After 3 trips to Ireland this year, it‘s safe to say that I am a little obsessed with this country… My travel plans for this year only contained one trip to Ireland in late January with my friend to visit one of her old friends in Cork. That’s a part of Ireland I hadn’t been to before, so I was instantly lit. On my birthday another friend suggested an Irish roadtrip in the summer and a little over a month later we found ourselves on an epic adventure: #craicinatlantis. Since I had checked off at least 1 item of my travel bucket list, I was again on fire when another friend suggested to take her to Dublin over the weekend, to work on her fear of flying and to enjoy the beauty of Dublin in November. We’ve been only a few days too early for the real Christmas spirit to drop aka the Christmas lights being turned on, but it’s been a fabulous trip anyway and I enjoyed the most gorgeous views of Dublin in the winter sun.
Oooookay, how do I get to Pudding from here, cause that’s why we’re all here, right? Right… From my first trip to Dublin Pre-Christmas I brought home a Christmas Pudding from a supermarket chain because I was pretty curious what this “thing” that I only knew from my English book in school actually was like. It kind of became a Christmas tradition, but then it stopped, cause no Pre-Christmas trip and it got forgotten. Until a few weeks back, when my friend Käthe invited me to her birthday party and asked to bring something for the buffet. I thought hard about what to bring, but my mind was blank like oh so often lately… Käthe helped me to brainstorm and in the end basically she came up with an idea: Since it was that time of the year and she knows how much I love Ireland, she suggested I bring some Christmas Pudding to her party.
I can’t believe my baby turned 5 yesterday, where did time go?! I am looking back on 5 lively years, even though this is “only” the 100st post <insert another yay here>. I have been through some rough patches, especially lately, but for some reason I can’t give up this blog, don’t want to give this baby a new name or change my ways. As a matter of fact, I live and breathe Schabakery, I am Schabakery. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that 😉
Important report incoming: Summer is finally over and fall is here to stay. Behold! I know some of you just chocked on their PSL… My favourite part of fall is damson plum season, it reminds me of good ol’times and gives me a warm, fuzzy, comforting feeling. I know I still owe you the basic damson plum cake recipe like my Grandma used to make it, that I started to write years ago and never finished. But this one is too good and too delish to not share right away with you. The feedback of my taste testers was overwhelmingly good, not that I had any doubt with this combination of cinnamon pie crust and frangipane/marzipan filling topped off with local, fresh damson plums.
The last post marked the halfway point of the #craicinatlantis roadtrip. For bearing with me here and following along on the new path, you guys deserve a treat. Those of you who followed my Instagram might have noticed that I was a bit in alert mode lately as I agreed to make the wedding cake for my former Handball teammate and her husband. She asked me earlier this year and as her request seemed to be doable (no fondant fuzz, a pretty naked cake with seasonal berries), I said yes.
Long story short, I was a nervous wreck that day and the night before, my freakout luckily was cushioned by some dear people who calmed my anxiety, talked some sense into me and a nice bottle of craft beer. I had planned a lot of extra time, as it was my first ever wedding cake and I learned from past cake projects that things never turn out perfect when they need to be on point… I took the extra trip to the grocery store to get more eggs with a smile after one cake turned out bumpy, as well as another cake baking about 3 times as long as I had calculated in the bigger tin. I tossed a batch of curdled custard that couldn’t be saved as it was way too flaky and even all my effort didn’t help. I dismissed the horror scenarios of cake crash or drop, but I think for days I could only think and talk about cake. I tried to take it as Irish as possible (“It’ll be grand!”) and repeatedly told myself that I am capable of doing this cake, which worked pretty well because I knew that everybody else seemed to have zero doubt about it. Some may think I was phishing for compliments, but sorry to disappoint you, I am a master in not believing in myself and my abilities. Even if 20 people tell me that I can, it is hard to convince myself. Self esteem can’t be forced, it can be learned, but it is a hard lesson and every oh so little bump in the road often results in huge setbacks. Enough of the detours, I got to get back to cake: The one thing I had no doubt about was the taste, I knew it was going to be delicious. Continue reading »
I like classics, I don’t need fancy, for me the real beauty lies in doing the simple things right. But sometimes it needs the total extravaganza and this weekend called for it… For a birthday party on the weekend I combined the most delicious treats to this sugar rush: Chocolate Peanutbutter Caramel Cupcakes!
I don’t want to babble (I’ll do that in a separate post soon or later) so straigtht up to the recipe this time…
I know that a lot of people want the unicorn buzz to be over already, but I can’t overcome it. Main reason is that I do believe in unicorns and for me they are not just a trend, unicorns are more. Unicorns are a symbol, they stand for power, grace and the undying magic of fairy tales. Life is complex and in our daily hamster wheel, we often forget to appreciate the little things. No matter the circumstances, no matter how rough the times are, no matter the stress level, no matter how unfair life seems to be, I believe in unicorns, that all obstacles can be overcome and that it’s all going to be alright in the end.
That and coffee is what keeps me going. And it may not come as a surprise that I celebrate the international day of Macarons with a coffee Macaron in the shape of unicorns. The goodie bag of the last foodblogger camp came with a package of Tchibo blonde roast, which should also be available in Stores and online as of this week, and that inspired me flavourwise. I tasted the coffee during a hand filtering session with Karen at the camp and found it to not be my cup for drinking but the flavour pairs well with the white chocolate in the Macaron filling. Continue reading »
It’s no secret that Germany is the home of edible Christmas anticipation. I grew up with baking tons of Christmas cookies, Lebkuchen and Stollen during advent season, just like everyone else in Germany. Back in kindergarden and school we had baking afternoons and cookie recipe swaps and for our family christmas gatherings everyone brought cookies that were all different. One of my aunts always makes the largest variety of cookies, more than 10 types at least and so that you can eat through all of them in one sitting she makes them tiny miniature versions. I especially like her Florentine buiscuits. My other aunt made the hardest cinnamon stars I have ever had in my life, they even top the ones than my mother made once and almost chipped my teeth. The general pattern in my family is that we all make a variety of classic christmas cookies like butter cookies or cinnamon stars and some experimental new ones each year like coconut oat crisps. Be it my mother, sister or aunts, we all have that in common. The other thing I noticed is that with all our experience and preferences the same exact cookie can taste totally different like for example coconut macaroons. Even though recipes are often passed on between all of us, the outcome is never the same.
A bright example of that is the Stollen, a German fruit bread that can be baked in advance and can be stored for weeks. Stollen has a long history in Germany, it goes back to the 15th century. Traditional Stollen is made with yeast, however my mother makes one with Quark/Curd that is more moist and doesn’t taste yeasty (which I don’t like too much). A few years back my mother passed me the copy of her Stollen recipe and I made it myself for the first time. But I couldn’t resist changing the recipe, like I do with almost any recipe I try out of books or the internet… Stollen contains dried fruit, such as raisins and currants, I even put cranberries once, and candied orange and lemon peel, which I find rather disgusting itself. So when I made my first Stollen I gladly let the peel out and added a core of marzipan to it. Over the years I have learned a lot, tried out a lot and brought my recipe to perfection*. I hope I can inspire you to try out yourself and enjoy a nice slice of Stollen underneath the christmas tree.
*Due to the current lack of oven I baked at my Sister’s and my Stollen was not baked through completely as you might see in the pictures. On top I forgot to add the baking powder, even though she asked me if we needed it… That’s what I get for not reading my own recipes carefully… Continue reading »
I managed to stay on track with my daily Bujo routine for exactly 66 days. It’s longer than I expected and shorter than I hoped for it to last. I know why this daily thing isn’t for me. I have adjusted my bujo to fit my schedule and I like the way I use it now much more. I really hoped the Bujo would help me with my writing motivation and to update my blog more often. Truth is I was looking for the answer literally in the wrong book. I suffered from a writer’s block, I have started on a few recipes, but for some reason I couldn’t publish them. Why? Because I didn’t get into the zone, I wasn’t happy with what I wrote and thought: “this isn’t me”! I started this blog to keep track of my baking endavours but also to share personal things with my readers, like why I like or made something, who I made it for or what it reminds me of. If readers just wanted a recipe they would rather check a database and not a blog. In my opinion blogs ARE personal. Not the journal kind of personal, but giving the reader a peak into the writer’s life. After reading a few blogs for a long time, I feel as if I know the writer and I can relate. This is what I want for my reader’s too. I don’t want this to be a soulless recipe database, I want this to be a living blog, reflecting my life and give you a peak into my life.
That is hard for me sometimes. In the past months I simply didn’t feel like sharing. Not that I had nothing to say, I simply did not want to. I tried to let it go, wait for it to come back to me, I forced myself and then even made a list post…! But nothing… And while I was looking for my voice to come back, it hit me: I should start with the people in my life. Because without the people around me, my life wouldn’t be as happy, rich, eventful and filled with laughter.
One of these people is Nadine. Along with some other bloggers we met at a fair last year and I liked her from the first second. She is a warm, welcoming, likable and energetic person. She is not only the girl with the complicated blogname (dipi..t..serenity), for some reason she and her style remind me of holidays. She is a go-getter, knows what she wants and is very creative. Nadine is someone to look up to, not just because she is tall 😉 I was honoured I had the chance to write a guest-post on her fantastic (German) Food- and Travelblog in June while she was on a roadtrip through Dixieland. The first 3 things that come to my mind when I think about Dixie are music, country and Mississippi mud pie. Perhaps because I am a chocoholic… And with all my fellow chocoholics out there I’d like to share this recipe.
Have you heard of bullet journals being the new buzz? I must say even though I see myself as a digital native there are still a lot of things I do with pen and paper. When it comes down to scribble something, cross off things from to do lists or to writerecipe notes, NOTHING beats pen and paper. I doodle mindlessly, I am somewhat into handlettering, I have a thing for stationery and I hate pages full of meaningless words. So bullet journaling seemed to be the perfect buzz for me.
Let me sum up for those of you who haven’t heard about it yet: A bullet journal is a mix of a journal and a planner, to give all your doodles, to do lists, events, notes or simply your thoughts a home, whatever you want to put in there you are free to do so. The only things that are advised to be in there is the key (your legend to categorise the things you put in there, like to do’s, dates, events, …) and an index (I know this sounds annoying but it helps you to find where you put things). You can customise the rest to fit to your needs. There is a nice video on bulletjournal.com that explains how the system itself works. After using mine for a month, I have some learnings and I am very eager to share them with you.
1. Bulletjournaling doesn’t help you to get more shit done
I initially started because I felt a bit lost with all my to do’s. Besides a work and a private calendar I have several to do list’s and boards in various apps, on random pieces of paper for work, private stuff, blog, household etc. I kept forgetting things, from family birthdays to appointments or things to do. I thought when I consolidate at least the private part and put it all together in one bullet journal, I would finally be able to plan better and get more shit done. It may take you by surprise but:
2. Visualising to do’s doesn’t mean you actually complete them
I noticed in the first week already that something was off with my planning. I found it hard to complete my daily dose of tasks, it felt like 24 hours a day just weren’t enough. I simply had too much on my plate and not enough time/energy/motivation to get through with everything. I remember leaving the kitchen a complete mess after decorating a cake at 2 o’clock, just to get up at 6 to clean the mess and take pictures of the cake for the blog in daylight. I simply understimated the time I would need to complete the cake and after the first cake-attempt didn’t turn out okay, I had to redo unplanned. Things don’t always go according to plan and even though I now plan less into my freetime, I still find myself with a lot of open tasks at the end of the day. Which brings me to the next learning:
3. Prioritisation is hard, but it happens automatically
I find it hard to prioritise my private life. Sure it is important to have clean underwear, but if a friend is in need I won’t turn them down. There is no general rule for prioritisation and I find it especially hard to do those things I don’t like. In the end prioritisation happens automatically. So I either find myself making cake until 2 in the morning because I really want to do it or I postpone to some other day in the vague future to give my body the rest it needs.
4. A bullet journal makes it easier to rememeber things
There might be something about the saying that things go directly from hand to mind. I find it easier to remember things and dates without looking them up in the journal. I was tempted to use it as an external memory, to dump everything in there to get it off my mind. Actually the opposite happened which I am very grateful for: It does train my mind, my memory did get better. But still I battle with “out of sight, out of mind” since it strikes on me all the time. Leftover to do’s hardly make it to my longterm list, which is also a form of prioritisation.
5. Habit trackers are actually helpful
As a part of your bullet journal, you can make a short list of things you want to keep track of for a certain period of time to make them become a habit. I for instance already set a goal for last year to bring a lunchbox to work at least 3 times a week. I also want to make sure I change my bedsheets every x weeks, exercise x times per week and wash my car regularly. You get the concept. For those things I have different habit trackers that look like a spreadsheet with a box for every day/month/period I want to track and a line for every habit/task. I fill out the day-/month-box every time I completed a task in the given time. It gives an easy overview on how often I instagramed, worked out, had a lunchbox, called my Mum, cleaned something, did laundry and so on.
6. But habit trackers require clear goals and objectives…
The habit trackers help to visualise your goals and habits you want to track. As much as filling out the box at the end of the day satisfies me, it doesn’t really help me to stay on track if I don’t punish or reward myself. That requires clear and measurable goals with rewards or punishment. It sure is nice to see how many times per month I have exercised, but I have to set myself a measurable goal to actually make things a habit. “I want to exercise as often as possible so I feel better” is nice, but it is a poor goal as it is not measurable. “I want to exercise at least 3 times a week to be able to do 10 full pushups by the end of next month” is good. A reward (a trip to the icecream parlour) or a punishment (50 extra pushups) added and here we go with goal setting.
7. A Bullet journal gets messy & unorganised very quickly
I saw all those neat and organised bullet journals. Colourful, artistic, bestrewn with beatuiful handlettering and inspirational quotes, I wanted the same. Truth is, it get’s messy very quickly. Paper is patient but also limited. If you use a filofax or something, you might be able to rearrange, but in a regular journal, you can’t just shift and move pages as you want. You start on something on a page, then a new thing comes and in the end you notice you didn’t leave enough space to finish up on the things… Then you have a colleciton of ideas interrupted by last weeks grocery list and I find that rather annoying. But that is just the way it is…
8. Size matters…
I got this cute little lined journal for my birthday from a friend. I found it very cute, with the cupcake design and also very handy since it is not too big and not too heavy to carry it around all the time. As I know my endurance is usually not that high and I give up things that cost time after a first phase of euphoria I figured I shouldn’t spend money on a nice journal but rather start with what I have and see where it takes me. My Bujo (short for Bullet Journal) is cute and handy, but I feel I need more space. I like to have everything at a glance and the DIN A6 book is just too tiny and my handwriting too big to come together. I think that the lined design of my current book paired with my large handwriting makes everything look even messier, cause leaving a whole line free in between is just such a waste of space. I already was gifted the original bullet journal by a thoughtful friend, so I can’t wait to start with it after the current one is full. I definitely have to work on my pushups and my shoulders to gain enough strength to carry it around in my Mary Poppins-like very heavy handbag 😉
9. It needs time, dedication, iteration and trial & error
I have read a lot of blogs, watched a shitload of youtube tutorials, went through what feels like a million inspirational pictures on Pinterest to start with the bullet journaling. I put a lot of time and effort in the first pages and compared to the beautiful things I have seen there , I felt mine wasn’t pretty enough. The first thing I noticed is how much time it needs. I started a few days into the month, set up an index, a key and a future log, a monthly planner, a habit tracker and so on. The monthly planner was rather empty at first but got filled very quickly. I started to break it down into a weekly planner so I can have more details filled in, added a section for my lunchbox-dish of the day, a colour scheme for events and appointments, added expenses and so on. Not all of it worked for me, I had to adapt. It is important to work in iterations, follow inspect & adapt pattern and go easy on yourself. I looked for further inspiration and felt bad about mine again. But in the end:
10. There is not one form of bullet journal that works for everyone!!!
The best thing about the bullet journal is: it’s yours. You can do whatever you want with it, you are the creator. It sure is good to look how others use it and try it out, but in the end it has to fit YOUR needs, therefor nobody can tell you how to use it. It is not about how pretty the other’s journals are, how lame your notes or thoughts are, it is about YOU and what works for you. If you want picture-perfect bullet journal porn everyday, invest the time and do it, but it’s perfectly fine if you don’t. Even after 1 month I have tried out a few things with my bujo, some things work, some things don’t. It is on me to decide what to keep and what to ditch, how to jazz it up and to make it work for me. All you need is a journal and a pen, a ruler and pagemarkers come in handy from times and everything else is up to you. Whether you like it fancy, colourful or plain, have it any way you want it!
I have problems with the journaling part, I use it more as a brain dump for all those things on my mind and to avoid the random pieces of paper. But that’s okay. It might not be as pretty and fancy as those I saw on Pinterest or Instagram. But that’s okay. It helps me to feel more organised, makes me realise all the things I would have totally forgotten about and it makes me feel less guilty about taking time for myself. I usually do a bit more fancy planning whenever I have time, during the week I just take notes and tasks together, sometimes doodling around it or highlighting afterwards to jazz it up. It has taken up a place in my weekend routine to plan my lunchmeals, grocery shopping and my weekly to do’s. And how can planning the week be done better than with a nice cup of coffee and some cookies?!
125 g butter at room temperature
100 g crunchy peanutbutter
100 g light brown sugar
75 g Muscovado sugar
1 egg at room temperature
200 g flour
1/2 spoon baking powder & a pinch of salt
100 g dark chocolate chips
100 g Reese’s Peanutbutter chips (or 100g chopped roasted peanuts)
Preheat the oven to 175° without fan and line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Mix Butter and Peanutbutter until smoothly combined, then add the sugars and let come together. Add the egg and combine before sifting in flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Fold in gently, then add the chocolate and peanutbutter chips. If you want some more crunch you can replace the peanutbutter chips with the same amount of coarsley chopped roasted peanuts. You can as well take salted peanuts, if you like it salty-sweet.
Form walnut-sized balls of cookie dough and place them on the lined baking sheet with about 4 fingers wide space in between. I use an icecream scoop to measure and put out the dough to the sheet. Bake each sheet for 10-12 minutes until the cookies get golden on the edges. Remove from the oven, carefully pull the parchment sheets onto a wire rack and let cool completely. While the cookies are still warm, they should not be touched or moved around too much because they are still very soft in that stage. But they should be off the hot baking sheet to prevent overbaking.
Yes, I’m trying to be punny here. But this is as good as it gets right now. I have been troubled with baking and writing reluctance for a while. I tried a lot of things, all those pieces of advice you get from fellow bloggers, friends, family and professional writers. It seems that nothing could help me, neither letting it be, taking a break nor just forcing myself. I have had a lot of those phases before, where I couldn’t bring up the time or the energy to write. It simply wasn’t my priority then. But this time it’s different. I know I want to go on with this blog, but don’t really know what to say any more. Writing mostly came easy to me as soon as I sat down to do it, with every recipe there was already a story on my mind. A memory, a person, something I wanted to share with the world, to explain why I did what I did, to make my readers see and feel what I felt. Baking was some sort of therapy for me, a way to cope with stress and demotivation. When in the kitchen and whipping up some bake, I could live out my creativity, not just follow a recipe, rather give them my own twist and create something. It seems that this vibe is gone on most of the days, things don’t come easy and even when I put much effort it doesn’t feel right. But on rare occasions like today, my mind is open to be touched by the muse… Continue reading »