Macaron by RJA

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This pastry shop which specializes in macarons, eclairs, and classic French pastries just opened its doors on April 1st at the Cornelis Schuytstraat 50 in Amsterdam. Macaron by RJA was a big success in South Korea due to Ruben Jan Adriaan, a very well know pastry chef in Asia. After 11 years abroad, he decided to come back to his homeland and open here this French pastry shop. He has worked for Pierre Hermé in Paris. I mean enough said there, I couldn’t wait any longer and stopped by for a taste today.

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It is a lovely shop where you can also enjoy some coffee, tea and sodas. They are waiting for their alcohol license so they can offer a glass of bubbles, wine or high wine. And at the end of August, they are going to open a second shop at the Utrechtsestraat 18a.

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I went there with my husband and we were greeted by Marlijn. She was super friendly and very happy to explain the concept of the store. It was hard to choose as everything looked so beautiful. We tasted the canelés there and got the rest for takeaway.

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We got the Inca which is made with a banana compote, mango, passion fruit and a mousse made with 55% chocolate from Brazil. The Desire, made with milk chocolate mousse, vanilla, raspberry crème brûlée and cacao nibs. We also got a small box of macarons. We chose Pistachio/Rhubarb/Berry, Sakura/Strawberry, Yogurt/Grapefruit, Earl grey/Raspberry, Rose/Lychee/Raspberry and Olive oil. Seconds after I was done taking these shots, we dug in. And OMG were they delicious, a real treat for the taste buds as well as for the eyes. The Inca and Desire were both rich and decadent. And the macarons, a wonderful combination of flavors in each bite. And being only a 10 minute bike ride from my home, I am coming back for sure. You can see more of the shop through my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

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Macaron by RJA

Cornelis Schuytstraat 50, Amsterdam

Open every day from 8am till 8pm except for Tuesdays

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Brownie Cookies with Rhubarb & Vanilla Bean

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A friend of mine brought me a chocolate bar for cooking from her trip to France and the first thing that came to my mind were these cookies. They are soft and fudgy on the inside. Rich but not overly sweet, and the tartness of the rhubarb still comes through.

This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

100grs of dark chocolate, chopped

113grs of butter

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

¾ of a cup of brown sugar, packed

½ cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

2 teaspoons of cornstarch

1 teaspoon of baking soda

Pinch of salt

¼ cup of cocoa powder

For the rhubarb:

2 rhubarb stalks

1 tablespoon of butter

1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

1 tablespoon of sugar

 

To make the cookies, place the butter and chopped dark chocolate in a small bowl. Melt it in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until the chocolate has melted completely. Then allow it to cool down.

Mix the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, salt and cocoa powder in another bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugars and vanilla. Then slowly whisk in the cooled melted chocolate.

Then add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture in batches. Mix until everything is combined.

Then allow the dough to chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

In the meanwhile, start preparing the rhubarb. Slice the stalks in two lengthwise. Then finely slice them.

Place the butter with the sugar in a pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the rhubarb and vanilla and cook for 1 minute while stirring. Then transfer the rhubarb to a fine mesh sieve with a bowl underneath to catch all the liquid. Let it sit there until the chilling time for the cookie dough is up.

Once the cookie dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Discard the juice from the rhubarb and place the rhubarb in a small bowl.

Take the cookie dough out of the fridge and grab about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough and roll it into a ball using your hands. Place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat for the rest, leaving some space in between each ball. Place about 1 teaspoon of the rhubarb on top of each ball and press with your fingers so it sticks. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. While a batch is baking, keep the remaining cookie dough in the fridge.

Let the cookies rest in the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

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Chamomile & Lemon Loaf Cake

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This is a delicately flavored cake. Chamomile used to be my favorite tea as a kid; I still love it but now I’m more of a green tea person. But it still reminds me of those times when my mom would make me tea. The chamomile is very subtle but you can taste/smell it a bit at the end. I used tea bags to infuse the milk with chamomile. It is a very simple one bowl cake and perfect to take if you go to a picnic for example. I am longing for spring weather and going biking through the flower fields and forest. And when we do that, I always make snacks like this to take with.

This recipe is for a 25cm loaf pan.

Ingredients:

90grs of butter, softened

30grs of sour cream

Zest of 2 lemons

1 ½ cups of sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups of self-rising flour, sifted

½ cup of milk

6 chamomile tea bags

Pinch of salt

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line your loaf pan with parchment paper.

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and let it come to a simmer over medium heat. Once it comes to a simmer, turn off the heat and add the chamomile bags. Press each tea bag a bit with a spoon so they get soaked and release the flavor. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let it steep for 10 minutes.

Once the 10 minutes are up, strain the milk with a fine mesh sieve. Allow the milk to cool down.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest.

Then add the eggs one by one. Then fold in the sour cream and salt. Finally fold in the flour alternating with the milk. Once it’s all combined, pour it into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for about 50 minutes, till golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Le Clair

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Last week I went to the official opening of Le Clair, an éclair café located at the Ijpassage in Amsterdam central station. Robert Kranenborg advised on the concept which is now lead by pastry chefs Tjade Klaver (Bord’eau) and Tarik Azaujan (Dutch Home Made).

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The eclairs are made on a daily basis and the flavors will vary depending on the seasons. Right now they have flavors like coffee & salted caramel, lemon meringue, mango & passion fruit and red fruit & yogurt. They also offer savory versions like with smoked salmon, Caesar salad, hot dog and croquet monsieur.

FullSizeRender (1)A great addition to Central station if you want to stop by for some treats, or if you are on your way to visit someone and would like to treat them. I mean who wouldn’t want to receive a box of beautiful and delicious pastries? They also make custom made eclairs for especial occasions. And if you are not planning on going to Central station, you can now order them through Fodora and get them delivered.

Le Clair

Ijpassage, Amsterdam Central Station

 

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Blood Orange, Chocolate & Chili Upside-Down Cake

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I love the gorgeous tint that blood oranges have and I was looking forward to making a recipe with them. I find the combination of orange and chocolate delicious, and to give it a little kick I added one chili. This is not meant to be spicy; you just feel a little tingling on the tongue at the end.  And I felt it more the day after. After that I don’t know because we finished it on the second day. It is a very simple, soft and no-fuzz cake.

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This cake is for a 21cm cake mold.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ¼ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of cocoa powder

¾ cup of vegetable oil

1 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 egg yolks

1 egg

1 ½ cup of sugar

Zest of 1 orange

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped (I used a 5 cm long chili)

For the orange part:

1 or 2 blood oranges, sliced into about 1/2 cm slices

½ cup of sugar

3 tablespoons of butter

¼ cup of orange juice

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line the bottom of the cake mold with parchment paper.

Once the oven is hot, start to prepare the cake batter. Sift the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

Chop the chili with the orange zest, until it is very fine. Then place the zest and chili in a large bowl along with the sugar. Whisk it on low speed for 30 seconds to allow the oils to come out. Then add the egg and egg yolks, and whisk until it is all incorporated. Add the vegetable oil, milk and vinegar. Finally add the dry ingredients and whisk until it is well combined.

To make the orange part, place the butter, sugar and orange juice in a large pan over medium heat. Let it cook for about 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves, swirling the pan around. Carefully pour it into the prepared cake mold and arrange the orange slices on top of the caramel. Press a bit so that the orange slices stick to it.

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Then carefully pour over the cake batter.

Bake it for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let it cool for 5 minutes in the mold and then carefully run a knife through the edges of the cake and turn it upside down on a serving platter.

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Whipped Passion Fruit & White Chocolate Ganache Tart

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I’m keeping last year’s Valentine’s Day theme with another dessert filled with passion fruit. This is a quite easy no-bake dessert. Whipping the ganache makes for an airy and much lighter filling. You can top it with any fruit that you like; I used fresh passion fruit, pomegranate, figs and mint.

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You can check last year’s chocolate soufflé with a passion fruit & white chocolate ganache center by clicking here.

This recipe is for a 35x11cm tart mold, preferably with a detachable bottom since the crust crumbles easily.

Ingredients:

For the Oreo crust:

32 Oreo cookies

6 tablespoons of melted butter

For the whipped passion fruit & white chocolate ganache:

100grs of passion fruit pulp (I got it frozen, but if you can’t find it get about 10 fresh passion fruit)

2 tablespoons of sugar

200grs of white chocolate, chopped

150ml of whipping cream

For decoration:

3 figs, sliced

1/3 of a cup of pomegranate seeds

3 fresh passion fruit

Mint leaves

Edible flowers (optional)

 

Start by making the Oreo crust, place the Oreo cookies (the whole cookie, including the cream) in the food processor and pulse until you get very fine crumbs. Then transfer it to a medium bowl and add the melted butter, mix well. Spread the Oreo mixture evenly over the tart to create the crust and press with your fingers to make it as compact as possible. Place it in the fridge until ready to use.

Place the frozen pulp plus the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, let it reduce until you get about 2 tablespoons of syrup. Make sure to stir so it doesn’t burn. If you can’t find the passion fruit pulp ready to use, place the pulp of about 10 passion fruit in a blender and quickly pulse a couple of times. Don’t over blend it because the seeds will become too fine and you won’t be able to sift them out. Then pass the pulp over a fine mess sieve. And then reduce it in a saucepan with the sugar.

Place the chopped white chocolate and cream in a medium bowl. Melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. And stir in between until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream. Then using a hand whisk, whisk it to make sure there are no lumps of chocolate. I did this for about 2 minutes. Then place it in the fridge for 20 minutes, giving it a light hand whisk every 5 minutes. The ganache needs to be cool enough to be whipped, but not too cold that it gets hard. Once the 20 minutes are up, take it out of the fridge and add the passion fruit reduction. Whisk it and if there are any lumps, pass it through a sieve.

Using an electric mixer, whisk it for about 4 minutes until it’s light and fluffy.

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Take out the tart from the fridge, and carefully spread the whipped ganache over it.  Place it in the fridge for 1 hour to set. Before serving, top it with  fresh fruit and mint leaves. I used figs, pomegranate seeds, fresh passion fruit and edible flowers.  Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Elderflower Frosting & Sugared Cranberries

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This carrot cake is always a winner when I have friends over or when I take it to house parties. It’s moist and so easy to make. This time I added some elderflower cordial to the frosting to add a floral tone. I love elderflower cordial and we always have a bottle in the house, even though we mostly use it for gin & tonics. If you like elderflower, you may also like this Strawberry Elderflower Lattice Pie.

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This recipe is for a small 19cm round cake mold. But you can easily double the recipe to make a larger cake.

Ingredients:

For the sugared cranberries:

2 cups of sugar

2 cups water

2 cups of fresh cranberries, washed and picked through

¾ cups of sugar

For the carrot cake:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of shredded carrot

3/4 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped

Zest of 1 mandarin

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

For the cream cheese and elderflower frosting:

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cream cheese at room temperature

3 tablespoons of butter, softened

3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

2 cups of icing sugar

Extra:

Fresh mint leaves for decoration (optional)

 

 

Start by making the sugared cranberries the night before. Place 2 cups of water plus 2 cups of sugar in a medium saucepan and let it simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir from time to time. Once the simple syrup is done, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool for 20 minutes. You want to let it cool before you add the cranberries otherwise they may pop.

Once the syrup has cooled down, add the cranberries and stir to coat them. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, drain the cranberries. You can save the simple syrup for another recipe or for a cocktail. Place the ¾ cup of sugar on a shallow plate and start rolling the cranberries in it until they are evenly coated. Then place them on a baking sheet and let them dry for at least 1 hour.

To make the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of a 19cm round cake mold with parchment paper. Grease and flour the edges of the mold.

Beat the sugar with the eggs. Then add the vegetable oil, shredded carrot, the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Finally add the mandarin zest and the nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared cake mold.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Allow the cake to cool down completely before you start making the frosting.

To make the frosting, whisk the softened butter with the cream cheese until well combined. Then add the elderflower cordial and whisk. Then gradually add the icing sugar. Whisk until you have a smooth frosting.

Carefully remove the cake from the mold and plate it. Then frost it with the help of a spatula. I only added it to the top and swirled it around a bit with a spoon. Place some of the sugared cranberries in the middle of the cake. If you want you can add a few mint leaves for extra color. Keep the cake in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Brownie with Peanut Butter Cookie Crust, Whisky Caramel Sauce and Sea Salt

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I had been craving something very rich. I ate chocolate and cookies but they didn’t cut it. I wanted to make a slightly salty dessert and this happened to satisfy my winter munchies. It’s rich, fudgy on the inside, crunchy peanut butter bottom, some caramel on top and some sea salt. It ticked all the boxes. My hubby and I shared the last piece before having breakfast.

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This recipe is for a 19cm round cake mold. I used one with a detachable bottom.

Ingredients:

For the peanut butter cookie crust:

½ cup of smooth peanut butter

56grs of softened butter

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of white sugar

¼ cup of packed brown sugar

1 small egg

1 teaspoon of milk

½ teaspoon of vanilla essence

½ cup + 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon of baking powder

Pinch of salt

For the brownie:

120grs of dark chocolate, chopped

57grs of butter

½ cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

For the Whisky caramel sauce:

½ cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of water

¼ cup of heavy cream

¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence

½ tablespoon of Whiskey

½ a tablespoon of salted butter

Extra:

Sea salt

Blueberries

 

Start by making the peanut butter cookie crust. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of a 19cm round cake mold with a detachable bottom, with parchment paper.

Whisk the softened butter with the peanut butter. Add the sugars and whisk until fluffy. Then add the egg, milk and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Finally whisk in the dry ingredients.

Place about 2/3 of the cookie dough in the prepared cake mold. You can freeze the rest of the cookie dough and make cookies later on. Press with a spoon to spread it as evenly as possible. Bake it for 8 minutes. Then set it aside and start making the brownie batter.

Melt the butter with the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until it is completely melted. Then allow it to cool down for a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the eggs and egg yolk. Then slowly whisk in the melted chocolate (make sure it’s not very hot, otherwise it will curdle the eggs). Then add the vanilla, flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk until well combined. Pour the brownie butter over the cookie crust. Tap it a bit  to get rid of air bubbles. Bake it for 25 minutes. Then set it aside to cool down in the mold.

Once the brownie has cooled down, carefully pass a knife around the edges of the mold. Carefully take the brownie cake out of the mold and plate it.

To make the whisky caramel sauce, place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook without stirring until the sugar has turned amber in color, swirling the pan from time to time. This will take about 8 minutes. Then slowly add the cream and vanilla. Mix it well with a wooden spoon. Then add the whisky and butter. Stir until well combined and then transfer it to a bowl.

Drizzle some of the caramel on top of the brownie and sprinkle it with some sea salt and add some fresh blueberries. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Roulade with Fudge & Matcha Icing Sugar

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This is something my mom would make very often when I was growing up. The cake is soft and airy, and the fudge makes it decadent. And the best part is that it is so easy to make. My mom would always dust it with some icing sugar, I just added some matcha because I love how it combines with the chocolate. It gives it a slight earthiness.

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On another note, the watch I am wearing on the picture below is from Daniel Wellington. They have beautiful and very classic watches, and you can get 15% off on all products from their website using the code “cravings”. It is valid until the 15th of January.

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons of cocoa powder

6 eggs

1 cup of sugar

For the fudge:

1 cup of milk

1 can of condensed milk

½ cup of sifted cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of butter

For the matcha icing sugar:

3 tablespoons of icing sugar

1 tablespoon of matcha

 

First make the fudge, You can do this a few days ahead and keep it in the fridge. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan, add the cacao powder and whisk it until well combined. Then add the condensed milk and stir with a wooden spoon over medium-low heat. You have to stir constantly to avoid it from burning. This will take about 20 minutes. When the fudge is thick and you can see the bottom of the pot, add the butter. Mix well and pour into a bowl to cool down. It will thicken even more as it cools down. Let it cool down completely before starting to make the cake.

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Sift the cocoa powder with the flour.

Whisk the egg whites with half of the sugar until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the remaining sugar. Then add 1/3 of the egg whites to the bowl with the yolks and mix it well. Then fold in half of the remaining egg whites. Finally fold in the rest of the egg whites until it is all mixed through. Then fold in the sifted cocoa powder and flour.

Pour the cake batter into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Smooth it out with a spatula and tap it a bit to remove air bubbles.

Bake it for 15 minutes.

Once it is baked, remove it from the baking sheet by grabbing the parchment paper and place it on a cutting board. Let it cool for about 3 minutes and then grab one of the short ends and roll it with the parchment paper. Leave it rolled for about 5 minutes to cool down a bit. I find that this helps it mold better without it cracking. Once it has cooled down a bit, start spreading evenly the fudge. Then tightly roll it taking the parchment paper off as you roll. Transfer it to a plate and place it in the fridge for 1 hour to set.

Once the roulade has set, sift the icing sugar with the matcha. Once it is mixed, dust it over the roulade. Enjoy!

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Tiramisu Pancakes

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I’ve been craving Tiramisu for a while now and while I was planning this weekend’s breakfasts, tiramisu popped back into my head. So tiramisu pancakes it was. I added some coffee and cacao powder to the pancake batter and made a mascarpone cream to go along with it. Such a delicious way to start the weekend!

This recipe makes 12 medium pancakes.

Ingredients:            

For the pancake batter:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup of buttermilk

2 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled

1 ½ tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoon of instant coffee

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the mascarpone cream:

250grs of mascarpone at room temperature

2/3 cup of whipping cream

4 teaspoons of Port or Marsala wine

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

8 tablespoons of powdered sugar or more to taste

Extras:

Extra butter for cooking the pancakes

Cocoa powder

Strawberries

 

Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Whisk the egg whites with half of the sugar until stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and vanilla. Then add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, instant coffee, butter and buttermilk. Whisk until combined.

Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Then add half of the remaining egg white and fold it in. Finally fold in the remaining egg white.

Add some butter to a large pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and the pan is hot, pour about 1/3 of a cup onto the pan to make each pancake. Let it cook until the top part starts bubbling and the edges start to dry. Then flip it and cook until lightly brown. Repeat for the remaining batter.

To make the mascarpone cream, whisk the mascarpone with the whipping cream until smooth. Then add the port, vanilla and sugar. Mix until everything is combined.

If you want to serve the mascarpone cream in between each pancake in a stack, I suggest that you let the pancakes cool down a bit otherwise they will melt the cream too fast. If you want the pancakes really warm, just serve some of the cream on the side. Sprinkle some cacao powder and add some strawberries. Enjoy!

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