Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cinnamon Swirls

I have to admit that two weeks into my new job and still have not organize my leisure time. I am not being good at posting and visiting my blog-friends. So bad! I am wondering how am I going to figure this out …. But I will.

On another note, I have not got over my creativity crisis. Staling and taking my pictures suddenly seams mission impossible! Thanks God my pleasure for cooking has not decreased!!!

It also helps my new toy!!! Back in November I got myself an IPad. So great!!!!!

I have all these fantastic applications with great recipes and beautiful pictures.

The cinnamon swirls are one of the most quintessential American pastries. When I got them from the oven my sister said that I just took her back to Minnesota. That smell!!

The IPad app is called “ The Photo Cookbook – Baking”. I highly recommended it!

I hope you like it!


Serves 12

25 gr butter cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing

225 gr strong white flour

½ tsp salt

7 gr easy-blend dried yeast

1 egg, lightly beaten

125 ml lukewarm milk

2 tablespoon maple syrup, for glazing


55 gr butter softened

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

50 gr soft light brown sugar

50 gr currants


Grease a baking sheet and a bowl. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and stir in the yeast.

Rub in he chopped butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix to form a dough.

Form the dough into a ball, place in the greased bowl, cover and leave to stand in a warm place for about 40 min , or until doubled in volume.

Punch down the dough lightly for 1 minute, then roll out a rectangle measuring 30x23 cm.

For the filling, cream together the softened butter, cinnamon and sugar until light and fluffy. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 2.5cm border. Sprinkle the currants evenly over the top. Roll up the dough from one of the long edges and press down to seal.

Preheat oven at 190º. Cut the roll into 12 slices and place them, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the swirls are well risen.

Brush with maple syrup and leave to cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chocolate Cookie Baked in a Skillet

I have to admit that these past days I have being having a kind of “blog crisis”. For a moment I started to wonder what I was doing, where I was going and what was my next step.

In me, this is kind of normal. I think this type of thoughts are a result of my professional life. I am always re-assessing. Always making sure that we are on the right track in line with the set objectives.

Maybe everyone has had a “blog crisis” …. I hope. Since I still don´t know where I am going and what is my next step, I went back to the beginning: the therapy.

I have prepared something simple, cozy and comfort. A chocolate cookie baked in a skillet. The recipe is from the Martha´s cookie book. Serve it warm with ice cream and cry!!

I hope you like it!!


Serves 8

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (about 9 ounces) mixed milk- and semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 180º(350 degrees). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; mix until they are fully incorporated. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Transfer dough to a 25 cm (10-inch) ovenproof skillet, and press to flatten, covering bottom of pan. Bake until edges are brown and top is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Don't overbake; it will continue to cook a few minutes out of the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges. Serve warm; top each wedge with a scoop of ice cream.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Claire´s Pink Cupcakes or Los Cupcakes "Gosas" de Clara

Claire, or Clara in Spanish, is with no doubt my youngest fan. Clara is the daughter of Elena and Jose. They are good friends of my sister and the family.

Clara, although only three years old, is very talkative, well behaved, sweet, funny and very cute girl.

I don´t see Clara very often. When I get to see her she always ask me very politely for pink cupcakes or “cupcakes gosas”, like Clara would say.

So the cupcakes you see are Clara´s !!! Her father already sent me a picture of her, with her long blond hair, on her pink pj´s and pink slippers having a pink cupcake. Pink-fect!!

The recipe of the vanilla cupcakes is from Billy Reece of Billy's Bakery in New York City. This is by far, my favorite vanilla recipe.

The way to prepare the dough is not the usual. It´s easier, faster and cleaner!!

For Clara´s cupcakes I have divide the recipe of the cupcakes and buttercream in three and I got a dozen.

I hope you like it!

Makes about 30 cupcakes


1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 170 º ( 340 degrees). Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Serve at room temperature.

Makes enough for 30 cupcakes


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Perfect Génoise

When I started this blog adventure I was in the process of re-thinking my life. Don’t think that the only thing I did was thinking ….I quit my super job in the fashion industry. No more New York for a while!! No more crazy traveling, crazy working hours and corporate BS. I also closed my Lugano apartment and moved back to Geneva.

In the mean time I went to my Asturias country house to spend the summer with my family. The best I could have done! Nothing like Asturias, Patria Querida!!! Sleeping in ones bed, showering in ones shower, finishing a jar of your favorite preserve and make plans for next week knowing you will be in the same place!

With my ideas clear about what I want and what makes me happy I got myself moving.

I found a very nice job in Madrid, close to my apartment and horse! I know what you are thinking: how many places does she keep??!! Exactly!! It is going to be so nice to have my life just in two places!!!! Now I will know where is home, where do I live and where are my black patent Manolos.

So now I can say I am happy. I will be soon leaving Geneva and moving back to Madrid, I could ride my horse almost everyday, bake and cook non stop, go to Asturias every since and be with my loved ones.

With all this joy in my heart I baked a cake using the recipe of the “Perfect Génoise” from Julia Child. You can find it in the book “Baking with Julia”.

The results are great and you do not need to heat the egg-sugar mixture!

I hope you like it!


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup sifted cake flour

½ cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven at 180º (350 degrees).

Cover with parchment paper a 20 cm cake pan.

Melt the butter and reserve.

Return the sifted flour to the sieve and add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the salt; sift onto a piece of waxed paper and set aside.

Put the eggs and remaining sugar into the bowl of a heavy –duty mixer. With the whisk attachment in place, whip the mixture on medium speed until it is airy, pale, and triple in volume, like softly whipped cream, around 5 minutes.

You will know that the eggs are properly whipped when you lift the whisk and the mixture falls back into the bowl in a ribbon that rests on the surface for about 10 seconds. Pour in the vanilla extract during the last moments of whipping.

Detach the bowl from the mixer. Sprinkle about one third of the sifted flour mixture over the batter. Fold in the flour with a rubber spatula, stopping as soon as the flour is incorporated. Fold in the rest of the flour in 2 more additions.

Gently spoon about 1 cup of the batter into the bowl with the melted butter and fold the butter in with the rubber spatula. Fold this mixture into the batter in the mixer bowl. This is the point at which the batter is at its most fragile, so fold gingerly.

The batter should be poured into a prepared pan and baked immediately.

The Glaze


12 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

2/3 heavy cream


Put the chopped chocolate into a medium bowl and pour the cream into a saucepan. Heat the cream into a boil and then pour it over the chocolate, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. When the glaze is creamy smooth, push it through a strainer into a bowl.

Use the glaze when it´s still warm and liquid.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cookies for the Three Wise Men

One of my most vivid memories from childhood is “ The Three Wise Men night” or “ Noche de Reyes” in Spanish.

My mother used to prepare cookies and Clementine’s for the wise men and water for the camels. The ritual was fascinating!!!

It was such an excitement that I could hardly go to sleep! But I went to bed looking forward to the next morning.

Funny enough when I woke up I did not go to see the presents. I run to the kitchen to make sure that the wise men had had their cookies and Clementine’s and the camels had drunk their water.

Tonight I am preparing the food and the water like my mother used to do. Tomorrow in the morning I will make sure that the cookies, Clementine’s and water are gone.

I wish you all a great night and that The Three Wise Men brings you many gifts.

Now it is time to go to bed ….

Monday, January 3, 2011

Buttermilk Pudding Cakes

Welcome 2011!! Like every year I have made my new year’s resolutions. One of them has been leisure traveling.

Since I will not travel for work anymore (I am sooooo happy!!!!), I will start to travel for fun!

I already have plans to go to many places and visit many friends. Among my trips there is one very special that I hope to make very soon. I would like to go back to Little Rock, AR.

I have not been in Little Rock in long time. Visiting old friends and enjoying the well known southern hospitality seams like a great plan. I cannot wait to taste some of the southern classic meals and good baking.

For these festive days I have prepared a southern dessert. I baked buttermilk pudding cakes. The cakes are very simple, tasty and versatile.

I garnished the cakes with lemon curd (of course) I made the night before. The result is great!

The recipe is from the book “Simple, Fresh, Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor” from The Lee Bros.

I hope you like it!


Serves 8

3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 large eggs

3/4 cup whole or low-fat buttermilk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups (8 ounces) fresh raspberries

Whipped cream, for serving (optional)


Preheat oven to 220º (425 degrees) with a rack positioned in the top third of the oven.

Sift together flour and baking powder in a large bowl. In another large bowl beat eggs until creamy and yellow. Whisk in buttermilk, vanilla, 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, and butter (mixture will look curdled and broken). Slowly add flour and whisk until batter is smooth and combined.

Spray 8 standard-size (3-ounce) nonstick muffin pan cups with nonstick cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin pan cups, filling about two-thirds full. Transfer to oven and bake until sides of cakes are evenly browned (check by inserting a knife tip between the rim of cake and muffin cup, pulling gently to expose side of cake), about 9 minutes. If cakes are not evenly browned, they will not hold together when inverted. Continue baking, checking every minute, until evenly browned.

Meanwhile, place raspberries in a medium bowl; add remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and gently toss to coat. Invert cakes onto eight individual plates.