Ich bin ein Berliner… or something like that!

Have you ever tried a “German doughnut”, a Berliner, a Krapfen or a Fastnachtsküchle? No? Oh, dear. You missed out big time, I’m afraid.

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Today is what we call “Rosenmontag“, Carnival Monday, the highlight of German carnival, the day of raving carnival parades, crazy costumes and one endless party. To be honest, I hate it. The disguises, the craziness, the drunk people out on the streets, the roadside breath tests every few kilometres… but there is one thing I really apreciate this time of the year – the Berliner.

It’s made of a sweet yeast dough, fried in hot oil and has a jam- or creme- (vanilla, Baileys, eggnogg, Nutella, whatever flavour you could possibly imagine) filled centre. It’s covered in cinnamon and powdered sugar and taking your first bite feels like an epiphany. I spent the better half of today making Berliner and a similar type of doughnuts (made with baking powder instead of yeast) called “Quarkbällchen”.

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If you want to try to make your own Berliner and Quarkbällchen and get a taste of German carnival, here are the recipes for you.

Quarkbällchen (super-easy, perfect for beginners!)
– makes about 20 –

In a mixer with paddle attachement mix for 3-5 minutes

250 g plain flour
80 g sugar
2 g salt
12 g baking powder
300 g quark
13 g cooking oil
100 g butter (liquid)
3 eggs
1 egg yolk

Let sit for about 30-45 minutes. Heat about 2 l of cooking oil (or deep-frying fat) in a pot (or use a deep fryer), use an ice-cream scoop to drop portions of dough into the hot oil and deep-fry at 180°C for 5-10 minutes until golden brown (make sure to turn them around from time to time). Use a slotted spoon to take the Quarkbällchen out and roll them in either white sugar or a mix of white sugar and cinnamon powder. Enjoy.

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Berliner (a bit trickier, but if you follow the instructions, it shouldn’t be too complicated)
– makes about 17 –

Using a mixer with dough hook, mix

250 g flour
250 g milk
21 g yeast

After 3-5 minutes add

300 g flour
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
75 g butter (liquid)
40 g sugar
1 pinch of salt

Knead for about 10 minutes on low speed and another 4-5 minutes on high speed. Let the dough prove for about 30 minutes in a warm place (kitchen counter, for instance). Cut pieces of 50-60 g each and roll them either on the counter or in your hands to form little balls. Let them sit on the counter (or on a baking tray, covered with a teatowel) until their twice their original size (this might take a while, be patient!).IMG_8351.JPG

Then put them upside down into the cooking oil (again at 180°C), cover the pot with a lid and let them cook for 3 minutes (placing the lid on top of the pot is very important as it keeps the steam inside the pot and enhances the volume of your Berliner). Use a slotted spoon to turn them upside down and let them cook for another 3 minutes. Take out and dip them in a mix of white sugar and cinnamon. (By the way, the white stripe around the middle is characteristic for this type of baked good and it’s a sign of high quality and the right method of cooking!)

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You can fill them with anything you like, using a thin nozzle on your pastry bag and your favourite marmalade, jam or pudding. I used vanilla pudding mixed with eggnogg but this also works with Baileys or any other liquor you like. Some people also cut them open like you would a bun, and spread Nutella on one half before putting the two halves back together. Get creative! Once you have them filled, dust them with powdered sugar and impress your guests (or your family or simply yourself) with traditional German Berliner/Krapfen. Enjoy!

P.S.: No, Kennedy wasn’t talking about these delicious things when he famously said “Ich bin ein Berliner!“. He really meant “I am a person from Berlin”, not “I am a German carnival doughnut”. Famous words…

Oreo Cupcakes reloaded

You know, I’m a sucker for Oreos. And cupcakes. And Oreo cupcakes, naturally. But I’ve made Oreo cupcakes before, so this time I thought I’d bring the experience to a new level. Oreo cupcakes reloaded, basically.

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The result is a white vanilla-flavoured cake with crunchy classic Oreo bits in it, topped with a dark chocolate ganache and finished off with white Oreos. Heavenly, I say.

Since I’m such a generous person, I thought I’d share the love – here is how I made these delicious treats:

White Oreo Cupcakes Supreme

130 g flour
130 g super-fine white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
40 g butter

Mix the dry ingredients and the butter in a free-standing mixer with paddle attachement. Add:

60 ml milk

and continue beating on low speed for a few more seconds. In a seperate bowl, mix

70 ml milk
1 egg
~ 5 g vanilla essence

Pour this mix into the flour/sugar mix and beat on low speed until you get a smooth consistency. Make sure not to over-beat! Fill the mixture into a prepared cupcake/muffin tin (you can use paper cases, if you like). Cut

8 classic Oreos

in quarters, sprinkle on top of your cupcakes and bake at 165°C for about 20-25 minutes.

For the topping, I used the same ganache recipe like last time (200 g cream, 125 g dark chocolate 70%). For more detailed directions, please have a look here. Use a pastry bag with a star-nozzle to decorate the cupcakes and stick White chocolate Oreo halves on top of each cupcake. Serve, make your guests (and yourself) smile and enjoy!

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Mini-Marshmallow Cupcakes

Today I spent most of the day baking (as usual).

First, I made pizza (from scratch, of course!), then a plum cake and a plaited yeast bun (because I had some yeast dough left from the plum cake) and then some blueberry muffins (because I had some blueberries left, too).

Last week I had also made some brownies and some marshmallow cupcakes so now we have plenty to eat…

And because I realised it’s been a loooooooong time since I last shared a recipe with you (and a loooooooong time since I last posted – CampNaNoWriMo takes it’s toll!), here’s how to make super-yummy very cute mini-marshmallow cupcakes:

120 g flour
100 g sugar (+ some vanilla sugar, optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
120 ml milk
1 egg
12 mini-marshmallows

For decoration:

12 mini-marshmallows, white + some extra for decoration

buttercream frosting (equal parts of unsalted butter, beaten at high speed for several minutes until fluffy and white, and vanilla pudding, slowly added to the butter – I suggest to use 50-80g of each)
30 g cocoa powder

To make the cupcakes, put the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer (paddle attachment) and beat slowly. Add butter and continue beating until you reach a sandy consistency.
Add milk and egg and beat until everything is well-combined. Fill in 12 paper cases and drop 1 mini-marshmallow into each case. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 175°C.

Divide your buttercream frosting in two halves. Add cocoa powder to one half and whisk until well-combined. Fill vanilla frosting and cocoa frosting in two seperate pastry bags. Beginning with the vanilla frosting, pipe a circle on each cupcake, leaving a little room for one mini-marshmallow to take place.

Pipe cocoa frosting on top of the marshmallow. Cut remaining marshmallows in tiny pieces and sprinkle on top.

Enjoy!

St Patty’s | WEEKEND WIND UP #62

St. Patty’s is calling, people!

Although in the little rural corner of Germany where I live, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t much of a deal, it is being celebrated in our local Irish Pub so even the backwoods around here are sort of familiar with the Irish holiday.

No one celebrates as much as the blogging community, though.

For weeks and weeks now (pretty much since Valentine’s was over) St. Patrick’s Day related recipes, D.I.Y.s and decorating tips have been popping up and so I decided to jump in the discussion, go with the flow, follow the lead and share a super-easy, extra-pretty little sugar cookie recipe with you. Enjoy!

Shamrock sugar cookies

Mix 80 g butter, 100 g sugar, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons single cream. Add 250 g flour, 130 g corn starch and 2-3 teaspoons baking powder and knead until a smooth dough forms. (If you want your cookies to have a typical Irish green colour, add a few drops of liquid food colouring.) 

Wrap in cling film and set to rest in your fridge for 1 hour. 

Roll the dough and cut into cookies, using a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter. Place on a lined baking tray and bake at 180°C for 10-12 minutes (until golden brown). 

Let cool and enjoy. Or let cool and flood with royal icing like I did. 

Some great tips on how to do that can be found on Sweetopia. Go and check this link out, the information on cookie decorating that can be found there is priceless!

And then come back and tell me about your St. Patrick’s Day!

What do you get up to today?

I think I might just head down to our local Irish pub and see what’s happening there (if I can get in, that is, because they’re usually over-booked on St Patty’s… – wish me luck!).

Tiramisu Cupcakes and a broken rolling pin | WEEKEND WIND UP #59

My interim exams are coming up and since (amongst other things) my Danish pastry-making skills are going to be tested on Tuesday, I thought I’d do some practise at home.

Until this week this happened:

My rolling pin broke! Much to the amusement of my co-workers and pretty much everyone else who asked how my prep for the exams was going.

While they were laughing their heads off, I was actually pretty bummed because although I prefer working with mixtures (which you can simply fill in tins) rather than doughs that need to be rolled out, I started to get the hang of this whole yeast-dough-making.

The result of my very first attempt at Danish pastry a little while back.

Without a rolling pin however, I will now have to rely on the fact that two and a half attempts at Danish pastry making would be enough to pass on Tuesday.

Anyway, I still wanted to make something edible, so I whipped up soem Tiramisu Cupcakes instead:

To make these, I melted 125g butter and mixed it with 125g white sugar and 2 eggs over gentle heat. Then I carefully added 125g flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder and filled the mixture into 12 cups (you can use a muffin tin).

I put them in the oven at 170°C (about 15-20 minutes) and in the meantime made a cup of espresso to which I added 1 teaspoon sugar and a dash liquor.

After taking the cupcakes out of the oven, I used a brush to apply the espresso-mix on top, then whipped up 200g mascarpone with 50g sugar.

After cooling I applied the mascarpone and (using a self-made star stencil) sifted some cocoa powder over each cupcake.

Now enjoy your cupcakes and wish me luck on Tuesday!

Last Minute SOS Christmas Spirit Supply | WEEKEND WIND UP #55

Have you found your Christmas spirit yet?

No? (If you have, just pretend you haven’t and go with it. Or just read on to find out how to play out your Christmas fantasies.) 

Well, it’s two days before Christmas, so you better hurry up and find it!

If you’re not in the mood for some quality time with your friends and family, gift wrapping and unwrapping, charol singing, decorating your tree and kissing under the mistletoe, I know exactly what you need.

You need Diesel.

Diesel is the Spirit of Christmas (at least he says so) and he is a ficitional character brought to you by Janet Evanovich (one of my favourite writers, which you probably know by now) in her Stephanie Plum Between-The-Numbers Novels.

You probably guessed it: whether you are eagerly awaiting Christmas or not – “Visions of sugar plums” is the perfect book for you in any case.

Still not quite excited about the upcoming holidays yet?

Hm.

Have some cookies, maybe that’ll help.

And listen to some (or all) of these songs:

Okay, now if all of that hasn’t put a smile on your face, you’re a tough case.

Then I’ve got only one ultimate solution to finally get your Christmas cheer going: booze.

How about some candy cane coffee?

You need a cup of coffee, one teaspoon cocoa powder, one shot crème de menthe and a candy cane for my version. (Alternatively, you could follow this recipe video.)

That was The Last Minute SOS Christmas Spirit Supply brought to you by coffeerocketfairytale. 🙂

Have a very merry Christmas and a couple of wonderful days with your loved ones!

Christmasicle | WEEKEND WIND UP #55

I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE.

I’m Christmas-crazy.

Yep, it’s true. I’m totally hooked on everything that has something to do with December, an especially December 24, 25 and 26.

I love everything about it: the glamour, the lights, the snow, the trees, the candles, the cookies, the Christmas decoration, the number of books you can only read that time of the year because they are Christmas-themed, the infinite loop of Christmas songs on the radio,…

I suspect it has something to do with New Zealand.

In New Zealand, Christmas happens to be in summer and summer and Christmas are just two words I find incredibly hard to name in one sentence.

It just doesn’t work.

Christmas parties and BBQs at the beach are awesome and all but to someone like me who grew up knowing Christmas as a winter holiday  it seems very odd.

Wellington Christmas tree {pic: own}

The Christmas spirit in Germany is just totally different to what I’ve experienced in New Zealand (and also in England, despite the fact that experience shows there is indeed a tiny possibility of having a white Christmas in England, too).

Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed both experiences, but nothing beats Christmas at home.

We usually have white Christmas lights and subtle decoration – no rainbow colours, no blinking, nothing too crazy.

We have Christmas markets where you can buy all sorts of presents, ornaments and lots and lots of Glühwein (mulled wine).

Christmas Market in Germany {via bonn.de}

And we are given our presents one day early, on Christmas Eve, when we usually have a nice family dinner in the evening and get the gifts afterward.

Aaaaanyway – now that I’ve told you a lot about my Christmas experiences (seriously, you wouldn’t believe it, but I could go on for hours and hours despite the fact that I might repeat myself…) it’s time for a little goodie for you!

For these delicious cake-sicles you need

  • 120 g margarine
  • 120 g sugar
  • 250 g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder & 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 100 g milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chocolate (or chocolate drops)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Christmas mix (= cinnamon, clove, anise…)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds

As with any of my cake-sicle recipes, you don’t have to make these in a cake sicle tin – you could use a muffin tin, heat-proof cups or miniature Bundt-cake tins instead. Or whatever else you find in your kitchen drawer. Be creative!

Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes, then melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler and coat with the chocolate before decorating your little Christmas treats with whatever you like. (I used little pieces of Christmas-themed chocolate bars with nuts and almonds.)

Enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas time!

P.S.: More on Christmas baking here and here!

P.P.S.: Still waiting for the real snow, but the WordPress snow is on! Yay!

Finale ohooo, Finale ohooooo! | WEEKEND WIND UP#48

You may have noticed by now that the one thing I tend to wax lyrical about is New Zealand.

I love this country so much and today my inner Kiwi has more than one reason to cheer.

 

 

The All Blacks, the NZ rugby team, just won against arch-enemy Australia in the semi-final of the rugby world cup!

(Ha! Aussies, that’s what you got for not giving me any coffee on my stopover on the way to Welly when I was in need!)

Also, I just found out that my Kiwi sister (from my NZ host family) got engaged! Congratulations!

I have been waiting for a suitable occassion to share this recipe of my Black Velvet All Blacks’ Velvet Cheesecake and I think I just leave it up to you which occassion you want to celebrate with this cake…

All Blacks’ Velvet Cheesecake:

For the cheesecake layer, mix

200 g quark

170 g cream cheese

150 g sour cream

125 g sugar (& some vanilla-flavoured sugar)

1 egg

and pour the mixture into a round springform tin. Bake at 180°C for approximately half an hour.

In the meantime you can mix the ingredients for the Black Velvet Cake:

45 g cooking oil

1 egg

1 cup espresso

1 pinch of salt

240 g buttermilk

200 g flour

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

40 g cocoa powder

180 g sugar

It’s best to first mix the wet ingredients and then add the dry ingredients until everything is evenly combined.

Then pour the mixture into either the springform tin you used for the cheesecake layer or another tin of the same size.

Bake at 180°C for about 40 minutes, let cool and dust with icing sugar.

By the way, it was the lovely Erin who first put a cheesecake layer in the middle of another cake when she made her fabulous Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake which inspired my All Blacks Velvet Cake. (You will notice that the ingredients are almost the same, but I’ve changed the amounts and proportions to make a more velvety cake…).

Now, I’ve put my flag up and continue my rugby celebrations now… see you later!

Autumn Baking

Autumn is pumpkin time – naturally, I’d like to show you today how to make pumpkin pie.

What you need:

200 g flour

1 tablespoon sugar

125 g butter

1 pinch of salt

~ 600 g pumpkin (I used hokkaido)

4 eggs

2 tablespoons sour cream

5 tablespoons golden syrup

cinnamon, cloves,…

Cut pumpkin into cubes (use a spoon to get rid of the seeds) and spread on a baking sheet. Cook at 200°C for about 20-30 minutes or until the pulp is soft. (If you use a steam oven, 15 minutes will do.)

In the meantime make the dough: mix butter, sugar, flour and salt. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of cold water, if necessary.

In between two layers of clingfilm – just like I did when making my apple pie the other day – roll out the dough and put it in your pan.

Put the pan into the fridge for about half an hour.

Mash the pumpkin pulp (use a food processor!) and mix with the remaining ingredients.

Spread the pumpkin pulp over the base of your pie and cook at 180 – 200°C for 30 – 40 minutes.

This pie is super-easy to make (even easier than apple pie, actually) and I especially love the bright orange colour.

Popsicle Business

I think I might be opening a popsicle business soon.

Seriously, my cake-sicles turn out so much better than most cupcakes (even though I use the same batter!) – I wonder why!

For this one, I went back to my recipe for Fairytaleicious Cupcakes

Unfortunately, I poured in faaaaar too much sugar so the batter turned out to taste very boring.

So I needed some taste and what does a clever caffein-addict do? Add coffee!

I added about two table spoons of high-quality instant coffee powder and then proceded like nothing had happened.

And the result is… marvellous!

There is one downside to it, though: just like last time I made popsicles and cupcakes but for some reason the cupcakes don’t taste as good as the popsicles.

They are somehow dryer and not as delicious.

Surely that’s a sign, right? 🙂