Monday, April 26, 2021

Mine-All-Mine Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cookies from Nigella Lawson

I poked around Nigella Lawson's newest cookbook, Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories and found the usual inviting tone I'm used to in her recipes and shows. She always makes a dish seem possible whether it's a recipe for two cookies (for one) or a more complex dinner. I love how this cookbook even has a rhubarb section, with a mix of specific recipes and also some written about in a narrative about rhubarb, from which a person could glean a recipe. (I've also discovered, between Nigella and Edd Kimber, that the British possible benefit from something called forced rhubarb which I'm not sure we even have in the United States.) I've marked other recipes to try but was of course going to go for these cookies first. I used Raaka maple dark chocolate discs instead of mini bittersweet chocolate chips, and added more than you would think should be reasonable, and was not sorry.

Two dark chocolate cookies together on a red plate.

Mine-All-Mine Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cookies


  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1½ Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅛ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (vegan is fine)
  • 1½ Tbsp superfine sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp mini bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ tsp flaky sea salt

One cookie cut in half to show the melty center, with a backdrop of a back yard fence with lights illuminated along it.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a light-colored baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a small bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. In a slightly larger bowl, use a small wooden spoon to beat butter, sugars and vanilla until buff-colored and creamy. A generous spoonful at a time, gently beat in flour mixture. Once dry ingredients have been absorbed, beat vigorously until a sticky rich-brown dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide mixture into 2 portions, forming each into a 2½-inch patty. Place at least 4 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with flaky sea salt. Bake 12 minutes or until tops are riven with cracks (cookies will be soft). Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes before eating (if you can).

Monday, April 19, 2021

Rhubarb and Berry Swamp Pie

In working through The Book on Pie by Erin Jeanne McDowell with the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Challenge, I encountered a pie that I had never heard of - the swamp pie. McDowell learned of the swamp pie from a colleague at Food52 when she made a Raspberry Swamp Pie with two crusts, which was topped with custard mid-bake, and baked until set. McDowell took that idea, changed the berry, and tweaked it to have a streusel top instead. Her adaptation is the recipe in her cookbook and on Food52 (along with a very useful instructional video on this pie but also custard pies in general.) I have had rhubarb in the freezer begging to be used during the spring, so I decided to make a rhubarb adaptation. I decided 1.5 pounds of blueberries would be roughly 4 1/4-4 1/2 cups fruit, so I went with 3ish cups of rhubarb, 1ish cup of blueberries from last summer's garden, and the leftover raspberries from our Saturday breakfast (pancakes, always.)

Overhead shot of streusel topped pie with browned crust and peeks of tan custard, blue blueberries, and pink custard.


Blueberry (& Rhubarb!) Swamp Pie

        Streusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour*
  • 1/2 cup (53 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
        Blueberry Filling
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) fresh blueberries*
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 par-baked pie crust

    Custard Filling

  • 3/4 cup (171 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (57 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the lower third of the oven (preferably with a baking steel or stone on it). Stir all the ingredients for the streusel together to combine, then add the butter and cut it into the mixture until it forms large clumps.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the lemon zest and juice. (If using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean, add here, too.)
  3. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and vanilla bean scrapings with your hands, rubbing the two together to disperse the seeds. Stir in the flour and salt, then sprinkle this mixture over the blueberries, stirring until well combined.
  4. Pour this mixture into the cooled par-baked pie crust and arrange in an even layer. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the pie.
  5. Transfer the pie to the oven (on top of the steel/stone, if using). Bake until the crust is deeply golden and the berries are juicy and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes.
  6. Just before the pie reaches the 35 minute mark, make the custard filling. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla to combine. When the pie reaches the doneness listed in step 4, pull out the oven rack and gently pour the cream mixture all over the surface of the bubbling pie. If the cream looks like it’s going to overflow over the edge of the crust, make a small hole with a paring knife to give you a spot to pour the custard, then slowly pour the custard into the well. Don’t go too fast, or it will overflow instead of sinking into the pie.
  7. Return the rack to the proper place and continue to bake until the custard is set around the edges but slightly jiggly in the center, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.


A slice of pie on a crystal plate, topped with vanilla icecream.

Notes from JennyBakes:

- I used a pate brisee crust in hopes it would par bake without shrinking (and I used dried beans as pie weights) - this worked! She recommends an all-butter crust but I was not feeling that confident.

- I don't really keep whole-wheat flour on hand, so I just used 2 more tbsp all-purpose flour. I could have used a nut flour instead and that would have added a bit more texture. No big deal.

- As described in my intro, I think you can use a scant 4.5 cups of almost any fruit you'd usually bake in a pie instead of the blueberries.

- Because I used frozen fruit, I had to bake this pie so much longer than the directions called for. Like 30 minutes longer. But it didn't burn, although I probably could have waited longer to add the custard. My fruit in the middle was not yet bubbling when I added it.

- If I made this combo again, and I would, because it was tasty, I might add a bit more sugar since rhubarb alone is not very sweet.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Fudge Brownies with Spicy Peanut Butter Swirl

My picture of these brownies will be a bit misleading because I know I had some kind of user error, leading the swirl to be more of a full-on layer, not baking very quickly, possibly overbaking the rest, and so on. But I really like the concept, I thought they still tasted great in the end, so I will encourage you to check out the cookbook and the recipe and see if you can do better than me. (I'm pretty sure it was the peanut butter I used!) This comes from Food Between Friends by Jesse Taylor Ferguson and Julie Tanous.

Side view of fudgy brownie with lighter brown peanut butter layer on top

Fudge Brownies with Spicy Peanut Butter Swirl

Spicy Peanut Butter Swirl

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (regular old supermarket brands, not the natural stuff)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt


Nonstick cooking spray
10 tbsp unsalted butter
5 oz 70-72% dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour

  1. Make the peanut butter swirl: In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt until smooth. 
  2. Make the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch square cake pan or baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Combine the butter and chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl. Melt in the microwave until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds, about 1 minute total. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour. Do not overmix.
  4. Transfer the batter to the baking dish. Dollop the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl it through. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean, but with a few moist crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before cutting into 16 brownies.


Monday, April 05, 2021

Rhubarb Bostock

As long-time readers of this blog know, sometimes I get a recipe in my head and can't let go of it until I try making it! And that's how it's been with rhubarb bostock. I saw it on the Instagram feed of Edd Kimber (aka @theboywhobakes) and once I started poking around, found a bunch of other bakers posting about it. It was like the baked good I'd never noticed!

And it is rather humble - it starts with stale brioche, adds some almond cream and fresh fruit, and gets baked in the oven with flaked almonds, and finally served with a little snow of powdered sugar. It's great to use up brioche (and thus was invented by bakeries) and also a great vehicle for seasonal fruit. I would probably just refer to it as... .FANCY TOAST.

One slice of rhubarb bostock

I had rhubarb in my freezer, so it's in celery slices instead of prettier stems (aka Edd Kimber's version.) I also think because mine was frozen, I had to bake an extra five minutes for mine to look browned and done in the middle. My husband thinks that once baked, it looks like hot dog pieces. But it doesn't taste like hot dogs, so there's that. And honestly brioche treated this way turns it into a handheld custard, and is very delicious. 

I used a different frangipane (almond cream) recipe - first I looked for one that could be made from almond paste since I had some, but I found an even simpler version with almond flour. Edd's starts with ground nuts and I wasn't sure how that compared to almond flour (I don't think it's that different.)

I can see a brunch scenario where you bake a pan of these without fruit and let people top them with jam or fruit to their tastes.

Rhubarb Bostock
Serves 8

8 stale slices of brioche
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
1 large egg
125g ground almonds
300g rhubarb
4 tbsp flaked almonds

For the sugar syrup add the sugar, vanilla bean paste and 50ml of water to a small saucepan and place over medium heat and cook until simmering and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside. This can be made and refrigerated up to a week in advance. 

For the frangipane place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine then finish by mixing through the ground almonds to make a thick paste. Again this mixture can be made and then refrigerate in advance, it will keep for a couple days before it needs using but bear in mind as it chills it will become firmer so you’ll need to let it warm up a little before using. 

When ready to make preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line a baking tray with parchment. Brush the slices of brioche with sugar syrup, making sure to use all of it. Spread the frangipane over the brioche (you can either do this with a spoon, or pipe it on with a piping bag). Cut the rhubarb into small batons that fit on the brioche and place on top of the frangipane. Finish with a sprinkling of flaked almonds.

Bake the bostocks for about 25-30 minutes or until the frangipane is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving, still a touch warm. 

The bostocks are best on the day made but can be served a day later if you have some left over.