Banana Bread

Quark is a wonderful ingredient for quick baking because it adds a moist texture and pleasant flavor.

Banana Bread

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Quark
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Beat the sugar and oil for a few minutes, then add the eggs, Quark, and vanilla and mix until well blended.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once and mix just until all the flour is incorporated but don’t over-mix.  Fold in the walnuts if desired.

Scoop the batter into a loaf pan or mini loaf pan.  This batter makes one normal size loaf, or 8 mini loaves.

Bake at 350  for 50 to 60 minutes for a full-size loaf or 25 to 30 minutes for mini loaves.

Serve warm!  Here’s a printable version

 

 

Everything Bagel Cheeseball

Everything Bagels are always a favorite at the Cheese Shop.  Here we carried the same wonderful combination of flavors to a cheese ball.  I served this to a group of teenagers who devoured it and begged for more!

 

EVERYTHING BAGEL CHEESEBALL

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cheeseball Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Appel Farms Quark, room temperature
  • 6 ounces Appel Farms Black Pepper Cheddar, coarsely shredded
  • 1 ounce Appel Farms Extra Sharp Cheddar, coarsely shredded
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onions
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Topping Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp dehydrated onion
  • 2 Tbsp dry minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

In a mixing bowl, mix together Quark, Cheddars, cream cheese, green onions, and bacon.

Form the cheese mixture into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let it harden a bit and the flavors to come together.  Even better, the cheeseball can be made the day before.

In another small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients.

Once cheeseball is set, roll it the topping mixture to completely cover.  Serve it with some bagel chips, crackers, pretzels, or fresh veggies.

PRINTABLE VERSION

Three Cheese Pumpkin Cheesecake

Three Cheese Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust

  • 1 c. granola (no large nuts or raisins)
  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter

Filling

  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz Quark, room temperature
  • 8 oz. chevre, room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the granola, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and spices together in a medium bowl. Stir in the butter and pat the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl and using an electric mixer on low, beat together cream cheese and sugar. Add in quark and beat for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and salt; beat until mixture is very smooth, about 5 more minutes.
  3. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake on a rack positioned in middle of oven until just set, about 1 hour.  Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour with the door cracked open. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 4 to 5 hours or up to 3 days. Serve with whipped cream.

Printable Version

Adapted from Country Living

Nokkelost Quiche

Nokkelost Quiche

I am really excited for you to meet two new kids on the block!  We are now making Havarti and Nokkelost.

Our newest cheeses at Appel Farms

Nokkelost means “Key Cheese” in Norway and goes by the same name in Sweden.   It is very much like the popular Dutch Leyden.  Nokkelost is flavored with cumin, caraway, and cloves, making it perfect for a Christmas treat.  Close your eyes while you let it roll around on your tongue and visions of sugar plums will dance in your head.  It’s also one of the prettiest cheeses we have (don’t tell the others, they might get jealous).

Look for Nokkelost in select grocery store chains around the Pacific Northwest during the holidays.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to wait for Christmas to enjoy this cheese!  Nokkelost is available right now at our Cheese Shop and at Everybody’s Store.   Everybody’s Store has it available online.

We can talk about the Havarti next week, right now, let’s get baking!

Making Nokkelost Quiche
“That’s too much cheese” said nobody ever!

Nokkelost Quiche ready for the oven

Nokkelost Quiche

  • 1 unbaked pastry shell
  • 10 ounces Nokkelost, grated
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound Quark
  • 4 tablespoons chives, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the grated Nokkelost onto the bottom of the pastry shell.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, Quark, 3 tablespoons chives, salt and pepper.  Carefully pour over the cheese in the pastry shell.  Spread to cover all the way to the edges.
  4. Sprinkle the bacon and remaining chives over the Quark mixture.
  5. Bake on the center rack of the oven until firm, approximately 30-40 minutes.

 

A little tip: If the crust is browning too much before the filling is set, tent with foil for the last 10-15 minutes.

Nokkelost Quiche and Salad

Recipe adapted from Food.Com

 

 

 

Overnight Bundt Cake

Blackberry Bundt Cake

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for things that will make life easier.  I love to come home from work to a clean house, but who has time to do the cleaning?  Life should be enjoyed, and cleaning house is not on the top of my list of things to do when I get home from work.  It may be somewhere on the list near listening to political speeches or getting a root canal.

So, I got Alfred. Alfred is my new best friend.  He’s an iRobot vacuum cleaner and he saves me from the daily dust mopping that is inherently necessary when you have pets and wood floors.  He really didn’t save me any time at first, since I spent the morning following him around and watching him.  It was much more entertaining than political speeches, trust me.

Serving bundt cake with coffee

 

Another thing that saves time in the morning is this Overnight Blackberry Bundt Cake recipe.  You mix it up at night and pop it in the fridge.  Allowing the Quark time to absorb into the flour adds a nice moist texture.   In the morning all you need to do is bake it and in no time at all, breakfast is served!  This is great when you have company over.  They will be impressed, I promise!

 

Simple ingredients are the key to success

Overnight Blackberry Bundt Cake

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Quark
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries (or fresh berries of your choice)
  1. Grease and flour a ten cup bundt pan.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the Quark.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until combined.  Stir into the Quark mixture, do not overmix.
  5. Gently fold the blackberries into the batter.
  6. Spread the batter into the prepared bundt pan, cover with plastic wrap and chill 8 hours or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  8. Remove plastic wrap from the bundt pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  9. Cool 10 to 15 minutes.  Gently loosen from the sides of the pan and invert onto a serving platter.
  10. Once cooled completely, top with powdered sugar or lemon icing.

Blackberry Bundt Cake with Lemon Icing

Blackberry Bundt Cake and coffee

Charlotte Cake

Strawberry Charlotte Cake

Summer is here and so is strawberry season.  I have been saving this recipe for strawberry time and I’m so excited that I finally get to share it with you!  Charlotte cakes are beautiful and light, but can be a challenge to make.  I learned some tricks from America’s Test Kitchen that makes the cake easy to make, without losing the beauty and elegance.

strawberries

A traditional Charlotte Cake is made with ladyfingers.  The problem with using lady fingers is that they can be dry, difficult to line up neatly, and the filling likes to ooze out between the ladyfingers and spoil the look.  America’s Test Kitchen came up with the brilliant idea of using a sponge cake instead of ladyfingers!  The sponge cake is light and flexible, making it easy to work with, but tough enough to hold the cake together.  The directions look long, but it comes together quickly.

Charlotte Cake

Charlotte Cake

Filling

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 large eggs, separated (save the whites for the cake)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Quark
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a large bowl and set aside.  Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch together in a medium bowl until combined.
  2. Combine strawberries, sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan.  Mash lightly and stir until no dry sugar remains.  Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until mixture is simmering and strawberries are almost completely broken down, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Remove strawberry mixture from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add 1/2 cup strawberry mixture to yolk mixture to temper.  Continue whisking constantly, add the tempered yolk mixture to the strawberry mixture in the saucepan.   Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and bubbles, about one minute.
  4. Remove from heat, stir strawberry mixture into the gelatin until the gelatin is dissolved.  Fold in Quark.  Set aside, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and reaches room temperature.  While the mixture cools, make the jelly mixture and cake.

Strawberries with sugar and butter

Jelly Mixture

  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jelly (or seedless jam)

Sprinkle gelatin over lemon juice in a small bowl and let sit until the gelatin softens.  Heat jelly in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until hot and runny, about 1 minute.  Add gelatin to jelly and whisk to dissolve.  Set aside.

charlottecake--6

Cake

  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 egg whites (reserved from the filling)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8 inch round cake pan and an 8 inch square cake pan, line with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Whisk oil, whole egg, water and vanilla into the flour mixture until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed in a stand mixer until foamy, about one minute.  Increase speed to medium high and whip until soft peaks form.  Transfer 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter, whisk gently until the mixture is lightened.  Gently fold the remaining egg whites into batter.
  4. Pour 1 cup batter into prepared round pan and spread evenly.  Pour the remaining batter into the prepared square pan and spread evenly.  Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the upper middle position of the oven until cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the center, about 8-10 minutes.  Cakes should not brown.
  5. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Invert cakes onto wire rack.  Remove parchment and invert again.  allow to cool completely.

lining the springform pan with cake

Putting it all together!

  1. Place round cake in the center of a serving platter.  Spread with 2 tablespoons jelly mixture.  Place ring from a 9 inch springform pan around cake, leaving equal space on all sides.  Leave clasp of ring loose.
  2. Using a sharp knife, trim 1/8 inch off all edges of square cake.  Spread square cake with 2 tablespoons of jelly mixture.  Cut cake in half.  Cut each half lengthwise into two pieces to make four equal size long strips.  Place cake strips around the round cake, jelly side in, taking care to nestle ends together neatly (see above). Fasten clasp of springform ring.
  3. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream until soft peaks form.  Gently fold cream into chilled filling until evenly mixed but still light and fluffy.
  4. Pour filling into the cake ring and spread evenly to the edge.  Drizzle the remaining jelly mixture on the filling.  Using a skewer or knife, swirl the jelly through the surface of the filling, making a marbled pattern.  Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or up to 24 hours.

Swirling the filling

To unmold, run a thin knife around the edge of the ring (just 1/2 inch down).  Release ring and lift to remove.  Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

charlottecake--7

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

 

Easter Bread

Typically Aunt Ruth writes this portion of the recipe blogs, but let me tell you what happened today. After  going through her routine of answering emails, having a review meeting with me (Elizabeth), and of course making her Americano, she comes over to me. “I have decided to delegate.” She says. “The photo’s are in there, the recipe is all ready to go, but you write the intro!” Then she bolts back into her office. Yep.

I had never heard of Easter bread until this past week, when Aunt Ruth was making test batches for the blog. It was a frustrating week because usually she breezes through this recipe with no problems whatsoever. The first time she made it, the bread was too dry. No problem, she’s a perfectionist, so she’ll make it again and correct the problem. The second one turned out beautifully! But by the time she could take a good photo of it, it was days old. A third Easter bread was made with extra filling because everything is better with extra filling, right? Nope. The bread soaked up the extra filling and looked, in her words, “like vomit”. Number four didn’t rise because the sugar was left out of the bread. By this time she was determined not to let the bread get the better of her. Ladies and Gentlemen, I finally got my first taste of Easter bread… on the fifth try. It was amazing, beautiful, and well worth the wait! So here it is! It’s really not that hard if you follow the recipe, good luck!

Easter Bread--4

Easter Bread

Dough

  • 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

  • 1 cup Quark
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl. Stir in the salt, sugar, butter, and eggs. Gradually beat in enough flour to form a stiff dough, about 4 1/2 cups flour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and head until smooth and satiny, about 10 to 20 minutes. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking.

Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch down dough, knead briefly to release air.

Divide the dough in three equal pieces. Roll 1/3 into a 10 inch circle and place in the bottom of a greased springform pan. Take the other two dough balls and roll each into a rope about three feet long. Twist the ropes together and place them in the springform pan, pressing the ends together to form a sealed circle. If desired, place a greased cake pan or bowl in the center to help the rope hold it’s shape. Cover and let rise 20 to 30 minutes.

Easter Bread--5

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, combined the quark, eggs, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and raisins. Remove the center cake pan (if you used it to hold the shape) and pour the filling into the center of the rope circle.

Whisk together one egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush the dough with egg wash. Place the bread on the lowest rack in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until the dough is golden brown, the filling will still be soft but will set as it cools.

Let cool completely before serving.

Easter-Bread-(50-of-50)

 

Quark Substitutions

One of the most common questions I get is what to do with Quark.  Most recipes using Quark are in German and when German cookbooks are translated into English, the publishers tend to substitute other products for Quark.  Any traditional recipes come from customers who kindly share with me.  If you have a favorite that you would like to share, I would love it!

I mainly use Quark in recipes as a substitute for other soft cheeses.  Here is a rundown of when I would use Quark in a recipe, why I would substitute it for another cheese, and in what situations I would not substitute it.

spoonofquark

Sour Cream

Though sour cream is not a cheese, it’s probably the one I most often substitute.  The consistency and moisture content is the closest to Quark.

When: I substitute Quark for sour cream in baking, dips, spreads, and sauces.

Why: Quark gives the baked goods a richer flavor and adds more moisture than sour cream.  I can also save calories by using Fat Free Quark. (see fat free comparisons below).  For sauces, dips, and spreads, Quark adds a full-bodied, tangy flavor.

When I would not:  Milder flavored dishes such as potatoes.  Quark has a much stronger flavor that can overpower some dishes.

ExampleRaspberry Quark Muffins

Raspberry Quark Muffins

 

Cream Cheese

When:  I substitute Quark for cream cheese in baking, dips, and spreads.

Why:  Quark is higher in moisture so this makes a cheesecake lighter and fluffier, and pastry fillings smoother.

When I would not:  Cream cheese cookies.  The higher moisture can make some baked goods soggy.

Example: Cocoa Cheesecake

cocoacheesecake-38

Mascarpone

When:  Mascarpone is rich and delicious but I rarely use it because of the fat content.

Why:  Mascarpone is 47 percent fat.

When I would not:  Mascarpone is luscious and rich and cannot really be replaced.  I have tried making Tiramisu with Quark, but it just isn’t the same flavor and it made a soggy mess.

Example: None

 

Ricotta

When: Lasagna and pasta fillings, baking, and cheese pies.

Why:  I find that Quark has a smoother texture and brighter flavor than ricotta in ravioli and lasagna.  I also prefer Quark in baking over ricotta because of the moisture and texture.

When I would not:  Actually, I always use Quark, it works so much better than ricotta in fillings and baking.  Keep in mind, Quark is higher in moisture so a thickener is sometimes needed.

Example:  I guess that I need to share my ravioli and lasagna recipes!

 

HEALTHY CHOICE

What I love most in substituting Quark for other ingredients is that it is a healthy alternative to other dairy products.  We make Lowfat and Fat Free Quark by taking the fat out of the milk but not adding any stabilizers or ingredients that I can’t pronounce.  That sounds like common sense, but see below for a comparison of ingredients between Fat Free Quark and other fat free dairy products.

Fat Free Quark
Pasteurized nonfat milk, culture, rennet, potassium sorbate

Fat Free Cream Cheese
Skim Milk, Whey, Contains Less than 2% of Sodium Tripolyphosphate (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese), Sugar (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese), Pasteurized Milk and Cream (Trivial Source of Fat), Salt, Artificial Color, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese), and Calcium Propionate (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese) as Preservatives, Carrageenan, Cheese Culture, Sodium Phosphate (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese), Artificial Flavor, Carob Bean Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate.

Fat Free Sour Cream
Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cultured Milk*, Whey Protein Concentrate, Modified Food Starch, Maltodextin, Artificial Color*, Potassium Sorbate (as preservative), Sodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Carob Bean Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate**, *adds a trivial amount of fat, **not found in regular sour cream.

Fat Free Ricotta
Whey (Adds Trivial Amount of Fat), Skim Milk, Vinegar, Xanthan Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum (Stabilizers).

Fat Free Mascarpone
Just kidding!

What makes Quark special?

First of all, the name is pretty special don’t you think? The first time someone hears the name always gets a pretty good facial expression. Quark is mostly compared to cream cheese or sour cream, and makes a great substitute for either. This soft white cheese can also be compared to/substituted for ricotta and mascarpone. There are certain things to do when using Quark as a substitute, but overall it can be a great tasting, high protein, low fat alternative!

Quark is a German cheese classified as “fresh acid-set”. What that means, is the milk is heated, a coagulant (like an acid) is added, and it sets up overnight before it is packaged. I would describe the flavor most like a sour cream, but with a stronger, tangier aftertaste.

Cream-Cheese

Cream cheese is made in a similar process as Quark in that it’s heated and a coagulant is added. Mascarpone is also made similarly, but it’s basically one step away from butter. SO rich! It’s richness is perfect in desserts such as tiramisu!

mascarpone

Sour cream however, is made by fermenting (heating) cream or milk, and adding a specific bacteria (in place of an acid) to thicken.

sourcream

Ricotta is a little more fun because it’s a “whey cheese”. The whey is the byproduct of other cheeses such as Mozzarella. Ricotta is made by heating whey to a high temperature and adding an acid to create curd! It has a little more of a grainy, almost fluffy texture when eaten plain, but for the most part it’s a cooking cheese. The plain, very mild flavor blends well when baked into things like a cheesy lasagna!

 

ricotta

Each of these cheeses have their own unique flavors and textures, but all are great! Check in on Thursday to see exactly how to use Quark as a substitute for any of these cheeses!

Chocolate Fondue

I have never considered myself to be a particularly romantic person.  I don’t care if I get flowers, and candlelight dinners are not my thing.  I don’t leave love notes in John’s truck, or whisper sweet nothings in his ear.  If I did, he would probably wonder what I was up to and start checking his pockets for something slimy.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I guess I am romantic.

chocolatefondue2

 

Romantic \rō-ˈman-tik, rə-\
1650-60; < French romantique, derivative of romant romaunt; see -ic

  1. of, relating to, or involving love between two people.
  2. Making someone think of love.
  3. Thinking about love and doing and saying things to show that you love someone.

The longer we’ve been married, the more I know what I can do that makes John feel loved.  Some gestures are subtle, like cleaning up after him without complaining (that one is hard).  Some gestures are not so subtle, like baking cupcakes for the crew but leaving a few without frosting, because that’s how John likes them (that one is easy).  Gestures don’t have to be big, they just have to be unselfish.  And it has this lovely boomerang effect. The more I try to make John happy, the happier I am.  The more I try to put myself first and pursue my own happiness, the more dissatisfied I become.  Funny how it works that way.

Of course, he may occasionally reach in his pocket and pull out a handful of jello.

chocolatefondue5

In case you don’t want to try the jello idea on your honey, here is a “romantic” Valentine’s Day dessert.

Chocolate Fondue

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 to 5 tablespoon evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 4 oz Quark

Bring butter, sugar, cocoa and milk to a boil, stirring constantly over medium high heat. Boil about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and marshmallows. Stir until melted. Add 4 oz of Quark and stir into melted mixture. Serve in a small fondue pot over low heat to just keep warm.

chocolatefondue4

Serve suggestions:

  • Fruit
  • Pretzels
  • Homemade Coffee Marshmallow (Find the homemade marshmallow recipe here.)  Substitute strong coffee for the water.
  • Lemon Pound Cake (find the recipe here)  I made the pound cake in a 9×13 pan and cut out heart shapes.  I didn’t think if it when I took the pictures, but they would have been wonderful toasted.