Pear and Walnut Coffee Cake

Pear and Walnut Coffee Cake I just can’t get enough of coffee cakes lately! They’re just soooooo good! And, more importantly, having the occasional piece of cake keeps me sane during those long hours of typing my thesis.

Sorry, what was that? How’s the thesis, you say? Well, good. Thanks for asking! I guess… Quick, pass the cake!!

Truth be told: my thesis is driving me crazy! Crazy and absentminded. The kind of absentminded where you mistake the fridge for your wardrobe and not realize it until fifteen minutes later, when you find yourself eating a peanut butter and cucumber sandwich wearing nothing but a towel. Ah well, at least I wasn’t wearing the sandwich, right?

But let’s move on to another topic. My thesis scares me… And cake makes me happy, so that’s what I’ll be blabbing about today! More specifically, I’ll be talking about this Pear and Walnut Coffee Cake! It’s amazing! I actually reward myself with it when I’m working on my thesis.

Damn, that brought me right back to it…Aaaaanyway, let’s pretend my thesis is NOT scary for a second. Just so I can tell you why I love this cake so much… You see, this cake is perfect for taking my mind off that dreaded word document that hopefully, someday, will magically turn into a 25,000 word thesis. It’s filled with juicy pears, cinnamon, brown sugar and walnuts and topped with amazing walnut streusel! And powdered sugar. Because powdered sugar makes me feel like Christmas is right around the corner even though it’s not even December yet and around Christmastime my thesis will hopefully be out of of my life!

I wish it was Christmas already!

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Peanut Butter Ice Cream with a Chocolate Fudge Swirl

Peanut Butter Ice Cream with a Chocolate Fudge Swirl Peanut butter ice cream… Does it get any better than that? Oh wait, yes it does! Peanut butter ice cream with a hot fudge swirl… Much better! Mind you, the swirl is not hot. I originally planned to give this post the following title: ‘Peanut Butter Ice Cream with a Hot Fudge Swirl’, but I decided against it. Too confusing. I mean, ice cream and a hot swirl? Crazy! I mean, the swirl is just as cold as the ice cream. Aka: frozen!

Wait, did I say ‘Frozen’? I looove that movie! Is it weird that I can sing along to ‘Let It Go’? And to ‘Do You Wanna Build a Snowman’? Because I’m not apologizing for it…

But let’s get back to the ice cream. As you might have guessed, this is the ice cream I mentioned in my last post on homemade hot fudge sauce. For those of you who missed my last post, I’ve been craving peanut butter ice cream for the last couple of weeks or so. And what do you do when a craving hits you and you happen to also run a food blog? You come up with a killer recipe!

Wow, that sounds like developing this recipe was really easy! Trust me, it wasn’t. But more on that later… Let’s first discuss why this is the most delicious peanut butter ice cream out there. First of all, this ice cream is super smooth and super creamy. Creamy to the max! And secondly, it is just packed full of flavor! Akak: packed full of peanut butter!

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Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce A few days ago, in my quest to develop a recipe for the ultimate peanut butter ice cream, I stumbled upon this recipe for hot fudge sauce. And I can now say that I will never buy hot fudge sauce again!

But first things first. I’ve been craaaaaaving peanut butter ice cream for about a week now. But guess what? Peanut butter ice cream isn’t readily available here in the Netherlands. Sometimes, when I’m in luck, I can get my hands on some peanut buttery Ben & Jerry’s, but not this week. So what’s a girl to do? Well, make her own peanut butter ice cream, of course! And while I’m at it, I might as well make it the BEST peanut butter ice cream ever, right?

My thoughts exactly…

So here’s what I did. I first whipped up a very basic peanut butter ice cream, using only peanut butter, heavy cream, whole milk and a little vanilla. That’s from the top of my head, so there might have been something else in there too – wait, got it: sugar. There was also sugar in there….

Duuuuuh…. I’m such an airhead.

Anyway, I wasn’t really happy with the result. The ice cream lacked peanut butter flavor. Which is NOT what I want in peanut butter ice cream! On top of that, it just didn’t melt right. It kind of split as the ice cream melted. It wasn’t pretty. Or appetizing. So I ditched that recipe and decided to come up with a custard based ice cream recipe instead. Custard based ice cream is always better. ALWAYS!

But wait, I forgot to tell you something. I wasn’t just craving peanut butter ice cream, my heart (taste buds? tummy?) wanted peanut butter ice cream with some form of chocolate in it. That first batch of weird melting ice cream I made? I drizzled in some melted dark chocolate and stirred in a ton of milk chocolate chips. I wasn’t happy with that either… First of all, I didn’t like the whole milk-chocolate-peanut-butter combo. Normally I’m not such a chocolate purist, but apparently peanut butter ice cream has changed me. Needless to say, I loved the dark chocolate pieces! And yet, those little chunks bothered me. I wanted smooth ice cream! Chocolate included…

So I decided to go with a hot fudge swirl instead!

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Easy Caramel Apple Cake

Easy Caramel Apple Cake So… my first fall recipe! A super easy but very delicious Caramel Apple Cake. I thought it was appropriate, having missed Halloween and all. Really, this one post a week thing is not really working out for me. There are so many delicious recipes I want to share with you, but I just don’t have the time! I mean, this is my first fall recipe. And it’s already November!

Oh wait, I forgot about the Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips… Never mind…

Anyway, when will I have time to make all those other fall recipes I’ve been wanting to post about – like pumpkin cake with walnuts and Dutch apple pie and the Rocking Rebel’s amazing cinnamon pancakes – before Christmas? Oh, and those of you still waiting for that new recipe for Spiced Pear Soufflés I promised, I’m working on it! It’s just that my life is a little crazy right now. But a good kind of crazy. In fact, I’ve got some super exciting news I’ve been dying to tell you!

I’ve been offered a writing job! Yay me! And not just any writing job, a culinary writing job! How awesome is that? I’m so super stoked about it! I’m starting my new job in December, so it’s done wonders for my thesis, too. It’s super motivating! I have to turn my thesis in on the 30th of November, remember? (hey, I rhymed!) Well, I just wrote another 546 words! On collective memory and Maurice Halbwachs! Which is pretty amazing for someone who couldn’t write 50 words a few months ago.

Apparently, I perform well under pressure!

But let’s talk a little about today’s recipe: it’s probably the weirdest cake I’ve ever made! It’s super easy and really delicious, but very, very weird.

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Kitchen Experiment: Easy (Swiss!) French Buttercream

Swiss French Buttercream Hey guys! Just a three-photo post today, because this recipe was never meant to be a real recipe. Actually, I made all the photos in this post for another post I was planning on doing. A post on Easy Chocolate (Swiss!) French Buttercream. Unfortunately,  the chocolate buttercream didn’t quite turn out the way I’d hoped. As in: yuck, yuck, YUCK! But luckily, this stuff was absolutely dreamy and glorious and delicious and soooo worth dedicating a blog post to, so a three-photo post it is!

That makes sense right? It’s just one of those happy kitchen mistakes!

But wait, what’s all that ‘easy (Swiss!) French buttercream’ stuff all about? It’s a funny title, isn’t it? Well, it is what it is! I made a Swiss French buttercream. And because ‘Swiss French buttercream’ is probably a little too confusing, I decided to put ‘Swiss’ in brackets!

So, what exactly is ‘(Swiss!) French buttercream’? It’s easy! We all know about Swiss buttercream, right? Which is basically a Swiss meringue enriched with tons of butter. And then there is French buttercream, which is made by mixing hot sugar syrup into egg yolks and then adding a ton of butter. These two different kinds of buttercream have one thing in common: both are made by enriching a ‘sweetened egg foam’ with – oh yeah – butter. But where the Swiss buttercream is made with egg whites, the French buttercream is made with just the yolks. And that’s not the only thing that’s different between these two delicious frostings!

The most important difference lies in the cooking method. As you may remember from my ‘Different Kinds of Meringue‘ series, Swiss meringue (and, consequently, Swiss buttercream) is made by gently heating a mixture of sugar and egg whites over a hot water bath until the sugar dissolves. The result? A deliciously smooth meringue! No crunchy, undissolved sugar crystals. No grainy texture. Just smooth perfection!

Incidentally, this method also allows you to pasteurize the egg whites by bringing the temperature of the mixture up to 71°C/160°F, thus making your meringue salmonella safe! Which means that you can use Swiss meringue to make completely salmonella safe buttercream!

So if you have an irrational (or rational!) fear of raw eggs, you know what to do…

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