Monday, November 30, 2020

Cranberry Harvest Cake (or what do I do with the rest of these fresh cranberries?)

This is a take on the Almost Famous Cranberry Cake from Sarah Copeland at Edible Living. It comes from her cookbook, Every Day is Saturday, which I enjoyed cooking from earlier this year. But it's more in service of a dilemma I face every year - over purchasing fresh cranberries and needing recipes that will use them up. I know one can freeze fresh cranberries, but this is usually a better idea if one plans ahead and does so immediately after purchasing, and not as good of an idea once they've lingered in the fridge for two weeks, waiting for Thanksgiving inspiration and getting a little wrinkled. I like this cake plain, a little more cakelike than a quick bread, but close enough to just be a loaf slice.* If you want a glaze, please see Sarah's recipe.

Slice of cranberry harvest cake on an orange plate.
Cranberry Harvest Cake

1½ cups (3 sticks/336 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour or (310 g) gluten-free flour, plus more for the pan
1 cup (120 g) almond flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) half-and-half
2 heaping cups (200 g) cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2-3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional, I used pecans because I had leftovers)
1/2 cup cocoa nibs (super optional, I just threw them in because I had them!)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Position a rack in the lower middle. Butter and flour a 10-inch, 12-cup (25-cm, 2.9-L) nonstick Bundt pan. 
Beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until uniform. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, and stir to combine. 
In a separate bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the juices and half-and-half, and beat on low to combine, scraping the bowl after each addition. Stir in the cranberries. 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan (it will come to the top of the Bundt pan) and bake on a baking sheet until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out with a tiny crumb, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan, and let cool completely on the rack.
*Notes from JennyBakes:
 I combined the juices and half-and-half but this does curdle the dairy, don't worry about it.

I added cinnamon but you could use any combo of favored fall spices. I almost added some chopped crystallized ginger but forgot, whoops.

I looked around and added other extras from the pantry to add more texture - pecans and cocoa nibs added toasty and crunchy and a hint of chocolate to the cake.

I found the cake to be an improved texture the day after baking. This would probably be even more helped by a glaze but I can't be bothered.

Mine is pretty dark because I baked it in an ancient bundt cake pan I bought at a garage sale in Indiana for 50 cents 15 years ago, and I always forget to bake it at a lower temperature and super flour the pan, so half the top of my cake also remained in the pan. I have such a nostalgia attachment for that pan though.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

 This recipe comes from Tasty Pride, edited by Jesse Szewczyk. This particular recipe comes from the founders of Coolhaus (and partners in real life), Natasha Case and Freya Estreller. I used Raaka Maple Dark for the chocolate component, and made a half recipe, and cooked it in a ceramic baking dish instead of a skillet; otherwise I followed the recipe, haha. I would say a slightly sweeter chocolate than my 75% dark would be slightly better. This is the best tasting cookie I think I've made and you will want several friends for this one, since it must be consumed right away.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Vanilla ice cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat a 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Melt the butter and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. Remove the heat and let the butter cool, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and egg to the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon until any large chunks of sugar are dissolved and the mixture is completely smooth. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Add half the chocolate chips and stir to distribute. Spread the dough in the skillet in an even layer and wipe off any cookie dough or flour stuck to the sides. Top with the remaining chocolate chips.
  5. Bake until slightly golden but still gooey in the middle, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with ice cream. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Crêpes with Roasted Bananas and Barbados Cream from Ottolenghi Flavor

This recipe was one of the options for the pancake party and recipe challenge today from Ottolenghi Flavor for the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club in Instagram (and the reason I'm sometimes posting on Sundays instead of Mondays.) The savory option was a pancake with two ingredients hard to find in these remote shopping times - asparagus (out of season) and gochujang (not at my regular grocery stores) so I went with the sweet version. I was pleased to find it wasn't overly sweet, actually. The cream itself is not sweetened, but the bananas are, and the combination of all the ingredients is a very balanced and delicious bite. I should have known, considering the source.

Overhead shot of two crepes with barbados cream, a brown sugar drizzle, and almonds.

I hadn't heard of Barbados cream, but it is a mixture of mascarpone and yogurt, tangy and smooth. I didn't exactly follow the recipe for the bananas and cut a few too many corners so they weren't as carmelized as those shown in the cookbook photo, but they were fine. Next time I'd probably just carmelize them on the top of the stove. I didn't have rum so I used amaretto with the brown sugar, tasty of course. This is more of a dessert crepe but I ate it for lunch one day when I had time to make all the parts. They come together quickly. I think the best order of things is to preheat the oven, mix up the crepes, prep the bananas and get them in the oven, mix up the cream, and then you're about ready to start cooking the crepes after the wait time. I think I'd prefer the brown sugar drizzle blended with the cream so I didn't have to try as hard for a sweet bite, but I can see why it's designed that way.

Crêpes with Roasted Banana and Barbados Cream

Barbados Cream
1/2 cup/100g mascarpone
1/2 cup/150g extra-thick Greek-style yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste

Roasted Bananas
2 tbsp unsalted butter
7 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
4 ripe bananas, peeled, halved crosswise, and then lengthwise

6 tbsp/50g all-purpose flour
1 tsp light brown sugar
1/8 tsp table salt
1 egg
2/3 cup/160ml whole milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp spiced dark rum
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup/20g sliced almonds, lightly toasted

  1.  Preheat the oven to 475 F / 230 C fan. 
  2. For the cream: In a medium bowl, mix together the mascarpone, yogurt, and vanilla until smooth and set aside.
  3. For the bananas: Place a medium, ovenproof frying pan on medium-high heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the brown sugar and ginger and stir until melted and combined, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the bananas, and mix gently so they are coated, then arrange so they are cut-side up. Transfer to the oven for 12 minutes, or until softened and browned. Sprinkle with a little salt. Set aside.
  4. For the crêpes: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the egg and whisk together, then add the milk gradually, whisking until you have a smooth, thin batter. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  5. Put 1 tsp of the butter into a medium into a medium frying pan and place on medium high heat. Once melted and bubbling, add about 3 tbsp batter, swirling the pan to form a thin crêpe about 6 1/2 inches/ 16 cm in diameter. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then, using a spatula, flip over. Cook for another 30-60 seconds, until nicely browned on both sides, and then set aside. You may need to decrease the heat to medium if the pan gets too hot. Continue with the remaining butter and batter until you have four good crêpes (the first few may not be perfect). Cover and keep warm.
  6. Just before serving, in a small bowl, stir together the rum and brown sugar.
  7. Divide the crêpes among four plates, then top each with one-fourth of the bananas. Fold the crêpe over and spoon some of the Barbados cream alongside. Drizzle with the rum sugar, finish with the almonds, and serve.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies (lower-sugar, grain-free, gluten-free)

We had purchased some lower-sugar dark chocolate from Raaka, and ended up on their mailing list. They send delicious sounding recipes, and this one caught my eye. Luckily I caught that they forgot to include the amount of almond flour in the recipe, so I have added it below. There is no almond flour in the pumpkin component, and it will look rather liquidy in texture before baking, but it all works out well.

A square of the pumpkin cheesecake swirl brownie on an orange pumpkin-shaped plate

I found the end result before chilling to look rather greasy, but the chilling step really solves everything overall. I'm not convinced the recipe really needs 8 oz fat (especially the butter, which I replaced for the coconut oil) but haven't tested it to know for sure otherwise.

Side view of a pumpkin cheesecake swirl brownie, brown on bottom and pale orange on top

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
(recipe from Sixteen Mill via an email from Raaka Chocolate)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
226g/8oz room temperature cream cheese (to make this dairy-free, use any plant-based cream cheese)
226g/8oz pumpkin puree
65g/2oz coconut sugar
1 ½ tbsp pumpkin spice
2 large room temperature eggs

Chocolate Layer
226g/8oz Baking Chocolate*
226g/8oz coconut oil*
65g/2oz coconut sugar
4 large eggs
130 g almond flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
A pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit and line a rectangular baking pan of any size with parchment paper. We recommend a 9x13” baking pan, but sizes close to that will do.

2. For the cheesecake layer: combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix with a whisk until smooth, or use a mixer if you have one.

3. For the chocolate batter layer: melt the chocolate and the coconut oil slowly in a heatproof bowl. Be careful to not overheat it. Stir and repeat until melted and fully combined. Add the coconut sugar and mix it well, then add the eggs. Whisk until combined. Once you've mixed those well, add the dry ingredients: almond flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Fold them into the chocolate using a rubber spatula.

4. Spread ¾ of the batter on the bottom of the prepared pan.

5. Spread all of the pumpkin cheesecake batter on top of the chocolate batter. Make sure the layers are even.

6. Dollop the rest of the chocolate batter on top of the cheesecake batter and swirl it in with a skewer or a small knife. 7. Pop the pan in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the cheesecake batter sets.

8. Once the brownies are baked, cool the pan at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then cover the pan with cling film and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

9. After 6 hours, these are ready to cut and serve! These will keep in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. Enjoy! 

Notes from JennyBakes:

I used random dark chocolate I needed to use up, including the Raaka Maple Dark Baking Chocolate, which I'm enjoying for baking quite a bit. The discs are very thin, meaning they melt very quickly. I also had a bar of 85% dark that was too dark for our tastes to just eat.

I used butter in place of coconut and it worked out once chilled.

130 g almond flour is about 1 American cup plus 2 tbsp or so.  

I didn't do swirls very well but it still tastes good in the end!

Monday, November 02, 2020

Buckwheat Buttermilk Waffles (gluten-free, grain-free)

The buckwheat flour I bought last year around this time (to make double chocolate orange buckwheat cookies, yum!) is a little past due but I am stubborn and don't want to throw it out. So I went looking for buckwheat recipes. I know, Mom, this is ironic, because I was the kid who hated buckwheat pancake day. Well if you like those, these waffles are even better. I guess I grew up. I have a pumpkin buckwheat pancake recipe to try soon, or a traditional swedish buckwheat chocolate cake. We'll see.

2 buckwheat pancakes on a plate with butter and maple syrup

Buckwheat Waffles

(recipe from Cookie and Kate)

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10 small waffles 2x


  • 2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoon sugar*
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken (see notes on original recipe to learn how to make your own with any kind of milk)
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoon) melted butter or coconut oil*
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat your waffle iron. If desired, preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit to keep waffles warm until you’re ready to serve.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter and egg. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir them together until there are only a few small lumps remaining. Give it a few more stirs if you see any liquid that hasn’t fully incorporated. Optional: let the batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Pour batter onto the hot waffle iron plates, close the waffle iron and cook until the waffles are barely letting off steam and they are lightly crisp to the touch (this might take longer than your waffle iron suggests). Carefully lift waffle out of the waffle iron and serve immediately or place in the oven to keep warm. Avoid stacking the waffles or they will lose their crispness. Repeat with remaining batter as necessary. Serve with maple syrup, almond butter and/or sliced banana on top.

Notes from JennyBakes:

  • I used coconut sugar
  • I used unsalted butter and it worked fine; I mixed it with the buttermilk before adding the eggs since the melted butter was still hot
  • These would go so well with spiced apples or stone fruit! 
  • I made a double batch, which made a lot. I froze all but two halves, 2 to a ziploc, and we'll see how that goes.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Caramel Apple Slab Pie with Melted Butter Crumb Topping from Pie Academy

It is pie season and I had a review copy of Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings, with Fruits, Nuts, Cream, Custards, Ice Cream and More by Ken Haedrich, from the publisher through NetGalley. It comes out October 27, which is the day after this post goes live. 

 If you think the title is long, you should try getting through the cookbook! I'm not sure I've made it all the way yet, but no matter, this is a book to consult for any ingredient you might make into a pie. I honed in on the apple pie CHAPTER when I came home from the NC orchards with a big bag of Mutsu apples. Would I made apple pie with cheddar cheese crust? I made a double crusted version of that 12 years ago. There were single crust pies, mock apple pies, pies with crumb and more. Despite my abiding affection for the Smitten Kitchen slab pie, I landed on the Caramel Apple Slab Pie with Melted Butter Crumb Topping.

Slice of caramel apple slab pie displayed on fall leaf plate with fall decor

One bonus I noticed in this cookbook is a wide range of new techniques. It might be daunting to someone new in the ktichen but for someone who has baked her whole life, learning new techniques is a good experience! There were multiple crumb recipes to draw from, and I had the impression one could mix and match, but I did make the one designated for this recipe, the melted butter crumb. It is made with melted butter, crumbled over a sheet pan, and frozen before use. It can also be made in larger quantities and saved in the freezer for multiple, crumb-bearing toppings. I was in love!

Side view of caramel apple slab pie on orange plate

Caramel Apple Slab Pie with Melted Butter Crumb Topping

Slab Pie Dough and Shell (from cookbook)


7 cups peeled, cored, and sliced baking apples
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Big pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon juice

Melted Butter Crumb Topping (from cookbook)

  1. Prepare the slab pie dough and make the slab shell in a jelly-roll pan. Refrigerate the shell until needed.
  2. Adjust the oven racks so one is in the lower position and another is in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C)
  3. Combine the apples, raisins, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, cream, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Mix well; with so much filling, I like to mix with my hands. Spread everything out evenly in the shell, taking care to smooth over any apple tips, which have a tendency to scorch in the oven. Spread the topping evenly over the apples; you'll probably need all of it. 
  4. Put the pie on the lower oven rack and bake for 25 minutes. Lower the heat to 375 F (190 C) and move the pie up to the middle rack, rotating it 180 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes longer, until the juices are bubbly and the topping is golden brown. If the topping starts to get to brown, cover it with aluminum foil.
  5. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool for at least 1 hour before serving. I prefer it lukewarm or at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate leftovers after 24 hours.

Notes from JennyBakes:

I did not have a jelly-roll pan of the right size (15x10) so I slightly downsized the recipe.

He adds a note about making sure the pan you use has at least 1" on the sides so it doesn't bubble over. Mine still did a little, so maybe a pan underneath would be smart. I didn't move my pie around to different racks so could have used something to catch the one bubble. I did rotate it 180 degrees.

I used light brown sugar because it's what I had; I left out the raisins because I didn't have any but I'm not sure I wanted them in there anyway. 

I did use all the crumb topping!


Monday, October 19, 2020

Apple Cream Cheese Cobbler (grain-free, lower-sugar)

I recently had an advanced reader copy of a new cookbook, Skinny Southern Baking: 65 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Southern Classics by Lara Lyn Carter, which offers lower sugar versions of southern recipes and flavors. I took one of the recipes and adapted it slightly for a smaller dish and fewer servings, but taking advantage of the apples I can only get in the fall. Part of the challenge of baking this way is the look and feel of the final result. The pictures in the cookbook are accurate representations of the recipes, even when that means the bread doesn't rise as high or the coconut sugar turns your crumble pretty dark.

All to say, this dessert may not win any beauty awards, but it was really tasty. And the cream cheese in there is more like a pudding than a cheesecake, in a good way. It also keeps it from being all sweet.

Apple Cream Cheese Cobbler
(Credit: Lara Lyn Carter)

For the cobbler:

3 large sweet apples, cored and cut into 8 large slices*
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 packages (8 oz each) plant-based cream cheese*

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. 
  2. Arrange the apple slices in the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Whip the honey or maple syrup and cream cheese together until smooth and spread the mixture over the apples. 

For the topping:

3 eggs
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon*
1 tsp nutmeg*
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Pour the mixture over the apples and cream cheese mixture; bake for 45 minutes.

*Notes from JennyBakes:

I made a thirdish of this recipe by using one large Mutsu apple, the cream cheese and maple syrup as described, and roughly a third of the topping.

I'm not too invested in non-dairy, plus that's just hard to find where I live in the south. The reason I used this recipe in the first place was that I had a brick of cream cheese I needed to use. Regular old cream cheese works fine here (the eggs in the topping make it non-vegan anyway!)

I have this apple pie spice in my spice drawer that I always use with apples in place of the cinnamon and nutmeg. 

I added some walnuts but only to half the topping since my husband is mildly allergic.


Skinny Southern Baking
by Lara Lyn Carter

13 October 2020

Other recipes I've marked to try, because this is how we eat at my house:

-Ginger Cookies
-Pumpkin Spice Cookies
-Peanut Butter Banana Coffeecake
-Pumpkin Cranbrerry Nut Bread
-Almond Flour Pie Crust
-Chocolate Pie Crust
-Coconut Flour Pie Crust
-Pumpkin Cornbread
-Spinach and Feta Muffins
-Herb biscuits

(Can you tell I'm so ready for fall?! Get ready!)