Maple Apple Crumble

 

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Crumbles are basically inverted fruit tarts. They are so easy to make and so delicious to eat. Although you can use many different fruits to make them (think peaches, pears, raspberries), the staple is usually apple. This recipe offers the perfect balance between sweetness and butter. It takes a little more than an hour to bake, but very few minutes to make.

 

For 6-8 people

 

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Fruit Layer

5 apples, peeled and cubed

3 pears, peeled and cubed

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp salted butter, cut into small pieces

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  2. In a baking dish, mix fruit with maple syrup and cinnamon.
  3. Dot with butter.

 

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Crumble Layer

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

 

  1. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, brown sugar and salt together. Add the cubed butter and work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the dough looks crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle the dough evenly over the uncooked fruit layer.
  3. Bake for 1hour to 1h15 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

 

Cinnamon Banana Cheesecake

Recently, I’ve been craving cheesecake, thick, creamy, tangy cheesecake.

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While I was in New York this summer, I had the absolute best slice at a place called the Brooklyn Diner. It was heaven. I’ve looked everywhere for their recipe but I never found it. Someone told me about Junior’s cheesecake which is supposed to be amazing too and I located a copycat recipe for that one. Well, it’s not the Brooklyn Diner’s cheesecake, but it’s pretty good. I reduced the sugar, because it was really too sweet and took out all lemon flavoring (I’m a vanilla cheesecake person). Unfortunately, we inhaled it before I even had time to snap a single picture of it…so I’ll just have to make it again.

But I had some batter left over, so  I decided to be creative and invent a cake. A banana swirled cheesecake. It was really, really good!

 

FYI: I’m still on the lookout for the recipe from the Brooklyn Diner if anyone has an idea of where I can find it…

 

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Cinnamon Banana Bread

2 eggs

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

1-2 very ripe bananas

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

 

  1. Line a round cake pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk eggs and brown sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and bananas. Beat until homogenous.
  4. Mix in oil and flour until smooth.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan.
  6. Mix up the cheesecake batter below before placing in oven!

 

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Cheesecake

1 egg

¼ cup sugar

225 g cream cheese

3 tbsp heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp cornstarch

 

  1. Whisk egg and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add whipping cream, cream cheese, cornstarch and vanilla extract and mix just until smooth. Don’t overmix!
  3. Pour over raw banana bread batter and swirl with the blade of a knife.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes.

4TH OF JULY SUMMER CAKE: Coconut Cake with Italian Meringue

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To celebrate Independence Day in style, we made a barbecue with homemade buns’n’burgers, corn on the cob, quinoa salad, and sparkling cocktails. Virgin cocktails for me as I’m expecting baby number three (coming to a maternity clinic in Geneva around Thanksgiving).

After the meat and all the summer salads, I chose to make a dairy-free cake. Umm…Probably the best cake I have ever ever made. For the lactose intolerant reading this blog, this cake will become your new kitchen staple.

AMAZING!

 

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Gabrielle got some frosting on her knee, which she decided to lick off. And Adam, ever so proud to be American.

 

Reduced Coconut Milk (you can make it up to 2 days ahead)

1 (13-14 oz) can of coconut milk

 

  1. Bring coconut milk to boil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to approx. 1/2 of the original volume, stirring occasionally (15-20 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  4. If making ahead, chill in the fridge until ready to use.

 

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Cake batter

¾ cup vegetable oil

½ tsp salt

1 cup of sugar

3 eggs

½ cup coconut milk reduction

½ cup soy milk

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar, salt, and eggs on high until fluffy (1 min).
  3. Add the oil and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and the soy milk and whisk until homogenous.
  5. Add the flour and the baking powder and baking soda, and beat again. Finally add the coconut flakes and blend well until batter is creamy.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top of the cake is puffed and golden, a knife blade comes out nearly clean, and your house smells like a coconut palm grove.

 

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Italian Meringue Frosting

200 g sugar

100 g egg whites (approx. 3-4 eggs)

½ tsp salt

40 g water

 

  1. In a stand mixer, on medium high speed, whisk the egg whites with the salt until they reach soft peaks.
  2. In the meantime, boil the water with the sugar until an instant read thermometer indicates 121 C or 230 F. If you don’t have a thermometer, this step will take a good 5 minutes. The mixture has to be thickened, but stay clear.
  3. Beating continuously, drizzle the sugar syrup over the egg whites and whisk on high until mixture is perfectly creamy and comes to room temperature. Touch the side of the bowl (approximately 10-15 minutes).
  4. Cover the cooled cake with the frosting.

 

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American Flag Decoration

A handful of strawberries and blueberries.

 

 

 

Coconutella Cupcakes

Two day ago, my daughter Gabrielle turned 3. When my son turned 3, I remember thinking, “Whew, finally.” This time, my reaction was, “Whoa, already?”

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Time is flying by. I remember my mother telling me it would happen when I was kid. I remember thinking, yeah, right, I’ll be stuck in school forever. Not only has it been more than ten years that I’ve graduated high school, it’s been ten years since I graduated college.

 

Which made me realize what the perfect gift for both my kids are: to make each and every minute of their lives count.

 

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Makes 24 large cupcakes

 

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Coconut Base

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 ¼ cup sugar

3 eggs

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp vanilla extract

¾ cup coconut flakes

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup light cream

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line 2 cupcakes pan with the liners of your choice.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and salt and whisk until incorporated.
  4. Pour in the cream, then half the flour. Mix. Pour in the coconut milk, the baking powder, and the rest of the flour. Whisk again until mixture is homogenous.
  5. Fold in the coconut flakes and divide evenly into cupcake liners.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

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Nutella Frosting

1 cup butter, at room temperature

¾ cup Nutella

2 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup whipping cream

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the butter and the sugar until pale and very fluffy (about 2-3 minutes on high speed).
  2. Add the Nutella and the cream, and whip another 2 minutes.
  3. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

 

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Whole Wheat Berry Scones

I haven’t had scones in months—maybe years. One of the reasons for that is that in Switzerland, they’re not offered in bakeries. And when they are, they’re usually dense and way too sweet. This morning, I decided to whip some up. They take 10 minutes to make and 12 minutes to bake. So quick!

For this recipe, I based myself on the blueberry & cream scones I’d eaten in Martha’s Vineyard, but added some whole wheat flour and wheat germ. They were as delicious as I remembered them to be. And at least, you get a little fiber.

 

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You can play around with these and substitute diced bananas and chocolate chips for the mixed berries. Or raisins. Or cubed, ripe peaches and brown sugar… The possibilities are endless.

 

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Makes 10 scones

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup white sugar

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp melted butter

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup mixed berries

 

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  1. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and preheat your over to 190 C or 375 F.
  2. Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Pour in the butter and the cream, and mix carefully (i.e. just with a spatula or wooden spoon).
  4. Fold in the mixed berries.
  5. With an ice-cream scooper, scoop out the dough in 2-inch balls onto your baking sheet. Make sure to keep a little space between each scone.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until puffed up and firm to the touch.

 

raw:

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cooked:

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Berry Crumb Muffin

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I had a craving for blueberry muffins yesterday morning. So I made blueberry muffins.

They were absolutely scrumptious, moist and full of flavor. The crumble topping added a nice crunch to them, but I have to admit, I might forgo making it next time because the muffin underneath was absolutely amazing in itself.

 

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makes 8 large muffins

Muffin Batter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh mixed berries (I used a mix of blueberries and raspberries)
Crumb Topping
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp butter, cubed
1 tsp ground cinnamon

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C or 375 F.  Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin wrappers.
  2. Whisk the sugar, the salt, the baking powder, baking soda, and egg until light and creamy.
  3. Pour in the vegetable oil and milk, then add the flour. Mix until combined.
  4. Fold in the berries.
  5. Fill the muffin cups 2/3rds full.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugars and cinnamon.
  7. With a fork, cut the butter into the mixture until crumbly.
  8. Sprinkle mixture onto the unbaked
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and a knife blade inserted in a muffin comes out clean.

 

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Banana Cupcakes with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

Before making cupcakes, I had never eaten a store-bought one. Weird, I know. I’m like that. I tried my first doughnut at fifteen, but beef marrow, I tasted at five. Anyway, I come from a family who eats mostly home-baked, home-cooked food—which appears to have become the new trend nowadays. Between documentaries about processed foods and new articles about diseases that come from consuming those foods, I thank my parents for the good habits they gave me.

Now a mother, I will try to give my children the best food education I can without making them complete social pariahs. And since I LOVE baking and cooking, that comes easily to me.

 

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Recently, there was a wave of baby-showers around me filled with cupcakes. I came to one very major conclusion after sampling all those sweet treats: most cupcakes are way too dense and way too sweet. I came home and made these, sweetened with banana, moist and yet fluffy, with a frosting as light as air.

Cupcakes are so easy to make! Really. Bake them before you buy them! At least, try.

 

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Makes 24 mini cupcakes or 12 cupcakes

 

Banana Cupcake Batter

1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter, melted

2 egg whites

1/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup 2% milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ripe banana, peeled and chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C. Line a cupcake pan with wrappers.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a standmixer, whip melted butter with the sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg whites and the sour cream.
  4. Pour in the milk and vanilla.
  5. Whisk in the dry ingrdients.
  6. Add the banana and beat until batter is smooth.
  7. Bake for approximately 18 minutes for large cupcakes or 9-10 minutes for mini ones.
  8. Let cool before frosting.

 

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Whipped Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

1-2 drops of food coloring (optional)

  1. In the bowl of a standmixer, whip the butter with the sugar on high med-high speed for 3 minutes or until the frosting has whitened and sort of doubled in volume.
  2. Add the cream, vanilla and salt and beat for another minute.
  3. At this point, add the food coloring if you want.
  4. Place in a piping bag and decorate cooled cupcakes.

 

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Upside-Down Plum Caramel Cake

With Samantha, we made this dessert for my grandmother’s 94th birthday last month. I’m not sure what made this dessert so special; perhaps it was the fact that the plums were from the garden, or that the whole family was together, or that the cake was drenched in caramel. Whatever the reason, this cake has become a staple in my household back in Geneva. I’ve made it with plums, with nectarines, and without fruit altogether. And wow!
Each time we finish the cakes (and lick the platter clean), I wonder why where this recipe has been all my life.

 

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Serves 8-10

 

For the Caramel
75 g butter
¼ tsp fleur de sel
165g (3/4 cup) brown sugar
1 tbsp honey

1. Line a round baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine all the ingredients.
3. Whisk until sugar has melted (approx. 2 minutes).
4. Pour Caramel on the parchment paper.

 

For the Fruit Layer
6 good plums or other stone fruit
or
2 cups of pitted cherries or other red fruit
or
4 bananas, sliced

1. Cut desired fruit, if large, into segments. Arrange them in a circular pattern over the caramel. Make sure your layer is even.
2. If chosen fruit are small, simply arrange them evenly in one layer over the caramel.

 

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For the Cake Batter
75 g butter
180 g (1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
75 g (1/3 cup) sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
140 ml (½ cup) milk (I used soy and it was delicious)
¼ tsp salt

1. Preheat your oven to 180 C or 350 F.
2. Melt the butter and whisk it with the sugar and salt.
3. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk until your mixture is smooth.
4. Add the flour and baking powder and whisk until your batter is homogenous.
5. Pour mixture over the plums.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of your cake comes out clean.
7. Wait 30 minutes before unmolding so that the cake absorbs all the caramel sauce. You’ll flip the cake onto a plate so that the fruit are on the top.

 

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Carrot Cupcakes with Whipped Maple Frosting

Tonight is Drunken Bookclub night (YAY!). It’s also several of our members’ birthdays. It goes without saying that cupcakes are needed. Since the book was Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which takes place in an amusement park, I tried to think of an all-American dessert that didn’t require building a Ferris wheel out of sugar paste (not one of my talents).

 

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Carrot cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting it is!

 

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Makes 20 large cupcakes

 

Fluffy Carrot Batter

2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp of cornstarch

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup whipping cream

¼ cup milk

1 ½ cups brown sugar

4 eggs

3 large carrots, peeled and finely shredded (makes approximately 2 cups)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line two cupcake pans with paper liners of your choice.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the flour, salt, spices, baking soda, and baking powder.
  3. Add the brown sugar and the eggs and whisk until well combined.
  4. Pour in the milk, oil and cream and beat until mixture is homogenous.
  5. Fold in the shredded carrots.
  6. Fill liners ¾ full and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan once in the middle of baking time for even baking.
  7. Let cool before frosting.

 

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Whipped Maple Frosting

200 g cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup (125g) butter, room temperature

3 cups icing sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp maple syrup

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip all ingredients on high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  2. Place in a piping bag fitted with the nozzle of your choice, and pipe out on cooled cupcakes.

 

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Really, really yummy!

 

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The Life Bread

It’s a bit of a stretch calling this loaf, bread. It’s more of a dense mixture of nuts and seeds held together by this magical ingredient called psyllium husk. I will not go into any detail about it because the author of the recipe I based my bread on did just that in her post, The life-changing loaf of bread.

 

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I eat most of my bread with peanut butter or cheese so I left out the 3 tbsp of oil she adds to her recipe. I also left out the maple syrup. Maple syrup is delicious, but not necessary if you don’t want any added sugar.

I have made this bread so many times that I have experimented with a variety of combinations of nuts and seeds. My favorite was sunflower seeds + pumpkin seeds + dried cranberries.

Slice and toast for the most fragrant, wholesome, and delicious cracker.

 

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Makes 1 loaf

1 ½ cups water
1 cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup flax seeds
½ cup hazelnuts or pecans or pumpkin seeds
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
¼ cup psyllium seed husks
1 tsp fine grain sea salt

½ cup cranberries or raisins (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C and toast the sunflower seeds and hazelnuts (or other nut of your choosing). Bake until golden and fragrant.

2. Pour them into a large bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients.

3. Place the mixture in a silicone loaf pan and let sit at room temperature for about an hour. The uncooked bread will stick together even when you push away the sides of the mold.

 

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4. Bake at 350 F or 180 C for 20 minutes. Then turn your bread onto a baking sheet and slip off the mold. Cook for another 40 minutes.

5. Slice only when cooled so that it doesn’t fall apart.

 

This is the version with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and cranberries.

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