Tiny dinner again? – Chocolate and Peanut Butter Tartlets

Chocolate and peanut butter tartletsChocolate and peanut butter tartlets

I have continued to neglect the uploading of recipes….I know…I’m terrible. But I’m always busy or sick. Right now I’m recovering from my 4th respiratory disease of some sort in less than two months. It’s crazy. Just when I’m getting back on the wagon, back to a good daily routine with lots of exercise, cooking, crafting and gazillions of endorphins per day (either from exercise or chocolate…you guess)….no, my body says. And its back to resting for three days straight without doing anything fun. Hmmph. This has to stop! The good part of not posting though, is that I’ve cooked a lot of new things in between posts, and so I can pick the yummiest! This time I present you with a hard to surpass combination; chocolate and peanut butter, on a crunchy, buttery, flaky tartlet. Sounds delicious? That’s cause they are. I created these because I had a birthday dinner party for one of my best friends, but she’s super tiny (tinier than me) and so I made mini everything for dinner. (Yes, again) Tiny burgers, tiny fries, tiny salads, tiny stuffed portobellos, and of course, tiny desserts! Pavlovas, which I’ll post as soon as I sort the photos out, and these incredibly good chocolate peanut butter tartlets. The tartlet shells are a bit tedious, yes. But you can skip that and make a regular size tart using a pastry ring, because the filling is really really easy and fast. Just make sure you weigh your tart shell properly. Read more for the recipe!

(The above mentioned tiny dinner. See why I had to make tarlets?)

tiny dinner

Beating eggs into doughSablageShort pastry dough

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Onion’s sweet cousin – Caramelised Shallots in red wine

Caramelised shallots in red wine

This is a dish I first tried when I was living in Paris (I know, insane to think I went all those years before that without knowing the heaven-in-your-mouth that these are!) and they are constantly lurking in the back of my mind as something I want to cook, but whenever I go to the supermarket the shallot box is always so pitifully hidden away in a corner with only a few sad, small, shrivelling shallots scattered in it. And so I lose my inspiration. It’s strange, because as far as I know Mexico does produce a fair amount of shallots….apparently my supermarket seems to think it’s okay to sell only what’s leftover in the crates. Granted, I’ve never seen big, round, beautiful shallots as they have in France around here, and I can’t even imagine the ones they have in Asia, but I did find a few decent sized bulbs on my last trip there. And paired with a couple of rib-eye thin steaks I had in my freezer and green bean crocant salad, I finally got around to having these in the comfort of my own home. They can be served as a side dish, on top of meat or chicken, on rice, or whatever else you fancy. They could probably also be a main dish if you can find big enough shallots and are a vegetarian, I would just reduce the sugar amount a bit. And, if you find that your local supermarket is imitating mine, you can do this recipe with only very small shallots, and make a delicious sauce, which would go superbly over a few slices of turkey. (In fact…I’ll probably come back and post that sometime soon). But no more rambling, on to the recipe!

Shallots in shellShallots without skins

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Baking Frenzy Part III – Blueberry cream scones

Blueberry Scones

I haven’t forgotten the third installment of the baking frenzy. I was just saving this to be posted on monday, when you can look at it, then think about it on tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday….nevermind. You should just stay up late and make these today. Seriously (Imagine your breakfast tomorrow morning). The recipe comes from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, who very aptly puts it, has occasional dreams of scones (and so do I) and hence has provided us with this heavenly heavenly recipe, originally from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook (which I’ve already made a mental note to get, if all the recipes turn out like this one!). They truly are scone perfection, especially because of all the recipes from the baking frenzy, these were the easiest and fastest to make. Only bad point to them is that they don’t keep well (do any scones ever?) – but don’t fool yourself, they’ll be gone before you find yourself reaching for the tupperwares.
The original recipe called for currants, but I substituted with blueberries, which where slightly crushed as I was forming the dough and gave the scones some moist and sweet purple spots. Read more for the recipe.

Butter in Cubes

Blueberry sour cream sconesCrumble Continue reading

Baking Frenzy Part II – Nutella Banana Muffins

Nutella Banana Muffins

So for baking frenzy part II, which I know, I’ve taken waaaaay too long to post, I’ll share with you one of my must recipes. I make these pretty often, not because they’re easy, not because I love nutella, not because I love banana muffins, but because they are the perfect combination of all that I’ve just said. I even know the recipe by heart now! The original recipe comes from Delicious Days, one of my favorite food blogs, with a few modifications of my own.

The Recipe:

Nutella-Banana Muffins
(adapted from Delicious Days)
Yield: 30 small muffins

2 eggs
125 g soft butter
100 g brown sugar
2 large ripe bananas
150 g Nutella
100 ml milk
250 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Cream together in a large bowl the eggs, butter and sugar, then fold in squashed banana and whisk.

In a separate bowl, combine milk and baking soda and blend well. Also separately, mix the flour with the baking powder. Now alternately blend in a part of the milk mixture, then a part of the flour mix, part of the milk, … until everything is combined. Add the nutella and with a rubber spatula swirl it into the batter, taking care not to mix it too much, leaving whole streaks of it unblended.

Now pour batter into prepared muffin tins (I used silicon) and bake  in the preheated oven until golden brown, or a when tested with a wooden skewer it comes out clean.

Serve warm, the nutella truly kicks in then.

Batter with nutella

Baking frenzy Part 1 – Cinnamon pull-apart bread

Last week I had a baking frenzy – not out of sheer boredom, of course (because I’m never bored…..yeah right) but because we were throwing a bachelorette weekend party for a friend who for certain health reasons, can’t drink, and consequently couldn’t spend her weekend time jumping around like a monkey on steroids as drunken 20-something girls do on bachelorette parties. Hence, with the options of drinking, jumping around, or any other form of physical exertion out the window, we were left with only one activity left; eating. Not that any of us were complaining. You try sticking 12 girls, most of them single, in a house with sun, a pool, and great food for a whole weekend and you’ll see for yourself that no one will be missing the booze. (You might, though, need a pair of earmuffs. Girls are LOUD. Specially when stuck together in large groups without boys.) Anyway, since I’m the cook-baker of the group, it was my task to provide all the pastries for the brunch, dinner and teatime. I baked everything on friday, because I wanted it as fresh as possible for saturday, and that is the reason of my baking frenzy; I spent the whole day in the kitchen. Tiring, but happy! Part 1, is Joy the baker’s recipe for cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread, which I must confess, is every bit as good as described in her post. Mine turned out to be rather uncooked in the middle (because my oven does seem to be permanently on steroids) but that turned out to be a good thing; everyone wanted more of the “sneaky cinnamon dough”.  Part 2 and 3, which will be coming soon, are banana nutella muffins and blueberry scones. Pictures here, and you can find the recipe at Joy’s really cool site.

Cinnamon dough rolled out

Cinnamon bread squares

A truly delicious bread. I only added a bit more cinnamon, and next time I’ll be cooking it in a slightly less hot oven, but you absolutely can’t stop eating it.