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

Cakepop.jpgIt’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.


  • 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.


Chicken Alfredo Pizza Ring

img_20180304_172411_9221031382317.jpgEating can be so much fun and I consider this wonderful snack Exhibit A to make my case. It is just so tasty and thus the ideal food for watching a game, as a party snack or just because you deserve a treat. If you make everything from scratch, this dish requires about 30 minutes of prep time. If you use ready-made Alfredo sauce, I’d say it can be done in 20 minutes.


  • Fresh, ready-made pizza dough (1 package for 1 large pizza)
  • 5 cups of shredded, roasted chicken
  • 10 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella
  • ½ a cup of grated parmesan
  • ½ a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ a teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ a cup of Alfredo sauce (either ready-made or look up my recipe on this blog)
  • A bit of butter to grease the bundt cake baking mold
  • Aioli sauce (again, you can buy this ready-made to save yourself a bit of prep hassle)

Preheat the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 degrees Celsius. Cut the pizza dough into 1 inch squares (ca 2.5 centimeters). Roll the squares into little balls and place them on a baking tray. Let the balls bake in the oven for 10 minutes. By pre-baking the dough balls separately, you ensure the final pizza ring is uniformly cooked.

In the meantime, fry the bacon in a pan until crispy. Make sure you place it in a cold pan and then let the temperature rise to a medium heat. Thereby you make sure the bacon is less greasy and much crispier than frying it in an already-hot pan. Once that’s done, drizzle maple syrup over the bacon and let it crystalize for about a minute. This adds a nice sweet flavor to the bacon and an interesting twist to our otherwise very savory dish. Cut the bacon into small chunks for the next step. Afterwards, chop the basil leaves and place them in a big bowl, together with the pre-baked pizza dough balls. Add the shredded chicken, bacon bits, mozzarella and parmesan, as well as the spices. I use garlic powder rather than chopping up a garlic clove, as this ensures that the garlic can really fully infuse the entire food mix while being less intense in terms of taste.

Grease a bundt cake form with butter and then add the mix. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 degrees Celsius for approximately 25 minutes, until golden. Turn the baking mold upside down onto a plate. Ideally, the pizza ring should gently slide out by itself; if not, give it a little bit of extra help with a spatula.

Pour the aioli into a small bowl and voilà – your party snack is ready to make a bunch of people very happy.


Cauliflower pizza crust with homemade tomato sauce

img_20180301_212615_467-1066262900.jpgPizza is truly wonderful: it stands just as much for family time as for fun with friends or comfort food. Plus in terms of toppings, anything that floats your boat goes. The sad thing is the amount to calories and carbs that come along with it. Unfortunately, pizza does not qualify as a light meal. But wait a minute, there is a tasty solution to this conundrum! By substituting the main calorie culprit – the dough – it can become a healthier, low-carb weekday lunch or dinner while still keeping the fun factor high. This recipe makes one large pizza for 2.



  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • Alternative: 5 cups of riced cauliflower; if you live in the US I strongly recommend you get riced cauliflower (e.g., as available at Target) as it saves you a loooot of work
  • 2/3 cup (75 grams) of shredded, low-moisture mozzarella for the crust
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) of grated parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 cup (110 grams) of shredded, low-moisture mozzarella for the topping

Tomato sauce

  • 5 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ onion
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper

If you use fresh cauliflower, cut the head into smaller chunks and grate them (for instance, with a food processor). Ideally, the result sound be flakes. As a side-note: I count the days till riced veggies become a food trend in Germany as I really love this pizza dough, but I make it less often than I like simply because grating vegetables isn’t all that much fun. It was a great revelation to me, when I saw riced cauliflower in the grocery stores during our last US trip. Anyways, I digress, back to our pizza. Cook the cauliflower for 5 minutes in slightly salted water. If you use the ready-made riced cauliflower, simply follow the cooking instructions on the package, but cut the preparation time in half.

Afterwards, mix the riced cauliflower, mozzarella, parmesan and spices. Lightly beat the egg in a separate bowl and then add it to the rest. Thereby, you ensure the crust dough is evenly mixed. Spread the “dough” on parchment paper or a silicon mat on a baking tray. Make sure you aim for a thin crust style. Bake it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.

In the meantime – unless you want to use ready-made pizza sauce – throw the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic clove, onion and spices into a blender and blend. When the dough is out of the oven, apply the tomato sauce and drizzle fresh sliced mozzarella on top. Afterwards, you can add any additional toppings you might like. Bake the pizza for another 15 minutes.


Bacon & Egg Breakfast Muffins

Bacon and scrambled eggs are a match made in heaven. Hardly a better way to start the day. So why not take this combo a step further and bake them into muffin form? It makes for a very convenient way to take breakfast on the go. This recipe makes 4 muffins.


  • 8 slices of streaky bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
  • A bit of butter for the muffin mold

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/390 degrees Fahrenheit and start by buttering your muffin mold. Thereby, you ensure the bacon doesn’t stick to it. Layer the raw bacon strips into the mold so that the entirety of it is covered and make sure each slice has an ever so slight overlap with the next one, so the egg won’t run over to easily. Whisk the eggs, cream and spices together until they are well mixed and then pour it into the bacon-covered muffin mold to the rim. I always add cream to my scrambled eggs (whether in a muffin or just the traditional style), as I have discovered it gives the eggs this very smooth texture that I like. Bake it in the oven for 15 minutes, by which time the bacon should be crispy and the eggs solidified yet soft.

Optional: mix in 2 tablespoons of shredded sharp cheddar. It’s absolutely divine.


Avocado ice cream with chocolate chunks

Ice cream is one of those delicious treats that people rarely make at home, even though it isn’t rocket science and gives you the freedom to have exactly the flavors you like. One of the more obscure ice cream champions might be avocado flavor. I never saw it in a store or ice cream parlor, even though it is so tasty and smooth.


  • 2 large or 3 medium-sized ripe avocados
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of whole milk
  • 1 2/3 cups (400 ml) of heavy cream
  • ½ cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon
  • ½ cup of dark chocolate chunks (ideally one with 75-80% cacao)

Place the peeled avocados, honey, milk, heavy cream and lemon juice in a blender and blend the ingredients until smooth. Then pour the cream into a container. The lemon juice acts as a preservative and ensures the avocado doesn’t go brown. I recommend to use honey rather than sugar, as this allows the sweetness to truly penetrate the entire mixture. Since the cream is cooled down rather than heated up, the sugar doesn’t melt and can thus not distribute evenly. The last step before the freezer: whisking in the chocolate bits. Stir the mix thoroughly so that the chocolate is evenly distributed. The higher the cacao content of your chocolate, the better aka healthier. Let your ice cream chill in the freezer for 3 hours or until it has fully solidified. Apart from the freezing part, this dessert should take you no longer than 10 minutes to prepare.


Chicken avocado salad with peanut butter-honey mustard vinaigrette

This salad is a wonderful meal option after an intensive workout, as it is healthy and also supplies you with a generous amount of protein and nutrients. I like it, because it has a little bit of everything: chicken, crunchiness, the creaminess from the avocado, the sweetness from the honey, the wonderful flavor of the mustard, the nutrients from the nuts and lots of vitamins. This recipe makes about 4 servings.


  • 5 handfuls of chopped Romano lettuce
  • ½ roasted chicken
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 handful of cashew nuts
  • 1 large/burrito-sized wheat tortilla; alternatively 1 generous handful of crispy tortilla strips (if available in your country)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4 tablespoons of sweet corn

Ingredients for the dressing

  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon (approx. 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Tear the roasted chicken into smaller chunks, cut the avocado into dices and chop the cashew nuts into smaller chunks, and add them all to the bowl. Mix in the sweet corn and cut the carrot into thin carrot sticks and the onion into dices and let them join the rest of the ingredients. As for the tortilla strips, if you live in the US you can buy them ready-made in any well-stocked grocery store. I haven’t yet seen them outside of the US; however, it’s not exactly rocket science to do it at home. Simply heat up your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius. Use a cooking brush to apply a thin layer of oil to the surface of the tortilla. Bake it on a baking paper for approx. 10 minutes, then chop the crispy tortilla into thin strips.

As for the dressing, maybe you were wondering why peanut butter is listed here. Well, truth be told, it just adds an amazing flavor to the vinaigrette, BUT it is also one of the best and tastiest ways of getting a good protein dose. Despite being calorie-dense and thus seemingly counterintuitive as a smart ingredient, it is also very rich in healthy fat, along with the protein and fiber, which your body craves after a session in the gym. So, peanut butter is basically a “repair kit” for your muscles. In terms of the honey, I strongly recommend acacia honey, as to me it provides the best flavor. Also, honey is nature’s hidden medical champion, as it is anti-inflammatory and helps your system recover after exercising.

Just a side note, but a great trick to preserve cilantro that I came across a couple of years ago, is to keep it in the freezer. Thereby, it stays fresh longer.

Enjoy your meal!

French Onion Soup

3 little words. Say them and I am yours. Here we go: French Onion Soup. I love it. Even though I went to college in France for a year, I actually never had French onion soup until a visit to Maryland. So I had to travel across the pont to discover this delicious dish from a country that I have visited more times than I can count. This is the way I prepare this meal at home. The recipe below makes two servings as a main course and 4 servings as a starter.



  • 2 large onions
  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) of beef broth
  • Optional: ½ cup of white wine
  • Olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4-6 slices of baguette bread
  • 3,5 ounces (100 grams) of Gruyère cheese

Cut each onion in 4 quarters and cut each part into relatively thin slices. Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat, add the onions and let them cook until the onions are softened and transparent for approximately 5 minutes. Proceed by adding sugar and after 1 or 2 minutes add beef broth, salt, pepper and thyme (plus the optional wine). Let it simmer for 15 minutes.

While the soup simmers, cut off 4-6 thin slices of baguette bread (depending on the size of the bread and the size of your bowls), rub half a garlic clove over the slices and fry them in a pan with a bit of olive oil until crunchy.

Fill the soup into 2 suitable bowls that can resist the oven heat and place the bread slices on top. Ideally they should cover the bowl entirely. Cut the Gruyère cheese into thin slices and place them on top. The slight advantage of slices over simply grating the cheese is the slightly more solid texture you get after the soup has been in the oven. The important thing however is to have multiple cheese layers. The soup should then bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius/390 degrees Fahrenheit.

Et voilà. You are now all set to enjoy a delicious meal.

Halloumi fries – Golden rays of edible sunshine

Who doesn’t love fries? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they look like rays of sunshine. But who said that fries have to be made out of potatoes or their equally tasty relative – the sweet potato? That’s why this recipe uses halloumi. Don’t let their innocent appearance fool you though. If you thought that normal fries are filling, you haven’t encountered halloumi fries yet. They can easily make you feel very stuffed – but are sooo delicious at the same time. Hence, this recipe serves 2 (or 4 if served alongside another dish).



  • ½ lb (250 grams) of halloumi
  • 1 cup of flour
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of granulated garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • Lots, and I mean lots of sunflower oil

Quick and easy dip

  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves

Start with the dip. For that, pour the mayonnaise into a small bowl and add the garlic by using a garlic press, as this allows for the liquid from your cloves to already dissolve a bit. Then place the dip in the fridge until the fries are ready.

As for the fries: Cut the halloumi into sticks. They should be about the size of your ring finger. Not too thick, otherwise the frying will leave you with a “raw” core, but not too thin either, as the fries would then break very easily and most likely not survive their bath in the oil.

The secret star of this recipe is the coating, as halloumi in and of itself does not have a distinct flavor. So, the taste is pretty much defined by the spices that are used. Mix the flour with the spices in a flat bowl or soup plate. Coat your fries in it evenly. The beauty of halloumi is its inherent moisture, which means that the flour easily sticks to them.

Take a small or smallish pot and fill it approx. 1 inch/2.5 centimeters with the sunflower oil. This fits the theme, as sunflowers are the suns of the plant world. But I digress… Bring the oil up to a high temperature (try NOT to boil it, as oil burns can be truly nasty) and carefully immerse your fries in the pot. The frying should take approx. 2-4 minutes, depending on how golden you would want the sticks to be. The one in the picture was in the oil for 3 minutes.


Chili con carne – some like it hot, others like it hotter

I vividly remember making chili con carne for an American friend of mine, who announced prior to the food being served that he doubts Europeans would be able to do a decent chili, as it is an American dish. To his surprise, the chili was very tasty. So I guess I triggered his taste buds in the right way. The funny thing with chili is that it is a very simple meal to prepare, so technically you should always end up with more or less the same dish in front of you. However, each chili recipe is a little unique in its own way and so each version differs a bit from all the other recipes out there. So here is my take on chili con carne. I hope you guys enjoy it. This recipe makes approximately 4 servings.


  • ½ lb (250 grams) of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 5 ounces (125 grams/1 small can) of kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 5 ounces (140 grams/1 small can) of sweet corn
  • 2 cups (475-500 ml) of tomato puree
  • 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • ½ cup of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon of oregano
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • ½ cup of shredded cheddar

Melt the butter in a large pan or pot at medium heat and add the onion and garlic. After about 1 minute add the ground beef and cook until it is evenly brown. Then, add the sweet corn, kidney beans, tomato puree and paste, as well as the water. Stir the ingredients until the tomato paste has dissolved. Then, add the chili, ground and cayenne pepper, salt and oregano.

The most important aspect for a good chili – to me anyways – is the time you allow it to simmer at a low temperature. Ideally, allow 45 minutes to 1 hour for this and make sure to stir it occasionally. This simmering makes or breaks your chili, as it allows the spices to penetrate the entire dish and to fully interpolate their flavors. Shortly before taking the chili off the heat, the last ingredient – the cilantro – makes its grand appearance. Add it to the dish and let it simmer for another minute or two.

Serve the chili with sour cream and shredded cheddar.


Super chocolaty chocolate cupcakes

What’s better than chocolate? More chocolate. And while there are certainly times when being stingy is a virtue, when it comes to baking chocolate cupcakes, it is not one of those times. This recipe adheres to the saying of “all good things come in threes”. So not only does this mini cake have a chocolate base and a chocolate frosting, it also has a nougat chocolate core. What I like about this cupcake is the surprise effect of the frosting. Since it’s done with white chocolate, it appears to be a typical vanilla or cream cheese frosting, while it actually has a smooth, creamy chocolate flavor.

This recipes makes 12 cupcakes.


  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (115 grams) of butter
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) of sugar
  • 1,5 tablespoons of vanilla sugar
  • ¼ cup (85 grams) of sour cream
  • 1 ¼ cup (150 grams) of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cacao
  • 3,5 ounces (100 grams) of nougat
  • 5,4 ounces (150 grams) grated white chocolate
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) of cream cheese
  • ¾ cup (100 grams) of powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) of soft butter
  • 36 mocha chocolate beans

I always start my cupcake baking with the frosting. Thereby I ensure that the “crown” of my mini-cakes has the perfect chill and stiffness. Start by melting the white chocolate in a water bath or the microwave. Wisk the butter until frothy and then add the melted chocolate and the powdered sugar. Once everything blended nicely, mix in the cream cheese. Place the frosting in the fridge to allow it to chill.

Now we can start with our cupcakes. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a muffin baking tray with paper muffin forms. As for the dough, start by melting the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar in a pot at low temperature. Make sure it doesn’t get to hot as we just want to melt the ingredients without accidently making caramel. Pour the mix into a big bowl and add the eggs. When they are blended in, dissolve the cacao powder in a small glass with 2 tablespoons of hot water and then add it to the bowl. Now whisk in the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and sour cream until the mixture is smooth. Pour the dough into the muffin paperforms (approx. 2 to max 3 tablespoons per cupcake). Place the tray in the oven and bake it for a total of 20 minutes. Once the cakes are peacefully baking in the oven, cut the nougat in 12 even squares. After 5-7 minutes place one nougat dices on each cake.

When the baking process is finished, let the cupcakes cool down for 30 minutes. Meanwhile fill the pre-prepared frosting in an icing bag. Generously apply the frosting on the cupcakes.  Add a few mocha chocolate beans on top.