31 March 2013

Eggs in Lemon Curd

Two weeks ago, when I was supposed to write my paper and just could not bring myself to type one word, I spend hours pinning ideas for Easter baking. My board was bursting but everything I could find had to be made fresh. Since Easter was still half a month away I needed something I could make right now (to distract myself from writing) that would keep till the holiday. Then I found these wonderful meringue nests and I knew I had it. They are originally filled with lemon custard but to make custard is such a delicate thing that I blew it completely and it ended in a disaster. After some sulking I replaced it with curd and it worked out great. The nests keep for a long time and look just adorable as little surprises on the Easter plates.

Lemon Curd Easter Nests

Since the recipe for the meringue nests is already explained at the original post I will only provide the Lemon Curd recipe here.

You Need:

2/3 cup butter 
6 organic lemons
6 eggs
2 cups sugar
lemon zest from 2 lemons

Squeeze the lemons until you have around 300 ml of juice. Melt the butter in a pot. Add the juice, the sugar and the zest and mix them thoroughly. Whisk the eggs until stiff and add them to the mixture in the pot. Use low heat and stir until it becomes a thick creme. Do not let it cook!!
Now wait until cooled down a bit and fill into the meringue nests. Add little sugar eggs and 


30 March 2013

29 March 2013

Bunny Season

When I was younger I loved Easter a lot. My grandparents used to come to our house and bring a whole trunk full of the most wonderful things and in my mind the holiday will always be connected with birds singing, fresh and warm air and tons of sweets that you were allowed to eat without feeling guilty. Now it is more about having some free time with the family than it is about sweets but I'm still very fond of the holiday (and of bunnies in general :)). 
Though the season provides a never ending source of creative potential I personally feel that it is a challenge to find Easter decoration that isn't tacky. So except for felt eggs and some tulips I keep it simple. This year I decided to be a bit more creative, though, and tried to bring the bunny feeling in form of funny Easter cookies. 

21 February 2013

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

 My mother currently reads a lot of books that are set in Iceland. And apparently people in those books do nothing else but eat cinnamon rolls all day long. It goes without saying - over the reading she got a strong craving for them and was obsessed by the idea of having a freezer full of cinnamon rolls. The thought behind this being that they only need to defrost a few minutes and are therefore available around the clock. So when I came home for the semester break I researched and found this amazing recipe at chefkoch.de. Technically speaking it's not "Icelandic" cinnamon rolls per se - but I guess one cinnamon roll is pretty much like the other.

It is probably one of the most delicious recipes I ever tried. I have to say that I am not the biggest fan of cinnamon pastries (or wasn't so far) but even I got hooked immediately. I must have made 14 batches over the last 2 weeks, but yesterday we ate the last 2 rolls and now the new yeast is already in the fridge waiting to become a deliciousness. 
I never thought that they would freeze so well but it is really amazing. Put them in the microwave for about 2 minutes or just let them defrost naturally and they taste absolutely fresh and mouth-watering. 

The recipe is only available in German, but I tried to translate it: 

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

You Need:

For the Dough

2/3 cup butter
2 cups of milk
1/3 cup fresh yeast
2/3 cup sugar
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon (or cardamon)
7 cups flour

For the Filling

1/3 cup butter (I use a bit more)
1/2 cups sugar (again... I use a bit more)
1 tbsp cinnamon (and yes... a bit more :))
1 egg
more sugar to sprinkle on top

Now heat the milk and melt the butter in the milk. Dissolve the yeast in the milk-butter and stir the salt, the cinnamon, the sugar and almost all the flour under the milk. Knead everything to a smooth dough and add more flour if necessary. (Tip: you can also make a starter dough with only some of the milk and NO butter and add the rest of the heated butter-milk later)
Now let the dough rise for aprx. 40 minutes. 
After that, split the dough into three equal parts and roll out the single parts into a thin, rectangular surface. Now brush the butter (room temperature) on top and sprinkle a good layer of sugar mixed with cinnamon on the whole dough. Roll it into a dough-sausage and cut it into single rolls (not too thin!). Let them rise again for 30 minutes. Now paint them with egg and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake for 5-8 minutes in the preheated oven at 375 °F. 
Let them cool down under a kitchen towel. 

They are even more delicious with a cream-cheese frosting. You can make that without a recipe, just mix a tbsp of melted butter and about 1 1/2 tbsp of cream-cheese with powdered sugar until you have a creamy mass. 


19 February 2013

Traces of History

This Sunday my sister and I decided that we needed to get away from the desk for a few hours to breath some fresh air. Forest and fields are not far, but we were in the mood for a change of scenery, so we decided to try something new. We had planned for some month to visit a near memorial place. It has  been built as a reminder of a Second World War labor camp for Hungarian Jewish women. They were forced to work there to produce weapons for the German army. Though we live very near we never visited it before, because we knew that nothing more but a memorial plaque has remained. All the buildings are long gone and only an empty field reminds you of the former camp. But though there is really nothing left to make you aware of the former significance of the place, to know about it was enough to feel sad. Places like this have this strange aura of history and it made us feel quite uneasy.

So we decided to take a walk in the nearby woods to get away from the distressing place. Little did we know, we were about to discover something really interesting. After we had walked for about 10 minutes we noticed a small and old abandoned bunker at the roadside. We were really excited and explored the (sadly empty) inside. 

The bunker alone was quite impressive but after that we decided to leave the forest track and just go cross-country through the woods. And after a while we came across another old building between the trees. And the further we walked, the more buildings we found. The whole forest was filled with them. It was really exciting. We were all alone in the silent woods with these old and decaying buildings. We guessed that they were also remains of the war, but wondered why we had never heard about these ruins in the woods. After all, we were only about 8 kilometers away from home.

 We discovered about 20 buildings and some really large old bunkers that were embedded in the earth. Some of the bunkers had completely crumbled away over the years, some had been sealed by city authorities (I guess) but at the end we finally discovered one whose doors were open.

I have to admit, it was a bit scary to see this dark open door in the middle of the quiet woods with the huge empty dark hole behind it. But we had the dog with us and because she remained calm we knew that it was probably empty. It was a very speculiar feeling to be inside this old bunker. There were even bullet holes in the doors (strangely enough they went from the inside out ...) 

 We spent about two and a half hours in the woods exploring the old buildings. It was exciting, adventurous and a bit scary. When we came home we immediately googled the place (of course...) and found out that the buildings are part of a very large blasting explosive factory from the II Word War. Overall there had been more than 600 buildings in the woods and now there are about 60 of them still left. 

Next Sunday we want to go back and explore some more. After all, it is not everyday that you can find remains of the war outside a museum.

16 February 2013

Five Things

Colorful cake pops for carnival.

My little niece dressed up as scary clown.

Cool couch cushion my mother made.
My new flat serving bowl from Butlers that I use for nuts and dried fruits.

I think I am slowly becoming a crazy owl lady...

12 February 2013

Cick Pops

I made these sweeties a few days ago as a test running for Easter. They take a little time to make but are so cute that it's definitely worth the effort. Mine might not look quite as pinterest-professional as I would have liked them to, but next to a normal cake on the table they are still quite impressive. I used this recipe for the cake pops (you can basically use every cake-pop recipe there is for the inner dough) and changed it a bit so that it would suit my purpose. 

Chick Pop Easter Delights

You Need:

35 cake pop sticks

For the Dough

1 1/8 cups (2 sticks) butter 
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
1tbsp lemon zest (fresh from organic lemons)
1tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp lemon juice (not from fresh lemons!)
4 tbsp lemon zest (from fresh organic lemons)

For the Icing

2 cups of white chocolate coating
yellow food coloring
eatable colors to paint the chick face

For the dough, first mix butter and sugar for some minutes to get a fluffy mass. Add the eggs one after the other wile stirring. Strain the dry ingredients and mix them under the fluffy dough. Bake in a loaf tin for 45 minutes at 350°F in the preheated oven.

Let the cake cool down completely before taking the next step.

Now make the frosting. For that, whisk soft butter and cream cheese until you have a creamy mass. Add the powdered sugar, the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Now you should have a very light and very tasty) creamy mass.

As soon as the cake has cooled down completely remove all dark spots and all the brown crust so that you have only the soft and light inner cake. Now take a big bowl and crumble the soft cake into the smallest possible peaces. Add the frosting cream and mix it all with your hands until you have a soft and even dough-like mass.

Now the fun starts. With your hands form little balls. You can vary the size of them a bit, depending on how large you want your chicks to be. 

Once the little balls are all formed, put them in the fridge for at least one hour. 

Let the chocolate coating slowly melt in a hot water bath. When it's liquid enough, add the yellow food color until the chocolate is as yellow as you want your chicks to be. (I would have wanted mine to become much more yellow but I was out of color and did not realize it until the chocolate had already melted... )

Put the sticks into your dough balls and dip the cake pops into the chocolate until they are completely covered. 

Let them dry at least 1 hour!

Now you can start with the chicken art. Paint little dots as eyes in the middle of the chicken, then add a litte beak and feet at the sides. You can also leave out the feet, then you only have a head instead of a full-body chick. The possibilities are endless here, but I think that the chicks look best with little dot eyes and big red feet :)


10 February 2013

Owl Invasion

So I love owls :) Hasn't really been a secret. But recently I realised that I had started a whole Owl Jewelry collection for my shop without even noticing it. They just crept their way in over the last weeks, one or two with every new jewelry batch. But why not, they make great accessories! The perfect mix between cute and sophisticated ;)

The wise old owl
Sat in an oak.
The more he saw,
The less he spoke.
The less he spoke,
The more he heard.
Why can't we be like
That wise old bird?

27 January 2013

Lemony Lemon Bars

These are delicious and extremely lemony bars with a wonderfully silky filling. I made them this week because I needed something cake-like but was not really in the mood for cake (which does not happen very often) and they taste so fresh and lemony that you actually feel like eating fruit creme :)

Lemony Lemon Bars

You need:

                                              1.  1 1/2 cups flour                                          
2. 1/4 tbs salt
3. 4 organic eggs 
4. 1 2/3 cups sugar
5. 1/2 cup butter
6. 1 1/2 tbsp organic lemon zest + 1 cup fresh organic lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180 °C (around 350 F). Use a lasagna form or another baking pan that is around 20x30 cm and line it with baking paper. 

Now make the crust. For this you just put the flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, the salt, the lemon zest and 1/2 cup butter in a bowl and blend with a mixer or with the hands to get a nice and fluffy dough. Pour the dough in the pan and press it flat into an even layer. Bake for aprx. 15 minutes. 

While it is baking, make the filling. Mix the 4 eggs (I only used 3 because I didn't have more and was to lazy to go out, but it made the filling very moist), 1 1/3 cups of sugar  and the lemon juice (which is best freshly squeezed from organic lemons) until you have a nice blend (not too long!). Pour it on top of the hot crust and put it all back into the oven. Bake again for 15-18 minutes.
Let it cool completely before you slice it into small bars!


Believe me, they won't last long!