Tag Archive | Almonds

Bejewelled Cupcakes

Hallo – hallo! I am once more back again!

Some of you might remember telling you that my late mother never taught me to bake any of her beautiful cakes. Was that the reason why I never even attempted baking for my family and friends? I don’t know really; and to be frank with you I also was always a bit “scared” in case I made quite a fool of myself.

Luckily neither Jo nor I have a so called ‘sweet tooth’ – so we never missed that divine piece of ‘sweet temptation’ on our extensive travels around the world, with the exception of one of the various times when we visited the world famous Hotel Sacher in Vienna. How can anyone decline a piece of their Sacher Torte (with 2 spoons, please) and a glass of delicious champagne?!

But the other day we suddenly both felt like having a piece of cake with our tea but could not be bothered to call a UBER to take us to a bakery. Then I remembered a cake recipe my friend Heidi in Berlin used when cake was needed at very short notice. So a quick call to her, recipe written down, needed ingredients checked, cake baked and 20 minutes later enjoyed with a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst listening to the heavy unseasonably rain outside.

So here now I share with you Heidi’s recipe and hopefully you too will bake this cake.

I am quite proud of myself for having done this after decades shying away from this but, as the saying goes “…one is never too old to learn” – so watch out for maybe another cake experience soon.

Take care and Namaskaram
Carina

Ingredients for 6 Cupcakes
100 g Butter, softened
250 g Flour
200 g Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of Salt
Ingredients for top
100 g Almonds (skinned and cut into little sticks)
100 g Sugar
Any good jam (solid, not liquid)

Method
Heat your oven to 200 C.
In a bowl mix Butter, Sugar and Vanilla Sugar very well until creamy.
Slowly add eggs, one after another, and mix well
Mix flour, baking powder and salt and add to the above mixture.
Now butter your baking sheet or cupcake pan, sprinkle flour over this and shake off any excess flour.
Cover your baking sheet with the batter, smooth out top.

With a small spoon make a dell in the batter and add a good generous dollop of your favourite jam into this.
Mix the almonds and the sugar and sprinkle over the batter with tiny butter flakes on top.
Bake in the hot oven for app. 20 minutes.

That’s it – enjoy Heidi’s recipe with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

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A small gift for you – ALMONDS

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As long as I can remember come New Year’s Day I have made “Gebrannte Mandeln” (sugar-burnt-almonds) to give away to friends as a little ‘thank you’ for this and that.

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Wrapped in little cornucopias simply made out of newspaper they always bring a smile to everybody’s face; with most of us being reminded of those fun-filled childhood visits to our local Christmas Markets. Although I never had an overly sweet tooth this did not stop me from nagging my own mother to buy me a portion of those deliciously smelling ‘gebrannte mandeln’ each time we visited one of those markets – until she decided it would be cheaper making them at home.
To me and many people around the globe the almond is a symbol of good fortune and happiness.

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….already at sea en route to Germany, the biggest import market.”

And this is one of the main reasons why today I like to present each one of you with my little gift combined with my very best wishes for

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There are so many uses for this nut in the kitchen alone, too many to start listing them all here.

And although I use Almonds a lot in my kitchen, one of my own personal ‘comfort dishes’ (especially when the wretched cold/flu has hit me) is a nice bowl of rice pudding, laced with a pinch of cinnamon and a dollop or two (wicked!) of jam and some Almonds. By the way, this is also a Swedish Christmas Tradition.

Here in India we say that eating 10 Almonds a day is good for the brain (….oh yes?!) – and so I keep stocking up once a month!

And who does not know the 5 important health benefits of Almonds: they are of course as follows:
1) Almonds are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats.
2) They are a good way to get your magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B
3) They are particularly high in antioxidant vitamin E
4) Eating Almonds instead of high carbohydrate foods has been shown to aid weight loss.
5) Vitamin E in Almonds protects your skin’s collagen to keep you looking younger for longer.

Now for you, who like to make those Almonds at home, here is this very simple recipe I have been using for so many years.
300 g Almonds (with skin on)
180 g white sugar (you can use more if you like, but ….)
2 Tbsp Cinnamon powder
The inside (pulp) of one Vanilla
40 ml water

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Take a large frying pan and on medium flame heat water, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla pulp stirring continuously until sugar has molten.
Add Almonds and continue stirring until all the Almonds are well covered. Now for the next 10-15 minutes keep stirring until all the water has evaporated and the Almonds have turned nicely brown.

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In the meantime line a tray with parchment paper and transfer all the Almonds onto this, spreading them out and simply let them dry for a little while. For this I put the whole lot into the oven (WITHOUT HEAT) for maybe 30 minutes or so.

That’s it – done – ready to be bottled or boxed and enjoyed.

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Come now and join me – jumping straight into a New Year, with a spring in one’s step, a song in one’s heart, a smile on one’s face and hope for a better tomorrow.

Namaskaram
Carina