31 December 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone of you who read my blog, or who just come so say hello, or come just to have a look to the pictures and also the ones who never comment but they are there.

I'm happy my blog is almost one year, I love to share with you and the most important to learn from other blogs which I admire.

Happy 2013 and my best wiches for the new year!!!

Lots of love and thanks to be there 


And for celebrate it here here you have the recipe of cupcakes of cava:

INGREDIENTS 12 Cava Cupcakes
110 g butter at room temperature
210 g white sugar
2 large eggs
200 g plain flour
1,5 teaspoon baking powder
60 ml whole milk
40 ml cava

Preheat the oveb to 160º and prepare the baking tin.

Sift the flour and the baking powder, and set aside. Beat the butter and the sugar in the mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs on at a time, beating well adter each addiion. Add the sifted dry ingredients altering with the milk. Add the cava and stir with a spatula.

Divide the mixture between the cupcakes cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let them in the tin for 5 minutes and cool them on a wire rack before decorate.

Cava Frosting
300 icing sugar
120 unsalted butter at room temperature
4 tablespoons cava

Sift the icing sugar and set aside. Crem the butter until smooth and add the sugar gradually. Add the cava and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy.

24 December 2012

Wishing you Peace

This is just a quick post to wish you all the best for these days. Hope you enjoy with your family, days full of love, laugther, big nice meals and lot of peace. I leave you with these cookies with M&M's and a touch of ginger.

M&M Ginger Cookies
260 g all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
170 g unsalted butter at room temperature
130 g white sugar
140 g light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspons pure vanilla extract
200 g M&M, Smarties or Lacasitos candies

Preheat the oven to 170º and line the baking tray with sheets.
Sift the flour, the baking soda, the ginger, cloves and the salt. Set aside. In the bowl of your mixer beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg yolk, beating until well combined. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. 
Make balls using an ice cream scoop or two spoons and place them on the baking sheet. Gently flatten each ball of dough and cover them with the M&M's. Bake them for 14 minutes or until they are light golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave them 5 minutes on the tray before transfer them on a wire rack to cool.

So for all of you who celebrate Christmas, and even those who do not, I wish you all the best and Merry Xmas!

Lots of love 

21 December 2012

Winter Frost Cupcakes

Days are getting busier and busier planning all the Christmas holidays. There is lots of excitement around my home, it is time to share food with family and friends. I'm still planning menus for special dates but in the meanwhile I had time to prepare these cupcakes. Actually the intention was to be completly white with the silver cases, but since I used a special cake recipe they have grew quite a lot. You can see below on the instructions the method is some different and this gives a very soft and light texture to the cake. Cupcakes to welcome the winter time.

175 g cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
113 g unsalted butter at room temperature
200 g white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs ar room temperature
120 ml whole milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 160º and prepare the cupcake tin.
Sift the flour, the baking powder and the salt, set aside. In the mixer bowl beat the butter until soft and add 150 grams of the sugar. Beat until fluffy and light. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture alternating with the milk in three aditions. 
Beat the eggs whites in a separate bowl until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 50 grams of sugar gradually and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Add the mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula gently. Do not over mix the batter. 
Fill the cupcakes cups and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave them for 5 minutes before place them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Take note these cupcakes grow more in the oven, I would put little bit less than 2/3 of mixture in the cases.

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

300 g icing sugar
120 g unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Sift the icing sugar and set aside. Cream the butter until smooth and add the sugar gradually. Add the lemon juice and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy.

I topped these cupcakes with royal icing snowflakes which are so easy to make. Draw the snowflakes on a paper and place on a baking paper, follow the draw with the royal icing, leave them at least 24 hours for dry.

Enjoy your holidays 

17 December 2012

Linzer Cookies

These cookies is belived to have originated in the Linzer Torte, the famous tart from the Austrian city of Linz. They are a holiday classic in the Austrian, German, Swiss and Hungarain traditions, often eaten in Chrismtas.  The Linzer Torte is said to be the oldest-known cake in the world. Old or not is always a good idea to make these cookies, not only for their gorgeous presentation also because their soft and delicate taste. I used almond flour into the mixture, but you can also use hazelnut, walnuts or even pecan nuts. Also with the jam are other alternatives, orinally is spreaded with a red jam such as raspberry, blackcurrant or like in my case with cherry jam, but you can fill them with your favorite jam taste.

INGREDIENTS makes 14 cookies
190 g all-purpouse flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, plus more for sprinkiling
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon groud cinnamon
110 g unsalted butter at room temperature
55 g white sugar
1 teaspon vanilla extract
1 large egg
Cherry jam for filling

Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl and place aside. Pulse the almond flour, confectioners sugar, salt and cinnamon in a food processor until finely groud, transfer to the bowl of the mixer.

Add the butter and the sugar and beat until fluffly. Mix in the vanilla and the egg. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Divide the dough, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180º and prepare the baking tray with parchment paper or baking sheets.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut with your favorite cutter and cut out the centers of half.

Place the cookies on the baking tray, make sure you leave 5 cm between each other. Bake for 8-10 minutes until pale golden. Remove from the oven, leave the cookies on the tray for 2 minutes and transfer to racks to cool.

Sprinkle the top part of the cookies with confectioners sugar. Spread the jam onto uncut cookies. If jam is too liquid you will need to heat it to thicken. 

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

These cookies are crisp, but once they are filled with the jam they become to soft little by little. So if you prefer to eat them cripy just fill them the day you going to serve them. Either options are nice.

Is just one week left to xmas eve 

12 December 2012

Turrón and Chocolate Tartlets

And finally I come with a Christmas taste recipe! what better to start with a "turrón" treat? Turrón is a spanish Christmas delight, similar to nougat. There are a large variety of turrón but this time I used the one I like the most: the one called Xixona, which is soft and it is a paste of almonds, honey, eggs and sugar.
I told you in several times I love tartlets, so I decided to fill them with a mix of turrón and chocolate which combines perfect. I added a touch of Baileys to the chocolate which is also a good mix and Christmas is a good excuse to have a shot of this nice whisky cream. I bought the "turrón" in a jar, which comes ready to spread or bake. But is also easly to get the cream blending the whole piece.

Pastry dough see here
150 ml heavy cream
190 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons Baileys
6 tablespoons turrón cream (use penaut butter or speculoos cream instead)

Place the chopped chocolate into a bowl. Bring the heavy cream to boil on a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove just when starts boiling and pour into the chocolate bowl. Stir until smooth, add the Baileys and let it cool until few minutes before to set the shell.

Put some chocolate mixture with turrón into the shell mixing with a frok giving a marble effect.
I topped with a cookie.

Serve cold.

Only 12 days left for Christmas eve 

10 December 2012

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

I would liked to begin this week with a Christmas recipe idea, but I really had not time after my days in Vienna. But last week, and just right after I've got my new books I decided to make these crackle cookies which they look quite like winter cookies and such as snowed delights which makes me think they are already a Christmas treat. Are very easy to make and they taste delicous, makes me remember the brownies taste.

So this is my recipe adapted for Martha Stewart's book.

INGREDIENTS makes about 40 cookies
225 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
135 g all-purpose flour
60 g cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200 g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
90 ml whole milk
Sugar glaze for rolling

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl of simmering water stirring. Set aside and let it cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Beat the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffly. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk until just combined. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firms, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180º.

Roll each portion of the dough into balls of about 4 cm using your hands.* Roll them on sugar glaze and place them on the baking tray, making sure you leave enough space between each other since they grow in the oven.

Bake them about 14 minutes until have flattened and sugar splits.

Transfer from the oven to a wire rack to let cool completely.

If you can resist it beacause they are yummy when they are still warm! But you can keep them in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

To prevent sticking you can use granulated sugar. I did not used.

I am gonna start with Christmas recipes right now, after my mini trip to Vienna I'm even more motivated, Vienna has a lot of Christmas markets around the city, typical sweets, xmas ornamets and of course Glühwein and hot punch to prevent the cold.

Have a nice week 

03 December 2012

Honey Cupcakes

I love markets, even if I go there just to have a walk and have a look, specialy in winter time, though is not yet oficial winter, for me here has already begin since more than a month ago, specially today that was snowing this morning. So I have to be ready for colder days and that's the way few weeks ago a seller of a lovely stand convinced me to buy a honey jar in the biological market I use to go on fridays. I love the personal treatment of sellers and if they let you taste the products much better. 
Once I arrived home, and as is usual in me I decided to make cupcakes with it. As you can imagine the flavour of them is quite sweet, I did not add so much quantity on the frosting but instead I drizzle the top with some drops of honey.  

110 g butter at room temperature
200 g white sugar
2 large eggs
200 g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
60 ml whole milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 160º and prepare the baking.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and the salt, and set aside. Mix the milk, the honey and the vanilla and set aside.

Put the butter and the sugar in the mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs on at a time, beating after each addition. Add the sifted dry ingredients alterning with the milk.

Divide the mixtre between the cucpakes cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven, let them in the tin for 5 mintues and finally let them cool completely in a wire rack before decoratin.

For the decoration I used a buttercream frosting and I added a teaspoon of honey, just to give a taste touch.
Before serving top with a drizzle of honey.

I will need to start soon with the Christmas recipes! By the way on thursday I am going to Vienna until sunday, anyone can give me an interesting suggestion? 

Enjoy your week 

29 November 2012

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

Despite the large title of this recipe I can assure you is very easy to make. Just have a look below to the directions of this loaf and you will see it's very easy to make, you just need to mix all the ingredients at the same time and in less than 10 minutes the mixture will be in the oven. I just wanted to keep the original title which looks very nice don't you think so? Lemon never fails, that's what I always think if I need to choose a flavour, and this loaf was not an exception. I took this cake to my dutch class and everybody liked it!
It is very moist and the lemon topping gets into the sponge giving it extra flavour and texture.

INGREDIENTS makes a 22cm loaf tin
155g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
155g caster sugar
20 g cornflour
155 g unsalted butter at room temperature
3 large eggs
greated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180º and grease the tin.
Sift the flour, the baking powder and cornflour into the mixing bowl. Add the sugar, the butter, the eggs and lemon zest and juice and mix until evenly blended.
Pour the mixure into the loaf tin and level the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in its tin. 

For the drizzle:
150 g powder sugar
juice of 2 lemons

Sift the sugar into the lemon juice and mix it well using a hand whisk. Prick the surface of the loaf all over with a skewer. Pour the drizzle over the loaf and allow it to set before removing the loaf from the tin and seving. 

Recipe from Primrose Bakery.

I have to tell you I enjoyed a lot my weekend in Barcelona in the fair of BCNandCake, I meet a lot of people I was looking forward to meet and also new people with awesome blog pages, you can check some of the pictures I did here
I'm also so happy I was on time for Alma's book presentation and she took time to sign my book 

22 November 2012

Orange and Cardamom Cookies

Today is Thanksgiving, but no, I am not gonna show you any special recipe for this day. Actually I did never celebrate this and I do not have any plan for tonight. But is really funny to see in the movies how important is that celebration and how nice looks, of course I do not think everything is like in the movies. But I am really surprised even is an american tradition it has not expanded at all to the rest of the world, such as Halloween and other traditions. So I am just bringing you some cookies that makes me remember the american style ones, soft and chewy, I really like this texture and the spiced and orange taste is a great combination. 

INGREDIENTS makes 32 cookies
150 g plain flour
160 g brown sugar
130 g butter, softened at room temperature
2 teaspoons cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons whole milk
white granulated sugar to roll them

Sift the flour, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. 
In the mixing bowl beat together the sugar and the butter. Add the egg and the orange zest. Alternaly add the sifted ingredients with the 2 tablespoons of milk. Cover the bowl with plastic film and place it in the fridge for an hour.

Preaheat the oven 170º and prepare the baking sheet.
Make little balls with two spoons and roll them into the granulated sugar and place them on to the baking tray. Make sure to leave about 7 cm to each other since they grow during the baking.
Bake them for 7-10 minutes until cookies get golden. 

Remove from the oven and wait 5 minutes befor to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store in an airlight cointainer for up to 1 week.

So if you celebrate it: Happy Thanksgiving Day, and I will be glad next year if you invite me over!  ^_^

Tomorrow I am gonna be in Barcelona, I hope to arrive on time for Alma's book presentation, and on saturday I will be on the BCNandCake, how else is gonna be there? Would be great to meet some of you 

19 November 2012

Coffee and Pecan Layer Cake

Last saturday I really felt the need to make something with coffee and I remember this cake. I did some other coffee cakes recipes before and definitely this is the one I like the most. If you like coffee you will love it. It has a soft and sweet taste with a perfect moistured sponge. I took the original recipe from this lovely Nigella's book, since I've got it I did quite a lot of its recipes and specially this one I wanted to share here with you.

INGREDIENTS  18 cm tin
225 g light brown caster sugar (or half white half brown)
225 g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
200 g plain flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4 medium eggs
2 tablespoon milk
4 teaspoons espresso coffee
1 teaspoon boiling water
50 g pecan nuts

Preheat the oven to 180º and grease the tins.

Crunch the pecan nuts in a food processor. Sift the flour, bicarbonate and powder baking. Keep aside.

Dissolve the espresso powder with boiling water.

Beat the sugar and the butter until fluffy and pale. Add the espresso alternately the eggs, the sifted ingredients and the pecan nuts. Finally add the milk.

If you use two tins divide the mixture in two and bake for 25 minutes. Or bake it for 40 minutes if you use an only one tin. Make sure a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before turning them out onto the rack.

For the Frosting:
300 g icing sugar
150 unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 teaspoons espresso coffee
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 tablespoon whole milk
pecan nuts for decorating

Sift the icing sugar in the mixing bowl, add the butter and beat until fluffy and pale. 

Dissolve the instant espresso powder in 1 tablespoon boiling water and add it while is still hot to the mixture. Add the milk and mix until well combined.

Top with pecan all around the edge of the circle.


14 November 2012

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

What to do if your guests request you more than one dessert? just mix them! and this is what I did. Well I saw this original idea in the book of Lola. And here you have a cheesecake cupcake with a generous topping of brownies and white chocolate. For the topping I used this recipe

100 g digestive biscuits crushed
30 g melted butter

Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter and divide the mixture into the muffin cases. Press down slightly with the back of the spoon.

130 g white chocolate
130 g dark chocolate
300 g cream cheese
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat the oven up to 160º.
Put the white and the dark chocolates chopped in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring until the chocolate melts. Set aside.
Put the cream cheese, the sugar and the vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until well combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat between each addition. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the melted chocolate.
Divide the mixture into the muffin cases up to the top.
Bake for 20 mintues or until set and just firm to the touch. The cakes will rise and feel springy.
Let it cool for 30 minutes in the tin, after remove the cupcakes carefully and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours or overnight to allow them time to set before applying the assorted toppings.

To decorate
brownies and melted white chocolate

Top each chilled cupcake with chunks of chopped brownie and drizzle with white chocolate melted.

These cupcakes will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Enjoy them 

08 November 2012

Pumpkin Loaf

Another pumpkin recipe! I know, but I can not control myself when I see the colourfukl pumpkins in the market. I told you that several times... I just love them, in any dish, savory or sweet. This loaf is absolutly soft and tasty, the pumpkin adds moisture and colour to the sponge. I do not like dry and flavourless cakes, this is completly the other way around, juicy, very soft and with all kind of spices. And to emphasize this all even more topped with a lemon glaze is delicous. You can add also some pecan or walnutes but I made it without.

INGRIEDIENTS makes a 22 cm loaf tin

250 g plain flour
250 g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
120 ml mild olive oil or sunflower oil 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
a pinch of ground clove
a pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300 g pumpkin puree (instructions here)

Preheat the oven to 180º and grease the loaf tin.

Sift the flour, baking powder, all the ground spices, salt and bicarbonate in a bowl, set aside.

Mix the oil and the sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffly. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.

Add the sifted ingredients graduatlly in three addition, alternating with the puree and mix until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and level it out with a spatula,

Bake in the center of the oven for 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool ten minutes in the tin and then let cool completely on a wire rack.

If your loaf gets darker on top before the inside is done cooking, just cover it with aluminium foil.

You can also use loaf tin paper liners or just a baking paper on the bottom to unmold it better, but with a tin perfectly greased this should not be any problem.

For de Glaze
150 g icing sugar
2 tbsp fresly squeezed lemon juice

Stif the icing sugar. Pour the lemon juice into the bowl of the sugar and beat with a hand mixer and after with an electric hand mixer. The glaze should have a liquid consistency.
Pour the glaze carefully over the top of the loaf, allowing it to run over the sides.
Allow the glaze to set a little bit before serving.

Enjoy this loaf better one day after baking  

05 November 2012

Chocolate Marmalade Tartlets

Here I suggest you an easy way to fill tartlets, with chocolate and jam, just a perfect combination. You can fill them with your favorite jam, in my case I used the pumpkin jam I did, which is spiced and very tasty and mixed with the chocolate ganache is absolutly delicious. I love the touch that  caramelized pine nuts gives to this dish, but you can also easily substitute for an other nut. But make sure you put those three ingredients, jam, chocolate and crunchy nuts for ultimate in flavour and texture.

Tartlets are so easy to make. You will just need to make the crust, it is also posible to buy it on a store ready to use. Of course I rather do one by myself, much healthy and with ingredients that for sure everybody has at home. 

Pâte Sablée {based on Martha's Stewart}
140 g butter cubed and room temperature
100 g white sugar (I used vanilla sugar I made)
190 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

With an electric mixer beat the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and salt, beat until just combined, do not overmix. Shape the dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour or up to 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 3/4 mm thick and make a disk a little bit bigger than your tartlet shells with removeable bottoms. Press each portion into the bottoms and sides and pierce the bottoms of the shells all over with a fork. Refrigerate them for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180º. Cover tartlet shells with baking paper and fill them with dried beans. 

Bake in preheated oven until edges are golden. Remove paper and weights and continue baking until crust is golden-brown all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache
150 ml heavy cream
190 g chocolate, finely chopped
Pumpkin jam (or your favourite jam)
caramelized pine nuts for garnish (optional)

Put the chocolate chopped into a bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil on a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove just when starts boiling and pour into chocolate bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Let it cool for 5 mintues.

Once tartlet shells are completly cold, remove tins, spread the bottom with the jam and cover with the chocolate ganache. Tap tartlets to flatten. Top with some caramelized pine nuts.

Serve cold.

I think this pumpkin jam is amazing but I would also recommend you any other homemade jam.

01 November 2012

Chestnut Cream

I am keeping doing perserves during last weeks, these cold days makes me stay more at home and enjoying cooking moments.

It's chestnuts season and I decided to make a this cream which has a consistent texture, perfect to accompany tarts, pannacotas, and other sweet tenders. I am thinking to fill some macaroons with it. But as well as other perserves and jams, this cream is also suitable to use in savory dishes such as grilled meats.

Preserves is also a nice option to give away, and for Christmas I am already planning to delight my relatives with perserve jars.

I do not like to make so much jars, with the quantities I detail you below you will get a jar of 250 ml, if you want to make some more just increase the ingredient quantity and you will enjoy longer this lovely cream.

To give an stronger taste of vanilla I used homemade vanilla flavored sugar. You can also add cinnamon, clove, ginger, any other spice or just any extra flavor.

150 g chestnuts (roasted and peel) 300 g whole chestnuts
125 ml heavy cream
120 ml milk (full or half fat)
80 g white sugar (I used homemade vanilla flavour sugar)
a pinch of salt
half vanilla bean

Preheat the oven to 180º.
Make a cut to each chestnut and put them ont the tray in the middle position of the oven, over a baking paper.  Roast them about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and peel them when they are still hot.

Put the chestnuts in a saucepan with the milk, heeavy cream, sugar, salt and the half vanilla bean until it boils and let it cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, or when it gets the right consistensy for a cream. The chestnuts will get softer and the mixture thickens. Remove the vanilla bean,

If the mixture is too thick just add cold milk, you can add as much milk as you want until you get the desire texture.

Liquify the mixtute with a blender and pour the hot cream into sterilised jars, let it cool and place in the fridge. 
To sterelize the jars put them into boiling water.

Try to add some congac or other liqueur to the cream to give an special taste. Mixed with chocolate ganache is perfect to fill cakes, cupcakes or any other dessert dish.

Happy All Saints Day 

29 October 2012


"La Castanyada" is a traditional celebration in Catalonia during the night of October 31th and All Saints Day day we eat roasted chestnuts and the appreciated sweets called "panellets".

This celebration makes me remember when I was a child. At school we used to celebrate that day with a big party: singing songs, with painted faces, and eating chestnuts and panellets at the playground of the school. The panellets were made by the children and teachers. Each child had to bring some ingredients and chestnuts, and panellets were done by each class a few days before. And the big day each one recived a bag of panallets and some roasted chestnuts. So you can imagine what a big mess we did in the class making these sweets.

I really enjoy that celebration, making panallets with my family and the smell of roasted chestnuts on the street, I really love that smell!

The pine nuts panallets are the most known and the most appreciated, also by me. I think they are the best. Cocoa and coffee powder can also be added to the mixture to change the taste. Pine nuts can be substituted for chopped almonds or coconut. You can find a large variety of ingredients, but this time I've made pine nuts, chocolate and coffee.

250 g almond powder
250 g white sugar (you can add less sugar, on your taste)
100 g potato
lemon zest
vanilla sugar

130 g pine nuts
cacao powder
instant coffee powder
1 yolk egg (to stick the pine nuts)
1 egg (to brush the pine nuts ones)
icing sugar (to roll the cacao and coffee ones)

Wash and bring to boil the potato with the skin until is soft, about 20-30 minutes. Peel and mash the potato. Add the sugar and the almond and mix it until well combined. Divide the mixture into 2 pieces and add the vanilla sugar on one and the lemon zest in the other one.  Continue mixing well, first use a fork or a spatula and latter on use your hands until it becomes a very thick paste. Wrap the mixture with plastic film and store it in the fridge at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200º.
Put in a little bowl an egg yolk and pour it the pine nuts and mix it.
Put in an other bowl the whole beatten egg.
Make little balls of mixture with your hands and cover them with pine nuts. Egg yolk will make easier to stick them on. Place the panallets on a baking tray and brush them with the whole egg.

Bake them in the middle on the preheated oven for 8-10 mintues, until they get golden. Make sure you control them at any time due to  the fact they get done very fast. To make them even brown I place them the last minute in the higher position of the oven.
Remove them gently and cool on a plate.

For the cacao and coffee just add the powder into the mixture and mix it well until combined. Roll the mixture into 3-4 cm ball. Bake them 8-10 minutes: Remove them gently and let it cool them for a while before you roll them into icing sugar.

With these ingredients I did 14 pine nuts, 10 coffee and 10 chocolate.

Cover them or store in a box in room temperature, they taste much better after 2 days.

Enjoy your panallets with roasted chestnuts and a nice glass of Moscatell  

24 October 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I really love cakes with any vegetable such as carrot, zucchini or pumpkin. And for these dates what better than a pumpkin cake? This time I did cupcakes with it. I like the smell, the taste and it is extremply soft. I used the pumpkin jam I did to fill some of them, and they are even more softer and tasty. 

I topped them with cream cheese. Even I love the cream cheese frosting I have to say I rather eat them without the frosting, just after they cool down a little bit, that is when I enjoy the most this cake. It would be great to make them some scary but in my country we do not celebrate Halloween. But as a lot of other costums this Celtic tradition is also taking place in Spain and in the Netherlands, and you can see it in a lot of stores where you can buy all kind of Halloween stuff. I did not know so much about this celebration until I lived for some months in Ireland, so there I celebrated my only one Halloween party, it was great.

190 g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
100 g butter, cubed and at room temperature
120 g light brown caster sugar
2 large eggs
200 g pumpkin purée
60 ml buttermilk
pumpkin jam for filling (optional)

For the pumpking purée: you will need about 280/300 g of pumpkin to get 200 g of purée. Put the peeled and cubed pumpkin in a medium saucepan covered with unsalted water until the pumpkin is slightly soft. Remove water and make the purée using a blender. Let it cool down while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 160º.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, bicarbonate and salt in a bowl, and set aside.

Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream with and electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs on at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Finally add the pumpkin purée and the buttermilk.

Divide the mixture between the cupcakes cases. Bake 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven, let them in the tin for 5 minutes and finally let them cool completely in a wire rack before decorating.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
140 g cream cheese (very cold)
60 g butter, cubed and at room temperature
1 tablespoon of whole milk
300 g icing sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnnamon and some more for the topping

Sift the icing sugar in the mixing bowl, add the butter and the milk and beat until until well mixed and pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and the cinnamon and beat until fluffy.

Top the cupcakes with the frosting and dust with ground cinnamon.

Very important take out the cream cheese just before using, it is necessary to be very cold.

I rather fill cupcakes with jam or brush them with syrup, since you can keep them longer. With the pumking jam mixed with the cream cheese frosting is absolutly delicious.

If you are a Halloween lover just top the cupcakes with a little fonfant or marzipan pumpkin!

Next post I will tell you what is traditionally to do in my town for the 31st october evening.
What are you gonna do for Halloween? 

22 October 2012

Apple Crumble

Here I show you a warm dessert which is one of my old favorites. I love crumble with any fruit and even a salty crumble. It is really very quick to prepare. This preparation consists of two steps, the crumbs topping and the filling of apples which gives and excelent contrast to the dish.  And if you want to enjoy it better top it with a scoop of icecream sprinkeled with cinnamon. I love these contrasting flavours.

You can use any type of apples, and you can even use a mixture of apples.

This recipe makes a large and thick crust crumble which I love, but if you prefer put less crumble on top and then the apple juices will bubble up through the surface.

INGREDIENTS makes a 32cm by 18cm tin 

For the crumble
380 g all purpose flour
200 g caster sugar
210 g butter cubed at room temperature
a pinch of salt

For the filling
4 apples (peeled, cored and medium diced)
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons sugar (I used light brown caster)
200 g crème fraîche
50 g raisins
70 g nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 175º.

Place the flour, the sugar and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and mix well. Add the soft butter and blend with your fingertips until the mixture turns to breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Grease the tin.

Put the prepared apple in a large bowl and sprinkle over the cinnamon, raisins and nuts. Mix the mixture. Add the sugar, the honey and the crème fraîche and mix until combined.

Put the filling mixture into the greased tin, spread it evenly around. Take the crumble and top the apple mixture with it and again spread it evenly

Place tin in the oven for 30 minutes or until the crumble is brown and the apple mixture bubbles.

Served it warm and topped with a scoop of icecream it is just delicious