eat in my kitchen

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Tag: peanut butter

Chocolate Baby Cakes with Peanut Butter and Banana

Chocolate Baby Cakes

Bittersweet chocolate and peanut butter is a divine duo that I often come back to. When juicy stone fruits and berries aren’t in season yet and it’s time for my beloved citrus to say goodbye, I gladly experiment with the little nuts and a bar of dark chocolate. It’s one of those treats that, despite its rather filling qualities, still manages to make me grab for another piece. It’s heavy, you know it, but it’s too good to stop.

My little baby cakes are no exception in that respect, they make a perfect dessert after a light dinner that still leaves some space in your tummy (I wouldn’t serve them after a cheese spaetzle feast). But you can also see them as a chocolaty addition to your Sunday teatime table. Keep in mind, these cakes are rich. I’m not a big fan of cocoa powder in baking, I want real chocolate in my cake batter. If you’re a chocolate lover, you know what I’m talking about. There’s a certain depth that you can’t achieve with cocoa powder. I always use the same chocolate for my baking, it has 55% cocoa, it’s well balanced – semisweet, but still smooth, and it literally melts in your mouth. I like to call it a grown up treat, bittersweet and rich.

To give the chocolate-peanut combo a new touch, I mixed the nutty butter with half a pureed ripe banana, and this lifts the whole experience onto another level. I see a great future for this trio in my kitchen! This time I went for a sweet, nutty, and rich filling wrapped in a chocolate cake that is still partly molten. Depending on your preference, you can bake the cakes even shorter to leave them a bit more liquid. I found a thin layer of hot chocolate batter laying on top of the soft peanut-banana center just right.

If you’d like to dive more into chocolate and peanuts, try

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Bittersweet Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

Cynthia Barcomi’s Peanut Butter Brownies

Chocolate Baby Cakes

 

Chocolate Baby Cakes

Chocolate Baby Cakes with Peanut Butter and Banana

Serves 6.

butter, soft, 60g / 1/4 cup
granulated sugar 65g / 1/3 cup
vanilla pod, scraped, 1/2
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
organic eggs 4
plain flour 45g / 1/3 cup
bittersweet chocolate (I use 55%), melted and cooled, 280g / 10 ounces
peanut butter, creamy, 80g / 3 ounces
ripe banana 40g / 1 1/2 ounces (about 1/2 banana)

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (fan assisted oven). Butter 6 6-ounce ramekins. Cut out 6 circles of parchment paper, large enough to fit the bottom of the ramekins. Then cut out 6 strips of parchment paper, long and tall enough to fit the sides of the ramekins. Line the ramekins with the pieces of parchment paper.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla seeds, and salt for a few minutes until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between. Add the flour and mix for about 1 minute or until well combined; then add the melted chocolate, mixing well until smooth and well combined.

In a food processor or blender, mix the peanut butter and banana until smooth. Divide into 6 portions and roll into balls.

Divide about 2/3 of the chocolate batter between the 6 ramekins. Lay 1 peanut butter-banana ball on top of the chocolate batter in each ramekin, pushing it down a little (see 1st picture). Top with the remaining chocolate batter and even out the surface. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the tops start to become spongy, they should still be a little soft and partly liquid. You can also bake them shorter, if you prefer the chocolate center to be more liquid. Enjoy warm or cold.

Chocolate Baby Cakes

 

Chocolate Baby Cakes

 

Chocolate Baby Cakes

 

Chocolate Baby Cakes

 

Chocolate Baby Cakes

 

Chocolate Baby Cakes

 

Chocolate Baby Cakes

Bittersweet Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, I’d rather be happy and feel good with myself and change what needs to be changed when I’m ready to give it a go – which is not necessarily at the beginning of a new year, especially if it involves changes to my (sweet) diet. During winter, my body loves to keep a few more pounds on my hips, it’s cold out there so it does so for a good reason. And anyway, I wear large wool sweaters most of the time, it’s not summer yet and there’s no bikini or walks on long beaches in sight. So I accept my pounds, I’ll even feed them well, and enjoy what makes this time of the year so special: getting cozy on the sofa, sipping tea or hot chocolate and nibbling on some cake or dark, chocolaty muffins. The cookie cutters get a break and my cake tins and muffin trays are back on the counter tops. Happy New Year!

To add even more richness to my spongy muffins made with melted bittersweet chocolate and butter – no vegetable oil and cocoa powder for me – I fill them with dollops of creamy peanut butter. The nutty golden filling is almost liquid when the muffins are fresh out of the oven and still warm inside. I got hooked on the combination of dark chocolate and peanut butter when I made my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies in autumn, I knew it would come back sooner or later.

If you’re up for another kind of muffin treat, try one of these:

Chocolate and Orange Muffins

Fig, Ricotta, and Olive Oil Muffins (if you can’t find fresh figs you can replace them with chopped dried dates)

Banana Muffins with White and Dark Chocolate

Cherry Chocolate Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Irish Coffee Muffins

Blood Orange Marmelade and Cinnamon Muffins

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

Bittersweet Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

Makes 12 muffins

plain flour 200 g / 1 1/2 cups
baking powder 2 1/2 teaspoons
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
a pinch of salt
butter 150 g / 2/3 cup
bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces, 100 g / 3 1/2 ounces
granulated sugar 150 g / 3/4 cup
organic eggs 3
peanut butter, about 135 g / 1/2 cup
icing sugar, to dust the muffins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F (preferably convection setting) and line the 12 molds of a muffin tray with paper baking cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Take the pan off the heat and whisk the chocolate into the melted butter until combined. Add the granulated sugar and eggs and whisk until well combined.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lumpy dough, with a bit of flour left here and there. Keep in mind, the more you mix it, the more it will lose its light texture. Drop 1 heaped tablespoon of the dough into each muffin cup and add 1 heaped teaspoon of the peanut butter on top. Cover each dollop of peanut butter with the remaining dough, then flatten it lightly with a tablespoon. Bake for about 20-22 minutes (slightly longer using conventional) or until the muffins are firm and spongy on top. Let them cool for 1 minute before you take the muffins out of the tray, sprinkle the tops with icing sugar (optional) and enjoy, preferably warm.

You can keep the muffins in an airtight container for a few days but I find them best on the first day.

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

 

chocolatepeanutbuttermuffins13

 

chocolatepeanutbuttermuffins9

 

Chocolate Muffins filled with Peanut Butter

meet in your kitchen | Cynthia Barcomi’s heavenly Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

Today’s meet in your kitchen feature means a lot to me, with great pleasure I visited the woman who established two beautiful culinary places in my adopted home of Berlin. One of them became my peaceful refuge as soon as it opened its doors a long time ago, in 1997. Barcomi’s Café and Barcomi’s Deli are both true gems, to me and many others who love good coffee and New York style cakes and sandwiches. I was more than happy to meet the inspiring Cynthia Barcomi in her kitchen, to chat about her life, rabbits and chickens and to bake her delicious peanut butter brownies, what a perfect morning!

Over 20 years ago, Cynthia opened her first Barcomi’s in this ever vibrant city that’s seen so many changes in the culinary scene over the past two decades. She left New York as a professional dancer to live and work on this side of the Atlantic, in the German capital which was so different when she arrived compared to how we know it today. Cynthia is determined, a disciplined and hard working woman, so it’s no surprise that she successfully became a part of the Berlin dance scene. Although she enjoyed her life here, there was something missing: good coffee. This has always been a very delicate topic, all over the world, making coffee is an art, interpreted by different (objective) tastes. Berlin’s café scene in those days was a far cry from today’s diversity and Cynthia wasn’t particularly happy about her discoveries. She’s a woman of action, so she decided to roast her own beans and while she was already moving in this new direction, she also had the idea to sell some sweet classics from her American baking heritage. Her New York cheese cake, muffins, raspberry granache and pies, and her fantastic coffee of course, soon gained so much popularity that she opened a second Barcomi’s only three years after, a proper deli this time.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

Since I first sat at one of her Deli’s black and white tables as a traveling teenager it became my all time favourite café, a piece of my Berlin that I never wanted to let go of. So much so that I promised myself that I wouldn’t live too far away if I ever moved here, which I managed in the end. It may sound a bit silly, but in this hidden café, tucked away in an old yard, in the dreamy Sophienhöfe, I found a lot of what I was looking for in this city at that point. Although it’s a tranquil oasis, it also gave me the feeling that, here, I could dive deep into Berlin’s secrets by just sitting on one of the leather benches watching people come and go, drink their coffee or wine, read a newspaper or have a chat. I’d just have to sit and watch attentively.

So after all these years, to find myself right in her kitchen is both a surprise and a gift, I can bake with one of my early baking heroes! I felt so excited to visit her creative space, this culinary laboratory where all the Barcomi’s magic starts. Her private kitchen is equipped with five ovens, a dream collection of tins and pans, and in the center of this baking heaven stands Mrs. Cynthia Barcomi. She’s so chatty and relaxed that one can easily forget that she runs more than a café and deli, she also has a catering company, has written five cookbooks, presents a TV show, and on top of all this, has brought up four children together with her husband. She seems like an endless source of energy and positivity, focussed without forgetting to enjoy her journey, this woman is truly inspirational!

Before we met, Cynthia asked me which of the recipes from her new Cookies cookbook I would like to bake with her. The choice wasn’t easy! I was torn between Lemon Lime Cashew Shortbread, Chestnut Flower Brownies, Toffee Crunch Bars and Pesto Twists, but when I spotted her Peanut Butter Brownies I couldn’t resist, I had to try them. The creamy, buttery, salty and chocolaty voluptuousness literally jumped out off the pages of her book and I wasn’t surprised at all that they tasted exactly as I expected. These brownies were deep and rich, addictive after the first fudgy bite – I just love this woman and everything she creates in her kitchen!

If you want to find out more about Cynthia Barcomi, the Barcomi’s cafés and her new book Cookies full of deliciously tempting recipes, click here!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownies

For a 23 x 23cm / 9 x 9″ baking tin you need

butter 155g / 5 1/2 ounces
bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces, 200g / 7 ounces
sugar 150g / 5 1/4 ounces
vanilla extract 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
plain flour 90g / 3 1/4 ounces
cocoa powder 20g / 3/4 ounce
salt 3/4 teaspoon
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
peanut butter, creamy, 200g / 7 ounces
icing sugar, sieved, 25g / 1 ounce
eggs 3

Set the oven to 175°C / 350°F (fan-assisted oven) and butter the baking tin.

In a sauce pan, melt 125g (4 1/2 ounces) of the butter and the chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate-butter mixture into a bowl and mix with the sugar and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Let it cool for about 15 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the baking soda. In another bowl, mix the peanut butter with 30g (1 ounce) butter, icing sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Whisk the eggs into the chocolate-butter mixture and gently stir in the dry flour-cocoa mixture. Pour the dough into the baking tin and even it out. Place the peanut butter mixture in dollops on top of the chocolate dough and swirl it a little with a tooth pick. Bake in the oven for about 23 minutes or until just firm on top (don’t overbake!). Let the brownies cool on a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

You opened your first Barcomi’s in Berlin in 1994, the second one, a deli, in 1997. You also started roasting your own coffee beans, long before this café culture was popular in the city. How would you describe Berlin’s café and restaurant scene in those days? What changed over the years?

In 1994 and up until a few years ago, there was really no alternative to industrial roasted coffee beans and industrial produced pastries in Berlin except Barcomi’s. Everything tasted the same and bad! Bad food and coffee corrupts the palette so that at some point, people no longer know how real food and coffee should taste. I have always seen my work as an alternative to the industry – be it feeding our guests or writing books, so that people can bake and cook successfully themselves.

You came from New York to Berlin, arriving as a dancer, and today you’re one of Berlin’s most popular personalities in the culinary landscape. What led to this personal transformation?

Hard work and a lot of self-criticism let to my success as a gastronome. The transition from dancer to gastronome to cookbook author was simple: I felt inspired and used that inspiration as my starting point. I have never looked back!

How much of the New Yorker is still in you, how would you describe it? What do you miss about this city?

New York is a magical (and tough) city. It is an extremely competitive and fast moving city and if you live there, you have to keep up! Living and going to school there taught me not to be afraid of competition by always doing my best and remaining true to my ideas and beliefs.

As a writer of five cookbooks, a TV personality, caterer and restaurant owner, which of your activities relaxes you and which challenges you the most?

It is always challenging to be good and it’s always challenging to work with lots of people, I have 50 employees between the two stores. I love it though and I simply love to cook and bake. It relaxes and focuses me so I can let the creative process unfold.

You just published your latest book COOKIES, how do you develop new recipes, where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere: ingredients, shapes, colors, occasions, dreams, sense memories just to name a few. Inspiration is always the starting point for a new recipe and without it, I cannot create. A baking recipe begins as an intellectual theory of a bunch of ingredients. The magic happens, when I synthesize theory with practice (baking). This involves all of my senses and is partially an intuitive process.   When a pastry finally comes out of the oven, theory and practice have united – I love it!

What do you love about Berlin?

I love the people in Berlin. It has become a really exciting city because the people living here are busy making things happen. Whether music, the arts or the food scene – it’s happening in Berlin!

Who is your biggest inspiration in the kitchen?

Actually I find visual artists and music composers inspiring in the kitchen. Layers and layers of details like shapes, juxtapositions, harmonies remind me of the intricacies of my own work.

You brought up four children together with your husband, one of your daughters joined your catering business, how much family is there in Barcomi’s?

There is a lot of family in Barcomi’s. My husband and son love to do the store deliveries on Sundays. My youngest daughter is a great helper / baker in the kitchen. Barcomi’s is my family’s existence as well as the existence of many co-workers of mine.

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?

I used to bake when I was really young (3 – 4 years old) but cooking? I started making omelettes for my parents when I was…maybe 10 years old. Then I discovered Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The floodgate was opened!

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in Berlin? 

I love to shop at the weekend market at Mexikoplatz.

There is also my favorite farmer who sets up a stand a few days a week at the corner of Sven-Hedin Strasse. I’m originally from Washington, which means that I know my apples. This farmer has the BEST apples I have eaten outside of Washington!

What did you choose to share on eat in my kitchen and why?

Peanut Butter Brownies (from the new Cookies book).

I really love your work, Meike: it is detailed, honest and personal. There are many blogs out there, but so few capture the essence of food like eat in my kitchen. I’m impressed! 

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?

I would like Jean-Georges Vongerichten to cook his favorite meal for me… or Nobu Matsuhisa, I love his food as well.

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

It is one of my favorite things to do: open my cupboards and simply throw a meal together (often in less than 30 minutes!). As my husband would say, I have done some of my best work in the least amount of time. I love the flow of improvising in the kitchen. It would be my dream TV show to go to someone’s home, open up their kitchen cupboards and cook an amazing meal!

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

Well, I do love chocolate chip cookies but my taste has also evolved over the years. I really love to make and eat simple, straightforward foods. Fresh herbs, seasonal and regional produce is simply the best.

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

I have a rather large kitchen at home with many ovens and lots of work space. One of the most important elements of my kitchen is the DOOR. I love to cook alone, by myself. It’s like painting to me and it is not necessary a collaborative process. It is a moment, THE moment.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

Well, I like to plan a meal for a special occasion as well as the challenge of an impromptu get-together. They are two very different disciplines, each one off-sets the other!

Thank you Cynthia!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever

Peanut Butter Cookies

I got this recipe from a true cookie specialist – our Granny Doris from Florida. Years ago, at Christmas time, she sent us two huge parcels full of her peanut butter cookies and I fell in love with them. I ate so many I thought I would never be able to eat them again. That didn’t last long. Before this experience, I never really liked peanut butter but theses cookies changed everything. They are so crunchy yet juicy and so tasty that you can’t stop eating them.

These cookies are big enough as a small breakfast or mid-day snack together with a cup of coffee, they go very well with a cup of tea in the afternoon and if you don’t feel like a big dessert after dinner but feel like something sweet together with your espresso just grab one. I bake them in very big batches exactly for this reason!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

For 50 cookies you need

plain flour 280g / 10 ounces
baking soda 2 teaspoons
salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter 250g / 9 ounces
peanut butter (smooth not crunchy!) 350g / 12.5 ounces
Demerara sugar 280g / 10 ounces
organic eggs 2

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy, add the sugar and continue mixing for a minute. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients gradually and mix well. Shape the dough into walnut sized balls and place on the lined baking sheet leaving plenty of space in between each dough ball. Flatten lightly with a fork and bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden. It will seem as though they are a bit under done when they first come out but that’s a good thing. Leave them to cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes before you cool them completely on a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Cookies

 

Peanut Butter Cookies

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