Chocolate Brioche



Since I have a weakness for all things sweet I try to keep my breakfast, lunch and dinner relatively healthy. In fact, I really like vegetables, whole grains and such a lot and I could not live without these foods. Breakfast food is a little bit difficult for me because I am not a big breakfast person and most of the time I am not hungry at all in the moning but I try my best not to skip breakfast and have a healthy breakfast. However, once a week I indulge in a not so healthy breakfast which is sometimes a croissant, one or two of my oatmeal cookies (my recipe is here) and sometimes it is a chocolate brioche which recipe I want to share with you today. 
There are different opinions which ratio of egg, butter and flour makes the best brioche dough. I cannot give you an answer because I am no a brioche expert but most of the time a brioche contains a lot of butter and eggs which gives the yeasted bread a very rich texture. But there is one thing that is imprortant to me when making brioche (and making yeasted dough in general): it is kneading the dough with my hands and not using any kitchen machine. I think it really makes a difference. 




The brioche recipe  - that I am sharing with you today - is a brioche with less butter and eggs than a classic brioche - maybe it is not considered as a "real" brioche -  but I really like the consistency of this chocolate brioche. The brioche is rich but not too rich, dense but not too dense and moist at the same time and the chocolate chips gives the bread sweetness as well which makes it, at least for me, the perfect indulgent breakfast treat. I could not think of a sweeter start to the morning than a brioche fresh out of the oven or a defrosted brioche heated in the oven, cooled down for a few minutes, with a little bit of butter. It is so so delicious and it is really hard to resist a soft and warm yeasted bread in the morning. I recommend picking your least favorite day of the week and have a chocolate brioche for breakfast and I assure you that it will be a good day.

NOTEI used for this recipe brioche moulds that are 7 cm / 2.75 inches in diameter in size. If you do not have any brioche moulds on hand you can use a muffin tin instead but make sure that you grease the muffin well, so the brioche won't stick to the pan. Sometimes I also make a big brioche instead of petite brioche. I use a 18 cm / 7 inches brioche mould.
The big brioche keeps fresh for several days (store the bread in a plastic bag), whereas the small brioches taste the very best fresh out of the oven or on the same day but heated in the oven for a few minutes. The petite brioches freeze very well. Defrost the brioches in the oven at 75 °C / 160 °F for 10 to 12 minutes. Bon apétit.

Makes 10 petite brioches or one big brioche (see my note above)

INGREDIENTS

  • 35 g / 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 125 ml / 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 15 g fresh yeast / 1 3/4 teaspoons instant active dry yeast / 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 
  • 1 egg (medium size)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 45 g / 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 300 to 325 g all-purpose flour
  • 85 g / 1/2 cup chocolate chunks, semi sweet

DIRECTIONS

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the milk to the melted butter and heat the mixture until it is lukewarm. Make sure the mixture is lukewarm and not hot, otherwise the yeast won't rise.
  • Crumble the fresh yeast* into a bowl. Pour a little bit of the butter milk mixture to the crumbled yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Whisk the egg in a cup; put aside two tablespoons of the whisked egg for the egg wash (keep it in the fridge until you brush the brioche with the egg wash). Add the remaining egg wash along with the remaining butter milk mixture, salt and sugar and mix well. Add most of the flour and mix with a spoon. As soon as the dough comes together transfer the dough to a well floured surface and knead the dough until smooth. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour to the dough. 
  • Place the dough in a bowl and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel
  • *If you use instant active dry yeast: mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl, then add the lukewarm butter-milk mixture and proceed as written above. 
  • If you use active dry yeast: heat the milk until lukewarm. Add the active dry yeast to a mug and dissolve the yeast with two tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter. Mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl, add the melted butter, remaining lukewarm milk and the dissolved yeast. Proceed as written above.
  • Let the yeast dough rise in a draft-free and warm place for about 40 minutes until the dough has doubled in size. 
  • Grease and flour brioche moulds or a muffin tin. 
  • Knead the dough again on a well floured surface. If the dough is sticky add a little bit of flour to the dough. Incorporate the chocolate chunks into the dough. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and form each piece into a ball. Place the balls into the greased brioche moulds or muffin tin. If you make one big brioche, form one bif ball out of the yeast dough and place it into the brioche mould. 
  • Cover the moulds with a kitchen towel and let the brioches rest for 15 minutes. 
  • In the meantime preheat the oven to 200 °C / 390 °F. 
  • Brush the brioches with the egg wash. 
  • Bake the petite brioches for 8 to 10 minutes; the big brioche for 20 to 25 minutes. The brioches brown quickly so keep a close eye while the brioche are in the oven. After 5 or 6 minutes in the oven the brioche are golden in color, cover the brioches with aluminium foil and bake them for another few minutes. If you insert a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean, the brioches is done. 
  • Let the brioches cool for a few minutes; unmould the brioches and enjoy while the bread is still warm. 

Matcha Mousse Cakes


There is a Japanese tea house in Munich. The tea house is a gift from a tea school in Kyoto as a sign of friendship on the occasion of the Olympic Games which took place in Munich in 1972. Occasionally this tea house offers tea ceremonies and more than a decade ago - while I was still a teenager - I attended a tea ceremony at this tea house. I was mesmerized by this experience and it was the first time that I encountered matcha tea. I had a koicha  -  it is a very thick matcha tea and served only during tea ceremonies - accompanied with a Japanese sweet snack. It was delicious and this was the moment when my love affair started with matcha. A decade ago matcha was an exotic tea and it was not that easy to get hold of good matcha powder. This has changed completely today and matcha became such a trend, "superfood" (such a strange word) and the other day I even saw matcha powder in a drugstore. I am not sure what to think of this hype and I wonder how tea farmers cope with the growing demand of matcha tea.
Even though green tea becomes more popular green tea flavoured sweets and cakes are a rarity, at least in my part of the world. I remember when I travelled to China, it was my first trip to an Asian country, and green tea flavoured sweets, ice cream or cake was very popular and I was very pleased about this as a tea lover. Until today, whenever I receive Matcha flavoured sweets or tea in general, it is very special to me. When I lived in Korea and every time I am travelling to Asia I always choose green tea flavoured sweets as a snack or dessert.



On my last visit to Seoul I ate a matcha cake which consisted of a matcha mousse, a milk chocolate mousse core and a matcha sponge cake bottom, It was an incredible delicious cake and I could not stop thinking about this green tea cake. I had to recreate this matcha mousse cake myself. My first attempts were miserable. This is probably an exaggeration because the cakes tasted good but they did not taste as this particular cake I had in Korea. I wanted to have a very creamy mousse texture but my cakes were not as creamy as the cake I had in Seoul. One day I decided to make a mousse without eggs and that was the aha moment. Et voilà that was the green tea cake that tasted almost as good as the cake I ate in Korea. I got a little bit obsessed with this matcha mousse cake and I ate the cake five days in a row. Today is the first day that I won't eat this matcha cake, because I do not have any cakes left in the freezer, which is probably better for my waistline but I do crave this cake right now. Although there is a lot of heavy cream involved the cake does not feel heavy but have a light texture. I also do not use a lot of milk chocolate in baking because I often find milk chocolate too sweet but in the combination of matcha it is the perfect match. The slightly herb taste of the matcha tea provides the balance to the sweet milk chocolate mousse. I hope you enjoy these matcha mousse cake as much as I am loving these cakes.



NOTEThere is a a very big price (and taste) difference between different matcha powders. For baking do not use matcha powder that is used for tea ceremonies; it is often called ceremonial matcha powder. There is matcha powder which is intended for baking and cooking. It does not mean that the quality of culinary matcha is necessarily lower (though it is cheaper) but the powder is prepared differently.

Makes 10 cakes (6 cm / 2.4 inches in diameter; 4,5 cm / 1.8 inches in height)

Milk Chocolate Core

  • 25 ml / 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 5 g / 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 30 g / 1 ounce milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 55 ml / 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 (0.75 g) sheet gelatin, soaked
  • Place heavy cream and sugar in a small pot and bring it almost to a boil. Set aside and add the finely chopped white chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the soaked gelatin and stir again until the gelatin is completely dissolved. 
  • Pour the chocolate mixture into a medium sized bowl and let it cool to room temperature. In the meantime whip the heavy cream until creamy. Fold in the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture. Pour the chocolate mixture into small moulds (height: 2,5 cm / 1 inch, 2, 5 cm / inch in diameter). Freeze the moulds for at least 1 1/2 hours. 

Matcha Sponge Cake

  • 2 eggs (medium size)
  • 45 g / 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 25 g / 3 tablespoons almond flour
  • 20 g / 3 tablespoons pastry flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder, sifted
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Preheat the oven to 190 °C / 375 °F. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Separate 1 egg. 
  • Whisk one egg, egg yolk and 25 g / 2 tablespoons sugar until fluffy (it takes about 3 to 4 minutes). 
  • Mix almond flour, pastry flour and matcha powder in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. 
  • Whisk the egg white and a pinch of salt until almost stiff. Add little by little the remaining sugar (20 g / 2 tablespoons) and whisk until stiff. 
  • Fold in the beaten egg white into the mixture. 
  • Spread the batter onto the baking sheet (30 cm 20 cm / 12 inches 8 inches).
  • Bake the sponge cake for 5 to 7 minutes or until light golden brown in color. 
  • Let the sponge cake cool completely. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter (the size depends on the size of your cake moulds; I cut out 6 cm / 2.4 inches in diameter circles).

Matcha Mousse

  • 150 ml / 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 10 g / 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 200 g / 7 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 (4,5 g) sheets gelatin, soaked
  • 12 g / 3 teaspoons cooking / baking matcha powder, sifted
  • 350 ml / 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Place heavy cream and granulated sugar into a medium sized pot. Bring the mixture almost to a boil and set aside. Add the finely chopped chocolate to the mixture and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the soaked gelatin and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Mix the matcha powder with  two to three tablespoons lukewarm water until smooth. Add the matcha paste to the chocolate mixture and mix well. 
  • Pour the chocolate mixture through a sieve to a medium sized bowl and let it cool for a bit. In the meantime whip the heavy cream until creamy. Fold the heavy cream into the matcha chocolate mixture. 

Milk Chocolate Ganache

  • 15 ml / 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 30 g / 1 ounce milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • Bring the heavy cream almost to a boil. Add the chopped chocolate and mix until the chocolate is melted. Pour the ganache into a small bowl. 

Assembling

  • Prepare a board or a flat plate with parchment paper and place the cake rings onto the plate. 
  • Place a matcha sponge cake disc into each cake mould and add a dollop of ganache on the middle of each sponge cake disc. 
  • Fill each cake ring two third full with the matcha mousse. Unmould the frozen chocolate cores and gently press the frozen chocolate mousse core into the matcha mousse. Fill up the moulds with the remaining matcha mousse. Freeze the mousse cakes for at least 4 hours.
  • Dip the cake rings for a few seconds in hot water in order to unmold the frozen mousse cakes. Place the mousse cakes on cake boards and decorate each cake with a strawberry or any other fruit to your liking. Defrost the cake at room temperature which takes about an hour. Or you can defrost the cakes in the fridge as well; keep defrosted cakes in the fridge until you consume the mousse cakes. 

Dammsugare

I used  not to like the spring season - the autumn season is still my favorite season - but over the years I started to like and appreciate spring more and more. I still do not like spring in the city. As soon as it gets warmer people get fretful and hectic and I am not particular fond of this atmosphere. But spring in nature is another story. It is beautiful! It is a joy witnessing how quickly nature changes. Every single day nature gets a little bit greener; little flowers are making their appearances; birds are celebrating the arrival of spring by chirping louder and louder every day. And finally I can go on long bike rides again which I am very thrilled about being out in nature, picking the first spring flowers and having a little bouquet of wild flowers on my desk. 
Celebrating these "greener (and warmer) days" I am sharing a classic Swedish pastry recipe today which involves a little bit of green color. There are different names for the pastry but the most common names are Punchrulle, Arraksrulle, Trådrulle or Dammsugare. I like the name Dammsugare the best and I also think it is the most common name for this classic Swedish pastry. Dammsugare literally means vacuum cleaner(s) in Swedish.

There are different stories of the origin of the pastry name. One story is that the pastry is named Dammsugare because there was a vacuum cleaner which was designed in 1920s and the pastry looks exactly the same. It was a very popular vacuum cleaner and the model was sold for decades. My grandparents had such a vacuum cleaner model but in the color red and this vacuum cleaner is still somewhere hidden in my uncle's basement. But the reason why I like the name Dammsugare for this particular pastry is not only because it looks like the vacuum cleaner model from the 1920s but it also perfectly describes how the pastry is made. The main ingredient of these delicious delights are cake crumbs and the crumbs are soaked up, not by a vacuum cleaner, but by a delicious cream and marzipan coat and chocolate decoration. I often make these little treats when I have leftover sponge cake and this my favorite excuse to make Dammsugare. Since I make little cakes a lot and for the bottom of the cakes I use sponge cakes - which I cut out - and then I am left with sponge cake leftovers which I keep in a cake tin for a few days. When I have enough sponge cake leftovers I clean my cookie tins or vacuum my tins and in the end I have "clean" cookie tins and I have delicious little cakes. Dammsugare are addictive and I try not to make them too often because the temptation is too great to eat more than one little cake a day. 

NOTEIf you do not have any sponge cake leftovers you can make a simple sponge cake; my recipe is below. It is the best to make the sponge cake a day ahead because than it is easier to crumble the cake. If you do not have the patience do not worry but make sure that the sponge cake has cooled completely before crumbling the cake. 

Makes 10 to 12 cakes

Sponge Cake or 200 g Leftover Cake Crumbs

  • 2 eggs (medium size)
  • 85 g / 7 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 30 g / 5 tablespoons pastry flour, sifted
  • 30 g / 3 tablespoons cornflour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F. 
  • Line the bottom of a cake pan (20 cm / 7.5 inches in diameter) with parchment paper. Do not butter the side of the pan. 
  • Beat eggs and sugar light and fluffy which takes about five minutes. 
  • Mix pastry flour, corn flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Fold the flour mixture along with the vanilla sugar or vanilla extract into the egg sugar mixture. 
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake the sponge cake for 25 to 35 minutes. If you insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and it comes out clean the cake is done. 
  • Let the cake cool completely. 
  • Remove the cake pan and crumble the cake until it resembles breadcrumbs. 

Cream And Decoration

  • 100 g / 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
  • 50 g / 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons raw unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon strong coffee, cold
  • 2 tablespoons rum or punch liqueur
  • 125 g / 4 1/2 ounces marzipan
  • A few drops of green food coloring or matcha powder
  • 125 g / 4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate (50 %)
  • Beat the butter and powdered sugar until creamy. Add cacao powder, coffee and rum or punch liqueur to the mixture and stir well. Add the cake crumbs and mix until all ingredients are well combined. 
  • Sprinkle a surface with powdered sugar and place the mixture onto the surface. Form two logs out of the cake mixture. Each log should be 2 cm / 0.8 inch in diameter. Be prepared that this is a little bit of a messy situation. Wrap each log into plastic wrap and place the cake rolls into the fridge for about an hour. 
  • Add green food coloring or matcha powder to the marzipan. I prefer using matcha instead of artificial food coloring.  Add a few drops of lukewarm water to the matcha powder ( about 1/2 teaspoon) until it resembles a thick paste and add it to the marzipan. Knead the marzipan until it has an even green color. 
  • Roll out the marzipan - sprinkle your surface with powdered sugar -  until it it 1 mm thin. Wrap the marzipan around the cake logs. 
  • Place the logs again in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. 
  • In the meantime temper the chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate into a cup or small bowl. 
  • Cut each log into 5 cm / 2 inches long pieces, Dip the ends of each piece into the melted chocolate. Let the chocolate dry. 
  • Keep the Dammsugare in an air-tight container or cookie tin. The little cakes keep up for at least a week.

The Best Kouglof in Paris ~ Vandermeersch Boulangerie



Last month I spent a few days in Paris. In the last minute I found myself travelling by myself which I made me sad. I made the best of it and it gave me the opportunity spending far too much time in cookware shops and visiting countless pastry stores and bakeries. One of the bakeries that I visited was the Vandermeersch Boulangerie which is situated at the outskirts of Paris and this was the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to this bakery. Years ago I read about Vandermeersch excellent kouglofs and I was very eager to try Vandermeersch's kouglof. So one morning I hopped on the subway and 45 minutes later ( I stayed in Montmarte) I arrived at the bakery and I found a beautiful display of kouglofs in the bakery. There were different sizes of kouglof available. I opted for two petite kouglofs - although I was tempted to buy a big kouglof - but there was no way that I could finish one big kouglof myself. The small kouglofs from Vandermeersch are sprinkled with granulated sugar whereas the bigger ones are sprinkled with powdered sugar and decorated with almonds but apart from the size I do not think there is difference between the kouglofs.
After my successful kouglof purchase I hopped back on the subway and went to the Marais ( it is just about 20 minutes from the Vandermeersch bakery away) and I sat down on a park bench in the Square Georges-Cain park (it is next to the Swedish institute with a lovely cafe with Swedish pastries) in order to have my kouglof breakfast. I literally devoured one of the kouglhofs, not because I was starving, but because it was so good. It was the very BEST kouglof that I have ever eaten in my entire life. It was fluffiest, moistest, airiest yeasted kouglof with a hint of orange blossom water. It really blew my mind. I really did not expect. It was truly one of the best breakfast that I had in a long time and I was glad that I bought two kouglofs (I saved my other kouglof for my dinner). Writing this blog post about Vandermeersch excellent kouglof is such a torture, my mouth is watering and I do not know when I have the next chance to eat a Vandermeersch kouglof. I have to find a way recreating these unbelievable delicious and mouthwatering kouglofs but I doubt is that I am able to make such delicious kouglofs. If you are in Paris and have some time left on your hand visit the Vandermeersch boulangerie. I promise that you won't regret it!

The Marais district is a part of Paris that I particular like. The "Place des Vosges" is an incredible beautiful square but there are so many beautiful little corners to discover in the Marais district. Do not miss the Victor Hugo Museum which is a beautiful museum, located next to the Place des Vosges (as a bonus the museum is free of charge).







Address: 
Vandermeersch Boulangerie 
278 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris
 Opening Hours: Mondays and Tuesdays closed, 
 Wednesday to Saturday 7 am to 8 pm, 
 Sunday 7 am to 4 pm. 
Subway station: Porte Dorée (line number 8); 
 it is a two minutes walk from the subway station to the bakery.

Neuigkeit

Ich habe eine Neuigkeit auf meinem Blog zu verkünden!
Ab jetzt werden meine Blogeinträge auch auf Deutsch veröffentlicht. Rechts oben auf DE klicken und man gelangt auf meine deutschsprachige Seite. Alle zukünftigen Blogeinträge werden dort auf Deutsch zu finden sein. Meine alten Blogeinträge werde ich nach und nach ins Deutsche übersetzen.

I want to let you know that there is a new feature on my blog.
Finally you can read my blog in German!
On the top right corner there is a DE buttom. If you wish to read my blog in German please click on DE. My old blog posts will gradually be translated into German.

Happy reading!

Marianne xxx