365 New Days – Hello 2015!

I usually begin the new year with a post filled with links to last years recipes that were hits with my awesome readers and a few of my personal favorites. This year, I’m doing things a little bit different.

2014 was a bittersweet year for me personally so it’s hard for me to look back with feelings of happiness.  So instead, I’m going to look ahead to 2015 and lay out my plans for my blog, my family and my life!  A positive look at a clean slate of a year… 365 new changes to make better decisions,  experience happier days and choose to have a more positive experience in life.  Don’t worry though, I’ll be posting the best of 2014 in another post later this week.

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I really like this philosophy… 365 days in a year and 365 chances to wake up and choose to make a better life.  But doing that isn’t easy…  I need goals and a plan and inspiration!  And in order to do all that, I needed to sit down, really think about what I want in 2015 and make a list.  As I was doing that, I started to clean up my desk and realized all the things I had around me really help to inspire my work.

MyDesk2015-7

So here’s a peek into my desk.  Right now I’m working in my bedroom on a small IKEA computer desk.  It has two shelves above the desk (but I won’t be showing you that disaster!) but overall it’s a pretty small work space so I have to do my best do keep it cleaned off so I have room to work.

On my desk I have a few things to help keep me organized.  Of course a Starbucks mug for my pens and a little organizer for note pads, usb & memory cards, binder clips and push pins.  Behind the picture, is a glass jar that’s filled with change and money.  I have that jar there for easy access to tossing lose change and small bills into.  Before I know it, I’ve got enough money for a weeks worth of coffee or even a dinner date with my husband!  We call it our “funny money”!

In front of the jar is one of my favorite pieces of art by my friend Jessie of CakeSpy.  I keep this one my desk because it’s super darn cute and because it reminds me of why I started blogging!  Jessie’s blog inspired me to start my own and looking at her art work keeps me motivated!  Two cupcakes in love under the Space Needle!

MyDesk2015-4

I always have my custom May Designs note books at my disposal to take notes.  I probably have 2-3 of these going at a time with recipes, lists and plans jotted down in them.  I love them because I can change the designs, colors and text on the front and they’re a perfect size to fit in my purse.  I have colorful pens and note pads to jot notes down with too.  It makes things more fun when I have pretty things to work with.

As you can see, I’ve got a pretty good list going so far.  Since I took that picture 4-5 more things were added to the list!  Lists = Goals = Motivation = Getting things Done!

One of the essentials on my desk that my external hard drive.  It’s that silver box up in the left corner of the picture above.  This little contraptions is my life saver.  I’ve got it set up to sync everything from my important folders on my computer to the external drive and then to the cloud.  This is the first of four computers I’ve had over the last 10 years that I finally decided to back up.   The three previous computers have pictures and files on them lost forever, but not this computer!  External hard drive + cloud storage = Double Back Up!  I’m not losing anything on this computer!

MyDesk2015-16

Here’s a closer look at my bulletin board.  I try not to keep it cluttered because my desk is so small.  So, I’ve got a few areas on my board that I use to help keep me organized and motivated.

The left side of the board is usually covered when I have my laptop open,  so I keep a picture of my oldest daughter Emily and a picture of my new son and husband. They remind me of where I started as an adult and how far I’ve come today.  I’ve also got a list going of tattoos I want and movies I missed in 2014 to watch.

The right side of the board has all my blog related & motivation stuff.  Things I can glance at and see every time I sit down to work.  Up top are notes I keep on ideas for posts, recipes I want to make in the coming year and a breakdown of my social media stats from Jan. 1, 2015.  I’ve got my best friends phone numbers, an inspirational quote and a gold sequin “B is for Betsy” from my friend Rachel who is a lifestyle blogger! Also, I have one of the firsts checks I got for being paid to create recipes and a sweet thank you note from Jenny Kelly of jennycookies.  (She inspires me!) All these things remind me to work hard for what I want in 2015 and motivate me to get there!

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So, what exactly are my goals for 2015?  I’ve got two lists going, a short term-do right now list and a long term-work on over the year list.

First, the short term goals (some of which I’ve already completed!):

  • Get rid of the landing page on my blog. One of the comments made in my reader survey was that my landing page wasn’t really necessary and made it hard to get to my blog posts.  I agreed and got rid of it.
  • Revamp the JavaCupcake logo & colors.  Another comment on the reader survey was that the colors on my blog were just a little too bright.  Although I happen to love bright colors, I happen to agree with this one a little.  So, I updated my background to grey and got right of the bright teal chevron.  It’s still my style, just a little more muted. I also updated my logo.  I wanted a logo that was a bit fancier but that included a graphic.  I found this fun font and added the piping bag for some flair.  I really like it for 2015!
  • Update my newsletter, media kit, social media with new fonts and logos.   With a new logo and colors means updating everything in my social media presence as well as my media kit.  My statistics are always changing and updating keeps things fresh and current.
  • Comment more on other food, military and DIY blogs.  I find myself oohing and awwwwing over my blogging friends new recipes and ideas, but often don’t comment and tell them how impressed I am or if I tried their idea/recipe.  This year I plan to comment more on blogs I like and recipes I try.  One of the reasons I blog is the community it builds.  I need to do more on my part!
  • Organize my desk.  For this blog post, I cleaned off my desk… but not completely.  I really need to organize the top half where the shelves are too.  It’s not pretty up there.

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Now, here are my long term goals to meet throughout 2015:

  • Move to Hawaii! Yup, that’s right… my family is moving to Oahu in August 2015!  Yes, that means we have to leave Europe after 4 1/2 years of living here, but I am so looking forward to the sunshine and new adventure.  My best friend, Chrissy, also moved there so I’m really looking forward to being close to her again.  We’ve already started getting the house ready to move by purging things we don’t need.  It’s really cathartic actually to get rid of the clutter!
  • Get Healthy.  This is a pretty broad statement for me and I mean it in many different ways.  I want to eat healthier, work on my mental health, exercise and support my family in those same ways.  I’m not a dieter… so that’ll never be a goal for me… but I do want a generally healthier lifestyle… so that will be a goal of mine this year.
  • Grow & Strengthen Brand Partnerships.  2014 was a great year for me and brands.  I connected with several great companies who produce quality products and created some great recipes with them.  My goal is to continue to partner with these companies, strengthen our relationships and hopefully grown one into a long term ambassadorship.
  • Make New Brand Connections.  Now that I have a little experience partnering with brands, I want to do more!  I hope that my move to Hawaii will allow me to connect with more stateside brands.  Me being in Germany was a deterrent for many brands because I was technically “overseas”.
  • Grow My Readership.  My blog has grown over 2400% since I started recording my stats in 2010.  That’s a huge deal!  But, last year I only grew about 8%.  In 2015, I want to grow at least 20%.  This growth will in turn bring in more revenue and allow me to upgrade my equipment, blog, and life.  More money is always a good thing!
  • Write a Cookbook.  I’ve been thinking and dreaming about his for a long time.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to write a book in 2015 since I’ve got a big move planned in the middle of it, but I want to at least make connections in the publishing world and get the ball rolling.  I have some ideas of what I’d like my cookbook to be about… but I really need to take the time to research the industry and make those connections.  How awesome would a JavaCupcake cookbook be though!?  My high school English teacher would be so proud!

So, I think I’ve got my work cut out for me this year.  I’ve tried to keep my goals realistic and reasonable since I’ve got a lot going on in my personal life.  If I meet and exceed these goals… well, then I’ll make new ones!

365 new days… 365 chances at a better life.

Let me leave you with this question…

goals2015

Gluten Free Spritz Cookies

Celebrate the holiday season with all your friends and family with these delicious gluten-free Spritz cookies!

Gluten-free Spritz Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

No one in my family needs to eat gluten-free, so I don’t typically buy the ingredients necessary to bake that way.  Recently, my good friend Rachel of the blog Glitter & Bow decided to change her diet and eat according to her blood-type.  One of the changes she implemented was cutting out gluten.

This made things (selfishly) hard for me this Christmas because I love giving the gift of baked yummies as gifts.  I gifted her a loaf of gingerbread, but sadly she couldn’t enjoy any of it.  Her husband however did, so it didn’t go to waste.  I knew I needed to bake my friend something she could eat and enjoy! Spritz cookies have very few ingredients, so I thought they’d be perfect to try out as gluten-free.

Gluten-free Spritz Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

My friend Deb had given me a bag of Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour a while back and I had yet to bake with it, so I thought this was the perfect time to do so.  These cookies cake out almost perfect!  I had to adjust the baking time down after the first batch in the oven because they bake very quickly.

I also think next time, I’ll double the amount of almond extract I use.  I love a spritz cookie that packs a huge flavor punch.  But don’t let that deter you from making these spritz, they were so delish!  I could barely tell the difference in texture and flavor!

Gluten-free Spritz Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

A little more about Cup4Cup from their website

“Our founder, Chef Lena Kwak, developed Cup4Cup while serving as Research and Development Chef in the kitchen of the famed French Laundry in Yountville, CA. She and her mentor, Chef and Owner Thomas Keller, knew they had stumbled upon something special when a guest tasted Lena’s gluten-free brioche and cried with joy because she hadn’t tasted bread in seven years. They knew this was a product that had to be shared.

Today, Cup4Cup isn’t just great-tasting gluten-free flour, it’s a great-tasting flour for everyone. Our name comes from Cup4Cup’s ingenious ability to replace all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour (with our new Wholesome Cup4Cup) in traditional recipes, cup for cup, which makes it simple to translate your favorite recipes for everything from cookies to biscuits, cakes to quick breads, and never know the difference.”

Gluten-free Spritz Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

You can also connect with Cup4Cup on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

I also wanted to try the recipe with almond flour, since I had baked with it before and thought the almond flavor would be awesome.  The almond flour I used was a German brand, which is a lot less expensive than what you can buy in the states.  The almond flour spritz spread a lot when baking, had a cakey texture, fell apart and just were not pretty.  I won’t be sharing that recipe today.  :)

So, since the almond flour did not work at all in this cookie recipe, I think I’ll just stick to using Cup4Cup in the future!  It’s an amazing alternative to all-purpose flour for our gluten-free friends and family!

Gluten-free Spritz Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

Giveaway!

And to get you excited for gluten-free baking, Cup4Cup is giving away 2 of their amazing products to one JavaCupcake reader!

One person will win:

To enter, simply fill out the information below!  Giveaway open to those with USA mailing addresses only.  Winner will be chosen Jan. 30, 2014.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Gluten Free Spritz Cookies (with gluten-free flour)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (8oz or 113g) unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup (70g) granulated sugar
  • 25-27g egg yolk (about 1½ egg yolks), lightly beaten
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp heavy cream or whole milk
  • 185g Cup4Cup Original Gluten-free Flour Blend, sifted
  • Wilton Leaf Green gel food colorin
  • Wilton candy holly leaves & red balls
  • Cookie press with wreath cutout
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the egg yolk, cream and extract and mix until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  4. Slowly add the gluten-free flour and mix until completely incorporated. Add 2-4tsp more flour until the dough no longer sticks to the paddle attachment.
  5. Fill the cookie press fitted with the wreath cut out with the dough and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer.
  6. Press the dough onto a baking sheet. Do not line or grease the baking sheet - the cookies will not stick to it if you do.
  7. Place the holly leaves and red balls on the each wreath.
  8. Bake for 4 minutes or until the bottom begins to brown.
  9. Cool on the baking sheet for a minimum of 5 minutes before removing carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
Helpful Tips:
Measure all ingredients carefully and by weight. This will ensure the proper consistency of the dough to make the perfect spritz cookie.

If the dough is sticking to the cookie press, try these tips..
-Add a teaspoon of flour at a time and mix into the dough until the dough no longer sticks to the beater.
-Chill the dough until firm.
-Do not line the baking sheet with any paper or grease. The dough needs the surface of the baking sheet to stick to.

Make sure to allow the cookies to almost cool completely on the baking sheet before removing them. The gluten-free flour is very fragile and the cookies will break if you try to move them too quickly.


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Mini Gingerbread Lemon Loaves

Fresh ginger, ground ginger and lemon juice make these Mini Gingerbread Lemon Loaves packed full of undeniably delicious flavor and charm! They are perfect as gifts for the holiday season!

Mini Gingerbread Lemon Loaves | JavaCupcake.com

Every Christmas I usually make about 10 different kids of cookies to give away as gifts.  This year however I was not feeling as motivated to do that much baking but still wanted to give home baked gifts.  One of Matty’s favorite German Christmas cookies is the Zimtsterne… a star shaped cinnamon and gingerbread cookie topped with a lemon glaze.  This cookie is what inspired me to make these gingerbread loaves!

Mini Gingerbread Lemon Loaves | JavaCupcake.com

I knew I wanted to incorporate lemon and ginger into the recipe and there’s no better way to do that than by using fresh!  I peeled grated a big piece of ginger root and pressed it into the granulated sugar before creaming it with the butter.  Pressing the root into the sugar releases all the oil and flavor creating a fluffy ginger sugar that packs a big flavor punch in the bread.

Fresh squeezed lemon juice and candied lemon peel add the perfect amount of tart acidity and texture to the glaze.  The candied ginger came from a small shop in Nuremberg, but I’m certain you could find it at a local candy store or specialty market like Trader Joes.

If you love the Starbucks gingerbread… then you’ll definitely love this!  The flavor is spot on… if not better than the Starbucks loaf and the texture is insane.  LOVE this bread, so much!

Mini Gingerbread Lemon Loaves | JavaCupcake.com

I’ve never used paper baking pans before these loaves.  I wasn’t quite sure how they’d bake, but I am surprised to say that I love them!  It was great to be able to give gifts of bread loves instead of cookies or cupcakes… something new and fun is always a joy to give to others!  I really only wish I would have bought more of them when the PX carried them last month!  They’re a great investment if you love sharing your baked goods!  I’m giving these loaves to friends and teachers of Emily for the holidays!

Mini Gingerbread Lemon Loaves | JavaCupcake.com

The only downside of this recipe was that it didn’t make enough for me to keep a loaf for myself!  Next time, I’ll make the recipe twice so I have enough for me!

Happy Holidays!

Mini Gingerbread Lemon Loaves
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Quick Bread
Serves: 8 loaves
Ingredients
Gingerbread
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp roasted ground cloves
  • 2 Tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated peeled ginger root
  • 1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange extract
  • 3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 8 free standing paper baking pans (4.5in long x 2.5in wide x 2.25in high)
Lemon Glaze & Garnish
  • 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 lemon, zested/peeled and juiced
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • candied ginger strips
Instructions
Gingerbread
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Arrange the baking pans on two baking sheets, 4 on each sheet.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, salt and baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the grated ginger root and the granulated sugar. Using the back of a rubber spatula, press the sugar into the ginger releasing the oils and flavor from the ginger into the sugar. Continue for 3-4 minutes or until the sugar is fluffy and fragrant. Add the brown sugar and mix together on low speed.
  4. Add the softened butter to the sugar and ginger and cream together for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl several times. Add the orange extract and beat 1 more minute.
  5. Pour in the apple sauce and mix on medium until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl again. Don't worry, the mixture will look curdled, but it will fix itself once the flour has been added.
  6. Add the flour in three parts and mix on medium-low until each addition is just combined. Finish the batter by folding until all the flour has been incorporated.
  7. Separate the batter evenly into the 8 baking pans. About 1 overflowing cup of batter per pan.
  8. Bake both sheets of batter on the same shelf for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the bread is a deep brown color. If both trays will not fit on one self, bake them one at a time. You may need to reduce the baking time by 5-10 minutes if only one tray is baked.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Lemon Glaze & Garnish
  1. Zest/peel the lemon into long strips of rind then cut the strips into small pieces. Toss lemon pieces in granulated sugar until covered. Once covered, spread out on wax paper until ready to use.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth. Mix in the salt.
  3. Add the juice of the lemon mix until combined. Glaze should be thick enough to spread without running but still loose.
  4. Spread or drizzle glaze over the cooled loaves. Garnish with sugared lemon peels and candied ginger pieces.
Notes
This recipe makes 8 medium sized mini loaves. If you want fuller loaves, make 6-7 instead of 8.

 

Easy Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kick things up a notch for the holidays by baking these Easy Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies!  A festive twist on a classic cookie perfect for your Christmas cookie plate!

Easy Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

I’m super excited to be participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for the fourth year in a row!  Check out 2013’s Apple Snickerdoodles, 2012’s Candy Cane Crinkle Blossoms and 2011’s Grinch Cookies!

This year I’ve taken my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and gave it a special holiday twist!  I added a few spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and decorated them in festive red and green colors!  A touch of sprinkles on the top brings it all together!

Easy Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

Sometimes, it feels as though Christmas cookies need to be super fancy and creative in order to be made during the holidays.  Not true!  I love these chocolate chip cookies any time of the year because they’re simply perfect!

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The 4rd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen brings together food bloggers from around the world in celebration of all things cookie. Last year we had over 620 bloggers participate and raised over $14,000 for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. That’s a lot of cookies doing a lot of good!

For more info or if you want to participate next year, visit The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap‘s website!

Easy Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

This year my Easy Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies went to The Chocolate Cult, Sweet Potato Bites and NY FoodGasm!  I hope they enjoyed these cookies as much as I did!

Since it’s a swap, I also got cookies too!  I received Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt from Sophia at NY FoodGasm (which were my FAVORITE – I didn’t share these at all with my family!).  And I got Salted Chocolate & Caramel Shortbread Cookies which my husband immediately stole and took to work to share with his soldiers from Heather at Majorly Delicious! Finally, were Oatmeal Lace Cookies from Marjory at The Dinner Mom – delicate and delicious! They were all so yum!

I can’t wait until next years swap!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Easy Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 7-8 dozen cookies
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups (590g) all-purpose flour
  • 2tsp (10g) baking soda
  • 3tsp (10g) corn starch
  • 1tsp (5g) salt
  • ½tsp (2g) nutmeg
  • 1tsp (3g) cinnamon
  • 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar
  • 1½ cups (325g) granulated sugar
  • 24Tbsp (340g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2Tbsp (25g) vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks (155g total)
  • 16oz bag of holiday colors chocolate chips
  • Red, green and white nonpareils (sprinkles)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, corn starch, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars until no more clumps remain. Add the melted butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  3. One at a time, whisk in the eggs and continue to whisk until completely incorporated.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk/blend until smooth and no clumps remain. The dough will be thick and sticky.
  5. Add the holiday chocolate chips and fold until evenly distributed.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 2-3 hours or until the dough is firm. Alternately, you can chill the dough in the fridge overnight.
  7. Once the dough is cold, preheat your oven to 350F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Roll a 1in ball of dough in your hand and flatten slightly. Press the top of the ball into the nonpareils until lightly covered. You don't want too many sprinkles on top, so brush off any extra. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Bake each tray for about 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Do not overbake! The cookies will puff up during baking but will collapse while cooling.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

Biscoff White Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Twice a year, a vendor from Belgium visits USAG Bavaria here in Grafenwoehr, Germany and brings with him several cases of Biscoff Speculoos cookie butter spread along with dozens of brands of Belgium. Of course, I stock up on Biscoff and my husband stocks up beer.

Biscoff White Chocolate Chip Banana Bread | JavaCupcake.com

This time, however, his visit came at a perfect time for me to make a quick bread since I had several over ripe bananas on my counter.  I had never made a Biscoff bread before, but I knew that I could use the spread the same way I used peanut butter… so the Biscoff White Chocolate Chip Banana Bread was born!

Biscoff White Chocolate Chip Banana Bread | JavaCupcake.com

If you’ve never used Biscoff cookie butter spread before, you can find it in many US grocery stores, although it’s a bit harder to find here in Germany.  In Europe, the spread goes by it’s parent company name Lotus and is called Speculoos.  I used the crunchy version of the Speculoos in this recipe which added a slight more texture to the bread.

Biscoff White Chocolate Chip Banana Bread | JavaCupcake.com

This quick bread has a uniquely delicious flavor.  The caramel tone from the Biscoff spread shines through the strong banana taste white the white chocolate chips add a hint of creamy sweetness.  It’s a delicious break from a traditional banana bread.

It was a huge hit in my house!

Biscoff White Chocolate Chip Banana Bread | JavaCupcake.com

Biscoff White Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Quick bread
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3-4 large over ripe bananas
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup Biscoff Crunchy Spread (this is also called Speculoos or Cookie Butter)
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (dark chocolate would be excellent too)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Grease and line a 9x5 loaf pan. I also like to line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. I like my bananas chunky, but you can make them more mushy - it's up to your preference. Add the sugars and whisk until smooth.
  4. Mix in the Biscoff, milk, oil, extract and eggs and beat with a whisk or wooden spoon until completely incorporated and smooth.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Add the chips and fold until no more flour can be seen and the chips are even through the batter. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for about 75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the bread is a dark golden brown color.
  8. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from Girl Versus Dough.

 

Holiday Baking Guide

Holiday-Baking-Guide-2014-CollageWhether you’re looking for a basic sugar cookie and buttercream recipe or a unique dessert to wow your family, The JavaCupcake Holiday Baking Guide will help you discover recipes perfect for all occasions!  Get inspired!

NOTE:  Not all of these are JavaCupcake recipes.  Some come from a few of my favorite food bloggers from around the world.  Enjoy!

Tips & Tricks

Cookies

Christmas Tree Peanut Butter Blossoms | JavaCupcake.com

Cupcakes

Christmas Cupcakes 2011-58

 

Cakes

Pumpkin Spice Latte Layer Cake | JavaCupcake.com

Biscotti

Biscotti by JavaCupcake.com-3

Truffles & Fudge

Easy Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Fudge | JavaCupcake.com

Breakfast & more

Apple Fritters  | JavaCupcake.com

Chocolate Eclairs

Delicate choux pastry filled with rich crème pâtissière topped with smooth chocolate ganache make these Chocolate Eclairs a sinful indulgence worth every bite!

Chocolate Eclairs | JavaCupcake.com

This past summer I traveled through France and was able to experience some of the most delicious pastries I’ve ever had in my life.  Seriously, so good… so so so so good!  From macarons to eclairs to cream puffs, everything I put in my  mouth was a flavor unlike anything I’d ever had before.

This past Fall I watched another season of The Great British Bake Off and got really excited when the bakers made some of these pastries I experienced while in France.  Between the two I knew I had to try my hand at something as delicate and delicious!

Chocolate Eclairs | JavaCupcake.com

On one TGBBO episode, choux pastry was made and I got to see many of the bakers create eclairs in various different ways.  I then watched a Paul Hollywood video explaining the process even more.  It seemed pretty easy, to be honest.  A  lot easier than I expected.  Pair the choux pastry with a homemade crème pâtissière and chocolate ganache and I’ve made Chocolate Eclairs!

Not going to lie, it took me three attempts at making these Chocolate Eclairs to really get the recipe down right.  Since this was a completely new endeavor for me, I wanted the eclairs to not only look good, but taste good too!

Chocolate Eclairs | JavaCupcake.com

I think I hit the mark with these chocolate eclairs too because let me tell you… they are out of this world good!  Especially when the creme pat was still cold… omg.  To die for!

I really hope you give these eclairs a try, they are so worth the effort!!!

Happy Baking!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Eclairs
 
Author:
Recipe type: pastry, dessert
Serves: 12-15 eclairs
Ingredients
Crème Pâtissière
  • 300ml whole milk
  • vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
  • 90g granulated sugar
  • 50g cornflour
  • 1Tbsp kirschwasser (you can use any liquor to flavor)
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 75g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
Choux Pastry
  • 120ml water
  • 65g all purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
Filling
  • 250ml heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
Chocolate
  • 200g high quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used Lindt 50% chocolate)
  • 200ml heavy cream
  • 2Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1Tbsp vanilla
Instructions
Crème Pâtissière
  1. In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan, whisk together the milk, vanilla pod and it's seeds over medium high heat. Continue to cook until it begins to boil, immediately remove the milk from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.
  2. While the mixture is cooling, in a medium bowl whisk together the sugar and cornflour until combined. Add the eggs, egg yolk and kirschwasser then whisk until smooth and pale yellow, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Once the milk has cooled, strain it into the eggs (discarding the pod) and whisk to combine. Immediately pour it back into the pan and place it over medium heat.
  4. Whisking continuously, cook 4-7 minutes over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Constantly whisking will insure no lumps form and you have a smooth cream. Cook until the mixture becomes thick enough to fill a bag and pipe.
  5. Pour the cream into a clean, glass gowl then cool for about 2-3 minutes in an ice bath. Press plastic wrap onto the top of the cream so a film doesn't form. Chill several hours until cold.
Choux Pastry
  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Measure the flour by weight then sift it onto a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, combine the water, salt and butter over medium high heat. Slowly warm until all the butter has melted making sure the water does not bubble or evaporate. .
  4. Once all the butter has melted, quickly bring the mixture to the boil and tip in all the flour in one go. Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon. NOTE: The dough will come together, keep beating!
  5. Put the pan back on medium heat and continue to cook the dough for 1-2 minutes, continually stirring. You want a smooth, heavy dough that pulls away from the sides of the pan.
  6. Drop the dough into the bowl of your stand mixer and allow to cool until tepid, about 5 minutes.
  7. Beat the eggs in a bowl until combined, then gradually beat them into the dough with an electric whisk or mixer, or a wooden spoon, beating well after each addition. (You may not need all the egg.) The dough should be very shiny and paste-like, and fall from a spoon when lightly shaken.
  8. Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1.25cm/½in plain nozzle and pipe 12 x 10cm/4in lengths onto the greased baking tray.
  9. Sprinkle the tray, not the pastry, with a few drops of water, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, without opening the door, reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp.
  10. Remove the tray from the oven and carefully make a small hole in the side of each éclair to allow steam to escape. Return to the oven and bake for a further five minutes, or until the pastry is completely crisp. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  11. For the filling, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until just stiff.
  12. Once the éclairs have cooled, cut down the length of one side of each éclair and pipe in the whipped cream.
  13. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) and allow it to cool slightly. Dip the tops of the éclairs in the chocolate and let the chocolate set before serving.
Chocolate
  1. Chop the chocolate into fine pieces and place a medium glass bowl.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat the cream over medium high heat until just boiling. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes - do not stir during these 2 minutes!
  3. With a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together until smooth and incorporated.
  4. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until butter has melted and vanilla has been incorporated.
  5. Allow the chocolate to sit for 5 minutes at room temperature before dipping the eclairs.
Assembly
  1. Using a ¼in round piping tip, gently press two holes on the bottom of an eclair on each end.
  2. Attach the same tip to a pastry bag and fill it with cream. Gently press the tip/bag into the holes you created and slowly squeeze cream into the hole until you see it come to the hole on the opposite side. Repeat this process with all the eclairs.
  3. Dip the top of each eclair in the warm, melted chocolate allowing the excess to drip off. Place it on a wire rack and allow the chocolate to firm, about an hour.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
Storage
  1. Store in a bakery box or on the counter with plastic wrap over the top. If you store it in an air tight container, the pastry will lose it's crisp. If you plan to keep them for more than a day, store them in the refrigerator but know the dough will become softer.

Cooking with Core Home Products

Earlier this year I purchased a set of mini bamboo & silicone spatulas off of Zulily.  I loved the small size and shapes of them and found myself using them in the kitchen all the time.  I did a bit of research about Core Home Products, the company that made the spatulas and found of they make tons of amazing kitchen accessories!

*Scroll to the bottom for the GIVEAWAY!*

A photo posted by Betsy (@javacupcake) on

Before I go any further, know I’m not getting paid to write this post.  I’m writing this because I think sharing products with my readers will help make their time in the kitchen more enjoyable!  Which is exactly what Core Home Products kitchen tools have done for me and why I want to tell you all about them! I reached out to Core Home a few months ago and asked if I could sample a few more of their products to review on my blog.  

Because I knew I already loved their product, I knew that I’d be able to give a glowing review of any product they sent me.  Cooking with Core Home Products | JavaCupcake.com They sent me (above):

  1. the Madrid Bamboo Spatula Set
  2. the Los Angeles Colored Utensil Set
  3. the Easy Grip Rolling Pin in Aqua and
  4. the Pro-Bakers Measuring Board

I haven’t had a chance to use the rolling pin and the measuring board yet, but I have used the spatula set and the utensil set almost every day since I got them!  If you’ve been following me on Instagram you may have noticed all the dinners and desserts I’ve made using Core products! Here are a few of my favorites… Those first mini spatulas I bought make putting together some creme pat for eclairs super easy! 

A photo posted by Betsy (@javacupcake) on

Stirring together some cream and chocolate to make ganache… no problem!

A photo posted by Betsy (@javacupcake) on

When I made these Apple Fritters, I used one of the utensils from the LA set to make the apples.

A photo posted by Betsy (@javacupcake) on

Searing some Italian sausage for spaghetti!

A photo posted by Betsy (@javacupcake) on

For Thanksgiving, I used my Core Utensils with everything I made, but one of my favorites was my homemade cranberry sauce!

  A photo posted by Betsy (@javacupcake) on

And most recently, I used another Core utensil to make every part of leftover Thanksgiving turkey soup!

A photo posted by Betsy (@javacupcake) on

Why I love Core Home Products

As I was thinking about why I love Core products so much I came up with three main reasons… First, the color.  I rarely find kitchen tools that are not only functional, but cute!  The colors of almost all the Core products match my blog and kitchen colors!  I love that they are so pretty!  I think the teal color is my favorite!

Second, the variety.  I appreciate that Core produces several sizes of spatulas ranging from mini to full size and everything in between.  The bamboo utensils I use in cooking may all be the same size, but their shapes are different which means I can use them in many different ways in the kitchen, no matter what’s for dinner.

Third, the stability. Core has made a sturdy product.  My bamboo utensils have been used 3-4 times a week for the last few months and show no sign of wear yet.  I have used other wooden spoons in the past for cooking meals, but they often feel flimsy and even break.  I don’t forsee Core’s products breaking anytime soon.  In fact, I feel as though they just may last for many many years to come.

Really, I have found no reason not to love Core Home Products!  In fact, I love them so much that I have a few extra goodies to share with you!

Core Home Products Giveaway

Core Home Products Giveaway from JavaCupcake.com One winner will receive 1 Los Angeles Colored Utensil Set, 1 Easy Grip Rolling Pin in Aqua and 1 Pro-Bakers Measuring Board from Core Home Products valued at $135.00. Winner must have a USA mailing address. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Black Friday Favorites

As I sat down at my computer today to do  my Black Friday shopping, I realized that I was buying from the same online retailers that I was last year and the year before and the year before.  Why is that?  Because they are my favorite and I love everything I buy from them.  So, I thought… why not share my Black Friday Favorites with you!

Happy Shopping!

1.  Boojiboo – Designer Aprons

Black Friday Deals | JavaCupcake.com
I have three (two more on the way) aprons already from Boojiboo. When I lost a bunch of weight a few years ago, this apron was one of the first things I bought because my waist was finally small enough to wear an apron! I wear a Boojiboo apron so often that I think my neighbors think I might live in one! ha!  I love these aprons because they are handmade, durable and super cute!
BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: 10% OFF now through Monday. Enter code 14THANKYOU10 at checkout.

2. Ink and Elm – Vinyl Backdrops

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Whether your a blogger or a photographer, taking beautiful photos is made much easier with these vinyl backdrops from Ink and Elm. I purchased my first set from them last year and my food photos instantly got better! I highly recommend these backdrops for anyone looking to add consistency and style to their photography!
BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: 40% OFF Black Friday Sale with code BFRIDAY40

3. Sweets & Treats Boutique – Cupcake & Party Supplies

Black Friday Deals | JavaCupcake.com

I am IN LOVE with Shannon of Sweets & Treats Boutique and her cupcake liners. They are my go-to #1 source for cupcake liners, straws and party supplies. STB liners hold up to the densest, moistest of cupcakes without losing their color or shape. They’re the only liner I currently use!
BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: Take 40% off your entire order today and tomorrow (Saturday). Simply use code BLACKPARTY in your shopping cart.

4. May Designs – Custom paper goods

Black Friday Deals | JavaCupcake.com

Once I discovered the notebooks from May Designs, I started using them for everything! Every week, we use the meal planner book to help us plan our dinners then our weekly shopping list. I don’t think we’d eat without it. I also use a lined notebook for personal use. I just used it yesterday to make lists for everything that needed to be accomplished on Thanksgiving day. I also use a lined book for recipe development and notes while baking. I find the size to be perfect in the kitchen and it’s just small enough to stash in my purse for on-the-go. I order a different style or color every time! LOVE them! I even bought one for my daughter with her name on it to use as her HS agenda. My husband wants one now too!
BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: 40% off site wide until 12/2. Use code THANKS40 at checkout.

Homemade vanilla extract 3 ways with Beanilla vanilla beans

3 1/2 years ago I discovered the online vanilla bean company Beanilla and have been in love with their beans ever since!  When I moved to Germany, getting my hands on local affordable, high-quality beans was impossible so I was excited to have found Beanilla.

Homemade Vanilla Extract 3 Ways | JavaCupcake.com

Before I go on… if you’re here for the GIVEAWAY scroll to the bottom for all the details! 

I reached out to Beanilla a couple months ago and expressed to them how much I loved their beans and would love to partner with them for a post on JavaCucpake!  I have been using their beans in my homemade vanilla extracts as well as in all my vanilla recipes.  Every time I split open a Madagascar vanilla bean the aroma fills my kitchen and I go to my happy place!

Since I make all my extract in bulk, Beanilla and I decided that I’d create for you a “How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract in Bulk” tutorial for you.   This tutorial will feature three distinct Beanilla beans paired with three different liquors.

BeanillaVanillaExtract-72

I really hope you are able to get a lot of helpful information from this tutorial! Vanilla extract is super simple to make and it really is so amazing in place of store bought extract. Once you start making it yourself, you’ll never go back to imitation!

Enjoy!

The Video Tutorial

I created two video tutorials to help you make homemade vanilla extract.  This first video below is longer with more details about the beans and alcohol I used. The video at the bottom of this post has been edited to only include the specifics of making the extract.

The Flavors

  • Madagascar vanilla beans and vanilla vodka extract – Creamy, strong, full, rich vanilla beans paired with a smooth vanilla vodka make for the ultimately perfect vanilla extract for baking

Homemade Vanilla Extract 3 Ways | JavaCupcake.com

  • Indonesian vanilla beans and honey bourbon whiskey extract – Floral, sweet, delicate beans with tones of fruit paired with a honey infused sweet bourbon whiskey create a simply sweet vanilla extract for desserts with deep flavors

Homemade Vanilla Extract 3 Ways | JavaCupcake.com

  • Ugandan vanilla beans and spiced rum extract – Strong, creamy, rich tones of chocolate and caramel beans paired with a caramel spiced rum produce a bold vanilla extract strong enough to hold up to any chocolate recipe.

Homemade Vanilla Extract 3 Ways | JavaCupcake.com

The Supplies

The Technique

  1. Start with one type of beans and the alcohol paired with it.   Prepare those vanilla beans by using the straight edge of the paring knife and pressing the vanilla pod flat evenly distributing the beans inside the pod.  Split the pod in half the long way.  Repeat until all the beans are split.Homemade Vanilla Extract 3 Ways | JavaCupcake.com
  2. Place the beans into the clean, dry glass jar and pour the alcohol until it reaches the neck of the bottle.  Place the cork on top and shake gently.
  3. Add a label to the jar noting the date you made the extract.
  4. Store the jar in a cool place away from direct sunlight for a minimum of one month up to four months.  
  5. Repeat this process with the two other types of beans and their corresponding alcohols.

The Labels

  1. Download these bottle labels made exclusively for JavaCupcake readers by Rachel of Glitter & Bow.
  2. Vanilla Extract Labels | JavaCupcake.com Vanilla Extract Labels | JavaCupcake.com Vanilla Extract Labels | JavaCupcake.com Vanilla Extract Labels | JavaCupcake.com
  3. Print the labels on sticker labels and adhere them to each bottle.
  4. Write in the type of extract you made along with the date made and when it will be ready to use.
  5. Alternately, you can print the labels on regular paper and use double sided tape to adhere them to the bottles.

The Giveaway

Thanks to Beanilla, I’ve also got a custom designed Vanilla Extract Kit exclusively for one of my JavaCupcake readers!

Homemade Vanilla Extract 3 Ways | JavaCupcake.com

One person will win:

You must be 18 years old to enter and have a USA or Germany mailing address.  One person will be chosen by random on Monday, December 1, 2014.  Total value of this package: $100

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to make Vanilla Extract – Condensed Version

JavaCupcake 1st Annual Reader Survey

JavaCupcake 1st Annual Reader Survery
This January, I will be entering my 7th year of sharing my life and recipes here at JavaCupcake! I’ve grown so much over the last 5 years as a blogger, recipe developer, story teller and photographer and now am ready to hear what you think!

So I’m excited to bring you the JavaCupcake 1st Annual Reader Survey! Below you’ll find a series of questions intended to get valuable feedback from the most important part of JavaCupcake… You. The Readers!

Please answer them honestly. I’m looking for both positive and constructive answers. You are why I blog. Your loyalty to me as a blogger and your pure love for baking are what keeps me going!

So THANK YOU for being a reader of JavaCupcake and THANK YOU for participating in this survey!

PS… There’s a little thank you gift at the end of the survey!

Red Velvet Mocha Macaron Cake

Decadent red velvet cake filled with a whipped cream cheese filling surrounded by a rich chocolate fudge frosting adorned with mocha macarons make this cake an extravagant dessert fit for any special occasion!

Red Velvet Mocha Macaron Cake | JavaCupcake.com

A couple months ago, my friend Rachel of the fashion and lifestyle blog Glitter & Bow asked me to make a cake for her friends birthday.  But, not just any cake… it had to be a very special cake.

Rachel and I discussed several options, but decided on a Red Velvet Mocha Macaron Cake.  Red velvet and cream cheese go perfectly together inside the cake, but to tie in the macarons, we went with a chocolate fudge frosting.

Red Velvet Mocha Macaron Cake | JavaCupcake.com Red Velvet Mocha Macaron Cake | JavaCupcake.com

Deliciously sinful in every bite… or so I was told.

Since the cake was for a party, I couldn’t really cut into it for a photo for this post, so I tried to take a picture of the cake before I frosted it to give you an idea of how the inside looks.

Red Velvet Mocha Macaron Cake | JavaCupcake.com

The birthday girl sweetly emailed me after the party and said the cake was delicious and she was so very thankful I made it for her.  I only wish I could have had a slice of the cake myself!

Happy Baking!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Red Velvet Mocha Macaron Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 cake
Ingredients
Red Velvet Cake
  • 8Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 Tbsp unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp liquid red food coloring mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp distilled white vinegar
Whipped Cream Cheese Filling
  • 4oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
  • 12Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1lb package plus 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4oz semi-sweet bakers chocolate
Mocha Macarons
Instructions
Red Velvet Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease & flour 2 9-in round cake pans.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes. One at a time, add the eggs and mix well after each addition. Cream again for 1 more minute.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, water, vanilla and red liquid coloring until it has become a thick paste.
  4. Add this mixture to the bowl of the mixer and mix until completely combined. Scrape the bowl down to make sure all the batter has been colored red.
  5. Combine the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add half the buttermilk to the batter and mix until combined, the mixture will look grainy and curdled. Add half the flour and mix until combined. Repeat this with the remaining buttermilk and flour.
  6. Add the baking soda and vinegar and beat for 2 minutes or until the mixture is completely smooth and uniform.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Wrap the cake layers in plastic and freeze until firm or ready to use.
Whipped Cream Cheese Filling
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar, salt and vanilla and continue whipping until incorporated.
  2. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the whipping cream and whip until incorporated. Turn the mixer to high speed and whip until light, fluffy and smooth.
  3. Chill for at least an hour or until ready to use.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
  1. Using a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate. Set aside to slightly cool.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. While beating, sift together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
  3. Pour the cooled, melted chocolate into the butter and mix until incorporated.
  4. One cup at a time, add the powdered sugar and cocoa to the butter beating well after each addition.
  5. Mix in the vanilla and salt.
  6. Slowly pour in the heavy cream and beat the frosting on high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Mocha Macarons
  1. Use THIS RECIPE to make the macarons and filling. Instead of making mini macarons like the recipe, use a 1½in circle template to make your macarons.
Assembly
  1. Place one cake layer on a cake plate or stand, flat side down. Spread whipped cream cheese filling evenly over the top of the cake leaving a ½in border of unfrosted cake on the edges. . Gently place the second cake layer, flat side up, on top of the filling and press gently until the filling reaches the edges. Chill cake for 20 minutes to set.
  2. Apply a thin crumb coat of frosting to the entire outside of the cake. Freeze/chill the cake again for 20-30 minutes or until the frosting is firm.
  3. Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the outside of the cake. Use a bench scraper to create a flat surface of frosting on the top of the cake. Use a small spatula to create a textured side/edges of the cake.
  4. Place macarons evenly on the top of the cake along the edges.
  5. Chill cake and macarons until ready to serve. Remove 20 minutes before serving.

Apple Fritters

The best way to enjoy these warm, chewy, crisp on the edge full of delicious flavor Apple Fritters is with a big cup of coffee and your loved ones!  Perfect for a cold fall Saturday!

Apple Fritters  | JavaCupcake.com

I have loved Apple Fritters me entire life.  When I was a child, every Sunday my parents would take my family to church and most times we’d stop after for “coffee & doughnuts” in the church hall.  If they were out of my favorite maple bars, my #2 was always an apple fritter.

Apple Fritters  | JavaCupcake.com

There’s just something about the crisp pointy edges, sweet glaze on top and the juicy apples in the center of the chewy dough that I couldn’t get enough of.   And in the town I grew up in there were several local bakeries that whipped up these fritters every day so I was never without one! Unfortunately, most of those bakeries have closed and a hot, fresh fritter is hard to find now a days.

Apple Fritters  | JavaCupcake.com

Until I came to Germany.  Apple Fritters are easily found during apple season here and I’ve fallen in love with them again!  So much that I decided it was time to try making them myself at home!  When I scored a big bag of local German apples for only 2 Euro, I knew it was a sign to make me some Apple Fritters!

Now, the process was long and there were a lot of steps, but let me tell you… it WAS WORTH THE EFFORT!  I’m already planning the next time I’m going to make these.  Seriously, they are so good.

Apple Fritters  | JavaCupcake.com

Soft in the middle and slightly chewy.  Juicy apples.  Crisp edges.  Sweet glaze.  You can’t ask for anything more in an apple fritter.

Well, except maybe MORE FRITTERS please!

Enjoy!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Apple Fritters
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: doughnut, breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Dough
  • ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast (2¼tsp)
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Apples
  • 6 small/medium apples
  • 3Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Glaze
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1tsp vanilla
Frying
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Thermometer
  • Spider spatula (Asian style wire spoon)
Instructions
Dough
  1. Whisk together the yeast, sugar, 3 cups of the flour, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Fit the dough hook onto the mixer.
  2. With the mixer on low, pour in the room temperature milk until combined. Add the eggs and continue mixing until incorporated. Do your best to get as much of the dough mixed together to form a ball. It's okay if it's not all together, you can knead it in the next step.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of flour on your work surface and roll out the dough ball. Knead the dough a few times until the ball is smooth and everything has been incorporated.
  4. Add one tablespoon of butter to the dough and knead until incorporated. Repeat until all the butter has been added.
  5. Lightly butter a glass bowl and turn the dough out into it. Flip the dough a few times in the bowl to coat with butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubles in size This should take an hour or two.
Apples
  1. Peel, core and cut the apples into small chunks. Place the prepared apples in a bowl and toss in the lemon juice.
  2. In a medium pan over medium high heat, melt and cook the butter until it browns and smells nutty. Add the apples and toss to coat. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the apples and stir. Cook on medium high until just tender. Add the vingear and cook until the liquid has reduced by about half. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Assemble the Dough
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Flour your work surface and turn the dough out onto the flour. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle about ½in thick.
  3. Spread ¾ of the apple over the dough. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough away from you in a tight spiral to create a log. Turn the dough 90 degrees and press to flatten. Spread the remaining apples over the dough. Beginning with the edge closest to you, roll the dough away from you in a tight spiral. NOTE: Don't worry if the apples squeeze out, just shove them back in where you can!
  4. Roll the dough out into another rectangle about ½in thick. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces.
  5. Place a piece in your hand and pull each corner up into the center creating a rough ball. Place the ball on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and allow the dough to almost double in size. Make sure the dough rises in a warm place.
Glaze
  1. Just before you're ready to begin frying the fritters, prepare the glaze.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth. You'll want a slightly thick and spreadable consistency. Stir often to prevent a crust forming on the top of the glaze.
Fry the Fritters
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat 6 inches of vegetable oil to 360F degrees.
  2. While the oil is heating, prepare a cooling rack by lining it with paper towels.
  3. Once the heat is to temperature, gently lay 2 dough balls into the hot oil. The fritters sink at first but will float to the top. Cook about 60-90 seconds on each side. You want them to cook all the way through and have a dark brown color. Use the metal spider spatula to flip and remove the fritters. Place the cooked fritter on the paper towels to drain and cool. Allow the oil to come back to 360F degrees before frying another batch of fritters. Continue until all the dough has been fried. NOTE: After the first batch has been fried, cut into a fritter to check that the dough has been cooked through, if not then adjust the time you fry on each side accordingly.
Glaze the Fritters
  1. Once the fritters have cooled to the touch, brush the glaze generously over the top and side of each fritter. No need to flip them over, just make sure to get the sides that you can reach.
  2. Allow the glaze to harden before serving.
  3. Store in a non-airtight container for up to 3 days. They are best if eaten immediately.
Notes
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn.

 

German Plum Cake

Ripe, sweet, juicy plums are one of my favorite fruits in the Fall. Here in Germany, the most delicious cake is make from these dark purple pitted fruits, Plum Cake!

German Plum Cake | JavaCupcake.com

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With less than a year left in Germany, I’m determined to learn to bake as many of my favorite treats that I’ve come to love in the last 3 1/2 years.  Cake rectangles topped with fruit and struessel are a German staple and one of my most favorite desserts.

In Germany, small purple plums are in season beginning in late summer and continue into the Fall.  They are an inexpensive fruit to purchase but they make one of the best and most unexpected additions to cake.

Before I lived in Germany, I had never seen plums in cake before and to be honest, it would have never crossed my mind to use them in a dessert.  Let me tell you though, this Plum Cake is one of my all time favorite treats in Germany.

German Plum Cake | JavaCupcake.com

Now, you may be thinking, “This doesn’t look like a cake?!”  And you’re right!  German cakes come in all shapes and sizes.  The base of is almost a bread like dough made with yeast and rolled out into a pan.  Topping the dough  is a whipped cream and quark mixture topped with rows of fresh plums and a streusel to die for.  Hmmmm… yeah.  This really is the quintessential fruit cake in Germany.  It’s a must have and now a must bake!

There are several names for this German Plum Cake including Pflaumenmuskuchen or Zwetschgendatschi.  When I go into the bakery, I just smile and point and say, “Pflaumenkuchen, bitte!”

German Plum Cake | JavaCupcake.com

I translated this recipe from a German baking book I picked up at the Kaufland here. It’s called Omas beste Kuchen by Parragon Books.  You can buy it on Amazon if you’re interested.  The book is full of traditional German cakes that can be found in all the bakeries here!

If you need help with measurements in the recipe, you can download my Baking Conversion Charts to help you with the conversions!

Enjoy!

German Plum Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: German
Serves: 16-20 slices
Ingredients
Crust
  • 175ml milk
  • 350g all-purpose flour
  • 21g yeast (3 envelopes/packets)
  • pinch of salt
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp vanilla sugar
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • 60g unsalted butter
Filling
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g granualted sugar
  • 500g quark
  • 2Tbsp corn starch
  • 100g heavy cream
  • 850g or about 30 small purple plums, pitted & quartered
Topping
  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, cold
  • powdered sugar, for garnish
Instructions
Crust
  1. Warm milk in a sauce pan to 100F-110F degrees and set aside.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast. Sprinkle the salt and half the sugar over the yeast. Add 50ml of the warm milk (about ¼ cup) and vigorously stir together with a wooden spoon. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to proof for about 10 minutes (may take longer if it's not warm enough).
  3. Using a stand mixer with the dough hook, place the dough into the bowl. Add the egg, sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon zest and the butter and mix until combined. Add the remaining milk and mix until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Filling
  1. Wash and remove the pits of the plus. Slice the plums into quarters (4 pieces) and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until stiff.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until fluffy and the color has lightened. Mix in the corn starch and quark and stir until smooth.
  4. Gently fold the quark mixture into the whipped cream being gentle not to deflate the cream.
Topping
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Cube the butter and add it to the mixture. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until crumbly.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C degrees.
  2. Grease a 30x40cm pan with butter and flour.
  3. Knead the proofed dough 3-4 times on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll the dough to the size of the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, pressing it into the sides and edges.
  4. Spread the filling evenly over the dough.
  5. Arrange the plums in rows on top of the filling.
  6. Sprinkle topping over the plums.
  7. Bake 30-45 minutes until golden brown. Turn heat off and let the cake rest in the oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Cool completely then garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar.
  9. Cut cake into rectangles and serve with coffee or tea.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 16