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.