Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Caramel and chocolate muffins

Sweet and chocolaty, can't get any better!
Drinking coffee is the only way to start the morning for lots of people around the world. The unique flavor of coffee goes extremely well with so many sweets that for many coffee time is the ideal time to sample sweets and what better companion than a freshly baked muffin to go along your daily dose of caffeine?

Muffins are a breeze to prepare. Even if you find baking cumbersome or you're feeling lazy, muffins take little time from prepping to baking using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

The origin of the word muffin seems to be related to a french word moufflet which roughly means soft bread. It seems that some consider muffins to be quick-to-make bread, and if you prepared muffins before you will tend to agree that they don't require too much time to prepare.

To the basic muffin mix, you can add lots of variations and tweak the recipe to produce a new muffin sensation each time.

For this recipe's muffins, I decided to bring together two complementary flavors: caramel and chocolate.
So to make 4 of these muffins, you will need: 
  • 1 large egg
  • 110 g flour, 
  • 3 g of baking powder
  • 25 g brown sugar and 10 g white sugar (vanilla flavored if possible)
  • 40 g melted butter
  • 30 g milk or cream 
  • 40 g salted caramel (recipe here)
  • 20 g chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • one tsp of bourbon or vanilla (I used bourbon)

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Separately, mix the milk and caramel.
Cream the butter and sugar in a different bowl, add the egg and blend until you have a homogeneous mixture.  

Now you just need to combine the liquid and dry ingredients. To the egg mix add 1/3 of the flour mix then add 1/2 the caramel and milk mixture. Keep alternating until you finish with the last 1/3 of the flour.

Pour the mixture in the lined muffin tin and bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for 16 to 20 min. They will be ready when they slightly spring back when touched!
The melting chocolate and the caramel sweetness go so well together
Now you have a sweet companion to nibble while you sip your warm morning coffee!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The cure for summer heat waves: pink lemonade popsicles.

It's the height of summer in Madrid and it's really hot and sunny. When you walk a bit in the sun the heat can be overpowering and you rush to get back home to have a break from the heat. On days like this, the ultimate sweet answer are the easy to make and icy cold popsicles.

I know I am not the only one whose childhood memories include lots and lots of moments spent cooling off with popsicles of all sort of flavors. As a family, we used to sit on the balcony and chat while enjoying lemon, strawberry and chocolate popsicles; our favorite flavors.

Like so many great culinary inventions, it was by chance that popsicles came to be. An eleven year old boy by the name of Frank Epperson left on the windowsill a juice jar with a mixing stick in it. Overnight the juice froze holding the mixing stick firmly in place. This is how the sweet icy sticks saw the light in 1905, but James had to wait until 1922 to market his discovery.

When I made my strawberry champagne cake I was left with some delicious syrup so I thought of adding it to my refreshing homemade lemonade resulting in an super delicious pink lemonade.

These popsicles are so easy to make and with little preparation you will make a beautiful, healthy and cool dessert!

For 6 popsicles (50 ml each) you need:
  • 500 g lemon or lime
  • 250 ml water (or more if you don´t want a strong and intense lemon flavor)
  • 50 g vanilla flavored sugar
  • 4 tsp of strawberry and champagne syrup (click here for recipe) 

Make the lemonade as you would usually do or you can fellow my recipe
Now just add the syrup, stir and prepare your molds. Put the wooden sticks in the molds and fill them. Leave them in the freezer for at least 8 hours or overnight!

That's it, all you need to cool off on a very hot day! Enjoy.