Wednesday, September 28, 2011

date-nut candy.

the sun is shining through the kitchen window.
my mama opens the refrigerator.
she reaches for the peanut butter jar.

this is my first memory of dates.

 how does this fits together?

my mama halved dried dates and filled them with a wee bit of peanut butter.
the dates were best when sticky and mushy.
i always licked my fingers with pleasure afterwards.

the stickiness went further:
once in your mouth, not only the dates but also the peanut butter would stick to the roof of it.
something about the cloying sweetness that was constrained by the nutty butter and blended into an overall new taste.
this extraordinary combination is still one of my favorites and dates will always call this childhood snack to mind.

this candy i created has it roots from the "date-nut filling" from the "new cookbook" (published years and years ago, it's a hand-me-down from my mother, beaten up and bent, yet a well used favorite. the new additions of the "new cookbook" do not include this recipe anymore).

although omiting the peanuts, dates find a perfect pairing with nuts.
with dried dates you really need something to check the sugar.

this candy imports the true flavor of dates,
blending it with earthy nuts.
i'm sure you could add spices or lemon zest,
but i enjoy the plain, honest taste the best.

date-nut candy

300g dates
200ml water 
65g sugar
3 tbsp glucose syrup (light corn syrup)
1/4 tsp salt
50g walnuts, chopped


30g egg whites
85g granulated sugar
85g finely ground almonds
15ml amaretto liqueur
(optional: dash of vanilla extract)

you will need crushed amaretti to roll your candy in.
of course you could use store bought stuff. 
but there's nothing better than the smell of freshly toasted nuts, right?

to make the amaretti:
preheat to 170 degrees celcius. 
beat the egg whites until slightly stiff.
add sugar, beat until stiff.
add almonds and liqueur.
fill into piping bag and pipe onto a silicon mat in rounds.
bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned and hardened.

to make the candy:
chop dates into small pieces.
in a pan, add dates, water, sugar, glucose syrup and salt.
bring to a boil.
boil for a few minutes, stirring constantly and waiting until the dates mixture has lost a lot of it's moisture and has come together into a sticky mass.
remove from heat and add chopped nuts.
let cool slightly, then transfer into a food processor.
blend well.
let cool to room temperature and form into small truffle balls.
crush the amaretti and roll date candy until covered.
keep in refrigerator around two weeks.
they are best enjoyed at room temperature though, the flavors unfurl themselves better.

Monday, September 26, 2011

fondant @school.

utensils: sugar thermometer and wooden spoon.

what's a'cookin'?

it's a sugar solution, 
composed of
100% sugar
25% glucose syrup 
40% water.

cooked until 115 degrees celcius.

when the sugar has reached the desired temperature, 
pour onto a slightly oiled work surface.

as soon as the sugar solution has been poured,
start stirring like a fool, using a wooden spoon and a scraper.
you might want to have somebody to help you!

keep on stirring, you have to work air into your fondant.
you'll notice that it will get whiter in color.

keep on going, don't give up!

the sugar is cooling down and it will get tougher to stir.
you will have to add some water to make it smoother, 
don't wait to long, or it will seize up!

and don't think about the muscle ache you might have the next day!

almost done. 
keep on stirring.
you want it to be room temperature.

last stir.

finally you can deposit it into a bowl.

those are all the fondants from the different groups.

test, test.

and now for the things that can go wrong making fondant.
here you see what happens if you don't add some extra water.

we did a number of experiments of stuff that could go wrong.
wrong temperature.
different glucose amounts.
the outcome was also taste tested to see how it "melts" in you mouth.

we tried all of them.
sugar overload.

our class teacher - looking a little worried.
but he's so enthused about our métier.
and always has an anecdote to tell.

well, i'm always happy to learn something new!

you can make the fondant in your kitchenaid.
pour your hot sugar solution into the bowl,
and let it knead.
keep a close watch on it though!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

pumpkin bread.

it's fall, everybody.
it's raining, i'm cold
but if refuse to turn the heater on until october
and it's getting dreary.

what ya' gonna do when the blues come to you?
and bake something fall-y, and spice-y and home-y!

get out your pumpkins, buy some extra, make some puree and freeze for this coming season.

this cake-y bread is something you can eat for breakfast, lunch or dessert.
it keeps well (airtight!), freezes well and tastes, well... good!

pumpkin bread

150g all-purpose flour (type 450)
85g bread flour (type 550)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp himalayan salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
large pinch of ground cloves

2 large eggs
200g granulated sugar
115g melted butter
60g water
220g pumpkin puree
(check out a recipe for homemade pumpkin puree here!)

3/4 cup chopped pecans

in a seperate bowl, sift together dry ingredients up to the ground cloves.
in another bowl, beat eggs with sugar until slightly frothy and light orange colored.
add cooled down melted butter.
then add water and pumpkin.
mix well.
add dry ingredients and stir well.
add chopped pecans.
now pour batter into a greased bread pan and bake at 175-180 degrees celcius for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

typical german (tea-time) specialties @mönnig.

 right after baking.

"nero beans". dark chocolate cookies, with nougat filling and dipped in dark chocolate.

"flaming heart". piped butter cookie dipped in dark chocolate.

almond "half moons", formed out of a marzipan mix, covered in slivered almonds and dipped in dark chocolate.

"bull's eye" with a frangipan ring and red jam.

 nougat rings with toasted hazelnuts, covered in luscious dark chocolate.

just a quick glimpse at some of our typical german products!

don't you wish you were @ "konditorei mönnig"?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

creamy chocolate cheesecake.

and cheesecake...
and more chocolate...
and sweet...
and salty...
and rich...
and smooth...
and dense...
and crunchy...

what am i describing?
this beautiful cheesecake!

don't mind the cracks, 
it gives this cake character, hehe.
(you can avoid them though, see recipe).

 the perfect cake for chocolate lovers.
it's so simple, 
yet so effective.
it will get you into chocolate bliss.
you never got addicted to anything?
wait until you eat this!

creamy chocolate cheesecake

150g salted butter crackers (i use the brand "tuc")
130g butter
25g flour
15g dutch-processed cocoa powder
145g sugar


600g cream cheese
180g sugar
300g semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
(i used 100g each: 30% chocolate, 51% chocolate and 71% chocolate)
3 eggs
200g sour cream
pinch of himalayan salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
make crust.
in food processor, grind crackers finely.
add softened (almost melted!) butter, flour, cocoa and sugar.
blend well.
press into cake form with help of a wooden spoon.
bake for 8 minutes.
remove from oven and let cool.

turn oven to 200 degrees celcius.

now make the filling.
cream the cream cheese until softened.
add sugar and blend well.
add your melted chocolate and blend in as well.
add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
add sour cream, salt and vanilla extract.
make sure to scratch down the sides with a spatula and blending the whole filling before pouring it into the pre-baked form.
pour it into the crust and smooth the top.
when you place the cheesecake into the oven turn down to 155 degrees.
bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the middle is set.
to avoid the cracks that i have in my cheesecake, place cheesecake into a water bath.
let cool, powder with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

homemade nutella.

once upon a time,
it was weekend,
i was lazy,
and i all the nutella was used up!

true story.

so what did i do?
i decided to make my own.

i've always wanted to,
only i was too lazy to follow through.
it wasn't necessary because i always had my store of nutella.
i had up to three nutella glasses in my storage cupboard.
(i bought them on sale, all right?)

but somehow i forgot to replenish them.

and so i melted my chocolate, roasted my hazelnuts and blended them together with some other delightful ingredients to make my own chocolate-nut spread.

true story.

and the result?

taste: better than the original. it was richer in taste and i used the chocolate i prefer in general.
the consistency: a tad grainy, but not disturbing.
it does have a nice texture, it is creamy.
and next time i'll just process it a heck lot more.

homemade nutella

100g semi-sweet chocolate (or any chocolate you prefer!)
100g hazelnuts
50g almonds
80g powdered sugar
pinch of salt
30g cocoa powder
3 tbsp vegetable oil

roast hazelnuts and almonds for around 10 minutes in a 200 degree celcius hot oven.
let cool, then remove skins, as far as possible.
melt chocolate, set aside.
in food processor, grind almonds until they are very fine, and they start to release some fat (the mixture will get a "smeary" look).
add powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt.
add melted chocolate.
blend well.
then add vegetable oil, one tablespoon at a time, blending well after each addition.
fill nutella into glasses. 
store extras in fridge, the other may be stored at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.
if it even lasts that long!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

sesame and raisin bagels.

this is a product that is not so common in germany. 
the ones you do find, are either too dry or too "elastic".

so, this fine day (or this fine two days ago)
i decided to give homemade bagels a go.

the result, 
quote from my bf:
"i want these every weekend for breakfast!"
they really were that good!

i won't be making them every weekend
- you do need to give this recipe around two hours of time -
but i definitely will give some other types of bagels a try in the future.

bagel recipe
300g all-purpose flour (type 450)
70g bread flour (type 550)
5g granulated sugar
7g salt
1 egg
25g oil (i used sunflower)
80g honey
10-14g dried yeast (depending on how dense you want them to be)
150ml water (luke-warm)

for boiling:
1.5 l water
50g honey
pinch of salt

anything you like! spices, onions and such!

warm water. set aside.
weigh all other ingredients into kitchenaid of food processor.
add the water and knead the dough in the machine, 2 minutes at lower setting, another 3 minutes at high setting.
if the dough is very sticky, add some more all purpose flour.
the dough should be slightly sticky though, even after the kneading process.
transfer the dough onto a floured working surface and continue to knead it by hand (using only as much flour as necessary!), until you can form a smooth ball.
cover dough with a cloth and let stand for 15-20 minutes.
in the meantime, prepare water for boiling and preheat your oven to 220 degrees celcius.
beat together the risen dough, give it a few kneads, then weigh it.
(if you want to add raisin, onions or spices like rosemary - you may at this point of time).
divide it into 8 or 9 pieces.
roll them lengthwise, so you can make a circle with a whole in the middle.
connect the two end pieces, by pressing them together and rolling that section back and forth slightly.
place the finished bagels on a floured surface.
while forming your bagels, bring the water to a simmer and keep a slotted spoon and your topping (like my sesame!) handy.
when all your bagels are formed, give them an additional 5-10 minutes to rise.
(remember, the first ones you rolled will already have risen a bit while you were finishing the others, so you wouldn't need 15-20 minutes rising time from the time you finished all bagels, only some minutes additionally!)
bring you water to a boil.
with slotted spoon, add 2-3 bagels at a time.
at first they will sink to the bottom, but when they rise, turn them, and boil on the other side for an additional minute.
then remove from water and press into topping, place onto baking sheet.
once you have all your bagels on the baking sheet, place them in your oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
you should watch your oven temperature and maybe adjust it (turn it down somewhat). 
i turned it down to 200 degrees after 10 minutes.
remove from oven, let cool slightly, and then eat with cream cheese!
by the way, they freeze well!

wedding and special occasion cakes @mönnig.

a wedding cake covered in white fondant with a funny little couple on top.

two giant mixed berry wedding cakes.

a female couple ordered their wedding cake.
a giant raspberry heart.

birthday cake for a little girl. 
and her horsey.
covered and decorated with marzipan and fondant.

philadelphia cream cheese & apricot cream cake.

raspberry-vanilla cream cake.

this here is also a wedding cake.
every layer a different cake.
spanish-vanilla, chocolate-truffle, wine-creme...
decorated with italian buttercream and marzipan roses.

don't you wish you were @ "konditorei mönnig"?