This spiced grapefruit tea loaf has a tender crumb and is delicately scented with grapefruit rind, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice- an understated way to bake for the holidays, with nary a peppermint stick in sight.
Hey internet buddies! I’m going to be posting super sporadically until after this nutty holiday season is over, but I’ll be in periodically. Winter in general is such a buzzkill for me, especially with blogging. For one, there’s just too much life going on to maintain any sense of routine (don’t ask me how the gym’s going. Just… no.). And by the time I have managed to plan, and shop, and clean my 64-square foot kitchen (hahaha not really, that’s Ben’s job), and cook something interesting… there’s no sunlight left for photography! Curses! My life is so hard…
If all of this sounds like I’m making pathetic excuses it’s because I absolutely am. But when I get down on myself about it I remember that nobody’s paying me to do this. So HA! Anyway, I’m here today and that’s just ducky. So, it’s about time to start with the holiday baking, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not going to lie to you- I am not into that sort of thing. Cookie exchange, while lovely in theory, is clearly a construct that discriminates against those of us with 18 inches of workable countertop space (which is, in my case, literally a large IKEA cutting board situated over my two right-hand stove burners, which are long-defunct, by the way). And frankly, there’s a limit to how much peppermint and red and green sprinkles I can eat, year after sugary year.
What little holiday baking I actually do, I prefer to be a little more nuanced in flavor, and a lot less on-the-nose [pretend I made a hilarrrrrious Rudolph joke here]. Enter, today’s recipe: spiced grapefruit tea loaf. Flavors of citrus and spice are thematically, undeniably “winter”, and they work so well together in this context. The body of the cake is just delicately scented with finely grated grapefruit rind, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice, with a texture adjacent to pound cake. A simple syrup with grapefruit juice gets poured over the cake after baking to give the edges a tart-sweet finish, and then a thick layer of simple icing (topped with more rind, if you like) sits on top. Basically, if holiday treats can be equated with holiday pop songs, then candy cane marshmallow m&m fudge is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”, while this grapefruit spice tea loaf is Joni Mitchell’s “River”, minus all the sadness and self-loathing (oh, Joni…).
This recipe is based largely on Ina Garten’s very highly-rated lemon yogurt cake, which is one of my longtime favorite recipes and is ultra-dependable and worth trying out, if you haven’t yet.
- 1 t. butter
- 1 1/2 c. flour, plus extra for dusting pan
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. ground cardamom
- 1/8 t. allspice
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1 c. full fat greek yogurt (I love Fage the best)
- 1 1/3 c. sugar, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 T. freshly grated red grapefruit zest
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/2 c. vegetable or other neutrally flavored oil
- 1/3 c. freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1-2 T. red grapefruit juice
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease the bottom and inner sides of a loaf pan with butter, then sprinkle in a small handful of flour. Tip and shake the pan to distribute the flour around evenly, then tap out the excess.
- In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 c. flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
- Separately, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Whisk into the dry ingredients. Fold in the oil until mixture is smooth and even.
- Spread batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake for 15 minutes.
- While cake is in oven, heat remaining 1/3 c. sugar and 1/3 c. grapefruit juice in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely.
- After cake has cooled, remove from pan and transfer to a wire baking rack. Slowly pour the grapefruit simple syrup evenly over the top and sides of the cake, glazing the entire surface as well as possible. Allow to drip.
- Place powdered sugar in a bowl. Add 1 T. grapefruit juice and stir until combined. If needed, add more juice a couple of drops at a time until icing reaches a thick but spreadable consistency.
- Spread over the top of the cake, then grate some more zest over the top if desired.
It’s with great pleasure that I announce that Humbledish is now one year old! Yay, Humbledish! Ben and I celebrated this milestone with a layered funetti cake with rosé buttercream. And donuts on top. Because donuts. It is a smashing cake that my coworkers are feasting on this very moment, and the recipe can be found on the bottom of this post, as always. I’ll talk more about the cake shortly, but I’d like to use the front end of this post to reflect on the last year, as well as my goals for the future. It just seems like the right thing to do, ya know? Feel free to scroll ahead past all the blah-blah-blah, if you wish.
I wish that I could say that blogging has been all fun and fulfillment. Truthfully, I vacillate between periods of genuine pride for what I am building and have learned so far, and then feeling like an unmitigated fraud. I spend a lot of time wondering if anybody reads this thing, and why does it matter to me if anybody reads this thing, and what am I even getting out of this? Is all of this effort and money spent worth it? Will any of this matter to anyone but me? Hello? Can anybody hear me out there?
I would truly rather spend less time entertaining that kind of negativity, but even when I am, I at the very least know that I am doing something. I am trying something, and for the first time in my life, I am following through. The website is not perfect and it’s not really even done (how do I still not have an “About Me” page?), but I built it. Sometimes my photos are a little dark, or a little out of focus, but they are miles ahead of my first photos, and continue to improve. I am becoming okay with existing inside the learning process and, slowly, I am narrowing the gap between my vision and what my current abilities allow me to achieve.
So here I am, one year in, which is the perfect checkpoint to assess where I started, where I am, and where I’d like to go next. My goals for the next year are:
-to come to peace with not being able to post as frequently as “real” food bloggers. I love dreaming about the possibility of blogging full-time in the future, but my now-reality is working a full-time job and cooking/photographing on the weekends. I am finding that one post per week is a good, realistic goal that allows me to deliver content that I can be proud of.
-to be kind to myself as I continue developing skills that are still new to me.
-to make connections with readers and other food bloggers out there.
Let’s talk about cake! This triple-layered funfetti cake with rosé buttercream is nothing short of F-U-N. We’ve got sprinkles! We’ve got donuts! We’ve got wine! We’ve got… MORE sprinkles! It’s the perfect cake for adults who want to forget they are adults. Let’s start from the inside and work our way out. A classic, tender buttermilk white cake (from Sally’s Baking Addiction) gets accessorized with rainbow jimmies to form the innards- it’s firmer and much less sweet than boxed funfetti cake mix, and provides a strong base. The buttercream (adapted from Wicked Good Kitchen) starts with reducing a cup of rosé by half in a saucepan, then combined with powdered sugar, and whipped and whipped with a WHOLE POUND of butter. It’s a lovely buttercream that is not too cloyingly sweet, and has a nice subtle tang from the rosé (the alcohol cooks off during the first step, so be sure that this is family-friendly, as well). I opted to frost the cake semi-naked, which means that buttercream is applied just scantly to the sides- enough to fill in some nooks and crannies, and then is scraped off make a smooth surface all around the sides. It’s just like puttying a hole in the wall. Topping this cake is the fun part- use your imagination! Meringue cookies, pastel-colored french macarons, donuts, frosted animal cookies… you name it. I bought a pack of Little Debbie mini-donuts for $.79, dipped them in different colored icings, and sprinkled them. BOOM.
Well, er- I guess that’s it. If anyone really does follow this blog… please comment and say hello- I’d really like to get to know you!
- 3 3/4 c. sifted flour
- 3/4 t. baking powder
- 3/4 t. baking soda
- 1 t. salt
- 1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 3 t. vanilla
- 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
- 3/4 c. rainbow jimmies
- 5 c. powdered sugar
- 1 c. Rosé or other blush wine (choose something fruity and less dry)
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- pink and yellow food coloring, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter and lightly flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the butter on high until creamy using stand-mixer or hand-mixer. Add the sugar and continue beating for 5 minutes. Reduce speed and add the whole eggs one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, allowing each addition to incorporate. Set batter aside.
- Using clean whisk or beaters, beat the egg whites until frothy and soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into cake batter. Finally, fold in the jimmies.
- Spread batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean from the middle. Allow cakes to cool completely- wrap and freeze if desired (see note section).
- Measure powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Cut butter into 1-inch chunks and set aside.
- Pour wine into a small saucepan and bring to a rapid boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 c. (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Immediately after, turn your mixer on low speed and pour hot wine into mixing bowl in a slow and steady stream. Increase speed to medium and beat until the mixture comes down to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Add the salt.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually add in the butter chunks. Once all the butter is fully incorporated, increase speed to medium-high and continue beating until light and fluffy. Tint with food coloring, if desired.
- Frost however you'd like, then top with all the goodies your heart desires!
- Cake layers can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed. Wrap each layer individually with two layers of cling wrap.
- Frosting can also be made ahead. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, and re-beat just before using.
Suddenly, it’s late August. The Dog Days. Try as we might, it’s hard to hold onto these last few breaths of Summer, isn’t it? The signals are all around us- the corn’s drying up, the berries have gone to mush, and if you look to the edges of the sidewalk you might just see a few yellowed crunchy leaves, arriving embarrassingly early to the party. For those of us who live for Summer, it’s a sort of in-between time of grieving and desperation.
Whether you’re Team-Summer or Team-Autumn, I have just the cake to get you across this seasonal threshold. With its unexpected combination of juicy late-summer peaches with the warmth of whiskey and hazelnut, this peach upside-down cake is the perfect way to usher in a lovely Autumn season.
This whiskey, hazelnut and peach upside-down cake is an easy one to throw together. From the top (er, the bottom?) the cake begins with a quick butter and brown sugar stove-top caramel which is laced with a splash (okay, two) of whiskey, poured into the cake pan, and then topped with thinly sliced peaches. Roasted hazelnuts are blitzed briefly in the blender to form a coarse meal and then folded into a classic buttery cake batter, which gives this tender cake a lovely little crunch as well.
While the whole thing bakes the peaches caramelize and the whiskey caramel sauce bubbles up the sides of the cake, forming beautiful sticky pockets on the edges. The hazelnuts toast up further, and will fill your entire house with an aroma so heavenly as to gently coax any sleeping cohabitants willingly out of a late Sunday morning slumber. And they will expect to eat this for breakfast, by the way.
Be sure to let the cake rest for 15 minutes after you pull it out of the oven to let the cake settle a bit and adhere to the peach layer before unmolding. This cake is so effortlessly beautiful and incredibly, eye-rolling-ly, delicious that you might just find yourself telling Autumn to bring it on.
- 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, divided
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 2 T. whiskey (bourbon or rye recommended)
- 2 medium peaches, thinly sliced
- 1 c. dry roasted (unsalted) hazelnuts, skins removed
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 c. flour
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/4 c. milk
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat a metal 9" round cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt 4 T. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir until the mixture is bubbly. Remove from the burner and stir in the whiskey. The sauce will sizzle and bubble. Set the pan aside.
- Use your blender or food processor's pulse mode to chop the hazelnuts into an even meal, pausing to scrape the sides as needed. Do not blend too long or you'll have hazelnut butter!
- Beat together the remaining 1/2 c. of butter with the sugar using an electric hand or stand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, allowing to cream together thoroughly. Reduce your mixer's speed to low and add half of the flour, allowing to incorporate fully. Add milk, allowing to incorporate fully. Add rest of flour and the baking powder. Add hazelnut meal and mix thoroughly.
- Pour whiskey caramel sauce into cake pan, tipping the pan as needed to evenly coat. Lay your peach slices evenly on top in any design you'd like (I did mine in a spiral from the center).
- Using a rubber spatula, plop the cake batter evenly on top of the peaches and distribute, pressing gently so as to not disturb the peaches.
- Bake 35-45 minutes, or until cake tester comes out of center of cake clean.
- Cool for 15 minutes before unmolding onto a cake plate or stand.
- Once the cake is fully cooked, the whiskey becomes a subtle flavor note- this cake is family friendly when made as directed above. For a sassy adult version: After removing the cake from the oven, use a fork or chopstick to poke several holes into the cake. Slowly drizzle an additional 1/4 c. of whiskey over the surface of the cake. Allow to rest 15 minutes before unmolding.
I’ve baked scones exactly twice in my life/in the last week, and the first was a failed attempt at developing this recipe. For the first go-’round, I’d had the delight of scoring some fresh sour pie cherries at the farmer’s market (I always seem to miss them!). Knowing that I’d likely only get one crack at sour cherries for the year, I wish I’d decided to make something less experimental… you see where I am going with this.
My first version of these tart cherry scones with earl grey and ricotta was an unmitigated disaster. Everything went great at first. The dough came together perfectly, a disk of pastry-perfection all ready to go, and then… wait… how am I going to get these sticky, juicy cherries into the dough NOW? I attempted to fold them in with my hands. It was a horrible idea. Things got slimy and my kitchen basically exploded.
I don’t now how the idea of cherries and earl grey popped into my head, but I knew that it was a winner at heart and that another attempt was warranted. Dried tart cherries to the rescue! Attempt number two was drama-free and I don’t think I cursed even once while making them. And, duh, they are delicious!
I’m no scone expert (clearly), but I opted for full-fat ricotta as the binder in these cherry scones to add a little heft and richness to the crumb. Truth-be-told, I have historically not been a big fan of the extremely dry texture of most scones I’ve eaten. The ricotta performed as I hoped- these scones are crumbly as they ought to be, but do not feel quite so dry in the mouth. You could probably still whistle a tune after eating. If that’s your thing.
I suck at whistling.
Completely un-hilariously, the day after version two came out of the oven I ran into a fresh berry scone recipe on the internet. APPARENTLY, all you have to do is roll out the dough, spread the berries on, roll the whole thing up jelly-roll style, and then slice and bake. OF COURSE! Blergh, sigh, eye-roll. Maybe I’ll try again next cherry season, but these will do marvelously until then!
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 T. baking powder
- 2 T. chopped or ground loose earl grey tea leaves (or just cut open 5 tea bags like I did)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 2 eggs, divided
- 1/2 c. whole milk ricotta
- 3 T. heavy cream (or milk)
- 2 c. tart dried cherries
- coarse raw or turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
- In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and tea leaves. Add the cold butter and work into coarse crumbs using your hands. Fold in the cherries.
- In another mixing bowl whisk together 1 egg, ricotta, and cream (or milk). Scrape into the dry mixture.
- Use a wooden spoon to combine wet and dry ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead until dough is uniform. Shape into a 10-12" disk.
- Make an egg wash by whisking together the remaining 1 egg and 1 t. water. Brush over the top of the disk. Sprinkle coarse sugar liberally over the top.
- Slice dough into 12 wedges and carefully transfer to a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden on top.
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while- I blame it all on my husband, who ruined our lives recently by introducing me to “Hamilton”. Have you listened to “Hamilton” yet? If not, don’t worry- We’ve listened to all 2.5 hours of it approximately 2,835 times in the last few weeks, which is plenty to spread around. You see, what happens is you play it through a couple of times, just to make sure you’ve heard all the lyrics and understand the story (which is gripping, by the way). That is phase one. Phase two is when you keep listening to it, over and over, even though you know that you’re going to cry all through act II (and you still can’t figure out why a Broadway musical about ALEXANDER freaking HAMILTON is STILL making you cry), and then you very earnestly consider cashing out your savings account to fly to NYC for one night to see it in person, and then you check how much tickets to the show cost (way more than the airplane ride), and then you cry about that as well. I am currently in a third phase, a horrible and beautiful feedback loop in which I have one song from the musical stuck in my head each day, and so I put that song on Spotify to dislodge it, and then I can’t seem to turn it off when the song is over so I just listen to the entire musical all the way through again. And then the next day, it’s a different song. Day after day it drags me back under. The weirdest part of it is that I hate musicals.
…but I sure do love these brownies with caramel corn! There is something sentimentally powerful about caramel corn that screams SUMMERTIME to me- it alludes to visions of county fairs and baseball games, fourth of july fireworks and road trips, and washing your sticky, sweaty palms in the lake. This is the time of year one can sense summer starting to rev up around the corner, and this is why these brownies are spot-on.
I have employed a double-caramel approach to these brownies. A generous sprinkling of chopped caramels melts upon contact with the hot brownies, straight out of the oven, and acts as the perfect glue for adhering the buttery-crisp caramel corn. Should you have the patience to allow these to cool completely before cutting (overnight recommended…and it is hard for me to say that to you because we are friends), that corn’s not going anywhere, which makes for an awesome presentation at a summer potluck or fambly reunion. And the brownies, I should add, aren’t chopped liver on their own. For the perfect base, I used Smitten Kitchen’s favorite brownie recipe, which calls for bittersweet chocolate instead of cocoa, and has no leavener for the ultimate fudgey texture.
I just know you must have a potluck coming up!
- 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/2 c. butter, plus extra for the pan
- 1 1/3 c. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2/3 c. flour
- 7 oz. (roughly) bag caramel corn (such as poppycock, cracker jack, or fiddle faddle), with or without nuts
- 4 oz. soft caramels
- flaky sea salt or kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8" baking dish with a small amount of butter, or cooking spray.
- Set up a double boiler and bring water to a simmer. Melt the butter and chocolate, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
- In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Gradually whisk in the chocolate and butter.
- Fold in the salt and flour until just combined. Scrape into prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brownies pass toothpick-test.
- When brownies are finished remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, pour your caramel corn into a bowl and break apart any large clusters into single pieces of popcorn, and set aside. Unwrap and roughly chop the caramels and set aside.
- Evenly distribute chopped caramel over the top of the brownies and allow to melt. Top with a single-layer of caramel corn, pressing down gently to adhere. Sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt all over.
- Allow to cool completely- overnight is best.
This is a fool-proof, reliable, exactly-as-you’d-expect rhubarb sauce. There’s nothing particularly fancy or surprising about it. It contains three ingredients (or two, if you don’t consider water to be an ingredient), it simmers down in just 15 minutes, and it’s just lovely on so very many foods. This sauce has been a real work-horse in my tummy ever since the rhubarb started gracing the tables of the farmers market.
In the last two weeks, I have eaten it over irresponsibly large portions of mascarpone gelato. Slathered atop rhubarb cardamom pound cake (yes, double-rhubarb!). Spooned into popovers. My favorite: lovingly blanketing my greek yogurt in the mornin’.
…and it goes great with pistachios. But what doesn’t?
You bet your sweet buns I’ll be whipping up yet another batch this weekend. Yes, ma’am.
- 4 c. chopped rhubarb, in 1/2" chunks
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1 T. water
- Combine rhubarb, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb has softened and sauce is formed, about 15 minutes. Cool, then store in refrigerator.
- If a thicker sauce is desired, mix together a tablespoon of corn starch with a splash of water and stir in at the end.
For me, last weekend was one of those uncommonly perfect weekends: the ideal balance of productivity and leisure, where time somehow passes more slowly than usual, and all the pieces just fall right into place. Oh, and it was 80s and sunny. I could stay in last weekend forever and ever.
I managed to hit up the farmers market just as it opened on Saturday and just barely managed to snag a small basket of the season’s first batch of strawberries before they’d sold out, as well as all the rhubarb I could carry. The strawberries were a little early, though an unbelievable treat coming out of the rainy season, but the rhubarb was impeccable, and abundant. It is rhubarb season, readers- rejoice!! I hope you like rhubarb, because there’s going to be some rhubarb recipes coming up. Like, today.
One of my other weekend accomplishments was to shoot using my brand new tripod and remote shutter release. I really could not be happier with the amount of improvement these new tools have already allowed me to make with my photography- I’ve been so excited to post these photos! It has been really rewarding to look back and notice how much my photos have improved in the last few months. Looking forward to more progress!
Let us now discuss pound cake.
When going about dessert, admittedly, I have long felt that one could scarcely do better than fresh berries, whipped cream, and a Sara Lee pound cake from the freezer section. Really! I am totally into the dense, sponge-y texture, ready to absorb tasty juices secreted from macerated fresh strawberries. I love that I can peel off the top crust like a fruit roll-up. I also love it for the same reason I still find McDonald’s McNuggets palatable at times (dude, I know): in all my life, it has never tasted different. I crave nostalgia and the comfort therein.
Occasionally, and definitely for the better, life calls for something more distinguished. Enter this rhubarb pound cake. Greek yogurt gives this pound cake a moist and tender crumb, delicately scented with cardamom, and studded throughout with tender chunks of fresh, tangy rhubarb. It also happens to be just stunning to look at.
I served this up with a healthy slather of my easy rhubarb sauce to make it extra rhubarby, and about fifteen dollops of fresh whipped cream!
- Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing
- 1 1/2 c. + 1 T. flour, plus extra for pan
- 1 1/2 c. rhubarb, cut into 1/2" chunks
- 1 c. plain greek yogurt
- 1 c. sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/2 c. canola or vegetable oil
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. ground cardamom
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan evenly with softened butter. Sprinkle in a handful of flour and tilt/shake the pan until the bottom and sides are coated with flour. Tap out the excess and discard.
- Place chopped rhubarb in a small mixing bowl and toss with 1 T. of flour. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and oil.
- Whisk in flour 1/2 c. at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Whisk in the baking powder, cardamom, and salt.
- Add the rhubarb to the batter (avoid adding the excess flour). Gently fold in with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. For me this was 1 hour.
- Allow the pound cake to cool completely before cutting. For best results, bake one day in advance.
Here’s something that is non-surprising if you’ve known me for at least five minutes: I really love eating. I love it way more than cooking, baking, grocery shopping (not that this is high on anyone’s list), and yes- more than blogging. I am like a hardcore omnivore- I crave a perfectly steamed, tender artichoke in equal manner and measure as I do tiramisu. And I am certain that there is no better bite than a sungold cherry tomato, still warm from the summer sun, grown in one’s own backyard (not that I have one of those, or see sunshine where I live). And then there’s pizza- omg! All I want out of life is all of the flavors, in my mouth, at all times, forever and ever, amen. I frequently ruminate on the colossal cosmic injustice that that isn’t possible, or even a little bit okay. I can only hope that science will someday come through.
Truthfully, my relationship with food borders on unhealthy, regardless of what I’m eating, and it’s a problem at times. I’m feeling like it’s becoming a problem once again. All of this is to say, nay declare, in front of all of you so I can’t take it back or pretend that I didn’t- I’m going to start running again. Right after I tell you about this easy, gooey cocoa lava cake that will change your life- promise. Lord help me.
This is a great recipe to keep close to your heart/tattoo to your arm because it is entirely out of pantry staples that one would surely have on hand the moment they feel they will absolutely lose their shit if they don’t get some dessert right now.
It’s also perfectly scaled for two people. So it’s portion control…right? Apologies for not having posted this prior to Valentine’s Day. But some very wise people suggest you treat every day like were Valentine’s Day. Hence, by their logic and not at all my own, you should make this every day…right?
(No. Just stop it)
Be sure to top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Or don’t, because you don’t really need to, meh, no big deal, either way it’s cool. Please send help. And podcast recommendations!
Recipe adapted from A Family Feast!
- 10 T. sugar, divided
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/4 c. cocoa, divided
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1/8 t. salt
- 1/4 c. milk
- 3 T. butter, melted
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
- 5 oz. hot water
- extra cocoa powder and vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two large ramekins or cocottes and place on a baking sheet.
- In a mixing bowl use whisk to combine 6 T. sugar, flour, 2 T. cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
- Whisk in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
- Divide batter evenly between dishes. Heat a tea kettle or small pot of water.
- In the empty mixing bowl, combine remaining 4 T. sugar, remaining 2 T. cocoa powder, and brown sugar.
- Sprinkle on top of the batter evenly.
- When water reaches simmering temperature, measure out 5 oz. and pour hot water over the top of the cocoa-sugar mixture. Do not stir.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes- cake tops should appear set and slightly shiny when done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and top with a scoop of ice cream just before serving.
The last week was pretty excellent, food-wise. I ate meat twice. My garbage-friend and I found the perfect lunch-break meeting spot equidistant from our respective places of work. I celebrated a hangover with impromtu eggs benedict at home- I did not screw up the poached eggs! And, I added the Easiest Cookie in the World to my repertoire. I am speaking of the classic, two-ingredient Palmier.
Palmiers (french for “palm trees”) are just one sheet of puff pastry rolled up with a handful of sugar into the shape of a fan, sliced thin, and then baked for a few minutes. When they come out, they’re buttery and flaky with a crisp, caramelized glaze. So simple, I think that these cookies are the epitome of french cooking/fashion/twentieth-century composers (by the way, made you a playlist): effortlessly elegant. A chic cookie. They’re a cinch to whip up on the fly, say, if you were to have unexpected guests on the way (this does not happen to me). Also good for eating curled up next to your favorite window, with your favorite tea, appreciating the chirping of what you are absolutely certain are spring birds.
These pretty little cookies are so impossibly simple that I kind of feel like a fraud even posting the recipe, but it’s below, anyhow.
- 1 sheet puff pastry (storebought
- or homemade), thawed
- 1/2 c. sugar
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle half of the sugar evenly onto a large, clean work surface.
- Lay down your puff pastry. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top.
- Use a rolling pin to lightly roll the dough to press the sugar into both sides. Trim off any uneven edges with a pizza cutter.
- Fold the left and right edges of the dough inward so they meet in the middle. Fold each side in half again so the outside folds also meet in the middle. Fold one side over the other, like closing a book.
- Place the rolled dough log onto the prepared baking sheet, and put in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- When dough is chilled, place it back onto your work surface. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough crosswise into 3/8" pieces.
- Arrange 2" apart on the baking sheet (you can bake these in batches, if needed). Bake for 10 minutes, flip the cookies, and then bake another 5-7 minutes.
- [These times apply to my oven. Since all ovens are different, keep an eye on things. These can burn quickly unattended!]
File this one under both “family recipe” and “amazeballs”. This cranberry bread pudding is a Christmas morning tradition of my husband’s family that I am so glad to have stumbled into. I had plenty of great reasons for marrying him anyway- but I’m not going to lie, this is one heck of a bonus. By the way, I don’t just make this on Christmas morning (I have needs, you know), and you shouldn’t either.
Now, I know that, for the most part, bread puddings generally follow a basic formula of bread, eggs, milk, some cinnamon. This bread pudding, a recipe acquired many years ago by my mother-in-law from a rubenesque farmer’s wife (so you know it’s good), blows all other bread puddings out of the water. It has a thin, velvet-y, dreamy cheesecake layer on top. Don’t even try telling me you don’t want that.
(by the way, isn’t this pyrex adorbs?)
Two things about ingredients. Firstly, the kind of bread you want for this is the “french bread” from your grocery store’s bakery. It’s not a real french bread, it’s not a baguette- it’s the poofy, oblong bread with the shiny, crackly crust and the super tender crumb. The kind that you’d use to make a loaf of garlic bread for a church spaghetti fundraiser. You know what I mean? Sure you do. If you don’t, then any soft boule or challah will do. Secondly, because of my searing detestation of raisins (AKA culinary cockroaches), since 2008 this recipe has been made with dried cranberries, instead. Which is really much more seasonal anyhow. You are, I guess, free to use regular raisins if that’s your thing. Just don’t tell me about it. You do you.
As a final note, and I hope you won’t judge us chubby Hendricksons too harshly for this, we like to top our individual portions with a drizzle (or possibly more…) of half-and-half.
- 1 loaf of "french" bread
- softened butter
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. nutmeg
- 3/4 c. sweetened dried cranberries
- 3 c. milk
- 4 eggs, divided
- 1 c. sugar, divided
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/8 t. salt
- 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13" pyrex baking dish.
- Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Cut the buttered slices into cubes, and spread half the cubes evenly in the baking dish.
- Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon and nutmeg, and then the cranberries. Layer the rest of the bread cubes over the cranberries and then sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the milk, 3 of the eggs, 1/2 c. sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat well. Pour over the bread. Use a spatula or spoon to lightly press down on the bread so everything is moist.
- Beat together the cream cheese, remaining 1/2 c. sugar, and 1 egg until smooth. Dollop evenly over bread pudding and then spread out gently with a spatula.
- Bake 45 minutes, or until puffy and set in the middle.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.