Bread Pudding. What a delicious mess.

Two weeks ago, I was in the Dominican Republic on vacation. Apart from the fact that sitting on a beach in February felt like real luxury, the food in the hotel was great. Made-to-order omelets for breakfast, wide range of salads, vegetables, meats and fish for lunch, à la carte for dinner. The dessert buffet was always a sight, so many cakes, flans, and creams that made it impossible to decide. And there was always bread pudding to find, though it looked more like sweet Semmelknödel than bread pudding to me.

Back home, I tried to make it myself, it is really easy and the results were delicious. I personally prefer this version, where you still can see the bread cubes in the finished dish. The whiskey cream sauce makes it really perfect, much better than versions with fruit or raisins…

makes 4 dessert portions, adapted from Pioneer Woman

2 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or citrus sugar
1 cup / 250 ml milk
1 cup / 225 g sugar
3 tablespoons pecans or walnuts, chopped finely

1/4 cup / 50 g sugar
1/2 stick / 50 g butter
1/4 cup / 60 ml cream
1/8 cup / 30 ml whiskey (bourbon or a mild Scotch)

First of all, preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C. Cut the bread into rather large cubes and pack them tightly into a round baking dish (or several small ones, I also used 3-inch / 10 cm square ones).

Melt the butter (just use a measuring cup on your stove), then mix together with eggs, vanilla, sugar and milk. This will seem an awful lot of sugar, but trust me – it’s just right. Though you may want to reduce the sugar if you’re using white bread, not sourdough…

By the way, you can make your own vanilla (or citrus) sugar – just take an old jam jar, fill in sugar and put in used and dried vanilla pods (or citrus peels).

Pour the milk/egg-mixture over the bread cubes, making sure that every bit is soaked. You could also use the back of a spoon or a small spatula to press the cubes gently down, so that they are submerged.

Sprinkle over the chopped nuts and bake for about 1 hour, but don’t let it get too brown.

While the bread pudding is baking, make the sauce. Just combine all ingredients in a saucepan, stir and bring it to a boil over low heat. Incredibly simple, but very tasty.

Serve the bread pudding either hot or (on the next day) straight out of the fridge. Pour over some sauce and sigh.

Plum Pudding. Christmas classic.

When I lived in New Zealand, you could find puddings in every supermarket. And I don’t mean the milk-and-starch-based kind. But the English kind which more resembles a cake, either chocolate, caramel or passion fruit. They came in little plastic pots, you would heat them up in the microwave, turn them over on a little plate and the sauce would very slowly run down the sides. Especially the chocolate kind was devine. And around Christmas, you could find plum pudding and mince pies.

Original Christmas Puddings are made with suet, which is kinda hard to find where I live – so I used butter. And I don’t have a pudding mold for steaming, so I googled and found a method to steam in the oven.

And those puddings need a lot of time, first for soaking and baking, then for resting so that the flavors can develop.


3 1/2 cups dried and chopped fruit, eg:
  * 3/4 cup prunes, chopped
  * 3/4 cup dates, chopped
  * 3/4 cup raisins
  * 1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
  * 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  * 1/4 cup orange peel, diced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, fresh
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rum

3 cups breadcrumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100 g / 1 stick butter, melted
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional, I used it only for color)

Soak dried fruit, spices and rum for several hours. Overnight is even better, but then make sure to cover it so the alcohol won’t dissipate.

Mix breadcrumbs, flour and brown sugar with fruit, let them soak over night.

The next day, mix melted butter with eggs and milk, then whisk in almonds, cocoa and baking powder. Stir that into the fruit-breadcrumb mixture. It will be kinda crumbly, not much like the most doughs.

Butter enough cake pans or oven-proof bowls, then fill in the dough. Make an even surface with the back of a spoon, then cover with aluminum foil. Place all bowls and cake pans in your largest roasting pan, fill to 3/4 with boiling water, cover the whole thing with aluminum foil and bake at 140°C / 280°F for 2 hours.

Let it rest for ca. 2 weeks, then reheat it using the steaming method above. Serve hot, flambé it with rum and serve with brandy butter. That’s just butter, powdered sugar and a tablespoon of brandy whisked together.

Jerry’s chocolate ice cream with brownies. Intense.

Funny, I’ve never been a big fan of chocolate ice cream. Or milk chocolate, while we’re at it. There even was a time when I thought I didn’t like chocolate at all until I found the 70% and 80% varieties. Seems I just didn’t like the diluted flavor, I want to be blown away. Same with chocolate ice cream, simply not enough bang for the buck.

But then I found Jerry’s chocolate ice cream with 2 kinds of unsweetened chocolate in it and this really gives you a kick. Add a cup of diced brownies, and you’re in chocolate heaven.


70 g / 2.5 oz 80% chocolate, chopped
   (original recipe 55 g / 2 oz unsweetened chocolate)
50 g / 1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate powder, sifted
375 ml / 1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
small pinch of salt
200 g / 1 cup sugar
200 g / 1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 generous cup diced brownies

Chop the chocolate and melt it over very low heat in a double boiler. Make sure that the water does not touch the bowl and not a single drop of water gets into the chocolate. It will most likely be ruined.

Add the cocoa powder to the molten chocolate and start slowly stirring it in. Do yourself a favor and sift it before you add it – I had a lot of trouble getting the lumps out.

When you have mixed the two chocolates together, you will have a very thick mass. I found it very tiresome to stir with a spoon, so I got out my hand mixer.

Whisk in a little milk at a time, mixing over the heat until all is dissolved. Set it aside and let it cool.

Start beating the eggs with a little bit of salt until they look white and fluffy. Let the machine run and very slowly sprinkle in the sugar. Go on beating until most of the sugar has dissolved, then pour in the cream and the vanilla.

Pour the chocolate into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Then put it into your refrigerator until it is really cold – minimum 2 hours, overnight would be even better.

Start your ice cream maker and pour in the ice cream base into the running machine. Then just let it do its thing. I also put the empty container for the ice cream into the freezer, so the ice won’t melt on the edges.

Fill the ice cream into the cold bowl, then quickly stir in the brownie cubes. Store it in your freezer for minimum 2 hours.

Serve yourself a big bowl and don’t try to suppress the groans. It’s only natural.

Superfudge Brownies. Where’s the ice cream?

Sometimes, it’s not that easy adapting foreign recipes. This one for example: all weight measures are given in ounces, so I first need to consult some kind of converter to get it in grams. And what am I supposed to do with “1/2 cup of butter”? In Germany – and many other parts of Europe – butter is only sold in 250 g / 1/2 pound blocks. Thanks to the internet, I didn’t have to mess around with softened butter and a measuring cup.

And then there’s the problem of finding the right ingredients. I looked almost everywhere for unsweetened chocolate, but it was nowhere to be found. The highest cocoa proportion I could find was 80%, so I had to break out the calculator again – assuming that the other 20% were sugar.

BUT: it was so worth the trouble! These brownies are very chocolaty, quite fudgy, but not too dense and with a nice and crisp top. And in the very unlikely case you couldn’t eat them as long as they were fresh: chopped up, they make a very nice addition to chocolate ice cream.

adapted from Ben&Jerry

140 g / 5 oz 80% chocolate
   (original recipe: 115 g / 4 oz unsweetened chocolate)
115 g / 4 oz / 1 stick butter
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
400 g / 1 3/4 cups sugar
   (original recipe: 450 g / 2 cups sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
115 g / 1 cup flour

Turn on your oven and set it to 180°C / 350°F. Search through your kitchen – armed with a measuring tape – to find a 9×13 baking pan. Luckily, I found my 25×35 cm glass lasagna dish. Or use the deep baking sheet your oven was delivered with.

To make it non-stick, butter and flour it very thoroughly.

Chop up the chocolate, the finer the better. As I’m lazy sometimes and cutting chocolate is not really fun, I like to smash the unopened chocolate bar several times against the edge of the kitchen counter. Instant stress relief. And much more fun.

Recipes always tell you: melt the chocolate in a double boiler. This is my double boiler: a saucière or small pot, filled with 1,5 cm / 1/2 inch water, topped with a medium-sized bowl. The important thing to remember is: only melt the chocolate with the heat of the steam, never in direct contact with water – or it will seize up and be ruined.

Also, I like to melt the butter first, as it has a higher melting point than chocolate. Then throw in the chocolate bits and melt them, too.

Stir until you have a homogeneous and glossy mixture, then set it aside to cool.

Meanwhile, start beating the eggs with the salt until they are almost white in color and almost fluffy. Then add the sugar and vanilla very slowly and continue beating until the sugar crystals are dissolved.

Now grab your favorite spatula or wooden spoon and fold in the chocolate-butter-mixture by hand. Stir very gently, you’ll want to preserve as much of the fluffiness as possible.

Same for the flour: fold it in very gently.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and put it in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

This is the hardest part: letting it cool completely before cutting. I prefer to cut 12 pieces, they will be almost square in shape and look very nice when topped with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

Cinnamon macarons with ganache. Not perfect.

About a year ago, I made macarons for the first time. Though I still can’t manage to produce those beautiful, smooth caps, I still enjoy making them. And the combination of chocolate ganache and the smooth, almond-y taste of the macarons is still unbeaten.

Don’t be afraid – the ganache is terribly easy to make, just chop up the chocolate, pour over the boiling cream and stir slowly until you have a shiny and glossy cream. Just follow these instructions in one of my older posts. Because the ganache needs quite a long time to cool, it is best to make it one day ahead.


250 g / 8.8 oz ground almonds
250 g / 8.8 oz powdered sugar
125 g / 4.4 oz / 4 egg whites
50 g / 1.8 oz sugar
vanilla extract

GANACHE (see here for instructions)
100 g / 3.5 oz semi-sweet chocolate (50%)
100 g / 3.5 oz cream
1 tablespoon rum, eg Negrita

In Germany, powdered sugar is often sold in 250 g packs. So I thought I’d base the recipe on this measurement, because weighing powdered sugar is always such a mess. And I couldn’t find ground almonds in my supermarket, so I bought slivered ones.

Mix the almonds and the powdered sugar together and pulse them in your food processor, yes, even if you bought ground almonds. Sieve it all through a fine mesh and pulverize the rests that stay behind until all is evenly and finely ground. And yeah, you really need to do this step!

Weigh the regular sugar and put the following things in reach: a rubber spatula, a piping bag with a big round nozzle, several sheets of baking paper. If you are feeling especially pedantic (or you are piping for the first time in your life), draw regular circles with a pencil and then turn the sheet over. Nobody really wants to eat pencil shavings…

And if your oven is kinda slow, preheat now to 165°C / 325°F.

Beat the egg whites until they are fairly stiff, then slowly add the regular sugar and continue beating until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. Also add the vanilla – see the little black flecks? They come from the real vanilla sugar. Or add color or other flavors you like.

Dump all the beaten egg whites in a bowl together with the ground almonds.

Forget everything you heard about handling beaten egg whites, simply stir until everything is combined and then a bit more.

You need to find the exact right consistency which everyone describes as “flowing like lava”. I don’t know about you, but I have never seen lava flow and I’m just guessing that you haven’t either. So let me put it in other words: the French call it “flowing into a ribbon” and I’m thinking this is just the way honey does. The mixture you see above could have used some more stirs, it was still too dense.

Fill everything into your piping bag. I found out that a giant freezer bag clip helps you immensely handling the bag as you don’t have to be afraid anymore that the dough will come out the wrong end.

Start piping into your pre-drawn circles, these were 5 cm / 2 inch in diameter (I used a glass for drawing them). And don’t pipe the circumference of the circles, simply place the nozzle in the middle, just a little bit above the baking paper and start squeezing gently. Stop squeezing when the dough has reached your circle outline, then lift the nozzle with a quick motion. You can press down the peaks with a slightly moistened finger afterward.

If you like, you can now sprinkle on some cinnamon or anything else you like.

Let it all sit there for half an hour – that helps that the surface will get dry and hard, so that they will rise and have those crumpled little feet.

See, the have risen quite a bit – too much, actually. That is why I should have stirred the mixture a bit more. Let them cool completely before you try to remove them. If you’re too impatient, you’ll end up with the innards sticking to the paper and a hollow shell in your hand.

Fill with the cooled ganache (or your favorite jam, butter cream or lemon curd) and then let them sit overnight. That’s right, you’ll have to wait until the next day until you can eat them. Of course, you could eat them right away, but they will be much better the next day – which makes it the perfect gift / bring-along for your colleagues.

Apricot rolls. Like cinnamon rolls, but different.

These rolls are a bit like cinnamon rolls, but filled with apricot jam and some other yummy things. My mom found this recipe in a German baking magazine ages ago and it’s a regular in our recipe repertoire since the first time we tried it out. I was still a kid and soon I started making this on my own. Mind you – yeast dough! Don’t be afraid, it’s so easy a kid can do it!

Follow me and I show you how it works.


1 packet or cube of yeast
125 ml / 1/2 cup milk, warmed (water also works)
500 g / 18 oz / 4 1/2 cups flour
50 g / 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
150 g / 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt

200 g / 7 oz / 2/3 cup apricot jam
100 g / 3.5 oz / 1/2 cup sugar
100 g / 3.5 oz / 1 cup chopped almonds
100 g / 3.5 oz / 3/4 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons rum

6 tablespoons powdered sugar
some drops of lemon juice

Behold!!! The mighty yeast. Alton Brown would say something like that. I say: Don’t worry, it’s just yeast. Only costs cents in the supermarket. I also always have dried yeast packages in my pantry, but I like the original stuff better. Maybe because you can feel and smell it.

Bring half a cup of milk to body temperature. I kicked out my microwave – it took too much space – so a measuring cup on the stove works great. The milk should be just as warm as your finger.

Umm, yes. The stove is dirty and has some cracks. I do not have a perfect kitchen.

Put the flour in a mixing bowl (no need to sift) and push it to the sides. Crumble in the yeast (hmm, smells good) and sprinkle in the sugar. Pour over the warm milk and let it all sit for 15 minutes.

Oh my god! It’s alive! Well, the yeast becomes active with sugar, water and warmth.

It starts eating the sugar and digesting it into carbon dioxide, which results into those teeny tiny bubbles that make the dough fluffy. And alcohol, but here are only trace amounts. Leave the dough sit for 3 days and you will taste the alcohol. It’s the same yeast the use for beer brewing.

Crack in the eggs and add the butter cubes, then start mixing on low with a dough hook.

Keep mixing on medium-low until all the butter pieces are gone and the dough is not sticking to the bowl any more. At first, things will be very sticky, so keep the machine running until you see it coming off and basically could take out the dough and have clean bowl. Rather clean bowl, the bottom will always stick a little.

Cover with a tea towel and place the bowl in a warm space for around 30 minutes, if you’re impatient. Or just leave it where it is for an hour or two. And if you really have time on your hands, put it in the fridge overnight. The slower and colder the process, the finer the taste and texture of the dough.

Key is, the dough should double in size. Sometimes it even triples in size. See the fluffy texture? Just like a pillow.

In the meantime, mix together all the ingredients for the filling. Nothing special about that.

Get the dough out of the bowl and onto your favorite rolling surface. I like my extra big silicon mat.

Press the big air bubbles out and knead it a bit. No need to get aggressive (but do, if you feel like it!), just work it through to redistribute the butter and the yeast.

That day, I decided to bake only half of it and freeze the rest. Works wonderfully. And the flatter you press the dough the faster it will freeze. And unfreeze, which can be really important…

Now, roll out the dough patiently and gently. Try to get it as thin as possible, this was about 3 mm. Just don’t go too thin or it will tear. Then trim the edges so that you will have roughly a rectangle.

Spread on the yummy apricot mixture and start rolling it up. It’s up to you if you start from the long or the short edge, depending if you like thinner or thicker rolls.

Cut this dough roll into 1 inch / 2.5 cm slices, this works best if you froze it for half an hour or use a really sharp knife. Place them in a pie pan or directly on a baking sheet. Be patient and let them sit there for another half an hour.

Depending on the time your oven needs, preheat to 200°C / 400°F.

Bake for 12-15 min, until golden brown and delicious. They’re great just like that, but even better with a glaze.

And this is really simple – just mix the powdered sugar with some drops of lemon juice until you have the consistency of honey.

Spread it on the rolls, lick your fingers and spoon clean of the glaze and then take a blissful first bite.

Upside down citrus cake. Blood oranges and kumquats.

Hello, my name is Mel and I have fructose malabsorption… Imagine reading all those wonderful strawberry recipes this time of year and and not being able to eat even one little strawberry. Same with apples, pears and cherries. Don’t feel sorry for me – leaving fruit away is better than a hurting stomach afterward.

As a coping strategy, I started looking for fruit cakes with citrus and/or banana – fruit I can definitively eat. And stumbling through flood blogs I found this upside down cake – sweet, tangy, fruity and a very good ersatz for all the fruit desserts I missed in the last year.

for a 10-inch / 26 cm pan
adapted from running with tweezers

butter and flour for the pan
1/2 cup / 115 g sugar
1/2 cup / 115 g brown sugar
5 small blood oranges, peeled and cut into wheels 1/4 inch / 5 mm thick and seeds removed
10 kumquats, cut into wheels 1/4 inch / 5 mm thick and seeds removed
1 cup / 150 g all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup / 125 ml grapefruit, orange or cranberry juice
1/2 cup / 125 ml vegetable oil, e.g. canola

Preheat your oven to 190° C / 375°F and butter and flour your cake pan. As with all upside-down cakes, I recommend to use a pan that’s made of one piece and not a springform pan. Imagine all the juice and caramel dripping into your oven… Cleaning up that mess is no fun.

Take a small bowl and mix the brown and the white sugar together. Then sprinkle half of this mixture onto the bottom of your pie pan.

Peel the oranges and cut them into 5 mm thick slices. And leave the kumquats unpeeled (of course!) and also cut into 5 mm thick slices. And remove all the seeds, they tend to taste terribly bitter when you accidentally bite on one.

Arrange all the citrus slices on top of the sugar – if possible in one layer. You could also arrange them in intricate ornamental patterns, but I was lazy that day so I let chaos reign.

Luckily, that was the hardest part. The dough is made with the really easy muffin method.

Take a medium bowl and mix in there all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. And no need to sift the flour, just stir a couple of times with a wire whisk.

Now get another bowl (I like to use a measuring jug) and mix in there the liquid ingredients: egg, vanilla extract, juice and oil.

The original recipe says to use orange or grapefruit juice, but I only had cranberry juice – and it tasted great.

Very quickly mix the liquid with the flour mixture – just 15 strokes, no matter if there are some flour blobs left – and carefully fill the dough on top of the citrus slices. Bake at 190° C /375°F for 45 min and then let it cool. Completely. Don’t be impatient or your beautiful orange layer will stick to the pan and destroy your cake.

Take this cake to work and be amazed how quickly it vanishes. Be sure to save a piece for yourself…

Canelés. Like straight from Bordeaux.

Canelés are to Bordeaux what macarons are to Paris. You will find them in every café and in some very expensive confiseries in the town center – selling not much else. Except those original copper molds for ridiculous prices. I tried one canelé in a café after a shopping tour. As I was in desperate need of caffeine to survive the 2-hour drive back, I ordered a double espresso and one of those rather boring looking canelés. But I was in for a surprise: the crust was actually so caramelized that it cracked and crunched when I took a bite. And the center was soft, almost pudding-like and tasted deliciously of eggs and rum.

It was totally clear to me that I had to make those at home and I was more than happy when I found a silicon mold for making 10 canelés in the supermarket – for the price of a copper mold for making 1 canelé. Don’t be afraid, it’s not a unitasker: you can also make very cute muffins and cupcakes with it.

Be aware that the batter needs to rest for at least 24 hours before baking – apart form that, they’re ridiculously easy to make. And if you don’t have a canelé mold, just go ahead and use your muffin tin or simple espresso cups. They won’t look original, but you’re going for the taste, right?

makes 10, adapted from Chocolate&Zucchini

50 g / 3/8 cup / 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
90 g / 1/2 cup sugar
250 ml / 1 cup milk
15 g / 1 tablespoon butter
1/2 vanilla pod
2 small eggs (or 1 large egg plus 1 yolk)
40 ml / 3 tablespoons good-quality rum (eg Negrita)

Grab a mixing bowl – or even better, a bowl with a beak for pouring – and mix flour and sugar in there.
In a small pot, heat up milk, butter and vanilla and let it simmer for a minute, then remove the vanilla pod.

Crack open the eggs and pour them on the flour mixture, start whisking with a fork or a wire whisk, while slowly pouring in the hot milk. That should only take a minute and there should be no lumps left. It will look, feel and taste like a thin pancake batter.

Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and mix them into the dough – and also mix in the rum. Then put it in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Right, you’ll have to wait a whole day! If you skip this, you would be making popovers, not canelés.

Oh, and don’t throw the empty vanilla pod away – there’s still a lot of flavor inside! Just wash away the milk, let it dry and put it into a little jar with sugar and a tight lid. Let that sit for a couple of weeks and you’ll have vanilla sugar.

The next day, preheat your oven to 250°C / 480°F and butter the molds very thoroughly – it doesn’t matter if it’s a real canelé mold or a simple muffin tin. It’s the taste that matters.

Pour in the batter – that’s where the bowl with a beak comes in handy – and put it into the oven. Reduce the heat to 200°C / 400°F after 15 minutes and continue baking for another 45 minutes. That’s an hour in total. They’re ready when the bottoms are dark brown, but not burned.

Let them cool and eat them alongside a strong espresso. Imagine you’re sitting in a French street café in the sunshine and it will feel like a little vacation.

Upside down pineapple carrot cake. Who needs frosting?

This simply is a great cake. Or muffin. My mom has a friend called Debbie and she’s from Texas, but has been living in Germany for a long time. She once made the cake when I was a teenager and I was blown away. It was cinnamony, had complex flavors and the concept of carrots in a cake was absolutely new to me, She was kind enough to give me the recipe and I have baked it since on uncounted occasions. It’s great every time: fluffy on the inside, somewhat spicy, nuts and caramelized top for the crunch, pineapples for juiciness. I’ve never made a frosting for this cake (it would be a shame to cover up those beautiful pineapples) and personally, I don’t think it needs one.

But if you really insist on putting something on this cake, some vanilla ice cream goes tremendously well with it. Especially if the cake is still warm.

12 muffins or 1 cake (26 cm / 10 inch diameter)

2 cups / 1/2 liter carrots, finely grated (4-6 carrots)
butter for the pie pan
brown sugar for the pie pan
1 can sliced or diced pineapples, drained well
1 1/2 cups / 180 g flour
1 1/2 cups / 300 g sugar
1/2 cup / 60 g chopped nuts, eg pecans or almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup /180 ml vegetable oil
3 eggs
(vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving, optional)

First of all, preheat your oven to 190°C / 375°.Then start peeling and grating the carrots until you have enough. You could do this by hand, but I recommend some kind of machinery (I use my Kitchen Aid). Carrots are kinda hard and will cost you a lot of time and elbow grease to get them all down to bits. Not to mention fingernails.

Time to prep the cake pans. I like the silicon pans from Téfal (called T-Fal in the US, I believe), because they have a metal support ring so they’re not wobbly. Smear the insides thickly and thoroughly with butter, then fill about a tablespoon coarse brown sugar in each mold and tap and shake and turn until all buttery sides are coated with sugar (do this over the sink). Then put in a piece of well-drained pineapple.

Yeah, I know. They say you don’t have to butter silicon pans for baking pans. I don’t believe it. I’ve had a couple of cakes destroyed because the pan didn’t release it. And besides, you do like a crunchy caramel crust on your cake, don’t you?

This time, I made the double amount of cake, so I also prepped a regular cake pan.

Time to get out a big bowl. Measure in the flour and the sugar. By the way, if you don’t like sifting your flour, just stir it a couple of times with your wire whisk until you see no more lumps.

Now add the baking powder and soda, the nuts (in this case slivered almonds), salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, then mix it all together.

In another bowl, mix together the oil and the eggs.

Don’t be surprised about the 7 yolks – I made the double amount of dough and I added and extra egg because the eggs were so small.

Pour the egg-mixture gingerly on top of the flour-mixture. Kinda looks like a giant egg, doesn’t it?

Now stir it all together until you see a dough forming. Don’t overmix and don’t worry about some flour lumps left – 10 to 15 strokes should be enough. I guess it’s better to have some lumps in your cake than a tough cake – or muffins with big, tunnel-like holes.

Add the grated carrots and carefully mix them in, then equally distribute the dough on the muffin tins or in the cake pan. I recently found out that a disher (some call it ice cream scoop) is the perfect tool for that.

Feels good when a job is done!

Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes and the cake 40 minutes.

Get them out of the oven, let everything cool for at least 15 minutes (so that the caramel crust sets a bit), then turn the cake/muffin pan upside down and carefully pop them out.

Don’t they look great? Shiny, golden brown, juicy, crunchy, soft. Would be a shame to cover it all with frosting… Serve them as they are (great for breakfast) or with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

ANZAC biscuits. Cookies from down under.

Are you also obsessed with foreign supermarkets? When I came to New Zealand 3 years ago, I spent hours in the supermarket, inspecting every row and wondering about many products, looking desperately for others. And of course buying quite a lot to try them out. And everywhere around NZ you will find ANZAC cookies next to the well-known classics like chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin cookies. After wondering and reading the package, I found out that these cookies were originally sent from families to members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) abroad. I guess they were made without eggs so that they would keep better when being sent halfway around the globe. But nowadays you can make vegan cookies by substituting the butter with a good margarine. 

These cookies are a bit on the hard side, so don’t give them to your granny. Unless of course you don’t mind dipping them into hot coffee or tea. Oh, and by the way: tomorrow (25. April) is ANZAC day!

adapted from Lottie + Doof

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 cup shredded dried coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 untreated lemon or orange, just the zest (optional)
100 g / 1 stick butter, melted (or good quality margarine for vegan cookies)
2 tablespoons honey or golden, rice or maple syrup
1 tablespoon boiling water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate/natron)

Preheat your oven to 190°C / 375°F, as this recipe is really quick.

Grab a big mixing bowl and fill in the flour, the coconut and the oats. 

Add the sugar, the lemon or orange zest if you like – and don’t forget the salt! Mix all the dry stuff together.

It sounds a bit crazy, but sweet stuff tastes better with a little bit of salt – and salty stuff tastes better with a little bit of sugar. Think of tomato sauce: a little bit of sugar makes a huge difference.

Melt the butter together with the honey or syrup. Be gentle, don’t let it cook or burn. You just want it liquid, not boiling.

Dissolve the baking soda in a tablespoon of hot water. Then mix it with the melted butter. It will foam up a bit, nothing to worry about.

Now you can pour the butter mixture into the dry mixture. Mix it with your favorite tool – mine being an old wooden spoon.

Now try if you have a good consistency. You want a crumbly mixture that will somehow hold its shape when you press it together. If it doesn’t yet keep together, add a bit more melted butter – not water, as they would become terribly hard and impossible to bite through.

I like to form the cookies with my measuring tablespoon, so that they are all round and have about the same size. You can also use a disher / ice cream scoop or simply roll balls with 1.5 inch / 4 cm diameter to make much bigger cookies.

For baking, you will have to set them at least an inch / 3 cm apart. Here, they are much too close because I froze them and bagged / labeled them as soon as they were solid. There’s no need to do that, but I find that this recipe makes much too many cookies for 2 persons to eat. That’s why I like to make a full – or even double – batch and freeze most of it. But you go ahead and bake it all.

So for baking, set them a bit apart on parchment paper or on a silicone mat and pop them in the oven for 15 minutes.

Get them out of the oven and let them cool. Eat them alongside your favorite caffeinated hot beverage.