Sunday, December 27, 2020

Gingerbread Cake with Date Syrup Sauce from The Flavor Equation

I'm back with another recipe from The Flavor Equation by Nik Sharma, and it was so perfect for the holidays. I just happened to have a giant jar of Iraqi date syrup in my pantry, so I was thrilled to have a use of it in this sauce. I didn't have bourbon so I left it out but will leave it in the directions below (which are from Nik Sharma's website as well as the book, which I recommend.) This was the end of the month challenge for the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Challenge, an activity that has been such an excellent diversion for this year.

Slice of gingerbread cake with shiny date syrup sauce on top, in front of a lit christmas tree.

If I made this again I would have baked it 5 minutes less (I was worried about it being done enough and that left it just a little bit dry.) I still think the Smitten Kitchen take on Gramercy Tavern's gingerbread is my favorite, but it is legendarily difficult to get out of the pan - not a problem with this one. This also had some unique techniques involved, and I almost forgot to mix in the hot water at the end.

Gingerbread Cake with Date (Bourbon) Syrup Sauce
(recipe from Nik Sharma in The Flavor Equation)


For the cake:

¾ cup [165 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground green cardamom
1 tsp lime zest
2½ cups [350 g] all-purpose flour 
1½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 oz [55 g] crystallized ginger, chopped 
¼ cup [50 g] sugar
¼ cup [85 g] honey
1 cup [320 g] unsulfured molasses or sorghum 
½ cup [120 g] crème fraîche 
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup [240 ml] water warmed to 158°F [70°C] 

For the date syrup bourbon sauce:

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup [240 ml] date syrup
1 cup [240 ml] heavy cream
2 Tbsp honey bourbon or whiskey
¼ tsp fine sea salt 

For serving: 

Lightly sweetened crème fraîche 
Fresh lime zest


Grease a 9 in [23 cm] square baking pan with a little butter and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.

 Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the ginger, black pepper, cardamom, and lime zest. Let steep for 10 minutes.

 Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Reserve 2 Tbsp of the flour mixture in a small bowl, add the crystallized ginger to it, and toss to coat well.

 Preheat the oven to 325°F [163°C]. Place the sugar, honey, and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer. Scrape out the melted butter from the saucepan with a silicone spatula and add it to the mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until it turns a toffee-brown color, 4 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl, add the crème fraîche, and mix on low speed until combined, 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the bowl. Mix in 1 egg at a time on medium speed until combined. Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add the water and mix until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the sides. Fold in the crystallized ginger and transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown on the surface and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. Run a knife along the edges of the pan to release the cake and transfer to a serving plate.

 To prepare the date bourbon sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Swirl the butter in the saucepan until the milk solids start to turn red. Whisk in the date syrup and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, followed by the bourbon and the salt. Transfer to an airtight jar and refrigerate until ready to use. You can make this sauce 2 days ahead of time.

 To serve, cut the cake into slices and serve with sweetened crème fraîche, a little lime zest, and a generous drizzle of the date bourbon sauce.


Notes from JennyBakes:

I used sour cream for the crème fraîche but would have used plain yogurt if I'd had it. I made a half recipe of the sauce, without the bourbon or any replacement for the alcohol, and that was enough for us! I also only had about 2/3 cup molasses so used date syrup for the rest of that as well.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Muffins (gluten-free, grain-free, lower-sugar)

I had leftover butternut squash to use, and ordered myself my own hazelnuts, and had wanted to make this recipe forever. I also had fresh cranberries still leftover in the freezer, so I added them to half the batter, but this greatly increased the baking time due to the amount of moisture! If you make them with the grain-free ingredients, prepare to bake them up to twice as long as the recipe indicates. 

Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Muffins
(based on the recipe at Italian Food Forever, but modified for grain-free ingredients and to make half as many)


  • 1 1/3 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour (optional but I find it helps the texture)
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk of any variety (I used almond-coconut)
  • 1/2 cup pureed, baked butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I used coconut sugar)
  •  2 tablespoons mild flavored vegetable oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  •  1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts) 


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
    2. In one bowl, stir together the flours, spices, baking soda, and salt.
    3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, squash puree, maple syrup, oil, and extract until blended.
    4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry along with the hazelnuts and stir with a wooden spoon just until blended.
    5. Divide the batter into the muffin liners, then sprinkle the tops with the hazelnuts.
    6. Bake for 7 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for about 7 to 8 minutes longer, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out cleanly.
    7. Cool 5 minutes then serve.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Francincense & Myrrh & Cardamom Cookie Bars

I follow a handful of bakers in social media, and last week Louise Miller tweeted about the Los Angeles Times holiday cookie list. I immediately knew which recipe I would be trying, because I'm a sucker for cardamom (so much so that I ended up not even having enough for this recipe, and now I'm out!) and immediately knew I could use my holiday plum butter instead of the prescribed raspberry jam. I buy plum jam and plum butter any time I see it at an import store or international grocery because it's rather hard to find in the United States yet is is a standard holiday flavor in some places in Europe, I imagine because of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Cardamom Plum Cookie Bars
(based on the Cardamom Raspberry Bars from Silvia Razgova at the Los Angeles Times)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan, then line the bottom and two long sides with a sheet of parchment paper; grease the paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, both sugars and the salt. Add the eggs and yolk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Using a sieve, sift half the dry ingredients over the batter, then use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir until almost combined. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients and stir until the dough combines and there are no more dry patches of flour visible.
  3. Scrape the dough into the prepared baking pan and spread into the corners and in an even layer. Fill a resealable plastic bag with the raspberry jam, then cut one corner off. Pipe the jam in about six or seven 1-inch-thick rows widthwise over the dough (or dollop the jam evenly over the dough with a spoon). Run a thin-bladed knife or a toothpick through the surface of the batter in opposite directions to create a feathered effect. 
  4. Bake, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through cooking, until golden brown at the edges and set in the middle, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
  5. Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled cookie slab out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 24 bars to serve.  

You can substitute any complimentary flavored jam, but the author of the recipe is clear that if it's too thin, the dough will absorb it rather than bake it as a self-contained entity. My plum butter did sink down a bit and not do as much marbling on top, but it tastes delicious. The cardamom adds an element of depth

Monday, December 07, 2020

Fudgy Brownies from A Good Bake

I made the fudgy brownies recipe from A Good Bake by Melissa Weller and Carolynn Carreno. It is always a good idea to see how a baker's brownies are, and these were . I liked the way the recipes are laid out, very clear, and many of the more complex baked goods come with full-color photographs of the major steps. This will be one to add to my collection because next year when I focus my reading on Non-Western Europe, I will have to make khachapuri and babka, at least. 

I am putting the recipe in more of a standard format, but the cookbook is laid out in a more precise fashion, with preparation notes, making notes, technical notes, and more. I felt very clear on what would be required.

Fudgy Brownies

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
8 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Arrange the oven racks so one is in the center position. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Spray the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper 8 inches wide and 15 to 16 inches long. Lay the paper in the pan so it travels up and over two of the sides. Spray the paper with cooking spray.

Pour 1-2 inches of water into the bottom of a small saucepan and choose a bowl that fits over the saucepan to make a double boiler. Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl; if it is, pour some water out. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.

Roughly chop the chocolate. Put the butter and chocolate into the bowl of the double boiler and melt them, using a heat-proof rubber spatula to stir and scrape down the sides of the bowl so the chocolate doesn't burn.

Remove the bowl from the double boiler and wipe the bottom of the bowl so no water drips. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk them in. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk until the batter is shiny and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the salt and flour and stir with a rubber spatula until no flour is visible.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Use the spatula to smooth out the top of the batter. 

Place the brownies on the center rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking. Remove the brownies from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. the tops will appear dry, but the insides will should remain fudgy if you poke the center with a toothpick or cake tester. Holding the sides of the parchment paper, lift the brownies out of the pan and place them on a cutting board. Using a large knife, cut the brownies into 16 equal pieces.

Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Here are the recipes I really have my eyes on from A Good Bake

-Chewy Gingersnaps
-Khachapuri with Cheese, Baked Egg, and Nigella Seeds
-Kale and Cheese Khachapuri with Zhoug
-Cinnamon Babka with Brown Butter Cinnamon Glaze
-Chocolate Babka
-Cranberry Cream Cheese Babka
-Cardamom Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Glaze
-Strawberry Jam and Hazelnut Rugelach

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.

Speaking of pancakes...

Like pancakes? I seem to make them from around the world! Check out the Khobz Al-jbab from the Arabian peninsula,  Finnish pannukakku, Icelandic pönnukökur, Papua New Guinean banana pancakeskauk moto from Myanmar, the Danish ebleskiver, the Hungarian palacsintas, the Kaiserschmarrn or "Emperor's Mess" from Austria, the Swedish pancakes from Alaska, and what we call the German oven apple pancake. I also made ratio pancakes from Michael Ruhlman's book, which we can call American. I've made several more American pancakes, like the recipe from Rosa Parks held by the National Archives, another variation on lemon ricotta pancakes. Pancakes can also be savory, like scallion pancakes from China (also called cong you bing.)

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!)

Monday, October 12, 2020

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

This recipe comes from the new cookbook from Alex Guarnaschelli, Cook with Me.  I had a copy of the book from the publisher through Edelweiss, and when I review a cookbook, I always make at least one recipe! I love how she talks about learning to cook from her mom a lot in this one too. And along with that theme, many of the recipes are spins or just really good versions of traditional dishes, but sometimes that's what you want to learn from a real chef, at least I do.

I always tend to hang out in the baked goods and dessert sections of cookbooks but the picture of this dessert captured me immediately. I made it for our 20th wedding anniversary back in June, but waited to share it with you until it was closer to release date. This is so delicious, like a cross between a candy bar and a very rich cheesecake. I would make it for a large gathering because a small piece is very rich and satisfying. See at the bottom for a few tips from my experience making this!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
(from Cook with Me by Alex Guarnaschelli)

Makes 16 pieces

11 tbsp (1 stick + 3 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups (8-9 oz) finely ground chocolate crumbs*
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
16 oz full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (8 oz) smooth peanut butter
3 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (a generous 1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Make the crust: Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. In a medium bowl, combine the rmaining butter with the crushed cookies and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Transfer the crumbs to the buttered pan and press them into an even layer on the bottom of the pan (not up the sides.) Use a cup measure or a glass to press the crumbs down firmly. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the crust is firm, 15-18 minutes. Set the pan aside to let the crust cool for at least 20 minutes.

Make the peanut butter filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until completely smooth, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs and peanut butter, and beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Pour the filling over the cooled crust, using a spatula to spread it out evenly, and place the pan back in the oven. Cook until the filling is firm and doesn't jiggle when you gently shake the pan, 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Make the chocolate top: In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set it over the saucepan like a makeshift double boiler (the bottom of the bowl shouldn't touch the cream), and shut the heat off completely. Stir the chocolate from time to time as it melts. When the cream is warm and the chocolate is somewhat melted, take the bowl off the saucepan, pour the cream over the chocolate, and stir until blended. If the cream and chocolate are similar in temperature, the result is a glossier ganache!* Gently spread the chocolate over the peanut butter layer in the springform pan and refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, at least 2 hours.

* Notes from JennyBakes
  1. For the chocolate cookies, I used the wafer cookies that at my supermarket are shelved near the ice cream, not with the rest of the cookies and crackers. I prefer them to Oreos because they are straight dark chocolate with no cream.
  2. You could do this ganache process that would require 2 bowls and 2 pans but to be honest I just zapped it in the microwave a bit and stirred in between. And I thought the end result was good enough, if not as glossy as it could be.  
  3. I think if I made this again, I would try to convert it to a square or rectangular contained. The recipe calls itself bars but it is in a circle, so really unless you cut it in a strange way you end up with wedges. And something about rectangles of these layers seemed more appealing, so I cut the circle strangely to get them.

Other recipes I've marked to try:
-Beet and Brown Rice Burgers
-Quinoa Pilaf
-Sheet Pan Blackened Salmon
-Macaroni and Cheese*
-Lentil Soup
-Exceptional Scrambled Eggs*
-Poached Eggs on Cheddar Biscuits
-Ninth Avenue Childhood Baked Ziti
-Chickpea and Celery Salad
-Red Velvety Strawberry Cake
-Tiramisu Swiss Roll

*Like I said above, I love to try all versions of classic dishes from chefs I admire.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Grain-free, lower-sugar version of my Grandma's Apple Cake

My Grandma's Apple Cake recipe is one that we make every year in my family. It heralds the fall, it's simple, it can be made so easily with pantry ingredients, and it requires no frostings or glazes or anything more than itself. But it also has a lot of sugar! This year I decided to see if I could make a grain-free, lower-sugar version of the cake, and that recipe is below. The picture is not super glamorous, and I think I should have baked it longer, but overall it was a successful experiment. (Next time I might add 1/4 cup more almond flour, or maybe try adding a bit of coconut flour in there to absorb more of the liquid.)

Frances's Apple Cake, modified to be grain-free and lower-sugar

1/2 cup oil
1 3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 eggs
5 cups apples, diced (I used Mutsu, my favorite baking apple, but you can try any combination)
2 cups almond flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp apple pie spice (optional)
1/2 cup walnuts

This recipe came to me with just ingredients, but in general I mix the diced apples with sugar, then the beaten eggs and vanilla, then mix in the dry ingredients, nuts last. I often leave out the nuts or use hazelnuts instead.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour in a 9x13 pan.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Sweet Tahini Rolls from Falastin

I don't normally like to put two recipes from one cookbook in my blog (because I want you to look at the cookbook, obviously) but this one is all over the internet already; what's one more place? The culminating group recipe for the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club from Falastin is these sweet tahini rolls. They are not all that sweet, actually! 

I had an interesting jam at home that went well with them - cacao passion fruit, which also wasn't super sweet but had a murkiness to it alongside sweetness - this seemed to match the toasty tahini flavor as well. I like the suggestion in the cookbook of mixing grape molasses with tahini; I'll have to try that sometime.



Kubez el tahineh
(from Falastin)

1 1/2 tsp fast-acting dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
7 1/2 tbsp whole milk, lukewarm
Olive oil, for greasing
2 cups plus 6 tbsp (300 g) all-purpose flour
5 tbsp (75 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
7 tbsp (120 g) tahini
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tbsp white sesame seeds

  1. To make the dough, put the yeast, sugar and milk into a small bowl. Mix to combine, then set aside for 5 minutes, or until it starts to bubble.
  2. Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil.
  3. Put the flour and 1/2 tsp of salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed, then slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Add the melted butter and continue to mix for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the egg to the mixer bowl, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes, for the dough to get well kneaded. Using your hands, scrape the dough into a ball; it will be slightly sticky and elastic. Place it in the oiled bowl, turning it a couple of times so that the dough gets well greased. Cover the bowl and let rest in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough is almost doubled in size.
  5. Put the 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar and the cinnamon into a small bowl. Mix well to combine, then set aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 14 x 20 inches (35 x 50 cm). Drizzle the tahini over the dough, then, using the back of a spoon or a spatula, spread it out evenly, leaving 1/2 inch (1 cm) clear of tahini at both the shorter ends. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the tahini and let rest for 10 minutes, until the sugar looks all wet.
  7. Starting from one of the long sides, roll the dough inward to form a long, thin sausage. Trim away about 3/4 inch (2 cm) from each end, then slice the dough into 10 equal pieces; they should each be just over 1 3/4 inches (4.5 cm) long. Sit each piece upright, so that a cut side is facing upward, then, using your hands, gently flatten it to form a 3 1/4-inch- (8 cm-) wide circle. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Transfer each roll of dough to the prepared baking sheet, spaced 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Brush the top and sides with the egg yolk, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 18 minutes, or until cooked through and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside for about 20 minutes — you don’t want them to be piping hot — then serve.

Makes: 10 rolls

Falastin by Sami Tamini and Tara Wigley.

So this is a great cookbook! I have enjoyed cooking and baking my way through it, with so many more recipes I want to try, especially after seeing other posts from the cookbook club in Instagram.

Previously, I made the semifreddo from the dessert section. 

Other recipes I've made:
Hassan's easy eggs with za'atar and lemon
Green shakshuka
Hummus with kofta
Roasted [squash and] zucchini with whipped feta and pistachios
[Cauliflower] musakhan (instead of chicken!)
Lemon chicken with za'atar

Other recipes I want to make:
Fruit and yogurt with sesame oat crumble and tahini-date syrup
Scrambled red shakshuka
Cauliflower and cumin fritters with mint yogurt
Mashed turnip with greens, caramelized onions, and feta
Chilled cucumber and tahini soup with spicy pumpkin seeds
Beet and feta galette with za'atar and honey
Pasta with yogurt and parsley breadcrumbs
Baked fish kubbeh
Baked fish in tahini sauce
Open cauliflower pies (sfiha)
Kofta with tahini, potato, and onion
Ma'amoul bars

Monday, September 28, 2020

Lemon Poppyseed Crinkle Cookies from Tasty Pride

If you're like me, you follow those Tasty videos that make cooking/baking anything within reach. They've started compiling recipes in different themes and publishing them, and one I had a review copy of is Tasty Pride, gathered by Jesse Szewczyk (who I follow in Instagram) and featuring 75 LGBTQ+ identifying cooks, chefs, recipe developers, food writers, and other people in the food industry. Full color pictures make all the recipes appealing but of course I gravitated toward the dessert chapter. (I also marked the "Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet à la Mode, by the creators of Coolhaus, to try.) Growing up, my Mom made a lemon poppyseed cake so often it was like her signature cake, and we always made chocolate crinkle cookies for the holidays (although we call them wagon wheels), so this recipe was appealing to me in its flavor profile and nostalgia feels. I gave most of them to my new neighbors next door because otherwise I would have eaten them all myself~ I did change a few of the steps, so check below the recipe for my modifications.

Lemon Poppyseed Crinkle Cookies
Recipe by Justin Burke-Samson

Makes about 25 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Cream on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the lemon juice, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, until fully incorporated. The mixture will look broken at first, but it will come together.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula to incorporate any floury bits at the bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a 2-tbsp cookie scoop to portion out the dough and place the balls on the pans at least 2 inches apart. Wrap the baking sheets in plastic wrap and freeze the dough for at least 2 hours or up to 1 month.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6.  Roll the balls of cookie dough in confectioners' sugar, then return to the baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 16 minutes, rotating the pans halfway, or until cracks form and the edges are slightly golden. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheets. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Notes from JennyBakes:

When I'm making anything sweet that is citrus, I zest the fruit into the granulated sugar and rub it through with my fingertips. It just makes the cookies super lemony!

I skipped the freezer time. Once the dough was chilled, I didn't see a point in freezing it. The balls were fine quickly rolled in the confectioners' sugar and baked immediately. It still took a solid 16 minutes.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Orange blossom, honey, and baklava semifreddo

I have been participating in the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club in Instagram, and the cookbook of the month for September is Falastin by Sami Tamini and Tara Wigley. There are a certain number of recipes that everyone is making, and you can find them by looking for the #rainydaybitescookbookclub tag - so far I've posted hummus with kofta (made with Impossible burger) and green shakshuka. But you know me, I always linger in the baked goods and dessert sections of cookbooks. I have several recipes marked but this semifreddo really caught me, probably because it called for orange blossom water and I was so proud because I thought I had it. I did not realize I didn't actually have any anymore until I was too deep into the recipe, but I found some reasonable substitutes. I think my orange blossom water was tossed in the Big Pantry Reorganization of Pandemic Times 2020, because I know I hadn't used it all. I had been adding some to my iced coffee sometimes, a brilliant idea I got from author Monica Byrne.

This was delicious, lightly sweet and not cloying in sweetness or richness. It is the perfect end to a lighter or heavy meal. And although not traditional, it incorporates so many flavors from Palestine that I'm going to include it in my 2020 reading/baking project.

Orange blossom, honey, and baklava semifreddo

1 cup heavy cream
6 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water

Baklava filling
2/3 cup pistachios, toasted
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10 cardamom pods, shells crushed and then discarded, seeds finely ground in a mortar and pestle (or 3/4 tsp ground cardamom)
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
2 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp orange blossom water

Orange sauce
2 oranges
Mounded 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly torn

Lightly grease and line the base and sides of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Set aside until ready to use. 

To make the semifreddo, put the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until medium peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl and keep in the fridge until needed. Wash the bowl and whisk and return them to the mixer; they need to be clean and ready to whisk the eggs halfway through the next stage.

Put the sugar, honey, and water into a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then decrease to a simmer, stirring often. After 3 minutes, add the egg and egg yolks to the bowl of the stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until pale and creamy. Decrease the speed to medium-low and slowly pour in the bubbling hot syrup, which should be foamy and glossy. Once the syrup is completely incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat for about 6 minutes, untiul the mixture is pale and glossy and the bowl is cool to the touch. Using a spatula, fold in the orange blossom water and whipped cream until just combined. Put half the mixture - about 7 oz/200 g - into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top. Wrap with parchment paper and freeze for 2 hours. Refrigerate the other half of the mixture in a separate bowl until needed.

To make the baklava filling, put the pistachios and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor and blitz roughly until crumbled. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the spices, salt, honey, and orange blossom water. Once the semifreddo has been in the freezer for 2 hours, gently top with the baklava filling. Spread it out so that the top is covered, without pushing it in. Remove the reserved semifreddo from the fridge, give it a good whisk by hand, then pour it over the baklava filling. Spread it out until smooth, then rewrap the pan with parchment paper and freeze overnight.

To make the sauce, use a small, sharp knife to trim the tops and tails off the oranges. Cut down along their round urves, removing the skin and white pith. Release the segments by slicing between the membranes and transfer them to a bowl, discarding any seeds and squeezing what's left of the membranes to release any liquid into the bowl. Just before serving, add the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves to teh sauce.

Either spoon the sauce in a line along the top of the semifreddo before slicing or serve alongside.

Notes from JennyBakes:

-Since I knew fairly early I didn't have orange blossom water, I zested the orange and rubbed that into the sugar for the semifreddo, and substituted orange juice other places that called for the water.

-I didn't want to wash the food processor again so I just did some rough chopping of the nuts and it was just fine.

Falastin: A Cookbook
by Sami Tamini and Tara Wigley

Other recipes I've made:
Hassan's easy eggs with za'atar and lemon
Green shakshuka
Hummus with kofta
Roasted [squash and] zucchini with whipped feta and pistachios
[Cauliflower] musakhan (instead of chicken!)
Lemon chicken with za'atar

Other recipes I want to make:
Fruit and yogurt with sesame oat crumble and tahini-date syrup
Scrambled red shakshuka
Cauliflower and cumin fritters with mint yogurt
Mashed turnip with greens, caramelized onions, and feta
Chilled cucumber and tahini soup with spicy pumpkin seeds
Beet and feta galette with za'atar and honey
Pasta with yogurt and parsley breadcrumbs
Baked fish kubbeh
Baked fish in tahini sauce (I made a similar recipe from Ralph Nader's Lebanese cookbook)
Open cauliflower pies (sfiha)
Kofta with tahini, potato, and onion
Sweet tahini rolls
Ma'amoul bars

Hmm, this is probably not all going to happen in September!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Marionberry Cocoa Nib Scones

Last week I posted about the chocolate chip (cookies) of the future and I will have some of the baking products from Dandelion to play with for a while, so don't be surprised if half my posts relate to that in the near future. This recipe started with their scone recipe but I went rogue on a few ingredients and used a different process so your mileage may vary. I've been staying up late watching fire reports about where I grew up in Oregon, especially since the entire mountain I grew up on was evacuated. My Mom moved into town from there in April but that didn't meant I wasn't still worried about it. With my head in Oregon I decided to make an Oregon dessert and used some of the marionberries I had in the freezer for special occasions. I decided to try pairing them in the scone with a little chocolate but more subtly in the form of cocoa nibs (which also add texture) and just a few chocolate chips. I would make these again, but would probably bake them at least at 375 for a slightly shorter amount of time (I've never baked scones at 350, but since I did when I made this batch, I'll leave it in this post.)

Marionberry Cocoa Nib Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
3/4 cup frozen marionberries (can use other berries, maybe not strawberries, dried fruit probably okay)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup large crystal sugar (or use what you have)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients into large mixing bowl.
  3. Blend butter into dry ingredients until texture is like rough sand. Using a food processor is okay but fingertips are even better. You don't want to overmix.
  4. Add berries or dried fruit, chocolate chips, and cocoa nibs and toss to coat with flour mixture.
  5. Mix egg with whole milk and vanilla, then trickle over dry ingredients. Use a fork or your hand to lightly mix until mixture starts coming together.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Gather dough together into 1-2 circles. Cut smaller circles into 4, one large circle into 8, and separate wedges on parchment. 
  7. Brush heavy cream on the top of the scone, and sprinkle with crystal sugar.
  8. Bake 25 minutes until starting to brown, your finger pressing on one doesn't make a squish inside, but not so long the bottoms burn!

Monday, September 07, 2020

Chocolate Chip (Cookies) of the Future

 In the middle of August, I received an email from my husband with the subject line "Choco Chippies of the Future" and it contained this link. I learned about a Tesla senior design engineer who also played with chocolate and had come up with a new faceted design. 

I thought, "Cool!" My husband thought, "We need to try this" and just a few days later I opened a box from Dandelion Chocolates (and the chocolate hadn't melted, which might be the most amazing part of this story) - it contained a cookbook that also had their story in it, large chocolate chips, cacao nibs, melting chocolate, and cacao passion fruit jam. It looks like you can order the bundle minus the cookbook from their site, but it is currently sold out. Probably because of all the people who had to order it after reading the article!

Not surprisingly, the cookies are delicious.

Maybe the Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Making Chocolate, by the people who also brought us the chocolate chips of the future)


 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups chopped 70% tempered chocolate


In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix on low speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two additions, mixing on low speed to just combine after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Mix on low speed until just combined, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped chocolate and mix on the lowest speed, just until the chips are distributed evenly throughout the dough.

Although you can bake the cookies at this point, we recommend refrigerating the dough overnight (chilling the dough for at least a few hours produces a chewier, more flavorful cookie with better color and even spreading.) When you're ready to bake, scoop out 1/4-cup portions of the dough, roll each into a ball, and press the dough balls down slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheets, but do not crowd the cookies; we recommend no more than 6 cookies per baking sheet. They will look enormous.

Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown on the edges, rotating the baking sheets 180 degrees halfway through to ensure even coloring. These are delicious served warm, or cool them completely on the baking sheets and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Sweet Potato Bebinca from Season by Nik Sharma

I thought I was done with this cookbook (Season by Nik Sharma) but every time I see someone in the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club (in Instagram) try another recipe from it, I am drawn back in to the other recipes I've marked. I baked the sweet potatoes for this before realizing I didn't have coconut milk, so this recipe was made over the period of a week. See beneath the recipe for a link to the cookbook as well as how I simplified the recipe process.

This is a take on a traditional Goan custard, but I found it to be more firm than I was expecting. To me the firmness was an asset. It makes it easier to cut, serve, store, and more. The flavor is divine. If any people actually gather for Thanksgiving, I volunteer to bring this! It's the flavors of a sweet potato dessert but easier than pie, and I think I like it better than pie texture. It could be dressed up with whipped cream and nuts or something but I don't think it needs it.


Sweet Potato Bebinca

(recipe is from Season by Nik Sharma but I'm taking this from the New York Times, which you should visit for more contextual info and a picture of a greater smooth texture than I achieved)


  • 2 to 3 medium to large sweet potatoes (1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup/200 grams grated jaggery, muscovado, panela or dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup/60 milliliters maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (13.5-ounce/400-milliliter) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup/130 grams all-purpose flour


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the sweet potatoes to remove any dirt, pat them dry with paper towels and poke several holes in them with a fork. Put the potatoes in a baking dish or on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast until completely tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool completely before handling. Peel the sweet potatoes, discard the skins, and purée the flesh in a food processor. Measure out 1 2/3 cups/400 grams and set aside, saving the rest for another purpose. (The sweet potatoes may be roasted 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round baking pan with 2-inch sides with parchment paper and grease lightly with butter. Put the pan on a baking sheet. In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled sweet potato purée, melted butter, eggs, sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg, turmeric and salt until smooth. Add the coconut milk and flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth, with no visible streaks of flour.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put the pan, still on the baking sheet, in the oven. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. The pudding should be firm to the touch in the center and light golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Wrap the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Once the bebinca has set, run a sharp knife around the sides of the pan, flip the pan onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and tap gently to release. Peel the parchment off the top. Invert onto a serving dish, and peel off the second sheet of parchment paper.
  6. To serve, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the chilled bebinca into wedges. Store the leftover bebinca, wrapped in plastic wrap, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes from JennyBakes

 I have no idea why the directions don't use a springform pan - half the steps described are unnecessary if you just use a springform pan. I guess there's a little bit of a ledge that forms on the bottom outside, but it's so much simpler! That's the only change I made. (This is also true about his chai masala apple cake which I made the day I'm writing this post - made the same change for that one, and it didn't sag on the edge at all.

I used brown sugar, just light, because that's what I have. I did some looking for jaggery and decided I didn't need to buy it when it wasn't required.

The recipe says to just use a whisk but my sweet potato was still pretty chunky and didn't completely incorporate, which you can really see in the second picture. This had little effect on end result or flavor but the full blend of the cookbook picture and the NYT photo does look slightly more impressive. Next time I'd either run the mixture through the food processor (not the blender or mixer as I don't think it would be wise to introduce more air into it necessarily) or better puree the sweet potato. I bet if you take it directly from the oven and it hadn't been in the fridge a few days, this may not be a problem.