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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
The other day I was just minding my own business when suddenly a brilliant idea struck me: Chocolate Easter egg brownies. That’s right.
I love brownies. They’re absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious on their own, but by adding just one or two ingredients you can spruce them up and make them even more special (take these Rolo and sea salt brownies, for example). Plus, they’re extremely easy to make – you can barely mess these up, I promise
(I say barely, because a while back I managed to burn some chocolate when trying to melt it).
Although I know chocolate is a pretty big part of Easter in most countries, I’m also quite sure every country does their chocolate Easter eggs a little bit differently, although I might be wrong. In the Netherlands, we’ve got small chocolate eggs in dark, milk and white chocolate. They come as solid pieces of chocolates, but there are also a ton of varieties of filled chocolate eggs.
For these brownies I bought a bag of eggs that came in four different flavours: milk pecan caramel sea salt, milk hazelnut almond praline, dark almond coconut, and white pistache praline. Sounds delicious, right? Little bursts of flavour within an already delicious brownie. You could choose whatever your like for your own chocolate egg brownies, although I would recommend choosing filled eggs instead of solid ones. Hope you enjoy!
I’m back! You might not have actually noticed that I was gone, but up until last week I hadn’t posted anything in over a month. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since one of my New Year’s resolutions was to take a bit of a chill pill and be more relaxed about my blogging (and reading, and Instagram, and my entire life, basically).
HOWEVER. I didn’t not blog because I didn’t want to, but because I had the flu for two weeks. I’ve never been sick for two whole weeks (I know – I’m lucky) and it sucked. I was bored out of my mind but didn’t have a shred of energy to do anything. I couldn’t even read for most of that time. It was that bad.
But I’m not here to moan! I’m here to celebrate that I’m back and I’m feeling good. And what better way to celebrate than with something yummy? Granted, I did bake these coconut macaroons for a different reason (my bestie’s housewarming), but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that these macaroons were delicious.
And they’re super easy to make as well! You only really need three ingredients, although I added a pinch of salt as well, because that makes everything better (trust me on this). I was planning on adding a chocolate drizzle, but I didn’t feel like messing about with chocolate after I was done with the baking part, so I left them as they were, which was absolutely fine. They’re delicious just the way they are!
Every once in a while I get the urge to bake cookies and it won’t go away until I’ve actually baked said cookies. So, that’s what I did this weekend! I came across the idea of chocolate chip cookies with a hidden Rolo (= caramel) surprise inside of them and that sounded so awfully delicious that I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind.
I used my own recipe for chocolate chip cookies and simply added the Rolos in the middle. It’s a very easy recipe, although it does take some time; if you want to make them come out as delicious as possible, the dough should be chilled for at least 5 hours. I usually make the cookie dough in the evening and bake the cookies the next morning.
These were a tremendous success! One of my colleagues called it “the best cookie I’ve ever tasted” and they were gone before I knew it. I might have to bake them again soon…
One of my very first posts on this blog was a recipe for a Dutch apple pie – it’s a classic, and I still make it pretty often! It was my father’s birthday yesterday and I thought about baking that apple pie again, but I wasn’t satisfied with the idea. I wanted something a little bit different. So, I decided to add pears to the mix!
Pears go great with lots of flavours (like berries, the proof’s in
the pudding this pear and berry crumble), so I figured I couldn’t really go wrong by adding them. I also added some ginger (love the pear and ginger combination) as well as some pecans, for that extra crunch. The pie turned out absolutely lovely!
I haven’t been posting a lot lately, because I’ve not been feeling great. I’m feeling tired constantly and haven’t had the energy for much besides the necessary. After doing a blood test, I found out I have a vitamin D deficiency, which explains a lot! Measures are being taken, so hopefully I’ll be back to having some more energy soon, but for now I’ll be taking it easy. I’m not sure what that means for my blogging schedule, but I’ve decided not to worry about it. We’ll see what happens!
For now, here’s the recipe for this delicious pie!