Oatmeal cookies for lazy days and lazy me

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Lazy me sometimes craves cookies. But she can’t be bothered with chocolate chip cookies or anything with nuts. It’s too much work to chop  chocolate or even chop and toast nuts. But do you know which cookies don’t require any extra work? Oatmeal cookies! You weigh the ingredients, mix them together and portion the dough. And put the cookies into the oven. So simple that even lazy me manages.

The original recipe is from Pioneer Woman, I love the ways she presents her recipes. Very picture heavy, just up my alley! She calls the cookies brown sugar oatmeal cookies but since I don’t use brown sugar I just call them oatmeal cookies. Because of the white sugar I imagine that my cookies are very different in texture: White sugar results in crispy cookies whereas brown sugar leads to chewy ones. I like crispy cookies so I’ll stick to white sugar. These cookies are light and crispy, lightly sweet which means that I can eat the whole tin in one go.

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Oatmeal cookies

Makes about 55: Directions:
  • 120 g butter
  • 200 g white sugar
  • 1 Tbs vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 90 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 150 g rolled oats

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the egg.
  4. Fold in flour, salt and baking soda.
  5. Fold in rolled oats.
  6. Portion the dough and bake for about 12 min till golden.

 

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A sunny reunion

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After over three  months of silence I’m back bearing a recipe as apology. Life hasn’t been really taxing but somehow it still drained me of all my creative juices. I felt like I was suffocating and holding still just made it worse. So I just marched on like a soldier and now I can finally  take a deep breath.

Pavlova is one of those desserts that impress. The marshmallowy meringue base is covered with whipped cream and studded with gorgeous fruit that gleam in the sun like precious stones. It definitely stands out among the obligatory cupcakes and chocolate cakes. Not only visually but also tastewise. The sweet sweet meringue is reigned in by tart fruit and the cream adds richness and a cooling sensation. A composition that makes your taste buds sing. And which will earn quite a few appreciative looks and compliments!

Although pavlova is a feast not only for the eyes it’s dead simple to make. The trickiest part is separating the eggs neatly since a trace of yolk in your egg whites will ruin your meringue. So just make sure that there isn’t any yolk. And if there is, just take a spoon and remove it. No time to panic!

Pavlova

Ingredients (makes 4 disks of 10 cm diameter):

  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100 g white sugar
  • 250 g cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 2 tsp icing sugar
  • tart fruits like kiwi, oranges, berries

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Mix cornstarch and vinegar.
  3. In a separate bow, add salt to the egg whites and whisk until soft peaks form.
  4. Add one tablespoon of sugar the egg whites and whisk. Add a bit of the cornstarch mixture and whisk. Repeat until all sugar and cornstarch paste is added to the egg whites.
  5. Beat the egg whites until they are thick and glossy. When rubbing between your fingers no sugar crystals should be detected.
  6. On a baking tray lined with parchment paper portion the egg whites into four disks, smoothing the top.
  7. Push the baking tray into the fully hot oven and switch off the oven. Dry the meringue bases for about 30 min until they are dry to touch. Let them cool in the oven.
  8. Beat the heavy cream with vanilla sugar and icing sugar until stiff peaks form.
  9. Spread the whipped cream onto the meringue disks and top with fruit. Serve immediately.

 

Floating on chocolaty clouds of chocolate

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These chocolate cupcakes are super fluffy. So fluffy and light that you could easily crush them if you’re not careful at taking them out the tin. They are chocolaty clouds of chocolate. They are even better with a chocolate glaze that makes a satisfying crack! sound when you take a bite. And they are easy.

The hardest parts are separating the eggs and beating the egg whites. But I enjoyed it, I even picked up some new skills: Cracking eggs one-handed and whipping egg whites by hand! And I got so hooked up on them that my next kitchen project was  meringue. Crazy, huh? But just look at that fine crumb. That’s all the egg whites’ doing.

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Chocolate Celebration Cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 7-9):

  • 75 g butter
  • 200 g chocolate
  • 70 g sugar
  • 30 g all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (160°C when using fan).
  2. Melt half the chocolate, sugar and butter together and stir to combine. Let it cool a few moments.
  3. Separate eggs and incorporate one egg yolk at a time into the chocolate mixture.
  4. Beat the egg whites with the salt to stiff peak stage. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.
  5. Fill the paper liners until they are nearly full.Bake for 17-20 min until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let the cupcakes rest 1 min in the tin and then let them cool on a wire rack.
  7. Melt the rest of the chocolate. Dip the cooled cupcakes into the chocolate. Refrigerate or store at a cool place until the glaze dries.

Of failing in baking. Repeatedly.

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The recipe for Martha’s pistachio cupcakes with raspberries looked so promising. And boy, did they look pretty after they left the oven! The cupcakes were studded with magenta berries and chopped almonds. But did they taste as good as they looked? Sorry to disappoint, but no. I did like the tartness of the berries and the crunchiness of the almonds but the cupcake itself was dense and not light at all. I declared the recipe a miss and moved on to try new recipes.

Since I liked the combination of berries with almonds I decided to add them to my magdalenas. The result was okay but not outstanding. They were magdalenas with berries and almonds on top, that’s all. Remember when I wrote over muffins that were more than the sum of their parts? The math didn’t add up in this case.

Then I thought: Hey how about adding chocolate to the mix! Bad idea. The cupcakes turned dry and slightly bitter. I was at my wit’s end. It was time to admit defeat and to focus on brighter things. Like on the lemon squares that I baked last year around Easter! I should have known better. The lemons were somehow bitter which did no good to the lemon squares. But hope’s not lost yet! I recently got my hands on Fiona Cairn’s recipe book bake & decorate and got my eyes on some recipes. Keep your fingers crossed!

Magdalenas: More than the sum of their ingredients

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This is the muffin which sets my standards. A caramelized honey crust on top and fluffy, golden fluffiness inside. It’s a simple recipe but so good. I tried several muffin recipes but these magdalenas are my favorites. You just can’t beat them! There are no special ingredients or fancy techniques involved but the result is magical.

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Magdalenas (makes 15)

  • 125 g butter (1/2 cup)
  • 125 g flour (0,8 cup)
  • 125 g sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp honey

Mix all ingredients well together and fill your muffin form or paper linings. Bake at 180°C for 20 min.

Chocolate, nuts and toffee: This cookie has got them all

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These are the best cookies I’ve ever baked. They are crunchy. They have chocolate bits and nuts. And the best of all: They have toffee. Amazing, chewy, delicious toffee. I made a batch at Easter and they were that popular that my brother had to fight tooth and nail to save some for school! No kidding. He smuggled the cookie jar out of the kitchen and hid it somewhere. Guess, I have to make another batch soon.

The recipe is from Linh’s Kitchen, a blog I recently found. Her lemon squares recipe is excellent!

Some notes on the recipe:

  • Instead of butter I used margarine. That might be the reason why 30 min chilling was not enough, the dough war quite soft. I had to chill for 2 h.
  • Because of the soft texture of the dough there’s no need for an electric mixer. Just make sure that your bowl is big enough.
  • Instead of pecans I used almonds. Pecans aren’t easy to get in Germany.
  • Don’t chop the ingredients too small. You want to notice the bits.
  • Keep enough space between the cookie log pieces. I ended up with hexagonal cookies because  they were placed too close on two baking trays. Next time I’m going to use three.