Author Archives: Sibella at bakingwithsibella.com

Egg Foam Pie {Šampita}

Egg Foam Pie? I know it sounds weird, but that would be a literal translation for one of my favorite childhood desserts. All of my Bosnian friends know what I’m talking about here – šampita! :)

Šampita is one of many traditional Bosnian desserts. It’s been around for a very long time when fancy ingredients were not available and the most basic ingredients were used to make a dessert. It’s easy and quick to make. Bakeries usually make it with just a layer of puff pastry on the bottom, but this is a kind that’s made at home and it belongs to the category of sugar syrup soaked desserts, such as baklava, gulab jamun, etc. The cake part will soak up the syrup from the meringue and it will be moist and meringue is just sweet enough, fluffy with a hint of lemon.

To me, šampita tastes like childhood, like worry free days, like playing outside, picking flowers, and endless laughter and happiness.

Egg Foam Pie

Egg Foam Pie {Šampita}

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs at room temperature (divided)
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 6 TBSP sugar
  • 6 TBSP milk
  • 6 TBSP cooking oil
  • 6 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Syrup:

  • 24 TBSP (about 250 g) sugar
  • About 0.85 cup (2 dl) water

Also needed:

  • 9 X 13 inch baking pan 2 or 3 inches deep (22 X 23 X 5 cm)
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 oz chocolate (about 50 g)
  • 2 TBSP sour cream

Preparation:

  1. Divide eggs. Place egg whites into a large mixing bowl. Beat egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow, then add milk, oil and at the end flour combined with baking powder.
  2. Pour the batter into the baking pan covered with parchment paper and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until you notice edges starting to get lightly brown.
  3. While the cake is baking, add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and mix them at the highest speed. When they are done add lemon juice and mix some more. They are done when you turn the bowl upside down and they don’t move. Leave the egg whites in the bowl as you will have to add the syrup.
  4. While the meringue is in making, place sugar and water for the syrup into a small pot and bring it to boil. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat and slowly start pouring into the egg whites while they’re still at the highest speed. You will notice the volume of the mixture quickly increasing.
  5. Now the cake should be done too, so remove it from the oven and spread the meringue all over the cake. It doesn’t matter that it’s too hot. Spread evenly and smooth it out and place it in the oven for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove it from the oven and set it on the counter.
  6. If you wish, you can melt chocolate, combine with some sour cream and drizzle over the cake.
  7. Place it in the fridge and let it cool completely. Enjoy this moist, light and fluffy dessert.

Egg Foam Pie 1

 ♦

Egg Foam Pie

Egg Foam Pie

Egg Foam Cake

Egg Foam Cake

 

Bailey’s Chocolate Cheesecake Bars -aka- {Friendship Bars}

Hello Friends,

It’s been a while… I promise I didn’t forget about you! :) I find it (just a bit hard) to be a baker and try to be on a weight-loss plan. Finally, I think I am figuring out how to have these two coexist, so I am back to doing what I love!

Idea for these chocolaty bars came at a moment which I like to refer to as “baking inspiration”. This recipe is my own creation and I dedicate it to all my good friends spread all over the world. Some of you I have known since childhood days, some of you are brand new friends, with some of you I have reconnected again and some of you I’ve met in this virtual world. All of you have brought a part of you and your world to share and I feel great deal richer and happier because of it. Here is to FRIENDSHIP!

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

 

Bailey’s Chocolate Cheesecake Bars aka {Friendship Bars}

[Printable recipe]

For the crust:

  •          12 TBSP (170 g) butter (softened)
  •          1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  •          1 pack vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  •          2 egg yolks
  •          About  1/4 cup (50 ml) Bailey’s Irish Cream   ***Exact conversion: {50 ml = 0.21 cup}
  •          2 ½ cups (320 g) all-purpose flour
  •          1/4 tsp salt

 For the filling:

  •          4 of 8 oz packs (900 g) cream cheese
  •          1 cup (200 g) sugar
  •          2 pack vanilla sugar (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  •          3 TBSP dark cocoa
  •          4 oz (113 g) semi-sweet chocolate (melted)
  •          1/2 cup (100 ml) heavy cream
  •          About ½ cup (100 ml) Bailey’s Irish Cream ***Exact conversion: {100 ml = 0.42 cup}
  •          4 eggs (lightly beaten)

For the topping:

  •          4 oz (113 g) semi-sweet chocolate (refrigerated and cut into chunks)
  •          3.5 oz (100 g) hazelnuts (coarsely chopped)

Also needed:

  •          13 X 8 inch (33 X 20 cm) baking pan (or larger)
  •          Parchment paper

Preparation:

 

  1. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Beat in Bailey’s, egg yolks, flour and salt. Press mixture into the bottom of a 13X8 inch (33X20 cm) baking pan, previously lined with parchment paper. If you desire thinner bars you may want to use a larger pan, but it needs to be at least 2 inches deep. My bars have turned out pretty thick because I’ve used 13X8 inch pan.
  2. For the filling beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and cocoa until smooth. Add melted chocolate, cream, Bailey’s and lightly beaten eggs. Pour the mixture over the crust.
  3. For the decoration cut chocolate into chunks and coarsely chop hazelnuts, sprinkle all over the top. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it set another 10 minutes inside. Cool completely, cut into bars and serve.

Bailey’s Chocolate Cheesecake Bars Baileys Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 1

 

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 2

 

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

 

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

 

Bailey's Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

We celebrated our son’s Birthday in January, and being a cheese cake lover, he asked for a chocolate cheese cake with raspberries. I really liked the challenge and it was a perfect timing to try a new cheese cake recipe I had for a while. The recipe sounded different from the way I used to make cheesecakes, but it really was a great success. The texture of this cake is so creamy and silky, unlike any other cheesecake I had before – a true chocolate lover’s dream. Instead of graham crackers for the crust I used Milano Raspberry Cookies and then decorated the cake with fresh raspberries.

Silky Chocolate Cheese Cake with Raspberry Crust

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

{Printable Recipe}

Crust:

  • 250 g (9 oz) Milano Raspberry Cookies (crushed)
  • 113 g (1 stick) butter (melted)

Cheesecake:

  • 500 g (1 lb) cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa (sifted)
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 225 g (8 oz) semi-sweet chocolate (melted)
  • 300 g (1 ½ cup) sour cream
  • 45 g ( 3 TBSP) butter (melted)

Also needed:

  • 22 cm (9 inch) spring-form cake pan
  • Parchment paper (same size as the pan)

Preparation:

  1. Cover the cake pan with parchment paper. Crush the cookies to resemble small crumbs. Melt the butter and add into cookies. Mix thoroughly and press into the pan bottom and onto the sides (about 1 inch or 2.5 cm high). Place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
  3. While the crust is resting in the fridge, prepare the cheesecake mixture. First, beat the cream cheese until airy and fluffy, then add sugar, eggs, vanilla, cocoa until well incorporated.
  4. Melt the chocolate over a hot water pan. Turn the mixing speed to low and then add chocolate, sour cream and melted butter into the cheese cream mixture.  Mixture will look really shiny and smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake at 180 C (350 F) for about 45 minutes.
  6. Cool completely.
  7. Decorate with whipped cream, fresh raspberries and chocolate shavings.

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

Silky Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Cookie Crust

Fancy pull-apart Dinner Rolls

Hello my friends, HAPPY NEW YEAR to each and every one of you! :)

I hope you had nice and relaxing Holidays with your family and friends. My wish is that this New Year will bring us all peace, love and compassion toward one another and a lot of good memories and joyful moments and that we will get to spend a while here in this virtual world and share some good cooking and baking recipes and stories.

In today’s recipe I wanted to introduce a fancy and an easy way to make holiday/celebration dinner rolls. These rolls are soft and flaky and can be served warm or cold. I made these for our Christmas dinner and they looked just gorgeous and tasted fantastic.

Fancy pull-apart dinner rolls

Fancy Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

[Printable recipe]

Dough:

  • All-purpose flour: 500 g ( 4 cups)
  • Fresh yeast: 20 g (or 1 envelope dry yeast)
  • Warm milk: 2 dl (3/4 cup + a few TBSP if needed)
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1.5 tsp
  • Cooking oil: 5 TBSP

To brush the dough layers:

  • Butter: 120 g (1 stick) at room temp.

Also needed:

  • Round baking pan (or a spring form) 25 cm or 9-10 inches
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame seeds (or any other desired seeds)

Preparation:

  1. Place flour into a mixing bowl, make an indent and crumble up fresh yeast, add sugar and a little bit of milk, mix, cover and let stand for about 10 minutes. If using dry yeast, proof as directed on the package.
  2. Turn the mixer to low setting and while mixing start adding milk and salt. When the flour and milk start forming a dough, add oil and let it stir for another 2-3 minutes to get a shiny and firm ball of dough.
  3. Place the dough onto a floured surface, knead it by hand for a minute or two and then place back into the bowl, cover and leave it at a warm place until double in size.
  4. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Knead each piece and form a small dough ball. Let them rest for about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Divide butter into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each dough piece into a 10 inch (25 cm) circle. Spread first circle with butter, put second circle on the top, then butter again and so on until you end up with the fifth circle on the top.
  6. Now roll it all together into  a large 18 in (45 cm) circle. With a pizza cutter cut off about 1 ½ inch (4 cm) all around the circle to get a “hoop”. Place the hoop on a flat surface and cut once vertically and once horizontally to get 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a bun (like a cinnamon bun) and place in the middle of the greased baking pan.
  7. What’s left now is a smaller circle which you will cut to get 16 equal triangles. Roll each triangle not like a crescent, but more like a cone or along one of the longest sides of a triangle. That way you will get a nice swirl. Place all the cones all around the 4 middle rolls with a little bit of space in between.
  8. Cover and let it rise for about 30 minutes. Lightly beat an egg, brush all over the rolls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  9. Bake at 395 F (200 C) about 30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Serve warm or cold. The rolls will be soft and flaky and will look just amazing on your holiday table.

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Fancy Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

It’s that time of the year again when we reach for our recipe books and recipe cards to find the most delectable Christmas cookies recipes and prepare them for our loved ones. This year, I am adding a few new-discovered recipes to my traditional cookie menu. These Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies are so silky and delicious and they just melt in your mouth. Fill them with your favorite jam and enjoy the sight and the taste!

Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (225 g) butter, softened
  • 3 oz (85 g) cream cheese
  • 1 cup (200 g)sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups (320 g) all-purpose flour
  • Jam (strawberry, raspberry – seedless, apricot, etc.)

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  2. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place two inches apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a deep indentation in the center of each ball; fill with about 1/2 tsp jam. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Hello my friends! I hope everyone is doing well; I missed you all! :) I took an involuntary baking break while I was trying to complete some remodeling projects in the house before the winter gets here. I have not completely abandoned my artistic expression, I started two paintings and plan to finish them before the end of the year and I’ve discovered a new passion: poetry. I’ve always liked reading poetry, but have never tried to write anything. Well, a few weeks ago a “What if I tried” thought crossed my mind, so I started thinking and putting the words together and for now they sound very good to me. I am not sure if I am going to share it with the world yet, but I am sure of one thing: writing poetry brings me so much joy!

My hope is that these chocolate sandwich cookies will bring you joy of making and of course joy of tasting! They are a treasured recipe from my old-yellow-falling-apart recipe book that I started when I was about thirteen years young. These cookies are not too sweet. Cocoa gives them just a hint of gentle bitterness and the vanilla frosting just a right amount of sweetness.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

[Printable recipe]

Cookies:

  • 250 g (8.8 oz) flour
  • 65 g (2.2 oz )powdered sugar
  • 50 g (1.8 oz) cocoa
  • 13 g (2.5 tsp) baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 185 g (6.5 oz) unsalted butter (room temperature)

Frosting:

  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 4 TBSP flour (or corn starch)
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) powdered sugar
  • 2 packs vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 160 g (5.6 oz) unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)

Chocolate glaze:

  • 75 g (2.6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 50 g (1.8 oz) unsalted butter

Preparation:

  1. For the cookies, combine all dry ingredients and mix for a few minutes. Add egg and butter and mix on slow until resembles a crumbly mixture. Flour your working surface and knead the dough by hand until nice and smooth. Flatten it, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the cookie dough rests in the fridge prepare the filling.
  3. Mix the flour with a couple of spoons of milk until smooth. Let the milk boil at a low temperature and pour the flour mixture into boiling milk. Whisk constantly until it starts thickening, then remove from heat and let it cool completely.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix all together. You may add an egg yolk for a nice color, but it’s not essential. Now add this mixture to the flour base and whip it at high speed until well combined and fluffy.
  5. Now line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured surface roll out the cookie dough to about 1/2 cm (or 3/16 inch) thick and cut out cookies with a round cookie cutter (about 3-3.5 cm or 1 ¼ inch in diameter)
  6. Bake at 180 C or 350 F for about 12-14 minutes.
  7. Cool down completely. Glue two cookies together with the frosting.
  8. Melt chocolate and butter, let cool down for a few minutes and pour a teaspoon of the glaze on the top of each cookie.

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Flour_Milk frosting

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Go out there and find beauty!

I don’t know about you, but I always feel that I am too busy to stop and take a break and “smell the roses”. Recently, a friend advised me (instead of rushing through my work week and desperately waiting for the weekend) to take at least a few minutes out of each day to look for and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us and to which we are often blind. Enjoy the small moments and make every day count!

Today, I was thinking how I have to finish this and that and how the weekend is not nearly long enough to complete everything I planed, when I remembered my friend’s words: “Go out there and find beauty!” So I did:

Fall leaves

Echinacea

A heart shaped leaf

SONY DSC

fall leaves

Fall leaves

berries

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

last tomatoes

beyond the fence

Basking in the sun

fall

a red fall leaf

German Plum Cake

German plum cake is a dear guest at our house at least once a year (while the Stanley plums are in season). The recipe reminds me so of my high school years. I sat in my German class and looked through a German magazine trying to find an article to practice translating. I came across a beautiful photo and recipe of this cake, so I asked my teacher if I could translate the recipe instead of an article. She thought it was a great idea.

German Plum Cake

This recipe has been in my old, yellowed recipe book ever since. The cake is easily made and it’s huge. It can feed a large group of relatives or friends. It’s good warm or cold and it goes so well with a cup or morning coffee or tea. Enjoy my friends!

old recipe book

German Plum Cake

{Printable recipe}

Dough:

  • 250 g (8.8 oz) low fat cream cheese (or German quark cheese)
  • 125 g (1/2 cup + 2 TBSP) sugar
  • 1 vanilla sugar (1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 10 TBSP milk
  • 10 TBSP oil
  • 1 small lemon (juice and zest)
  • 500 g (17.6 oz or about 4 cups) flour
  • 20 g (0.7 oz) baking powder

Filling:

  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)Stanley plums
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 vanilla sugar (1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 80 g (2/3 cup) flour
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) sliced almonds

Also needed:

  • 1 large rectangular baking pan (13 X 18 inches ) 33 X 46 cm.
  • Parchment paper

Preparation:

  1. For the dough combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla in a mixing bowl. Start mixing at a low speed, slowly adding milk and oil. Add juice and lemon zest. Combine flour and baking powder and stir well. Gradually add to the rest and mix until well combined.
  2. Cover the dough with plastic and let it rest until needed
  3. Wash, dry and pit plums. Half them and make a small cut on each half (as you going to quarter them), but don’t cut all the way through.
  4. Dust your working surface with flour. Place the dough on the surface and roll it out into the size of the pan. Line your baking pan with parchment paper and transfer the dough onto the pan.
  5. Place the plums in thick rows on the dough. Sprinkle with 3 TBSP of sugar.
  6. Beat 2 large eggs with sugar and vanilla until pale yellow, add flour and mix until smooth.
  7. Pour over the plums and sprinkle with sliced almonds
  8. Bake at 200 C (400 F) for 30-35 minutes or until lightly brown on the top.
  9. Cool slightly and slice into squares.

ENJOY!

German plum cake preparation

German plum cake preparation

German plum cake preparation

German Plum Cake

German Plum Cake

Oven-baked Plum Jam

This is an easy-to-make jam with only three ingredients and no additives. I call it Grandma-Style Jam. :) It reminds me of my childhood and the warm days of late summer when I helped my grandmother can all the veggies and fruit of the harvest.

This old fashioned jam is made with Stanley Plums, those oval, pretty, deep bluish-purple ones. Jam takes some time to bake, but there is no artificial ingredients and the jam keeps very very well for a year and without refrigeration.

I’ve used this jam for breakfast with bread and butter, with pancakes and waffles, in crumble/coffee cakes, sweet yeasted buns or buchteln. I am sure you will find a way to use this fragrant, sweet tasting goodness!

oven baked plum jam


{Printable Recipe}

Ingredients:

3 kg (about 6 1/2 lbs) Stanley Plums
1 kg (about 2 lbs) sugar
1.5 dl (2/3 cup) rum

Also needed:

1 roasting pan with lid (I use an oval turkey roasting pan)
A wooden spoon
Jars and canning supplies

Making jam:

  1. Wash your plums thoroughly (I wash them three times), place on kitchen towel and dry lightly, pit them and half them. All fruit need to be absolutely healthy, discard any that have rotten parts.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F).
  3. Place the plums into a deep roasting pan. Do not over fill because jam maybe be boiling over and messing up your oven.
  4. Pour sugar over plums and stir until well incorporated.
  5. Place the lid on the pan and put in the middle of the oven.
  6. Keep the lid for the first 30 minutes of baking.
  7. After the first 30 minutes, take off the lid and stir the plums.
  8. Bake for another 2 – 2 ½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
  9. When you notice jam is thickening, add rum and bake for another 10 minutes.
  10. Fill into clean, sterilized and hot jars and follow your usual canning procedure.

Enjoy!

Stanley Plums, Sljive

Oven baked plum jam

Somewhere in the middle of baking

Oven baked plum jam

Oven baked plum jam

Oven baked plum jam

Peach Tarteletts with Hazelnut Streusel Topping

Last Saturday I visited our local farmers market in search of some good peaches to make jam. Oh, what a great place to be at this time of the year! There was a great variety of veggies and fruit, herbs and flowers on display! I picked up a large container of Michigan peaches for my jam, but they were so juicy and sweet that we couldn’t stop eating them and from what was left I made these lovely tarteletts. I am making jam next week (said with determination)! :) This recipe is a combination of three different recipes with addition/subtraction of some ingredients, which resulted in this recipe. Isn’t that what baking is all about?!

The tarteletts turned out to be delicious and not too sweet, which I really favor. You could taste the natural sweetness of the peaches, creamy filling and hazelnuts. Next time I would try to use almonds instead of hazelnuts. I would also sprinkle some sliced almonds on the top for decoration.

Peach Tarteletts

Peach Tarteletts with Hazelnut Streusel Topping

{Printable Recipe}

Yields 16 tarteletts

Sweet Pastry:

***All ingredients need to be refrigerated before using for the pastry. This is a ½ of quantity of the recipe for the sweet pastry from The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook. Original recipe doesn’t call for hazelnuts/almonds.

  • 332 g (11.7 oz) flour
  • 5 g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 130 g (4.5 oz) powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 3 TBSP hazelnuts or almonds
  • 250 g (8.8 oz) butter (thinly sliced)
  • 40 g (2-3) eggs

Also needed: Tartelett tins – 10 cm (about 4 inches) in diameter

Combine flour, salt, powdered sugar and hazelnuts and mix thoroughly. Add butter and start mixing slowly to incorporate all into flour. Add one by one egg and form the dough into a ball. Divide the ball into two equally weighing discs. Wrap each disc with plastic and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Sweet pastry dough

Hazelnut Streusel

Streusel is basically a crumbled mixture of butter, sugar and flour and it’s used for sprinkling over pies or cakes to add an extra crunch.

  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 2 TBSP light brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 TBSP chopped hazelnuts (or almonds)
  • 2 TBSP cold butter (cut into pieces)

Combine and mix all ingredients until they resemble ¼ inch (1/2 cm) crumbs. Set aside.

Hazelnut streusel

Tarteletts filling

  • 8 medium to large size ripe peaches
  • 350 ml (about 1.5 cup) heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Cut a small cross on the top and the bottom of each peach. Place the peaches shortly into boiling water, remove and let cool. Peel, half and pit the peaches. Cover with plastic until ready to used them.

Combine milk with sugar and both extracts, stir by hand for a couple of minutes. Add eggs and stir for another two to three minutes, until you get a smooth mixture. Set aside.

Peeling peaches

Prepare Tarteletts

Remove the sweet pastry dough from the fridge about 15 minutes before you start making tarteletts. I lightly grease the tins with butter.

Roll the dough out to about 1/2 cm (or just under 1/4 inch) thickness. Use a tartelett tin as a cookie cutter and place the cut out dough into the tin. Lightly press in and make sure to have a nice and clean edge.

Cut each peach half into thin slices and arrange them on the top of the tartelett. Pour the filling over the peaches. Do not overfill. Sprinkle with hazelnut streusel. You can also choose to sprinkle streusel in the middle of baking time. (I figured it doesn’t make much difference for the final product).

Making peach tarteletts

Making peach tarteletts

Place the tins onto a baking sheet. Bake at 215 C (about 425 F) for 20-25 minutes, or until edges of tarteletts start getting golden-brown. Cool completely, remove from the tins and serve. You may choose to sprinkle them with powdered sugar. You can also serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Bon Appétit!

Peach Tarteletts

Peach Tarteletts

Apricot – Chocolate Chip Muffins

 Post title

{Printable Recipe}

Ingredients:

Ingredients apricot muffins

Preparation:

  • Place apricots into boiling water for a 1/2 – 1 minute. If they are soft about ½ minute and if they are harder about 1 minute.
  • Remove the skin, half them, pit them and set aside.

boil and peel apricots

  • Beat butter, sugar, salt and vanilla at a high speed and until fluffy.
  • Add eggs one by one until nicely incorporated into batter.
  • Combine flour and baking powder. Add to batter alternating with milk, until both is used up.
  • At the end, mix in mini chocolate chips.

Batter

  • Fill the batter into muffin pans lined with muffin cups or into mini bunt cake tins. Place an apricot half on each muffin.
  • Bake at 195 C (385 F) about 20-25 minutes. Let cool down, remove from tins and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Apricot muffins

Enjoy!

apricot chocolate chip muffins

apricot chocolate chip muffins

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

By request of some of my readers, I will try to post more cooking recipes to my blog. One of the most liked Bosnian summer meals are stuffed peppers.

If you’re not familiar with Bosnian cooking, you should know that we like to cook from scratch, use fresh ingredients, seasonal vegetables and we take pride in what we do. Even though the ingredients and spices are simple, preparation and cooking process are lengthy and produce flavorful, hearty and memorable meals.

I usually make stuffed peppers two ways – stuffed with ground beef and cooked in sauce and the vegetarian way, stuffed with potatoes and rice and baked in the oven.

Today I would like to introduce ground meat stuffed peppers. I usually use ground beef for stuffing. Ground pork, or mix of ground beef and pork can be used as well. I have not tried making them with ground chicken or turkey. I also add a potato to the stuffing mixture, but that’s optional. Also the rice doesn’t have to be precooked. I half-cook mine, since I’ve had stuffed peppers where rice was not fully cooked and I want to avoid that. Most common peppers used in Bosnia are white peppers. I suggest not to use green bell peppers for this recipe, except if they are really small. A good substitute in the US are cubanelle peppers. I usually serve my stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes, but they can be served just by it self and with an addition of some good crusty bread to dip into sauce.

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

{Printable Recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 white peppers (2.4-2.8 oz OR 70-80 g each)
  • 1 1/3 lb (600 g) ground beef
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) rice
  • 1 large potato (finely chopped)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp Vegeta spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper (freshly ground)

       + for the sauce

  • 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½  cup (120 ml) tomato puree
  • 4 cups (1 l) water

Preparation:

  1. Wash and dry peppers. Cut open the top and remove all the seeds and membranes. Set aside.
  2. Cook the rice halfway (about 5 minutes) and strain. Set aside.
  3. Finely chop vegetables.
  4. Place ground beef in a medium bowl and sprinkle with all the spices.
  5. Add all vegetables, rice, egg and parsley and mix into a compact mass.
  6. Stuff each pepper and set on a plate next to the stove.
  7. Heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil in a frying pan. Lightly brown peppers on each side (just until fragrant, remove from the pan and place back on the plate.
  8. Pour the oil from frying into a cooking pot. You will make the sauce now.
  9. Lightly heat the oil, add 2 tbsp flour and stir gently until smooth.
  10. Add ground paprika and salt and stir for about 1 minute. Don’t let it burn.
  11. Add tomato puree and water. Stir and let it boil.
  12. When the sauce starts boiling, place all the peppers inside. Turn the temperature down to medium and simmer for about 45-50 minutes in a half covered pot.

*** Sauce will reduce during the cooking and will become thicker.

Serve with a side of mashed potatoes or just with bread.

Long grain rice

White peppers

Ingredients for stuffed peppers

Stuffing mixture for peppers

Stuffed peppers

Browning stuffed peppers

Stuffed pepper sauce

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

My Favorite Croissants

For a long time I’ve been searching for a croissant recipe that will suit my taste. I’ve tried many recipes and they were all good, but still not what I was looking for. I really like a rustic kind of croissant, that’s crispy outside and has nice, textured layers inside. If you like the same, look no further because this recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook is the right one for you.

This baking book is SO good, I absolutely love every single recipe inside of it. There are also step by step directions and pictures for making bread, croissant dough, danishes dough, etc. If you didn’t get the book yet, please do, you will be inspired, mesmerized and if you are not already in love with baking, you will definitely be after going through this book. Please read David Lebovitz impression of The Bourke Street Bakery – Sydney, AU.

This recipe might seem a bit too long and complicated, but in the end it’s just repeating one same process three times.  Once you start making it, it is really simple and the results, oh the results are exceptional! :) Give yourself plenty of time. I usually start making the dough in the late afternoon or evening. There is a lot waiting and resting. I do the final two steps the next morning when I plan to have croissants for breakfast.

This quantity of dough will make about 18 large croissants. That was way too much for the four of us, so I divided the dough in half and made bear claws the next day. Making pain au chocolat would be an idea too.

Croissants - bourke street bakery recipe

My Favorite Croissants

[printable recipe]

(Recipe from The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook)

Makes approximately 18 large croissants

For the ferment

(Ferment is a small amount of dough that needs to be made first and will help your croissant dough develop and rise):

  • 100 g plain flour, chilled (3.5 oz)
  • 55 ml whole milk, chilled (1 ¾ fl oz)
  • 5 g (or 1 tsp) brown sugar, chilled
  • A pinch of salt, chilled (1/2 tsp)
  • 5 g fresh yeast, chilled (1/8 oz)
  • 20 g unsalted butter, softened (3/4 oz)

Make the Ferment:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until it becomes a ball. Knead it for about 10 minutes until becomes elastic and smooth. If using electric mixer, use dough hook and mix on low speed for 3 minutes.

Put the ferment in a bowl covered with plastic and leave at room temperature for 2 hours to ferment. After, store the pre-ferment in the fridge overnight (this can be kept for few days in the fridge).

For the croissant dough

(Chill everything in the fridge before you start making the dough, including the flour and sugar):

  • 935 g strong white flour (2 lb 1 oz)
  • 550 ml whole milk (19 fl oz)
  • 60g brown sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 15 g salt (3 tsp)
  • 35 g fresh yeast (1 ¼ oz)
  • Plus 500 g unsalted butter (1 lb 2 oz)  for laminating (the rolling and folding process for the dough)

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 80 ml (about 1/3 cup) milk
  • Pinch of salt

Make the Dough:

Divide the ferment into 8-10 small pieces, mix it together with all other ingredients, except butter, in a mixing bowl until a dough ball is formed.

Transfer the dough ball to a bench and knead for 10 – 15 minutes (by hand) until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, and doesn’t tear when stretched gently. If using electric mixer, using dough hook, mix on low speed for 3 -4 minutes, followed by high speed for another 2 minutes.

Put the dough in a bowl covered with plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Laminate the Dough:

Before starting the dough laminating (i.e. incorporating butter into the dough) remove the butter from the fridge. Pound the butter with rolling pin between two sheets of baking paper into 20 cm (8 inches) flat square. If the butter becomes too soft, store it in the fridge for 15 minutes before using.

Take the dough out of the fridge, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 20 x 40 cm (8 x 16 inches). Place the butter in the centre of the dough and fold the dough over the top. Seal the edges of the dough together to ensure the butter is completely enclosed in the dough.

Gently and carefully roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 20 x 90 cm (8 x 35 inches) (approximately 3 times longer than the piece you started with). Mentally divide the rectangle into three equal sections, top, middle and bottom. Fold the top section over the middle, and fold the bottom to the middle, like folding a letter. Wrap the dough in a plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Take the dough out of the fridge and rotate the dough 90 degree so that the dough will be rolled in opposite direction from previous fold. Repeat the rolling, folding, and resting process as above two more times. There will be three foldings and rollings (the term is “three turns”) altogether and you need to rotate the dough 90 degree with each rolling.

After the final rolling and folding, store the laminated dough in the fridge for 20 minutes before shaping into croissants.

Make the egg wash by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Take the laminated dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a rectangle about 25 x 100 cm (10 – 40 inches) with 5 -8 mm (1/4 inch) thickness.

Trim the edges of the dough so that it becomes a neat rectangle.

Cut the dough into triangles with 9-cm (3.5 in) base and 21-cm (8 in) height. Stack triangle sheets on baking sheet/papers and chill for 10 minutes.

Shape the Dough:

Take the chilled triangles out of the fridge and shape into croissants. Gently pull the tip of triangle to make the triangle longer. Working from the base, roll it towards the tip. Make sure that the tip is tucked underneath the croissant.

Place shaped croissants on trays lined with baking sheet or paper.

Shaped croissants can be kept in the fridge overnight and baked the next day. Take them out of the fridge next day and follow the proofing and baking steps as below. Brush the surface lightly with egg-wash. Cover the tray with tea towel. Let it stand at warm room temperature for 2 hours until it almost double in size. Croissants are proofed and ready for the bake when the layers become visible and the croissants are very soft and wobbly.

Bake the croissants:

Preheat the oven to 240 C (465 F)

Brush the surface of croissants with egg wash before baking. Put the croissants into the oven, then immediately reduce oven temperature to 190 C (375) and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until deeply golden brown.

Adding ferment to the dough mixture

Adding ferment to the dough mixture

Rolling butter into 8X8 inch square before putting in the fridge to chill

Rolling butter into 8X8 inch square before putting in the fridge to chill

Croissant preparation 1

Croissant dough up close - notice all the layers!

Croissant dough up close – notice all the layers!

Croissant preparation 2

Almost ready for the oven

Almost ready for the oven

Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

Layers of goodness!

Layers of goodness!

 Croissants - bourke street bakery recipe
 

Strawberry-Chocolate Pavlova

I wanted to make this Pavlova since I discovered it last year on a French website. This is the second item to cross off my 2013 (baking) To Do List . The first item was Bourke Street Bakery croissants, which were a-m-a-z-i-n-g, but I still didn’t find time to post about them (that’s still coming).

The original recipe actually calls for raspberries and dark chocolate. I changed the quantity of some ingredients and also used what I had in the house, which were some sweet Michigan strawberries and milk chocolate. I didn’t regret it because it was a huge hit with my family, so I am perfectly happy. :) This is such a great summer dessert! I hope you will be making it soon. Happy SUMMER!

SONY DSC

Strawberry-Chocolate Pavlova

{printable recipe}

(Serves about 10 people)

Pavlova:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 235 g (8.2 oz) powdered sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 35 g (1.2 oz) of grated chocolate

Filling:

  • 175 g (6 oz) chocolate (melted)
  • 450 ml (about 2 cups) heavy cream whipped thick (add sugar after your own taste)
  • 450 g (1 lb) strawberries (raspberries  or blackberries)

1. Draw 3 rectangles of 10 X 30 cm (4 X 12 inches) on sheets of parchment paper and place on two baking sheets. In a bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, then gradually add half of sugar while beating . The mixture should be very firm and look shine.

2. Using a spoon or spatula, gently fold in the remaining sugar, cornstarch and grated chocolate.

3. Place the prepared meringue into a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm star tip. Fill the rectangles drawn by drawing lines with the meringue. Bake in preheated oven at 100° C (about 200 F) for 1 hour. Without opening the door, turn off the oven and leave the meringues cool inside. Then take off from the paper.

4. To make the filling, melt the chocolate and spread it over two meringues. Allow to harden.

5. Place one of two chocolate meringues on a plate and cover with about 1/3 of the whipped cream and strawberries. Gently place the second meringue chocolate on top and cover with half the cream and the remaining strawberries.

6. Finally, place the last meringue on top and decorate with the remaining cream and strawberries. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top and serve.

Pavlova preparation

Meringue for Pavlova

Meringue for Pavlova

Pavlova-putting together

Strawberry Pavlova

Strawberry Chocolate Pavlova

Cherry Upside Down Cake

Hello dear friends! Here is the history of another childhood cake that I really, really LOVE:

My father’s sister (my favorite aunt) had a wild cherry tree in her backyard. It was growing quite close to the house, it was very tall and surpassing the roof of their two-story home. I loved visiting my aunt! I would often stop by her house to have a glass of juice, a treat and to get some auntie love. She would take my hand, lead me through her bedroom to the open window and she would reach out and grab a cherry branch. I would stand there, holding the branch, picking the sweet, little cherries and stuffing them in my mouth. Didn’t wash them either and I am still alive! Can you believe that? ;)

cherry

In February of 2004 we moved to our first home here in the U. S. Snow and cold prevented me to explore my backyard and see what’s there, but when the spring came, imagine my surprise! Right in the corner, just a few feet from the house there was a wild cherry tree! God sure works in mysterious ways!   Having that wild cherry tree in my yard, almost next to my bedroom window made me feel just a little more at home.

cherry

Auntie’s cherry upside down cake is mouth-watering good, moist, lightly sweet and served with vanilla whipped cream on top. Since my wild cherries are not ripe yet, I used bing cherries this time. Nonetheless, it was GOOD, and I mean really, really GOOD! I hope you give it a try while cherries are in season.

 cherry upside down cake

Cherry Upside Down Cake

[print recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 900 g (2 lbs) cherries  + 5-10 cherries for the decoration
  • 5 TBSP sugar
  • 1 vanilla sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 TBSP hot water
  • 100 g sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 1 vanilla sugar (or 1 TSP vanilla extract)
  • 125 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
    • 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa (OPTIONAL)
  • 500 ml (about 2 cups) heavy whipping cream
  • sugar and vanilla to taste

Also needed:

  • 1 medium cake pan (about 8-9 inch or 20-23 cm)
  • Circular piece of parchment paper, 1 -2 inches larger than the pan circumference.

Method:

  1. Wash and pit the cherries.
  2. Line the cake pan with parchment paper. You should have about 1-2 inches extra which will line the walls of the pan.
  3. Place the cherries on the parchment paper and sprinkle with sugar and vanilla sugar. Paper will keep all the cherry juice from running out of the pan and cake will be nice and moist.
  4. Crack the eggs into the mixer bowl and add 3 TBSP of hot water. Mix at high speed for a minute or two.
  5. Add sugar and vanilla and mix for two more minutes.
  6. Combine flour and baking powder, reduce the mixing speed to slow and add the flour to eggs until just combined.
  7. At this point you can take 1/3 of batter and add 2 TBSP cocoa to it.
  8. Pour the yellow batter onto cherries, then pour the cocoa batter on the top of it and swirl around a bit with a fork.
  9. Bake at 365 F (185 C) for about 30 – 35 minutes. Cool completely and then leave in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
  10. Whip the heavy cream until dense; add sugar and vanilla after your own taste.
  11. Invert the cake onto the serving plate, spread with whipped cream and decorate with fresh cherries.

Bing cherries

Cake preparation

Cake preparation

Cherry upside down cake

Cherry upside down cake

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