Category Archives: recipes

chocolate chip pumpkin bars

Happy Halloween! I hope you all are enjoying lots of pumpkin-anything today! I wasn’t expecting to be able to bake anything this week with  hurricane Sandy passing through here and the predicted power outages, but luckily it missed this area! We’ve surprisingly had just a bit of rain and barely any wind. After watching the coverage for the New York City area, we all feel lucky for that.

So to get back on track for baking festive things, I wanted to bake pumpkin bars from a recipe I came across a few days ago. It’s for chocolate chip pumpkin blondies, but I wanted to change it a bit by adding on a layer of chocolate ganache. I never thought I would enjoy the combination of pumpkin and chocolate (as I write this it just seems so silly now) until the other day when I put Nutella on a pumpkin english muffin. It was like, BAM. Why don’t I eat that combination more often? The mixture of the two in baked goods has somewhat of a complex flavor, because for me at least, I taste the chocolate first, and then the spices and the pumpkin linger afterwards. Pumpkin orange is also one of my favorite colors, so the combination of it with dark chocolate ganache just seems very Halloweeny to me.

ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin
  • 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Ganache recipe can be found here.

directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8×8 square dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together. Stir in the egg, vanilla and pumpkin. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Pour those into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread dough evenly into prepared baking dish. Bake 15-17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean after being inserted.  Remove from oven and let cool. If you want to stop here, you can just cut and serve them about 10 minutes or so after they come out of the oven while they are still warm. If you want to add the ganache, let the bars cool in the pan completely first. Make the ganache while you are waiting. Once the bars are cool, spread the ganache over the top. Store the bars, covered, in the fridge (so the chocolate doesn’t get too melty).

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Filed under autumn, cake, chocolate, dessert, holidays, recipes, winter

rustic apple tart

I love things that are rustic. And I especially love baking things that can be classified as rustic because they don’t have to be perfect.  A lot of baking requires very specific equations of ingredients, and that’s nice and rewarding and all when you want something fancy, but it’s also quite nice just to throw some ingredients together and create something perfectly flawed and handmade looking. Galettes or tarts are definitely handmade looking. I conquered the dough recently and would very much like to share with you how easy it is to make free form pies.

ingredients:

dough:

  • 1/2  c. whole wheat  flour
  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp. cold butter, roughly cubed
  • 1/4 c. ice water

filling:

  • 3 apples, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tbsp raisins or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in half of the butter with a pastry blender into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Then cut in the rest of the butter until those pieces are about the size of beans. Drizzle the water over the dough and use your hands to gather it into a disc. You may need to knead it 2 or 3 times to get all of the little pieces. Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Peel and slice the apples, and drizzle with the lemon juice in a bowl. Mix  the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in the apple mixture. Add the raisins and stir. 

Roll dough into a 10-inch diameter. Place the apple mixture in the center, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the edges up over the apple mixture, pleating the edges. The center will be open. Bake until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes. This tart can totally be savory too. I found this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it’s a really great way to use Fall harvest veggies.

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Filed under autumn, dessert, fruit, pastry, recipes, winter

apple scones

It’s officially Fall, and it’s my favorite time of year. But everyones says this, so that’s old news. But anyways, it’s that time of year where we have bags and bags of apples fresh from the orchard just waiting to be baked or eaten. I have in mind a lot of recipes that I want to try, so hopefully I stay on track and have some more apple posts coming soon. Have you ever looked at FoodGawker.com? I could spend hours and hours on that site. Type in any ingredient in the search bar and you will lose track of time I’m sure. Well that’s where I’ve found my list of apple things to bake. But this scone recipe was actually just something I adapted from some of my other scones recipes, because if you don’t already know this, I do love me some scones. My mornings are always happier when I can eat one with my coffee. And they are so quick to make too. I do believe these apple ones make for a nice welcome into the Autumn season.

ingredients:

  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. wheat flour
  • 5 tbsp. sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 6 tbsp. cold butter (roughly cubed)
  • 1 apple (peeled and roughly cubed)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg

directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no big chunks of butter remain. Gently stir in the apple pieces. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, and egg. Combine wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Form the dough into a ball. If it’s too sticky, slowly add a bit more flour so you can handle it. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick disc ( I pat my dough right out onto the parchment paper on the baking sheet because it’s one less thing to clean up). Use a knife to slice the dough into 6 equal triangle pieces. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden. After mine cooled a bit, I brushed a glaze of powdered sugar, cinnamon and a little bit of milk on the tops to sweeten them up slightly. You can add any sort of frosting or glaze you like really, or just eat them plain.

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Filed under autumn, breakfast, dessert, fruit, holidays, pastry, recipes, summer, winter

chocolate birthday cake

So this is a few weeks late, but I have to mention my lovely birthday cake and updates to my lovely go-to chocolate cake recipe. Earlier this year, I posted about a chocolate cake recipe I found from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, and any time I want chocolate cake this is what I use and trust. So for my birthday, I volunteered to bake my own cake (because I do what I want on my birthday!) and decided chocolate cake was the obvious answer. I browsed some new frosting recipes, let my brain daydream about flavor combinations, and eventually got the idea to do a two-layer chocolate cake, WITH peanut buter cream cheese filling, AND chocolate ganache frosting. Oh yes. I was so excited in that moment that I sketched the whole thing out so I wouldn’t forget such a brilliant combination. Peanut butter frosting is always delicious, and so is cream cheese frosting, and I have absolutely no idea why it took me this long to combine the two. And this is the first time I’ve made chocolate ganache. I knew of it, but I was always intimidated because it just sounded fancy. Well, it looks it, but it’s really, really easy. So yeah, I may start celebrating my half-birthday, and quarter-birthday just so I can have an excuse to eat this again.

Find my chocolate cake recipe here.

ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (1 brick), at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (add a little more or less to taste)
  • 2/3 c. smooth peanut butter

directions:

Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Continue to beat until light and fluffy and smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips (I used these)

directions:

Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Scald the heavy cream in a saucepan. I learned that “scalding” is when you heat the cream (or milk and such) and tiny bubbles start to form around the edges (but it’s NOT boiling). Make sure to stir the cream while it heats to prevent scorching. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for 30 seconds. Then slowly whisk together the chocolate and cream until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature. It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, but make sure to bring to room temperature before using . I made mine the night before I baked the cake, and then took it out to set on the counter about 4 hours before I needed to use it. When researching how to make chocolate ganache, I came across this site which shows three different variations on using ganache. It’s pretty interesting!

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Filed under cake, chocolate, dessert, holidays, recipes

homemade nutella

Today my blog is 1 year old! This also happens to be the same week as my own birthday, so instead of making two cakes this week (which I strongly considered) I wanted to make something I’ve been thinking about for a long time- homemade nutella. I also just got a brand new hot pink food processor this week (thanks credit card rewards!) and finally could make this dream of mine come true. I never really liked Nutella, but after I lived in Germany for two years I was smitten and I nearly forgot about my original spread of choice- peanut butter. That’s mostly because peanut butter isn’t so popular there and Nutella was cheaper and more abundant. I don’t really know why it took me so long to realize that Nutella is the gateway into eating chocolate for breakfast. Well now that I live back in the states, peanut butter is easier to come by and Nutella not so much. I am back in love with peanut butter for sure by now, but I still think of Nutella often. This homemade kind has a grainer texture than the packaged stuff, and I can’t really make up my mind which I like better, but I do believe it was a good choice for breaking in my new kitchen gadget.

based on this recipe from one of my favorite blogs

makes enough for 1 small jar

ingredients:

  • 2/3 c. bittersweet chocolate (or whatever you like)
  • 2/3 c. hazelnuts
  • 1/3 c. almonds
  • 2/3 c. powdered sugar (use maybe 1/2 cup if you are using milk chocolate)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tsp. canola oil (add one at a time)
  • 1/4 tsp. honey

directions:

Roast nuts on a cookie sheet at 400° F for 7-8 minutes. Watch carefully because they will burn very quickly! Let cool, then remove skins, as far as possible. This part was tricky, so if anyone knows an easy way to do this, please let me know. Next time I may try to buy the nuts without skins so I can skip this task. (P.S buy the nuts in the bulk section at the store to save money!). Melt chocolate in the microwave in a bowl, and then set aside. In a food processor, grind almonds and hazelnuts together until it becomes smeary when the fats are released. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt and blend again. Add melted chocolate and blend again. Blend well. Then add canola oil, one teaspoon at a time. The batch I made only needed one teaspoon, but if yours seems a little too thick, go ahead and add two. Make sure to blend well after each addition. Fill nutella into jars or other resealable container. Can be stored on the counter or in the fridge, for 1-2 weeks.

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Filed under breakfast, dessert, recipes, unbaked

berry cobbler

Sometimes I panic when we have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. I hate throwing away any food, which isn’t always a good thing because I will sometimes overeat just so I won’t waste anything, but when it’s summer and there are constantly fresh things from our garden and overloaded family and friend gardens, I just throw things in the freezer. Like berries. But it makes for really easy desserts when you find recipes like this that are based on basically just throwing things in a pan and baking it. I came across this recipe and it caught my eye purely because of the crispy-looking crust. I’ve tried and failed at cobblers before because the doughy part didn’t rise properly or got soggy or too spongey, and this one just looks like the perfect texture on top of warm fruit. It was extremely easy to make, and I think I want to substitute lots of different fruits from different seasons. The original recipe used just blackberries, but I combined those with blueberries, and I imagine you could have any combination that you can think of really.

originally from here

ingredients:

dough:

  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 9 tbsp. cold butter
  • 1/3 c. boiling water

filling:

  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/4 c. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice (I omitted this because I didn’t have any and it worked anyways so…)
  • 2 c. fresh blackberries (or thawed from freezer)
  • 2 c. fresh blueberries (or thawed from freezer)
  • 1/2 c. sugar

directions:

Preheat oven to 400 °F.  Grease an 8″x8″ pan.  For the dough, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with two knives or a pastry blender until you have a coarse, crumbly mixture. Pour in the boiling water and stir together well so that all of the dough is wet. Set aside. For the berries, dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, berries, and sugar. Mix together well. Transfer berries to a sauce pan. Heat mixture over medium heat until boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Transfer berry mixture into the greased pan. Drop spoonfuls of dough over the berry mixture place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is golden brown and the berries are thick and bubbly.

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Filed under dessert, fruit, pastry, recipes, summer

blueberry lemon buttermilk cake

It’s been almost two months since my last recipe post, and that’s kind of ridiculous isn’t it? Well, there are many new things going on, including becoming very busy with freelancing, and it’s been especially hot and humid seeing as how it’s finally summer and I can’t help but get annoyed getting sweaty every time I want to create something in the oven. So, when there are breaks in the heat, I’ve been wanting to bake summery things using summer ingredients, like blueberries for example. The middle of Summer is so lovely for there being so many seasonal foods. We have pounds and pounds of blueberries in the freezer, and any day our garden will explode with veggies. I’m thinking the next few things I bake may include lots and lots of zucchini. So for now, I began with blueberries, and this cake was a simple dessert I wanted to make one Sunday afternoon.

from No Tea After 12

ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c. plain flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c.  sugar, plus 2 tbsp. for sprinkling
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 10 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest

directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour an 8″x8″  pan.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder, and add the sugar and nutmeg. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs until fluffy. Add the buttermilk, butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix well until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Spread the mixture into the pan and sprinkle the blueberries over the top and sprinkle with the 2 tbsp. of sugar. (I accidentally began adding some blueberries into the mixture before I realized while reading the original recipe that they were only to go on top. I actually thought it was quite nice in the end having some blueberries in the cake as well as on the top). Bake for 25 minutes until the top is just golden , or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Filed under cake, dessert, fruit, recipes, summer