The Macaron Saga – Part 4: SUCCESS (with recipe!)

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I did it, guys! My holy grail, my unicorn of baking, has been captured. I finally managed to make a near-perfect macaron (over 20 of them actually)! After five attempts (divided over about as many years) that ended in differing degrees of failure, I can finally say that I have baked a successful macaron – and could probably do so again, meaning it wasn’t a fluke. Who knew I had it in me? I certainly thought it was a lost cause.

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Spiced Apple Tray Bake

I finally baked something again this week! It’d been a month since I last baked anything, and much longer since the last time I tested a new recipe and I was starting to experience withdrawal symptoms. Truth be told, though, it was nice to take a little break from baking and go back to appreciating how much I truly love it, instead of feeling like I “have” to bake something, either for my blog or because I promised someone.

To ease myself back into the whole baking a recipe-making thing, I decided to start with something simple. We had a very cold, snowy week in the Netherlands this week so I was craving something with a ton of spices to go along with it. You know, the kind of baked goodie that makes you feel warm inside. I also love to bake with fruits, so I tossed in some apples. And that’s how I ended up with this spiced apple tray bake. It’s simple, it’s yummy, it’s warm and, above all, it’s delicious.

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Recipe: Kinder Bueno Brownies

Who else is loving autumn? I’m definitely enjoying the colder weather after the insane summer we had. But most of all, I’m enjoying the warm sweaters, hot cups of tea and delicious baked goodies. It’s cinnamon season! As I’m typing this, I’ve got a mug of apple cinnamon tea sitting beside my keyboard. Autumn definitely is the cosiest season – and I love me some cosy.

The recipe I’ve got for you today definitely fits with this image, although there’s no cinnamon involved. Instead, you get lots and lots of chocolate!

This is a recipe I thought of a little while ago. I love Kinder Buenos and I think I was eating one when I suddenly thought: Kinder Bueno brownies! Best idea I ever had? Maybe. It’s definitely up there. Although I must admit I was a little surprised by how the soft hazelnutty stuff inside the Kinder Bueno changed consistency – that was not part of my plan. But apparently, the stuff hardens when you bake it! It’s not super tough, or anything, but it’s definitely no longer runny. Still definitely delicious, though.

As with any brownies, this recipe is very easy to make. I whipped it up right after I came home from work because I needed a sweet treat for friends who were coming over for dinner and a film. This was perfect because it takes very little time and the result is amazing. I took the leftovers with me to work and my co-workers were very happy with me that day!

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The Ultimate Rocky Road Recipe

There’s no Great British Bake Off Bake-Along post this week and that’s because I’m on holiday in France as you’re reading this!

I did watch the Dessert Week episode and debated making a meringue roulade before I left on holiday… But then I quickly realised that that would be a dumb idea and I would be biting off way more than I could chew. After all, I still needed to pack all my stuff, decide how many books to bring for a one week holiday and which books, inevitably have a (light-hearted) disagreement with my mother about what would be a suitable amount of books for me to take with me, write a blogpost or two, spend some quality time with my boyfriend (who’s not coming with me on the holiday)… Oh, and go to work.

So. No Dessert Week bake along for me. Instead, I decided to make Rocky Road. It’s quick, it’s delicious, and it’s one of my boyfriend’s favourites, so it’s kind of the perfect bake (without actual baking – all you need for this is the fridge). I decided to make it extra filthily good and used Oreos and Peanut M&Ms along with the marshmallows. Yum!

As for next week’s Bake-Along; I don’t know yet how that will go since I’m still on holiday when the episode airs and I only get back on Saturday. We’ll see! I’d love to bake something because next week is Spice Week and I love baking with spices. But it’s all about having fun, so I’m not going to make any big plans I won’t be able to follow through on.

And now, onto the recipe!

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Chelsea Buns with a Dutch twist [GBBO Bake Along]

bread week

You guys, I’m so proud of myself! I’ve only gone and baked myself some bread! Now, you might think “well, duh, you’re a baker, right?”, but any baker will be able to tell you that baking bread is something completely different from baking pies and tarts and cakes. And I’d only ever baked something resembling bread once before a couple of years ago. I think it was a pizza type dough.

Anyway, back to this bread! It was Bread Week on The Great British Bake Off – the week everybody always dreads, including me this year. I was going to have to bake along and I knew nothing about bread! Luckily, the Signature Challenge of the episode was to make Chelsea Buns (for the Americans: think cinnamon rolls). Baking something like Chelsea Buns or cinnamon rolls had been on my baking bucket list for a while now, so it was perfect. Still daunting, but perfect!

I found a recipe from the winner of the 2015 edition of Heel Holland Bakt (the Dutch Bake Off). She bakes something that looks like Chelsea buns, only she calls it suikerbrood (“sugar bread”, a typical Dutch bread). They seemed close enough to  Chelsea buns to me, though, so I decided to give them a go. I used her quantities for the bread, but changed the method a tiny bit (I used a stand mixer, for instance) and also changed up the filling. I added sultanas, for example, which are a must in Chelsea buns, or so I’ve been told by Bake Off and Wikipedia. I also added a little more orange zest.

I was so afraid the dough wouldn’t rise properly, or that I would do something wrong with the baking, but these buns came out perfectly! The original recipe was a bit brief in its directions, so I’ve written it all down a little more elaborately (and in English) so it’ll be easier to follow.

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Orange and Almond Tray Bake [GBBO Bake-Along]

 

BAKE ALONG Cake Week

The second week of The Great British Bake Off was Cake Week and there was drama galore! Apparently, it was a zillion degrees outside when they filmed this episode and the bakers had to temper chocolate inside the GBBO tent. Which of course went very badly.

Which made me wonder (and not for the first time)… Why on earth would you film a baking show inside a tent? There’s so much that can go wrong! It doesn’t make sense at all, but I have to admit I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes for great television (and there’s your reason, I suspect).

Anyway! Back to Cake Week. The Signature Challenge for this week was to bake a tray bake and that had me excited straight away. Apart from the usual brownies and blondies, I don’t think I’ve ever baked a tray bake (do they count as tray bakes, anyway?) and I really wanted to give it a try!

I came up with my flavour combination during the episode already and I immediately knew it would be a winner: almond and orange always is, after all! So, I made an orange and almond sponge and added a deliciously tangy yet sweet orange cream cheese frosting on top. Yum.

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Classic Dutch “Kletskoppen” [GBBO Bake-Along]

GBBO Bake Along - Week 1

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about Christmas – I’m fully aware that’s still exactly 114 days away. I’m talking about the fact that The Great British Bake Off is finally on again! I got all giddy with excitement weeks ago and that didn’t really stop when I actually watched the first episode. It got me all excited to get into the kitchen and bake something myself as well, and that’s when I came up with this idea…

I’m going to do a GBBO Bake-Along! Over the course of the coming weeks, I’m going to bake something every week and it has to be inspired by that week’s episode of GBBO. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a recipe directly from the show, but it does have to fit with that week’s theme. This is going to be so much fun!

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Chocolate Cake with Strawberries and Cream (and chocolate ganache)

Two weeks ago, it was my boyfriend’s birthday, so of course I had to bake him a cake – it’s what I do! It was also my first time baking in the new kitchen, which has lots more space and has a dishwasher (I’m still not over this – I love it so much). Naturally, I always love baking. But it’s so much more fun when I actually have the space to do it! I predict loads more recipes in the near future…

Back to Willem’s birthday cake, though! He asked for something with chocolate and red fruit, and that’s what he got. I got out my chocolate bible (it’s actually called that) and eventually came across the perfect recipe. A two-layer chocolate cake filled with strawberry jam, whipped cream and strawberries. Yum!

I made a few adjustments to the cake recipe itself and, to make it even more chocolatey, decided to cover the entire thing in chocolate ganache and add some more fruit on top. The result was delicious. The cake is lovely and light, the strawberries and cream filling is the perfect combination of sweet and fresh and the dark chocolate ganache adds that extra chocolatey kick.

And what’s even better: this cake isn’t difficult to make at all! Because it has three different components the recipe might seem long and it will take a little bit of time. But, really, the three components are all very easy to whip up. It’s the perfect birthday cake!

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Fresh Nectarine Muffins

I made these muffins a while ago already, when I suddently felt the urge to give my basic muffin recipe an update because I wasn’t entirely happy with it. Given the fact that I still had some nectarines leftover, the choice for this muffin flavour combo was easily made. Add a little bit of lemon zest and some cinnamon for a deeper flavour, and you’ve got yourself a nice and fresh fruit-based muffin, perfect for summer.

As for the changes I made to the recipe: I added milk to the recipe, which is very common in muffin recipes anyway, but I decided to leave it out of mine way back when because I never had milk in my fridge (solid reason, I’d say). It does give your muffins this extra bit of moisture and a more silky texture, which sounds like something every muffin needs, right?

It’s been a bit silent on here for the last month. In fact, this is my first post all month, and it’s the first of July tomorrow. Oops. At the start of the year I told you guys I was going to take it easy with all of my hobbies and just do things when I felt like doing them, and that’s exactly what has happened this month. I was quite busy and stressed what with a holiday and an upcoming move, so there just wasn’t any room in my head for blogging. The holiday has come and gone now, but we’re moving in August, so we’ll see how much I get around to blogging until then! Always a surprise…

For now, let’s get to the recipe, shall we? These muffins are very easy to make and they’re the perfect sweet snack on a nice summer day!

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Profiteroles (with a whipped cream filling)

Ages ago, my Mum asked me if I wanted to bake profiteroles with her some time. We’d both never baked them before and they seemed like a fun challenge. I also figured that, as a baker, it would be good to add choux pastry to my arsenal of baking skills. Of course, months then went by before we actually got around to doing it because that’s how it goes. But then, at Easter, we finally gave it a try and we were pretty succesful!

I always thought choux pastry was difficult to make because it involves cooking the pastry, but it really isn’t that hard. You have to pay attention to what you’re doing, sure, but as long as you’re doing that it’ll be fine. Our first batch didn’t turn out great, since I didn’t pipe the profiteroles properly (too flat), but the second batch (made from the same batch of pastry) turned out perfectly!

We went for the standard profiterole filling of whipped cream, although you could of course add other kinds of fillings as well, or dip them in chocolate at the end. “Profiteroles” is such a fancy name, by the way. In Dutch we call them soesjes (pronounced “sooshes”), which sounds way more fun to me! Too bad no one in the English speaking blogosphere will know what I’m talking about when I say “sooshes”. Oh, well. Profiteroles it is, then.

We had tons of fun baking these and I can’t wait to try some other recipes with choux pastry soon. Perhaps éclairs? We’ll see!

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