[Scotland vibes] Peanut Butter Fudge topped with caramelized salted peanuts

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A few weeks ago I was talking to my very best friend Anna about the upcoming weekends, so that we could plan ahead our next meetings. Along the way we realized that our last trip (remember my recipe for Sacher Torte?) was already 2 years ago! It was time for our next adventure. Inspired by an article about ‘the best city weekends‘ I read a couple of days before, we decided spontanously to visit one of the top 30 cities: Edinburgh! It was our first time in Scotland! All I heard about Scotland was bagpipes and kilts, red haired people, a heavy Scottish accent and food like ‘haggy’.(= pudding made of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, onions, oatmeal, suet and spices). Time to check these assumptions!

When we arrived at the airport, we were positively surprised how clearly arranged and well-organized eyerything was. Within 30 minutes we passed the beautiful landscape (like a sneek peek of the beautiful Highlands!) and reached the Old Town city center. Now we were ready to discover the city. The big advantage is that you can reach everything within walking distance, which is for me the best way to get to know the city! The disadvantage is the weather, very rainy and VERY windy (I do not understate!).

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Our hotel was located in the Old Town surrounded by so many great restaurants and cafés. In general the whole city offers many possibilities to take a rest from sightseeing. I would like to share with you our highlights of the trip.

Calton Hill: Definitely worth the very windy and rainy walk up! In the 19th century it was planned to build a Scottish Acropolis on top of the hill to manifest the reputation as “The Athens of the North! But after 3 years of construction they had to stop because of lack of money. Nowadays, you can admire disconnected but magnificent pieces all over the Hill . From here you have a brilliant panoramic view. When you spin around you can see the harbor, the beautiful Old and New Town and in the background you can adumbrate already some planted hills. Located directly on the opposite point you can see the Edinburgh Castle.

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Victoria Street and Grassmarket: This district combines a great shopping experience with stunning architecture. Bascially you can find any store in this area like wine and other spirits (for whiskey visit the ‘Bow Bar’), jewelry, antiques, secondhand shops and many galleries (do not miss the Red door Gallery!). Most of the buildings are built in a british style but individualized by many different colors which embellished the cityscape so much! Below you can see the beautiful Victoria Street. 

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Royal Mile: This “royal street” is located in the Old Town and subdivided into Lawnmarket, Castlehill, High Street, Canongate and Abbey Strand. Here you can admire many charming houses and the first skyscraper of the world (at that time 15 floors!). In this area you can find many restaurants, souvenir shops and small ‘closes’ with backyards (= alley).

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New Town: Whereas in the past the Old Town was home for over 80 000 people at the same time, it was small, narrow and dirty. Nowadays the Old Town is very charming, but the completely opposite to the New Town. Everything is bigger and more elegant in this area. Many glorious Gregorian streets, boulevards are framing townhouses and private gardens. The shopping street is called Princes Street, where you will find every famous shop. At one end is the 5-star Balmoral Hotel situated and at the other end the St. John’s church.

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National Galleries of Scotland: Absolutely worth a visit! The National Galleries are divided into the National Gallery, Portrait Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. There are shuttles between the different galleries and best about it: The entry is free! My favourite room was defintely the one with paintings from renaissance and post impressionism such as Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot and Sir William Quiller Orchardson.

Time to talk about the food. Like I said before haggy is indeed a sort of delicacy and something you can eat nearly everywhere. To get to the point we haven’t tried it, we stuck to fish and chips and more important the sweet things! To be honest I never thought about Scottish pastry! All I had in mind was something like shortbread or scones (i know its british!). We were enthusiastic when we discovered that Scotland is not only the home of whiskey, but also of FUDGE, which is by far one of the best culinary discoveries ever! In addition you can have cupcakes, blondies and brownies and slices everywhere. I haven’t heard about slices before, but basically they are made of chocolate, cookies, dried fruits and any great ingredients such as Oreos, Malteser or Nutella. To die for really! Therefore, when I thought about this week’s recipes the choice wasn’t that hard: FUDGE.

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As many of you know I am a huge peanut butter fan (you can find PB always in my fridge!). For this reason it was overdue to create a peanut butter explosion for you. And finally here it is: Tenderly melting peanut butter fudge with a creamy layer of dark and milk chocolate and peanut butter and topped with salted caramelized peanuts. No more words needed. ENJOY.

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Peanut Butter Fudge topped with caramelized salted peanuts

Ingredients:
For the fudge:
120 g butter
120 ml milk
450 g brown sugar
220 g peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
300 g confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Peanut butter chocolate layer:
60 g creamy peanut butter
150 g milk chocolate
70 g dark chocolate

Topping:
100 g roasted salted peanuts
100 g white sugar

Directions:

  1. Prepare a baking pan (20cm x 20cm) by layering with plastic wrap.
  2. For the Fudge: At medium heat melt butter in a saucepan, then add brown sugar and milk and mix until combined. Then bring the mixture to boil without stirring it anymore, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and add the peanut butter. Add the hot mixture and mix until fully incorporated. In another bowl combine confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract until a smooth caramel comes out.
  4. Pour into the prepared baking pan and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Then put in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  5. For the peanut butter chocolate layer: Over a waterbath melt both of the chocolates together with the peanut butter. When completely melted pour over the peanut butter fudge.
  6. For the topping: Prepare a tray by layering it with baking paper. Cut peanuts into smaller chunks. In a saucepan caramelize white sugar until completely dissolved, when it turns light brown deglaze with some water (about 40ml). Add the peanuts and stir until all peanuts are covered with caramel. Spread on the prepared baking paper. Let it cool.
  7. When topping is cooled completely break/cut into smaller chunks. Spread over the chocolate layer and cut fudge into smaller pieces.

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Have a great day,

xxx

Caprice

[Paris flair and an Eclair] Caramel Eclairs with a Nutella mascarpone swirl

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Finally I am done with all of my exams. Weeks of studying will now switch into free days full of traveling, baking and quality time with family and friends. As I am planning some exciting trips (and recipes!) I thought about my last trip in December, where I have been to Paris for a couple of days. It wasn’t my first time there, therefore we didn’t visit Disneyland or Versaille again. Instead we went to my favourite places such as the Musée d’Orsay, Musée Rodin and of course the all-time classic: Musée du Louvre (I have to admit that I am a museum junkie!). I like the atmosphere and flair of the city so much. Sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower with some wine, baguette and cheese (I am in love with french cheese!) or walking besides the Seine with a big scoop of ice cream from Berthillon, located on Île Saint-Louis at sunset. And of course you have lots of possibilites to go shopping, in addition to the big department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, there are many tiny shops full of unique and handmade pieces.
Of course I couldn’t resist stopping by Café Ladurée. I had to buy my favourite macarons, pistachio! But another pastry catched my eye: Eclairs. Before then I never really tried making eclairs by myself. But when I thought about a new recipe for the blog I wanted to give them a new kick.
As the name of my blog reveals I am in love with french pastry. I already showed you my favourite recipe for macarons and crossaints and now I will show you my recipe for Caramel eclairs with a Nutella mascarpone swirl!
Eclairs are glazed and filled pastry made of choux pastry. There are approximately 10 cm long and the filling can be made of strawberry, raspberry, coffee, chocolate, vanilla cream, cream or pudding. It is often coated with chocolate, caramel, fondant or icing. I decided to make a mascapone cream with a nutella (nougat) swirl and a caramel and chocolate glazing!

Eclairs with a Nutella mascarpone swirl

ingredients:
250 g water
0,5 tablespoon salt
60 g butter
150 g flour (sifted)
4 eggs

filling:
500 g mascarpone
400 ml heavy cream
250 ml yogurt
3-4 tbsp. white sugar
2 tbsp. Triple sec
2-3 tbsp. Nutella or nougat
decoration:
8 caramel candy
5 tbsp. heavy cream
150 g chocolate

Directions:
  1. In a heavy and wide saucepan, stir together the water, butter and salt and let it boil while stiring it the whole time. Remove from heat and add the sifted flour with wooden spoon until no flour can be seen anymore and it turns into a white clump.
  2. Now add add the eggs one after another until fully incorporated and the mixture is a clump again.
  3. Preheat oven to 220°C and prepare baking sheets. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag. Now pipe dough into 8-10 cm lengths (as you prefer).
  4. Bake for 20 minutes (depends on your oven!). Then remove from oven and tranfer them to a wire rack. Now, when they are still hot, cut into two halves.
  5. Prepare the filling: In a bowl beat heavy cream until nearly stiff. In another bowl mix macarpone, yogurt, sugar and triple sec, in the end add the heavy cream. Melt the nougat/Nutella and add the swirl with a fork (like you can see on the picture above).
  6. For the decoration melt chocolate in a saucepan and in another saucepan melt caramel candy and heavy cream. Take the tops of the eclairs and decorate either with chocolate or caramel or both.
  7. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag. Pipe on the bottoms of the eclaires and put the tops onto it.

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Have fun baking!

xxx

Caprice

[the ultimative not-dry cake] Dark chocolate hazelnut cake refined with Rum

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It’s nearly time to start christmas baking of this year! So stay tuned for many delicious recipes. But before I start to show you my favorite christmas treats of this year…

Here it is: The ultimative not-dry chocolate cake! When I am baking birthday cakes or cakes for any other occassions I am asking people for their favorite cake. There are many answers like cheesecake, cupcakes with frosting, chocolate cake, Baumkuchen or lemon cake and so on… But there is one thing all people agree with. Nobody wants a dry cake! There ist nothing worse than a perfectly looking cake which tastes as dry as sand. I absolutely agree with this point! Therefore I would like to show you my favorite cake which is the opposite of dry and is a perfect option for your next birthday party!

This cake is one of the reasons many of my friends ask me to bake their wedding cake.  But thats another story! 😉

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First this cake contains  hazelnuts which are as well influencing the consistence and dryness of the cake. But the secret comes after baking. Then you have to drizzle the cake with Rum! It will not only prevent your cake from drying out, it will as well give it a nice aroma which matches nicely with the dark chocolate glazing. This cake can be stored a few days and won’t dry out as quickly as other cakes do! So its very suitable when you need to bake ahead!

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Dark chocolate hazelnut cake refined with Rum

ingredients:

300 g butter
300 g white sugar
7 eggs
pinch of salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
150 g chocolate chunks
75 g grounded hazelnuts
200 g flour
2 tbsp. baking powder

10 tbsp. Rum
400 g chocolate glazing (dark or milk chocolate)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and oil a baking pan (preferably a loaf pan).
  2. Separate eggs and beat egg whites, with a pinch of salt, until stiff. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl mix together butter and white sugar until very creamy (the longer you mix the better the batter will be). Add egg yolks one after another and vanilla extract until nicely incorporated.
  4. Add flour,  baking powder, chocolate chunks and hazelnuts – Do not overmix! At last add stiff egg whites. Pour batter into the baking pan.
  5. Bake for about one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Now, take a tablespoon and drizzle Rum over the cake. Then let it cool completely in the baking pan.
  7. Then remove form baking pan and cover with chocolate glazing.

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Have fun baking!

xxx

Caprice