Nutella Brownies

These are the brownies to try even if you don’t like Nutella. Or brownies.
But you do. Otherwise, I’m really confused about what you’re doing here. 😛

These brownies are fudgy, moist and delicious. I tried many brownie recipes before I adapted this one to perfection so it’s not too sweet but still sweet enough 😀

Without further ado, please enjoy 😋

Ingredients

  • 170 g (1 cup) dark chocolate
  • 170 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) extra dark chocolate
  • 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 150 g (1/2 cup) Nutella
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) vanilla sugar
  • 100 g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 25 g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 °C (350 °F).
  2. Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Melt both chocolates with butter in the microwave or over double boiler.
  4. Stir in the Nutella.
  5. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugars on medium-high speed until light and thick, about 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula.
  7. Add the flour, cocoa, and salt, folding gently until combined.
  8. Pour the batter into the baking pan.
  9. Bake around 35 minutes. Do not over bake, rather under bake in this case.
  10. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Which recipe did you adapt to your liking and how?

Jam Pockets

The dough for these jam pockets is flaky and soft, just like puff pastry. Unlike puff pastry, you can make this dough easily and fast, and you will get an amazing result 😀

Filling can be jam, Nutella or some other spread you enjoy! You can even do savory, why not?!

Jam Pockets

Ingredients

  • 250 g (1 1/3 cup) all purpose flour
  • 250 g (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 250 g (1 cup) cottage cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • favorite jam (I had homemade plum jam for these beauties)

Preparation

  1. Knead the dough from flour, butter and cottage cheese.
  2. Wrap it in a cling wrap and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.
  3. Roll the dough 4 mm thin and cut into squares.
  4. Fold the the square edges inside and fill the middle with your favorite jam.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven on 200 °C (395 °F) until the pockets get golden brown.

What is your favorite type of dessert? Which dough do you like the best?

Nesquik Cake

This is kids’ favorite cake. The adults love it as much 😀

When my friend shared this recipe with me, she gave me doubled amounts. I was like, 12 eggs?! They love the cake sooo much she always makes a double batch. After I tried it, I understood why. The cake is so moist and creamy you gotta try it to believe it.

Nesquik Cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp Nesquick
  • 100 ml (7 tbsp) milk
  • 100 ml (7 tbsp) oil
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) baking powder
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) white chocolate for decoration

For the cream

  • 500 ml (2 cup) heavy cream
  • 300 g (2 3/4 cup) dark chocolate

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
  2. Separate egg yolks and egg whites in two large bowls.
  3. With electric mixer mix egg yolks with sugar until foamy.
  4. Add oil and milk in egg yolk mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, baking powder and Nesquick).
  6. Add dry ingredients in the egg yolk mixture.
  7. Separately mix egg whites until stiff and mix in lightly with spatula to the batter.
  8. Pour the batter in a baking pan.
  9. Bake for 20-25 min.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the cream.
  11. Cook the cream to the boiling point (but don’t let it boil), remove from the heat and add broken chocolate pieces. Mix until combined.
  12. When the cake is done, make holes all over it with a fork. They allow the cream to settle into the cake.
  13. Pour the hot cream on the still warm cake.
  14. Chill in the refrigerator over night before serving.

What was your favorite cake when you were a kid?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Santa’s favorite cookies (Don’t forget the milk!) 😀

I know it’s not Christmas, but that just means you don’t have to share with big guy with sleigh and flying reindeer 😀
These classic beauties are a must-have in all North American households so we had to try them as well. We were not disappointed. They were soft and chewy, just like Santa likes them!

Ingredients

  • 270 g (2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 170 g (3/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 130 g (1 cup) brown sugar
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 360 g (2 cup) chocolate chips

Preparation

  1. Warm up the oven to 160 °C (320 °F).
  2. Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl sift the flour, add salt and baking soda.
  4. In a separate bowl, with electric mixer, mix both sugars, melted butter, egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Stir until creamy.
  5. Add flour mixture and all mix well until combined.
  6. Finally add chocolate chips.
  7. With a spoon or an ice cream scoop if you have one, make balls and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. Don’t over baked them, they will be too hard.

What are your favorite cookies?

Semolina Pudding

One of my favorite childhood comfort foods, and although you can add lots of different flavors, I like mine simple just made with milk and sugar!

I remembered what my grandmother made me when I use to sleep over at her place without my parents. It made me feel safe and warm and occasionally I still make this for myself when I get nostalgic about my childhood.

Ingredients

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 4 tbsp semolina
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa or chocolate powder
  • grated chocolate for decoration

Preparation

  1. Pour the milk in the small saucepan and heat it on medium to high temperature until it boils.
  2. Lower the temperature to medium low and add semolina and sugar. Whisk it intensively until it thickens. Remove from the heat.
  3. Divide it in two equal parts. In one part mix in the cocoa powder.
  4. You can add so many different flavors according to your desires: cinnamon, honey, nuts, dried fruits.

Zvonimir’s note: I made this so many times that I developed a variation that combines step one and two. Not only is it quicker to make, it’s also smoother, perfect thickness, with lower chance of lumps. Downside: it takes some practice, so it might take a few tries to get the results you came here for.
If you’re up for the challenge (and for the rewards), here’s how it goes.
Add sugar before the milk boils (it raises the boiling temperature). As the milk comes close to boil but not yet boiling, lower the heat, (not too low, you still want it to boil eventually). Start slowly adding semolina and stir with a spatula (not a whisk).
Keep going at a pace where semolina doesn’t get a chance to form lumps before you stir it away.
Keep going until the milk surface starts resisting semolina grains and they start taking longer to sink (you’ll know it when you see it) as the milk comes even closer to boil. At that point stop adding semolina, optionally lower the heat a bit more, depending on your stove, and keep stirring diligently, keeping the semolina from getting stuck on the bottom.

Zvonimir’s extra tips: now if you mastered that and want more, there’s a way to make it even softer while keeping the consistency. Yes, really.
I discovered this by accident, like a lot of great things sometimes are, but then played with it and practiced to get the technique right.
Do everything the same up to a point when you’re adding semolina, but stop before you put the right amount of semolina into the milk.
This would normally make a runnier semolina, so we need to do something to get the thickness back. Add extra fine breadcrumbs that taste as bland as possible, while constantly stirring (the same way you would semolina). The breadcrumbs need to soften and combine with the semolina so you need to cook it on lower heat than usual, for longer. The breadcrumbs you use will make a big difference so experiment with the type/brand (some may affect the aroma), amount, when you add them and the heat.
You don’t want them to overtake the semolina. Use a lot less breadcrumbs than semolina.
Breadcrumbs are a lot less sticky than semolina and they will make the semolina fluffier and lighter. When you get the technique down, no one will be able to tell what the secret ingredient is 😉
Now wait until you hear about my pancake tips…

Decorate with some grated chocolate 😀

What is your favorite childhood dish?

Royal Pie

This is one of those recipes I got from a friend’s grandmother written in an old notebook. It didn’t even have baking temperature nor time written! Well, in the old days they had wooden stoves and weren’t able to regulate it anyway, so this does make sense 🙂

Combination of chocolate and walnuts with a zesty jam will win you over forever 😀

Royal Pie

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 100 g (7 tbsp) butter
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100 g (1 cup) pastry flour
  • 100 g (1 cup) ground walnuts

For the cream

  • 150 g (10 tbsp) softened butter
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 150 g (10 tbsp) melted dark chocolate
  • 5 egg whites

For the chocolate glaze

  • 100 g (6 1/2 tbsp) dark chocolate
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) butter
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 beaten egg
  • jam of your choice (I used black current jam)

Preparation

  1. Knead the dough from all the dough ingredients, wrap in cling wrap and let it rest for half an hour in the refrigerator.
  2. Roll the dough and place it in a round 26 cm (10 in) diameter pie pan.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven on 170 °C (340 °F) until baked only half way! (10-12 min).
  4. Meanwhile make the cream. Melt the chocolate either on steam or in the microwave.
  5. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until firm peak.
  6. In a large bowl, mix sugar with egg yolks until foamy, add the butter and the melted chocolate.
  7. With spatula gently mix in previously firmly beaten egg whites.
  8. Take the halfway baked cake out of the oven and spread the jam thinly on the dough.
  9. Pour the cream on the jam. Bake until done, for another 10-15 minutes.
  10. Cool the cake before you put the glaze on.
  11. For the glaze melt the chocolate with butter and oil. Remove from heat and add the beaten egg. This is grandma’s secret touch 🙂

Serving: Sprinkle with some finely chopped walnuts for decoration!

We all have some old recipes passed done from generations before. What’s yours?

Croatian Leek Stew

Croatians love all types of stews… with all types of sausages and breads 😀
Leek stew is one of my favorites, love the smell as much as the taste.

Did you know that leek is one of the national emblems of Wales?! According to one legend, King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field.

You’re eating history…

Leek stew, Croatian way

Ingredients

  • 2 large leeks
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 3 sausages
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 2 medium onions
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • sweet paprika to taste
  • Vegeta to taste (Croatian must have spice mix)

Preparation

  1. Wash the leek well and slice them 5-10 mm (1/4 inch) thin.
  2. Slice the bacon to half inch pieces and chop the onions finely.
  3. In a large saucepan simmer the onions with the bacon until onions get soft.
  4. Add the spices. Stir well.
  5. Cut potatoes in bite size pieces and add to the pot. Simmer for 5 min.
  6. Add sliced leek and cover with water or chicken broth.
  7. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are nearly done, add sliced sausages and cook for 10 more minutes.
  8. Stir occasionally and season more if necessary.

Serve hot with homemade bread and enjoy!

What is your favorite stew?

Croatian Potatoes – “Restani Krumpir”

One of many traditional ways to prepare potatoes is restani krumpir 😀 Basically, it’s cooked potato sauteed with onions. So delicious!

Best way to enjoy these wonderful potatoes is with sauteed sauerkraut and sausages! I guess this is another one of many Austrian influences Croatians adopted throughout history 🙂

Croatian Potatoes -

Ingredients

  • 500 g potatoes
  • one large onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil or lard (do not substitute with olive oil or butter in this case)
  • 2 tsp red sweet paprika
  • salt and black pepper to taste

If you like spicy food, add some chili powder or cayenne pepper as well!

Preparation

  1. Cook the potatoes in a shell and then cut in cubes.
  2. In the meantime saute chopped onions in the large pot until almost brown and soft.
  3. Put the cooked potatoes on the brownish onions and add the spices.
  4. Use spatula to brake the potatoes until incorporated with onions.
  5. Serve hot as a side dish with your favorite meat.

Tip: They go perfectly with cabbage rolls – Sarma 😉

What is your favorite potato dish?

Cabbage Rolls (Sarma)

#1 Croatian comfort dish! We cannot imagine starting the New Year without sarma. It originated in Turkey, and Croatians adopted it during Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.

I believe this is the most popular dish in Croatia. It is so popular that one of the biggest Croatian rock bands Hladno Pivo (engl: Cold Beer!) dedicated a whole song to it, a song called Sarma 😀

Cabbage Rolls with Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 large sour cabbage head
  • 20 g of smoked bacon or speck, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 500 g ground pork
  • 170 g (2/3 cup) white rice
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • smoked ribs or meat (optional and recommended)

Preparation

  1. Remove bruised leaves from cabbage and cut out center core. Separate cabbage leaves and rinse them briefly to reduce sourness.
  2. Saute bacon and onion until golden. Add half the tomato paste. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat the eggs with salt, pepper and paprika. Add ground beef and pork along with bacon mixture and rice. Mix thoroughly until combined.
  4. Place heaped tablespoon of stuffing at core end of each cabbage leaf and roll carefully, tucking in ends.
  5. Place rolls in layers in Dutch oven or large pot.
    First layer at the bottom: chopped unused leaves.
    Second layer: the rolls.
    Final layer: smoked ribs or meat. Repeat the process until you run out of the ingredients (usually twice).
  6. On top add remaining tomato paste with bay leaves and add enough water to cover the rolls.
  7. Cover and simmer on the stove for 2 to 2-1/2 hours on low to medium heat.

It is usually served with mashed potatoes. You know the drill 😀 Cook potatoes, mash with some butter and sour cream. Season with salt!

Tip: Try them with Croatian potatoes: Restani Krumpir! 😉

What is your ultimate comfort dish?

Pineapple and Strawberry Smoothie

Since I recently became a Mum, being busy with the baby doesn’t give me much time to eat 😂
That’s why I like to make smoothies and shakes to get my vitamins and minerals faster 😉
Having a healthy drink helps a lot!

Ingredients

  • half of pineapple
  • 450 g (2 3/4 cups) fresh strawberries
  • 250 ml (1 cup) of milk of your choice (I use almond milk)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp grated ginger

Preparation

Mix all ingredients in the blender. This quantity makes two 300 ml glasses.

Tip: Freeze pineapple ahead for smoother texture and the colder punch!

What is your go to drink for energy boost?

Eggnog Chocolate Mousse

When Zvonimir and I arrived to Canada, it was just before Christmas season, and eggnog was one of our first “must try” discoveries. Inspired by the ongoing competition between hot chocolate and eggnog, we decided to make a fusion and end this story in an everlasting love affair 🙂

With Christmas on its way, we thought you might like to try this as a decadent, creamy, winter dessert 😀

Eggnog Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

  • 2-3 ginger cookies (optional) for a crunchy twist!
  • 2 small vanilla instant pudding (3.4 ounces each)
  • 375 ml (1½ cup) milk
  • 500 ml (2 cups) of eggnog
  • 230 ml (8 oz or 1 cup) Cool whip or whipped cream
  • 200 g (3/4 cup) melted chocolate of your choice

Preparation

  1. Mix the pudding, eggnog and milk in a bowl for about 2 minutes, then mix in the cool whip or whipped cream (without actually whipping it, confusing, I know).
  2. Put half of the mixture in a glass, add some crushed ginger cookies, and pour the rest of the mixture over the cookies. Serve the mousse in bowls or any way you like.
  3. Melt the chocolate on steam or in the microwave.
  4. Place the melted chocolate on top, cool overnight in the fridge and enjoy eating it the next day.
  5. You can add some cookies on top for decoration.

Are you eggnog or hot chocolate team? 😀

Christmas Tree Jam Cookies

This week is all about Christmas cookies 🙂 This is one of many variations of classic Linzer cookies that are very popular in Croatia. Traditionally they come with a hole on one side, allowing jam some breathing room and an audience 😉

They originally came to our Christmas tables from Linz, Austria, which is where they got the name from. Interestingly, they originated as a small version of world’s oldest torte recipe: Linzer Torte. Torte was created in the 17th and the cookies took two more centuries to develop, seeing the first light of day in the 19th century.

Ingredients

  • 300 g (2 1/4 cup) all purpose flour
  • 60 g (1/3 cup) starch
  • 90 g (1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp) of powdered sugar
  • 20 g (2 tbsp) vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
  • 210 g (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) cold butter, cut into slices
  • 4 egg yolks

Preparation

  1. Knead the dough from all the ingredients.
  2. Let it rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 °C (395 °F).
  4. Roll out thinly and make cookies in shapes of your choice with a variety of molds. I used Christmas tree mold because Christmas 😀
  5. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. When cooled, spread them with the jam of your choice ( I used apricot), connect two by two and decorate according to your own inspiration.

For decoration mix egg whites with powered sugar to make the icing and sprinkle them with colorful decorations.

Tell us what’s your favorite Christmas cookie in the comments bellow!

Chocolate Crinkles

Every Christmas, a platter of cookies is something I always look forward to. I have a TO BAKE Christmas list with a new addition every year. A few years back I made these delicious crinkles, and they keep reappearing on the list 😀
These are simple to make and fun to eat, great way to include your kids in spending quality family time baking 🙂

Chocolate Crinkles

Ingredients

Makes about 40 cookies

  • 225 g (1 cup) good quality dark chocolate (at least 78% cocoa)
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) butter
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225 g (1 3/4 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • icing sugar for dusting

Preparation

  1. Brake chocolate roughly into pieces and stir together with the butter.
  2. Melt the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler on steam. Stir constantly until the ingredients dissolve. When done remove from the heat and cool off.
  3. Mix the eggs with sugar on high speed until the mixture is light and thick, add the vanilla extract and slowly add melted chocolate.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to taste. Stir them into the egg and chocolate mixture, cover, and then store in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours. Dough should be sufficiently chilled and firm so it can be nicely shaped.
  5. Preheat the oven to 170 °C (340 °F).
  6. Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Shape the cookies with hands into balls, size a bit less than the size of a walnut.
  8. Roll them in powdered sugar until they are completely covered.
  9. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them for 10-12 minutes until they get crust on the outside. They should still remain soft inside.
  10. Cool them on the rack before serving.

What will you bake for the first time this Christmas?

Išleri Cookies

Tasty cocoa cookies dipped into chocolate and filled with delicious cream that resembles the cream used for cream puffs. This type of cookie is typical for northern and eastern Croatia. These are traditional cookies prepared for many occasions, especially Christmas and weddings. They can also be yellow with cocoa cream.

Ingredients

makes 20 combined cookies

Dough

  • 200 g (1 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 140 g (1/2 cup) butter
  • 70 g (6 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp cocoa

Cream

  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 100 g (1/3 cup) butter
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) vanilla sugar

Glaze

  • 60 g (1/3 cup) dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil

Preparation

  1. Of the ingredients knead the dough, roll out thinly between two sheets of parchment paper and cut into circles. I used shot glass 😀
  2. Bake them between 5-10 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 °C (355 °F). They just need to get a little color. You need to take them out even if they are a bit soft, leave them on the cooling rack, they will later harden. Let them cool completely.
  3. In the meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Melt the chocolate with oil and dip half of the cookies. Let them cool on the rack before connecting them with cream.
  4. For the cream, mix eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar until combined.
  5. Cook the cream in double boiler or on low heat. Steer with spatula. That way the cream doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook the cream until it’s thick. Let it cool off completely. In the cooled cream mix in well-made butter.
  6. Combine chocolate covered cookie with the uncovered one with cream.

Decorate as you like 🙂

What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Walnut Roll

Most Croats cannot imagine their celebration, whatever the occasion is, especially Christmas, without the Orahnjača – Walnut roll, traditional Croatian recipe for yeast-based dessert.

Along with the walnut filling, poppy seed filling is common. Usually, one roll is made with walnuts and the other with poppy seeds. This recipe makes two rolls.

This recipe is part of Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World cookbook, amazing cookbook with over 400 pages that shares many recipes you can use all year round. All proceeds are going to Action Against Hunger.


Ingredients for the dough

  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 20 g (5 tsp) vanilla sugar
  • 500 ml (2 cup) milk
  • 20 g (2 tbsp) dry yeast
  • 800 g (7 2/3 cup) all purpose flour
  • 115 g (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp of rum (optional)
  • zest of two lemons

Ingredients for the filling

  • 500 g (5 1/2 cup) walnuts, ground
  • 2 egg whites
  • 200 g (1 cup) sugar
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) milk, scalded
  • 1 tsp rum (optional)

Many Croats put raisins in the filling, previously soaked in rum, but I’m not a fan 😀

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl mix flour, yeast, salt, sugar and vanilla sugar.
  2. Add egg yolks in the flour mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl warm the milk (not hot) and add butter to dissolve.
  4. Slowly mix in milk and butter mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon or with electric mixer spirals until blisters begin to form on the dough and the dough starts removing from the bowl edges.
  5. Add rum and lemon zest. Mix well until combined.
  6. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it stand in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  7. In the meantime, prepare the filling. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  8. Pour the scalded milk over the ground walnuts.
  9. Combine with sugar and rum. Allow to cool.
  10. Gently fold in beaten egg whites.
  11. To assemble spread flour on a large table-cloth.
  12. Divide the dough into two parts.
  13. Roll each part out very thin and fill with walnut filling.
  14. Roll by lifting the edge of the table-cloth on which the dough was rolled out.
  15. Grease the baking pan. Place the rolls into the pan.
  16. Put in the oven on 50 °C (125 °F) to rise again.
  17. Then heat the oven to 170 °C (240 °F) and bake for 40-50 minutes or until they become golden. Let cool in the pan.
  18. Brush with oil when cooled.

Note: It is very important that there is no draft in the room where the dough is rising. It will not rise properly.

What is your traditional Christmas dessert?