Cinnamon Sugar Blondies with Pecans

Oh, I’ve got a good one for you today, guys. This recipe is probably going down as one of my all time favourites. I made these cinnamon sugar blondies on Sunday, and I’ll already be making them again tomorrow.

They’re really good.

I had a casual dinner thing with a couple of my closest friends on Sunday, and I more or less promised I’d bake something and bring it with me (there was definite peer pressure involved). Since I had to take the thing I baked with me on my bike, it had to be something that couldn’t easily be smooshed, hence the blondies. Plus, I love a good blondie/brownie. They’re easy to bake, super delicious, and you can play around with the flavours endlessly.

One thing that’s still not entirely clear to me is whether blondies need white chocolate. Is white chocolate a requirement for a blondie? I don’t think it technically is, but I’m sticking with it, because it just makes sense, doesn’t it?

The cinnamon sugar is the true hero in this recipe. It really takes it up a notch and I love it a lot. Although, I must say, the pecans really add a little something too. In the middle of all the soft lovely blondie-ness, they provide a bit of a bite. Yum!

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Apple Crumble

Who doesn’t love a good crumble? Ages ago, I posted a recipe for a crumble with pear and berries, but today I’ve got a true classic for you all: an apple crumble! As with any apple dish, I also added a splash of almond liqueur because that’s just smart thinking.

I made this one last week for my birthday dinner with my family, and everyone loved it. The crumble was gone in its entirety before I knew it! I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which made it even more delicious. It was the perfect dessert for a wonderful evening!

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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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Frisian Cookies (Fryske Dúmkes)

My parents have this beautiful hazel in their back garden. It was already there when we moved in when I was 6, but we never paid that much attention to it. I remember one year it gave us a huge harvest, but we barely did anything with it; we just had a humongous bowl full of hazelnuts sitting somewhere in the house for a couple of months.

P1000596This year we’ve got another one of those big harvests, but now we’re planning to actually do something with all (or most) of those delicious hazelnuts. Because they’re good. They’re really good. I’ve already had a lot of them and they’re really tasty straight out of their shell, let alone when incorporated in some delicious bake.

When I was at my parents’ about a week ago my mother suggested we’d use some of these nuts to bake some traditional Frisian cookies called Fryske Dúmkes (literally translated: Frisian thumbs). They are delicious cookies that are especially known for their distinct anise flavour, and originated in Friesland, a province in the northern part of the Netherlands where my parents both grew up and most of my family still lives.

Besides aniseed and hazelnuts, these cookies also contain ginger and cinnamon, which together make for a fantastic flavour. Mine don’t exactly look like the traditional Fryske dúmke, which is somewhat smaller and looks like it has a thumb print on it. The last picture in this post shows what it’s (more or less) supposed to look like.

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An Easter Carrot Cake (with pecans)

Happy Easter everyone! How was your day? Lots of chocolate, I suppose?

What with Easter being a perfect holiday for delicious baked goods, I figured I had to bake something scrumptious this weekend. My mind went immediately to a carrot cake, a bake I’d never made before and seemed perfect for Easter. I think the thought process went something like “carrot – rabbits – Easter bunny”, although that didn’t happen deliberately.

Anyway, on Saturday morning I browsed through some of my baking books and the internet and eventually I put together my own recipe, for what I thought would make a delicious carrot cake with pecans and a nice lemon-y frosting.

It was very easy to make and came out absolutely wonderful! The cake has a beautiful texture and a nice cinnamon taste which is complemented in a lovely way by the frosting, which has a hint of lemon. If you want the cinnamon taste to be less dominant, just use a bit less cinnamon (obvious, eh?) or perhaps a bit more ginger for a more ginger-y taste.

I am very proud of how this cake turned out, I hope you’ll like it too if you decide to make it!

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You’ll need…For the cake (approx. 10 servings)

– 3 eggs

– 150 ml sunflower/vegetable oil

– 100 g white sugar

– 100 g light brown sugar

– 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavouring

P1010026– 125 g flour

– 2 teaspoons of baking powder

– a pinch of salt

– 1,5 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

– 0,5 teaspoon of ground ginger

– 165 g grated carrots

– 50 g chopped pecans

For the frosting:

– 200 g cream cheese

– 1 tablespoon of buttermilk

– 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla flavouring

– 220 g icing sugar

– zest of half a lemon

Also:

– a springform tin (22 cm)

– parchment paper

– and an oven, of course! This cake needs to be baked at 175 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)

So, let’s get baking!

1. Mix together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla First of all, you need to beat together the eggs and the sunflower (or vegetable) oil, and then add the two types of sugar and the vanilla flavouring and mix until everything is evenly mixed. I just used a whisk for everything.

2. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger Next up, you’ll have to add the flour and the baking powder and mix it through, and do the same with the salt, the cinnamon and the ginger. As I said above, you can adjust the amounts of cinnamon and ginger to your taste.

3. Add carrots and pecans Now, stir in the grated carrots and then also add the chopped pecans. Mix everything until your mixture is nice and smooth, which shouldn’t be too difficult; such an easy recipe, and so delicious!

P10100294. Prepare the tin and bake the cake Line the base of your springform tin with parchment paper and grease and flour the entire tin. Then pour in the mixture for your cake. You’ll probably won’t have to smooth anything because the mixture is quite runny. Put your cake into the preheated oven and bake the cake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check the cake after the first 35 minutes by inserting a skewer; if it comes out wet you’ll need to bake the cake a bit longer. If that’s the case, just check again after 5 extra minutes of baking.

5. Make the frosting After your cake has cooled you can coat it with the frosting, which you prepare by mixing the cream cheese, buttermilk and vanilla flavouring together with an electric mixer, after which you gradually mix the icing sugar through it. Then add the zest of about half a lemon. Just gradually add the zest and taste after mixing if you think it’s right!

And that’s all to make this delicious easter carrot cake! Enjoy!

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I had quite a bit of frosting left over since I don’t usually use a lot of frosting (and it was just too much), so I whipped up a small batch of cupcakes to coat with the remaining lemon frosting. I decorated them with the limited edition of Easter M&M’s.

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins

As I’ve mentioned before, baking has a therapeutic effect on me; it calms me down and destresses me. When I need that kind of baking therapy I usually go for a muffin recipe, and that is what happened last week. I don’t know what it is about muffins, but I find them very calming. That sounds kinda weird, but it’s true. I guess it’s because I’ve baked so many muffins during my “baking career”; it doesn’t involve a lot of thinking anymore since I’m familiar with the general process. I mean, those meringues I tried to make were a huge failure mainly because I was too stressed out to try something new.

For these muffins I didn’t feel like leaving the house to go and buy ingredients, so I had to make do with what I’d still got left at home. I had the main ingredients, and some apples — and after that realisation I had a huge craving for apple cinnamon muffins! There was just one tiny problem, being I didn’t have any milk (I don’t drink milk on a regular basis) and in most of my muffin recipe milk is a required ingredient.

I made these muffins without any milk, which made the batter a lot more dough-like than my muffin batters normally are. I was a tiny bit worried, but oh my god did they turn out good! This recipe is definitely going to be the base for my future muffin recipes..!

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You’ll need… (for 12 muffins)

– 250 g plain flour

– 1,5 teaspoon baking powder

– 0,5 teaspoon salt

– 1 teaspoon cinnamon (and some more to sprinkle the muffins with)

– 200 g sugar

– 115 g butter

– 2 eggs

– 1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring

– 2 apples, chopped (and perhaps a bit of lemon juice to sprinkle them with)

– a bit of light brown sugar to sprinkle the muffins with

– a muffin tin (for 12 muffins)

– and an oven, of course! These muffins need to be baked at 180 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)

So, let’s get baking!

1. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon The first thing you need to do is to mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Now put it to the side while you get messy with the wet ingredients (well, not that messy).

P10008222. Mix together wet ingredients Next up, you mix together the sugar and the butter with a whisk. As always, I recommend melting the butter. It makes this job so much easier! After the butter and sugar are nicely mixed, add the eggs and whisk until the mixture is nice and smooth. Then, add the vanilla and mix again. The only thing left to add now are the chopped up apples. Mix it all together.

3. Put it all together Now, you need to gradually add the dry mixture to the wet one and mix it all together with a spoon until it’s blended. As always, don’t over stir the muffin mixture!

4. Divide your batter over 12 paper cases The next step is to divide the batter over the muffin tin. Put a little paper case in every hole of the muffin tin or grease the holes of the tin with some butter. Now divide the batter evenly over the 12 paper cases. I completely filled all of the paper cases, even though “they” say you only need to fill it 3/4 if you want your muffins to rise, and they came out beautifully anyway!

5. Sprinkle, sprinkle, little star Sprinkle some light brown sugar and cinnamon over the top of the muffins. The sugar will give the muffins a nice crunch, and it looks cool!

6. Bake the muffins! Put the muffin tin in your preheated oven (180 °C) and bake them for about 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. They’ll have a nice golden brown colour. When they’re done, take the muffin tin out of the oven and let the muffins cool inside the tin for about 5 minutes. Then take them out of the tin and let them cool completely. Or eat them while they’re still warm. That last one takes my preference!

And that’s it! Enjoy your apple cinnamon muffins!

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Apple Turnovers

I thought apple turnovers were a Dutch delicacy, until I Googled them this morning. Turns out, they’re quite international! I didn’t do any extensive research on them or anything, but Wikipedia didn’t mention any specific origin, and Google gave lots of non-Dutch recipes, so that made things kinda clear.

The reason I thought they were specifically Dutch is because apple turnovers are a traditional snack for New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands (along with oliebollen, which actually are typically Dutch — and delicious). You can get apple turnovers throughout the entire year, but I think most Dutch people only eat them on New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, probably.

On the 31st December my mother buys the oliebollen and apple turnovers at a stall in town. She has to do this in the morning, before work, because in the afternoon there’ll be an enormous queue in front of the stall. That’s the same every year — everyone needs to get some last minute oliebollen.

This year I told my mother she didn’t have to get any apple turnovers because I would make them myself. I’d never made them before, but they turned out really tasty, although I did tweak the recipe below a bit from the one I used. Apple turnovers are incredibly easy to make, so give it a go!

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You’ll need… (for 10 turnovers)

– 2 apples

– 75 g raisins

– 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

– 3 tablespoons of sugar

– 75 g almond paste, crumbled

– 0.5 tablespoon of lemon juice

Optional: – 1 tablespoon of amaretto (almond flavoured liquer)

– 10 leaves of puff pastry (in the Netherlands puff pastry comes in the right size for these turnovers if you buy them in the supermarket)

– 1 egg

– some extra sugar for sprinkling purposes

– baking tray

– parchment paper

– and an oven, of course! These turnovers need to be baked at 200 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!

So, let’s get baking!

1. Prepare the filling Like I said above, this is a very easy recipe with only a few simple steps! First off you need to peel and core the apples and then slice them into little cubes. Put them in a mixing bowl and add the raisins, cinnamon, sugar, almond paste, lemon juice and amaretto to it. Mix everything together with a spoon.

appleturnoversfillingonpastry2. Put the stuff in the stuff Now, it’s time to bring in the puff pastry. Put some of the filling on one half of the pastry, but leave a little room at the edges. Brush some of the egg on these edges (it works as glue, basically). Then fold the pastry closed diagonally, like the ones in the picture. Press the edges down a bit with a fork. Do this for all ten of the pastry leaves.

3. Brush egg on the turnovers and sprinkle sugar on them You’ve got ten turnovers now, but before you put them in the oven there’s one step left! Put all of the turnovers on your baking tray (which should be lined with parchment paper) if you hadn’t done so yet. You’ve now got to brush some more of the egg onto the top sides of the turnovers, so that they’re nicely covered. Then sprinkle some sugar onto the turnovers. It’ll make them nice and crispy!

4. Bake ’em! All that’s left to do now is to put the baking tray with your turnovers into the oven and bake them for 22-25 minutes!

Enjoy your delicious apple turnovers!

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