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Let me tell you this.

This cake is amazing!

There it is.

I needed to get this off my chest.

Ugh, I feel so much better now.

 

I love this cake because it is fresh, delicious, it has different textures in it, it is satisfying and surprising, there are berries, there is cream cheese… and this is how you can make it…

 
 

Here’s what we need.

 
 

1. First, preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C).

 

2. Then separate the eggs – the yolks into one large bowl, the whites into another large bowl.

 
 

3. Add 1 3/4 cups (200 grams) confectioners’ sugar to the yolks and mix them for a couple of minutes until your batter becomes pale and smooth.

 

To tell you the truth, if I could live my life the way I really wanted, I’d have this egg-yolk-sugar mixture for lunch every day. Every single day. It’s beyond tempting and delicious for me.

I know, I am creepy.

But let’s forget it.

 
 

4. Now add the flour into your batter and give it another quick stir.

 
 

5. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

 
 

6. With a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of the whites into the egg-yolk mixture to loosen the batter.

 
 

7. Then fold in the remaining whites.

 
 

8. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Mist it with some vegetable oil and dust it with flour lightly.

I am using a 12 x 15 inch (30 x 38 cm) baking pan here. You can use a smaller pan if you want your cake squares to be a little taller.

 

9. Pour one half (!) of the batter into the pan and spread it evenly.

We need two cake layers for this cake, that is why the batter should be baked in two batches.

Okay, it could be baked in one go and sliced in half afterward, but I am not that daring.

You can be.

But I am not.

 
 

10. Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for about 12 – 15 minutes until golden-brown.

 
 

11. Before you remove your first cake layer from the oven, lay a sheet of parchment paper on your working surface and dust it lightly with some confectioners’ sugar.

 

12. When baked, invert the cake layer onto the paper.

 
 

13. And remove the top paper.

Let cool.

 

14. Line the baking pan with parchment paper again, fill it with the remaining batter and bake it.

When baked, leave that cake layer in the baking pan and don’t remove it.

Just let it cool.

That will be the bottom layer of our cake.

Well, not ‘our’ literally, the cake will be yours only, unless you send me some.

 
 

15. Now, let’s make the yummy cream cheese filling.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and sour cream.

 
 

16. Mix until smooth.

This will take a couple of minutes.

 
 

17. Pour the heavenly filling onto the first layer.

 
 

18. And spread it.

 
 

 
 

19. Place the second layer on top of the filling.

 
 

20. Grab about 1/2 cup of your favorite jam or preserves.

 
 

21. And spread the jam over the cake layer.

This will help to moisten up the cake beautifully.

And it adds another beautiful flavor.

 
 

These are thawed mixed berries.

 
 

22. Scatter the berries over the top.

 
 

 
 

23. And finally, cook the red gelatin according to the instructions.

I used 2 packets. Each one asked for 1 cup (250 ml) of liquid. Altogether, we need 2 cups of the gelatin liquid for this cake.

Also, I used unsweetened gelatin. That is why I had to add some sugar to it.

 
 

24. Pour the cooked gelatin over the fruit.

 
 

25. And let cool completely.

 

26. Then cover the whole cake with plastic wrap, place in the fridge and let firm up for a few hours.

 
 

27. Finally, cut into squares and…

 

Enjoy!

 

(This cake makes about 30 pieces of 2.5 x 2.5 inch (6×6 cm) squares. Pretty enough to make you happy.)

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I am sending you warm greetings from my kitchen.

Because I luv ya!

And because the running oven makes it really, really warm in here.

 

The time before Christmas has a sweet and magical impact on me. I find myself in the kitchen even more often than usual.

Which actually means that instead of 14 hours a day I spend 20 hours here now.

Like yesterday, for example, I made 82 cookies and I don’t even know how that happened to me.

Strange.

 

Anyhow, these lovely Bowtie Cookies were one of those I made yesterday.

The dough has cream cheese in it. It remotely resembles puff pastry, but it is less layered and less fatty. And oh so delicious!

The dough is filled with jam. You wouldn’t believe how gorgeous that combination is.

Let me show you how I prepared them…
 
 

Here’s what we need.
 
 

1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes.

 
 

2. Then on low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until mixed. A crumbly mixture will form.
 
 

3. Using your hands, pat the crumbly mixture together to form a dough ball.

 

Oh, and the face – I had to. Again. It’s addictive. Sorry!
 
 

4. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 

5. Now, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a square or rectangle about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick.

 

6. Cut the dough into even 2.5 x 2.5 inch (6 x 6 cm) squares.
 
 

I’ve found out that my pizza cutter works best when it comes to cutting pastry.

It’s perfectly sharp.

And pink.

I’m in love with it!
 
 

7. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each square.

Use a really thick jam. There are even jam brands out there that are meant for baking. Get one of those, preferably.

Also, when I was making the first batch of these cookies I was a little too generous and placed a little more than one teaspoon of the filling in the center. And I also spread it.

 
 

I don’t recommend that.
 
 

Although the cookies looked amazing before baking, if there’s too much jam, it has a tendency to leak while baking.

 
 

In the second batch I was less generous.

 
 

And the cookies leaked less, they almost didn’t leak at all.

 

7. Back to the instructions… pull 2 opposite corners of the square into the middle, and pinch the edges together to seal.

Pinch the edges well, don’t give them a chance to open back into the square shape while baking.
 
 

8. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) apart.

 

9. Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
 
 

10. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.
 

11. Dust the tops with sifted confectioner’s sugar while still warm, then let cool completely.

 

Enjoy, dear friends!

 

(This recipe was loosely adapted from Epicurious.com and makes 40 cookies.)
 

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These straws are super easy to make.

And yummy!

 

Of course, they can be enjoyed as a nibble or finger food year-round, but I think they are especially welcome at Christmas and New Year’s parties.

Mmm. I can imagine them with drinks, salads or thick soups even.

Also, creating these savory treats makes a great project for you and your kids. Just try making them together. I am sure there will be loads and loads of fun.

 
 

Here’s what we need.

 
Yes, this is one of those recipe where you only need very few ingredients.

I am a huge fan of such recipes.
 
 

1. Preheat your oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 

2. Place the butter, cream cheese, flour, and salt into a bowl.
 
 

3. Combine the ingredients by hand just until a nice ball forms.

 
 

4. Place the dough onto a well floured surface.

 

5. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) thickness.

If the dough gets too sticky during this process, just use more flour to make the work easier.

 
 

6. Now cut the dough into even strips. My ones were 3/4 inch (2 cm) wide and 4 1/2 inches (11 cm) long.

 

If you want them to look super fancy, use a fluted pastry wheel cutter.

Oh, and it helps a lot if you dip the cutter in flour beforehand.

 

7. Re-roll any scraps and cut more strips.
 
 

8. Lay the strips on the lined baking sheet. Brush them with a lightly beaten egg.

This will make them beautifully golden in color.
 
 

9. Lastly, sprinkle each strip with some salt, sesame seeds and cumin.

I only had ground cumin seeds on hand when I was making these cuties. I think that the whole ones would look even better.
 
 

9. Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Enjoy, dear friends!

 

(This recipe makes about 30 straws and takes 45 minutes to prepare.)
 

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Are you one of those people who, like me, had thought that cheesecake and chocolate are not possible together?

Well, then I have something to tell you.

Something very important.

Something enlightening!

Dear friends, cheesecake and chocolate ARE possible to exist together.

SO possible.

Beyond possible!

Finger-licking possible!

Let me show you…
 
 

These are our lovely ingredients.
 

1. First, place the first three ingredients in the bowl of your electric mixer…
 
 

2. …and beat them at medium-low speed until combined.

Then increase the speed to medium, and beat until well blended and crumbly.
 
 

3. Pat the mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch (33 x 22 cm) pan.

A good trick is to use the bottom part of a measuring cup or a glass to do that.
 
 

4. Preheat your oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and bake for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

This is a lovely, delicious and easy substitute for crushed wafers that are often used in cheesecake recipes.

Cool, huh?
 
 

5. Now, let’s make the cheesecake filling.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer and beat at medium speed until creamy.
 
 

6. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition.
 
 

7. Finally, add the sour cream, vanilla, and one cup of the chocolate chunks.

Beat just until blended.

Of course, you can use chocolate chips instead of the chunks.
 
 

8. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the baked crust.
 
 

9. And using a spoon or an offset spatula, even out the surface.
 
 

10. Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for about 25 minutes or until set.

 

11. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
 
 

12. Then melt the rest of your chocolate chunks.

Microwave oven will work just fine.

(Oh, and use microwave friendly dishes, please. The one in the picture hadn’t gone to the microwave oven. If it had, things would have gotten sparkly… I guess. Don’t ask me how I know. Please.)

 
 

13. Stir the melted chocolate until smooth. Then drizzle the chocolate over the cheesecake.

 

14. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Then cut into bars.

Also, I’ve found out that it’s fine to reheat the bars in the microwave oven for a little while before serving. That way the chocolate will melt slightly making the whole eating experience even more divine.
 
 

Enjoy, dear friends.

 

(This lovely recipe was adapted from here. The recipe makes about 14 3×1.5-inch (8 x 4 cm) bars. The recipe takes about 1 hour to prepare and about 4 hours to chill. And the whole thing takes about 10 minutes to eat. Funny but true.)
 

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