06 October 2015


I love caramel in pretty much everything, really. One of my top favourites has to be vanilla ice-cream topped with caramel sauce. Caramel sauces and toppings found in stores quite frequently have a very runny texture and I don't like that, so I make my own. Making caramel sauce from scratch in your own kitchen is very easy, much easier than people think. Just sugar, butter and cream. Takes less than 15 minutes and you have a lovely, glistening, golden sauce to top your desserts with. The best part is that you made it yourself, you know exactly what it contains, and you can control the texture.
Just please be careful when you are cooking the sugar. Melted sugar has a much higher temperature than even boiling water and it sticks to the skin, making it much harder to deal with. Never touch melted sugar or hot caramel with your hands. Be careful when adding the butter and cream, as it will bubble up and possibly splatter. To make sure it will not splatter on you, use a saucepan with high sides and pour away from yourself, carefully.

Homemade caramel sauce recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

200 grams granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons butter, diced
150 ml heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the granulated sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and shake it well, so the sugar distributes evenly on the bottom of the pan. It is best to use a pan that is light in colour, so that you can easily see how your caramel changes colours. Pour the water over the sugar and place the saucepan on medium high heat. Let it come to a boil and cook it, without stirring or moving the pan, for about 8-10 minutes, you need it to be a dark amber colour. If you stir while it cooks, the sugar will form crystals on the sides of the pan, so refrain from doing that.
Once the sugar is cooked to an amber colour, quickly add the diced butter and gently swirl the pan to help the butter melt. When the butter has completely disappeared into the cooked sugar, remove the pan from the heat and add the heavy cream and vanilla. Swirl the pan gently, then return it to the heat for a just a moment, so everything blends well. Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes in the pan, then pour it into a jar or a bottle and let it cool to your liking. Yields 300 ml of caramel sauce (a bit over 1 cup).
Note: The sauce will seem too runny when it's hot, but it will thicken up significantly when it cools down.

30 September 2015


Like I said, I'm a firm believer in using cookie butter in how ever many desserts possible. This is one of the delicious possibilities. Cookie butter replaces plain old regular butter in this recipe, and gives a lovely cinnamon flavour to these cupcakes. Mixed with bananas, vanilla and whipped cream, they are a perfect fall treat. You can add more cinnamon on top, if you like, but be careful so it doesn't take over the flavour.

Cookie butter banana cupcakes recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

For the cupcakes
100 grams cookie butter
100 grams bananas (1 medium banana)
5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
100 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
For the frosting
200 ml heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon powdered vanilla

Place the banana into a large bowl and mash it completely with a fork (or use a liquidizer, whichever is easier for you). Add the sugar, cookie butter, cinnamon, oil, vanilla, and the egg and blend the batter completely, using an electric mixer on high. Once the batter is smooth and there are no pieces of banana visible, sift in the flour and the baking powder, and mix them through using a spatula. Mix until only combined, if you overmix the batter, the cupcakes will be tough.
Divide the batter evenly between six standard muffin cups (lined with paper liners) and bake in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (400˚F) for about 15-18 minutes. Check them with a toothpick to make sure they are done. Let them cool completely before decorating them. To make the cinnamon frosting, pour the chilled heavy cream into a large bowl, add the cinnamon and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form. When the frosting is ready and the cupcakes are ready, frost them using a large decorating nozzle (Wilton 1G works well), dust with a dash of cinnamon and serve. Yields 6 standard cupcakes.

24 September 2015


Pancakes are truly a breakfast classic and the stars of every brunch. There are many types of pancakes, with many flavourful additions, but the simple classic version stays my favourite. They are easy to make, you just have to be careful not to overmix the batter. It is easy to overmix it, and overmixed batter results in rubbery and rather flat pancakes.
It is much better to leave a few lumps then to overmix the batter. This actually goes for most batters, but pancakes are especially sensitive. These lovely little bundles of fluffiness are incredibly easy to make and you can enjoy their vanilla flavour and fluffy texture in 30 minutes time. Serve them with your favourite syrup or topping and a lot of fresh fruit.

Homemade pancakes from scratch tinascookings.blogspot.com

3 medium eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
220 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
200 ml whole milk

Sift together the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. Take another bowl and vigorously whisk the eggs with the vanilla and the sugar, for about a minute. The batter should become somewhat pale and thick. Add the flour mixture and gently whisk, then pour in the milk and whisk everything just until combined. If there are a few lumps, it is fine. Try not to mix it too much, because it is much better to leave a few lumps then to overmix the batter.
Set the bowl aside for 10 minutes and heat the non-stick pan over medium high heat while the batter is resting. You can also use a lightly buttered pancake griddle. Take about 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) of batter and cook for about 1-2 minutes over medium heat until the first side is golden brown and bubbles form on the surface. Gently flip the pancake and cook for about another minute, until the other side is nicely golden and cooked. Serve them warm with fresh fruit. Yields 10 small fluffy pancakes.

18 September 2015


Jams, marmalades and spreads are always a breakfast alternative when you don’t have much time, or when you simply want to have quick sweet snack. This lovely caramel apple marmalade is fantastic on a buttered piece of toast with a mug of tea. The sugar is cooked until golden and fragrant, and tossed with sweet delicious apples. It’s quite easy to make, requires very little involvement and guarantees maximum flavour and texture. Choose apples you like to eat, because they will determine the final taste of the marmalade. My choice were Golden delicious and Granny Smith apples in equal quantities.

Caramel apple marmalade tinascookings.blogspot.com

1 kilogram apples, peeled and cored
1 medium lemon (juice)
100 grams granulated sugar
250 ml water, divided
300 grams jam sugar 2:1
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Caramel apple marmalade tinascookings.blogspot.com

Peel, core and coarsely grate the apples, toss them with fresh lemon juice and set them aside. Take a large deep heavy-bottomed pot, place it over medium heat and pour in the granulated sugar in an even layer. Shake the pot until the sugar is distributed evenly, then let it cook for about 7 minutes, until caramelized nicely. Do not stir it. When the sugar is golden, pour in half of the warm water, but pour it away from your face, because it will steam a lot and it can hurt you.
Let it boil until the caramel dissolves, about 3-4 minutes, then tip in the apples, cinnamon and the rest of the warm water, bring to a boil and cook it, still over medium heat, for about 20 minutes, until they become very soft, almost like a puree. Make sure you stir it quite frequently. Add the jam sugar and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, remove it from the heat, add vanilla and puree the jam to desired consistency, then pour it into hot, sterilized jars. Yields 500 grams (1.1 lbs) of jam.

12 September 2015


Buchteln are sweet yeast rolls, usually filled with jam or ground poppy seeds and baked in a pan where they fit snuggly, so that they stick together during proofing and baking. Buchteln can be eaten with a drizzle of vanilla sauce, sprinkle of icing sugar or just plain warm, straight out of the oven.
I like them dusted with icing sugar and very warm from the oven, as that is how we were served Buchteln as children, but by all means, do try them doused with vanilla sauce. Keep the sauce chilled, and serve it with piping hot Buchteln for the best effect.

Buchteln recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

For the dough
550 grams plain flour
200 ml warm milk
200 grams plain yogurt
50 grams sugar
1 medium free-range egg
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons instant dried yeast
For the filling
100 grams jam
For the glaze
50 grams butter, melted

Buchteln recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Sift the flour twice and set it aside. Pour the milk into a saucepan and place it over medium high heat until it almost comes to a boil. You do not have to let it boil. Take a large bowl, pour in the yogurt, add the egg, salt and sugar and whisk it really well. Remove the milk from the heat and slowly drizzle it in the yogurt, whisking constantly. This is done so the egg doesn't scorch, in case the milk was heated a bit too much. Add the salt and about a third of the flour and mix it well. Add the yeast and a bit more flour and mix with a wooden spoon until a thick batter forms. Keep adding flour and mixing with a wooden spoon (or a sturdy spatula) until a soft dough forms. You should be left with about a cup of flour.
Take some of it and flour your work surface, then turn the dough out and knead it with your hands, adding the rest of the flour as you knead. Once a smooth and springy dough forms, place it into a clean large bowl, drizzle in the oil and turn the dough until it's coated on all sides. Wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place it into your fridge over night. Next morning, the dough should be soft and risen. Turn it out to a floured surface and gently knead it, just to let the heat of your hands bring its temperature up.
Divide it into 14 equal pieces (you can use kitchen scales if you want to make sure they are all equal), then flatten and stretch each part into a round shape, put about a teaspoon of jam in the centre, then fold it and close it up well, so the jam doesn’t leak out during the baking. Repeat this process until you use up all of the dough and all of the jam. Take a round baking pan (23 cm; 9"), and grease it and flour it well. Arrange the buchteln, cover them with a kitchen towel and let them rise for about an hour. Just before baking, brush them generously with melted butter. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (400˚F), for 25-30 minutes. Let them cool slightly, then serve them with vanilla sauce or icing sugar.