Brunsli – Swiss Chocolate Cookies

Brunsli - Swiss Chocolate Cookies
I don’t know about you but I love organising dinner parties. I get so excited when I can plan, prepare, cook, decorate, welcome the guests and entertain them. Continue reading

This Saturday, after a long time I’m hosting my fiancé’s birthday party at my home. The guest list is getting longer by the minute and honestly I don’t really know where to place everyone since I’m afraid the table will be too small for the number of guests. I have a couple of days to figure this out.

Talking about parties, soon the festive season will start and a thing I like to do is to spread the love with a few sweet treats like these “Basler Brunsli”. It’s the first time I’ve made them, usually I would taste the store bought ones and I can gladly say that these are so much better than the commercial ones. These traditional Swiss cookies, besides being gluten-free, have a great chocolaty taste without being dry. Now that I have tried these, I will never go back to the store bought ones. For this easy recipe I went around the Internet and saw that the ratios are basically everywhere the same. In my version of the recipe (which I adapted from the site: famillesuisse.ch ), I added a little cocoa powder and a little salt.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL WHO CELEBRATE IT! 😀

Brunsli - Swiss Chocolate Cookies

 

Brunsli – Swiss Chocolate Cookies

 

Recipe for about 30-35 pieces (depending on the cookie cutter size)

Prep time: 30 min (+ 6-12 hours resting time)

Cooking time: 5 min

 

Ingredients:

250 g ground almonds

200 g sugar (I used brown sugar)

1 tbsp. cocoa powder

100 g dark chocolate (85% cocoa beans)

2 egg whites

½ tsp. salt

1 pinch cinnamon powder

 

Recipe

In a bowl mix the ground almonds, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.

In another bowl whisk the egg whites to a peak (optionally add a pinch of salt).

Gently blend the egg whites with the content of the first bowl.

Fill a third bowl with warm water (not boiling) and place the chocolate to soften for 3-4 min (it’s important not to stir). After the time has passed, remove the water and add the chocolate to the rest of the ingredients and gently fold the chocolate in.

Roll out the dough until it’s about 1 cm thick. To do this place the dough between to pieces of waxed paper, the situation will be less sticky and easier to work with.

Using the cookie cutter of your choice, start cutting out the shapes. To make the removal of the dough easier, dip the cookie cutter into a little sugar. When there is no more room to cut any more cookies, gather the dough and roll it out once more. Repeat until the dough is finished.

Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with waxed paper and let them dry between 6 hours to a whole night.

Heat the oven to 250 and bake for 5 min. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a rack.

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins I always like it when a season ends and the next comes up, don’t you? Continue reading

Colours are changing, days are shorter and even if it’s still warm the autumn air and feel is more and more present. The past couple of weeks I have been craving foods like pumpkin soup, fire roasted chestnuts, game meat with spaetzle and on a cold and rainy night I could even go for a fondue… According to this mood I decided to make these cocoa and chestnut muffins. For this recipe I took as a basis Michael Ruhlman’s muffin recipe in his book Ratio. From there I adapted the recipe according to the ingredients I was using. I find that muffins are a friendly food and when I make some I always give at least half of them away. This time, I shared my muffins with my mother and her boyfriend, I brought them when they invited me for dinner last Sunday.

Cocoa and Chestnut MuffinsCocoa and Chestnut Muffins

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

 

Cocoa and Chestnut Muffins

 

Recipe for 12 muffins

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20-25 min

 

Ingredients:

190 g flour (+ more for dusting)

150 g brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

2.3 dl milk

100 g soft butter (+ more to grease the muffin tin)

1 tbsp. cocoa

1 vanilla pod

70g chopped cooked chestnuts

Icing sugar

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 190°C.

Grease the muffin tin with some butter and dust it with flour.

In a bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Incise the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. In a second bowl mix the milk, vanilla seeds and the butter. Once the three ingredients are well combined add the eggs and whisk again.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped chestnuts and pour the mix in the muffin tin. Gently tap the muffin tim on a surface to make any bubbles come to the surface.

Place in the oven for 20-25 min. Check for doneness with a tooth pick. Remove from the oven and leave them for 3-5 min. Take the muffins out of their moulds and dust them with icing sugar.

Individual Apricot Tarts

Individual Apricot Tarts This week when I went to do my groceries I bought some beautiful Swiss apricots and very soon I knew I would make something with them. Continue reading

I remembered this recipe (from a book I don’t even have anymore) which was so easy that I wanted to re-try it out. The main difference between my version and the one form the cookbook is that in the other recipe they called for canned apricots; but really, for me there is no comparison with the taste and consistence of a beautiful fresh fruit. I decided to only make four of them and my idea was to keep them and enjoy them throughout the day, well, they ended up being my lunch (fortunately I run every day so I didn’t feel too guilty). These tarts work well as a dessert (maybe with some ice cream or whipped cream) or as part of a brunch or for tea time. My initial plan was to enjoy them last weekend with my boyfriend but since we are leaving to Spain in a few days he woke up early to got to work.

 

 

Individual Apricot Tarts

 

Recipe for 8 pieces

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients

8 apricots

8 puff pastry rectangles about 8×13 cm (if you can, always go for the pure butter kind)

20-30 g melted butter

2-3 tbsp. icing sugar

40 g dark chocolate

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 210°C.

In a pan bring water to a boil and place the apricots in it. Depending on ripeness leave the to cook for about 1 min (if they are not too ripe leave them a little longer) them move them to a cold bath. Once they have cooled down remove the skin and cut them in half removing the pit.

Line a baking tray with oven paper and place the puff pastry pieces on top. Brush them with the butter and place two apricot halves on top of each puff pastry rectangle. With the help of a sieve, sprinkle over the icing sugar. Bake for about 10-12 min in the oven, once the pastry has browned remove the tray and place the individual tarts on a rack to cool.

In a bain-marie slowly melt the chocolate (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl with the chocolate). Place some oven paper under the rack with the tarts this way it’ll be much less messy. Dip the tip of a teaspoon in the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the tarts going for left to right or the other way round. Leave the chocolate to harden and if you want serve these individual tarts with some whipped cream or/and ice cream.

Chocolate Rocks / Rochers au Chocolat


Chocolate Rocks The only thing that can go wrong in this recipe is if you overheat the chocolate. Continue reading

It’s quick to prepare and it’s a nice treat to enjoy oven a cup of coffee or just like that, because you feel you deserve it…  This recipe is dedicated to my grandfather. In ten days it will be one year he is not with us anymore and I felt like remembering him. About three years ago he gave me this recipe which has been hanging on my fridge since then. Unfortunately I can’t tell where it comes from because I only have one single page of the magazine it came from. And my grandfather read a lot of them.

I adapted the recipe to my taste as the recipe only calls for cornflakes or almonds. I chose to use both and to add some dried fruits. I will surely make these treats again and next time I will give other ingredients a try such as walnuts or hazelnuts or sprinkle on some coconut or use dried pears or mangoes or… Well, the choice is there and it comes down to personal taste.

 

Happy Easter to everyone!

 

Chocolate Rocks 6Chocolate Rocks 4

Chocolate Rocks

 

Makes about 14-16 pieces

Time: 25 min

 

Ingredients

150 g dark chocolate

100 g milk chocolate

30 g butter

½ vanilla pod

20 g dried cherries chopped

45 g cornflakes

35 g slivered almonds

 

Recipe

Break up the chocolate into pieces and placed in a bowl. Scrape out the vanilla seeds and add them to the chocolate along with the butter.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. The water shouldn’t touch the bowl and the chocolate should not become too hot.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and gently stir to coat the cornflakes, cherries and almonds.

On a tray lined with parchment paper, using a couple teaspoons, make little piles. Leave to solidify completely but avoid placing them in the fridge (they will lose shine). Store them in a hermetically sealed tin box for up to two weeks.

 

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Version Française

 Chocolate Rocks 5

La seule chose qui peut mal se passer en préparant cette recette, c’est si on chauffe trop le chocolat. Il faut peu de temps pour préparer ces friandises qui sont à déguster avec une tasse de café ou juste comme ça, parce que on se dit qu’on le mérite… Cette recette je la dédie à mon grand-père. Dans dix jours ça va faire un an qu’il n’est plus avec nous et j’avais envie de faire quelque chose pour me rappeler de lui. Il m’avait donné cette recette il y a environ trois ans et cette recette est restée collée sur mon réfrigérateur tout ce temps. Je ne peux pas dire d’où vient cette recette car c’est une page provenant d’un des nombreux magazines qu’il lisait.

J’ai adapté la recette selon mes gouts vu que sur la feuille on parlait que de cornflakes ou de amandes en bâtonnets. J’ai utilisé les deux et en plus j’ai ajouté des fruits secs. Ces friandises je vais surement les refaire mais la prochaine fois j’essaierai d’autres ingrédients comme des noix ou noisettes, ou ajouter de la noix de coco, ou utiliser d’autres fruits secs comme des poires ou des mangues… Enfin, le choix est la et tout ça dépend de notre goût personnel.

 

Joyeuses Pâques à tous !

 

Chocolate Rocks

Rochers au Chocolat

 

Pour 14-16 pièces

Temps : 25 min

 

Ingrédients:

150 g chocolat noir

100 g chocolat au lait

30 g beurre

½ gousse de vanille

20 g cerises séchées hachées

45 g cornflakes

35 g amandes en bâtonnets

 

Recette

Cassez le chocolat en morceau et placez le dans un bol. Grattez les graines et ajoutez-le au chocolat avec le beurre.

Fondre le chocolat dans un bain marie. L’eau ne devrait pas toucher le bol et le chocolat ne doit pas non plus devenir trop chaud.

Ajouter le reste des ingrédients au bol et mélanger délicatement pour couvrir les cornflakes, les cerises et les amandes.

Sur un plan de travail ou un plateau couvert de papier sulfurisé, à l’aide de deux cuillères, former des petits tas. Laisser refroidir en évitant de les placer dans le réfrigérateur (il perdent leur brillance). Conserver dans une boite en fer blanc hermétique jusqu’à 2 semaines.

A Very Short Visit at The Chocolate Museum – Caslano

C.M. 5We left yesterday morning with the idea of enjoying our day. After a quick coffee my boyfriend and I headed towards the Lugano region. Our first stop would be in Caslano for a visit at the Alprose chocolate museum and factory. After stagnating for a while in the traffic we finally got there. Unaware of the direction we should take to find the entrance we followed the sign which pointed to the museum. We turned the corner of the building and were surprised to find that anything displayed would be held in one of those large party tents. We both found this a bit particular but pushed the curtain and entered the place anyway. Right after getting the entrance ticket there is a chocolate fountain, from there we were handed a bread stick which has been dipped in it. From the entrance, we could not really see what was to come, so we headed a bit forward. First there were a few pictures showing the cocoa bean harvest and next to them were a couple of reproductions of the tools used. It was quite basic and no information was to be seen anywhere.

A few meters away there were about two glass cupboards filled with teapots and cups I guess are supposed to be for hot chocolate. I honestly don’t really understand the point of displaying this many pots and without at least a bit of information. The same goes for the tin boxes next to it. At the end of the museum there was one small section which actually might have provided a little information on the composition of the kinds of chocolate. Unfortunately, there again, I felt that there was minimum amount of effort put into this too. It looked like the display of some grand mother’s personal collection.

There was one last thing we could visit: the factory. There is the possibility to was the production process of Alprose chocolate. We entered the corridor made for the visitors and walked a bit before we saw that nothing was on. I would have liked to see something but I guess that visiting on the 23rd of December does have its disadvantages. We headed towards the exit where the little shop also offered the chance to taste some chocolate products. In the end I guess we were in and out of the place in fifteen minutes.  I am sorry to say that in the end, this particular chocolate museum is set up in a lazy way and a little more attention to it could make it more interesting for children and adults. One thing in their favour is that the price is appropriate. You can see my boyfriend’s perplex expression once we went outside.

Since our visit ended so soon we went for a ‘piadina’ in Lugano and after that we encouraged the economy with some Christmas shopping.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

 

Where: Alprose Chocolat, Caslano

When: Mon-Sun (weekends the factory is closed)

Price: 3.- CHF for adults / 1.- CHF

For who: Everyone

Other links :

http://www.chocosuisse.ch/web/chocosuisse/en/home

http://www.chocosuisse.ch/web/chocosuisse/en/other_services/visitations

Chocolate Almond and Orange Cookies

Chocolate almond and orange cookiesWhile I was doing my groceries I passed in front of the discounted Easter chocolate bunnies and I felt an urge for chocolate. Normally I try to avoid looking at those guilty pleasures but once in a while I allow myself. I ended up getting a couple of dark chocolate bars to make some cookies. The biscuit and/or cookie is actually a very old recipe which was invented for practical purposes: such food could be carried around and could be easily stored. Because of its practicality, the recipe was very popular among sailors, even back during the Egyptian and Roman times.
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Chocolate Almond and Orange Cookies

Makes about 14 cookies

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cooking time: 8 min

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate

100g flour

¼ tsp bicarbonate

Pinch of salt

80g soft butter

100g sugar

Zest of a small orange


Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Melt half of the chocolate in a bain-marie and roughly chop the rest of the chocolate into chocolate chip size.

Mix the flour, the bicarbonate and the pinch of salt.

Mix the soft butter and the sugar, add the eggs and the melted chocolate.

Add the flour, bicarbonate and salt to the rest. Do not stop mixing.

Add the ground almonds, the chopped chocolate and the orange zest. Mix with a spoon.

Take tbsp sizes and put them on a couple baking trays covered with baking paper. Put some distance between portions, the cookies widen quite a bit. Cover them with more baking paper and flatten them (either with another baking tray or by hand).

Place in the oven for about 8 min. Take the cookies out of the oven and let them harden for a couple of minutes.

Basic Chocolate Cake


Basic Chocolate Cake

I generally try not to give in when it comes to sweet stuff but chocolate; I can’t resist chocolate. Chocolate as probably many know had a role during ceremonies of Mayan and Aztec civilizations. It was mixed with spices like chilli and it was consumed only on special occasions there was no milk in this recipe as it is the Europeans who began consuming cocoa this way). It was the Spanish who brought the bean to Europe. When products are a novelty, they are at first consumed by the more privileged members of society and later they reach the rest of the population; this was also the case for chocolate. I knew it was something very much appreciated in the French court but I read some time ago that chocolate was introduced as early as the time of Louis XIII (first part of the 17th century). Gradually the use of chocolate as a drink spread throughout Europe and in London in 1674 a coffee house proposed it in pastries. Being Swiss I felt like I had to give some attention to chocolate; after all we are the biggest consumers in the world and I can say that my boyfriend and I proudly contribute to keep up the average.

Continue reading

So he came over to my place yesterday and about once a month I tell him to get the ice cream and I bake this chocolate cake. We always end up finishing it all and I always end up feeling slightly guilty afterwards. I say slightly guilty because this cake is light in its genre. I really like this recipe because it has a really chocolaty taste. This recipe is a base but you can add raspberries or bananas or almonds prior to baking or serve it with some jam or again, with ice cream it’s our favourite (the stracciatella flavour is my absolutely favourite).


Basic chocolate cake

3-4 people


Ingredients:

80 g dark chocolate

50 g sugar

40 g flour

2 eggs

40 g butter

½ packet of yeast

Icing sugar

 


Recipe:

Heat oven tat 180 C°

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bain-marie.

Divide the egg white from the yolk.

Add the eggs the sugar and the flour to the melted chocolate. Mix until the preparation is more or less even.

Whisk the egg whites to peak and add them gently to the chocolate preparation. Blend the two together lifting the chocolate over the egg whites.

Pour into a greased cake mould and place it in the oven for 18 minutes.