Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Kitchen Travel Treasures & July's LOL Posts

This is my kitchen a few days before our move. We are not packing up. Aside from a few small things, Everything stays here which has made our jump across the pond much easier to a furnished rental apartment. Waiting until we find a permanent place to live in New York City, we are taking only clothes and essentials. Later on we will move more of our personal effects. Time to start over in a new space.

Essentials for me would be shoving pots, pans, cookie sheets and cutters, extracts and decorating supplies into as many boxes as possible. However, baking supplies are abundant and available in NYC and in most cases, more economical. So I need to take a deep breath and let go. As much as I would love to bring the contents of my kitchen with me, those are not the things I will miss about our home.

My walls and kitchen here are filled with mementos from numerous travels all over the globe and I will miss them.

When I first started dating Dr. B he was a flying doctor. His work sometimes took him to several countries a week. On our first official date he had just returned from bringing a patient home to Germany from Bangkok. As a joke he presented me with a plastic pink flowered cell phone case he bought in the night market. As our relationship developed, this became became a tradition. He would arrive back with something funny, kitschy or tacky from every place he went, even if it was a hastily picked up tchotchke purchased at the local airport.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Vanilla Gooseberry Brittle Ice Cream

Here is the second ice cream I used in the Banana Macsplits. I used red gooseberries but you can use white or red. Even better, a mix of different varieties.

On the subject of red gooseberries, this is the final rumtopf update. I added them to the mixture along with raspberries and peaches.

The only ingredient missing now are plums from the trees in the garden. We have three varieties but none of them are ripe yet. Since I will be off to NYC in the next week I will ask my MIL to add add a few of each.  I'm looking forward to my first taste of the finished rumtopf when we return to Germany at Christmas time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kombucha Whoopie Pies with Kombucha Marshmallow Filling

One of my favorite beverages is Kombucha. Aside from it's many supposed theraputic benefits, I love it's sweet spicy flavor. I am referring to Kombucha in designer drink form, not in it's pure state which I understand can be quite nasty tasting. I drink the Carpe Diem brand (made by Red Bull) here in Germany.

I was looking for a unique flavor for my first whoopie pie baking experience and Kombucha was the lucky winner. I made a quick syrup out of the drink to add to both the cookie and filling.

Recently I bookmarked a delicious looking marshmallow frosting using Marshmallow Fluff from Please Pass the Pie. This was the perfect opportunity to take it for a test drive.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sour Cherry Peanut Blondies with Peanut Butter Frosting

With leftover sour cherries and a half a jar of peanut butter sitting in the pantry, this is what I came up with.

Peanut oil was added to the batter and the result is one dense, nutty blondie. I also left the peanuts whole instead of chopping them up. Each bite is a flavor bomb.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Pistachio and Caramel Cream Swirls

As promised here is the first of the three ice cream flavors I made for my Banana Macsplit. The best part of this decadent delight is no ice cream maker required. That wasn't my intention, but after cooling the mixture in the fridge, it was way too thick to put in the machine. My ice cream maker subsequently heaved a sigh of relief. It seriously need a break. I was pleasantly surprised because eliminating this step meant I was that much closer to tasting the final product.

This ice cream is more like a gelato in texture and has deep flavor. A little goes a long way on a dessert plate.

I had both pistachio and caramel cream in my pantry so I didn't have to make either. Both are from a German supermarket. They're sweet and have the consistency of peanut butter or Nutella.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Banana Macsplits - Mactweets Challenge #21

Raise your hand if you remember The Banana Splits.

Tra la la, la la la la.
One banana, two banana, three banana, four.
Four bananas make a bunch and so do many more.
Over hill and highway the banana buggies go.
Comin' on to bring you The Banana Splits Show.

I loved them when I was a kid. Bingo (second from left) was my favorite.

The TV show has nothing to do with this post except it came to mind right after this idea for July's Mactweets challenge so I decided to revisit my old childhood friends via You Tube.

And it was fun.

Four banana, three banana, two banana, one.
All bananas playing in the bright warm sun.
Flippin like a pancake, poppin like a cork.
Fleagle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork.  

Here's the Macscoop: Those cool, creamy Mactweets mavens, Jamie and Deeba, asked all willing Macnuts out there to come up with a macaron ice cream/sorbet combo. I immediately thought of a banana split. It was one of my favorite summer treats. I can't remember the last time I had one.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vanilla & Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes

A housewarming party is called an Einweihungsparty party in Germany. A new neighbor was throwing one and I made these to bring. As the only American for miles around, I wanted to make something American. Chocolate chip cookies were briefly pondered but cupcakes prevailed. Cupcakes are gaining more popularity by the day here in Germany.

Even though my Alligator cupcakes were gobbled up in a half hour at my niece's school party in May, I was cautious not to barge in on new neighbors carrying glittering, sparkling baked goods in shocking colors.

With the exclusion of my family who are used to me and my baking antics, anything too "too" generally scares off Germans or at least makes them suspicious. In the past, trays of my colorful cookies have been sniffed at and rejected by adults who couldn't bring themselves to eat anything so colorful.  Being labeled as freaky bakey lady is probably not the best way to start a neighborly relationship.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sunflower Agave Cakelets

This cute little silicon pan has been patiently waiting its turn in my pantry for awhile now.

The patient pan and a huge bouquet of sunflowers we received  from a guest at my husband's Baghdad to NYC party inspired me to create a cake recipe with both sunflower oil and sunflower seeds.

They came out great. Next time I would like to try using whole wheat or whole wheat spelt flour.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sour Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

We just came into a load of sour cherries from a neighbor. My MIL, Fine has been pitting and jarring them day after day. 

She gifted me with some of the first few jars she made.

I was happy because I have been wanting to make this torte for months.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mango Vanilla White Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Right up front I will admit I made this ice cream with canned mango. No doubt it would be even better using fresh. However, adding the syrup from the can to the recipe boosted the flavor. This ice cream was completely improvised. After making several cakes, I had eight leftover egg yolks.

With 20 something people arriving the next day for a party, I decided to use them to make a double batch of ice cream with canned mangos I found in the pantry. The recipe below is half the amount of what I made.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Firecracker Cake Pops for July 4th

These are not so perfect and even though I prefer the version that was in my head originally, I sorta love their wonkiness. There is no doubt a better way to execute this idea but I used what was on hand. Baking my way through the pantry has become a priority because of our upcoming move to NYC.

To make these firecracker cake pops I used Bakerella's method molding leftover cake scraps and frosting from my last post's creations into cylinder shapes. I wish I had a mold on hand to make them more uniform.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

US Flag Cake & Cupcakes and Back to America

These treats were made for a big party we threw last night. Obviously we don't observe the July 4th holiday here in Germany. However, we had another big reason to celebrate America. After five long years in Iraq Dr. B has accepted a position at the United Nations in New York City. We are moving in August. 

We gathered close friends and family for a garden/pool barbecue to wish him/us well in our next adventure. Considering the timing, it was like a faux Fourth of July party for me and a great excuse for some patriotic baking.

Although sad to leave Germany, we are excited to start this new chapter of our lives. Most of all, I am thrilled he will be out of Iraq for good.