Marzipan Orange Butter Cookies

I created these marzipan orange butter cookies in the beginning of this year. Before the year is over I have to share this recipe with you.
I love marzipan and I love combining orange flavor - if you have not already noticed from my recipes - in baking. The orange flavor in these cookies are not overpowering but very subtle. The hint of orange flavor is similar to the bergamot flavor of Early Grey tea - a tea which I like very much. 
These days I love spending rainy fall afternoons bundled up by the fireplace with a big cup of tea accompanied with a few of these marzipan orange butter cookies. I secretly call the cookies "cozy afternoon by the fireplace November fall tea cookies". It is my favorite fall activity besides taking my black Dutch bike on long bike rides. 
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Notes: Try to use the best marzipan that is available to you. The quality of marzipan makes a difference when making these cookies. I made these cookies once with marzipan which was not that great and I could taste the difference. My favorite marzipan for baking is the Danish brand Odense (named after the Danish city Odense, H.C Andersen - the Danish "Fairy-tale" author - was born there, too). 
In baking I often use dried peels of organic oranges (just let the peels dry for a few days on your kitchen counter and then store the orange peels in a glass container). In this recipe I also prefer orange zest of dried orange peels. If you do not  have or do not want to use dried orange peels feel free using fresh orange zest  but I recommend using 2 instead of 3 teaspoons of orange zest.
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Makes 50 cookies

INGREDIENTS

200 g all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons of finely grated orange zest
100 g granulated sugar
125 g unsalted cold butter (cut into cubes)
1 egg (medium)
150 g marzipan

DIRECTIONS

Grate the marzipan coarsely or cut the marzipan into small pieces. 
Mix flour and orange zest in a small bowl. Put the flour orange mixture on a clean surface and add sugar, butter and grated marzipan to it. Form a well in the center and put the egg in the center of the well. 
Knead all ingredients quickly until the dough is smooth. If the dough is too dry add a little bit of cold water. Cover the dough into plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least one hour. 
Roll out the dough on a slightly floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper until 3 mm thick. 
Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter (I use a 6 cm round cookie cutter).
Place cookies on baking sheets and let the cookies rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. 
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. 
Bake the cookies for 5 to 7 minutes until the edges are slightly golden in color. 
Let the cookies cool on a wire rack. 
Store the cookies in an air-tight container. 


German Apple Cake







On my 11th birthday I received my first adult baking book and this marked the beginning of making German cakes and torten for my family. One of the first recipes that I made from this book was "Gedeckter Apfelkuchen" It is a "covered" cake with a delicious apple, almond and raisin filling which is very similar to an apple strudel filling. For me this apple cake is a very typical German cake; it's a cake that you find in every German pastry shop. I remember when I was little my family and I visited museums on Sundays and occasionally we went to the pastry shop after our museum visits in order to get some slices of cake for afternoon tea. I always chose a slice of Prinzregententorte but my dad chose almost every time a slice of "Gedeckter Apfelkuchen" and I always managed to sneak a little bit of my dad's apple slice.



This cake is one of my all time favorite apple cakes - besides my beloved Saturday Oatmeal Apple Cake of my mom. Ever since I made the cake for the very first time I make the "Gedeckter Apfelkuchen" every single year. The cake is such a beautiful rich and delicious apple cake which is so comforting for the colder months of the year. 


Makes 1 springform pan (diameter 16 cm)

INGREDIENTS

Dough
  • 50 g hazelnut flour
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 125 g unsalted cold butter (cut in cubes)
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
Filling
  • 50 g raisins
  • 1 tablespoon of rum
  • 375 g tart apples
  • 45 g almond slivers (toasted)
  • 25 g granulated sugar
Icing
  • 50 g confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple juice or water
  • 2 tablespoons of  almond slivers (toasted)
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DIRECTIONS
  • Knead hazelnut flour, all-purpose flour, butter, granulated sugar, salt and  egg yolk to a dough. Wrap the dough into clingwrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
  • For the apple filling wash the raisins in hot water. In a small bowl let the raisins soak in rum. 
  • Peel and core the apples and cut them into small cubes (about 4 cm). 
  •  Mix apple cubes, rum soaked raisins, almond slivers and sugar in a bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. 
  • Line the bottom of your springform pan with parchment paper and grease and flour your pan. 
  • On a floured surface roll out 2/3 of the dough into a circle (the circle should be bigger than the springform). Gently lay the dough into the cake pan.
  • Place the apple filling into the pan. 
  • Roll out the remaining dough to a circle and lay the circle on the top of the apple filling, Press the edges together to seal the dough. 
  • Bake the apple cake for 35 to 40 minutes. If the top of the cake gets too brown cover the cake  with aluminium foil. I usually cover the cake with aluminium foil after 30 minutes.
  • Mix confectioners' sugar and apple juice or water. While the cake is still warm brush the top of the cake with icing and sprinkle with toasted almond shivers.




* The recipe is adapted from the book "Kuchen und Torten" by Annette Wolter, GU.*

Peanut Butter Cookies

This summer I bought new book shelves and I took this opportunity to reorganize all my books. I got a little bit overwhelmed by the amount of books that I own and I asked myself more than once how many books a human being really needs. I tried to get rid of a few books but I  failed miserably and kept all my books which I am  happy about. While going through all my books I found a pile of old diaries which I wrote when I was between 8 and 10 years old. I know know that I got new ballet shoes on November 14th, my younger brother had a tick on November 18th, I had Swedish crisp bread knäckebröd with cheese for breakfast on May 10th, the neighbor's cat visited my house on May 25th and other important things that I would have forgotten.
Among my diaries I also found a peanut butter cookie recipe. I remember that I wrote down this recipe but somehow I never came around making these cookies. When I saw this recipe in my diary I was over the moon. Finally,  - years later - I was able to make this cookie recipe. It is a very simple cookie recipe and I love these peanut butter cookies. Ever since I discovered the recipe in my diary I made these cookies several times. So far it is my favorite cookie recipe of this year.
I keep a few cookies in a little tin on my desk which is a little bit dangerous because sometimes it is hard to resist not to eat the cookies at one sitting. The tin which you can see in the photos belonged once my grandparents (and my mom remember this tin as well) and it was filled with Swedish caramel candies. Now it is my "desk cookie tin" which used to be a candy tin more than half a century ago. I like this a lot. 



Makes 32 cookies

INGREDIENTS
  • 125 g unsalted softened butter
  • 175 g brown sugar
  • 175 g all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 125 g crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 egg (medium)
DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat the oven to 175°C. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Beat butter and sugar until creamy. 
  • In a separate bowl mix flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture, peanut butter and egg to the butter-sugar mixture.
  • Form the dough into small balls; for each ball use one teaspoon of dough. 
  • Bake the cookies 12 to 14 minutes. 
  • Let the cookies cool on a wiring rack. 
  • Store cookies in an airtight container or tin. 

Plum Marzipan Tartlet



Plum season is almost over which I am both happy and sad about at the same time. This year has been a wonderful plum season  - there was an overload of  the most juiciest and sweetest plums that you can imagine in my parents' garden  - and I made countless of different plum cakes. I don't think that I ever made so many plum cakes in a year. I had a lot of fun experimenting with plum cakes and improving my plum cake skills. I made several of this plum cake which was my favorite plum cake last year and I made many many plum marzipan tartlets (probably about 50 tartlets) because I am obsessed with making tartlets and the combination of a marzipan almond filling and plums is superb. It is my plum cake of 2014 and before it is too late I have to share this recipe with you. It is my way to say goodbye to the plum season. It is a little bit sad but at the same time  I think it is time to bake something else than plum cakes.
The plum tartlets taste the best on the day they are made (the next day the crust of the tartlet gets soft) and don't forget to eat the plum tartlets with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream.


Makes 8 to 10 plum tartlets  (Ø 80 mm, I use tart rings)

INGREDIENTS

Dough
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ egg
  • 150 g all-purpose flour (sifted)
Almond Sugar
  • 45 g almonds
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Marzipan paste
  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • 50 g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 ½ eggs
  • 50 g marzipan
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 400 g plums (pitted and quartered)



DIRECTIONS

  • Mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and salt; then add flour and knead all ingredients to a dough. Do not knead the dough too much and work as quickly as possible.
  • Wrap the pastry dough in clingwrap and let the dough rest for at least one hour or overnight in the fridge.
  • Butter and flour tartlet moulds or tart rings. 
  • On a floured surface roll out the dough until 2 to 3 mm thick. Cut out circles (the circles should be a little bigger than your tartlet moulds. Gently press the circles into the moulds. Trim away any excess dough with a sharp knife. Prick the bottom of each tartlet with a fork. Freeze the tartlets for 30 minutes (or longer). In the meantime prepare the marzipan filling.
  • Toast the almonds in a skilled (ungreased) over medium heat. Stir often, so that the almonds do not get burned. It takes about 5  to 7 minutes until the almonds are toasted. Let the almonds cool on a plate. Grind the toasted almonds in a food processor.
  • Mix the almonds with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Preheat the oven to 175 °C.
  • Mix sugar and softened butter until creamy. Then add eggs, marzipan and flour and mix until it is smooth.
  • Take the tartlet moulds out of the freezer. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the tartlet moulds onto it . 
  • Sprinkle each tartlet bottom with the almond sugar (about 1 tablespoon for each tartlet). Then spread the marzipan paste on the top of the almond sugar.
  • Arrange the plum slices (skin side down) over the marzipan paste in a circle.
  • Bake plum tartlets for about 25 minutes.

Kanelbullar


It is no secret that I bake a lot. I try out new recipes, I create my own recipes and every now and then I try to recreate cakes from bakeries and pâtisseriesI go through phases where I make a ridiculous amount of financiers, all different kinds of chocolate cakes or French pastries. At the moment I am in a tartlet phase: in the last two weeks I made more than hundred tartlets. Is there anything better than making the filling for tartelettes au citron or making dozens of plum marzipan tartlets? I do not think there is. Just typing these words I want to run  into my kitchen and make more plum marzipan tartlets. I am not sure if I am "halvgalen" (little bit crazy) or maybe I am already "galen" (completely crazy).
And then there are kanelbullar which are probably one of the best invention of humanity besides the invention of the bicycle. I might be in a tartlet phase or in a financier phase but I am always in a kanelbullar phase. I never get tired of making and eating kanelbullar. I make kanelbullar at least twice a month.
Kanelbullar - kanel means cinnamon and bulle (bullar is plural) means bun in Swedish - are one of the most popular pastries in Sweden. I do not know anyone who does not like a bulle and every single bakery, grocery store, café or the smallest train station kiosk sell kanelbullar (and coffee as well). It is a staple food.


A while ago I escaped the city life and I travelled to Sweden and visited Alingsås which is the hometown of my mom and my uncle is still living there. It is a little picturesque city - half an hour from Gothenburg - with beautiful little wood houses, little cute cafés and the city is surrounded by the most beautiful nature. Whenever I travel to Sweden I am most of the time outdoors. I hop on a bike and cycle to one of the countless lakes that the city is surrounded by, breath the fresh and clean air, read Swedish (cook)books that I borrow from the local library, snacking on a kanelbulle or a wienerbröd (Danish pastry) and soak in the beauty of the nature and the silence. I am surrounded by no noise of cars, no human being far and wide but instead I listen to the rustling of tree leaves in the wind and the chirping of birds.

While I was in Sweden one morning I got up very early and decided to stroll around the city. It was early in the morning and the city was completely empty. While walking through the little cobblestone alleys I did not meet a single person. I was soaking in the calmness and looking at all the beautiful wood houses. And then all of a sudden it happened: I was surrounded by the irresistible smell of cinnamon and cardamon. Obviously the Café Ringen (see the photo above) around the corner was making kanelbullar
On my way home to my uncle's house I reflected on the power of smell. It is amazing how closely smell is connected to memories, experiences or childhood. Strolling around the city early in the morning and smell of cinnamon and cardamon from the café are one those moments that I cherish a lot. 

This is the entrance of the rådhus (city hall). Fun fact: The wife of the opera composer Donizetti Viginia Vasselli was a guest in Alingsås  and she stayed  a few nights at the rådhuset.
On that day I could not resist and made a batch of kanelbullar for my uncle. And there again was this incredible smell of cinnamon and cardamon in the air and it made my uncle's kitchen smell heavenly. My uncle freezed a few bullar and gave some of my kanelbullar to an acquaintance who really liked my kanelbullar. Hearing this made me, of course, very happy. 
Over the years I have perfeced (at least I think so) my kanelbullar skills and I am very pleased how my bullar turn out every single time I make a batch. 
I think it is time to share my Swedish cinnamon bun recipe with you dear readers!

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Makes 15 kanelbullar

INGREDIENTS

Dough
  • 75 g unsalted butter
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 30 g fresh yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 325-350 g all-purpose flour
Filling
  • 75 g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
Decoration
  • 1 egg (small)
  • Pearl sugar

DIRECTIONS
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add milk to the melted butter. The mixture should be lukewarm. It is really important that the mixture is lukewarm because the yeast does not like cold and too hot ingredients. :-)
  • Crumble the yeast into a big bowl. Add a little bit of the butter milk mixture – about 2 tablespoons – to the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the rest of the milk mixture, salt, sugar, cardamom and mix well, Then add most of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and knead the dough until smooth. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. 
  • Place the dough in a big bowl and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm and draft-free place for 30 minutes or until the dough is doubled in size. I always place my bowl in a oven (I switch the oven to 45 °C) and let it rise there. 
  • In the meantime combine softened butter, sugar and cinnamon and mix until it looks like a paste. 
  • Place the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll out the dough into a square (45cm 45 cm). Spread the butter paste onto the square evenly and roll it into a tight roll. 
  • Cut the roll into 15 pieces (each piece should be 3 cm thick). Place the rolls onto two baking sheets. Make sure that there is enough space between each bun. 
  • Cover the baking sheets with kitchen towels and let the buns rise in a warm and draft-free place (I place the baking sheets again in the oven and let kanelbullar rise at 45 °C) for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 225 °C. 
  • Beat the egg with a teaspoon of lukewarm water. Brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar. 
  • Bake for 6 to 7 minutes until the rolls are golden in color. The kanelbullar brown quickly, so make sure you are in the kitchen while the bullar bake in the oven. 
  • The bullar taste best fresh out of the oven but you can freeze them as well.