While you are reading these lines, I will be busy packing my suitcase for Christmas. We are going to visit my parents in law in Spain and I will probably be debating which baking utensils to take along for the trip. I am really looking forward to celebrating Christmas with my Colombian family. Colombian Christmas is very different from German Christmas. There is going to be a lot of dancing, a lot of joy, sparkle and food, so much food. I can’t tell you for how long my mother-in-law has been talking about what she is going to make as a special treat for us and what her ideas are for the Christmas menu. In Colombian culture food is extremely important. I am going to suggest to her that we make Uruguayan flan as the Christmas dessert. Why? Because flan needs to be prepared the night before as it has to be chilled. Perfect in my opinion, one thing less to worry about on Christmas. Flan only requires only a few basic ingredients and is prepared in a jiffy, if this is not enough reason, I don’t know what is.
It is time for alfajores. Alfa what you ask? Alfajores are sandwich cookies that first were popular in Spain and later on brought to the colonies in Latin America. Traditionally alfajores are filled with the caramel cream called dulce de leche. Today I brought along some with strong coffee flavor and caramel as the filling. If you want to go extra crazy, you may also use some flaky sea salt as a nice contrast. We are in the middle of my cookie week and since I am posting seven cookie recipes from my birth country Uruguay on seven consecutive days, you get coffee alfajores today.
Chocolate Caramel Tart! This is chocolate heaven. If you want the perfect combination of chocolate and caramel, you have to try this tart. A shortbread chocolate crust, a gooey caramel as the first layer and then topped off with chocolate ganache, I couldn’t ask for more. Well, maybe a little more. For flaky sea salt if you really want to take this tart to the next level.
If you were to wake me up in the middle of the night, pointing a gun at me and asked which food I would want to eat until the end of days, I would probably say cookies. Cookies are just so comforting. I especially like Chocolate Chip Cookies. If you give me a chocolate chip cookie with caramel, you got me sold.
Cookies were the reason why I even started this blog. Originally I was obsessed with finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie reciope. I tried more than 20 different recipes before I finally landed on this one. Cookies are comfort food and soul food, in my opinion there is no better dessert than cookies. I love the fact that they are easy to transport and are enjoyed by children and adults alike. Let alone the fact that usually you can whip them up in under less than 20 minutes.
I do love December, here in Germany advent is a special time with each Sunday being celebrated as one step closer to Christmas. I love the fact that, finally, it’s also the season in Germany for cookies. Can you believe it, you have to wait this long? I decided to go a little fancier today. Macarons are a perfect give-away, especially if you go with a strong coffee flavor as I did here, which cuts the sweetness of the macaron shells quite a bit. For that reason I thought salted caramel would be a good partner for coffee. But this is not regular caramel, no, it is dulce de leche, which means it is made of sweetened condensed milk, yum!
I have introduced a few macaron recipes on my blog. I started off with the summer version, which was also the first time I had ever made macarons. This was followed by heart-shaped macarons for Valentine’s. After that I introduced a recipe with real and strong strawberry flavor, until today I went for coffee macarons with dulce de leche filling.
OK, yes, I am watching the world championship of soccer. That’s because my birth country Uruguay made it to the quarter finals, beating the former winner of the European cup Portugal, yay! For that reason I felt like making alfajores, these are the best cookies from Uruguay. Originally alfajores are from Spain. Don’t ask me how they are made in Spain. All I know is that the Uruguayan version is always a sandwich cookie, similar to sugar cookies. These cookies, however, are a little bit drier and crumblier. That’s because they are filled with dulce de leche, caramel made from sweetened milk. The dry cookie balances out the sweet dulce de leche nicely. Since I am a chocoholic, I had to go with the chocolate version, which means that the sandwich cookies are dunked in chocolate. How can this not be good?Alfajores can be found everywhere in Uruguay and Argentina. You will find them in school lunchboxes as well as a sought-after souvenir in airports. What I like about my version is that you can easily keep them for weeks as the chocolate serves as a protective layer. However, I do hope that your cookies will not last as long. At least mine were gone within minutes when I made them.
Cookies are my weakness. Every time I pass a bakery, I have to quickly check whether there are any cookies on display. Peanut butter and chocolate chunk cookies are one of my favorites. Especially if combined with caramel and sea salt. So I decided to create my own version of this coffee shop classic!
If you use my recipe, you will get about 12 cookies. They are large. Bakery-style. Obviously you can make them smaller, but be sure to check baking time if you do. And believe me, one cookie will satisfy your cravings. They are so thick and full of chocolate and caramel, you won’t regret having made them. Continue Reading…
Exactly one year ago my first blog post Lemon Tarts went online. This means “Blogger Happy Birthday To Me”, yay! I thought really long and hard as to what to do for my first birthday. Somehow I feel everything has been done already. And since I am a stubborn person, I also wanted something more than a boring give-away just to lure in more readers. That’s simply not me, regardless of what marketing says.
Yes, this is a baking blog and I hope that my recipes are mouth-watering for my readers. Yes, I also started this blog since I have been asked to share recipes many times and I simply find baking relaxing. But for me the main purpose of baking is to share the baked goods with others. That’s why I invite you to my event. I ask you to bake something, regardless of whether this is a recipe which was passed down in your family, whether you find a recipe you want to try on my/a blog or whether it is one from a cookbook. It doesn’t matter whether you follow a recipe to the dot or whether you alter a recipe to your liking. Be it cookie, cake, something small, a complicated layer cake, whether you spend hours in the kitchen or you whip something in a jiffy, it all doesn’t matter, as long as you follow one rule. The one and only rule is that you have to share your baked goods with at least one guest.
This is the core of baking for me. That you share, sitting together at a table, chatting, laughing, crying, that you indulge yourself in some cake and learn about the other. I strongly believe that it doesn’t matter if you spent hours baking or went for a simple cookie, as long as you did it with love and passion, I am sure your guest(s) will notice.
For that reason I invite you as of today, February 15, 2018 until March 15, 2018 to invite at least one guest and to bake something for this person for that occasion. I invite you to take a picture, either just of what you baked, or with the permission of your guest, also of your invites and to tell me how the event went. Once the timeframe is over, I will do a roundup on this blog.
I was so ready to bake after three weeks of holidays in Colombia. Yes, I did have the chance to bake something nice for my parents in law in Colombia, but believe me, it is just not the same. I didn’t have a food scale, there were only two types of wheat flour to be found, many people were not sure whether the oven works in Fahrenheit or Celsius (I am not kidding, ovens are barely used in Colombian cuisine). I was ready to bake in my own kitchen. So I was happily browsing the internet, catching up with all the nice food blogs and found a baking event. I always like to bake according to some restrictions, somehow it makes me way more creative. Sure enough, this one was about including nuts. That’s really not hard. We had gotten plums right out of the plane and I still had some pecans at home. For that reason I decided to make mini bundt cakes with pecan caramel. They are really easy to prepare and really taste great.
It’s official today, it is fall in Hamburg, Germany! Did you know that fall is my favorite season? I feel there is so much to like, the leaves are turning color, I can finally get into my cozy cardigans and pullovers, sip some hot chocolate and enjoy being snuggled under a blanket with a good book to read. And the light! So soft, so golden, so nostalgic! Also, fall seems to have all my favorite ingredients: nuts of any kind, apples, pears, plums, and pumpkin. I usually prefer savory dishes with pumpkin, but since my hubby loves pumpkin pie (I don’t really), I thought, OK, why not try a pumpkin cupcake. Don’t ask me why I thought that would be the perfect combination. But it just popped into my head and I faithfully headed over to my favorite baking blog Sally’s baking addiction. Sally produces one perfect recipe after the next, so I was not surprised that her pumpkin cupcake/muffin recipe was just as perfect as all the previous recipes I had tried from her site.