Archive | snacks

Chocolate Babka

If it were not for Downton Abbey, I wouldn’t have known that ironing newsprint sets the ink, leaving one’s hands stain-free. Then again, I have yet to test this method. My last newspaper print subscription ended more than half a decade ago.  J’s mom, on the other hand, still gets her daily Globe and Mail. I kind of miss it and I must admit, I don’t think I’ll mind having stained fingers. I miss reading the papers and holding them in front of me on a table, a guilty pleasure I still do at coffee shops and from my occasional  purchase. They remind me of simpler times.

I remember being six or seven, eagerly awaiting the newspaper and milk delivery guys on summer mornings at my grandparents’ home. My grandmother would usually be found watering the red, pink, yellow and orange daisies along the curved driveway in front of the house. I would sit on, what seemed to me then were, always impeccably-clean mustard-colored stone doorsteps. My grandfather would either be typing away in the office, or busy attending to some concerns in the community (he was the head of a theological seminary then).  The glass jug of freshly pasteurized carabao’s milk from the nearby dairy farm would usually arrive first and I would carry it straight to the kitchen. It’s a dairy treat that’s not just for drinking, but also for eating —  it’s poured over fried or steamed jasmine rice and sprinkled with rock salt, a delicious combination I tell you. As for the newspaper, I would take it to the dining table and everyone would have their piece of it once breakfast was ready. I took the comics section, with Garfield and Dennis the Menace. Breakfast conversations were a mix of chatter about the headlines, politics, crime, sports (oh, how Filipinos love their basketball), and everything and anything that’s going on with us and the community. Oftentimes, my conversational contributions were about my new jokes, new “inventions”, and a rough idea of where my friends and I will go that day, and what food we’re taking for the lunch. There were no table-side electronic gadgets that demanded attention then, so everyone talked and read.

W (J’s mom) shares her newspapers every now and then, when there’s something interesting to read (we don’t live close enough to share papers reguarly), like the 2-page spread of the different FIFA teams and the match schedules. She’ll sometimes bring a newspaper clipping of a recipe she thinks we’ll enjoy and would have otherwise missed, like this chocolate babka. She gave it to us on a Thursday night and after quickly going through it, I decided to make it the next evening. Saturdays being our cleaning days, I go for recipes I can make ahead on Friday nights. This fits the criteria perfectly.

Chocolate Babka

In the morning, all that was left to do were the egg wash and the crumble topping while the oven is preheating.

The scent of chocolate melting between layers of dough makes its way from the kitchen to adjacent rooms after the 30-minute mark. By the time the oven beeps and you’ve been intoxicated by the baking aromas, you’ll meet an impressive-looking golden brown loaf once you open the oven. It really is a stunner.

Sliced Chocolate Babka

However, don’t start calling every one  just yet. It is best to  delay (every)one’s gratification and let it cool for a bit to set the chocolate, or it would be oozing everywhere when you try to slice it. It is truly worth the wait and can melt any morning grumpiness.

If you want to take it one chocolate step further, spread Nutella on a slice. [And know what else this would be good for? French toast.]

The length of the recipe looks daunting, but just take a deep breath and read through it carefully. There’s nothing complicated and with a little bit of patience. you can do it. I’ve included a lot of photos below to guide you through the different processes, which I hope would help.

I like this tradition of passing on recipes, from J’s mom, to us, then to you. This turned out to be a lovely and special breakfast for us, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, too.

If you have any questions, you know where to reach me. :-)

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Posted in baking, bread, breakfast, brunch, chocolate, coffee buddy, make-ahead, snacks4 Comments

Filipino Pan De Sal

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There’s nothing more definitive of my childhood breakfast –and I guess, the same goes for many other Filipinos–than pan de sal. The steam escaping out of the brown paper bag from the freshly baked buns, the crumbs getting all over your fingers,  the hot, tongue-numbing first bite…I missed every bit of it when we moved here. We eventually found out about Aling Mary‘s where we could get them fresh from the oven, which I remember doing twice. Twice.

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Pan de sal and coffee is akin to butter and bread. Inseparable, and you couldn’t go wrong with that combination.

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As the years went on, I slowly learned how to cook and bake, and eventually baked my own bread. I yearned to make pan de sal. I tried making my own half a decade ago, but they didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. At the beginning of this year, I set out to give it another go. After trying many recipes I found, I STILL wasn’t satisfied the least bit. Some tasted like brioche, others were too dry, and they all basically don’t have the right flavor and texture. It was frustrating, there’s no question about that. I experimented a lot. I wasn’t as lucky creating the recipe as I was when I made another Filipino classic, the mocha cake. It took me more than 20 batches of pan de sal and a lot of eating before I was finally happy with it. [Huge thanks to the beau J and the kids for putting up with all the not-so-perfect pan de sal iterations!] Then I’ve had a lot of people outside of family taste it over the course of more than 6 months — both Filipinos and non-Filipinos love them. And then when I thought I arrived at my final recipe, I baked pan de sal almost every week, sometimes even twice a week, because we went through 2 dozen buns so quickly during the school weeks (they make awesome lunch sandwiches).   Continue Reading

Posted in baking, bread, coffee buddy, experiments, featured, Filipino dishes, make-ahead, original Gourmeted recipe, snacks1 Comment

Peaches with Goat Cheese and Honey

There’s no getting around the too-lazy-too-cook-for-oneself bug when you’re at home for lunch on a hot summer day, or any day for that matter. I’ve heard it many times from friends who live alone: how do you get motivated to prepare a healthy meal or snack? Look no further than your local grocery store or farmer’s market and get what’s in season. That is my dirty little secret. I can admit to eating bananas or ants on a log (i.e. celery with peanut butter and dried cranberries) when I’m really pressed for time and need sustenance.

I had this for lunch last week and I felt much better about eating it than reaching out for a bag of chips. Hey, it happens.

This is as simple as it gets:

  • Peel and slice fresh peaches (or just slice nectarines)
  • Crumbled creamy goat cheese over the quarter moon slices
  • Drizzle with a tiny bit of honey
  • Eat!

Peaches with Goat Cheese and Honey

Posted in breakfast, brunch, cheese, cooking for one, dairy, dessert, fruits, gluten-free, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy, raw, snacks, vegetarian, wheat-free0 Comments

Blueberry Smoothie Pops

When I’m not devouring fresh blueberries or baking them into pies to share, some of them make it into frozen treats like these. There’s nothing better on a hot summer day. Of course, there’s always the alternative of directly freezing fresh blueberries to pop into your mouth or crush into your favorite fizzy water or bubbly booze. ;-)

Blueberry Yogurt Pops

Blueberry Smoothie Pops
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snacks
Serves: 10-12
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup to 2 cups fresh blueberries, washed (**use 2 cups if not adding jam)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt (2%)
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese (optional, adds smoothness)
  • ½ cup milk (2% or whole)
  • ½ cup blueberry jam (**optional)
  • ⅓ cup cold simple syrup, or more to taste (made by cooking 2 cups sugar in 1 cup water in medium heat until completely dissolved)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss blueberries and sugar in a bowl, then transfer and spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet/pan lined with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Pour back into the bowl after roasting and let it cool.
  2. Using your blender or blender stick with a bowl, pulse together yogurt and cream cheese until uniformly smooth. Add milk, blueberries and jam (if using) and blend. Taste the smoothie, and add simple syrup according to your preference. As a rule, make it a bit sweeter than you would like your drinking smoothie. Freezing tones down the sweetness.
  3. Pour smoothie into popsicle molds and freeze for 30 minutes before inserting popsicle sticks. Note: soak popsicle sticks in warm water for half an hour before using to keep them from floating in the mixture while it freezes.
Notes
You can also use this recipe for strawberries (add balsamic vinegar for more flavor), cherries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, and other fruits that catch your fancy. Alternatively, you can just put raw blueberries/fruits in the smoothie -- the roasting step takes out the raw tartness from some fruits.

Posted in dessert, fruits, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy, snacks1 Comment

Quick Lunch: Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad

Chicken macaroni salad was one of my favorite party side dishes as a child. Back in Manila, it was dotted with raisins, which I’ve grown to dislike through the years. I’ve come to embrace it’s blushing cousin, the dried cranberries, which I simply adore in salads and use as often as I can. I love it with the tuna mac because it adds a touch of sweetness and tartness that complements the tuna and pineapple well.

Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad

Tuna is my preferred alternative to chicken in salads for convenience–just drain and voila, you’ll have flavorful protein to add. And thanks to that, you can make this salad in 15 minutes or less, not including the time to wait for the water to boil. To save time, I put the pot of water on maximum heat while I start chopping vegetables to make good on time.

This is a substantial lunch or a good snack to pack for work, but watch out for the tuna smell. The chicken would be less offensive to the olfactory senses for some, for sure. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days if you keep it in the coolest corner, so it’s a good make-ahead dish as well.

I’m making slow and steady progress on the eating-healthier-lunch front, and even smaller steps on blog posting, but I’m getting there. I’m almost ready to make this again for lunch, actually.

I’ve included meat and vegan alternatives in the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad

 

 

4.0 from 1 reviews
Tuna Pineapple Macaroni Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Active prep time: 
Cooking/Baking time: 
Total hands-on & cooking/baking time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • salt for boiling pasta and to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 120-gram can tuna, drained of water or oil
  • ¼ cup and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1½ tablespoon sugar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook elbow macaroni in salty water according to the package directions for al dente pasta and drain. Transfer pasta into a large bowl and add all the ingredients except for the cranberries. Add salt and pepper as desired. Add cranberries last.
Notes
Meat Alternative: Chopped cooked chicken, especially if you have leftover rotisserie chicken. Vegan Alternative: You use "simulated" chicken meat sauteed with a little bit of chicken bouillon powder or cube to add some flavor. For the mayo, Earth Balance has a "Mindful Mayo" that is dairy free.

Posted in appetizer, make-ahead, nut-free, original Gourmeted recipe, pasta, quick & easy, salads, seafood, snacks4 Comments

Nutella Bomb Brownies

I’m going to try this or this blog will never be updated ever again: tapping away on the iPad (mini, which is perfect for typing with my small hands) at 2am in the morning with what might turn out to be… a post! I already finished drafting the recipe on Evernote earlier, as a gift to myself instead of brownies, after clearing the dining table and cleaning the kitchen. This is the kind of busy I’m in now. I’ve never stopped cooking or baking, but producing content for the site is a different story altogether. And what about photos taken with the DLSR, you ask? I could take one tomorrow IF there’s any left by the time I get around to it. For now, iPhone 4S photos would do. Please bear with me as I return from my writing slumber.

Now these brownies.

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Do we need another one of these recipes, really? For Nutella Day, why not? It is, after all, the sweet and equally evil equivalent of bacon. I picked a drier and fluffier brownie from Alice Medrich’s book as the carrier of the gooey fudge “bombs” of Nutella, making sure to decrease the amount of sugar to accommodate the spread’s sweetness.

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The resulting brownie has pockets of Nutella in every bite.

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Posted in baking, cakes, chocolate, dessert, snacks0 Comments

Lemon Curd Rolls

The holidays have come and gone, and so has the beginning of the new year. Yet, you still didn’t hear from me. I’m sorry. Again. I’ve never really thought I’d be away from blogging this much, but it surely followed the theme of my 2011: There’s always a first time for something. I’ll spare you the excuses. I really am trying to get back in shape, at least when it comes to this website.** So a very late happy holidays (I hope it was memorable) and happy new year (of the dragon) to all of you! I hope we’ll pick up where we’ve left off just like old friends.

Just like old chums, here I am again at odds with Mistress Winter. She vacillates between the sublime, the dreary, and anything depressing or wonderfully surprising in between. Yesterday was dreamy, a touch warm for the season, just the kind of day for last minute lunch dates and making any excuse to go out (coffee run!).

Krystal in the sun.

Krystal the Cat shows her appreciation, lolling on the floor. I'd do the same if I were her. Cats do have quite an enviable lifestyle, don't they?

The sun-worshiping cat and I were relishing every bit of this. I worked on the couch, the glass door ajar to let some fresh air in, computer on my lap, kitty on the area rug an arm’s length away. The radio announcer’s voice echoed from the kitchen, reminding us, “Enjoy the last day of sunshine (for the week), folks.” I did catch a glimpse of the sunset as I walked down Burrard street later in the afternoon to get some gelato, the buildings juxtaposed next to the snow-capped mountains from afar. I can’t complain about the view at all. And today we expect rain. Day after day of rain.

For those of you who don’t live in Vancouver (or the Pacific Northwest, really), let me explain by saying that our rains could be overbearing. I like baking in winter specifically to scare the doldrums away. So for the next few days, I’d like to propose baking some lemon curd rolls:

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Here’s a zesty alternative to a favorite comfort food, the cinnamon rolls. Lemon curd squeezed between soft pillows of yeast-based dough and topped with melting lemon curd cream cheese glaze. It’s a welcome treat even if you’re not a lemon curd fan, and perfect for sharing.

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I’ve made these a few times and we always finish it among family members. I suggest on preparing more as they do go fast. The citrus flavors could be deceiving, not too filling, that sticking to one roll might be a challenge.

If you make the lemon curd yourself (recipe below), you’ll have an extra jar to keep. You can top up the glaze with even more curd, or you can keep it for future consumption. I like having emergency lemon curd at hand. Why not?

So here’s the to the rainy days. I’ll be ready for you.

** Twitter, on the other hand, is another story. It’s easier to share what I’ve been up to in delimited semi-comprehensible outbursts. You can easily ping me there.

LEMON CURD ROLLS

he Lemon Curd Rolls recipe was inspired by my friend Tracy’s recipe for Sticky Lemon Rolls, and the Lemon Curd recipe adapted from the website, Earthbound Chronicles. The recipe for the glaze is a Gourmeted original.

Yields: 12 rolls in a 9”x13” glass or ceramic pan

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup milk, warm (whole, 2% and 1% are ok to use)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft (mayonnaise-like)
  • 4 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • zest of 1 ½ lemons (leave the remaining ½ lemon zest for the filling)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Filling

  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup lemon curd
  • 3 tablespoons butter, soft
  • zest of ½ lemon

Glaze

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup lemon curd** (Recipe included at the end)

Preparation:

1. Prepare the dough with a stand mixer: Place warm milk in the stand mixer bowl and sprinkle with yeast; leave it for 5 minutes. Using the paddle attachment, stir in the butter, sugar, and 1 cup of flour. Add the salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and enough of the remaining flour to create a soft and sticky dough. Depending on the humidity of your kitchen, you might only need 4 cups of flour in total. Switch mixing with a dough hook once it more or less comes together as one mass; knead for 5 minutes, or until dough is elastic and pliable. You can test by pressing a finger against the dough and it bounces back quickly.

OR Prepare the dough by hand: Stir all the liquid ingredients and sugar in a large bowl using a wooden spoon. Add a cup of flour at a time and mix. Once it comes together to from one big piece of dough, transfer onto a floured surface. Knead by hand for 5 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle additional flour if the dough gets too sticky.

2. Tuck the dough into one big ball (pinch together at the bottom) and spray or massage with vegetable oil, just enough so the surface doesn’t stick. Turn the dough in the same bowl you used for mixing to grease it. Cover with plastic wrap and towel. Leave to rise in a dry and warm area of your kitchen for an hour. You can also place it in your unheated oven.

3. Prepare the filling: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until a thick homogenous paste forms.

4. Form the rolls: Lightly grease a 9”x13” rectangular baking dish with baking spray or butter. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and pat with your fingertip to spread into a large rectangle, about 10” x 15” in size. Spread the butter evenly on top of the dough, leaving at least half an inch space from the edges. Pour the filling and spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Roll the dough along its length; pinch the end of the dough with the roll (not the sides where you see the spiral pattern) to keep it from popping open. Cut the dough evenly into 12 rolls using a sharp serrated knife or a length of dental floss by wrapping and tightening it around the dough until it cuts through the dough [see photo here]. You can also use a sewing thread if you like. The string method keeps the dough from flattening out during slicing.

5. Place the rolls cut side up in the baking dish in 3 x 4 arrangement. Cover the dish with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size. [Want to bake them later? Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake, remove the pan from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour before popping in the oven sans plastic wrap.]

6. Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 35 to 40 minutes, or until slightly golden on top.

7. Prepare the glaze while the rolls are baking in the oven: Whip the cream cheese with a hand beater or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for about 3 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth before pouring the lemon curd. Beat for a minute, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula at least once.

8. Glaze the rolls right out of the oven. Spread at least half the glaze on the rolls as soon as you get them out of the oven. Save some for topping up individual servings.

Easy Lemon Curd

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of all the lemons

Preparation:

1. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolks, and mix until combined. Pour lemon juice and mix. Resulting mixture will not be homogenous and will have butter curds – don’t worry.

2. Pour into a heavy bottom pan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the curd reaches 170°F. Don’t allow it to boil or it will curdle. It is done when it coats the back of the spoon or spatula, and when you wipe it with your finger it will leave a trail. Transfer to clean bowl and set aside. Add confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth and free of lumps.

3. Transfer into a heatproof glass bowl and cool before using as filling.

Posted in baking, bread, coffee buddy, dessert, snacks7 Comments

Dorie’s Perfection Pound Cake | Look Ma, No Need To Tweak!

March has whizzed by. April is beginning to blur . It has been a very busy springtime.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, we’re organizing Bake For The Quake, an event where  bakers, collaborative sponsors, and the supportive Vancouver community come together to raise funds for Japan. There’s no question it’s almost like a second job to organize a charity bake sale event and I won’t even pretend for a second that we know what we’re doing, but we are doing the best we can. Just a couple of days ago there was a strong aftershock that rocked Japan at 7.1 magnitude on the Richter scale, with a few fatalities. Now more than ever, they need our help. So we continue to work hard for this cause. If you’re able and so inclined, please consider donating directly to our fundraising page (it will automatically go directly to Doctors Without Borders). We would also appreciate your help in spreading the word — you might have a friend or family here in Vancouver. Every tweet, link, and word passed along helps. Ah, and we have printable posters for download that would be perfect for posting at your local cafe spot, restaurant, community centre, school, or local community board — just ask for permission first before putting up. :)

Before these all happened, I signed up for an Introduction To Pottery course at the local Shadbolt Centre for the Arts — what this really means is that my schedule for the next 2 weeks is f*****d a balancing act of fragile porcelain. The first class was 3 nights ago and wow, was it ever a humbling experience to make what resembles like mere child’s play:

It doesn’t help that I was practically brain dead from exhaustion. It was a good 3 hours of fortitude, with my patience being counted to the minute. My classmates were a funny bunch, so that is definitely a plus.

I’m not even sure why I’m sharing these embarrassing items to you, but I’m hoping that in a few weeks time, just like when I started cooking, baking, and taking photos, it will eventually become better. One just have to stick with it long enough to make progress.

So while my pottery skills leave a lot to be desired or emulated, this Pound Cake recipe by Dorie Greenspan, is true to it’s name: it is perfection. No tweaking necessary.

I couldn’t ask for anything more after a long day if I’m looking for a non-alcoholic happy hour. Pound cake + tea = instant relaxation. Its soft crust and moist buttery cake goes well with jam. Or if it’s that kind of day, even vanilla bean and dark chocolate ice cream.

If you’re looking at your calendar and you have a busy week ahead, my best advice would be to make this on a Saturday and keep it for the week to nibble on. It will last at room temperature for 5 to 7 days and even those tight deadlines and running around like a chicken without a head would melt in an instant as soon as you take a bite of this.

DORIE’S PERFECTION POUND CAKE
Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2006)

A tender buttery cake with a soft crust to banish a stressful day. This delightful cake will keep for up to a week at room temperature and is lovely to eat with jams and even ice cream.  – Joy

Yields: one 9”x5” or 8.5”x4.5” pan

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (or 2 1/4 cups cake flour – creates a more tender crumb)
  • 1 teaspoon baking poder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven at 325°F with the rack positioned at the center of the oven. Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan or an 8.5″ x4.5″ loaf pan with butter. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or 2 stacked baking sheets.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar on high speed in the bowl a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Continue until mixture is pale and fluffy, about a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle, and reduce the speed to medium.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes with each interval. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl and beater to create a homogenous mixture. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until flour is in. This can also be done by hand by folding the flour into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  6. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth and level the top. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Check if it is browning too rapidly, and tent a foil over it if so. If your pan is 9″x5″, the cake needs to be baked for a total of 70 to 75 minutes. An 8.5″x4.5″ pan of cake would require a total of about 90 minutes.
  7. The cake is done when a thin knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Transfer cake pan onto a cooling rack and let it rest for 30 minutes. Carefully run the back of a bread knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen out the cake before inverting out and propping it right side up directly on the cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before wrapping.

Storage: Wrapped in clear plastic wrap, this cake will keep for 5 to 7 days at room temperature or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Posted in baking, cakes, coffee buddy, dairy, dessert, make-ahead, snacks7 Comments

Lemon Curd and Shortbread Bars

Just a couple of announcements before we get to the golden luscious bars:

Aaaand…back to our regular programming…

Weeks ago I accidentally found some Meyer lemons at the Granville Island Market. I stopped dead in my tracks in disbelief. You’d think I won a mini lottery as my eyes bugged while picking up a bag. A lot of my California friends on Twitter talk so highly of these lemons, making me envy Kristina, who has a Meyer lemon tree in her backyard. I asked my Twitter friends what to do with 5 precious lemons and went with the popular suggestion: Meyer lemon curd. It’s so simple to make (check out Robyn’s method of making curd) that I couldn’t resist. That, and it was discussed like people were talking about liquid gold. To make the long story short: it was spoonfuls of zesty sunshine that I want to eat nonstop. I did manage to wean myself, leaving a little over 1 3/4 cups to freeze for later use.

Fast forward to Monday when I finally had time to think of what to make with them. What could be fitting for my pucker-inducing citrus curd? Then I remembered coming across a recipe Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread in the Tartine cookbook. I used the shortbread part and added oat flour instead of pine nuts — because I have a bazillion bags of oat flour. Don’t ask.

It ended up so incredibly good that I’m getting requests for more shortbread and fruit curd variations.

I love a good crust! The shortbread paired with an equal amount of lemon curd is a marriage of flavors and textures that is sure to be a keeper. Some people prefer thicker “filling”, but for the Meyer lemon curd, equal amounts, is perfect.

These bars are easy to make, so don’t even hesitate to make it. :-)

Get the Lemon Curd & Shortbread Bars recipe

Posted in dessert, make-ahead, snacks, sweets, tarts5 Comments

Chocolate Donuts and a Donut Pan Giveaway!

Oh, boy. There are no excuses. I didn’t have time. The holidays just crept up on me and I didn’t even get a chance to do my annual holiday mail signup! I’ll set up a New Year’s one — that’s the plan. :) What little extra time I have, here it is…in Vegas before my flight back in the cold north.

I love my donut pan that’s about the size of a quarter baking sheet. I’ve always wanted to bake donuts, but my prior experience with a popular recipe I found online was a complete disaster. A bread is NOT a doughnut. These ones though were cake-y (my preference). They dry up after a day, BUT if you enjoy it the day of, it’s a pleasure to eat.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

And I did mention it’s baked, right? No need to deep fry!

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

I have to “blame” my fellow Leo, Tracy of Shutterbean.com for luring me with her donuts a few months ago. Hey, no regrets, I’m baking these babies again soon for the holidays. Perhaps I’ll try a more fruity version since I already have so much chocolate in mind.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

The recipe came from the packaging of the donut pan, and I’m glad it worked out for me. Hope it does for you, too!

And I know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t have that pan, Joy!” So here’s what I’ll do: I’m giving a pan each to TWO lucky winners. ‘ll keep the rules simple: just leave a comment or (re)tweet this post, and I’ll be picking the 2 winners on the 27th of December. This is only open to those with US and Canada mailing addresses because shipping would be too expensive outside of North America. I feel so bad about this, but next time I’ll have something else for international readers.

Oh, and if you think the donut pan will be rarely used in your kitchen aside from donuts, fear not! Make donut shaped rice crispies, small portion donut-shaped brioche french toast with the hole filled up with fruits, donut-shaped granola bars, and so much more. I love “playing” with food, and this is no different. It won’t be a white elephant in your kitchen, I promise.

Hopefully I’ll post again before Christmas. :) HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Chocolate Cake Donuts
Adapted from the Norpro recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F with the rack in the middle. Spray a small donut pan with cooking oil.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl, until thick, scraping the sides at least once.
  4. Combine milk and butter in a small bowl. Pour and combine with the egg mixture alternately with the flour mixture in 3 increments, until smooth and soft.
  5. Fill donut pan 2/3 full for each donut. Bake for 8 minutes until the donut tops dome up. Cool in the tray propped on a cooling rack and carefully remove after 5 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  6. Frost with your choice of icing or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a lightly sweet treat.

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