Saturday, 8 July 2017

Blueberry muffins for Saturday breakfast

Some days you have to have a muffin for breakfast, right? Maybe not the most healthiest way to start the day you will say, but certainly a very special one. It is not often we do have muffins for breakfast in our home, but when we do, we kind of celebrate this fact a little. I always try to add some nutritious ingredients to them, still trying to stay rather on the cake side, as muffin is a small little cake treat after all.
We love blueberry hence most of the time I will end up with blueberry muffins. Vanilla is another ingredient, which will never be missed in my baked treats. I am a vanilla girl, what can I say. And as for the nutritious addition (and for the feeling guilty part) there will be oatmeal flakes and nuts.

It can all vary depending on what I am having home, blueberries can be easily changed by raspberries, cranberries, apples, apricots or red currant. Different kind of nuts will add different flavors, as well as different spices... cinnamon, dash of nutmeg or ground cardamom. There is also a seasonal aspect too... while in winter we do prefer them rather spiced up (cinnamon, cardamom etc.) in summer the main focus will be put on the berries or fruits. The dough always remains the same, which makes this muffin recipe so cool, it will be then just up too you to play around with additional ingredients and create a special muffin just to your taste.
Blueberry breakfast muffins
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 180 g sugar
  • vanilla essence
  • 100 g butter (softened)
  • 100 g yogurt (room temperature)
  • 1,5 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 180 g flour
  • 125 g blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line your muffin thin with muffin paper cases (about 9 big ones or 12 small). In a bowl whisk together eggs and sugar (with a hand-whisk, give it couple of swings that all it takes). Add vanilla essence, butter and yogurt, give it another couple of swings (do not worry for the small butter clumps at this point, they all will disappear when you add flour to the dough). Sift in flour, salt and baking powder, whisk till all well combined. Fold in the berries, use a spatula or spoon and try not to break the berries. Fill the muffin paper cases up to 2/3 and set aside. Prepare the crunchy topping.

Crunchy topping
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal flakes
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • handful roughly chopped pecan nuts
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mixed them all with you hands till you will get the crumbles, some might be bigger then others. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the muffin dough (generously) and press it gently with your fingers, so they do stick to the dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes till golden brown.

Enjoy!



Friday, 16 June 2017

Baklava-Cheesecake cake, a match made in heaven

This post is long long overdue, but I just now got some time to publish it. Today we are going to talk about "Baklava-Cheesecake". I guess most of you have heard about this cake already, I always wanted to try it, but always missed the right occasion to make it. Several weeks ago however I got even two of such special occasions. First cake was done for my family who visited us for some days. Second was made for a good friend birthday lunch invitation.

If you love baklava and cheesecake as I do, then this cake is a must. It looks stunning, special and festive.... perfect cake to be made for a special occasion. And the best part of it is that you would not need any special decoration or have any special decoration skills, as this case looks awesome by it own already.

I made the cheesecake not too sweet to balance the sweetness of the baklava filling. Nuts, honey and lemon are giving a special wow effect to the creamy cheesecake texture and if you would like it a bit more sweeter, you can always take another splash of the silky sugar syrup on top. The cake was a success and everybody was amazed by it looks!

Baklava-Cheesecake cake

Sugar Syrup
  • 120 g sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • lemon juice of half a lemon
Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan (take a deep one) and bring it to boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to medium-low and let it bubble away for 10-15 minutes. Put it aside to cool down.

Cheesecake
  • 350 g cream cheese
  • 250 ml yogurt (I took the light to balance the creaminess of the cream cheese)
  • 90 g sugar
  • vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 packages vanilla pudding powder
In a bowl whisk (hand whisk) together cream cheese, yogurt, sugar and vanilla essence, till you get a smooth and silky mixture. Add the eggs, one at the time, whisk till all well combined. Finally sift it vanilla pudding powder and fold it carefully in, avoiding too much beating. Set aside.

Baklava filling
  • 250 g nuts  (I made a mix of pistachios and pecan nuts)
  • 2/3 of sugar syrup
Chop the nuts roughly (I did not chop it too small, to have some bigger nuts bites). In a bowl mix together nuts and syrup. Set aside.

Assembling the cake
  • 4-5 filo dough sheets
  • 3-4 tablespoons of melted butter
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Take your baking form and grease it slightly with melted butter. Take the first filo dough sheet and brush it with butter, fold it in half and cover one part of the baking dish with it. Continue with remaining dough sheets the same way till whole baking form is covered. Depending on how big your baking form is you will need 4 or 5 of the dough sheets. Do not worry to be too neat, just make sure the form is all covered.
Pour in the cheesecake mixture. Take a generous amount of the baklava filling using a spoon, form a small ball and let is fall on top of the cheesecake mixture, letting it sink in. Spread some more of the baklava filling on top. Bake for ca. 40 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let the cake rest and cool of for at least 30 minutes. Serve the cake with a splash of the remaining sugar syrup on top.

Enjoy!


Monday, 17 April 2017

French Madeleines

I never know when french madeleines are supposed to be eaten... for breakfast, for afternoon tea or for dessert. But what I know for sure is, that those small little heavenly tasting cute looking sponge cakes are one of the favorites in our house. I love the original recipe, done with orange blossom water, but do experiment with different flavors and ingredients to add some variety. There are many reasons to fall in love with madeleines, mines are the delicate taste and cute shell-like form. They can be served to tea or coffee and been eaten, if you ask me, at any time of the day. They are perfect to wow your guests or bring along to a dinner party invitation. 

Today orange blossom madeleines recipe, half of which were dipped in chocolate, as I was not sure if we would like to have them for the afternoon tea or for breakfast. Finally we ended up to have them throughout the day, according to my son it was a perfect way to start and end the day. My mom and I enjoyed them with a big cup of green tea after a long walk through the woods and my husband had them with some coffee for dessert. 
I think they are relatively easy to make, you only need to invest in a madeleine baking form, some orange blossom water and some time to let the batter chill in the refrigerator. Actually you can do the batter a day before and let it over night... I never manage to do so, as we cannot wait to have them as soon as possible. Sometimes I bake them straightaway, but do admit that after some chilling time they do taste better.

French Madeleines
  • 120 g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 120 melted butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • orange zest
  • some dark chocolate
  • chopped pistachio 
In a bowl beat together sugar, eggs and honey, till double in size. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt, mix till all well combined. Pour in the butter and incorporate it with a spatula. Add orange blossom water and orange zest and give it another whisk. Let the batter chill for some hours in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the madeleine baking form. Pour in the batter (3/4 full) and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Take the form out and let it cool for couple of minutes on the cooling rack, before taking the madeleines out.
Melt the chocolate,  dip one end of the madeleine into it and sprinkle with some chopped pistachios.

Enjoy!
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