One-pot Vegetable Lasagna

For English, please scroll down or click here.

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Ina vom Blog Ina is(s)t lädt bei ihrem Blogevent ein, Rezepte mit Nudeln zu kreiern. Ich bin ja eigentlich eher die Bäckerin, aber ich lasse mich gerne auch mal beim Kochen inspirieren. Da mein Mann seinen Knöchel gebrochen hat und ich nun sowieso seit Wochen die Hausfrau spielen muss, bin ich also auf die Jagd gegangen nach einem leckeren Nudelrezept. Dabei bin ich über das Konzept, Lasagne in der Pfanne zu machen, gestolpert. Das kannte ich bisher noch nicht, aber das ist etwas genau nach meinem Herzen. Lasagne ist super, meist jedoch super aufwändig und wenn man dann endlich alle Soßen zubereitet hat, muss dann nochmal alles geschichtet werden und ab in dem Ofen. Ich bin dann meist schon so hungrig, dass ich mich vorab mit allerlei Snacks vollstopfe und die Lasagne gar nicht mehr so richtig genießen kann.

Deshalb war ich ganz begeistert, als ich entdeckt habe, dass Lasagne auch anders geht. In einer großen schweren Pfanne. Die Grundidee ist, dass man die Lasagne-Nudelblätter in der Tomatensoße kocht, man also von Anfang bis Ende die Lasagne in der Pfanne zubereitet. Da alles in einem einzigen Topf passiert, ist sie entsprechend früher fertig. Nachdem man das Gemüse kleingeschnippelt hat, dauert es nur eine gute halbe Stunde und man kann sich an der Lasagne gütlich tun.

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Das Tolle ist, dass man ganz viel variieren kann, denn wie gesagt muss man nur zusehen, dass die Lasagne-Nudelblätter gut mit Tomatensoße bedeckt sind, aber ansonsten sind der Phanatsie keine Grenzen gesetzt. Anbei mein Vorschlag einer köstlichen Gemüselasagne mit Basilikumnote und ganz viel Mozzarella und Parmesan.

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One-pot Gemüse-Lasagne

  • Servings: 3-4 Personen
  • Time: 15min Vorbereitung + ca. 30min köcheln
  • Difficulty: easy
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Gemüselasagne aus der Pfanne mit ganz viel Basilikum, Mozzarella und Parmesan

Ingredients

  • Olivenöl für die Pfanne
  • 1 kleingeschnittene Zwiebel
  • 1 große Knoblauchzehe, kleingeschnitten
  • 1 TL Paprikapulver, edelsüß
  • 1 TL Paprikapulver, scharf
  • 1 TL Cayennepfeffer
  • 1 rote Paprika, kleingeschnitten
  • 1 Zucchini, kleingeschnitten, möglich sind auch Möhren
  • Champignons nach Belieben (ich habe ca. 8-9 kleingeschnitten) oder anderes Gemüse
  • 1 Dose a 425ml Tomaten, stückig
  • 1 Dose a 425ml Pizzasoße mit Tomate und Gewürzen (z.B. Oregano/Basilikum)
  • 250ml aufgekochte Gemüsebrühe
  • 1 TL Salz
  • 2 TL getrocknete Kräuter der Provence
  • 1 TL getrockneter Rosmarin
  • 2 TL getrockneter Basilikum
  • 6-8 Lasagne-Nudelplatten
  • 100 gr geriebener Mozzarella
  • weiterer frischer Basilikum sowie Salz und Pfeffer zum Abschmecken
  • Parmesan zum Bestreuen
  • Naturjoghurt, Ricotta, Schmand usw. nach Belieben zum Servieren
  • Optional: pro Person ein hartgekochtes Ei

Directions

  1. Zunächst das Olivenöl in eine große tiefe Pfanne (mindestens 30cm ∅) erhitzen (Pfanne muss einen Deckel haben!) und kleingeschnittenen Knoblauch und Zwiebel mit Paprikagewürzen und Cayennepffer kurz anbraten. Aufgrund der Zugabe der Gewürze bitte nicht länger als maximal eine Minute.
  2. Erst Zucchini hinzufügen, ein paar Minuten braten lassen und dann restliches Gemüse hinzufügen.
  3. Sobald das Gemüse weich wird, Tomatensoßen, Gemüsebrühe und weiteren Gewürze hinzufügen.
  4. Die Lasagne-Nudelblätter in drei gleiche Teile brechen und in die Soße geben. Dabei darauf achten, dass die Lasagnenudeln gut mit Flüssigkeit bedeckt sind. Ansonsten mit Holzlöffel runterdrücken.
  5. Nun einen Deckel auf die Pfanne setzen und 20 Minuten auf mittlerer Hitze köcheln lassen. Dabei zwischendurch umrühren und sicherstellen, dass die Lasagnenudeln weiterhin gut mit Flüssigkeit bedeckt sind. Falls nicht, weitere Gemüsebrühe hinzugeben.
  6. Sobald die Lasagnenudeln bissfest sind, Mozzarella und frischen Basilikum großzügig verteilen, mit Salz und Pfeffer abschmecken und nochmal für fünf Minuten mit Deckel köcheln lassen. Lasagne vom Herd nehmen und ca. 5 Minuten ohne Deckel ruhen lassen.
  7. Lasagne mit Parmesan und einem Klecks Joghurt, Ricotta oder ähnlichem servieren und nach Wunsch ein hartgekochtes Ei pro Person dazureichen.

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Tipps:

  • Diese Lasagne ist toll, um Gemüsereste zu verwerten. Einfach alles gut anbraten, mit Tomatensoße bedecken und die Lasagne-Nudeln hinzufügen.
  • Auch bei den Gewürzen kann man toll variieren, ich habe hier die eher mediterrane Variante gewählt

English version

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Ina from the blog Ina is(s)t (German) invites people to participate in her blog event. The basic idea is to create a recipe with pasta. I usually prefer baking to cooking, but whenever asked to create a recipe, I get excited. Since my husband broke his ankle a while ago, I have to be the housewive anyway and so I thought I might as well see what I can do with pasta. I mean, everybody loves pasta, right, so why not try? While checking what options are out there, I stumbled across the one-pot lasagna. Have you every heard of it? I hadn’t. The basic idea is to create lasagna in one pot. So no horrible preparation of different sauces and then layering everything into a dish and then finally putting the lasagna in the oven while you are already snacking because you got so hungry during the process. No, here you simply make the whole lasagna in a pot.  You do need a deep skillet for this with at least 30cm in diameter and you need a lid. But other than that, this is really simple.

So as I said, the basic idea is that you cook the lasagna noodles in tomato sauce. You need to be sure to have enough liquid to get them nicely cooked, but since you are doing everything in the skillet, the lasagna is ready much quicker than if done the traditional way. Once you chopped the vegetables, this lasagna is ready in half an hour. I don’t think you can beat that.

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Moreover, you can go wild with the vegetables, add some sausages or whatever you see fit. As long as you manage to have enough tomato sauce to cover the lasagna noodles, you can be creative. The recipe below is a vegetarian version with a lot of basil, mozzarella, and parmesan.

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One-pot Vegetable Lasagna

  • Servings: 3-4 people
  • Time: 15min preparation + ca. 30min cooking time
  • Difficulty: easy
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Vegetable lasagna from the skillet with lots of basil, mozzarella and parmesan

Ingredients

  • Olive oil for the skillet
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large glove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon of hot paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced, another option is diced carrots
  • Mushrooms to your liking (I cut about 8-9) or other vegetables
  • 1 can of 425ml of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can of 425ml of pizza sauce with tomato with basil/oregano
  • 250ml prepared vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of dried herbs from the Provence
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons of dried basil
  • 6-8 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 100 gr of ground mozzarella
  • For garnish: fresh basil, salt, pepper, parmesan and a dash of ricotta, sour cream, natural yoghurt, etc.
  • Optional: one hard-boiled egg per person

Directions

  1. First drizzle olive oil in a deep skillet of 30cm ∅. Be sure to have a lid for the skillet.
  2. Add diced garlic, onion, paprika powders and Cayenne pepper and fry for a minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Then add zucchini, fry for two minutes, then add all other vegetables.
  4. Fry until tender, then add tomato sauce, pizza sauce, vegetable broth and additional herbs.
  5. Cut uncooked lasagna noodles into three equal parts and put in tomato sauce. Be sure that noodles are fully covered in tomato sauce and can cook. Don’t be afraid to press them down with a wooden spoon.
  6. Put lid on top and simmer on medium-low heat for about 20min. Stir once in a while, making sure noodles have enough liquid. If they don’t, add more vegetable broth.
  7. Once noodles are al dente, add salt and pepper to your liking. Put mozzarella and fresh basil on top. Again put the lid on top and let simmer for another five minutes.
  8. Take lasagna off the stove, take off lid and let sit for about five minutes.
  9. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and a dash of ricotta, yoghurt or the like. Cut hard-boild egg in half and serve on the side of lasagna.

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Tips:

  • This is the perfect recipe for leftover vegetables. As long as your noodles are covered in tomato sauce, you are good to go.
  • Go wild with the herbs. My version is mainly Italian, mediterranian.

Soft Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies (my husband’s favorite)

Let’s talk about cookies. Cookies are my comfort food. Cookies are the best. I prefer them to a fancy dessert any time. I know, I am crazy, but cookies call me from afar. They remind me of my childhood. They usually don’t require that much time to prepare and they are easy to freeze, to ship, to make somebody happy, including myself.

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I think I have mentioned that I like chocolate chip cookies. The basic recipe. I don’t know what it is, I have always been a person who likes the simple recipes. So I have baked my share of chocolate chip cookies. Believe me. My husband has tried many. He is my best food critic. And since he has to eat so many cookies, I feel I need to bake cookies to his liking.

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That’s why I got interested in chocolate chip cookies with instant pudding mix. Because that makes the cookies soft. My husband says the best cookie test is simply waiting one day. Does the cookie still taste nice on day two? If it does, it’s a cookie my husband will approve of. Instant pudding mix seems to do the trick. The cookies usually taste even better on the second day. The instant pudding mix makes for a soft cookie with a crisp edge and a soft center.

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So here is to chocolate chip cookies, which are still soft on day two or three!

Soft chocolate chip cookies with instant pudding

  • Servings: about 16 cookies
  • Time: 15min preparation + 1/2 hr chilling + 10-12min baking time
  • Difficulty: easy
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A super soft chocolate chip cookie with a hint of vanilla

Credit: Inspired by I heart naptime

Ingredients

  • 170 grams of butter (Butter)
  • 150 grams of brown sugar (weißer Zucker)
  • 50 grams of white sugar (brauner Zucker)
  • 2 eggs at room temperature, size L (Eier)*
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding, not cooked (Vanillepuddingpulver)
  • 280 grams of all-purpose flour (Mehl, Type 405)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda (Natron)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder (Backpulver)
  • 160 grams + 20 grams chocolate chips (Chocolate Chips oder gehackte/geraspelte Schokolade)

*Put eggs into a bowl with warm water for five minutes if you forgot to take out the eggs on time.

Directions

  1. Melt butter on the stove or in microwave. Set aside to cool off a bit.
  2. Put sugars and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix until lighter in color and creamy (takes about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Add cooled off butter.
  4. Pour dry ingredients except for chocolate chips on top and mix until dough forms.
  5. Fold in 160 grams of chocolate chips and chill for half an hour in the fridge. Chilling is not mandatory, but makes it easier to handle the dough.
  6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (Backpapier). Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  7. Take out dough and form balls about the size of a golf ball. Place about 7-8 cookies on each baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will still look very pale and soft in the center. Only the edges are a little brown. After taking out, place the remaining 20 grams of chocolate chips into the cookies for nicer looks.
  9. Let cookies “bake” on baking sheets for a little before transferring to a cooling rack.

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Homemade Granola (basic recipe, can be vegan and gluten free)

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I’m not a morning person. At least if compared to my husband. He is always chipper and happy when he gets up. It can be annoying. It’s like he turns on immediately and happily babbles as soon as he opens his eyes. I usually end up being the groggy monster walking slowly to the bathroom (while he is already telling me something) and looking around blindly. What did I want to do again? Oh yes, right, I wanted to take a shower!

Yes, I know I am a weirdo. I really don’t know why I sometimes forget what I wanted to do in the morning. Maybe this explains why I also prefer a very simple breakfast, which does not require a lot of preparation. I mean, seriously? Fried eggs are too much work. Anything that requires even five minutes of preparation is not going to happen. Nope, forget it.

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That’s why I love cereals, müsli and granola. So simple. Pour some milk or plain yoghurt, grab a spoon and you are good to go. That’s my style. I mean, I never leave the house without having had breakfast. Or having packed breakfast. I have noticed that if I skip breakfast, it is really hard for me to deal with hunger later on. My grumpiness intensifies if I don’t eat within two hours after waking up. That’s why I love granola. So easy and so healthy.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course I know that bought cereal or granola is loaded with sugar. There is nothing healthy about that. But if you make it yourself, it is. Rolled oats (Haferflocken) are the base for this recipe. You can make it gluten free, vegan and whatnot if you want to. It has lots of nuts, you can add chia seeds and any other grain (Getreidesorte) you feel is good for you. Yes, the coat has molasses in it. Feel free to reduce the amount. I like my granola to be a bit sweet. Of course you can have it sugarfree or just sweeten later with raisins, dates or fruits. But that’s exactly what I like of this recipe. Adapt it to your style, your preferences. And it is nutritious, healthy, and really simple to make. So here is to homemade granola.

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Homemade granola, basic recipe

  • Servings: depending on the mug used about a kilo
  • Time: 10min preparation plus 1 hour baking time
  • Difficulty: easy
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A healthy and nutritious granola base you can adapt to your liking


Credit: Family recipe

Ingredients

Dry base This is one of the few recipes which I don’t use a food scale for but a coffee mug. I like to use a large coffee mug. Make sure that you use the same mug throughout the whole recipe

  • 4 mugs of rolled oats (Haferflocken)
  • 1 mug of coconut flakes (Kokosflocken) or ground hazelnuts or whatever ground nut you like
  • 1 mug of wheat bran (Weizenkleie) or another grain you like, I often go for whole wheat flour (Vollkornmehl), you can also use quinoa, etc. to keep it gluten free
  • 1 mug of ground nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc.)
  • 3/4 mug of sunflower seeds (Sonnenblumenkerne), you can also make half of this chia seeds)

Fat base

  • 1/4 mug sunflower oil (Sonnenblumenöl), melted coconut oil also works
  • 4 tablespoons of molasses, or honey, or maple syrup, etc. (Zuckerrübensirup oder Honig, Ahornsirup, usw.), the amount can be reduced
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine (Butter oder Margarine)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (Salz)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (Zimt)

Directions

  1. Put all dry ingredients into a very large bowl. I use the biggest one I have.
  2. Mix the fats and sweeteners in a pot on the stove and bring to boil while stirring.
  3. Slowly pour the mix on top of the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Make sure that all parts are evenly covered.
  4. Spread the whole mix on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper (Backpapier).
  5. Heat oven to about 110 degrees Celsius and bake for one hour. Use circulating air and make sure to switch the baking sheets after half an hour. It also helps to turn the granola upside down after half an hour so that all parts are evenly baked.
  6. Serve with fresh fruit, raisins, dates, milk or plain yoghurt.

Tips:

  • Make sure to store granola in an airtight container

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Quick Easter Nests

Are you looking for a quick, yet impressive recipe for Easter? Try meringue. It is done in about ten minutes and can be made many days in advance if kept in an airtight container. If you are not looking for an Easter recipe, you can dress the nests with strawberries and some cream cheese or whipping cream and have a light and delicious dessert.

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The most crucial aspect of making meringue is to have everything free of fat or grease. Everything. The bowl, the mixer and also the egg whites. Make sure that there is no egg yolk anywhere close to the egg white. While separating, it is OK to have some egg white left with the egg yolk, but not the other way around.

The second crucial aspect is to beat that egg white for a long time. You beat it without anything further until is forms soft peaks and then gradually add the sugar. The meringue should become glossy and stiff. Really stiff. You should be able to turn around the bowl with nothing falling out. You should be able to write numbers with the mixer into the egg white and see them clearly. That’s how stiff and glossy everything should be. If you don’t, beat some longer.

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The rest is simple, all you do is dry it in the oven. The nests should come off easy from the parchment paper. Without a problem. If they are still sticky, just leave them in the oven for another half hour. I once even baked my meringue more the next day and nothing happened. If you keep the baked meringue in an airtight container, you can make this days in advance. No stress on Easter.

However, meringue is an impressive, yet light dessert any time of the year. In this instance I filled the nest with strawberries and topped it off with some cream cheese. Any dairy product (whipped cream, yoghurt) or fruit will do. Go nuts!

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Empty nests
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Nests filled with strawberries and a dash of cream cheese
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Strawberries and whipped cream with cocoa, vanilla and sugar

Quick Easter Nests

  • Servings: about 6 large meringue nests and two dozen stars
  • Time: 15min preparation + 90mins baking
  • Difficulty: easy
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Meringue nests can either be filled with Easter chocolate eggs or filled with delicious fruit to be a light dessert


Credit: inspired by Knusperstübchen (German)

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites (Eiweiß)
  • 200 grams of regular white sugar (weißer Zucker)
  • 50 grams of semi-sweet or dark chocolate (Halbbitterschokolade)
  • 40 grams of butter (Butter) (for a dessert with strawberries about 2 strawberries per nest and two teaspoons of cream cheese or whipping cream)

Directions

  1. Clean your bowl and your mixer thoroughly. You don’t want any grease on any of your utensils for this. You can also take a slice of lemon and rub your bowl with it.
  2. Seperate the egg white, making sure no egg yolk accidently made it to the bowl.
  3. Beat the egg whites on medium high speed until soft peaks form when you take out the mixer. This takes about 3 minutes.
  4. Now slowly add the sugar while you continue mixing. Don’t rush anything.
  5. Continue beating the egg white. Slowly the meringue should start looking glossy and should become more stiff. Continue beating until very stiff. This should take about 7 minutes. There are several tests to know when you are done. Either you can turn the bowl upside down and the meringue does not get out, or you write something with the mixer into the meringue and it should be clearly visible.
  6. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper (Backpapier) to pipe the nests on.
  7. Put meringue into a piping bag (you can also use a small plastic bag and cut off one corner) and now start the nests directly on the baking sheet on the parchment paper. First pipe a circle starting from the inside, fully covering it.  Then go all around the edges about three to four times. Each time you go around the edges, come a little closer to the center. You should be able to make 4 nests on one baking sheet. The second sheet should contain two more nests and all your stars.
  8. Bake meringue at 90 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 60-70 degrees and dry for another 90 minutes. The nests should easily come off the parchment paper. If they don’t, dry them longer. I have even left them in the warm oven over night and “baked” them the next day.
  9. Once meringue nests are dry, keep them in an airtight container. They keep for weeks. Once ready to serve, melt the chocolate and butter on low heat, constantly stirring and drizzle on edges. Make sure to cover the center of the nest completely with chocolate (see pictures).
  10. Either fill with Easter chocolate eggs or cut up some fruit and serve with a helping of whipped cream, cream cheese, or yoghurt.

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Place some meringue stars on top!

Salty Dark Chocolate Cookies with a Caramel Surprise Center

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I have a treat for you. Think a very dark chocolate cookie with chocolate chunks and a surprise caramel center inside. Add some flaky sea salt and you got this price-winning cookie. I am not kidding. Sally from Sallysbakingaddiction.com actually won a baking contest with these cookies. It doesn’t surprise me, they are really and truly worth every bite!

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They are this type of cookie which make you close your eyes so that you don’t miss a tiny little bit of its wonderful flavor. Even my husband, you doesn’t like the sweet and salty combination in cookies got excited. That really means something. Actually a lot.

They are not hard to prepare, the only part that takes a little bit of time is actually rolling them and placing the caramel in the middle of two smaller cookies. Other than that they are very straight-forward.

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Sally recommends to use Rolos for the filling. However, as they not that easy to find in Germany, I went for a simple caramel toffee, they can be find in regular grocery stores such as Rewe, etc. Mine were called “Sahne Muh-Muhs“. I have seen “Kuhbonbons“, “Werther’s Original” and “Durchbeißer“. Either of them will do. Obviously you can go with a Rolo. Just look for a caramel toffee and you will be fine.

But now let’s get to business and bake this delicious cookie!

Salty Dark Chocolate Cookies with a Caramel Center

  • Servings: about 12 cookies
  • Time: 30mins preparation + 1hr chilling time + 14mins baking
  • Difficulty: fairly easy
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A salty chocolate cookie worth every caramel bite

Credit: Sallys Baking Addiction (she won a price with this recipe)

Ingredients

  • 115 grams of unsalted butter (Süßrahmbutter), at room temperature*
  • 50 grams of regular white sugar (weißer Zucker)
  • 70 grams of brown sugar (brauner Zucker)
  • 1 egg, size L at room temperature**
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, see here how to make your own
  • 125 grams of all-purpose flour (Mehl, Type 405)
  • 50 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder (ungesüßtes Kakaopulver)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda (Natron)
  • a pinch of salt (Prise Salz)
  • 2 tablespoons of milk (Milch)
  • 200 grams of semi-sweet chocolate chunks (zartbitter Schokolade, kleingehackt)
  • 12 caramel toffees (Karamelltoffees, wie z.B. Rolo, Wether’s Original, Durchbeißer, Kuhbonbons)
  • sea salt (Meeressalz)

*Leave the butter in a sunny place in summer and on the heating in winter. It will soften very quickly

**If you forgot to take the eggs out on time, simply put them in a small bowl with warm water, they are ready in less than 5 minutes

Directions

  1. Cream the butter in a large bowl for a minute. Add the sugars and cream for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the egg and mix a little more. Add the vanilla extract and make sure the batter is all creamy and no lumps are seen.
  3. Sift (sieben) the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt on top of the butter mix and mix with a mixer on low speed until evenly dark brown.
  4. Stir in the milk, then fold in the chopped up chocolate chunks.
  5. Chill for at least one hour or over night in the fridge.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsisus and line two baking sheets with parchment paper (Backpapier).
  7. Take dough out of the fridge and use about one tablespoon per cookies. You should be able to make 24 cookies. Roll them with your hands until each has the size of a walnut and is round.
  8. Now take the caramel toffees (I cut mine in half as they were too big) and place 12 caramel toffees on 12 cookies. Take the left 12 cookies and put them on top of the cookies with the caramel.
  9. Create one big cookie out of the two cookies with the caramel toffee in the middle. Now the size should be the size of a tennis ball. Make sure that the caramel toffee is securely stuffed inside. Repeat with all 12 cookies.
  10. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for about 14 minutes. The center should still look soft and only the edges should be brown.
  11. Let cookies sit on baking sheet and add some more sea salt.

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Tips:

  • The cookie dough can be made the day before. You will only need about half an hour to have the cookie ready to eat.
  • Obviously you can stuff the cookie with any other small sweet. I was thinking of the famous Toffifee, Nutella or some other deliciousness. Go wild!
  • These cookies taste even better the second or third day! Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • For the caramel to melt in your mounth, microwave cookies for a little bit or put on a toaster.

Greetings from Jenny

Overnight Danish Buns with Yoghurt

I currently live in Hamburg, not that far away from the Danish border. One thing I notice is that you find a lot of Scandinavian products here. Cheeses of various kinds, Rødgrød (English red berry sauce, German rote Grütze), and Flæskesvær (English fried pork rind, German frittierte Schweineschwarte) are only a few. It probably comes as no surprise that I felt I wanted to try a Danish recipe for buns.

Danish people are probably as obsessed with bread as are Germans. They have perfected the simple cold cuts on a delicious slice of bread, their Smørebrød is known worldwide. The buttered rye bread is crowned with a creative topping, this can be a cold cut, but ranges from vegan to extremely meaty options. I was fortunate enough to try Smørebrød when I was in Copenhagen and can highly recommend it. If you have the chance, try it, I find it extremely delicious (see also pictures).

Smørebrød as found in Copenhagen

Anyway, so as I was saying, since I live so close to Denmark now, I felt it was time to try a Danish recipe. I decided for a bun with wheat flour. When I was looking for a recipe, I learned that Danish people like buns to be light and fluffy, that’s why they often add yoghurt to the mix and why the dough will feel really soft. I was very tempted to add more flour when I was kneading (kneten) the dough, but I must warn you, the more flour you add, the more likely it is that your buns will taste dull. Moist is a word Danish like to use a lot to describe how the bread or bun should be. Light in texture, like a feather, but also full of flavor.

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When I was in Copenhagen I managed to buy some local flour our host recommended to us (no, I am not paid to show this flour), but I am sure you will also find some way to create the right flour mix or to buy good high gluten flour. It is definitely worth it. The flour is Type 815 in Germany, which, as far as I can tell, can only be found in some of the larger EDEKAs, or on Amazon. I believe in the U.S. it is not as hard to come by. You will have to look for a high gluten flour. Please let me know in the comments if you found good places where to get the flour.

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This is a bun which is prepared the day before. The yeast does its magic in the fridge, which means that it takes longer as it is not that warm. I think they are totally worth to wait for.

Overnight Danish Buns with Yoghurt

  • Servings: about 16 buns or 2 bread loaves
  • Time: 15min preparation plus 10 hours resting time plus 20min baking time
  • Difficulty: easy
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A fluffy and light bun with lots of flavor and yoghurt


Credit: As found on the back of the flour package Okologisk Ølandshvedemel from Meyers (in Danish)

Ingredients

  • 600 milliliters of lukewarm water (lauwarmes Wasser)
  • 60 grams of plain yogurt (Naturjoghurt)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or molasses (Honig oder Zuckerrübensirup)
  • 22 grams of fresh yeast (half a cube) (Frischhefe)
  • 5 grams of salt (Salz)
  • 750-800 grams of Okologisk Ølandshvedemel (English: High gluten flour, German Halbweißmehl, Type 812, kann hier bestellt werden oder selbst angemischt werden, z.B. siehe hier)

Directions

Day 1

  1. Stir water, yoghurt, honey, and salt together in a bowl and dissolve the yeast in it. Add about 400 grams of flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add 200 more grams of the flour while stirring.
  3. Add the remaining 150 grams of flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Then change and knead (kneten) dough with your hands in the bowl. The dough will be sticky, but try not to add too much flour. If need be, pour a little bit of oil on your hands so that the dough doesn’t stick as much.
  4. Form dough into a ball and leave in bowl. Cover with a kitchen towl and transfer to fridge. Resting time should be at least 8 hours, but it can easily be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours. The flavor will intensify. Resting time 8 hours or more

Day 2

  1. Take dough out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature for an hour. Resting time 1 hour
  2. Divide dough into about 16 equal pieces and roll each piece in some flour before placing all on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper (Backpapier). Cover again with a kitchen towel and let sit for at least half an hour to an hour. Resting time half an hour to an hour
  3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Place a container with about 500 milliliters of water at the bottom of the oven. Lower temperature to 230 degrees.
  4. Put the first baking sheet with the bund on lower rack and bake for about 20 minutes or until buns are golden brown. Take out the container filled with water after 5 minutes and reduce temperature to 200 degrees. Repeat with the second batch. I do not recommend to bake with circulating air.

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Tips:

  • Remember that this is an overnight bun. Leaving the dough in the fridge helps to develop the flavor and is also a slower version to have the yeast do its magic. I do not recommend a first rise at room temperature.
  • Bread doesn’t like ovens with circulating air (convection oven). Make sure that you have an extremely hot oven when you put the buns in and that the air is humid (this is where the water container comes in). Only lower the temperature after 5 minutes for buns and about 10 minutes for bread loaves.

Easter Special: Apple Roses Cake

Warning: This cake takes time. A lot of time. I usually like simple recipes, I am not somebody who spends hours and hours in the kitchen. Except for special occasions. Really special occasions. Like Easter and Christmas. So this cake is my Easter Special. I mean, it does require a lot of work. Be prepared.

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The good thing is that you can prepare it in advance. In fact, it will taste better the second or third day. In has so many great parts.

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Base: Pound cake. This is a classic pound cake with a wonderful twist. Ever tried the combination apples with rosemary? I hadn’t. It is wonderful! The rosemary flavor really complements the apples. As you simmer the apples and rosemary first with a little bit of butter, you do taste the rosemary, but it is not too dominant. It adds some nice spice.

Mid-Section: Once you got the cake out of the oven, you put a thin layer of apricot jam on the top and sprinkle the edges with some almonds to make it look pretty. Another nice layer you can later enjoy.

Apple Roses: This is the fun part. In order to get them to really twist and turn, you boil the apple slices in sugar water for about 30 seconds. Once you place them on the cake, you will brush them with apricot jam and bake the whole cake for another 10 minutes. This seals the apple roses so they don’t turn brown, but also helps to caramelize the top layer. Do I need to say anythings else?

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I promise, making this cake takes a lot of time, but it is not hard to make. Let’s see:

Apple Roses Pound Cake

  • Servings: one cake of ∅24 cm
  • Time: 20min preparation pound cake + 1 hour baking time + 45min making apple roses + 10min baking time
  • Difficulty: easy, but you need patience
  • Print

An apple rosemary pound cake topped off with apple roses

Credit for pound cake: “Anniks göttliche Kuchen” (German cookbook), page 16

Ingredients

Pound cake:

  • 2 apples (for baking, e.g. Boskop) (säuerliche Äpfel wie z.B. Boskop)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (Butter)
  • 2 tablespoons/20 grams of fresh rosemary, finely chopped (frischer feingehackter Rosmarin)
  • 2 tablespoons of apple juice (Apfelsaft)
  • 1 tablespoon of regular sugar (weißer Zucker)
  • 170 grams of unsalted butter at room temperature (it has to be soft) (weiche Süßrahmbutter)*
  • 170 grams of brown sugar (brauner Zucker)
  • 1 tablespoon of molasses (can be omitted) (Zuckerrübensirup)
  • 3 eggs, size L at room temperature (Eier)**
  • 250 grams of all-purpose flour (Mehl, Type 405)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda (Natron)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder (Backpulver)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (Zimt)
  • a pinch of salt (Prise Salz)
  • 125 grams of sour cream (Schmand/Saure Sahne)

Topping:

  • 1-2 tablespoons of apricot jam (Aprikosenmarmelade)
  • 1 liter of water (Wasser)
  • 200 grams of regular sugar (weißer Zucker)
  • 50 grams of blanched almonds (gehobelte Mandeln)
  • 6 red apples (Äpfel)

*The butter has to be at room temperature. Either heat it up a bit in the microwave or place in a warm, sunny place to be sure it has the right consistency.

**Put eggs into a bowl with warm water for five minutes if you forgot to take out the eggs on time.

Directions

Pound cake

  1. Peel the apples, slice each into 4 pieces, take out core and chop into cubes.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan and simmer apple cubes and rosemary for about 5 minutes with the apple juice.
  3. Add sugar and let simmer for about 1-2 minutes, set aside.
  4. Meanwhile prepare all other ingredients and butter and flour a springform of ∅ 24cm. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  5. In a large bowl cream the butter until fluffy, then add the brown sugar. Once very creamy, add molasses. Mix in eggs, one at a time.
  6. Sift (sieben) the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt on top of the butter mix. Mix slowly with a mixer.
  7. Add the sour cream and mix until you have a heavy and creamy batter with no lumps.
  8. Fold in the apple rosemary mix with a wooden spoon.
  9. Pour into the springform and bake on middle rack for about an hour. Inserted toothpick should come out clean.

Apple roses topping

  1. Meanwhile slice all 6 apples into 2mm slices (I used my bread cutting machine), don’t use the apple core, but stop shortly before you reach the center. So you will slice each apple from two sides and have the core left to throw away.
  2. Bring one liter of water with 200 grams of sugar to boil. Stir so that sugar dissolves. Put in all apple slices at once and wait until water boils again. Take apple slices out and drain. Set aside to cool off a bit.
  3. Take cake out of the oven and spread a thin layer of heated-up apricot jam on top with either a spoon or a brush, about 1 tablespoon. Place the almonds around the edges.
  4. To make the apple roses always start with a small slice and roll up. Place another slice around. For each apple rose you will need about 4-6 apple slices. Always start with smaller slices and keep the biggest slices for the outer part of the rose. Make a small cut of about 1 cm in the center of the cake. Place the first apple rose into this cut and work your way to the edges of the cake, making small cuts for each apple rose.
  5. Once done, brush the apple roses with about 1 tablespoon of heated-up apricot jam and bake for 10 minutes at 180 degrees on middle rack. This will help for the apple roses not to turn brown, but also to caramalize the jam.

Tips:

  • The key to making a pound cake is to have all ingredients at room temperature, especially the butter and eggs.
  • Pound cake means to mix ingredients thoroughly. Especially when you prepare the butter part, take your time before you add new ingredients and make sure there are never any lumps seen.
  • Yes, you can only make the pound cake. Also very delicious without apple roses.
  • The apple roses are not that hard to make. You just need to be sure that you can twist the apple slices the way you want. Boiling the apple slices for a bit in sugar water really does the trick, it should not be hard to create the roses.
  • Make sure you make the apple slices thin enough, 2 mm is about perfect.
  • This cake tastes even better on the second or third day. Keep in the fridge for 5 days.
  • It is very easy to make the pound cake (you can even freeze it) in advance and make the apple roses another time.

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Best,

Jenny

Healthy ginger muffins with no refined sugar

In February, I did a little experminet: I didn’t eat any refined sugar. For 24 days it was honey, molasses, raisins or dates. So I had to check what I could eat for breakfast because I like sweet breakfast. In February I would eat a slice of bread with peanut butter, molasses and banana, but that got boring. So I checked what else I could try. I know that it is not that common in Germany to have a muffin for breakfast. I mean, that sounds like eating cake for breakfast, right? Not going to happen during my sugarfree month. But if you think of a muffin without refined sugar and a lot of whole wheat flour, it suddenly doesn’t sound that bad. If you add some fresh ginger  (much better than ground!) and dark molasses to the mix, you suddenly got me interested. I enjoy mine with plain yoghurt. Try it, it really is an awesome combo!

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They are nice and juicy, with a strong ginger flavor and you won’t be hungry. Cut them in half and put some plain yoghurt on them while you enjoy your coffee. I promise you, you will make them again. I most definitely did!

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Healthy Ginger Muffins

  • Servings: 12 regular muffins
  • Time: 20min preparation + 20min baking time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A healthy ginger muffin with a strong cinnamon flavor and whole wheat

Credit: Pinch of yum

Ingredients

  • 60 grams of fresh ginger, ground (frischer und geriebener Ingwer)*
  • 115 grams of butter
  • 150 grams of molasses (Zuckerrübensirup)
  • 150 grams of plain yoghurt with 3.5% fat (geschmacksneutraler Joghurt)
  • 160 grams of milk
  • 1 egg, size L
  • 170 grams of whole wheat flour (Mehl, Type 1050)
  • 170 grams of all-purpose flour (Mehl, Type 550)
  • 1½ teaspoons of baking soda (Natron)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (Zimt)

*You can use ground ginger, but it is not as good. I would suggest about 2 teaspoons.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and and fill the muffin pan with muffin papers or grease muffin pan with butter.
  2. Grind the peeled fresh ginger (Ingwer reiben), then melt the butter and transfer both to a large bowl. Add the molasses, yoghurt, and milk and whisk for a while. Once everything is evenly distributed, add the egg and whisk again.
  3. Put the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon on top and gently fold the whole mixture with a wooden spoon. Don’t overmix, but just make sure that no white flour can be seen.
  4. Fill the twelve muffin holes, each should be filled 3/4 at least.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, toothpick (Zahnstocher) should come out clean.

Tips:

  • When preparing muffins, don’t overmix the “wet” ingredients with the “dry” ingredients. Just mix enough that you don’t see any white flour spots.
  • Always preheat the oven.
  • You can also sprinkle the muffins with some sugar/cinnamon mix
  • Made muffins freeze beatifully and can be made in advance
  • They are also great for a bread replacement with some butter and honey

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Fudgy brownies

If you ask me which recipe is universally loved around the world, I would say it is brownies. Chocolate in cake form, a delicious square, which can be prepared in under twenty minutes and is the traditional crowd pleaser. Brownies make me happy, brownies are comfort. They are so simple and easy! Oh, and in case you forgot, they have everything to be in chocolate heaven: lots and lots of high quality chocolate, butter, eggs, and sugar.

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I don’t know about you, but brownies are something special to me. Sometimes brownies need to be more like a chocolate cake, filled with walnuts, sometimes I prefer brownies to be more fudgy with a gooey center. Among the many brownie recipes, I decided to go for the one from Tessa for this blog entry. She experimented a lot to find the perfect recipe, check out her blog, she gives good explanations as to how each ingredient has an impact on the final result.

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This brownie is definitely more of the fudgy kind. If you want something more cakelike, look elsewhere. This brownie has a gooey center and a rich chocolate flavor. No, there is nothing healthy about this, on top of the large amount of chocolate, you add a lot of eggs and butter. But if you want to indulge yourself, this is it. Dig in!

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Photo by Daniel Cuervo

Fudgy brownies

  • Servings: 8-9 large brownies
  • Time: 20min preparation + 40min baking time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 170 grams of unsalted butter, cut into cubes (kleingeschnittene Süßrahmbutter)
  • 170 grams of high quality chocolate with about 50%-75% cacao (gute Schokolade mit Kakaoanteil 50%-75%)
  • 170 grams of chocolate chips (Chocolate Chips, alternativ Backschokolade)
  • 3 eggs, size L + 1 egg yolk at room temperature (Eier und Eigelb)*
  • 200 grams of regular sugar (weißer Zucker)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (Vanilleextrakt), see here how to make your own
  • 94 grams of all-purpose flour (Mehl, Type 405)
  • a pinch of salt (Prise Salz)

*If you forgot to take the eggs out on time, simply put them in a small bowl with warm water, they are ready in less than 5 minutes

Directions

  1. Put the butter, chocolate chips and chocolate into a pot and melt on low heat. Stir constantly while butter and chocolates melt. Make sure that chocolate doesn’t burn. It will take about five to eight minutes due to the low heat. Cool off once completely melted.
  2. In a large bowl beat the eggs with the sugar for about three minutes with a hand mixer. The color should become lighter and the batter thicker. Then add the vanilla.
  3. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line a typical lasagna form with parchment paper (Backpapier).
  4. Pour the cooled off chocolate mix to the egg mix with a spoon.
  5. Gently fold in the flour and salt. Don’t overmix.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes on middle rack. Toothpick does not come out clean as the center remains rather soft.
  7. Brownies are easier to cut if chilled.

Tips:

  • Really make sure you don’t burn the chocolate. As I don’t own a microwave and find it complicated to melt my chocolate in a pot inside a pot with boiling water, remember to stir all the time and to have it melt on low heat.
  • Chill the brownies before cutting them into pieces.

Enjoy, Jenny

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Photo by Daniel Cuervo

Roscónes: Colombian sweet bread stuffed with guava paste

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Today I am excited to say that this is a treat you most likely haven’t heard of if you are not Colombian: roscónes. Sweet yeast bread is already a good start, then add some cool guava paste (called bocadillo in Colombia, it has many other names in other Latin American countries) and you have a very exotic mix. I think only Colombians can create something, which is like breakfast and dessert merged into one piece of deliciousness.

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I have come to learn this recipe because my husband is Colombian. Colombia has many exotic fruits nobody has ever heard of (including lulu, curuba, guanábana, etc., etc.) One of these fruits is guayaba, which is the base for this paste or jelly. You won’t see a picture of that fruit on this blog, well, because I have never seen it in Germany so I couldn’t take a picture of it. Feel free to google images. Bocadillo, the guava paste, is a jam you can cut with your knive, it usually comes in blocks. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But this paste is basically the jam Colombians serve with everything. Bocadillo with cheese is very common. Another is slicing a platain (Kochbanane), and stuffing it with bocadillo. Or stuffing a platain with bocadillo AND cheese. Colombians love their bocadillo, just as much as their cheese.

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So no wonder they also created a sweet bread stuffed with bocadillo. Roscónes are sort of the national dessert. Whenever I have asked Colobians of the most typical dessert of Colombia, roscón was always on top of the list. The yeast dough is only lightly sweet because of the bocadillo filling, but contains eggs and a little bit of butter, so is very fluffy and rich. Another typical filling is with arequipe or dulce de leche, sweetened milk, which is heated up and tastes somewhat like caramel.

If you are interested in Colombian dishes, I can recommend this English blog Mycolombianrecipes.com, which has a large section on main dishes, but also many desserts. It does explain many of the exotic Colombian ingredients and has a wealth of traditional recipes. The blog is also available in Spanish.

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But now back to roscónes. The only annoying part of this recipe is that you have to be patient. In total you have a resting time of three hours, so if you were thinking of making this in advance, I would definitely recommend to freeze the final result. The only other option you have is doing part of the resting overnight (see my tips below).

So ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my favorite Colombian dessert: roscónes!

Roscónes: Colombian sweet bread stuffed with guava paste

  • Servings: 3 big roscónes or 4 smaller ones
  • Time: 20mins preparation + 3hrs resting time + 20mins baking
  • Difficulty: fairly easy, you only need patience
  • Print

A sweet yeast bread with exciting guava paste filling

Credit: My Colombian Recipes (also available in Spanish)

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 envelope of yeast, usually 7 grams (Trockenhefe)
  • 4 tablespoons + 200 milliliters of warm water
  • 50 grams + 50 grams of white sugar
  • 580-600 grams of all-purpose flour (Mehl, Type 405 oder Type 550)
  • 70 grams of butter, melted (geschmolzene Butter)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (Vanilleextrakt), see here how to make your own
  • 2 eggs, size L at room temperature*
  • 240 grams of guava paste (you obviosuly can also use jam, Nutella, etc.)**

For the glaze

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter

*If you forgot to take the eggs out on time, simply put them in a small bowl with warm water, they are ready in less than 5 minutes

**Guava paste can be found on Amazon, for example here; alternatively you can go for jam, in Germany I would recommend someting like Hagebuttenmarmelade, which probably is the closest in taste

Directions

  1. Pour four tablespoons of lukewarm (lauwarm) water into a big bowl. Add the yeast and 50 grams of sugar. Stir and let sit for about 10 minutes. Resting time 10min
  2. Add the flour, 50 grams of sugar and 200 milliliters of lukewarm water to the yeast mix and mix with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract and eggs and continue stirring.
  4. Once the ingredients are mixed well, start using your hands and knead (kneten) the dough for about 5-8 minutes. You can knead inside the bowl or move the dough to a lightly floured surface. I usually knead it in the bowl.
  5. The dough should feel elastic and stretch easily once you are done. You may add a bit more flour while keading, but the total should not be more than 600 grams of flour. This is a very soft dough.
  6. Shape into a ball and transfer back to bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until double in size (about two hours). Resting time 2hrs
  7. After the resting knead the dough for 30 seconds on a clean surface and divide into three equal parts (I get three parts of about 360 grams each). Cover again with kitchen towel and let sit for ten minutes. Resting time 10min
  8. Roll each part into a long rope of about 30 centimeters. Roll out with rolling pin (Nudelholz). The rolled-out rectangle should be about 40-50 centimeters long and about 5 centimeters wide (see pictures).
  9. Place about 80 grams of cut guave paste into each rectangle (see pictures).
  10. Roll up the dough lengthwise. Connect the ends in order to form a ring.
  11. Place all three rings on a baking sheet with parchment paper (Backpapier) and cover again with kitchen towl. Let rise for about 25-30min. Resting time 25-30min
  12. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut with some scissors into the dough leaving 2-3 centimeters between each cut. Cut all around each ring (see pictures). Brush the top of the rings first with the beaten egg and then the melted butter.
  13. Bake for 17-20 minutes on the middle to lower rack or until golden. I usually bake on the middle rack and move them down to the lowest rack after 10min to avoid too much browning. I sometimes also reduce the temperature to 180 degrees if the roscónes look too brown early on.

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Tips:

  • Preparing in advance: You may do all steps until step 6. Put in fridge overnight after two hours of resting. Next day take out dough and let sit in room for one hour before continuing with steps 7-13.
  • Don’t be afraid of yeast. Yeast simply likes it warm. Think of it as a living thing (which it actually is) and make sure it feels cozy in your apartment. Don’t let a cold breeze come in, but have it warm all the time.
  • Since you are dealing with yeast, it may take longer or shorter for your dough to rise. Check on the dough once in a while.
  • Once you created the rings, feel free to roll them again to make them nice and round. You should not change their shape after step 11, but until then you can make them look pretty.