Take the urban flair of a coffee shop, the coziness of a tiny, cute bakery, mix in some friendly staff and put the whole thing into a medium-sized two-story space in Hanover Mitte. Add organic ingredients, good coffee – et voilá: Bean’s since coffee is what you get.
I came across this place last week after shopping for some vintage tableware and decided to take a short break there. Turns out this was a really good decision, as they serve really delicious drinks and snacks – all from certified organic produce – in a warm, welcoming ambiente. Beautiful hot chocolate, steaming rooibos tea and the best poppy seed cake I’ve had in a long time was what we tried.
They serve the usual range of coffee varieties like plain coffee, cappuccino, espresso, latte macchiato and several flavoured coffee drinks plus about 10 tea specialties and homemade hot chocolate (white or dark). The latte macchiato I had tried some time ago had a very smooth milk froth and good-tasting espresso, which in my opinion is a key factor characterizing good cafés. They also offer several cold drinks, freshly made sandwiches, a soup of the day and house-baked cakes, if I remember correctly. Prices are affordable, I’d say a little cheaper than at well-known brands like Starbucks, and if you keep in mind that all ingredients are from organic produce, that’s really reasonably priced.
What I also liked about this café was the stylish, lounge-like but still comfy interior in combination with simple decorative details like the display with coffee syrups for sale or the guestbook-wall on which customers are invited to write feedback directly onto the wall. I apologize for the quality of the pictures, as I did not have my camera with me, all I could do was taking some snaps with my cell phone.
So if you appreciate good coffee from organic produce in a comfortable, fresh ambiente, Bean’s in Hanover might be worth a try.
Bean’s since coffee
opening hours: monday – saturday 8.30 am – 8 pm
Recently, I’ve become involved in a few new and very interesting food projects. The first one is the Kü-Ché, the student-run Café which I wrote about last year, remember? I’m baking for the guests every week now, and it truly is a lot of fun. I love spending time there, serving my baked goods to friends and guests and having an afternoon without stress every week, some comfort time in between exams and other duties.
The second project is a vegan website, an online guide to local vegan restaurants, a cooking show and a recipe database which will hopefully launch sometime soon! Although I am not a vegan myself (“just” vegetarian), I do see the advantages of a vegan lifestyle in addition to ethical reasons. For example, a vegan nutrition is much more eco-friendly (plant-based food causes significantly less water use and pollution with greenhouse gases in comparison to foods from animals), especially if it is based on seasonal & local foods.
So I thought this vegan website would be a fun & interesting project to participate in, and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. And although I’m not so familiar with vegan baking yet, I realized how tasty the results can be. Try these Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry frosting and come see for yourself - they’re sooo good, believe me. At least that’s what friends & guests at the Kü-Ché said
They would also be great for Valentine’s Day, if you’d like to bake something for that occasion. Pipe the frosting from the middle of the cupcake towards the outside, and voilà – cupcakes looking like pink roses is what you get
|Chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting || vegan
cake batter recipe adapted from deliciouseveryday.com
makes 20 cupcakes
|Cupcakes – Ingredients:
60g dark (vegan) chocolate, chopped into rough chunks
275g plain (all purpose) flour
45g cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1¾ cups (450ml) coconut milk
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1¾ cups (350g) brown sugar
1¼ cups (320ml) sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
|Chocolate “ganache” & Frosting – Ingredients:
125g dark (vegan) chocolate
30g coconut milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
250g vegan butter (at room temperature)
300g frozen raspberries (defrosted)
1 – 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
optional: sugar pearls
Happy, happy to bake again. Sitting at the kitchen table, listening to Fewjar, now and then looking at the small sweet dollops on the counter in front of me.
They’re sitting neatly on the baking tray, waiting to go into the oven. It was not an easy journey for them to get there, struggling over roasted almonds and a lack of egg whites, but finally they made it into nice drops of batter, now waiting for their surface to get firm. In a short while, they’ll rise inside the oven, get their cute little feet and finally a filling worth of their taste, indulgent and sweet.
Macarons it is, once again. By now, I baked these poppy seed macarons several times, each time improving the recipe a little bit, until everyone of my critical test-eaters (including my boyfriend, my friends, flatmates and me) was satisfied.
Developing a recipe takes much patience, and that is also one thing necessary for making macarons. It’s been more than two years now since I posted my first guide to macarons, and now I want to share an updated version with you, plus my first own macaron recipe.
Please note that I’m still just a passionate home-baker and no professional, so I can’t guarantee these tips are 100% correct!
The first step to making sophisticated macarons is to make the batter as perfect as possible. Therefore you should consider a few things concerning ingredients.
- For the right consistency of the batter, you need to measure the egg whites exactly. Separating the eggs a day (or at least a few hours) before making the batter and chilling them inside the fridge until you use them makes it easier to weigh the egg whites exactly and make perfect macarons.
- When making macarons, you need peeled, very finely ground almonds. If they’re only roughly ground, the surface of the macarons won’t be completely smooth. So it’s helpful to sift your ground almonds with a very fine sieve. If necessary you can also grind them a little more finely with a food processor. When grinding the almonds, be careful not to overmix or you might end up with almond paste. A few recipes suggest processing the almonds together with the powdered sugar to avoid getting almond paste.
- Another point concerning almonds is that – depending on your climate – it is helpful to dry the ground almonds in the oven for a few minutes (at about 60-80 degrees Celsius; be careful not to roast them!), if the surrounding air in your kitchen is too humid. For making perfect macarons it’s crucial to have a specific moistness of the batter – I failed at least half a dozen times due to humid air on rainy days and not drying the almonds thoroughly.
The second key point for making perfect macarons is the right baking technique. There are several things that might affect the looks of your macarons, so here are a few tips on common problems considering the surface and shape of macarons.
If your macaron shells are cracked, your oven temperature might be too high. Just try to bake the next batch at a lower temperature, even if it is below the temperature in the recipe as each oven is a little different!
For avoiding bubbles, you need to smoothen the batter after folding in the almond-sugar mix into the meringue. You do that by using a bowl scraper and scrape the batter very carefully until smooth and rather liquid (test by taking some batter up on the scraper and letting it “fall down” into the bowl – if it doesn’t fall in chunks but runs smoothly, it’s good!) but be careful not to over mix and break down too much of the meringue!
For a smooth and even surface, the consistency of the batter needs to be right. If you mix or even beat the meringue for too long, its flufflyness will dissolve, so fold in the dry ingredients very carefully. But the batter also needs to be liquid enough so that the unbaked macaron’s surface can flatten after being piped onto the baking paper sheet. You achieve this consistency by carefully scraping the dough inside the bowl with a bowl scraper until it falls down in ribbons (as described above – see “avoiding bubbles”). However, if the macarons don’t flatten on their own, try to move the baking tray from left to right or back and forth to smoothen the macarons’ surfaces.
“le pied” – getting the little foot of the macaron shells right:
- Try to pipe the macarons in a “blob”, not in a swirl. You do that by holding the piping tip about 3mm over the baking paper sheet, then carefully press a little batter onto the sheet while lifting the piping tip another 2-3mm. The batter should come out of the piping tip in a flat, round drop. Shortly before your macaron is large enough, stop squeezing out the batter and carefully remove the piping tip from the macaron with a smooth, swirl-like movement so that the vanishing batter-stream evenly unites with the whole macaron. This way, you keep the surface as flat as possible.
By piping the macaron in a “blob”, you prevent air bubbles in the batter so that the macaron rises evenly, which is – as far as I experienced – important for getting “le pied”.
- Let the macarons sit for a while before baking and let their surfaces dry until a skin has formed (this usually takes about 10-20 minutes; test by carefully touching the surface of an unbaked macaron – when the batter does not stick to your fingertip anymore, they’re ready to be baked) so that the macaron shells can rise evenly.
- If you live in a cold and humid climate, it might be helpful to preheat the baking trays (for example putting them into the oven while preheating the oven) before piping the macarons on it. In my experience, the heat from the tray helps the macarons dry when the surrounding air is too humid or too cold.
I hope these tips are helpful to you and will help you to make sophisticated macarons, for example this first creation by kawaii kitchen:
|Poppy seed & marzipan macarons
makes about 40 shells (=20 macarons)
160g powdered sugar
90g finely ground almonds
90g egg whites
30g granulated sugar
7g poppy seeds
|for the fillings:|
50g poppy seeds
1-2 tbsps. sugar
4 tbsps. milk
20g butter + 40g butter
1 tsp. kirsch
If you have any questions considering macarons, feel free to ask, but keep in mind that I’m also just an amateur baker who experimented with macarons a little bit
Until then, I wish you a happy new year and lots of love, baking, health and joy in 2014 !
An interesting sensation is craving something you’ve never tried before. Imagine, you’ve never baked nor eaten something but suddenly, out of nothing start to feel an urgent need to eat this particular something. That’s exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago.
Believe it or not, I had never made banana bread before. Although banana bread was somehow familiar to me (due to several food blogs), it never occured to me to bake some myself – until this aforementioned moment when I suddenly craved a sweet, freshly baked, preferably still warm slice of banana bread. With walnuts. And the heartyness of whole grain flour.
So that’s what I baked. And the result was perfect – comforting, yummy feel-good food. Exactly what I needed right now between getting up early in the morning, going to work, trying to concentrate during lectures in the afternoon and trying not to fall asleep while studying in the evening. I adapted Elise’s banana bread recipe from 17andbaking.com (one of my all-time favourite food blogs, by the way :)), substituted the flour with whole grain flour and used brown sugar. The result didn’t even last for one evening – my friends seemed to like it – so I had to bake another loaf for taking pictures.
| Whole Grain Banana Bread
makes one loaf
4 ripe bananas*
1/3 cup butter**, melted
a little more butter for buttering the loaf pan
1/2 cup brown sugar*
1 egg**, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract*
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups whole grain flour
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
** I prefer organic eggs and butter
It’s summer break – that means I should be using the free time for studying every day as I’ll still have to pass a bunch of exams at the end of the semester break. But with the lots of sunshine everyday, it’s pretty hard to stay inside and stick to the books all the time. The comfortable temperatures and bright light motivate me to do so many things – baking for example.
Recently it happens pretty often that I feel the urge to bake something for breakfast when getting up in the morning. Especially at the times when my boyfriend is visiting me, I want him to wake up to a delicious scent of something freshly baked. So now and then I just take the time, decide to delay studying, and cook or bake some of the following seven homemade-breakfast ideas.
Croissants. I tried making croissants twice until now, following Julia Child’s recipe. Making the puff pastry takes a while so you better start making the batter a day ahead.
Scones. Something more quickly baked is scones. Perfect for breakfast baking, as you can use whatever you have at hand for the filling. My batter included almonds, walnuts, chocolate chips and caramel fudge chunks. Pretty sweet but as already mentioned, that’s variable depending on your pantry and taste
Pancakes. These beautiful pancakes were made by a friend of mine. I don’t remember exactly how she made them, but I always use Jamie Oliver’s super simple recipe – 1 cup each of flour and milk + 1 egg + 1 tsp baking powder. Mix, bake, add toppings of your choice (blueberry sauce & raspberries, for example). The batter can be varied as desired – my version of apple pancakes is modified with cinnamon, for example.
Crepes. The dough recipe I’m always making calls for 500ml milk, 2 eggs, 160g flour, 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, a pinch of salt and 2-3 tbsps. sugar. Make the batter the evening before, chill overnight and bake them crepes freshly in the morning. My boyfriend loves his crepes spread with nutella, I prefer mine with a red currant & vanilla jam filling.
Savory fried eggs. Originally this isn’t my recipe – a friend made these fried eggs for me several times before he moved away, and now I’m making this dish for friends from time to time. It’s the perfect hearty breakfast after a long night out – simply bake a few eggs (I usually use about 5 eggs for 2-3 servings) in a frying pan, top with chopped tomatoes, chives or basil, maybe some olives and cheese (I prefer feta cheese) & season with salt and pepper.
Cinnamon bread. A recipe I found in a baking magazine some time ago: yeast dough, rolled out, spread with butter, sprinkled with sugar & cinnamon, cut into squares, stacked into a loaf pan and baked to become some caramelized yummy sweet goodness.
Fruits & yogurt. My standard breakfast does not really include cooking or baking but it’s good nevertheless and always a great start into a productive day: fruit salad with quark or yogurt and nuts, sometimes plus granola. Above is one of my favorite combinations: banana, grapes, blueberries and walnuts.
What’s your favorite breakfast?
A belated happy new year to you guys, hope you had a great start into 2013! I started my new year having champagne with my family at 12 and then went to Roppongi, where I had a fabulous new year’s eve with friends. Roppongi – that’s right, I’m in Japan again and of course, I also took a loooot of pictures during the past week and I want to share a few with you in another Sunday’s Seven post today!
There’s something about starbucks seasonal drinks that always makes me want to try all of them – a while ago I had apple crumble latte and I’m still eager to try pumpkin spice as soon as I get the opportunity. Today, I had this Chocolate Brownie Mocha here in Tokyo. It was a cafe mocha with whipped cream, caramel sauce and brownie crumbles on top – yum!
Due to new-year-celebration-related family-meetings I had the chance to meet my japanese step-grandmother (from who I got the recipe for pumpkin pudding, remember? :)) for the first time. This time, she let me try some of her home made kuri kinton (a kind of sweet chestnuts paste, on the left) and mame kinton (a sweet paste consisting of beans, on the right) – both really delicious. She also told me how to make these – hope I can find some time to try it out soon!
The obligatory sushi. On another new-year-related family gathering I got to eat at Momotaro in Komazawa, Tokyo once again. The photo shows Anago sushi but I also had Amaebi, Negitoro, Hirame and a few others and everything was delicious, as always.
Ryukyu – an Oita specialty (Oita is a prefecture on one of the southern japanese islands). It’s sashimi (=raw fish) marinated in a sauce of soy sauce, sake, mirin, chopped leeks (or chives?) and sesame. My dad made this for me a few days ago, he chose buri (japanese amberjack), which is in season at the moment, as sashimi and it tasted just great!
A snapshot of the bakery showcase of Dean & Deluca in Shinjuku. Love the way how muffins, scones and cakes are presented – it looks so beautiful & yummy!
Matcha Cruller Donut at Krispy Kreme in Shibuya. It tasted good, I liked that this was not overly sweet although glazed with white chocolate, but “the original” donut (a simple, sugar-glazed Krispy Kreme donut) is still better!
I love the small details of japanese patisserie, like this tiny wooden Tour d’Eiffel (or Tokyo tower?) which is meant to help taking the cookies out of their small separate sections in the cookie box.