I know this season should be all about Christmas cookies. However, while baking all your sweet treats for the most wonderful time of the year, something savory may be just what you are craving for. So cheese nibbles it is. This recipe should get you around 50 nibbles.
- 1 cup of grated gruyère cheese
- 1 1/3 cups (175 grams) of flour
- ½ cup (125 grams) of butter
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
This one will entail a bit of physical labor. On the plus side, you might burn off a few of the calories that you will consume when eating the cookies later, although the emphasis here is on the word few. Anyways, ideally you want to mix all your ingredients in a really large bowl or straight on the (clean) kitchen counter. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder and then add the butter in small bits. Afterwards, add the egg yolks, cheese and sesame seeds. Knead it all thoroughly until you have a smooth dough.
Distribute a bit of flour on the kitchen counter and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5 mm/0.2 inches. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a knife to cut our rectangular shapes or use a cookie cutter of your choice. Then let the cookies bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.
Tis the season… One of the best things about the most magical time of the year are Christmas cookies. Nothing beats a cozy afternoon when the snow is falling outside your window and you enjoy wonderful moments with your loved ones nibbling on cookies and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows. What makes me most happy is that my cookies are stored in a big acorn cookie jar which we got on our most recent trip to the US. So not only is it home to some tasty treats, it also makes me think about to the great memories we made.
This cookie recipe consists of two types of nuts and chocolate, but no flour. You will get a batch of 25 cookies.
- 2 egg whites
- 2/3 cup (150 grams) of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
- ¼ cup (50 grams) of chocolate shavings
- ½ cup (100 grams) of ground hazelnuts
- ½ cup (100 grams) of ground almonds
- ¼ cup (50 grams) of melted chocolate for dipping
Start by beating the egg white until it is stiff. Then add sugar and vanilla sugar and blend it in, while continuing to stir it with an electric mixer. Afterwards let the chocolate shavings join the mix and slowly add the ground hazelnuts and almonds. Now your dough is basically done. Use your hands to form a roll about 5 centimeters or 1,5 inches wide. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge or a couple of hours. Thereby you allow the dough to harden, to it is easier to cut off your cookies slices. Each cookie should ideally be 5-7 millimeters thick. Place them on a backing tray laid out with backing paper and back bake them for about 12 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius/ 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the cookies are out of the oven, melt the chocolate. Meanwhile the cookies have time to cool down a bit. Dip them halfway in the chocolate and let them dry.
The American Thanksgiving is one of the most wonderful holidays. You gather around a dinner table full of delicious food with your family or friends. You chat, you drink, you eat, you are having a wonderful time. You think about all the positive that happened over the last year and be grateful. Plus thanksgiving sort of is the kick starter for the Christmas season. Hence the Sunday after Thanksgiving is usually the day, when we get our Christmas tree.
One of the classic, essential Thanksgiving side dishes – at least for me – is pumpkin pie. And while they are usually pretty delicious, I prefer them a little less sweet and am not really a fan of ginger, so I came up with my own recipe, which I want to share with you guys today.
- Ready-made short crust pastry
- 30 ounces (850 grams) of pumpkin puree
- 2/3 cup of milk
- 3 eggs
- 4 tablespoons of vanilla sugar
- 1½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of ground garlic
You read that right – ready-made crust. I am usually too lazy to also make a crust from scratch, as I believe that a short crust pastry from the store is as tasty as a homemade one. Plus, the filling is the star anyways. The prep work for this one is fairly easy. You just mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl, till everything is blended together nicely. Then you spread out the crust pie in a buttered 12-inch form. Fill it with our pumpkin mix and cook it in the oven at 165 degrees Celsius (330 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 hour. Let it cool down for 30 to 45 minutes and serve it with whipped cream and a smile. Enjoy!
P.S. if you feel like making the crust from scratch, you would need 75 gr of sugar, 150 gr of cold butter, 225 gr flour, 1 egg, a pinch of salt. Mix all the ingredients untill you have a smooth dough. Let the dough rest in the fridge for approx. 20 minutes. Roll out the dough using a bit of flour to make sure it does not stick to the surface. Place and spread out the dough in a 12-inch form.
Another dish you can’t really get in Germany: Fettuccini Alfredo. Alfredo sauce strikes me as one of these quintessentially Italian-American dishes. Though granted, it is actually Italian and known there as fettuccini al burro, which means “with butter”, as I learnt yesterday. I hadn’t even heard of it until a visit to the United States in 2012 with my partner, where I was able to try it.
As with everything that is largely only in one country, but not the one where you live, you face two choices: import it or make your own. The latter is my personal preference, as you can tweak it until it perfectly matches your taste preferences. No store-bought product can compete with that. So today, I will share with you my take on Fettuccini Alfredo. The recipe serves two hungry people and should only take approximately 15 minutes to prepare. For a “skinnylicious” version, skip to the last paragraph.
- 7 ounces (200 grams) of fettuccini noodles
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- ½ cup of heavy cream
- 1 garlic clove
- 2/3 cup of grated parmesan
- ¼ cup of veggie or chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- A few fresh basil leaves
- A bit of thyme and oregano
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: meat, such as some roasted or grilled chicken
Heat the butter in a saucepan at medium heat. Then add chopped garlic and immediately afterwards the heavy cream. Wisk the ingredients until smoothly blended. Mix in the parmesan, the broth (I prefer veggie broth, but if you do the dish with chicken, you might as well use chicken broth to enhance the taste) and the lemon juice. Let everything simmer for 4-5 minutes. Boil the noodles in parallel and add then them to your sauce. Cook everything for another 1-2 minutes. Then add the spices. For your protein fix, add meat (roast chicken works pretty well).
Now, I know most Alfredo sauce recipes use parsley. I generally don’t, because I don’t like parsley. I therefore substitute it with fresh basil, a bit of thyme and oregano, but use whichever floats your boat. Last but not least: enjoy your meal.
How to make it skinny: Granted, Alfredo sauce and skinny do not really seem like they would fit. However, if you want to make this dish a little healthier, you can replace the butter with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the heavy cream with ½ cup of low-fat milk.
If you are looking for a reenergizing option after your workout that refreshes your body and gives it all the nutrients it craves right now, this recipe might do the trick. The recipe makes 2 servings.
- 2 cups of chilled almond milk
- 1 cup if chilled papaya juice
- 2 cups of frozen blueberries
- 1 banana
- 1 ripe avocado
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy. Since prep time is a mere 1 to 2 minutes, you give your body all it needs after a workout as fast as possible, since it is rich in vitamins, potassium, minerals, anti-oxidants and a touch of sweetness thanks to the papaya juice. Instead of chilling the smoothie with ice cubes or crushed ice, I use chilled or fresh ingredients that I store in my freezer. Thereby you avoid a watered down smoothie.
Pro tip: if you want to up the protein content, add a scoop or two of protein powder.
Scones are a wonderful treat. Whether you serve them as an afternoon snack or have them for lunch, they are simply amazingly tasty. And so diverse, as you can have them as a sweet or savory option and no matter which one you choose, you will always be happy. Each of the two options here makes 8 scones.
Ingredients for traditional scones
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (55 grams) of cold butter
- 5 teaspoons of backing powder
- 2/3 cup (150 ml) of milk
- 1 pinch of salt
- Mix of 1 egg yolk with 1-2 tablespoons of milk to spread on scones before baking
Ingredients for cheese scones
- 1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) of cold butter
- 5 teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ cup (100 ml) of milk
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon of mustard
- ¼ cup (60 grams) of sharp cheddar
- Mix of 1 egg yolk with 1-2 tablespoons of milk to spread on scones before baking
Pre-heat the oven to 180° C/350° F. Mix all the ingredients until your dough is well-blended – for the cheese scones make sure you first add everything except the cheese, and only knead it in last. Then roll out your dough until it is about 2 cm (0.8”) thick. Since I don’t own a pastry cutter, I use a normal water glass to cut out my scones so they get the typical round form. If you are less concerned with a picture-perfect look, simply cutting the dough with a knife into squares or triangles is absolutely fine as well. Place your scones on baking paper and spread your yolk-milk mix on top. Let them bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes. Now your scones should have a golden brown color and be nicely puffed.
Serve them with whipped or clotted cream and strawberry jam (for a recipe for a homemade version, click here). The cheese version is super tasty combined with a chutney or simply with a bit of butter.
Ok. I admit it. This rhyme is not exactly sophisticated or smooth. I promise however that my pesto will be. So let’s get started. This is an easy and quick recipe. So a perfect solution if you were to spontaneously decide you need to have spagettis with Pesto alla Genovese (which happened to me, just a few minutes ago). So rather than hoping to the store, I resorted to my pesto recipe and thus probably benefitted from a significantly healthier option than those that you can buy. So I thought I share my pesto recipe with you. I hope you enjoy it. This makes for 2 generous portions that go nicely with pasta.
- 4 cups (100 grams) of fresh basil leaves, this usually equals on pot of basil
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ cup (60 grams) of grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup (60 grams) of grated pecorino romano cheese
- ½ cup (110 ml) of olive oil
- ¼ cup (35 grams) of pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon of ricotta
- 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro
Roast the pine nuts in a pan fo 2-3 minutes and put them aside. Then press the garlic with a garlic crusher. Add the salt and grind it till it is a smooth paste. Mix in basil leaves (without stems), the roasted pine nuts and all the other ingredients and blend it for 1-2 minutes. Now you might want to ask: why is there cilantro in the pesto. Well, did once add it just for the fun of it, and realized it is really adding something to it. Which proofs once more that part of the beauty of cooking and baking is experimenting.
It is no miracle that strawberry jam is so incredibly popular around the globe. Hardly anything tastes so much like summer like this. So I decided, I will use the opportunity that you can currently pick fresh strawberries on the fields near Cologne and make a new batch of my favorite homemade jam. I love making my own jam, as you can regulate the amount of sugar and the taste is so much more intense. Another plus: have you ever noticed the amount of ingredients listed on an average strawberry jam jar? Incredible. I adhere to the „less is more“ principle with this simple recipe with a mere 3 ingredients. They are really all you need. The strawberry is the queen, let her shine by not drawing too much attention to a broad variety of things that are supposedly needed to make jam taste good and last longer.
- 2 pounds (500 grams) of strawberries
- 1 cup (250 grams) of canning sugar
- ½ lemon (make sure you use an organic one)
- add a bit of vanilla if you like
After thoroughly washing the strawberries, cut them into smaller chunk and make sure to remove all stems. Place them in a pot and add canned sugar (and vanilla, if you like). Rinse the lemon well and grate some peel of ½ lemon. Then squeeze it and add the juice and the peel to the strawberries and the sugar. Let everything simmer medium heat for one hour (give or take). Make sure to regularly stir. Then let the jam cook on high temperature of approx. 5 minutes until a foam forms on top. Scoop the foam out of the pot and set aside (it won’t be used for the jam itself, though some people like to use it for baking).
After this, you will face a difficult choice: to purify or not to purify. If you prefer to remind yourself that „yes“ this is a real fruit and you like a few fruit bits in your jam, you can skip the next step. If you are more in the line of thinking „the smoother, the better“, pour the jam in a blender. Congratulations, you made your own jam. Now all that’s left for you to do is to fill it into jars. To make sure, the jars are clean and perfectly hygienic, put them in the dish washer beforehand and fill them with you jam shortly after the washing cycle ended, when the glass is still warm. If you store your jam at a cool, darker spot, it can be conserved like this for up to 2 years. Pro tip: this is also a perfect present idea. I always give away something homemade for Christmas for example. 2015 it was this strawberry jam.
Macarons are the queens of sweet treats. A little taste of heaven. They make for the perfect dessert, as they are an ideal union of the slightly crunchy and soft cream textures/flavors. Whenever I eat one, it reminds me of my college year abroad in France. We all know the standard version with chocolate ganache, vanilla, raspberry, you name it. But how about Oreos? After all, they are sort of following a similar “design.” I asked myself this precise question and came to the conclusion that this is something I should definitely get onto. So this is my take on Oreo macarons. This recipe makes approx. 35 macarons.
- 4 medium-sized egg whites
- 20 Oreo cookies
- 1 ¼ cups (255 grams) of powdered sugar
- 1 cup (110 grams) of almond flour/grounded almonds
- ¼ teaspoon of either cream de tartar or baking powder
- 1 cup (200 grams) of sugar
- 60 grams of butter
- 7,5 ounces (200 grams) of cream cheese
Beat the egg white until stiff, then add the ¼ cup (55grams) powdered sugar through a sieve and mix in the baking powder or cream of tartar. Then mix the sugar with the almond flour in a separate bowl until no large chunks are left. Add the sugar-almond mixture to the egg white. Then separate the Oreo cookie shells and scrape out the filling. Ground the Oreo shells and add them to your base mix. Now we are all set.
To make sure the macarons are all more or less the same size and have a very even round form, I highly recommend getting a silicone macaron sheet (like this, if you are in Germany or this if you are in the US). Place about ½ to 1 teaspoon on each of the round circles of the mat. Bake them in the oven at 290 degrees Fahrenheit / 145 degrees Celsius for approx. 15 min.
While the first batch of macaron shells is in the oven, we have plenty of time to prepare our filling. Mix the original Oreo cookie filing with the butter (make sure it is at room temperature). Once blended in, mix in the cream cheese and then sieve in the remaining powdered sugar.
Keep the filling in the fridge until the shells have cooled down. Once that is the case, spread 1 teaspoon of the cream onto a shell and cover it up with another. And voilà… your first macaron is now ready! Whether you indulge right away or keep them in the fridge for a while is down to the strength of your mental capacities and will power. Mine is weak. But then again a little quality testing doesn’t hurt, right?
We all want to eat healthy, but might crave a sweet treat after a workout or just because. Wouldn’t it be awesome if this moment of indulgence could still be healthy? The good news is: it can. Even with something as naughty as peanut butter cups. Here is how. The recipe below is good for ten peanut butter cups.
- 6 scoops / 150 grams of chocolate-flavored protein powder (see product recommendation below)
- 6 tablespoons / 80 grams of unrefined coconut oil
- 6 ounces / 170ml of water
- 6 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
Mix the protein powder, coconut butter and water in a bowl and place half of it evenly into 6 silicone cupcake baking forms. Use silicone ones, as it makes the job of getting the cups out of their form much easier. Let it chill in the freezer for 10 minutes, till the mixture has hardened. Then spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter onto each of the cups as a second layer. Place it in the freezer again for another 10 minutes. Afterwards, fill the remaining half of the protein powder mix into the cups to create the top layer. Let it rest in the freezer for approximately 45 minutes. Congratulations, your protein peanut butter cups are now ready to be served! Any treats that you want to keep for later should remain stored in the freezer. So yes, sadly this probably wouldn’t work as a ‘take to work’ snack, as the cups might melt on the way, but they are just perfect for an evening treat at home on your porch or balcony.
A last few words regarding the protein powder. We always use the products of Myprotein, simply because they are one of the few brands that do not overload their products with sugar. This is a very important aspect. Plus, they don’t compromise on taste. So you get yourself set up for a win-win-situation with this one. We usually use the stevia one, but I can also highly recommend the peanut butter chocolate flavor they offer.
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