Apple Cheese Danish

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I am not, on a general note, a person who is easily embarrassed. I have been known to skip down the busiest street in town, flapping my arms, bird-like, at the hint of Christmas in the air. It is not at all uncommon for me to wait for the doors to close on crowded elevators to ask: “You must be wondering why I have gathered you here”, or to wind up in a ball on the floor in reaction to the loudspeakers at the grocery store, moaning “The voices! The voices are back!” In a nutshell, doing a lot of things that seemed like a good idea at the time… but weren’t.

Good times.

But I draw the line at singing. I do not sing. I have sung, on occasion, but only under duress, and after at least two human sacrifices, and half a bottle of vodka. And trust me when I tell you, it’s for your own good. “Oh, it can’t be that bad”, you must be thinking. “She’s being modest”, you might add. Oh, how I wish I was. I forgot myself the other day and began singing in the shower, and now feel solely responsible for two hurricanes, an earthquake, and the near-extinction of the red-barbed ant.

But – it’s Christmas, and everybody seems to expect me to go a-carolin’ around. I’ve politely declined so often I’ve started to go with “bah, humbug” to speed things up.

Over the years, I’ve learned a profound and enlightening truth: People don’t like other people who “bah,  humbug” more than strictly necessary. However, people do like other people who make scrumptious treats.

So I make scrumptious treats. And share them on the Internet to spread the Christmas cheer.

And, my friends, this definitely falls into the category of scrumptious, Christmas-cheer-spreading breakfast treats that make people really like you.

Like, really.

Apple Cheese Danish 16

Apple Cheese Danish

Adapted from the scrumptious Live Laugh Rowe.

Servings: 8

Prep time: 1 hour

You will need:

  • 4 or 5 apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry (any shape, really, but they should match)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup (250gr) sugar, separated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, separated
  • a good pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoons caramel sauce of choice
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Milk

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First off, place one sheet of puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake in a medium oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.

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Place apples and butter in a large pan and cook until beginning to brown.

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At this point, add ½ cup of sugar, the flour, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and the nutmeg, and stir to mix.

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Add caramel and stir again.

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Cook for a few more minutes to caramelize a bit, then set aside.

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Beat the cream cheese with the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the egg.

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Allowing for some space along the edges, spread the cream cheese mixture over the baked puff pastry, taking care not to break through the surface. Spoon the apple mixture over that, distributing evenly.

Eat any stray apples straight out of the pan. Go ahead, it’s fruit, it’s good for you.

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Top with the second sheet of puff pastry and seal off the edges by pressing them together, or even folding them over a bit.

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Brush with a bit of milk, cut 5 or 6 small vents and sprinkle with sugar and the remaining cinnamon.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a deep golden brown (I might’ve overdone it a wee bit here…). While this is baking, kick back into your couch and enjoy the heavenly smell wafting from your oven.

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Cool for a bit, carefully cut into triangles and enjoy it hot out of the oven, or completely cooled the next day. If you can even wait that long.

Enjoy!

Clara

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

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Winter is coming.

Oh please tell me winter is coming. I’ve been ranting about fall for the past month, and yet here I am, walking around in short sleeves, because the Barcelona weather has gone and spilt its marbles all over the floor. It rained the entire month of August, and now it’s the end of October and we’re still hitting 25ºC (around 75 to 80ºF).

I want to wear bear furs and chain mail and lean heavily on my broadswoard, declaring to the winds that winter is coming. Or at least fall. Or just, you know, a slight chill.

Please?

I mean, it’s almost Halloween, for crying out loud. The time when the veil between the worlds drops, and bridge to the spirit world gapes open. The time when restless souls of un-dead creatures return to walk among us. The time when ancient wisdom foretold the coming of bitter winter nights, and brave men closed their shutters before a sinking sun.

We can’t have none of that sipping a margarita in a sundress. Duh.

I’m planning a calorie overload the likes of which have never been consumed in the history of civilization (Roman bacchanals, medieval feasts and Versaille’s fêtes exubérantes included). It needs to be freakin’ freezing outside in order for me to pull that off.

Dear weather man, you have until Monday. If I don’t feel the need to unpack my winter boots, or, say, a light cardigan, by then, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will pelt you with bat-shaped oreo cookies, mini-pumpkin pies and candied apples.

For a week. Because that’s how much food I’m making.

Rant over.

Let’s eat.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Servings: 12 to 16 muffins, depending on size

Prep time: 45 minutes

You will need:

For the chocolate muffins:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 60 gr (roughly 4 tablespoons) dark chocolate, melted (I place mine in the microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring after every interval, until smooth)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

For the peanut butter filling:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • milk to thin out if necessary

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Preheat your oven to medium high.

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Cream the butter and sugar until well combined.

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Add the cocoa powder, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing after every addition.

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Stir in the melted chocolate.

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Combine flour and baking soda. Add half the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, then mix in 1/2 cup sour cream. Repeat the procedure with the remaining flour and sour cream. Beat well.

Stir in the boiling water. The batter will be very runny.

Divide into greased and floured, or lined, muffin cups, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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Allow to cool completely.

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Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the filling in a medium bowl until nice and smooth.

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Once the muffins have cooled, insert a slightly tilted knife into the top of the muffin, but off to one side. Cut in a circle, so that you end up with a wee muffin cone that you can pull out like a lid. Cut off the lower cone, so you end up with a flat disk. If necessary, carefully scratch out some more crumbs from inside your muffin, the make room for more filling.

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Spoon some filling into the hollow, just enough to be able to cover it with your muffin-disk-lid without being able to see the filling. Repeat with the other muffins.

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You will have some left over muffin crumbs that you can snack on all day. Or use them to throw at the weather man.

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You can also play around with other filling option, but I just love the peanut butter-chocolate-combo. Kinda like a peanut butter cup, but in a muffin version.

Now eat up! 🙂

Clara

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Cheesecake Chocolate Mousse

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It’s hot outside. And about time, too. This summer has put quite a few autumns to shame. I was counting on a tan, darn you. Instead, I’m still glowing in the dark. That, and I’m writing this post to the melodious, incessant, ever so slightly strident meowing of five baby kittens whom I plucked from the rain a week ago.

You can now proceed to call me momma cat. Like, of the year.

Allow me to illustrate:

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Don’t look at me that way. It was raining, it was cold, they were three weeks old and were giving me some serious puppy eyes. Or kitty eyes, as it were. And the real momma cat was not doing a very good job of it.

And it was raining.

But now it’s hot.

And they know it.

And they complain.

Profusely.

Ceaselessly.

That is how this recipe happened. I have one free hand only, as the other one is occupied keeping tiny, mischievous little fur balls out of trouble. Also, sweltering heat, and thus no appetite for anything cake-y or muffin-y or suchlike.

So mousse it is.

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One-handed Cheesecake Chocolate Mousse

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 4 hours chilling time

You will need:

For the chocolate mousse layer:

  • 5oz, or 140 gr semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 2/1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup, or 125ml, whipping cream

For the cheesecake layer:

  • 200 gr cream cheese, softened
  • about 1/4 cup, or 70 ml, sweetened condensed milk

Let’s start with the chocolate mousse layer. Roughly chop up the chocolate and place it in a microwave-safe bowl.

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Simply dollop the butter and sprinkle the coffee on top. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Repeat as often as needed until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

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Once the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.

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Gently fold it into the chocolate.

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Spoon into your cups or glasses of choice.

If you want to achieve the fancy-schmanzy tilted effect I attempted but failed at, due to kitty interferences, incline your glasses at the desired angle before spooning in the mousse, then find a place in the fridge where they will stay that way.

Chill for about 2 hours.

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Meanwhile, prepare the cheesecake layer. Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat until fluffy. Continue beating while you add the sweetened condensed milk; or, if holding a winding kitty in the other hand, just pour it all in at once and whip until well incorporated.

Pour on top of the chocolate mousse and chill for another 2 hours.

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When in a pinch, you can also set the mousse in the freezer, although the texture will be a bit different. The mousse will have set to a firm consistency after 15 minutes, while the cheesecake layer will resist setting in a hurry and remain quite liquid, sauce-like, even. You can sell it as Chocolate Mousse with Cheesecake Sauce and call it a day. My folks bought it 😉

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Enjoy!

Clara