Oreo churros sandwiches with ice cream

Everyone who has ever been to Spain knows churros. Those tasty dough sticks that you can dip in your coffee or chocolate for breakfast. But how about having them like a sandwich with ice cream in the middle as a great dessert option? And how about making them even better by adding Oreo cookies to the equation? This recipe makes 4 churros sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 12 Oreo cookies
  • 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • ¼ cup of sugar plus a second ¼ cup for rolling the churros in
  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 cups of vegetable oil (for frying; the amount depends on the size of your pot, the aim is for a 2 inch/5 centimeter depth)
  • 4 generous scoops of cookies & cream or vanilla ice cream

Start by splitting the Oreo cookies and separate the cream from the cookie shells with a knife and place in separate bowls. Grind the Oreo cookie shells in a food processor until you have Oreo cookie flour. Wisk an egg in a small bowl and set aside. Afterwards, place the water, butter and sugar in a pot and bring it to the boil. When the butter and sugar have melted, feed in the flour and pulverized Oreo cookie shells. Drizzle it all in bit by bit and slowly, so you have a smooth result. Use a spatula to massage the floury ingredients in. I find this much easier than with any other kitchen utensil. After everything is blended, add the egg while taking the pot off the heat and massage it into the dough as well. Once that is done, fill your dough into a piping bag and prepare a tray (that fits in your freezer) and put a layer of parchment paper on it. Now pipe a spiral ring of 2 inches in diameter each. The amount of dough should result in 8 of the rings, a.k.a. 4 churros sandwiches. To allow the rings to preserve their shape during frying, put them in the freezer for 45 min to one hour.

As for the frying, use a large/ideally high pot, add the vegetable oil and bring it to a boil. The tell-tale sign that your oil has reached the right temperature is when you dip in a spatula and little bubbles form around it. Peel the frozen Oreo rings off the parchment paper with a spatula and let them gently glide into the point to avoid any of the hot oil to spray out and potentially injure you. Cook them for 3-4 minutes. When they’re done, they will float on the top. Prepare a plate or cutting board and place 2 layers or paper towels on it for soaking up the excess oil.

Give the churros rings 2 minutes to cool down and then roll them in a small container with the ¼ cup of sugar mentioned in the ingredients. Place the sugared result on a plate and top it off with a scoop of ice cream and place a second sugared churros ring on top.

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From Bavaria with love – Obazda cheese spread with pretzels

Your days of wondering are finally over. For a long time you were searching for the perfect snack for a hot day that ideally complements your cold beer or glass of chilled white wine. The Alpine region of Germany, Bavaria, has the answer for you: Obazda cheese spread. Some of my favorite “When in Bavaria” moments are connected to sitting in a beer garden on a warm summer evening, having a cold, dark Radler beer (which is 2/3 dark beer and 1/3 lemonade) and a Bavarian pretzel (crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside) with Obazda. Obazda is the Bavarian word for mashing together with your hands. Now why is Obazda such a magical food, you might wonder. The answer: it is not just cheese, it’s this wonderful mix of spices that form this inseparable union with the cheese where each ingredient compliments the others and serves its own unique purpose that could never be compensated by leaving one out or exchanging it. I recommend this dish (pretzel and Obazda that is) as a perfect picnic date snack to win anyone’s heart. It works best with beer, but white wine is an almost equally great fit.

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces (250 grams) of ripened camembert cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of soft butter
  • 3 tablespoons of wheat beer
  • ½ cup of cream
  • 1 medium-sized red onion
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • A little bit of caraway
  • 6 medium-sized pretzels

Chop the camembert into tiny dices. I know this can be a bit of a hassle, since camembert can get a teeny bit runny. Continue by adding the butter and beer to the cheese dices in a large bowl and whisk it all together with a fork. Cut the red onion into small dices and add that as well until evenly distributed in the mixture. Last, add the spices. This gives the Obazda its classic orange color. Let the cheese rest in the fridge for a few hours to allow the spices and the beer to enhance the aroma of the spread.


Grilled Mac & Cheese sandwiches with tomato soup

This dish is one of those hidden champions for days when you don’t feel like leaving the house again to go food hunting at the grocery store, yet you feel like some soul food. Now anyone can have a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup to dip or Mac & Cheese any day when you need a quick dinner fix. But how about elevating your impromptu dinner game to the next level and combining the three and thus creating an exciting new twist. The recipe makes 4 servings as a main course or 8 smaller servings as a starter. My favorite idea for this dish: 16 amuse-gueule/hors d’œuvre if you serve the soup in tiny cups and cut the sandwiches into 4 pieces or use thin baguette slices. It’s simple, yet I doubt your guest will have ever had this exact, mind-blowing combo.

Ingredients

For the sandwich

  • 1 cup of Mac & Cheese sauce (for my version of the recipe, please click here)
  • 1 cup of elbow noodles
  • 8 slices of sandwich bread or 16 thin slices of baguette
  • Butter

For the soup

  • 20 fresh tomatoes
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper

I suggest starting with the tomato soup: chop the onion, garlic and tomatoes into dices. Then melt the butter in a pot and add the garlic and onion. Fry for 5 minutes at a medium temperature while stirring. Then proceed by adding the tomatoes and let everything cook for another 5 minutes while continuing to stir. Afterwards, add the vegetable broth and tomato paste, as well as the spices. Let everything simmer for 15 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and use a blender to smooth the soup until you reach a texture you like (since there are two types of people in this world, those who prefer smooth as silk when it comes to tomato soup and those who like chunks in it). Lastly, add the cream to your soup. You most likely won’t need extra salt, as the vegetable broth will provide that.

As for the sandwich, cook the noodles for 7 minutes and prepare the Mac & Cheese sauce. Ideally, this should be a thicker sauce, just like for a Mac & Cheese dish that you would bake in the oven and that would be a bit stiffer. For a recipe to follow, check out the recipe for my version of Mac & Cheese, which is the one I use for this dish. Mix the sauce with the cooked noodles in a bowl and set aside.

Butter each bread slice on one side (and don’t be stingy with the butter) and get a pan to medium heat. Place a generous load of Mac & Cheese on the non-buttered side of 50 percent of the bread slices and place a second bread slice on top, the buttered side facing upwards. The Mac & Cheese layer should be about as thick as a finger. Fry the bread until golden brown and press a spatula on it ever so gently to make everything glue together nicely.

Enjoy!


Lasagna Rolls with Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Filling

I am willingly admitting that I have a slight addiction to Alfredo sauce, it is just soooo tasty. This recipe therefore ticks that box and also perfectly coincides with my love for lasagna in all possible varieties. Two soul food options in one, if you will. It serves 4 people as a main course. The recipe uses chicken, but vegetarians can easily substitute this by replacing the meat with 1.5 cups of sweet corn.

20180428_205609-1862710015.jpgIngredients

  • 10 fresh lasagna plates (standard size)
  • 2 cups of my Alfredo sauce (for the recipe click here)
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • ½ (roasted or cooked) chicken
  • 1 cup of shredded Gouda cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded Mozzarella
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • A little bit of butter or oven pan spray

If you opt for homemade Alfredo sauce, start by making the sauce first and set it aside. Then cook the broccoli for 8-10 minutes and in the meantime shred your roasted chicken. If you happen not to have fresh lasagna plates at hand, let your plates cook for 6-7 minutes until they are soft enough to be rolled up. Al dente is desirable, as the noodles will continue to soften in the oven. Chop the broccoli into smaller bits and mix it with the chicken in a large bowl. Add Gouda and ground pepper until well mixed. Afterwards, add half of the Alfredo sauce.

Take a large pie skillet and either rub a little bit of butter on the floor or use oven pan spray to avoid the noodles “gluing” themselves to the skillet. Cut the lasagna plates in half along the long side of the plate. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the broccoli-chicken-Alfredo-mix onto the lasagna plate slice and spread it out to cover approximately 2/3 of the pasta. Then roll it up and place the result in the skillet. Repeat until all the rolls are tightly packed. Proceed with drizzling the remainder of the Alfredo sauce and shredded mozzarella on top. Let the lasagna bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes.

P.S. This dish does not include salt. I generally use as little salt as possible, as I believe the food we consume on average already contains enough salt as per the ingredients (e.g., cheese, roasted chicken in this case) and so there is normally no need to add extra. Our hearts will thank us in the long run to opt for lower salt in our diet.

P.P.S. As per its nature of consisting of lots of tiny rolls, this dish also lends itself as a nice buffet food option for parties and also stays tasty even when served after it having cooled down.


Pop Goes My Heart: A Chocolate, Nuts and Baileys Cake Pop

 

It’s true what they say: sometimes the smallest things can win your heart the fastest. I am talking about cake pops. I mean, everything about the entire concept is completely amazing – a tiny cake on a lollipop stick! Needless to say, I can’t get enough. Weirdly though, and to my great personal dismay, they haven’t quite caught on in Germany yet. Which is a shame. Hopefully this might change. In the meantime, I took this as an opportunity to create my own by adding all my favorite ingredients: chocolate, hazelnuts and Baileys – plus a marzipan cover. It is a real crowd-pleaser at parties, a picnic with friends or just because the world needs more sweetness. This recipe makes 48 cake pops and is made using a cake pop maker.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cups (150 grams) of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 (150 grams) of soft butter
  • 1 1/5 (150 grams) of all-purpose-flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 100 ml of Bailey’s
  • 3-4 generous tablespoons of cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla flavor
  • 1 cup (100 grams) of ground hazelnuts
  • 200 grams of (green) marzipan
  • 100 grams of chocolate melts
  • Optional: golden glitter

Whisk the sugar, eggs and butter for approximately 3 minutes until creamy. Afterwards, mix in the flour and baking powder. Up until this point, the added ingredients are my general base recipe for any cake pops I bake with my cake pop maker. Continue by whisking the Bailey’s, cacao powder, vanilla flavor and hazelnuts into the cake batter.

Now everything is ready for the next step. Set up your cake pop maker and, once it has reached its baking temperature, fill the batter in the cake pop holes to the top. You will need approximately 1 tablespoon of batter per reservoir. Make sure not to overfill the molds, as otherwise you could end up with a Saturn ring-style corona around your cake pops. However, also don’t be too stingy with the dough or you could make weirdly–shaped, deflated balls. The baking should take approximately 5 minutes until the balls are done. To get them out of the holes, it can be helpful to use a teaspoon to scoop them out with. After all your cake pops are done, wait till they have cooled down enough to start with the next step: the chocolate coating.

Melt the chocolate and then dip about half of the cake pop into the melt. Let it rest to dry. While the chocolate is drying, roll out the marzipan and cut out 1.5 inch (ca. 3.5 centimeters) circles. Wrap the marzipan circles around half of your cake pop and – if you happen to have some at home – sprinkle a little bit of golden glitter on top.

Enjoy!