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!

___________

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. 

Marianne's Gugelhupf



If you read my blog for a while you know how much I like gugelhupf. There are not only many gugelhupf recipes on my blog but I also wrote about the history of the gugelhupf [read it here] and about the Austrian Franz-Joseph gugelhupf [read it here].

A few Sundays ago I was craving a gugelhupf and I made a very traditional Alsatian gugelhupf which consists of a yeast dough with almonds and raisins. The gugelhupf or kouglof how the French call this sweet bread was good but it was not good enough that I would make it a second time. For my taste it was a little bit too salty and a little “tasteless”. Ever since I made this Sunday gugelhupf I was craving a gugelhupf that was a little bit sweeter and flavored with orange. In the end I made gugelhupf with caramelized almonds, chocolate chunks and orange zest which combines my favorite foods in one yeast bread. I love almonds, I love oranges [and everything that is orange flavored] and I love chocolate [who does not], so I name this gugelhupf “Marianne’s Gugelhupf”.


Makes 5 little gugelhupfs* [ø 12 cm/ height 5 cm]

INGREDIENTS
  • 100 ml lukewarm whole milk
  • 15 g fresh yeast
  • 225 g all-purpose flour
  • 75 g softened unsalted butter
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of orange zest [finely grated]
  • 75 g almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of almonds slivers.
  • 50 g semisweet chocolate [roughly chopped or use chocolate chips]
  • 2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
________ 
Some extra flour for kneading the dough
Powdered sugar for decoration

*You can also make a big gugelhupf instead. Double the recipe and bake the gugelhupf for 20 to 25 minutes. If the surface of the gugelhupf color too quickly, cover with aluminium foil.


DIRECTIONS
  • Crumble yeast into a big bowl. Add two tablespoons of the lukewarm milk. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the rest of the milk and about a third of the flour and mix well. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rest in a warm and draft-free place.
  • In the meantime whisk butter and sugar creamy; then add one egg yolk at a time. Add salt and orange zest and stir well.
  • Add this mixture and the rest of the flour to the yeast dough and mix well.
  • On a well-floured surface knead the dough until the dough is smooth. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.
  • Place the dough in a bowl and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or until the dough is doubled in size.
  • Roughly chop the almonds. Add chopped almonds and powdered sugar to a pan and cook at high temperature. As soon as the powdered sugar starts melting lower to medium heat. Stir constantly, so the almonds do not get burned. As soon as the powdered sugar is completely melted, stir for two minutes, remove from the stove. Place the almonds on parchment paper and let it cool. If the almonds chunks are big, chop them into smaller pieces but wait until the almonds are completely cooled.
  • Butter and flour gugelhupf moulds. Sprinkle the bottom of each mould with almond slivers.
  • Take the risen dough out of the bowl and knead the dough again on a well-floured surface.
  • Roll the dough into a square [about 1 cm thick]. Sprinkle the square with almonds and chocolate. Roll the square into a roll and cut the roll into five pieces. Place each roll into a gugelhupf mould.
  • Brush the surface with melted butter and cover the moulds with a kitchen towel. Let the gugelhupfs rest for 20 or until the dough has risen to the edge of the moulds.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Bake the gugelhupfs for 9 to 11 minutes.
  • Let the gugelhupfs cool for 15 minutes. Unmould the gugelhupfs and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  • Enjoy. The gugelhupf tastes the very best while lukewarm.

Orange Chocolate Brioche






















I have a weakness for sweet yeast bread and buns. It is my favorite weekend breakfast and my favorite afternoon tea snack. I love the moment when I take out the bread out of the oven and I love the smell of freshly baked bread. It is such a beautiful moment. Every single time I am looking forward to this moment. This is probably one of the reasons why I like making sweet yeast bread so much.

Whenever I make sweet yeast buns I follow a routine. Most of the time I make it on Sunday mornings. After I take the bread out of the oven I let it cool for a little while - I think homemade bread tastes best when it is lukewarm - and in the meantime I always make a big pot of tea. 
When I made these orange chocolate brioche the other day I prepared a pot with Earl Grey tea. The bergamot flavor of the Earl Grey tea was the perfect combination to the orange flavored brioche with chocolate in the middle. I cannot think of a better way to start a day. 

Makes 10 to 12 brioches

INGREDIENTS
  • 450 g all-purpose flour
  • 25 g fresh yeast
  • 75 g confectioners' sugar
  • 75 ml lukewarm whole milk
  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of orange zest [finely grated]
  • 125 g semi-dark chocolate [I used 55%]
________
  • 1 egg
  • pearl sugar
DIRECTIONS
  • Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. 
  • Crumble the yeast into the well. Add half of the confectioners' sugar and half of the lukewarm milk. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Dust the sponge with flour and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let the spomge rest in a draft-free place for 15 minutes. 
  • I wrote a little advice post about yeast dough which you can read here.
  • Melt the butter and let it cool down.
  • Mix mleted butter, rest of the milk, rest of the confectioners' sugar, eggs, pinch of salt and orange zest. 
  • Add the mixture to the sponge and mix all ingredients well. 
  • Knead the dough on a well-floured surface until the dough is smooth. If the dough is very sticky, add more flour. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm and draft-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough is doubled in size.
  • Grease and flour brioche moulds. You can also use a muffin pan.
  • Break the chocolate into pieces or chop the chocolate roughly. 
  • Knead the dough again and divide the dough into 10 to 12 pieces [it depends on the size of your brioche moulds and muffin moulds]. 
  • Flaten each dough piece and place a few chocolate pieces in the middle. Form each piece into balls.
  • Place each ball into the moulds. Place brioche moulds onto a baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with a kitchen towel and let the brioches rise in a wram and draft-free place for 30 minutes or until the brioches are roughly doubled in size. 
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Brush the brioches with beaten egg. Sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  • Bake brioches for 10 to 12 minutes. If the brioches color too quickly, cover the brioches with aluminium foil.