Category: Sweet Recipes

Muffin Mondays | Strawberry Buttermilk Muffins

Can we talk about nutmeg and springtime? I know nutmeg is more of a cozy winter kind of spice but I love nutmeg year round. The flavor of freshly ground nutmeg is magical.  It gives sweets that extra wow flavor. You know that extra special something that makes people stop and wonder what that yumminess is. I love adding freshly grated nutmeg to French toast batter or in cheesecake crust. Combining my love of nutmeg and beautiful early spring strawberries I bring you Strawberry Buttermilk Muffins for this Muffin Monday.  The batter is super easy to whip up. The buttermilk gives the muffins moistness and a nice tang that compliments the juicy strawberries. I coat the muffin pan with a nutmeg cinnamon sugar mix and then top the muffins with more nutmeg sugar sweetness creating a nice spiced sugar crust. One bite of these muffins and I’m sure you will become a nutmeg lover like me.

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

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Cornmeal Almond Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone

Each month when Food & Wine magazine comes I eagerly flip through the pages and dog-ear all the recipes I want to make. Do I ever make them? Rarely. Not that I don’t want to. I never seem to find the time to get through the ever-growing stack of recipes I want to try. And then a month comes and goes and a new issue of Food & Wine arrives and I repeat the process.

And then there was Cornmeal Almond cake.

In the March issue of Food & Wine there is a lovely recipe for Cornmeal Almond Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone. The picture made me drool and after reading the description I knew I had to make this cake.  So I rushed to the store to gather my ingredients and begin baking. This recipe calls for 3 cups of almonds! I’m an almond lover so this was super exciting and intriguing. What would all these almonds – toasted and finely ground – do to the texture of the cake? I needed to know.

The cake took no time to make. After baking In the oven for 45 minutes, the cake is ready to cool and be slathered with a mascarpone whipped cream.

Can we take a second to talk about mascarpone whipped cream? Why isn’t all whipped cream made with mascarpone? Why? The resulting whipped cream is extra smooth with a subtle tang.  It is incredible.

And the cake. Oh the cake. Buttery, nutty, with great texture and crumble. All those almonds exude amazing flavor into the batter and create a great texture for each bite. The mascarpone brings together the crumbly cake and the sweet strawberries adding a nice silky finish. The cornmeal is really a background player – this cake is all about the almonds.

 

Cornmeal Almond Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone

make one 9 inch cake

INGREDIENTS

Cake

3 cups sliced blanched almonds (about 10 ounces)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup fine yellow cornmeal

Topping

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup fresh mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Spread the almonds on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, stirring once, until golden. Let cool completely, then transfer the almonds to a food processor and process until finely ground but not pasty.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter with the sugar and vanilla, scraping down the bowl, until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at time, beating well between additions. Scrape down the bowl and beat the batter until fluffy, 1 minute. Beat in the lemon zest and juice. With a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the batter, then the cornmeal and the ground almonds.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer the cake to a wire rack, still in the pan, and let cool to room temperature.

In a large stainless steel bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar and whip until barely firm peaks form.

Run a thin knife around the side of the cake pan and invert the cake onto the wire rack. Place a plate on top of the cake and turn the cake right side up. Cut the cake into wedges and serve with the mascarpone cream and

Muffin Mondays | Coffee Break Muffins

I like to muffinize things. I muffinize desserts, like cheesecake, so they are cute, compact and individual sized. I muffinize flavors I enjoy, like apple pie muffins or pancake muffins or donut muffins. You get the picture right? In my quest to muffinize the world, I attempted this Monday to adapt Dorie Greenspan’s Coffee Break muffins and muffinize Vietnamese iced coffee.

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Muffin Mondays | Lemon Almond Olive Oil Muffins

So it is probably no secret, but I tend to overindulge. I mean really overindulge. Not like I had an extra big slice of cake this weekend and I’m good the rest of the week. I’m talkin on a daily basis I have no self-control and eat copious amounts of sugar. Let’s take Sunday for example, I got a pie delivery from fruit+flour and she threw in a freshly baked honey chocolate chip cookie with peanuts that I quickly devoured then I was off to Canele for an incredible brunch that started with a baked pancake with Meyer lemon custard and was followed by a fried chicken sandwich and three ginormous slices of thick pan perdu French toast with mascarpone. Yeah that is a true story and that was all in the first half of the day. I went on to end my night by eating a slice the pie I had delivered in the morning. It was a Bailey’s Irish Piecream (yes! ice cream in pie form, more about that later) and it was heavenly. So you see I overindulge. But what is a girl to do when there is so much deliciousness to be had?

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Muffin Mondays | Banana Cookie Butter Muffins

Let me tell you a little bit about speculoos and why you should love it if you aren’t already a huge admirerer and then we can talk muffins. Speculoos are Belgian cookies that have a distinctly brown sugar sweet and mildly spiced flavor. My first encounter with them was in a non-traditional cookie form studded with almonds from the Belgian owned Le Pain Quotidien restaurant group. These cookies were perfect. Nutty, sweet, spicey and super thin and cripsy. I loved them.

I next enjoyed them in spreadable form over Belgian style liege waffles at Shaky Alibi. This spreadable cookie butter was irresistable. I can’t really describe it, it is more a magical thing that happens when you spread it over already delicious things like waffles or pancakes or toast. To really understand cookie butter you need to try it. One spoonful and you will be hooked. It is essentially speculoos cookies (biscuits) ground up into a peanut butter like texture.  I love it in between two warm chocolate chip cookies or served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The possibilities of cookie butter are endless and their magical effect on the foods they are paired with is spectacular.

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Garlic Rosemary Pine Nut Brittle | Dinner at Eight

If you read the title and were instantly perplexed, this IS a garlic dessert. Yes sticky, smelly, sweet garlic and it is wonderful. I too was skeptical of  garlic in a dessert, but when the Dinner at Eight ladies asked me if I would like to take care of dessert for their garlic themed Southern dinner last month, I was excited by the challenge of creating an appetizing garlic dessert.

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Muffin Mondays | Hazelnut Apple Muffins

I’m not going to lie to you; I was kind of surprised well pleasantly surprised by how delicious these muffins were. When I was making them I wasn’t sure just how good they were going to be since I have never baked with hazelnut meal before.  They are on the healthier side, which made me a little skeptical of just how tasty they would be. I also considered using only hazelnut meal and making these gluten free muffins, but I do love flour so I’m working in baby steps. I used half hazelnut meal and half flour. The resulting muffins were spongy, juicy and tender. Yes, juicy there is no other way to describe it you’ll have to just bake them to understand. The Honey Crisp apples lent a delicate sweetness that helped balance all of the hefty nuttiness from hazelnut meal and chopped hazelnuts in the muffins. These are healthy muffins that are sweet and filling.

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Muffin Mondays | Cheesecake Muffins with Grapefruit Curd

Goat cheese cheesecake with grapefruit curd has been haunting my dreams!  That one fateful pie delivery day when I received an awesome goat cheese cheesecake from fruit+flour changed it all. I crave it. I dream about it. And I can never look at cheesecake the same way.

So since it is Monday and, naturally, muffins will be had, I decided to muffinize this cheesecake. So here you have it: Goat Cheese Cheesecake Muffins with a Grapefruit Curd.

Smell it. Savor it. Dream about it.

It is creamy, delicious, citrusy and sweet. There is a wonderfully subtle tang from the goat cheese and a nice aromatic burst from the grapefruit. Best of all I came upon a glorious revelation while making these muffins – the basic ingredients for most muffins are pantry staples so when you need to satisfy a craving but are short on time or resources the obvious solution is to just muffinize it! So go forth and muffinize your week!

 

 

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

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Almond Croissants | The Best Almond Croissants in LA

Of all the breakfast pastries in all the world, I would have to say almond croissants are my absolute favorite. True story!

The soft buttery folds of dough, the flaky crust that shatters with each bite, the nutty sweetness from the gooey decadent filling, the taste and fragrance of almond – I love everything about almond croissants. And a good almond croissant is so hard to find, why is that? So often the are either dry, chewy, too soft or too sweet. When they are bad they are really bad. But when they are done right there is nothing that can compare to the perfect almond croissant. It is probably all the butter that makes them oh so good and I’m okay with that.

Having recently learned how to make these gems from scratch and having baked them almost daily for a month I am an even bigger fan girl of almond croissants. Sure it takes an incredible amount of work. Sure my arms were bruised from rolling out the dough and then folding the dough and then rolling it again. But knowing the delicate and intricate process of making croissants made me appreciate them even more. While it is nice to have your favorite cafe to pick up a morning croissant from, it can be very satisfying to make them for yourself. So here is your chance. A complicated and maybe confusing recipe below, go ahead and give it a try. You will feel rewarded  when you pull out those golden brown croissants from the oven and sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy one hot and fresh from the oven!

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Plum Jam Cake | Sqirl Jams

Naturally when it is gloomy out I feel the need to bake. Even if I still have carrot muffins with graham frosting and chocolate chip cookies lying around the kitchen waiting to be eaten, I still feel the need to add one more sweet to the bunch. Having recently enjoyed reading about a jam cake on the lovely blog Slow Like Honey, I was inspired to use my favorite Sqirl Santa Rita plum jam and make a plum jam cake. Sqirl’s plum jam screams summer stone fruit sweetness. Every time I have this jam (it’s my favorite jam flavor) I feel like I’m biting into the perfect backyard plum- juicy and ripe. I get nostalgic eating it and remember childhood summer days playing in my aunts backyard eating plums straight from the tree.

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