Vierde verjaardag in Nederland

I know, I know. Some readers might wonder about my third birthday in The Netherlands before the vierde (fourth) one of this post. Last year, I also celebrated my bday in the tulipland but, as I mentioned in my last post, I took a year off from the foodblogging world due to a very busy time in my #PhDlife.

Last year, I still remember like it was yesterday, I went out for dinner with some friends and colleagues to my favorite Italian place in town where, yes, they make really amazing food. And, owing to my laziness, I also asked for a special bday cake, which was a very good combination of tiramisù and cheesecake. 

This year, instead, I promised myself to go back on my track and doubled my baking efforts by preparing chocolate muffins and my own bday cheesecake. These are my favorite and best recipes.
For the chocolate muffins (the Italian friends can find the basic recipe here), I added a special touch and baked two versions that share the same main ingredients and procedure: chocolate muffins with almonds and chocolate muffins with pear jam. The latter is, as the older Aroma Di Cannella readers might remember, is one of my favorite combinations ever. Since my bday in Sweden, chocolate and pears is a must almost every year at my bday, so I couldn’t miss this one. And I really loved these muffins! Too bad, I didn’t take any pictures and they were gone so fast when I brought them to the office. Below, you can find the the basic chocolate muffins recipe, where I also provide details for the two special versions.

In addition, as getting older has made me more generous, you will also find the recipe of the cheesecake (the Italian friends can find the recipe here). My cheesecake version is very much influenced by my Italian origins as I use ricotta and mascarpone instead of other cream cheese. But I really love it – and my guests did. It did not last the evening, as you might imagine from this picture…

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Last news for this post: From now on, I will also try to include the nutritional facts for each recipe. I have become a heavy user the MyFitnessPal app and I am using it a lot to load my recipes. But this is a story for another post.

Stay tuned!

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Chocolate muffins (basic recipe)

Ingredients (for 24 muffins)

4 eggs
300 gr baking flour
150 gr butter (at home I had the AlPro soy butter to reduce the lactose intake, but I must say the result was the same as with normal butter!)
300 gr sugar
150 ml milk
16 gr baking powder
70 gr cocoa powder
100 gr dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)

Nutritional Facts (per 1 serving)

Calories: 180
Fat: 5,2 g
Carbs: 24,5 g
Protein: 3,6 g

Procedure

Mix the soft butter with the sugar with a mixer, and then add one egg each time.
In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and the baking powder; add them to the dough of sugar, butter and eggs, and mix. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk until smooth. Finally, add the chopped chocolate or the chocolate chips.
Fill the muffins silicon cups with the dough and cook the muffins in pre-heated static oven, 180°, for 20-25 minutes.

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For the almond version: add chopped almonds to the dough before baking.

For the jam-filled version: choose your favorite jam and refrigerate it before using it. Fill the muffins silicon cups with the dough for half of the size of the cup, add 1 tsp of jam and then cover with the some more dough.

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Cheesecake

Ingredients (for a cake made of 14 servings)

For the base
180 gr Digestive Cookies
100 gr Butter

For the cake
3 medium eggs
120 gr sugar
1 tbsp of baking flour
250 gr ricotta cheese
250 gr mascarpone cheese
1 tsp lemon juice

For the jam layer: 250 gr of your favorite jam

Nutritional Facts (per 1 serving)

Calories: 267
Fat: 15,9 g
Carbs: 26 g
Protein: 4,4 g

Procedure

Start with melting the butter and blend the cookies. Mix the two ingredients and put the mixture on the cake tin (which you have previously covered with baking paper). Use a spoon to make the butter-cookie dough flat. Put the cake base in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven at 180° and start preparing the cream of the cheesecake.  Separate the yolks from the albumens. Whip the yolks with the sugar, then add the ricotta, the mascarpone, the flour and lemon juice. Then, whip the albumens until white and spongy. Once ready, add the albumens to the cheese cream. Last, add the cream on the top of the cookie layer.
Bake for 30 minutes and cover the cake with aluminum foil if it gets too dark.

Let the cake cooling down. Then, put the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Add your favorite jam (in my case, peach jam ) on the top of the cake when the cake is well refrigerated and put it back in the fridge for at least 2 hours. When I can, I prefer to prepare the cake the day before so there is enough time to refrigerate the cake in the fridge and combine it with the jam layer.

Enjoy!

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