Chocolate Muffins with a Surprise

A dozen of these chocolate muffins is gone very quickly at our house, everyone loves them. One bite into the dark ball reveals the surprise: a white vanilla cream cheese filling.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 tbsp. dutch processed cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • vanilla flavouring
  • 1.5 tbsp. sugar

Preparation

Mix together all the ingredients for the filling and set aside.

Prepare the batter for the muffins.

Line the muffins pan with baking cups and fill the bottom of each cup with two tablespoons of the batter. Add one heaped teaspoon of the filling and top with batter.

Bake at 180˚C for 20-25 min.

After the muffins had cooled off a bit, I poured chocolate glaze over top and added some sprinkles for decoration.

I would like to try some variations of this recipe like adding shredded coconuts to the filling or using a different flavouring or even preparing a white batter and adding a filling with cream cheese and jam. What are your ideas?

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Filed under baking, easy, muffins

Home-Made Vinaigrettes – Ready to Go

What I  learned from my old friends Klaus and Dorle who were both busy teachers and were rising a family with four young children at the time is that it is efficient and saves time to prepare in advance. They used to always have a bottle of home made Balsamic vinaigrette dressing ready to go in their kitchen. I adopted this habit and added a bottle of my own raspberry vinaigrette.

If you want to do the same or if you want to prepare a nice present from your kitchen for a friend just  prepare the dressing, then download and print one of the labels and glue it onto an empty vinegar bottle.

Both vinaigrettes go well with a toss of leaf lettuce with fruit, nuts and cheese.

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Filed under all seasons, basic, easy, inexpensive, vinaigrette

Cappuccino Cheesecake Squares

Inspired by a recipe on the lid of an Astro Yogurt I made these super- easy cheesecake squares for dessert last Sunday.

Ingredients

  • 200g amaretti crumbles
  • 125 g melted butter
  • 2 packages softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • cocoa powder for decoration

Preparation

Knead crumbles and butter together and press into a greased 8×8 inch baking pan. Mix all the other ingredients and pour over top. Bake for 30 min. at 325°F. Let cool off in the oven, just open the door, then chill for a couple of hours.

Be creative with your decorations! I simply dusted the squares with cocoa powder.

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Filed under baking, dessert, easy

Lasagna à la Mexicana

In our family we renamed this original Kraft “Layered Fiesta Casserole” to “Mexican Lasagna”.  It has become almost as popular as lasagna in our house and is very easy to prepare, even in advance. Give it a try!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. (450 g) extra-lean ground beef (turkey or chicken)
  • 1 green pepper, cubed
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • (optional: 1 bag of burrito seasoning)
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1/2 big can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 3-4 big tortillas, cut into wedges
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheese

Preparation

Brown meat and peppers. Stir in salsa, tomatoes and corn and bring to boil, simmer for a bit.

Grease baking dish and fill with (2-3) layers of meat mixture, tortillas and cheese (cheese on the top).

Bake at 375°F for 25-30min. Let stand for 5 min. before serving.

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Filed under casserole, easy

Swiss Zopf Bread

This morning my house was filled with the smell of fresh yeast as I was baking a braided bread. I learned this recipe while living in Switzerland. It is a very popular treat that you can buy in any local bakery especially for your Saturday morning breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg flour (I used half white, half whole wheat flour)
  •  4 tsp yeast
  • 125ml milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 l milk
  • 100 ml water
  • 100g butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. vegetable oil.

Preparation

Pour the flour in a big bowl and make a hole in the middle. Add the yeast and 1 tsp. of sugar, mix with 125ml lukewarm milk and let sit at least 15 minutes so the yeast can proof. Bubbles rising up indicates that your dough is ready.
Add cut butter and salt. While mixing with your hand gradually add milk, just enough to make a smooth dough. Knead and beat the dough until it has a silky consistency for about 10 minutes.  Cover and let sit for 1.5 hours at a warm place.

Now the braiding begins. I cut the dough in four pieces and made two braids, each with two strands, folded over so you can form a four stranded braid. Take a minute to watch this great video that explains how to do better than I did.

After braiding brush some egg mixture on top and bake for 40-45 minutes at 200˚C in the middle of the oven. Your bread is well baked if it sounds hollow when you knock at the bottom

For our Easter Sunday breakfast I recently bought these little Easter bunnies made from the same dough at a farmers market. Aren’t they cute?

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Filed under baking, bread

Leche Flan

This is a recipe from my Filipino friend Mila Jahraus.  She displayed a mouthwatering picture of this dessert on her Facebook. Then I talked her into writing her own blog post about Leche flan, a typical Filipino dessert. “It’s yummy, simple and easy to make.” as she writes. Thanks, Mila, for giving me permission to share this recipe here. The Easter dinner seems to offer a perfect opportunity for me to try it myself.

Ingredients

  •    10 egg yolks
  •     1 small can of condensed milk
  •     1 cup milk or evaporated milk
  •     1 tsp. vanilla extract
  •     1 cup granulated sugar

Preparation

Beat the egg yolks with a hand mixer. Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly. Pour in the (evaporated) milk and the vanilla extract and mix again. In a flat mold (Llaneras) caramelize the sugar and let sit for 5 min. Gently pour the egg yolk mixture over the caramel sugar and cover the mold with aluminium foil. Steam for 30-35min, then refrigerate. Before serving run a thin knife around the edges of the mold to loosen the flan. Place a plate over the mold and flip upside down so the golden brown caramel is on top.

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Filed under dessert, easy, for guests

My Ordinary Chili and Its Extra-Ordinary Variation

Usually the chili I cook is based on beef ground meat and contains green pepper, red kidney beans, tomatoes and corn. Recently I tried a variation with chicken thighs and white kidney beans and added some cumin. I loved this change. It inspired me to explore even more. So watch out for more chili variations to come or add your favourite one in a comment.

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1 lb medium ground meat                         (1-2 lbs chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil                                        (olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 garlic glove, minced                                 (3 garlic gloves)
  • 1 large green pepper, cubed
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (or more)
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. oregano                                                 (2 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. cumin)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 can red kidney beans (with liquids)    (1 can of white kidney beans)
  • 1 big can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 can corn (with liquids).

Preparation

Heat the oil and brown the meat. Add onion, garlic and pepper, saute for 5-10 minutes. (For the chicken variant: saute onion, garlic and pepper first, then add the chicken and saute until it is no longer pink on the outside.) Stir in tomato paste, salt and pepper and the wine. Cook until the liquid is evaporated. Add the remaining ingredients except for the corn and simmer for about 40 min. When the rice is done add the corn and heat it up.

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Filed under easy, for a crowd, inexpensive, soup/ stew