Homemade dulce de leche

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This heavenly milk delicacy is probably one of the most flexible recipes in the world, as you can use it either on top of ice cream, in cakes, brownies or just eat it plain with a few biscuits to dip in. The classic method of making dulce de leche is boiling a can of condensed milk for hours and hours in a waterbath. As this method requires some patience, here you can find another basic recipe which only takes about 25 minutes, and you’re done! Who ever said that dulce de leche takes a long, long, looooong time to make?!

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You’ll need:

  • 310ml (1can) sweetened, condensed milk
  • 390ml (1 can) unsweetened, evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup (sub this by honey or golden syrup)

Directions:

With a whisk, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Microwave the mixture about 30 seconds at 900W. Stir with a whisk and repeat this for 25 – 30 times, or until the mixture has become thick and golden brown. You can test this by spreading some dulce de leche over a saucer. When it’s cooled down and it’s thick and spreadable, you’re done.

Pour the dulce de leche in a jar and store in the refrigerator. You can freeze it for up to 6 months.

 

 

Healthy chocolate spread

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Being on a strict diet and having a sweet tooth is known to be the worst combination on earth. Therefore, this chocolate spread might be a glimmer of hope at those days that you’re craving for sweetness, but don’t want the guilty feeling afterwards.

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You’ll need (1 jar of chocolate spread):

  • 150g honey
  • 15g Dutch process cocoa powder

Directions:

Mix the 2 ingredients to a smooth and spreadable spread and pour into a jar. I prefer to store mine in the fridge, as the chocolate spread will stiffen a bit more then.

Croquembouche

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This classic French dessert requires some practice and self-confidence, but with my useful tips and tricks, I’m sure that you’ll get those compliments that every baker likes to get. You can either choose to fill the profiteroles with pastry cream or whipped cream. I prefer to use whipped cream, as I believe that the lighter the weight of the profiteroles is, the less tricky it will be to build the typical tower form. But as I said, the choice is all up to you!

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You’ll need:

For the choux pastry

  • 400g water
  • 160g butter
  • large pinch of salt
  • 280g self raising flour, sifted
  • 5 to 8 eggs (depending on their size)
  • 8 dl full fat cream
  • 340g caster sugar
  • 16g (2 sachets) whipped cream stabilizer

For the caramel

  • 2 tbsp water
  • 250g caster sugar

For the cardboard cone

  • 1 square cardboard (about 9,5 x 9,5 inch)
  • parchment paper
  • strong Scotch tape

Directions:

Start by making the cardboard cone. Form a large cone of the cardboard and stick it together withja8   Scotch tape or staples. Crop the cone at the bottom, so that it can stand straight on a flat surface. Cover with parchment paper, stick together with Scotch tape or staples and cut off the excess paper at the bottom. Put the cone on a sheet of parchment paper, in order to prevent that you’d mess with the hot caramel later on.

Continue by making the profiteroles. Preheat the oven to 430°F/220°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Add the water, sugar and salt to a medium saucepan and turn on the heat. As soon as the water mixture boils and the butter has melted completely, take the pan off the heat and add the self-raising flour all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon to a dough, turn the heat back on and continue stirring until you have a dry and consistent dough.

Add the choux pastry to a bowl of a stand mixer or kitchen robot and start whisking on low speed until the dough has cooled down to room temperature. If you don’t let the dough cool down enough, the eggs wills scramble immediately when you add them.

Add the eggs one by one, stirring after each addition. The dough is ready when it falls off a wooden spoon, but still looks solid. Fill a piping bag (with a plain nozzle) with the choux dough and pipe the mixture into small balls in lines across the baking sheets. Bake the profiteroles in the preheated oven until their size has increased heavily, then lower the temperature to 350°F/180°C and continue baking them golden brown for about 15 minutes to dry them out. Make sure not to open the oven door, as this will increase the chance that the profiteroles will deflate. Switch off the oven and allow the profiteroles to cool down completely, leaving the oven door ajar.

Next, make the filling for the profiteroles. Beat the heavy cream with the sugar and cream stabilizer in a large mixing bowl until stiff and thick. Fill a piping bag (with a plain nozzle) with the whipped cream, prick a hole into the bottom of the profiteroles that has about the size of your nozzle and pipe the filling into the profiteroles.

Here’s the tricky part. Children certainly are not allowed to do this, as the caramel is very hot andPicMonkey Collage2 can cause heavy burn wounds. Arrange the cone, profiteroles and a bowl of hot water next to each other. Fill your sink with cold water, this will come later on in handy to stop the caramel from cooking.

In a saucepan, mix together the water and the sugar. Switch on the heat and let the sugar melt until it has reached 343°F/173°C. Make sure not to stir, but only to swirl with the pan, as this will cause sugar crystals in the caramel. Switch off the heat and put the bottom of the saucepan into the cold water to stop the caramel from cooking. Next, put the bottom of the saucepan into the bowl of hot water.

All I can say now is, BE QUICK: take a profiterole and dip one side into the hot caramel (be careful not to burn your fingers!), arrange it along the cone and repeat this for the rest of them, ending up with a tower of profiteroles. If the caramel gets hard, gently reheat it, but make sure not to burn it.

For the decoration, dip a fork into the thickened caramel. Drizzle the caramel over the profiteroles so that it falls in fine threads. The croquembouche is best kept in a dry and cold place. If it’s too hot, the caramel might melt and the tower will collapse.

White chocolate cake with blueberries

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The addition of blueberries to this cake not only makes the result look more appealing, but also forms a perfect combination with the white chocolate. However, if you’re in a creative mood, do not hesitate to sub them by other fruits like strawberries or blackberries.

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You’ll need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g butter, melted and cooled down
  • grated peel of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 200g self raising flour, sifted
  • 100g almond powder
  • 200g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
  • 200g blueberries
  • decoration: white chocolate, some more blueberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease a round baking pan (9 inch) with butter or oil and dust with some flour.

Mix the eggs with the caster sugar until light and frothy, about 4 minutes. Mix in the butter, lemon juice and grated peel. Next, add the flour and almond powder. Spoon through the white chocolate chunks and pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread about 2/3 of the blueberries over the batter and pour over the remainder of the batter. Bake the cake about 30 minutes golden brown in the oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely.

For decoration, grate a bar of white chocolate on top of the cake and garnish with some additional blueberries. This cake is best eaten the day itself, and will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature.

Source: Kookschool (taart en cake)

Oh my oreo! cake

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Through many years, this gorgeous cake has become the all time favorite recipe on my Dutch baking blog. Will it become your favorite recipe as well?

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You’ll need:

For the cake

  • 280g all-purpose flour
  • 70g Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 24g baking powder
  • 160g butter, melted and slightly cooled down
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g full fat milk
  • about 19 Oreo’s, to cover the bottom of the pan
  • about 12 Oreo’s, for the batter

For the filling

  • 250g cream cheese (Philadelphia)
  • 115g butter, at room temperature
  • 400g powdered sugar
  • about 8 Oreo’s

Directions:

Start by making the chocolate cake. Preheat the oven to 350°C/180°C and grease a round baking pan (9 inch) with butter. Cut a circle out of a sheet of parchment paper that is a few inches larger than the diameter of your baking pan. Lay the circle on the bottom of the pan and arrange about 19 Oreo’s over the pan.

Next, make your cake batter. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Make a well in the center and add the butter, eggs and milk. At last, crunch about 12 Oreo’s in large chunks and add this to the batter.

Pour the batter in the prepared baking pan and bake the cake about 45-50 minutes in the oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool down completely.

Once the cake has cooled down, make the filling. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese and the butter . Add the powdered sugar and mix on high speed until light, frothy and there are no lumps visible anymore. Chop the oreo’s into fine pieces and add to the mixture.

Transfer the cake to a platter and cut horizontally into two equal slices. Spread out the filling over the bottom layer and sandwich with the other layer.

Put the cake about one hour in the refrigerator, allowing the filling to set. Keep the Oreo cake up to 5 days at room temperature.

Decoration tip: Spread about one teaspoon over the middle of the cake and garnish with an Oreo cookie. This will make the cake look even more irresistible!

 

Saint Nicholas cake

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Every year in Belgium, we celebrate the one and only Saint Nicholas (Dutch: Sinterklaas). Although I’m already 17 years old, I still get over excited when approaching the 6th of December, the annual celebration day. What almost every child under the age of about six believes, is that at the night of 5 December, he walks over every roof in town with his horse and his assistant Zwarte Piet. Zwarte Piet slides through the chimney and he lays presents, tangerines, speculaas and chocolate everywhere. Legend tells that the reason why Zwarte Piet looks black, is because he’s covered in soot by sliding through chimneys.

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This cake is based on the typical sweets that Saint Nicholas gives to the children (or on the sweets that parents buy for them :) ), and would definitely be a n° 1 hit when it’s heavily cold and snowing outside.

You’ll need:

For the speculooscake

  • 150g Speculoos cookies (Biscoff cookies)
  • 50g all purpose flour
  • 16g baking powder
  • 50g almond powder
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 150g butter, melted and slightly cooled down
  • 5 eggs (egg whites and egg yolks seperated)
  • 100g milk
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

For the filling

  • 400g cream cheese
  • 275g Speculoospasta (Biscoff spread)
  • 65g powdered sugar
  • 50g crunched Speculoos cookies (Biscoff cookies)

For the chocolate ganache

  • 90g full cream
  • 240g milk chocolate

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease a round (9 inch) baking pan with butter or oil and dust with some flour.

Crunch the Speculoos cookies in a foodprocessor to small chunks. Add this along with the flour, baking powder, almond powder and sugar to a bowl. Add the butter, milk and the egg yolks and mix thoroughly.

Beat the egg whites in a seperate bowl until stiff. Fold them carefully under the batter.

Pour the batter in the prepared baking pan and bake the cake about 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow to cool down completely.

In the meanwhile, prepare the filling and the chocolate ganache. Mix the cream cheese in a bowl until fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix to a smooth whole. Set the filling aside and continue with the chocolate ganache. Bring the full cream in a saucepan to a boil. Chop the milk chocolate into pieces, turn off the heat and add the chocolate to the boiling cream. Let stand for a few minutes and stir to a runny sauce.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cut horizontally into two equal rounds. Spread the filling over the bottom cake and sandwich with the other cake. Pour over the chocolate ganache and allow to let it fall down the sides, making sure that every part is covered with chocolate.

Put the cake for about one to two hours in the refrigerator, to let the ganache and the filling stiffen up. Store the cake up to 5 days at room temperature.

Scary Halloween fingercookies

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Scare the wits out of your guests or trick-or-treaters with these ultimate scary Halloween cookies. They’re very easy to make, and the almond flake and cocoa powder used as decorations will make them look as a grumpy witches finger. One thing is for sure: they certainly won’t taste the way they look like!

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You’ll need:

  • 225g butter at room temperature
  • 125g powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 335g all purpose flour
  • 5g (1tsp) baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • almond flakes, for decoration
  • cocoa powder, for decoration
  • a small brush, for decoration

Directions:

Cream the butter with the powdered sugar. Mix through the egg. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt above the mixture and mix until you have a smooth cookie dough. Wrap the dough into plastic foil and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 330°F/165°C and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take one large teaspoon of the cookie dough and make with your hands a sausage, as large and wide as your own fingers. Cut with a sharp knife at the lower top of the finger small notches. Cut larger notches at the middle of the cookie. These will become the knuckles.

Lightly press the top with your thumb and put an aflmond flake in, so that the finger has a nail too. Make sure that the almond flake is more or less stuck in the finger, otherwise it will fall off after baking. Repeat the two previous steps for the rest of the dough and arrange the fingers on the baking sheets.

Bake the cookies in about 20-25 minutes golden brown. Gently transfer to a wire rack and let them cool down completely.

Brush the cooled cookies at the knuckles, wrinkles and nails with the cocoa powder in order to make the fingers look old and filthy.

Store the fingercookies up to 1 week in a cookie jar. You can freeze the dough up to 4 months.