: a viking ship biscuit cutter!

I love the shape. And I hate the shape with a passion. Guess whether almost half the biscuits broke at the mast. Grrrrrr.

But the ones that survived my tender loving handling looked cool. And tasted nice!

The biscuits are simple butter biscuits, very buttery and lovely. (You cannot use too much butter, I have been told.)

For the flags, I used sugar icing and my dearest companion: food colouring. :)

 

In other news, I might be clairvoyant – the only non-Danish viking ship was a winner ship! :)

austrian viking ship biscuitOr maybe they only won because I made this very biscuit? Hmm….

Next-level intolerances baking challenge: wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free carrot & orange cake

11 May

The older we get, the more our intolerances haunt us, apparently.

I get this with my intolerances towards people.

My friends develop more and more food intolerances.

I think I’d rather live with mine… ;)

carrot and orange cake

 

I baked this cake on Saturday morning for my friend, who had a big party with loads of cakes and biscuits and chocolate mousse – and who’d told me she wasn’t going to be able to eat any of it.

She’s always been wheat-intolerant (you will find a number of non-wheat baking projects in earlier posts on this beautiful blog of mine), and for as long as I’ve known her she’s always been a vegetarian, although not an overly strict one.

But now it’s become more difficult.

Intolerant parents produce intolerant children: my friend had a baby and now while she’s still breastfeeding, she cannot eat or drink any of the things that baby boy is allergic to. Which means she can now not have:
— wheat, as before
— eggs
— dairy of any kind
— sugar (as in, refined sugar etc.)

I simply could not bear her having a birthday party without cake for herself, so I said I was going to bake a cake for her and her special needs. :)

Fortunately, honey is fine for her and the baby. That made life easier for me! I adapted this recipe to my friend’s needs and the result is… It’s…

It’s okay.

The cake was not bad. It just tasted a bit … like a cake for stuff-intolerant people. And the hint of cinnamon I added made it taste a bit Christmassy. Which is not a bad thing but was not the intended effect either.

 

So, I gave her half the cake as it was. And turned the whole purpose of the cake upside-down by icing the other half with vodka & orange sugar icing. In my opinion, that improved matters considerably. As vodka and sugar often do. ;)

More gender stereotyping: his & hers biscuits

11 May

his and hers biscuits

 

I admit it; I just could not resist.

On Friday, I was baking biscuits for various occasions. Actually, one main one – post to follow – and because I had troubles concentrating on one task at a time, I ended up making more biscuits for other occasions and purposes as well.

Also, I got these wonderful biscuit cutters for my birthday earlier this year.

Second also: I was invited to a His & Hers & Baby’s Birthday Party this weekend. If that’s no reason to be a bit childish, I – actually, no, I am not going to finish this sentence. I do not need a reason to be childish anyway!

Third also: food colouringies! :D

So, three alsos later, I gave my friends a biscuit heart and a biscuit fire engine for their birthdays. My feminist soul may be saved by the fact that the red food colouring still ended up looking a bit pink, so I produced a pinkish fire engine.

Yay for unintentional stereotype undermining! :D

 

Rhubarb & Cinnamon Easter Bunny Muffins

15 Apr

rhubarb-cinnamon-bunny-muffins

 

It’s internationally recognised office etiquette that, when your employer gives you rhubarb a week before Easter, you bake rhubarb & cinnamon bunny muffins for your workmates!

My employer gave me rhubarb? What?

In the office where I work as a temp, they get a delivery of mixed (organic!) fruit every week for everyboy, which I think is awesome and a really nice (and not that expensive) way of keeping your employees healthy and happy. And this week, the fruit box contained rhubarb. Not something most people like to nibble on in the office.

So I got to take the rhubarb home with me.

I used it to make a lovely carrot & rhubarb jerk curry for myself — and rhubarb & cinnamon Easter bunny muffins for the office.

The bunnies are cut out from printed cardboard and glued onto toothpicks, quite easy to make but I think they do look cute. (Easy to make, that is, when you’re good at cutting out things. For me, the process involved quite a bit of cursing and swearing as usual.)

 

muffin bunnies

Bunny parade!

 

I really, really like these muffins. I like the rhubarb mixed into the batter better than, say, tray bake with rhubarb on top.

But that’s just my personal taste. Which we all know is a bit special. ;)

 

 Rhubarb & Cinnamon Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients
400 g rhubarb
100 g + 4 tbsp brown sugar
300 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
200 ml milk
100 g butter

Method
Cut the rhubarb into small pieces, mix it with 4 tbsp brown sugar, put it all into a small casserole dish or something similar and bake it in the oven at 200° C for 10 minutes. Then strain and let cool.
In the meantime, combine the rest of the sugar with the other dry ingredients.
Beat the eggs. Melt the butter. Combine eggs, butter and milk. Stir in the dry ingredients, then add the rhubarb pieces. No need for an electric whisk here; use a wooden spoon and do not overmix. Then off into muffin moulds the batter goes. Bake at 200° C for 25 to 30 minutes.
Add Easter bunnies. Give to workmates. Receive happy faces!

 

Vegan Hazelnut Cake

9 Mar

vegan hazelnut cake

Dear Reader, don’t judge a cake by its blog photo. Once again, I have failed to take a decent picture of a decent cake!

Also: the things you do for people you like! Last night, I cooked a three-course vegan meal for six people. (Out of which only two are actually vegan but … you know what it’s like. A chain is always only as good as its weakest link.) NO, I did not say that!

What I meant was: I love a challenge, as you know. So why not make a vegan meal. Also, there was some fried chicken for my devout carnivore friends to add to the vegan main course (because I like them. And I like undermining things like that.) But I chose the all-vegan option and the meal was lovely in my humble opinion.

The first two courses were Indian; I served a garam masala salad with mangoes as a starter, and then there was a Jalfreezi chickpea curry with two kinds of rice (turmeric and coconut & spring onion). I really liked it and none of my friends left to get pizza, so I’m guessing they liked it well enough as well.

For dessert, I baked a cake! Now there’s a surprise.

I used this recipe [Language warning: German] and followed the instructions almost to a t. I didn’t like that, because following instructions goes against my nature as you know. But sometimes you just have to suck it up. And be a grown-up about it. (And make plans for all the things you are going to do differently just because you can the next time!)

So, here’s my recipe, a minor variation. The cake was hazelnutty and chocolatey and really moist and yum. I highly recommend it, to vegans and non-vegans alike. We’re all equal in the eyes of cake.

Vegan Hazelnut Cake Recipe

Ingredients
250 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
250 g ground hazelnuts (+ extra)
2 tbsp cocoa
180 g icing sugar
120 g margarine (+ extra)
½ l soy milk
plum, almond & rum jam*
200 g dark chocolate (I bought the kind for which you have to pay extra because they print “vegan” on the packaging, just to be safe)
2 tbsp oil
chopped hazelnuts

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder, ground hazelnuts and cocoa. Even better: make your non-baking boyfriend do it and watch him complain that that’s not as easy as he thought it was. Give him a smug look. (The cake will more than make up for the damage you have just done to your relationship. Unless he’s a non-cake-eating person. In which case he is not a real human and you should not be with him anyway.)
In a separate bowl, beat margarine and icing sugar until fluffy, then add the dry ingredients and the soy milk. Give it all a good stir.
Grease a 26 cm cake mould with margarine and spread some ground hazelnuts to cover the surface. Pour in your cake batter.
Bake the cake at 180°C for about 50 minutes.
Remove from oven, let cool a little bit, then spread jam on top. Let cool some more, then spread ground hazelnuts on top of the jam. Now flip the cake onto a plate and remove the cake mould. Spread some more jam on what’s now the top of your cake. Let the cake cool completey.
In a bain-marie melt the cocolate. Stir in the oil and cover the cake with your chocolate coating. Use chopped hazelnuts for decoration purposes.

* A note on jam. I think you could use any good (= home-made!) jam for this cake. My own home-made jams, when including rum, tend to be quite on the rummy side, and I thought that added a nice note to the cake.

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