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Here’s an easy recipe for an apple cake. I made it for my mom, who always asks me for some apple pie. Unfortunately I don’t bake that kind of treat, but I have my good reasons: my boyfriend makes the best apple pie EVER. Point and statement. So I just let him baking it and sometimes, when he’s not around, I experiment some alternatives.

This cake is very lean (no butter, no oil, just ricotta!) and it’s soft and moist even the day after! Perfect for breakfast, as long as it is not too sweet and heavy.

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Ingredients

  • 9oz/250gr  ricotta
  • 2 cups/200gr cake flour
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbs/50gr wheat starch
  • 3/4 cup/150gr granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 pkg/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 apples (I used Granny Smith)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tbs raisin
  • sugar powder for serving

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/ 180°C. Grease and flour one 9in by 2in (24cm diameter) cake pan, tapping out excess flour.

2. Peel and core apples, cut them into little pieces and put them in a bowl with lemon juice and raisins. Mix everything well.

3.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat ricotta and sugar until light colored. Add egg yolks, flour, baking powder and wheat starch. Then toss in the apples mixture and stir with a spoon.

4. Using the electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat egg whites on medium-high until glossy stiff peaks form (do not overbeat!), about 3 minutes.

5. Add the egg whites to the apple mixture, folding them gently.

6. Toss the mixture in the pan and bake it for 45 to 50 min. Once it is done, let cool completely in pan. Sprinkle with some sugar powder before serving.

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In New York they call them Pretzels, in Wien Brezeln…anyway, whatever the name, they always taste great! I love them with some mustard and a big cold glass of Weizen Bier (yep, it’s a particular kind of German beer and matches perfectly with this soft, salty tidbit!).This time I didn’t use any food processor…just my hands and a wooden spoon! If you prefer though you can use a mixer fitted with the paddle, but make sure not to overmix the dough. There’s just one flaw…Brezeln will keep for up to half a day, so you have to eat them quickly…or invite some friends over!

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Ingredients

  • 1 package dry active yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F/36°C)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pretzel salt
  • Assorted mustards, for serving

Directions

  1. Mix yeast, coarse salt, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Put flour in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring to combine. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  4. Cut dough into 12 pieces, and roll each into an 18-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portion backward along center of U shape to form a circle, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet, and repeat. Let rise for 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add baking soda. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to wire racks to drain. Return to baking sheet, sprinkle with pretzel salt, and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Pretzels will keep, uncovered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours. Rewarm in a 250-degree oven if desired, and serve with mustards.

Ok…I have to admit it: I’m a Martha Stewart’s addicted! But it’s not my fault 🙂 I received two books (Cookies and Cupcakes) as Xmas gift last year and I started baking every single recipe, just like in the movie Julie and Julia! To be honest, most of the time I was really satisfied about the results, so why do I have to change? Even if my bf (who is the one that gave me those books, by the way) thinks she is not the best ever, I will keep on baking her recipes…and he will keep on eating my cookies anyway 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 cups white-chocolate chunks (about 9 ounces)
  • 1 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, (about 6 ounces)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix into butter mixture on low speed until well combined. Stir in chocolate, coconut, and walnuts.
  3. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 2 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.
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