Tag: chocolate

From my cookbook: Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

The first picture of today’s post caught the moment I held my Eat In My Kitchen cookbook in my trembling hands for the first time. I had to sit down, or rather, I fell into my beloved old chair in our living room. This chair has seen many emotions, sad and happy, it’s been with me all my life and it’s the place I want to be when the world around me becomes a little overwhelming. So a couple months ago, on a hot day in July just a day before we flew to Malta, this chair had to catch me once again. My knees were wobbly and I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry, so I did both. I received a package from my publisher and I knew what it was before I even opened it: two books, my books.

Tomorrow is a very special day, my German book, Eat In My Kitchen – essen, backen, kochen und genießen, will be published and in a week the English book will follow: Eat In My Kitchen – to cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat, on October 4th. The book is already on Epicurious’ list of ‘The 25 Most Exciting New Cookbooks for Fall 2016’ and my heart is jumping for joy!!

So many people keep asking me how I feel about my big publishing day(s), whether I’m excited, proud, or nervous. To be honest, I can’t really say how I feel. Maybe confused and overwhelmed? As much as it felt normal to write this book at one point, to cook and bake the recipes, and to take the pictures, strangely enough it’s starting to feel normal to know that it’ll be out soon. It may sound weird and maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’ll have a nervous breakdown at one point, maybe when I present the book in front of an audience (in the next few weeks, all over Europe and in the US), or when I see it at a book shop, or when I watch people pulling it off a shelf and buying it. I don’t know.

Luckily, I don’t have much time to think about all this, which is sometimes the best thing that can happen. Eat In my Kitchen feels as intuitive, natural, and close to myself as it can get. The physical book just as much as this blog. I’m in my comfort zone, constantly, which I consider to be the greatest gift. I don’t take anything for granted in life, I’m here and I want to learn, grow, and experience everything. I don’t know if I’ll fail or succeed with this book, but it’s also nothing I want to worry about. Every recipe, every story and picture that fill the 256 pages of this book is totally me, to question or doubt its relevance, would be fatal. That would mean questioning my passion and my beliefs, before this book even sees a shelf in a bookstore.

I can say that I’m unbelievably happy that this book exists. With a big smile on my face, I stand behind all I’ve created and written in the past year and a half to fill its pages, in both the German and the English book. I went through many lows and I took the highs with great pleasure, I suffered and I cried, I changed some decisions and stood strongly behind others. I’ve been through my battles, while working on these pages. But now I let go. A month ago I wrote about this transition, this process of letting go of a project. Tomorrow, this process will be complete.

Today sees a premier on the blog, I’m sharing the first recipe from my book with you and, also for the first time, I’ll share a recipe in English and in German. I get many requests to write my blog in two languages, and as much as I’d love to do that, I simple don’t have enough time. I appreciate the effort of so many of you who aren’t that familiar with the English language but still give it a try and follow my recipe instructions in a foreign language. Today, my German readers, you can relax and bake the most delicious, spongy chocolate olive oil Bundt cake, topped with a thick chocolate glaze and sweet and crunchy caramelized orange peel. I love this cake!

Next week, I’ll share another recipe from my book with you, on the 4th October, on the day when my English readers can hold the book in their hands for the first time. I’ll be in Malta at that point, celebrating the book at my launch at the gorgeous Villa Bologna before my journey takes me to London, New York, and Washington. I’ll try my best to keep up with writing about all this here on the blog – and I also intend to start sharing videos on Instagram, so please come over and join my journey in the next few weeks and months.

Today I want to thank my amazing team here in Germany, all the wonderful women and men who made this book possible. Thank you everyone at Prestel in Munich, especially Pia, Julie, and Adeline. Thank you so much Ellen Mey for being my editorial guidance.

So very soon the book will be available in bookstores, and in case you can’t find it on the shelves, you can order it at any bookstore in the world, or here:

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon Germany

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

Books A Million

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

 

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel-2

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

from Eat In My Kitchen – to cook, to bake, to eat, and to treat, published by Prestel

SERVES 8 TO 12

Dry breadcrumbs, for sprinkling the Bundt pan
2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet chocolate
⅔ cup (155 ml) olive oil
5 large eggs
3½ tablespoons (50 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
3½ tablespoons (50 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE

5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon (15 g) unsalted butter
1 to 2 teaspoons sunflower oil

FOR THE CANDIED ORANGE PEEL

¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 small handful very thin strips of fresh orange peel

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C (preferably convection setting). Butter a 7½-cup (1.75 l) Bundt pan and sprinkle generously with breadcrumbs.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the choc­olate. Let cool for a few minutes then add the olive oil, eggs, milk, orange zest, and orange juice, and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add to the flour mixture and quickly mix with an electric mixer for 1 minute or until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden brown and firm on top. If you insert a skewer into the cake, it should come out clean. Let cool for a few minutes then shake the Bundt pan a little and turn the cake out onto a plate. Let cool completely. Trim the bottom of the cake to even it out.

For the chocolate glaze, melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake, evening it out with a knife or leaving it in voluptuous drops.

For the candied orange peel, in a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. When it starts to caramelize add the orange peel. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the peel is golden and soft—mind that it doesn’t burn. While the caramel is still liquid, quickly transfer the candied peel to a piece of parchment paper. Let cool for 1 minute then peel it off the paper and decorate the cake while the glaze is soft.

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

German recipe:

Schokoladen-Gugelhupf mit Olivenöl und Kandierter Orangenschale

aus Eat In My Kitchen – essen, backen, kochen und genießen, veröffentlicht bei Prestel

FÜR 8–12 PERSONEN

Semmelbrösel, für die Gugelhupfform
260 g Mehl
200 g Zucker
3 TL Backpulver
1 TL Speisenatron
1 Prise feines Meersalz
140 g Zartbitterschokolade
150 ml Olivenöl
5 Eier
50 ml Milch
1 EL Orangenabrieb
50 ml frisch gepresster Orangensaft

FÜR DIE SCHOKOLADENGLASUR

140 g Zartbitterschokolade
1 EL Butter
1–2 TL Sonnenblumenöl

FÜR DIE KANDIERTE ORANGENSCHALE

50 g Zucker
2 EL Wasser
1 kleine Handvoll sehr dünne Streifen Orangenschale

Den Ofen auf 180 °C (Umluft) vorheizen. Eine Gugelhupfform (1,8 l) einfetten und großzügig mit Semmelbröseln bestreuen.

In einer großen Schüssel Mehl, Zucker, Backpulver, Speisenatron und Salz vermischen.

Die Schokolade in einer großen Schüssel über einem Wasserbad schmelzen. Ein paar Minuten abkühlen lassen, dann Olivenöl, Eier, Milch, Orangenabrieb und Orangensaft dazugeben und mit einem Handrührer etwa 2 Minuten glatt rühren. Zu der Mehlmischung geben und mit dem Handrührer etwa 1 Minute gut verrühren. Den Teig in die vorbereitete Gugelhupfform gießen und etwa 35–40 Minuten goldbraun backen, die Oberfläche sollte fest sein. Ein Metallstäbchen sollte nach dem Einpieksen in den Kuchen sauber sein. Ein paar Minuten abkühlen lassen, dann die Gugelhupfform ein wenig rütteln und den Kuchen auf eine Platte stürzen. Komplett auskühlen lassen und, falls nötig, den Boden gerade schneiden.

Für die Schokoladenglasur Schokolade und Butter in einem Topf bei niedriger Hitze schmelzen. 1–2 TL Sonnenblumenöl dazugeben und glatt schlagen. Die Glasur über den ausgekühlten Kuchen gießen, mit einem Messer verteilen oder in üppigen Tropfen herunterlaufen lassen.

Für die kandierte Orangenschale Zucker und Wasser in einem kleinen Topf zum Kochen bringen. Wenn es anfängt zu karamellisieren, die Orangenschale dazugeben. Bei mittlerer Hitze etwa 3–4 Minuten köcheln lassen, bis die Schale golden und weich ist – aufpassen, dass sie nicht anbrennt. Während der Karamell noch flüssig ist, die Orangenschale schnell auf einem Stück Backpapier ausbreiten. Ein paar Minuten auskühlen lassen, von dem Papier abziehen und den Kuchen damit dekorieren, solange die Glasur noch weich ist.

Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel

 

chocolateoliveoilorangecake7

 

chocolateoliveoilorangecake8

 

chocolateoliveoilorangecake10

Cherry and Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake

Cherry and Chocolate Marble Cake

Marble cake is a childhood memory baked in a Bundt pan. It was one of my granny Lisa’s fabulous cake classics and it always impressed me with its light texture and the right balance of sweet sponge and bittersweet chocolate. Lisa must have had a weak spot for this duo. There’s another masterpiece of hers, the decadent Donauwelle, which is basically the same combination baked flat on a tray, topped with cherries, German buttercream, and chocolate icing. It’s a luscious, sweet bomb, perfectly fitting when it’s cold and grey outside and you want to keep cosy. But the current mood is far from that, so let’s forget about buttercream and all that stuff and think fruity.

You can keep it simple and dust a marble cake with a little icing sugar, but I find that a dark chocolate glaze gives it the necessary crunch and depth to balance out the softness and sweetness. To add a summery feel to it, I stirred some cherries into the batter. You can use fresh or preserved fruits, I go for preserved cherries, as it reminds me of my granny. Lisa used to have the most beautiful cherry tree in her garden, it was huge. The crop was generous, so she used to preserve the fruits and fill the shelves in her pantry. I remember long lines of jars, all filled with cherries ready to be turned into Donauwelle.

The cherries added a hint of pleasant fruitiness to the marble cake, which I liked a lot. I can imagine that apricots or peaches would work just as well, but I’ve never tried it, that’s next on the baking schedule.

Cherry and Chocolate Marble Cake

Cherry and Chocolate Marble Cake

Cherry and Chocolate Marble Cake

Makes 1 Bundt cake

organic eggs, separated, 6
a pinch of salt
granulated sugar 250g / 1 1/4 cups
plain flour, sifted, 300g / 2 1/3 cups
baking powder 3 teaspoons
butter, at room temperature, 200g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
vanilla bean, split and scraped, 1/4
whole milk 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
cocoa powder 30g /1/4 cup
pitted preserved or fresh cherries 200g / 7 ounces
breadcrumbs, to sprinkle the pan

For the glaze / topping

bittersweet chocolate 200g / 7 ounces
butter 1 tablespoon
fresh cherries 8, for decorating (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (preferably convection setting). Butter a 23cm /  9″ Bundt pan and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until stiff.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, the remaining sugar, and vanilla for a few minutes until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and continue mixing until thick, creamy, and light yellow. Add the milk and mix until well combined. Using a wooden spoon, fold the egg whites and the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating about 1/3 at a time, combining well in between.

Scrape 1/2 of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and spread the preserved cherries on top; push them gently into the batter. Stir the cocoa powder into the remaining batter, mix until well combined, and dollop on top of the light batter. Spread the dark batter carefully, then swirl with a small fork through the 2 batters, once is enough, carefully from top to bottom, pulling slowly all the way through the pan. Bake for about 40 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden and spongy. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for 2-3 minutes, then shake the pan a little and flip onto a wire rack to cool completely. If the cake won’t come out, place the warm Bundt pan into a large bowl filled with cold water. This will help loosening the cake from the pan.

For the chocolate glaze, in a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter on low heat, whisk until well combined. Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes, then drizzle over the cake. Decorate with the fresh cherries while the chocolate is still warm.

Cherry and Chocolate Marble Cake

Cherry and Chocolate Marble Cake

Cherry and Chocolate Marble Cake

marblecherrycake7

marblecherrycake12

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

I’ve never baked croissants in my kitchen, I’m a bit scared of puff pastry at least when I’m the one who has to prepare it. Unfortunately, I love to eat them, sometimes I literally crave their buttery flakiness that leaves your fingers sticky and fills your mouth with the wonderful taste that only the excessive use of butter can create. Luckily, there is an easier and quicker alternative to the French treat coming from the Jewish cuisine. In case of urgent need of croissants, just bake rugelach!

The delicate pastry is in no way behind croissants, neither in richness nor in tender lightness. It’s the addition of cream cheese that creates this easy miracle, easy as it’s far from being as time consuming as the French breakfast classic. When the ingredients are mixed and the dough has cooled in the freezer for half an hour, the rolling and filling can begin!

My last rugelach recipe was one of the first posts I shared on eat in my kitchen, I baked them for a festive Hannukah party at a friend’s house. I used bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon, a combination that can never go wrong. For my new recipe I had a bit of a childish combination in mind, chocolate breakfast spread and puréed bananas, the perfect kiddy treat! I’m quite sure that a few of our friend’s young children would have loved to join in my messy kitchen activity. My first batch of rugelach turned out to be a bit difficult as I tried to cut the single pieces after I spread the banana and chocolate on top of the pastry, messy! I can’t recommend this, it’s almost impossible! Instead, start with the banana layer, cut the triangles and then put on the chocolate spread, that’s much easier.

So, what can I say about the taste? My partner was quite sceptical when I told him about this combination but then, as soon as he smelled the sweetest aroma coming out of the kitchen, he couldn’t stop himself anymore. Both of us actually, as we ate them like peanuts. It’s one of those sweets that hits the right spot with the first bite and calls for more and more!

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

 

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

For 24 rugelach you need

plain flour 150g / 5 ounces
icing sugar, 2 heaped tablespoons plus more for the topping
a pinch of salt
butter, cold, 125g / 4.5 ounces
cream cheese 125g / 4.5 ounces
ripe bananas 2 (around 200g / 7 ounces)
chocolate spread (like nutella) 6 tablespoons

Combine the flour, icing sugar and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour mixture until there are just little pieces left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter quickly into the flour. Add the cream cheese and continue mixing with a fork or the hooks of the mixer until the mixture is combined. Form 2 discs, wrap them in cling film and put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, the dough should be hard but still rollable.

Set the oven to 185°C / 365°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Purée the bananas in a food processor until smooth.

When the dough is hard, keep one disc in the fridge and roll out the other disc between cling film dusted with flour. You should end up with a circle of about 30cm / 12″. Flip the dough onto a new piece of floured cling film, this will make it easier to roll the rugelach. Spread half of the banana purée on the dough and cut it like a cake into 12 triangles. Divide half of the chocolate spread roughly into 12 portions and sprinkle on each triangle. Gently roll up the rugelach from the wider side to the tip. Bake in the oven for about 19-20 minutes or until golden brown. Continue with the remaining disc.

Let the rugelach cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar.

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

 

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

 

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

 

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

 

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

 

Banana and Chocolate Spread Rugelach

Chunky Chocolate Fruit Loaf with Dates and Prunes

Chocolate Fruit Loaf with Dates + Prunes

Raisins, prunes, dates, there are always lots of open bags in my kitchen shelves. Sometimes it’s just too much! When there’s no corner left which isn’t occupied by dried fruits I know it’s time for a recipe to empty them at one go and a fruit loaf is one of them. My fruity mixtures change depending on my shelf finds, I’ve often stocked up on figs, apricots or cranberries a bit too excessivly during the winter months as well, they can all go into the cake to add their concentrated fruity sweetness. It works for morning loaf cakes as much as for muffins, it makes them rich and won’t leave you hungry! I’m particularly fond of this in combination with bittersweet chocolate, big chunks that melt into the dough and merge with the fruit, delicious!

This time I had dates, prunes and a dark Belgian chocolate which ended up in the lumpy dough, roughly chopped and sticky. It made the loaf dense and moist and so pleasantly sweet that it felt like a sweet bread rather than a cake. You can replace the dried fruit with any other you find in your shelves and add some nuts or white chocolate. I often bake it on Sundays when I feel the urge to bake all of a sudden, I can be sure that I will find something in my shelves worth turning into a fruit loaf.

Chocolate Fruit Loaf with Dates + Prunes

Chocolate Fruit Loaf with Dates and Prunes

For a 24 x 10cm / 10 x 4″ loaf pan you need

flour 340g / 12 ounces
sugar 100g / 3.5 ounces
baking powder 2 teaspoons
baking soda 1 teaspoon
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter, melted, 120g /4.5 ounces
milk 220ml /7.5 ounces
organic eggs 2
bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, 120g / 4.5 ounces
dates, roughly chopped, 100g / 3.5 ounces
prunes, roughly chopped, 100g / 3.5 ounces

Set the oven to 190°C / 375°F (fan-assisted oven). Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk the butter, milk and eggs and mix in the dry mixture with a wooden spoon. Don’t over mix, the dough should be lumpy. Gently stir in the dried fruit and chocolate and scrape into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 175°C / 350°F and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for a few minutes before you take it out.

Chocolate Fruit Loaf with Dates + Prunes

 

Chocolate Fruit Loaf with Dates + Prunes

Fudgy Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

The first bite of these chocolate brownies changed my opinion about this cakey treat completely. After a few rather dry, too heavy or painfully sweet experiences with brownies I already felt like giving up on them. I never felt inspired and motivated to give them a try in my own kitchen but this recipe changed everything! They are fudgy, dense, chocolaty and juicy and a thin layer of sweet raspberry jam even adds a hint of fruitiness. You can’t really ask for more when you pull a chocolate cake out of your oven!

It’s important to use good quality chocolate, bittersweet, the kind you like to eat without putting it in a cake. Mine is 50% cocoa, I tried stronger ones but this works best for me. Sometimes I make the recipe without the jam layer which doesn’t effect the brownie’s fudginess, they just have to bake shorter as the fruit keeps the dough soggy for a bit longer. When I want chocolate, pure and intense than that’s my choice! I like both, so much that I always make a big tray right away, even if there’s just the two of us. I also like to make them for easy dinner parties, a sweet finger food dessert, no plates, just napkins and everybody gets a big brownie in their hands.

This recipe comes from my boyfriend by the way. One day he went into the kitchen, came up with this recipe and baked these wonderful brownies. I don’t remember why or how, I don’t ask questions, I just enjoy them!

Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

 Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

For a 28,5 x 23,5 cm / 11 x 9 ” baking dish making 24 brownies you need

butter 350g / 12.5 ounces
chocolate 350g / 12.5 ounces
a pinch of fresh vanilla
organic eggs 6
sugar 320g /11.5 ounces
flour 250g / 9 ounces
salt 1 teaspoon
raspberry jam, whisked with a fork, 100ml

Set the oven to 175°C / 350°F (fan-assisted oven) and line a 28,5 x 23,5 cm / 11 x 9″ baking dish with parchment paper. (It must be roughly this size).

Melt the butter together with the chocolate and vanilla in a sauce pan. Set aside and let cool for a couple minutes. Beat the eggs together with the sugar till fluffy and add to the chocolate mixture. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt, add the liquid mixture and mix with your mixer until everything is combined. Pour half of the dough into the baking dish, even it out and spread the jam on top, carefully so that the layers stay separate. Add the rest of the dough and spread evenly.

Bake in the oven for 55 minutes. The top will be a pale brown and speckled. When you push in the middle you should feel a soft but spongy resistance. Let it cool for 10 minutes before you cut it into small squares.

If you make the brownies without the jam layer, check them after 30 minutes. It should look and feel as described above.

Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

 

Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

 

Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

 

Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

Bittersweet Chocolate and Orange Sponge Cake

orangechocolatecake2

Last week I wrote about one of my numerous phone calls with my Maltese granny who is actually my boyfriend’s granny but over the years, after so many stays on her home island and through our shared passion for food she “adopted” me. That’s how it feels, she became my granny. In our last conversation she gave me a wonderful recipe for the Maltese tea time cookies with vermouth and she also mentioned a cake made with bittersweet chocolate and orange (juice and zest). I love this combination but my boyfriend isn’t so fond of it and I didn’t want to end up eating a whole cake on my own. But she insisted on giving it a try, she knows her grandson after all, and she was right!

We both agreed that this cake is amazing, simple but so aromatic. The texture is very spongy and on top it has a fine sugary crust, a bit flaky. I sprinkled it with some more chocolate when the top was still a bit warm and it melted into the crust. Granny Edith was right, I didn’t have to eat the cake on my own and it didn’t even last for 2 days!

Orange Chocolate Cake

Bittersweet Chocolate and Orange Sponge Cake

For a 20cm / 8″ cake pan you need

butter 180g / 6.5 ounces
sugar 210g / 7.5 ounces
plain flour 180g / 6.5 ounces
baking powder 2 teaspoons
pinch of salt
organic eggs 3
orange juice 2 tablespoons
orange zest 1 1/2 tablespoons
bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely, 100g / 3.5 ounces plus 1 tablespoon finely grated for topping

Set the oven to 175°C / 350°F (fan-assisted oven) and butter the cake pan.

Mix the butter with the sugar and orange zest till fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well for a couple minutes. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and orange juice and mix quickly until everything is combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate and scrape the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with finely grated chocolate.

Orange Chocolate Cake

 

Orange Chocolate Cake

 

Orange Chocolate Cake

Sweet and Spongy Banana Chocolate Bread

Banana Chocolate Bread

This is another perfect weekend breakfast treat, Banana Chocolate Bread. I like mine juicy, almost moist, with lots of big pieces of banana and bittersweet chocolate chunks. When you take the bread out of the oven, golden and warm and you cut the first thick slice off the loaf, pushing the knife through sweet banana chunks and melted chocolate, you’ll understand why there’s no better start to the weekend. It feels, smells and tastes just right! I never wait for the bread and chocolate to cool, I have to eat a slice immediately as soon as it’s done, the chocolate still warm and liquid.

The combination of banana and bittersweet chocolate is a special one as the sweetness and the bitterness balance each other out perfectly. I love it in ice cream, cookies and cakes, but to me nothing beats this duo when their big chunks merge into a warm cake, or morning bread. For one loaf I use three big bananas and 100g / 3.5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, I don’t want a hint of their flavours, I want an explosion on the taste buds.

Banana Chocolate Bread

 Banana Chocolate Bread

For a 24cm x 10,5cm / 9.5″ x 4″  loaf tin you need

butter 120g / 4.5 ounces
sugar 100g / 3.5 ounces
vanilla sugar 1 package
(you can also use vanilla extract)
organic eggs 2
large and ripe bananas, quartered, 3
plain flour 120g / 4.5 ounces
baking powder 2 teaspoons
salt 1/2 teaspoon
bittersweet chocolate, chopped roughly (leave a few bigger chunks), 100g / 3.5 ounces

Set the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan-assisted oven) and line the loaf tin with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the butter together with the sugar and vanilla sugar till fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for a couple minutes. Add the bananas, beating for 10-20 seconds and stop before they get too smooth, they should be a bit chunky. Gently fold in the flour mixture with a spoon, add the chocolate chunks and fold them in, carefully as well. Scoop the dough into your prepared tin and bake for 55 minutes or until golden brown. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean.

bananabreBanana Chocolate Breadad3_feb22

 

Flaky White Chocolate and Cranberry Twists

White Chocolate + Cranberry Twists

I’ve been wanting to bake something with white chocolate and cranberries since December but this idea never reached my oven – too much to bake, too little time. I was drawn to this combination last winter when I mixed them into my crunchy cookie recipe. The chocolate and the berries gave them a nice sweetness, milky and fruity. I enjoyed them so much that I decided to share them with our family and friends in Malta, so I sent them a big parcel stuffed with these cookies at Christmas time. The box was emptied within moments as we witnessed on Skype.

This weekend I felt like this duo again but didn’t want to bake cookies. Croissants are more what I had in mind, just without the hassle of making two different doughs for the perfect puff pastry. I thought of my buttery flaky Rugelach, this dough is made to be wrapped around a sweet filling but I wanted something bigger, not just a mouthful – a handful! This is a Sunday morning pastry which you hold in your buttery fingers while you sip your coffee. I went for a long and twisted shape, quick to prepare, easy to eat, no hassle on a Sunday – Good morning everybody!

White Chocolate + Cranberry Twists

White Chocolate and Cranberry Twists

For 16 twists you need

plain flour 150g / 5 ounces
icing sugar, 1 heaped tablespoon
butter, cold, 125g / 4.5 ounces
cream cheese, at room temperature, 120g / 4.5 ounces
a pinch of salt
white chocolate, chopped, 70g / 2.5 ounces for the filling
dried cranberries 70g / 2.5 ounces for the filling

For the filling, mix the chocolate and cranberries.

Combine the dry ingredients. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour mixture until there are just little pieces of butter left. Mix with your dough hooks for a few seconds. Add the cream cheese and work it into the mixture with a spoon or the mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form 2 discs and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes. The dough should be very cold but not too hard, still rollable.

Preheat the oven to 185°C / 365°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take out one disc, leave the second one in the fridge while you’re preparing the first batch. Roll out the disc between floured cling film as the dough becomes very sticky at room temperature. Give it a rectangular shape, the width will be the length of your twists. Cut off a 4.5cm / 2″ strip and pull it off the foil (don’t worry if it’s sticky, it’s an elastic dough, you can also use a knife to lift it). Lay the pastry strip flat on your working surface, sprinkle with the filling, pushing it a little into the dough. Carefully, twist the pastry, starting on one side twisting it up to the middle and then continue from the other side. This way you don’t loose too much of the filling. Place the twist on the baking sheet and continue with the rest of the dough. Bake the pastry for 12 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. It’s best to check them after 10 minutes to be sure that they don’t get too dark. Let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.

White Chocolate + Cranberry Twists

 

White Chocolate + Cranberry Twists