Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Marzipan Candy Potatoes - April Fools!

Over the years I have lived in Europe, I never get tired of gawking at all the pretty marzipan goods at high-end shops and markets, especially the fruits and vegetables. Whenever I see them I stop in my tracks and spend a lot of time inspecting the workmanship and creativity involved in creating them. 

This past December, I visited the N├╝rnberg Christmas market and was about to take a picture of marzipan potatoes at a stand when the owner started screaming at me that no photos were allowed. He was incredibly rude. No asking nicely for me to put my camera down. Just yelling. I was a bit taken aback at first. I had been snapping pictures of everything on display the entire day and received nothing but smiles from the vendors. The worst part for him was I was just about to buy a ton of his wares as gifts.

I've never been yelled at at a Christmas Market in the 15 years I've been visiting and photographing them. So I muttered "Merry Christmas to you too, asshole" in English under my breath, took his picture as he was ranting, then briskly walked away as more screaming ensued.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Blueberry, Chocolate, Potato Chip Cookies

This is what you do with leftover crushed potato chips people. I had roughly a cup full after making potato chip schnitzel. Yes, you read that correctly, potato chip schnitzel. Why use bread crumbs in a recipe when you can use crushed potato chips?

But I digress. I was in in the process of throwing out the leftover potato chip dust when this idea came to me. Why not use them in chocolate chip cookies? 

Not an original thought, I admit. There are a lot of cookie recipes out there with potato chips as an ingredient so I almost passed. Then I spied a package of organic dried blueberries practically waving at me from my kitchen cabinet (Hello! I'm over here!). 

Creating a chocolate chip cookie recipe with crushed potato chips and blueberry flavor suddenly made sense.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Pistachio Lemon Quick Bread

You know how every time you plan your fantasy  holiday menu and then the dang holiday sneaks up on you? 

There never seems to be enough time or enough time left before the holiday arrives. So you start cutting things out, consolidating, rearranging or do the last minute call of shame to beg friends or relatives to donate a dish to the cause. 

That's why I love quick and easy holiday recipes.  This one is a winner. Rich pistachios and bright lemon flavor add zing to this lovely quick bread. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter Bird's Nest Cake

This cute cake is a result of another idea that was a fail. Sometimes nice surprises happen  when you mess up, people. 

Although the first concept was much more ambitious, elaborate and held a surprise factor, I was happy with the result of this fail. A pretty, easy to make bird's nest shaped cake that adds a fun touch to any Easter or Spring celebration table. 

I used a recipe for egg liquor cake and vanilla frosting. However,  feel free to use your favorite flavor cake and frosting recipes. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Egg Shaped Jam Sandwich Cookies

The temptation to make these cookies into Easter themed Linzers was strong. But I resisted. I like how the smooth icing came out on top. Next year egg shaped Linzers. 

Or rabbits with jam tummies. Those would be cute was well. 

Anyway, these are a fun addition to your Easter or Spring holiday table. I used a plain vanilla cookie base but you can easily switch it up by adding your favorite spices or substitute your favorite rollout chocolate cookie recipe for a whole other flavor. Another idea is to add come fresh citrus zest to the batter. 

You will need two different cookie cutters to create the egg shape of these cookies. One is an egg shaped cutter, the other a small round cutter. To create the "yolk" color, use apricot, peach, orange or tangerine jam. Any orange colored marmalade, jelly or jam works well.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Rabbit Shaped Vegetable Strudels

Since I made those rabbit shaped potatoes to top caramelized carrot and fennel flammkuchen, I've been a little obsessed with making another bunny shaped recipe.

Why make a ho hum vegetable strudel when you can make a bunny shaped one?  This is a cute idea for any Easter holiday table or even for a kid's birthday party. 

The recipe is for an all vegetable version of the strudel. I used asparagus, carrots, onions and yellow pepper. You can easily substitute your favorite vegetables, add potatoes, cheese or your preference of meat for a non-vegetarian version.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Raisin Breads Topped with Lemon Cream and Apricot

Easter brunch offers up many possibilities for creative and fun food. I spied a version of these in a German cooking magazine last year around this time and they made me smile. I thought of it as an Easter version of a raisin bagel with cream cheese. 

These lemon cream, apricot topped raisin individual breads are a perfect festive and flavorful addition to any Easter  or spring themed breakfast, brunch or lunch.

The base is a simple German raisin bread recipe. The ovals are topped with a rich mixture of mascarpone and quark with some sugar and lemon zest added for flavor. 

Quark is not easily found outside of Europe. In order to make quark properly, the process takes hours. A quick imitation recipe for German quark is included  in the link below.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Toasted Sesame Poppy Seed Coriander Cookies

I had a seed problem. Or rather my pantry had a seed problem. Different varieties  of seeds, poppy, sesame, sunflower, were piling up and squeezing out other important items like spices and fancy salts. 

I blame this on those annoying recipes that only require a teaspoon or less of seeds. The large bag  you had to buy (because you can never find the small bag in the market when you need only a small amount, right?) ends up loitering in the pantry, manspreading everywhere, not letting anyone else sit down.

By chance, I saw a version of this recipe in a German cooking magazine, did a little happy dance, dog-eared the page and then promptly lost it and didn't find it again for weeks.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Caramelized Carrot, Fennel, Potato Flammkuchen with Dill Crust

A German pizza (Flammkuchen) for Easter sounds like a crazy,  culturally confused holiday dish. I assure you, the only think a bit crazy about this recipe, (aside from the whimsical potato bunnies) is its crazy good flavor. 

Caramelized vegetables add great flavor to any recipe. I especially love them on Flammkuchen. 

Since I can't just leave any classic recipe alone, my new idea is to experiment adding flavors to flammkuchen dough. Chopped fresh dill was added to the crust dough to amp up the flavor. 

This tasty and fun recipe has something for kids of all ages. Adults will love the sophisticated caramelized carrot and fennel topping and what kid could resist bunny shaped potatoes? If fennel is too strange for you or your child's palate, substitute sweet onions.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Chocolate Egg Liquor Gugelhupf

This German marble bundt cake is a mix of chocolate and egg liquor flavors.

As I said in my last post, Germans are big fans of egg liquor at Christmas and Easter.  Since we are leaving on a five-week vacation soon, to get ahead, I have been writing  and cooking recipes like a madwoman (or mad hausfrau).

Once I had made the egg liquor, which is surprisingly easy to do, it was more efficient to use the result to make something else instead of just drinking it all myself. 

That's where this cake comes in. Baked goods with egg liquor (eierlikor) are just as popular in Germany at Christmas and Easter as the drink version. I love this swirling of two great flavors in one cake.

To create the marbling effect. I poured one cake layer flavor on top of the other and simply twirled a fork through the batter.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Homemade German Egg Liquor

You might be asking. why is she posting egg nog in March? I have not lost my seasonal mind. This is not Egg Nog people, it's egg liquor or eierlikor. A bit lighter in taste than eggnog. 

No Easter or Christmas in Germany is complete without indulging in eqq liquor. I am excited, once again, to be home in Germany this Easter and am looking forward to browsing all the traditional Easter foods in the markets.

My sister-in-law makes her own eier liquor. And it's great. I never managed to wrestle the recipe out of her so  thought I would try my hand at making my own version and was very happy with the result.

This version uses white rum as the liquor component and leaves out the nutmeg. For a Christmas version, dark rum would be better. Adding bourbon, cognac or whiskey  or a mix of all four would further amp up the flavor. 

In Germany egg liquor is also a popular ingredient in homemade cakes, custards, tortes and mixed drinks. The possibilities are endless. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pistachio Oatmeal Espresso Cookies

What to do when a wonderful neighbor gives you gives you a five-pound bag of high-quality pistachio nuts for Christmas?  Specifically, Bazzini's natural super colossal variety.

Pistachios are my favorite nut. I could eat them all day long. Five pounds is plenty to do that for a long while. It took until now for me to get inspired or motivated or whatever to start baking with them.

I saw a recipe a while back in a German cooking magazine for pistachio espresso cookies which were in a feature in the magazine on American style baking.  I tweaked the recipe slightly and was very happy with the result.