Saturday, April 30, 2011

May Flowers Mini Cake Pops and April's LOL Food Blogger Posts


April Shower bring May flowers. This is certainly true here. The trees all blossomed this month and the flowers have created a riot of color in the garden.




They inspired these mini cake pops. I'm too jaded to squee.



But If I did,


I would.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Banana English Toffee Scones with Sticky Toffee Glaze for Will & Kate's Big Day



I watched Charles & Diana's wedding with my grandmother Ruth across an ocean in her little senior citizen apartment on a Long Island beach. Being European, she was glued to the TV set and I was drawn in with her. I was on summer break from College and I remember I could not believe this young woman, only slightly older than myself, was the future queen of England. The wedding was so huge and overwhelming. Although she was visibly nervous, I was in awe of how well she handled herself among such pressure and grandeur. Well we all know now how hard it was for her and the toll it took on her life. 




So here we are what seems like a lifetime later and it's Prince William's turn. Kate seems much better prepared for her role. I hope for her sake she is. I wish them both the best of luck today and I'm damn excited to see that dress.



Thursday, April 28, 2011

Coconut Vanilla Sugar Espresso Meringue Torte with Hazelnut Vanilla Caramel Sauce



I know the title of this recipe is ridiculously long. Finding a proper title was ridiculously challenging. To include all the flavors and layers in the title, I must have changed it 10 times.



Thumbing through my vintage German cookbook collection, I found a simple but interesting meringue torte. The torte has three separate elements to play with vanilla flavors. 


The torte has a crust and a topping made out of crumbled meringues, a whipped cream layer in between and a sauce to drizzle over.




As I have mentioned before, German desserts have way less sugar then those in America, so I had to fix that.




You're welcome.


The original recipe had no sugar at all in the middle layer of whipped cream, just bits of the crumbled meringue folded in. It also was flavored with brandy and topped with strawberry sauce. I set out to give each layer a vanilla makeover. 


To the plain meringues I added vanilla sugar and instant espresso powder. Then shredded coconut and more vanilla sugar was added to the whipped cream layer.



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vanilla Bean Paste Sea Buckthorn Tart with Brown Sugar Crust


Sea Buckthorn or Sanddorn is popular here in Germany. Mostly in the form of jam and liqueur. Many cosmetic body care products are also made with this nutritious berry.


Image from Naturalherbalextracts.com


The Sea Buckthorn harvest is in the fall so I am out of season. However, I was on a quest to use up a ton of leftover egg yolks from my latest macaron failures :-) So I found myself rummaging through my pantry to find a custard or curd flavor idea when I spied a bottle of Sea Buckthorn liqueur.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Bonnet Cupcakes


In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it,
you'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
-Irving Berlin


The Easter parade in NYC is a random affair. Like the song, it takes place on Fifth Avenue and draws all kinds of Easter headgear from the austere to the outrageous.


One year I brought Teddy, one of my Shar Pei puppies to the parade. He looked so perverse in bunny ears, I just had to.

Teddy makes a new friend at the parade  - Photo By Alan Kaplan

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Orange Vanilla Bunny and Lamb Cakes with Creamsicle Glaze


For years here in Germany at Easter time I've seen and been charmed by these darling lamb and bunny cakes at bakeries everywhere. They are usually just dusted with powdered sugar.

I finally got around to buying these bunny and lamb cake molds when I saw them both for 6 euro at Aldi.


When it was time to take them for a test drive, I thought about just making a plain yellow cake and sprinkling the finished product with powdered sugar but that's not how I roll.  I wanted to create something special with them.



Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Seven Layer Cookies



Ever since I made these cookies last Fall I wanted to try them again with different flavor and colors. Back then I used the traditional flavors of this Italian Rainbow cookie. Well, in this version I didn't exactly break out in a big way. 




Besides tinting them spring colors I made one small change. I used holunder (elderberry) jam instead of apricot to spread between the layers.



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Bunny Bark


With all the baking projects I have been working on lately (I am dangerous when I am home for an extended period of time), leftover ingredients are seriously beginning to pile up. Last month I was almost at the point of asking the Easter Bunny to come and take away some things instead of bringing me a full basket.


I had some leftover malted milk eggs from my bird's nest cookies as well as some colored white chocolate from other projects so this bark was a no brainer. I also threw in some marzipan carrots that were hanging around the pantry plus little white sugar balls that looked like fluffy rabbit tails. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Banana Ginger Spelt Cupcakes for Earth Day and Some Trash Talk



Earth Day is almost here.  It's no secret we have been eating up our natural resources at a rate unprecedented in history. Time to give the earth a break people. 

I could go on and on about the great pacific garbage patch or the stupidity of plastic bags and bottled water or our over fished oceans but I think I will just talk some trash.

Here in Germany I often joke I spend two hours a week separating my garbage. Glass is separated by color. Almost all packaging on everything from foods to shampoo bottles is recycled. It's illegal to throw out batteries and printer cartridges. They have to be dropped off at appointed locations. Paper, plastic, aluminum production, scrap metal, garden waste and spare furniture are all picked up separately. 

In addition, we have a compost heap at home for food scraps. Lucy, Rosalie and "The Girls" (the sheep the goat and the chickens) take care of their fair share as well. They all consider leftover pasta, french fries and my numerous baking fails ultimate delicacies.


Dwarf Goat Rosalie and the Girls

With all of that dispersed, my trash amounts to one small bag I throw out every two weeks.


Trash never made me feel so good and so proud. And I have produced a lot of good trash TV in my life.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tie-Dyed Bunny and Butterfly Marshmallows


Victoria over at the District Chocoholic issued a Pimp My Easter Basket Challenge. The idea was to be ridiculous with an Easter treat.


These tie-dyed marshmallows are definitely not as clever as her Road Kill Easter Bunny Bar Cookies. So funny. 


In retrospect I am kicking myself for not going with bunny pimps and chick hos or psycho bunnies. I settled for psychedelic. These marshmallows are a little pimped just not twisted, but definitely something I would like in my Easter basket. I thought they came out a bit unusual and they definitely kick some Peeps butt in the looks department.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Coconut Rum Raisin Matzoh Pudding


I have a friend Fabio who makes the most amazing bread pudding. He uses coconut milk and coconut cream in the recipe. It's incredible and since I seem to be on some sort of wacky tropical Passover kick,  it gave me inspiration for this Passover recipe.



This pudding is not overly sweet and you barely notice the alcohol. It's just the right texture, not too dry and not runny. The best part is even though the oven time is about 1 hour, you can throw it together in a jiffy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Medical Cookies for My Hubby



Today is the birthday of this little guy:




Darn Cute, isn't he?


I didn't know him then. I met him years later when he looked like this:



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chocolate Dandelion Macarons -Mactweets Challenge #18



Those wildflowers, Jamie and Deeba over at Mactweets challenged us this month to reinvent the chocolate macaron by pairing it with unusual flavor.




Recently I picked up a bottle of dandelion syrup at Munich's Viktrualienmarkt. This was the perfect opportunity to break it open to create a macaron filling.



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Birds' Nest Cookies


One of my favorite cookbooks on my shelf is The Cookie Jar Cookbook by Steffi Berne.  


Each cookie recipe is beautifully photographed with a matching or complementary antique cookie jar. 

Windmill cookies with matching cookie jars
 from The Cookie Jar Cookbook

Zweiback cookies with matching cookie jars from
 The Cookie Jar Cookbook

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tiptoe Through the Lemon Sugar Tulip Cakes & A Visit to Keukenhof



Ever since I saw THIS fabulous Fight Club cake covered with poured fondant Ali over at Three Baking Sheets to the Wind created, I wanted to try the method myself.




As usual, tulips are everywhere in the spring, especially here in our little corner of Germany. We are located two hours from Lisse, Holland, home of the famous Keukenhof gardens. 



Friday, April 8, 2011

Exotic Charoset Truffles for Passover - Seder Plate challenge



I was trolling for something different to make for Passover and I found this idea for Charoset Truffles on About.com. I put my own spin on it by kicking up the flavors, exchanging the fruits and nuts for a more exotic variety and then rolling them in coconut.




These are some serious delicious treats. Small but mighty, they are packed with flavor. Perfect for Passover. It might be fun to put these on the seder plate instead of traditional charoset.

Last year I posted the story of my funny Passover Seder Disaster. This year, I don't know if there will even be a seder here. Dr. B is stuck in Iraq for 2 months so I am not feeling it. Regardless, I still wanted to experiment with some new recipes.


I am submitting these truffles to the Seder Plate Challenge over at Cara's Cravings. She had a great idea to challenge food bloggers to create a dish inspired by one of the 5 symbolic foods found on a seder plate:

Egg
Charoset
Green Vegetable
Salt Water
Bitter Herbs
Shank Bone
and she added a fifth, Matzoh. 


In the Passover seder, Charoset or Haroset symbolizes the mortar used by the Jews to build the storehouses of Egypt.