May 30, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

For some time now I've wanted to try to make chocolate chip cookies. I really love them, but very often when I bought some they didn't taste exactly as expected. I've recently realized, that what I actually had in mind was not the classical chocolate chip cookie, but a shortbread with chocolate chips. This explains a lot...

Still, when I decided to make my own chocolate chip cookies, I decided to give the classical American chocolate chip cookie a try, and I'm really glad I did. But more on that later.

I researched some recipes on the internet and decided on the following four:

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie from, on the picture in the middle, front.

2. Best Chocolate Chip Cookies from, on the picture in the middle, back.

3. Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies from, on the picture on the left side.

4. Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies from, on the picture on the right side.

All recipes were relatively easy to make and all were edible :-)

My personal favourite was to my surprise the classical American chocolate chip cookie (no. 2). I loved the texture. It was not nearly as chewy as some of the store bought variety but soft and the taste was great.

I was a little disappointed by the shortbread chocolate chip cookies (no. 3). They didn't taste like shortbread at all. I probably should have let them bake for a few minutes longer (or flatten them more) which might have helped with the consistency. The taste was ok (kind of like stracciatella ice cream), but also a bit boring. Especially compared to the other cookies. Surprisingly, a lot of people at the office seemed to prefer them. It just goes to show that there's no accounting for taste...

No. 1 was ok, especially on the second day. They seemed a bit dry when just cooled down but developed a nicer, softer consistency on the second day. Don't know what would have happened on the third day - none of them survived as long...

A nice variation was no. 4 with orange zest, even though they didn't taste like shortbread very much. But still the texture was smooth and crumbly and the taste pleasant.

All in all, I'll definitely make no. 2 again, maybe no. 4. No. 1 was nice enough in itself, but compared to no. 2 they just didn't measure up. No. 3 was disappointing, but I might try a different recipe for shortbread at one point.

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie 

200g butter (room temperature)
280g sugar
40g sugar syrup (you'll find a recipe to make your own sugar syrup at the end of this post)
16g vanilla sugar
2 eggs
400g flour
1 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp salt
200g chocolate chips
100g walnuts, roughly chopped

Cream together the butter with the sugar, sugar syrup and vanilla sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at the time.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Combine the butter mix with the flour mix, add the chocolate chips and walnuts and quickly mix  everything together.

Let the dough rest in the fridge in an airtight container for one day.

On the next day preheat the oven to 180°C. Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Form about 50 little balls from the dough and distribute them on the baking tray leaving gaps of about 3cm between each ball.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15min.

2. Best Chocolate Chip Cookies 

115g butter (room temperature)
100g white sugar
110g brown sugar
8g vanilla sugar
1 egg
190g flour
2g baking soda
5ml hot water
2g salt
170g chocolate chips
50g walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 175°C.

Cream together the butter, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg.

Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the dough along with the salt.

Sift in the flour and add the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Cover a baking tray with baking paper and drop large spoonfuls of the batter onto the baking tray, leaving large gaps between each cookie (at least 5cm).

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 10min until the edges of the cookies are nicely brown.
3. Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies 

200g butter (room temperature)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
0.5 tsp salt
4.5 cups flour
80g chocolate chips
130g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 175°C.

Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract and salt.

Sift in the flour and mix until well blended.

Add the chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Form balls of 2.5cm diameter and flatten to about 4cm diameter rounds.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 18min until light brown.

4. Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies 

50g butter (room temperature)
0.5 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp orange zest
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 tbsp coffee cream (fat content of 12.5%)
1 tbsp buttermilk
1.5 cups flour
0.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
100g chocolate chips
50g walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 175°C.

Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract and orange zest. Beat in the egg, coffee cream and buttermilk.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and beat until well mixed. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Form balls of 2.5cm diameter and flatten to about 4cm diameter rounds.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 18min until light brown.

Sugar Syrup

250 ml water
250g sugar

Bring water and sugar to the boil, then reduce heat and boil lightly for about 15min.

May 26, 2010

Whisky Cream Liquor

While I love whisky in all its variations, I only learned recently, that it's really easy to make whisky cream liquor at home. I found this recipe at the cooking event of my local soccer team.

Whisky Cream Liquor
yields about 5dl of liquor  

125 ml light cream (fat content of about 25%)
125 ml milk
125 ml whisky
1 tsp cocoa powder
100 g powdered sugar
2 tsp instant coffee

Whip the cream lightly until creamy (but not stiff). Add the remaining ingredients and mix everything together. Cool in the fridge for a few hours before drinking. Filled into decorative bottles, this liquor makes for a great small present.

May 20, 2010


I made these for the second birthday party of a little girl. It was a great excuse to go wild with pink icing and all kinds of glittery decoration. My inner little girl had a great time preparing the muffins :-)

I used an adapted recipe from this lovely book by the Cookie Girl that I've bought recently. It's as pink as my muffins and has a cute layout with fairy tale pictures. Actually, the recipe that I've used is for cupcakes, but I have so far not managed to find out the exact difference between muffins and cupcakes. I ended up defining my own distinctions, mainly based on ingredients and baking procedures and these go into my muffin-category.

Recipe adapted from Eat Me!
200g of flour
2 tsp of baking powder
45g of ground almonds
2 eggs
90ml of sunflower oil
150g of sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
250ml of greek yoghurt
0.5 tbsp of lemon aroma
250g of raspberry

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases (preferably pink ones).

Sift together the flour and the baking powder and mix with the almonds.

In a separate bowl mix the rest of the ingredients excluding the raspberries. Once the oven is hot, add the raspberries and carefully combine the wet ingredients and the flour/baking powder. Stir until the flour is wet, but don't let the dough stand around for long, because the muffins will get sticky and hard.

Immediately spoon the dough into the muffin tin and bake for 20-30 minutes.

After they are cool go wild with the decoration. I've used this Dr. Oetker Lillifee icing in pink (with glitter!) and various sprinkles.

The muffins went down well with the kids and also the adults at the birthday party. I guess there's a little girl that likes pink glitter in all of us... :-)

May 17, 2010

Some Kind of Cheesecake

This cake made out of cheese was a present for the engagement party of friends of mine.

They both love cheese and therefore this somewhat different cheesecake seemed the perfect gift.

The bottom layer is a sheep cheese, the top layer a blue goat cheese. To separate the layers I cut out a piece of cardboard and covered it with aluminium foil. Then I decorated everything with a ribbon, some fresh and dried fruit, nuts, crackers and oatcakes.

Apologies for the poor quality of the picture. I didn't have my camera with me and had to take the picture with my mobile phone.

EDIT: Found a much better picture, thanks to the groom:

May 14, 2010

Lime Cookies

I just love lemon and lime dishes. I discovered this recipe on one of my favourite blogs (Not So Humble Pie). It is a simple recipe, it can be prepared in advance and the taste is just fantastic! The acidic lime-flavour really comes through and the texture is light and crumbly. Might just be my new favourite cookie. And luckily I still have half of the dough in the freezer so I can make a new batch in an instant...

Lime Cookies

175g butter (room temperature)

60g powedered sugar

zest of 2 limes

2 Tbsp of lime juice

0.5 Tbsp concentrated vanilla extract

275g flour

20g corn starch

0.2 Tsp salt

Using a hand held mixer beat together the butter and powedered sugar until it is fluffy and becomes whitish. Add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and salt and continue to beat for a few moments until everything is mixed together nicely.

Combine the flour with the starch and sift into the bowl with the butter mix. Carefully blend everything with the hand held mixer until the dough comes together.

Form a roll of about 3-3.5cm diameter (easier if you part the dough into two portions) and chill it in the fridge for at least an hour. As mentioned before, the dough can also be frozen.

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Cut the roll into 5mm thick pieces and bake for about 15 min.

The cookies can be sprinkled with powedered sugar, but I prefer them without extra sugar (except for the pictures).

Oh, by the way - this is what happens if you mess up the whitebalance on your camera...

May 10, 2010


No baking today - not even a dessert. I've been craving salmon all day, so I decided to make this simple pasta dish.


2 tbsp of olive oil
3 shalots, chopped (of course, also onions will do)
2 tbsp of fresh thyme

300g smoked salmon

0.5 dl white wine

0.5 dl vegetable stock
80g cream cheese
200g taglierini
pepper, salt

Cook the taglierini in salt water. Save about 1.5 dl of the water before draining the pasta.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Sweat the shalots until soft then add the thyme and the roughly cut smoked salmon and continue to fry everything for a few minutes.

Add the white wine and the vegetable stock. Dissolve the cream cheese in the sauce. Add about 1 dl of the pasta water and let the sauce cook until creamy.

Add pepper to taste. Probably the salmon adds already enough salt but now would be the time to add more if the dish needs it.

Mix the pasta with the sauce and enjoy!

May 07, 2010


This is one of my all-time favourite cakes. It is really quick and easy to make. And I've never met anyone who didn't like it. It is rich with chocolate and very moist and keeps for 2-3 days (it even gets better after a few days). Also, this cake is perfect for people who don't have much experience with baking as the recipe is extremely easy and very robust.

Although it is a great cake as it is, I felt like trying something a little different today. Since I made this cake for a friend who enjoys drinking wine, I used dessert wine to add a little twist.

Best Chocolate Cake Ever
Adapted from a recipe of Annemarie Wildeisen

200g butter
200g dark chocolate (I usually use chocolate with ca. 46% cocoa)
200g ground almonds
150g brown sugar
1 packet of vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
3 eggs
40g flour
2 tsp baking powder

Prepare a springform pan with a diameter of about 24-28cm (line the bottom with baking paper, butter and flour the side).
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Melt the butter and roughly chopped chocolate over a water bath.

In a separate bowl mix the almonds, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. Add the chocolate-butter-mix.

Lightly scramble the eggs and add them to the chocolate-mix.

Immediately before baking, add the flour and the baking powder. Quickly mix everything together, pour into the springform pan and bake for about 40-50 min.

To test if the cake is ready, insert a cake needle. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready, if there is still batter sticking to the needle let it bake for a few more minutes.

Once the cake is cool, sprinkle with icing sugar.


When adding the eggs, add also 100ml dessert wine. Use 60g of flour instead of 40g.

I found that the wine adds a fruity flavour and the chocolate flavour is not as heavy as it usually is. And it goes perfectly with a glass of dessert wine.

All in all, I'm really pleased with the outcome of today's experiment.

May 03, 2010

Easy Start

So, here we go... To make it easy for myself I'll start with blogging about last year's Easter muffins.

Why easy? Because I don't actually remember the exact recipe, thereby avoiding having to write a long post with detailed instructions. Why Easter muffins? Because I made them somewhen around Easter. We didn't actually eat them during the Easter weekend itself but I still got to use all the colourful Easter decoration without it being too out of season.

I made two kinds of muffins. Both times I probably used a basic muffin recipe and simply added differently flavoured yoghurt and fruits and nuts (I believe I ended up with raspberry-almond-muffins and dried-apricot-chocolate-muffins). Plus - as is obvious from the pictures - I added lots and lots of all kinds of decorations :-)