spicy coconut macaroons with lemon zest

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Well, hello there! It’s been a while, unfortunately. Between finishing my Master’s thesis, moving from one city to another and, well, life in general, this little blog of mine fell behind for a while. But with the season of cooking and baking ahead, I pledge to make an effort to change that! So without further ado, here comes a simple recipe for coconut macoroons with a spicy twist. Due to adding yogurt, they are quite moist and not as dry and crumbly as more traditional coconut macaroons. As always, adjust the sweetness to your liking.

Yields about 18 macaroons

100g of desiccated coconut
60g of wholemeal (spelt) semolina
40g erythritol or other sweetener of choice
1 egg
150g  of yogurt
1/2 teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon
1 point of a knife of both cardamom and vanilla
3 allspice corns, finely ground in a morsel
zest of 3/4 of a smallish lemon

Mix all the dry ingredients first, then add the yogurt and egg to the batter. Heat the oven to 180°C (360° Fahrenheit) for about 18 minutes, keep a close watch on them during the last few minutes. They are finished when the edges start turning brown.

bear paws Christmas cookies

DSCN2344 (2)These cookies have a long tradition in my familiy, my grandma used to make them and now my Mom and I bake them every Christmas. They are called „Bärentatzen“ meaning bear paws because they are pressed into a wooden mold to form paws (though you do need a little phantasy to see the resemblance :)). They are definitely not the prettiest Christmas cookies out there but they are my favourite anyway. Also, we use less sugar than many comparable recipes call for and they don’t contain flour (a traditional gluten-free recipe you could say, dating from a time when gluten-free wasn’t even a thing!). There`s also no butter involved but lots of chocolate, which in my book are two very good things.
You don’t need that wooden mold, though, to make them and feel free to decorate them in any way you like (I’ve seen pictures of „Bärentatzen“ using sliced almond as claws, that could be an idea for next year)!

for about 25 cookies
3 egg whites
125g 85% dark chocolate
250g almond meal
2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
1 teablespoon of cinnamon
zest of 1 lemon
100g sugar*

directions:

Finely grate the dark chocolate – this is the part that takes quite a bit of elbow grease but there probably are a lot of kitchen helpers out there to quicken the process. Mix with the cocoa powder, almond meal, cinnamon and lemon zest. Beat the egg whites and add sugar. Mix everything together with a spoon. Roll the dough into balls between your palms (quite big, about 5-6cm/ 2-2,3 inches). If you have a wooden mold, press the dough balls into it to get the paw shape or use any other form that you like. You could also press the ball a bit flat to get a more traditional cookie shape (not too flat though, this way you will get a soft core). A tip if you use some sort oft mold: wipe it clean from time to time so that the dough doesn’t stick to it or roll the dough in some extra sugar or almond meal to get it out more easily.
Let the bear paws rest over night in a cool and dry place and bake them the next day at 180°C (350°F) for 20 minutes. Store them in a cookie tin. If they appear too hard and dry at first, put a few apple slices in the tin as well and they will soften up so they are just right.

*you could use less ore more sugar, it depends on your liking. Feel free to substitute it with other sweeteners like Erythritol

healthy German cheesecake with apples

DSCN2296Yes, another „German“ recipe, I’m only putting it in the title because – as with the onion tart – the recipe calls for a quite specific dairy product, which may not be readily available everywhere. While the typical American cheesecake has a cream cheese filling making it delisiously creamy, rich and smooth, German cheesecakes use curd cheese („Quark“) as a base. This makes for a lighter, fluffier cake, that I’m quite partial to because it tastes of childhood memories to me, it’s the kind of cake moms would bring to nursery school festivities.

Curd cheese is somewhat similar to yoghurt but produced differently. In France you find fromage blanc, which is very close if not the same. To me, the American greek yoghurt tasted very much like quark, I’ve read tips online that you can drain it through a cotton cloth it it is too runny, so that may be a substutite if you can’t find curd cheese anywhere.

Also, a slight warning. While this cakes is really, really delicious, it is not, however, a-healthy-cake-that-doesn’t-taste-healthy. It’s sweet but not too sugary, with a substantial base due to the whole wheat bottom. It’s the sort of cake which you can find at a food stall at an organic farmer’s market around here. And I really, really love that taste! „healthy German cheesecake with apples“ weiterlesen

German onion tart

DSCN2275No Autumn feels entirely complete to me if I don’t bake an onion tart at least once. There are many different recipes for it but this is by far my favourite version – the hearty yeast dough fits perfectly with with the slightly sweet onions. Traditionally, onion tarts are oft sprinkled wit diced bacon before baking, but I prefer mine without it. The caraway however is really important for the taste!

It’s quite interesting, how much dairy products vary between different countries – I used something called „Saure Sahne“ which has 10% fat and seems to be comparable to sour cream (which is a bit fatter, as far as my research goes). Use whatever you have on hand. „German onion tart“ weiterlesen