Baking

dark chocolate brownies

Recently, I began playing around with cassava flour. A reader whom I had the pleasure to meet in person a few months ago mentioned it as a good grain-free, gluten-free alternative. I’d been meaning to Google it ever since. Then I happened to see a bag of it at my local health food store. Talk about sticker shock when I saw the price ($17 for a 2-pound bag!). I wondered how many people like myself were curious about it, but too scared off by the price tag. Into my cart went the bag, delegating myself the official taste tester, and risk taker, for all of us collectively.

Cassava flour isn’t a perfect fit for every recipe, and it certainly isn’t an even swap, regardless of what the packaging says. I’ll do a more detailed post on this in the coming weeks. I still have a bit more playing around to do with it. I’ve shared a recipe for grain-free brownies before, and hot dang they are amazing. But you can taste the almond flour bits in them (I don’t mind that), and since they have nuts, they’re not well, um, nut-free. Which is what prompted me to develop another grain-free brownie recipe last week using the cassava flour. Continue reading »

peanut butter cereal treats

It’s funny how my girls would eat the same lunch and dinner for days, perhaps weeks, on end, if given the choice, yet breakfast is where they crave variety. This makes it feel a bit like a yo-yo, with me trying to constantly provide options tempting enough to get a meal in them before a long day at school.

Some mornings I make a hot breakfast, but they’re not so keen on that during the school week. I think they prefer to be lazy, and enjoy their hot meals without the rush of getting ready for school. I do make a big batch of waffles every week or two, and store them in a zip top bag for Isabella can heat them up in the toaster. Granola is a phase, too, but not always a given. If I make it too often, the batch lingers, their interest having waned. Continue reading »

semolina soda bread

I’m popping in today to share two things with you. First, look at that lovely semolina soda bread. Doesn’t it look divine? I fell in love with baking (and eating) soda bread five years ago, after reading a recipe in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day. Since then, many variations have come out of my kitchen (there’s a fabulous Buckwheat Soda Bread in the current issue of my magazine). While doing some behind the scenes work and blog housekeeping, I came across this recipe from January of 2011. Continue reading »

how to ripen bananas in 10 minutes {video}

Just when you think you’ve baked the best banana bread of your life, you stumble upon another recipe that makes you go “whoa”. Or in my case, it means I start out baking one of my recipes, then tweak it for one reason or another, and fall in love with an old classic all over again. Banana bread used to be one of those baked goods I made only because I had overripe bananas that needed to be used up. It was a default, a way to rescue otherwise edible food from the trash bin (stop gasping, I’m at least being honest here).

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7-minute marshmallow frosting

Remember those birthday cupcakes I mentioned in my last post? Well, I’m going to start by sharing my recipe for the best marshmallow frosting ever. Even better? It only takes seven minutes to make (no joke). Think of this as a cupcake cliffhanger.

Six years ago when creating that ring ding cake for Mikey, I made a seven-minute icing to use as the filling. What I loved most about the recipe is that it was no-cook. Most seven-minute icing recipes call for making a simple syrup of water and sugar, then drizzling it into the egg whites while beating them. I don’t like extra, unnecessary steps, and this is one case when it’s really wasteful from a time perspective. Cleaning dishes is also one of my least favorite chores, so if I can save time and have one less pot to wash, then it’s a double win. Continue reading »

tangerine tea cakes | the weekend baker

I’ve got to keep reminding myself it’s only Tuesday. After 10 days home with the kids, yesterday felt like the longest Monday on record. The snowpocalypse here resulted in school being cancelled for an entire week. There’s much speculation about the ineptitude of the D.C. area to handle snow removal, and as a lifelong New Yorker who’s weathered many storms, I can’t help but let out a few harrumphs myself. In my 20s I believed a native New Yorker could survive anywhere. I mean, growing up in a rough, rugged city (or at least it used to be), any place else would be a cake walk. I’ve been proven wrong. It’s harder because the bar is set so high, but I’m going off on a tangent here. Let’s get back to the real reason I’m popping in today. Continue reading »

clementine, honey & olive oil cake

I’ve lost my mojo—remember that line from one of the Austin Power’s movies? This never used to be a problem, and it frustrates me to no end when it happens now. I’ve yet to find a steady footing these last few years. The kitchen has provided much solace, especially during the more challenging moments in life. It was a place I could always count on to find a sense of self, and control. Right now, something is amiss, my circuits a little frazzled, and wires crossed. Some nights, I have to dig deeper than I ever thought just to put dinner on the table, to shake the numbness away from my core. Continue reading »

galette des rois

We learned a lot about French holidays during Isabella’s time in a French Dual Language program back at our old elementary school in Brooklyn. One of my favorites is surely enjoying Galette des rois, a puff pastry cake with a creamy almond filling, served on January 6th to celebrate the Epiphany (the arrival of the Three Kings to visit Jesus). My friend who grew up in the south of France used to make a yeasty, candied fruit cake, which is more common in that region. I’ve never had that version, and will have to one day give that recipe a try. Continue reading »

light rough puff pastry

I know what you’re thinking. Me, too. I made some, um, let’s not call them resolutions—suggestions, yes, that sounds better. I made some suggestions to myself to let go of the decadence December brought to my eating habits. I also decided I needed to get much better about being physically active. I never had to think about that when I lived in a city. Ever since leaving Brooklyn two years ago, physical activity beyond the steps taken from apartment door to car door, is something I have to plan. But see, that’s where this recipe for Light Rough Puff Pastry comes in. Life is supposed to be lived in moderation, right? Continue reading »

favorite christmas breakfast recipes

T-minus two days until Christmas. While I’m fine with it not being a white one, since there’s lots of driving to be done, I would’ve loved a little cooler weather. We have baked ziti on the menu for Christmas Day, and I may need to run the air conditioner in order to turn on the oven. There’s still some baking to be done today, the kids presents left to wrap, and a last minute run to Whole Foods to pick up shrimp to make shrimp cocktail for tomorrow night. But on Christmas Day, I hope to curl up with a book, and decompress a bit before getting in the car to drive to New Jersey to celebrate our first Christmas with my guy’s family. With that in mind, I’m going to keep Christmas breakfast on the simple side. The great thing about most of my recipes, is that they come together pretty effortlessly. If I decide on waffles or scones, I can mix all the dry ingredients the night before, then just add the wet ingredients in the morning (note to self: remember to buy bacon at Whole Foods). And if I veer in a savory direction, eggs require little energy. Here’s a few more of my favorites recipes for a relaxing Christmas morning, in case you’re looking for a few ideas of what to make.

I’ll be sharing a special Christmas Eve Thankful Thursdays post tomorrow, so keep an eye out for it (and here’s the link if you want to subscribe to my emails). Merry Christmas to you all. May the day be filled with love and peace. Continue reading »