Every morning I start my day with a big cup of green tea. Every morning I use the same cup. It is a handmade yellow ceramic cup with vertical black stripes that my mother gifted me for my birthday about 15 years ago. I am always scared that one day this cup will break. I know the day will come and I try to prepare myself for this tragic moment which is not an easy undertake. However, I calm myself down that I might lose my morning cup one day  - and maybe I am lucky and keep this cup my entire life - but there is always green tea. Green tea gives me comfort, brings me so much joy every single day and instantly lifts my mood. Some people take pleasure in drinking exquisite wine, but I take the greastest pleasure in sippping the best Japanese green tea that I can find. Besides my morning ritual green tea, I also love my chawan (tea bowl) with Matcha tea in the afternoon. 

Aside from drinking green tea, I like incooperating green tea in baking. I like making mousse cakes with Matcha powder such as these cakes or these cakes
Today I would like to share a little Matcha cake recipe which is very easy and simple to prepare. 
There are big differences - in price and quality - between Matcha powders. When drinking Matcha tea I use ceremonial powder but for baking or making Matcha lattes or smoothies I am using a less expensive Matcha powder (but organic Japanese tea powder). 

Makes 8 little cakes

  • 65 g / 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 45 g / 3 1/2 tabelspoons granulated sugar
  • 4 g / 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, medium size
  • 80 g / 1/2 cup and 1 tabelspoon pastry flour
  • 4 g / 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1,5 g / 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 25 g / 1 1/2 tabelspoons milk
  • 25 g / 1 1/2 tablespoons yoghurt
  • Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F.
  • Grease a madeleine cake tin or a muffin tin. 
  • Add the softened butter, granulated sugar, vanilla sugar and salt into a bowl. Mix until creamy. 
  • Add the egg and mix until well combined. 
  • Sift the pastry flour, baking powder and the matcha powder. Then add the dry ingredients together with the milk and the yoghurt to the butter egg mixture and mix until combined. Make sure that you do not overmix the batter. 
  • Fill the batter into the madeleine tin or muffin tin. 
  • Bake the little cakes for 8 to 10 minutes. If you insert a tothpick in the middle of the cakes and the toothpick comes out clean, the little tea cakes are done. 
  • Let the cake cool for about ten minutes, remove from the tin and let it cool completely on a wire rack. 
  • The little tea cakes taste the best on the day of baking. 

It's been an unsual 2020, to say at least. For me personally, it gave me the opportunity to make a lot of different Christmas cookies this holiday season which I haven't had the time in the last four years (I shared my last "Christmas Cookie Baking" 
here). It's been such a joy baking in my very own kitchen instead of a professional restaurant kitchen. 
I made 28 different kinds of cookies and in total I made 1346 cookies, besides of countless of delicious lussekatter (Swedish sweet Christmas brioche with saffron) which are on of my favorite brioche of all time.  I still have to share my lussekatter recipe with you. But there is hope: there is always a next year and a next Christmas. 

1  Grenobler Nusskekse (Grenoble Nut Cookies)
2  Pepparkakor (Swedish Gingerbread Cookies, my recipe is here)
3  Syltkakor I (Swedish Jam Cookies)
Spekulatius (German Speculoos Cookies, my recipe is here)
5  Gewürzkugeln (Chocolate Spice Balls)
6   Schokoladenstäbchen (Chocolate Sticks)
7   Tuiles aux Amandes
8   Sirapskakor (Sliced Sirup Cookies)
9   Orangenmonde (Orange Cookies with Orange Jam)
10 Müsliflorentiner (Granola Florentine Cookies)
11 Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)
12 Glühweinschnitten (Mulled Wine Squares)
13 Minzecken (Mint Chocolate Corners)
14 Cardamom chocolate cookies
15 Dunkle Wölkchen (Dark Chocolate Clouds)
16 Skurnar Chokladkakor (Swedish Sliced Chocolate Cookies With Pearl Sugar, my recipe is here)
17 Bärentatzen (Chocolate Bear Paws)
18 Spanisches Brot (Cookies with Almonds and Meringue)
19 Elisenlenkuchen (my recipe is here)
20 Pfauenauge (Peacock Eyes Cookies, my recipe is here)
21 Spritskransar (Spritz Cookies)
22 Zitronen Terassen (Lemon Curd Terraces)
23 Russinkakor (Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, my recipe is here)
24 Haselnuss Nussknacker (Hazelnut Nut Crackers)
25 Havreflarn (Swedish Crispy Oat Cookies)
26 Überraschungsiglus (Surprise Balls Filled with Toffee)
27 Weiße Wölkchen (White Chocolate Clouds)
28 Schokoladensterne (Chocolate Stars)

I could write an entire essay about Elisenlebkuchen but instead I want to keep it short and sweet today - just as these cookies are. I do hope you find the time to make these delicate traditional German Christmas Elisenlebkuchen cookies before this holiday season ends. 
It took me a while to perfect my recipe but now I am more than pleased with the result (and i am a perfectionist!). In fact I started to work on a blog post on my Lebkuchen spice mix on December  13 in 2015 but I never ended up publishing this post until now. These cookies are so dear to my heart and it fills me with joy finally sharing this recipe my you. 

The cookies are quite easy to make and it does not require a lot of baking equipments. This is really the beauty of these cookies. And at the same time these Christmas cookies feel so luxurious and festive with typical winter spices. Most of the time Elisenlebkuchen are very big in size but I prefer making small cookies because they are quite rich due to the high content of almond and hazelnut flour and the lack of flour. 
I hope you enjoy these delicious chewy and moist cookies as much I do.
Stay safe wherever you are. Happy Holidays!

Makes 20 cookies

  • 75 g candied orange peel, finley chopped
  • 150 g / 1 1/3 cups hazelnut flour
  • 150 g / 1 1/3 cups almond flour
  • 3 teaspoons Lebkuchen spice mix (you find my spice mix here
  • 2 teaspoons cacao powder, unsweetend
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs, medium size
  • 125 g / 2/3 muscovado sugar
  • 150 g / 6 ounces dark chocolate, 70%, chopped / I use Valrhona Guanaja
  • 50 g / 1/3 cup almonds, skinned
  • Preheat the oven to 150 °C / 300 °F.  
  • Line two baking sheets with baking paper. 
  • Add finely chopped orange peel, hazelnut and almond flour, Lebkuchen spice mix, cacao powder, salt and baking powder in a bowl and mix well. 
  • Add eggs and sugar into a big bowl and whisk until fluffy (it should be doubled in size). Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and gently mix until well combined. 
  • Form balls out of the mixture - about a tablespoon for each cookie - and flatten the balls until they are 6 cm / 2,5 inches size in diamater. 
  • Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes. The outside of he cookies should be firm but when you touch the cookies they should still be soft.
  • Gently transfer the cookies on a wire rack and let them cool down. 
  • While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glazing. 
  • In order to temper the chocolate, melt 2/3 of the chocolate over a double boiler or in a microvawe (when using a microwave, stir the chocolate every few seconds, in order to make sure not burning the chocolate). The chocolate should have the temperature between 45 °C / 113 °F and 50 °C / 122 °F. Then add the remaining 1/3 chocolate and stir occassionally until the chocolate is melted and cooled down between 30 °C / 86 °F and 32 °C / 89 °F. The temperture is very important for tempering the chocolate.
  • Coat the Elisenlebkuchen with the tempered chocolate and decorate with almonds. 
  • Keep the Elisenlebkuchen in an airtight tin. You can keep the cookies up to a month. 

Hello, hello! Welcome back to my blog after a two years hiatus.
I did miss writing this blog but before I give you a long boring update, I would like to share one of my favorite Christmas cookies  - Elisenlebkuchen. 
I share the Lebkuchen spice mix in this blog post which you need for the cookie recipe. In the following blog post you'll find the cookie recipe. 

  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 star anis
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamon seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 black peppercorn or 2 pinches or ground pepper
  • 2.5 cm / 1 inch piece of vanilla pod
  • Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod. 
  • Place all theh spices in a mortar and grind them.
  • Keep the Lebkuchen spice mix in an airtight container. 

Well, it has been a while, a long while, an entire year that I posted here on my blog. I really missed it. I take a lot of joy in writing, photographing and creating new cake recipes. It truly makes me happy. I do not know how many times I started to write this post in the past year, besides the 15 recipe drafts that are saved in my blog folder. It is difficult to write this post because it is not about cakes or recipes but a very personal post. Today I decided, no matter what, I will post this post. Today and not tomorrow, in order to overcome my writer's block.

Let's have a chat. Over the last three years, I got more and more passionate about pâtisserie - in particular, French pâtisserie. Spending hours in the kitchen and creating little cakes made me truly happy. I loved everything about it, including cleaning up a messy kitchen. The last couple of years I wasn't easy for me, life was pretty rough but baking helped me a lot during this time. I turned my life upside down a year ago and I decided to become a pastry chef.

Last summer I moved to Berlin and I started an apprenticeship at a wonderful French-inspired patisserie store. I was happy there and I learned a lot, in particular working with chocolate and making beautiful chocolate bonbons. When I was about two months in my apprenticeship the pastry store had financial difficulties and eventually, the store closed down. At that time, I felt stuck and did not know what to do. I just moved to Berlin for this apprenticeship and it meant I had to start all over again. Applying again for apprenticeships and so on.

I was fortunate and I had the chance to do an apprenticeship at the pâtisserie department at one of the luxurious and prestigious hotels in Berlin. I worked there for eight months before I quit my apprenticeship in July. I am passionate about French pâtisserie and I realized that there is no better place to study the art of French pâtisserie than in Paris. In France, there is a very high level of aspiration and they place great value on the highest quality of ingredients, which is essential to me.

As I write this, I am about to start a new chapter. I got accepted into one of France's leading culinary schools in Paris. It still feels very surreal to me that I am going to live in Paris. On July 1st of 2016, I wrote a post here on my blog with the following sentence " I console myself that one day I will move to Paris for a few months with the purpose of visiting a different pastry store every single day and try all the delicious gâteaux that Paris has to offer". Never ever did I thought two years later I will end up in Paris, not only living there but study French pâtisserie. It is really a dream come true. It is still very unreal to me, though I have been several times in Paris in July for apartment hunting. Leaving my beautiful spacious three bedrooms apartment in Berlin and moving into a 22  studio apartment in Paris will be an adjustment. Let me tell you that finding an apartment in Paris is no joke and an expensive affair as well. I am very very grateful that I not only found a lovely studio but that this studio apartment has a little terrace attached to a little garden. I even have an oven which is a rarity for a Parisian studio apartment.

I am incredibly excited but I am also incredibly nervous about this new chapter in my life. Join me on my new life in Paris and I do hope to share a lot of new recipes and of course sharing my Parisian pastry life with you.
Thanks for stopping by and reading this blog. Writing this blog has been always such a joy and helped me a lot during the last couple of years. In fact, it contributed a lot to my decision becoming a pastry chef.
Thank you.