Chocolate Brownie and Orange Tart (with hazelnuts)

Back in 2015 I baked an absolutely delicious chocolate brownie and raspberry tart for my birthday. It was a huge success, and not that difficult – despite it having quite a few steps. This tart right here is a variation on that one – I used orange instead of raspberry and added some more hazelnuts to the equation.

It looks a tiny bit less appealing than the raspberry one because the orange coulis almost looks a little green (it isn’t; that’s just the brownie shining through), but it tastes just as delicious – or perhaps even a little better! I adore the combination of orange and chocolate, and the hazelnuts lift it up even more. I roasted these in the oven for a few minutes – that makes them taste even yummier. If you’re not a fan of nuts, however, you can easily leave them out.

I’m still having some trouble getting back into blogging and reading, which bums me out a little. I’m going to keep trying, though! I really love this blog and this community, and I definitely want to keep it all going.

Also, an exciting life update: I found a job! At a book store! It’s only a part time gig as an on call employee person thingy (and not yet enough to live off of) but it’s perfect for me. I had my first couple of days last week and it’s even more fun than I imagined it would be. Perhaps I’ll do a life update post soon to tell you all a bit more about what’s been going on with me post university. But first, let’s get to the recipe!

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Gingerbread Cookies

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I had a lovely day with my family, eating lots and lots of food – including these gingerbread cookies, which turned out to be a huge success. Definitely one to remember for next year!

I hadn’t expected to make quite as many cookies as I did – I’m pretty sure there were about 120 of them! Of course, they were quite small and not very thick, so that may have something to do with it. If I had actual gingerbread man cookie cutters there might not have been this many. Not that I’m complaining! They turned out to be delicious, and I had a lot of fun making them, especially once I got the hang of piping the icing.

This week is technically a week off, at least from my internship, but I’ll probably spend most of it working on my very last university project/assignment/thingy. January will be the last month of my internship and then I’m done with university… Out into the ‘real’ world I go – terrifying yet exciting! I do think I’ll have much more time to blog again, which is something I’m really looking forward to.

But first things first; let’s get to the recipe for these yummy cookies!

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Crispy Cinnamon Biscuits

A few weeks ago, my favourite biscuits were on sale at the supermarket: cinnamon biscuits by a brand called Verkade (not sponsored, although I wish I was). They’re crunchy and sugary and cinnamony – they’re delicious. I don’t often buy cookies or biscuits at the supermarket, because I always figure they’ll be better if I make them myself, anyway. That’s just a fact – home made always tastes better than store bought.

However, these kaneelbiscuitjes (as they are called in Dutch) are among the few cookies I am actually more than happy to buy. I can munch on them all day. Which is exactly what I was doing (probably while watching Friends or New Girl) when I came up with the idea to try and make these cinnamon biscuits myself, to see if they would actually be even more delicious.

Cut to this weekend. I’d put together my recipe, put on some Dire Straits, and got to work on the dough. At one point I was afraid it wouldn’t come together, but I added a little bit of milk and kneaded the dough with my hands and it turned out beautifully. This was the second time I used the slice and bake method (rolling the dough into a log and then slicing it into cookies), and because I actually let the dough cool for plenty of time this time around, it worked perfectly!

These crispy cinnamon biscuits go really well with a nice cup of tea, or just as a snack whenever you feel like it. I’d definitely recommend giving them a try. Oh, and they’re definitely better than the supermarket biscuits.

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Carrot Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yesterday I baked something for the first time since my birthday. That’s over three weeks without any baked goodies from yours truly! I’ve been a bit too busy to create new recipes over the past few weeks, so it was so nice to finally be able to get back into the kitchen and bake my heart out yesterday. Like I’ve said before, baking has a therapeutic effect on me and I felt strangely energised after I finished these cupcakes – ready to take on the world again!

I hardly ever bake cupcakes because I’m not a huge fan of frosting – I absolutely detest buttercream (way too much butter!). All of the cream cheese frosting recipes I came across during my research still incorporated quite a bit of butter, and I wanted no butter at all (can you tell I have a thing about butter?). So I decided to see what happened if I only used cream cheese for the frosting instead of also adding butter.

The result? A delicious frosting that even I like! I was afraid it might be a bit too runny, but, while it’s not as firm as buttercream, it works perfectly as frosting for a cupcake. A very succesful experiment, if you ask me.

Now about the cupcake itself: I modified my carrot cake recipe for this recipe and the cupcakes came out absolutely lovely. The cinnamon frosting adds the finishing touch – it’s a perfect treat for this time of year.
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Chocolate Brownie and Raspberry Tart

As I mentioned in my Monthly Recap, I celebrated my 22nd birthday this past week, which is more or less the reason why I haven’t posted anything since said recap… That, and the two deadlines I had this week. Those didn’t help either.

Anyway, I’m here now, which is what’s most important! My birthday was a lot of fun, with lovely presents (the complete series of Gilmore Girls being the highlight!) and even lovelier people to celebrate it with. On the 7th of October itself I had dinner at my parents’ together with my grandparents, my aunt and my cousin, and the day after I cooked dinner at my own place for four of my best friends. We ate, we drank, we played Cards Against Humanity – it was great!

That dinner leads me to today’s recipe… I made a chocolate brownie and raspberry tart as the dessert for the dinner with my friends, and it was a huge success! It was absolutely delicious, with the raspberry coulis providing a fresh, tangy flavour to accompany the fudgy, chocolate-y brownie.

This tart was inspired by Tamal’s creation in The Great British Bake-Off during chocolate week, when he made a chocolate tart with raspberry coulis as well. Most recipes for chocolate tarts use a lot of cream or milk, though, and I couldn’t do that for this one, because one of my friends is allergic to milk. So I came up with the brownie idea and it worked splendidly!

I also added some chopped hazelnuts on top, since my parents had a lot of hazelnuts lying around (there’s a hazel tree in the garden) and hazelnuts are great, so why not? I roasted them in the oven and blitzed them up in my tiny food processor. They’re a great addition to this already amazing tart.

One last thing: I took the pictures the next day (when it wasn’t dark outside and I had natural lighting) so that’s why there’s only one piece in the pictures – most of the tart was gone already!

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Walnut Apple Cake

About a week ago I was feeling a bit stressed and anxious (it happens sometimes), so I figured I’d do something that pretty much always helps me relax: I baked something. The weather has been changing quite rapidly for the past two weeks, and I think it’s pretty safe to say autumn has come. That’s probably why I felt like baking a nutty, cinnamon-y cake – which is what I did!

This walnut and apple cake was a spur of the moment experiment and isn’t it funny how those often turn out the best? Let me tell you, this cake is good. It’s incredibly simple to make and incredibly delicious. A new favourite? Definitely!

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Chocolate and Hazelnut Mini Muffins

After not having been able to bake anything for about 3 or 4 weeks (I can’t even remember), I was very excited to finally be back in my kitchen figuring out a new recipe! When I was in Normandy I bought this really nice silicon mini muffin form and last Monday I thought it was high time to try it out. I’d had the idea to make some chocolate chip hazelnut muffins for quite some time, so that’s what I’m presenting you with today!

I made twenty mini muffins and still had quite some batter left, so I also made six regular muffins. I brought them with me to the weekly Game of Thrones night at two of my best friends’ place and they were very much appreciated! I hope you’ll enjoy them just as much as we did. They’re really easy to make, and of course you don’t have to make the mini versions, this would be about enough for 12 regular muffins as well, I think!

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Coconut and Chocolate Christmas Cookies

It’s almost Christmas! Are you as excited as I am? I love Christmas, and all the good food and company and cosiness that comes with it. I think it’s my favourite time of the year (although I’ve said that before…). I figured I should come up with a nice Christmassy recipe before the day actually arrives, so yesterday I thought of these coconut and chocolate Christmas cookies, which you can use as decoration for your Christmas tree as well!

I’m quite proud of these cookies, since I’m not that much of a cookie expert, and precision isn’t my strong suit when it comes to baking and decoration. For a while it seemed as if they weren’t going to work out very well, as the dough was a bit too dry, but that was easily fixed! The coconut flavour comes through very subtly, and the chocolate complements it nicely.

What with it being winter and all, the sun started setting before 4pm today, so it was already pretty much dark out when I had to take pictures of the final result. Even though I love Christmas, I do hate that early sunset… The pictures turned out pretty okay, though, I think, so it’s all good!

Hopefully you’ll like these delicious cookies just as much as I do, and before I forget: Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Miss Craftsy’s Healthy Marzipan

I love marzipan. I love it on cakes (so much better than fondant!), in muffins and pies, and I love it as a sugary little snack on its own. So when Joyce from Miss Craftsy posted a recipe for a super easy healthy version of this sugary deliciousness I immediately got the urge to try it! Of course, if it was as good as Joyce said it was, I wanted to share it with you guys, so I emailed her to ask if I could translate her recipe and put it on Books Baking and Blogging. She said yes and the marzipan was delicious (all gone now, oops!) so here I am with the recipe!

But first, let me tell you a little bit about Joyce’s blog, Miss Craftsy. It’s one of the few Dutch blogs I follow, and it’s all about a healthy and happy lifestyle. She writes about healthy recipes (like this one), she reviews books that have to do with a healthy lifestyle and writes about many more things, like films, songs and her own life. I love her blog because it has such a personal feel to it, and it always cheers me up because of her cheery writing style and positive way of thinking. So, if you’re Dutch — go check it out!

Now, onto the recipe…

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Pretty in Pink: Raspberry Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I bought a kilo of frozen raspberries for less than 4 euros. You can imagine I was quite pleased with myself! I love raspberries, but they’re always so ridiculously expensive, if you want fresh ones. Even frozen raspberries aren’t very cheap, usually. So, yes, I was very happy with this purchase, to say the least.

I’ve used a bunch of them to make smoothies, but decided to bake something with them this week: cupcakes, to be exact. I didn’t realise exactly how pink they’d turn out, so, in hindsight, perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen pink paper cases to bake them in. They still look scrumptious, though! Plus, the colour of the icing is completely natural: all you need is some raspberry juice.

I slightly altered this recipe for the cupcakes, which is always foolproof, and they came out looking pretty darn delicious. Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a hurry, and only had time to ice three of the cupcakes (the others needed to bake a little longer) after trying to let them cool more quickly by holding the plate out of the window. Oh well, it happens.

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