Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chocolate Orange Crinckles and Crackles

After a long and hot summer, I can´t be happier with the arrival of autumn. The temperature are still rather high for this time of the year but not hot enough to prevent us for enjoying chocolate in all its baked goodness. Baking season is on again, and what better than chocolate cookies to start with?

The chocolate cookies recipe I chose will yield not only delicious but also very pretty cookies without any decoration effort. The cookie dough expands and cracks the white sugar layer creating a mosaic effect of black and white that is unique to each cookie.
These cookies have a soft and fudgy texture and can be made in no time. Kids and adults alike can enjoy them with a cup of milk or a cup of coffee.

Like always, recipes can be tweaked to suit your individual taste. The flavors I used to enhance and complement that of chocolate were orange and coffee. But you can add whatever flavor that goes well with chocolate or just enjoy the taste of pure chocolate. 

For  about 24 to 25 cookies you need
  • 110 dark chocolate, melted
  • 60 g soft butter
  • 100 g brown sugar (you can use more if you like sweeter flavors)
  • 100 g flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (about 3 g)
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 tsp instant coffee (optional)
  • the zest of one small orange (about a tsp)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • fine sugar and powdered sugar for coating 

First sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt then add the coffee if you are using it.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and orange zest. Once the mixture is creamy add the egg and whisk until combined, add the chocolate and mix again. When the mixture is homogeneous, and at the lowest speed, add half of the flour mixture mix then add the milk and finish with the second half of the flour mixture.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, either in the bowl, or transfer it to a small square container (about 16 x 16 cm). Once the dough is really cold, you can use a small ice cream scoop to form small balls or just use a spoon. If you left the dough in the square container, divide it into 24 small squares and roll them into balls.

First, roll the balls in the fine sugar then give it a good coating of powdered sugar. Be generous with the sugar to get a really elegant and beautiful result.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the cookie balls on top and make sure you give them enough space to expand while baking. The recipe will be enough to fill 2 baking sheets so if you don't have 2 sheets, bake the first  batch while the remaining cookies still happily in the fridge.

Bake in a preheated oven (180C) for 12-14 min. Leave the cookies to cool for at least 5 min on the baking sheet before transferring them onto a cooling rack.

Enjoy a mouthful of melting chocolate cookies with a refreshing autumn flavor that will comfort you any time and every where.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Puff Pastry Braid with Cream Cheese and Cherry Compote

In a previous post I shared with you a recipe of cherry compote and I promised to share another one featuring this delicious treat. It took me a while to share, but you know how summer is! So after a long break, it´s time to start baking and sharing again.

This recipe is really easy to make; with just a few ingredients and a little time you can have a wonderful dessert or a warm breakfast!

To make the braid you need:
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (mine was about 230 g)
  • 75 g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 1/2 tsp of kirsh
  • cherry compote (I used from 2 to 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp of milk with a tsp of sugar for the coating
  • powdered sugar for dusting

First mix the cheese with the sugar, kirsh and vanilla and set aside.

On your baking sheet covered with parchment paper, line your puff pastry and visually divide it in 3 equal parts, the middle one part will form the base on top of which you will layer the cheese and cherry compote and the the sides so with a sharp knofe you need to cut equal strips (if possible) about  1,5 cm.
Put the cheese mixture in the middle add the compote and swirl a bit to slightly mix the 2 ingredients and start bringing the strips to the middle part overlapping between each one! Eventually, you will end up with a nice braided shape.

Once your braid is ready brush it with the milk and sugar mixture and bake in a preheated oven (200 C) for about 15 minutes or until the braid is golden brown.

Dust with some powdered sugar and enjoy for breakfast, for a coffee break or on your next picnic!