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Vegan Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Vegane Cini Minis

Today I am introducing the second vegan recipe in January. I personally am a huge breakfast person. For that reason I am offering homemade and also vegan cinnamon toast crunch for you. Yes, they do contain less sugar than the original (I decided to go with maple syrup for the dough) and they are vegan as I opted for coconut oil instead of butter. When I took pictures of this cinnamon toast crunch, I was reminiscing my childhood. I believe everybody has a favorite cereal from old times. I was all into the ones with nougat or nutella (not so sure there are such varieties in the U.S.) and I also loved anything with cinnamon like cinnamon toast crunch. I remember eating them without any milk, simply snacking whenever I felt hungry. If you keep them in an airtight container, they will stay crunchy for a long time.

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Colombian Tamales

Kolumbianische tamales

Today I am introducing Colombian tamales. This means an assortment of meat and corn mash, which is steamed in wrapped banana leaves for about an hour. I don’t think you can imagine how nervous I was when I found out that the local produce owner here in Munich actually could get me fresh banana leaves. So far I had only eaten tamales on vacation in Colombia. Usually they are served for breakfast and devoured with Colombian hot chocolate. However, since this is a savory dish, it will also taste great as the main course for dinner. I had often wondered whether it was possible to make them in Germany. But since I had not seen banana leaves being sold anywhere, I had not attempted Colombian tamales. This was over now! Finally I got hold of banana leaves! And I quickly learned why tamales are usually prepared by the entire family and not one person only. Preparing the tamales definitely was a full-family business. I had listened to stories of Colombians who had nothing else to do than to put their index finger on the yarn so that the designated mom/grandma/aunt could be sure that the tamales were sealed all proper. That was their entire job for the small children, nothing else. Since making tamales does require quite a bit of work and contains many components, usually they are made in large batches, anything below 15 tamales is not worth the effort. And if you keep in mind that Colombian families are large and include many more people than only the nucleus family, it does make sense to prepare 30 or more. Making Colombian tamales felt to me like an accolade of the highest nature and thus I was nervous of whether I could achieve this as a German who happened to be married to a Colombian.

Kolumbianische tamales tolimenses Continue Reading…

Peanut Butter Truffles from Brazil

Erdnuss-Trüffel mit Schokolade wie von Garotto

OK, this post is all about childhood memories. So I was born in Uruguay, in Latin America, right? Meaning that I also experienced Uruguayan Christmas. And one thing we always had for Christmas in Uruguay were these peanut butter truffles. There is a Brazilian brand named Garoto that sells these truffles. All old-fashioned, wrapped in yellow paper with a large red logo saying “Serenata de Amor”, I mean if this is not a poetic name for a truffle, I don’t know. Usually I hoped that my sister would be kind enough to give me some of her truffles since she is into savory stuff (yeah, I don’t get it either). Sometimes this plan worked out, sometimes it didn’t and so on December 26th I was often out of truffles. Rationing sweets has never been my thing, especially as a child.

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Pink Raspberry Birthday Cake

Pinke Geburtstagstorte

Did you have fancy birthdays when you were a kid? I mean, I do know that we celebrated, but I feel back in the days there was much less hassle. Today everything is planned and thought of, be it the invitation, the decoration, the cake, and of course the gifts. I don’t know which one is better, but I do know that I would have like a very pink birthday cake on my birthday as a girl. Since I love raspberries, I for sure would have liked a very pink raspberry cake. I do not recall ever getting such as cake, but why not make it now? With this blog post I also have the pleasure as giving these sweet little cake toppers away you see on the cake. They are from the talented Ellen Martens.

Pinke GeburtstagstorteCake topper from Ellen Martens

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A Few Tips for a Wonderful Picnic and Two Picnic Recipes

Picknickkorb

Are you also such a big fan of picnics? I just love the idea of sitting on a blanket, enjoying a few treats I prepared beforehand and breathing some fresh air in nature. A picnic to me is the best way to relax. Below you will find two recipes perfect for a picnic. One is a berry salad infused with lavender honey, the other is homemade pesto, which I used on a sandwich as a spread, but which may be used as a dip or with some cooked pasta. All of below tips are also from my first-hand experience as a huge picnic lover.

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Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies For Your Dog

Süßer Welpe mit selbstgemachtem Hundekeks

Guys, we have a new family member! Her name is Hazel! It is an Australian shepherd, she is about 9 weeks old. Obviously I had to bake something for her as well, I mean, isn’t she a cutie pie? Since she loves peanut butter (I have so far only met one dog in my entire life who didn’t like peanut butter), I decided to make her some peanut butter cookies.

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Russian Napoleon Torte

Russische Torte Napoleon

Warning, this cake requires a lot of work! Especially the cake layers take there time as you will need to make 12 cake layers in total and usually can only bake two at the same time. But if you are up for the challenge, you will get a delicious and impressive cake, which is made with quick puff pastry and a decadent caramel cream very similar to dulce de leche. This Russian cake was invented for the 100th anniversiary celebrating the “victory” over Napoleon when he tried to conquer Russia 1812. What once started as a smaller triangle to represent Napoleon’s hat, changed to a traditional cake and is known throughout the world as one of Russia’s finest cakes. I had the pleasure of eating it during several Russian-German weddings where it is traditionally served.

Russische Torte NapoleonEven though you “only” need to make two components, beware, this cake requires quite a bit of work. You will need to make quick puff pastry and roll out 12 (!) cake layers, which all need to be baked. After that you will need to make the cream and spread it on each of those cake layers. Since puff pastry is rather stiff, I highly recommend allowing the cake to chill overnight for the cream to soften and marinate the cake layers. So this cake can and should be made in advance. There are two different creams commonly used for Napoleon torte, the one with dulce de leche below or one, which is similar to a custard-based buttercream. If you prefer this type of cream, feel free to use the one from this recipe.

Russische Torte Napoleon

Russian Napoleon Torte

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Serves: One 20 cm/8inch ∅ springform
Prep Time: 2hrs Cooking Time: 1hr 20min Total Time: 3hrs 20min

This Russian Napoleon Torte is made with quick puff pastry and filled with a caramel-like cream.

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 130 grams of water
  • 45 grams of vodka
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 690 grams all-purpose flour
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 400 grams of cold butter

  • Filling
  • 250 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 2 cans of 397 grams of dulce de leche made from sweetened condensed milk, how you can make it yourself, I explain here
  • 200 grams of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A good pinch of salt

  • Optional
  • Fresh berries for decoration

Instructions

1

For the dough mix together water, vodka, vinegar and eggs and set asode. Then look for a big (!) bowl and mix together flour and salt. Add the cold butter in cubes and work this mixture into crumbs the size of peas. Try to do this as quickly as possible. Now add the wet ingredients and work everything together, it is OK if you still see a few patches here and there. The dough will be sticky, but try not to add any futher flour. Form into a ball, cover and chill for at least one hour. Then divide this into 12 equal parts (I like to weigh each one to be sure they are the same). Put back 10 pieces into the fridge and only keep 2 to work on.

2

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. First form a small ball and then roll out into a circle on a floured surface. Using a plate, springform or similar, look for something with a diameter of 20cm. Place the rolled-out dough onto the baking sheet and cut out the circle on there. Do not discard the scraps, but leave them on there. Repeaht the procedure with the second piece of dough, rolling out, placing on the baking sheet and then cutting out the circle, but leaving the scraps on. Bake these two circles for about 10-11min, it is OK if they are barely golden. Let cool.

3

While the two circles are baking, continue with two more pieces. Repeat the process with all 12 pieces, you should have 12 baked circles and scraps at the end, let everything cool. If you want to, you can continue the next day. Cover tightly or freeze until further use.

4

For the cream beat the soft butter for about 7-10 minutes until fluffy and much lighter in color. Slowly add the dulce de leche by the spoonful. Only cream in cream cheese, vanilla extract and salt last and mix until combined.

5

Now take one bake circle as the bottom and evenly spread about two heaping tablespoons of the cream on it. Place a second circle on top and repeat this procedure until you have stacked the 12 circles, each time with cream in between. You still should have enough cream left to frost the outside of the cake. Now either create crumbs with the sraps using a zip-lock bag and a rolling pin to smash them, or a food processor. Pat these crumbs onto the top and sides of the cake. You should do this as long as the cream still is soft as it will serve as a glue. Once done, chill at least for one night or longer. This time is needed for the cake layers to soften and for the cream to marinate the quick puff pastry. Otherwise it is going to be hard to cut through.

6

I served the Napoleon cake with some frozen raspberries, which I cooked with some sugar to create a sauce, but kindly note that this is not traditional for Napoleon. However, all my test eaters prefered it with it.

Russische Torte Napoleon

Gougère cheeseballs from Switzerland

Gougère Schweizer Käsebällchen

Today you will get Gougère from Switzerland! Gougères are cheese balls made from choux pastry. They are super light and airy. If you like eclairs and profiteroles, these are for you, a savory snack made from exactly the same  dough, choux pastry is first boiled before eggs are added. If you are interested in sweet choux pastry, how about profiteroles with raspberry filling, black forest eclairs, eclairs with coffee cream or peanut butter filling. Below cheese balls are a wonderful fingerfood, snack, or can be served for any gathering.

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Authentic Mexican Tacos and Tacos al Pastor

Rezept für mexikanische Tacos al Pastor

Guys, can you believe it, I do have a full category with all Latin American recipes on this blog, but so far not a single Mexican recipe. That’s a shame, because the Mexican cuisine has so much to offer. My favorite Mexican food is tacos and for that reason we are going to make tacos from scratch, the whole thing. Because tacos are super basic, you need three ingredients: cornmeal, salt, and water. So for that reason tacos are gluten-free and also vegan. As always you will find a lot of tips below for your tacos to be successful from the start.

Tacos are as important in Mexico as are arepas in Colombia and Venezuela. However, true Mexican tacos are never “hard shell” as often suggested by the chain Taco Bell, tacos are eaten with your hands and are soft and flexible, they are a small tortilla after all. For that reason you will see them all flat on my pictures, this is how I learned to eat tacos from Mexicans. You only bend them in your hands. Tacos are usually made with cornmeal and not flour. As far as I know flour tacos are only known in the north of Mexico, but the rest of the country uses corn. Tacos are super popular in Mexico and are usually served with some spicy §slasa” or sauce. But now let’s get started.

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Sandwich Bread with Buttermilk

Toastbrot mit Buttermilch

Finally another bread recipe on my blog! If you have been following for a while, you may know that our entire bread is baked by my husband. He has become quite an expert and for that reason I rarely ever post recipes even though we do eat our fair share, simply because my policy is that it is me who needs to have tried the recipe so that I can answer any questions you may have and be sure that it was successful. But this time I had a reason, I wanted to make French toast, I love French toast and thought I might give this sandwhich bread a try, it seemed simple enough.

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