Today the blog is two years old and that feels like a big number, even if it isn't much compared to my age. Yet at the same time, I feel as if I've only scratched the surface; despite my four years in Berlin there's so much I haven't discovered yet and so much I have to learn about baking and also taking pictures. Buying my first SLR camera last spring and moving into my own place at last were definitely the biggest developments and they've really made a big difference. It's wonderful knowing that on coming home I can simply close the door behind me without having to face a noisy flatmate and cook myself something nice in the kitchen whenever I want. Berlin seems more and more like home and I'm so lucky to live here. The best thing about the last year though was the contact with all of you in comments, emails and also reading your blogs so I'd like to thank you for taking time to read my (very long) posts, often in a language which isn't your own. I have a tendency to be embaressingly sentimental so won't say too much, only that I consider you as friends, not just readers.
To celebrate, I've added the pictures my my trip to Birkenwerder last week (recommended by Sylee) on a frosty but golden day when I got lost in the woods and also a recipe for Mingou's chocolate crinkle biscuits which I finally got around to making. Here's to another year of cakes!
Waiting for the S8 at at Pankow station
Mingou's Chocolate crinkle biscuits from La peau d'ourse (you can find the recipe in French here)
Makes 30 biscuits
40g dark chocolate
20g neutral oil (sunflower, rapeseed or a mix)
1 small teaspoon of instant coffee (not too strong)
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar (or a sachet)
2-3 tbsp golden syrup (or glucose syrup or honey if it's not too rich)
2 egg whites
140g plain flour
80g icing sugar
30g unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 big pinch of salt
50g icing sugar for coating the biscuits
1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a small saucepan. Add the oil and mix.
2. Stir in the instant coffee and mix (off the heat). Leave to cool slightly then add the caster sugar, salt, the golden syrup and the vanilla sugar. Mix with a metal spoon until absorbed.
3. Pour in the egg whites and whisk vigourously to prevent pockets of mixture forming. Eventually, you will have a smooth consistency.
4. Sift together the flour, icing sugar, cocoa and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add it little by little to the egg mixture and blend with a spoon, remembering to scrape down the sides of the bowl. It will seem very crumbly and dry at the beginning but you'll end up with a smooth dough.
5. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for two hours, not longer otherwise the dough isn't as easy to work with.
6. Preheat the oven to 180° and line two baking sheets.
7. Sift in the remaining icing sugar into a large bowl. Take around a teaspoonful of dough and roll it between your hands to make a ball. Dip it into the icing sugar so it's thoroughly coated and flatten it a little in your palm. Place onto the lined baking sheet at least 5cm apart and bake for 8-9 minutes until they're cracked and just beginning to turn darker
8. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them with a spatula to a cooling rack.