Monday, February 29, 2016

Two Stops Not to Miss in Montreux, Switzerland

Several earlier posts explored my Thanksgiving week visit to Geneva, Switzerland. I had a wonderful time exploring the city and visiting the Christmas Market as well as making day trips to Monteux and Lausanne.

I've also already written about the fantastic Christmas market that takes places in Montreux over the holidays. 500 booths right on Lake Geneva. Picturesque is an understatement.

A short, scenic train ride from Geneva, I spent roughly 10 hours in Monteux and definitely made the most of it.

Home of the famous Montreux Jazz and Comedy festivals, this charming city is positioned between a mountain and Lake Geneva. Chocolate shops, cafes, clothing boutiques and tourist shops line the streets. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Buttered Popcorn French Macarons for Oscar Night

I know these are last minute and I'm still thinking of boycotting the Oscars, but you know, the dresses.

I'll never  boycott baking and since this French macaron flavor has been on my mind for years. Yes, been on my list for years, I thought I'd give it a try.

I've not made French macarons since last June. How did that happen?

I am seriously out of practice so these are not the prettiest ones I've ever made but the flavor is banging so I had to post them.

The shells are made with butter flavor powder and a smidge of yellow food coloring. The filling is a simple buttercream with a hint of vanilla extract and mixed with popcorn dust I made myself in the nutri bullet. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Banana Toasted Anise Seed Muffins with Cocoa Nibs

When I made those Rose Petal Springerle cookies for Valentine's Day, I used the old method of placing the anise seeds on the baking sheets and pressing the cookies into the seeds before baking.

That left me with a handful of luscious smelling toasted anise seeds I could not bear to throw out. I also had three dirty bananas sitting in my fridge. Both became the inspiration for these muffins.

I've been wanting to try baking more with coconut oil. After consulting The Google, I found this muffin recipe. Mine below is loosely based on hers at Deliciously Yum.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Four Great Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

I spent Thanksgiving week last November tagging along on my husband's business trip to Geneva. While he was conferencing during the day, I was out visiting Christmas markets, taking day trips to neighboring cities around Lake Geneva as well as exploring what this lovely city had to offer.

Although I had been warned by other UN spouses that Geneva is a boring city to live in, I found it to be a was a fun and fascinating place to visit.  

It definitely helped the atmosphere that Christmas was around the corner.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Toasted Pine Nut Rosemary Chocolate Chip Brown Sugar Biscotti

That title is a mouth full. It's what happens when you make clean out your pantry biscotti. I was pretty smug when I created this recipe with leftover ingredients, except the rosemary was not leftover.

Like a stalker, my planter of fresh rosemary just won't give up this winter. We've had two snow storms this past month, one being a monster. Regardless, every time I step outside on my NYC terrace, the plant still stands up fresh looking at me all perky-like saying, "Pick me! Use me!" I suppose I should be grateful but sometimes I want to slap it.

Anyway, I was all smug about my creation until I made a classic food blogging rookie mistake. After toasting the pine nuts to add to the biscotti batter, I added them all, not thinking to save a tablespoon or two for styling when photographing the biscotti. 

Almost six years of food blogging and I am still a dummy. Oy.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Plum Roses Marzipan Pastries

Raise your hand if those roses shaped tarts created from apples that have been showing up everywhere on the internet in the past months make you go "ooh".  Why limit the technique to apples?  Here is another version with a fresh red plum twist.

To create the roses, the plum slices are wrapped in puff pastry layered with a creamy marzipan, plum jam mixture. 

The filling contains schmand which can be hard to find outside of Germany. Fortunately, a schmand substitute is easy to make. The recipe is included in the link below. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's French Macaron Round Up

Since Macaron Mondays have been put on hold indefinitely, I have not made french macarons in a long time. Since last June as a matter of fact.  However, nothing is forever, not even my macaron making drought. 

The egg whites keep piling up in my freezer which recently has me thinking about piping shells and making fillings. I have been reorganizing my French macaron flavor idea list and prepping for a hopefully not too far in the future MacMaking marathon.

Until then, in honor of upcoming Valentines day, here is a round up of  heart shaped and Valentine's themed French Macaron posts and recipes to tide us over until new French macaron flavors make their way out of my kitchen on their own feet.

Lots of fun flavors and ideas here. I hope you will find some inspiration. Click on the titles below to get the full recipe and instructions. 

This Valentine's French macarons take a bit more work than making round or heart shaped version but the result is worth it. The macarons are shaped into squares and rectangles. To complete the look, package them in  a left over Valentine's themes or heart shaped box. I used leftover pink buttercream, chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache to fill the shells.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rose Petal Springerle Cookies

These dried rose petal cookies are a reinvention of the traditional Christmas German Springerle into a beautiful, sparkly Valentine's Day version. Treats that also make beautiful Easter, mother's day or birthday gifts.

I made painted springerle before my 2015 Christmas time trip to Germany. Ever since then, I've been wanting to experiment with the recipe and not wait until next year's holiday season to do so. Cue Valentine's Day.

Many of the Christmas markets  I visited had stands that sold beautiful handmade springerle molds which further inspired me not to wait another year to make springerle. I did buy a few new molds at the markets. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Red Cabbage and Potato Valentine's Flammkuchen

Flammkuchen is a homemade personal German style pizza. For this heart shaped Valentine's Day inspired version, In honor of Valentine's Day, I used all red toppings: Red wine drenched red cabbage, red potatoes and caramelized red onions. But you can substitute any vegetable or meat you like.

I added roasted garlic powder and kosher salt to the crust dough for extra flavor.  Good decision.

The dough base is coated with a mixture of schmand and creme fraiche, then topped with grated emmenthaler cheese. Swiss or gruyere cheese would do the trick as well.

Schmand is a thick creamy ingredient commonly used in Germany in both sweet and savory dishes. It's a hard item to find in the USA so I have included an extremely easy recipe for a homemade version in the link below. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sacher Torte Cookies

Lovely little heart shaped cookies packed with the traditional flavors of the famous Viennese Sacher Torte. 

One bite of this cookie and you will be instantly transported to Cafe Sacher in Vienna. Well, probably not but they do make pretty and luscious Valentine's Day treats. 

Each piece has a chocolate cookies base, then is layered with apricot jam, marzipan and completely covered in melted semi sweet chocolate. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hot Pepper Jelly Cashew Heart Linzers

What way to celebrate red hot love this Valentine's day than making these heart shaped, beautiful Linzer cookies with a spicy center? 

These cookies pack a big flavor punch. They are perfect forValentine's Day but you can change the shape and use them for any occasion. The only decorative limitation is what shape cookie cutters you have in your baking supply arsenal.