Despite being a massive Great British Bake Off superfan, I often find myself underwhelmed with a lot of Brit desserts (as they’re often a bit less moist than I prefer myself). But as I discovered on a trip to Scotland several years ago, sticky toffee pudding does NOT fall into that category.
In fact, I’m obsessed. This has a very “fall” feel to it (and that’s when I first made it), but this is true cold weather comfort food all winter long.
The thing is, I don’t like “toffee” at all, so I’d never paid this dessert any attention. I was excited to find that it doesn’t actually include any toffee, and instead is a moist treacly cake doused with buttery, sugary sauce.
(And even describing it like that would make me think I wouldn’t like it…BUT I DO. The world is a mystery.)
So is it a pudding or a cake?? Yes. British people call desserts “pudding”, which is baffling, and it’s definitely a cake. And if I understand correctly, it’s considered a “pudding” due to being more moist and having a sauce, rather than being super cake-like??
Brits, hit me up in the comments and help me understand…I’m reading between the lines of GBBO episode critiques.
As I’m one person and didn’t want to gain 32 pounds just from this recipe, I halved the recipe and it made 4 small ramekins. Halving is tricky with some of the amounts, but for any time I need to half a “3/4” amount, I shoot for halfway between 1/3 and 1/2.
I’ve been fascinated with the idea of trying out this Ligurian focaccia recipe ever since I watched the first episode of Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix.
I’d intended to just have it on in the background, but found myself mesmerized by the gorgeously-shot slow, close-ups of bubbling dough, shiny olive oil pooling in dimples, flaky salt showering over a pan. It hooked me good.
I’d been meaning to try out this recipe for months, but stalled and hemmed and hawed…something about figuring out the long first rise time and when the final product would be ready (for dinner time, ostensibly) seemed to trip me up. I wanted to actually ENJOY making this, not feel rushed or only half paying attention.
That seems silly in hindsight. But since I had some time over the winter break period to do whatever, whenever, I “scheduled” it for one of those chilly days between Christmas and New Year’s (though I celebrate neither of those) when the time kind of blurs together.
No one is really working, you’re not getting bombarded with emails, and you can just kind of…coast. Drink coffee until it’s time to drink gin. Watch the classic black-and-white “New Moon” for the umpteenth time. Maybe organize your closet. Lose a few hours reading. Wonder if it’s Tuesday or Friday.
And between doing those things you can do the few steps it takes to pretend you’re as awesome and knowledgeable as Samin Nosrat and throw together this Ligurian focaccia. You’ll mimic her gentle movements, the dreamy glug of olive oil and sprinkles of salt.
Or, honestly, you’ll rush each step but still make sure that it has plenty of time to rise (THIS IS CRITICAL), and still end up with an addictive crunchy, salty bread. Because I learned that this recipe is so simple that if you’re only half paying attention you can still end up in the same place. It takes patience in the rising, but the actual hands-on steps are so easy.
What makes Ligurian focaccia different? Many people consider Ligurian focaccia (focaccia liguria, or sometimes focaccia genovese which is where the dimples are used) to be the most traditional Italian focaccia type, though there are other regional types.
You’ll find it all of the country, sometimes by itself or with toppings, or as the basis for sandwiches as well. If you see “pizza bianca” listed on a menu, this is basically just focaccia (sometimes with a little cheese as well) so don’t be expecting a real pizza.
So let’s try this, shall we?? READ THE POST
What could be better than bittersweet dark chocolate waffles drizzled in melted peanut butter and sweet maple syrup??
Nothing. The answer is nothing. Whether for an indulgent solo brunch, a romantic “breakfast for dinner”, or just because on a trying Tuesday morning, these waffles have your back. And they’re my new obsession.
Even though they were plenty delicious the first time I made them, I’ve fiddled with the recipe quite a bit to get it PERFECT. I made a few tweaks, both for flavor and texture as well as to slim down the calorie punch a bit.
For one, I didn’t want these waffles to be too sweet—after all, you’re putting syrup on them. So I backed off both the sugar and dark chocolate…we’re after bittersweet and indulgent (with toppings), but not rich or fudgy (which tend to make me a bit nauseous).
I also wanted to make sure the waffles got good and crisp, which the cocoa powder will fight against a bit. So after doing some research, I ended up using a little cornstarch and it does the trick nicely.
And then let’s talk simplicity…the original dark chocolate waffle recipe calls for separating the eggs and whipping the egg whites, then folding them in. Honestly, I’m lazy and rarely do that for waffles. I just haven’t seen a noticeable difference. But you do you.
Either olive oil or melted butter work in this recipe, though I tend toward butter myself. The butter should make it a little more crisp and impart more flavor, and the olive oil more moist.
Make sure you use a good quality dark chocolate, not like…Hershey’s. It really does pack a punch in this recipe so if you skimp you’ll notice it. I tend to have Ghiradelli baking discs on hand so usually use that.
Every year I make my own birthday cake, using it as an excuse to try something indulgent and a bit more complicated than my usual. But this year’s orange and salted honey cake was a disappointment. Just kind of meh. So about a month later I decided I deserved a re-do…and THUS these peanut butter, banana, and salted honey cream puffs were born!
This idea came out of two different things…I had wanted to to try my hand at choux pastry for quite a while. It’s an entirely new baking technique for me, and my obsession with the Great British Bake-Off had finally pushed me to needing to try it.
Secondly, the one bright spot in my sad birthday cake debacle was trying out pastry cream (custard) for the first time and falling in love with this subtle, addictive salted honey pastry cream. So I wanted that to play a role in this recipe somehow.
So then I thought, what goes with honey?? Peanut butter, of course! And if you’re a lover of the traditional “Elvis” sandwich, then banana as well. I liked that the banana brought a fresh flavor and different texture to the whole thing.
Overall, making the choux was really easy! Like, shockingly easy. Piping it was a bit tricky since I’m terrible at piping. My biggest frustration was that I didn’t have a piping tip big enough for good-size eclairs. So I mostly went with the cream puffs since those turned out awesome.
I needed to mix up my veggie side dish game recently, because I’ve overdone it a bit on the cauliflower front, as well as being very carb-heavy (lots of sweet potatoes and butternut squash).
Enter these crispy roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic and honey…
I’m absolutely in love with this honey balsamic brussels sprouts flavor combo…the sweet-bitter taste that soaks into the sprouts and softens them a bit. That, combined with the sea salt added before roasting and the deeply charred nature of the brussels sprouts, makes this dish truly magical.
The main change I’ve made from the original recipe is backing waaaay off the amount of dressing/drizzle. I’ve found that a 1-tablespoon-to-1-teaspoon ratio works best, and even sometimes a bit less than that (I eyeball when making for myself). You don’t want it sopping wet.
Obssssssessed. That’s what I am with this spiced (and a little spicy) easy chicken shawarma.
The first time I made it, I was first blown away by how phenomenal my house smelled while it was cooking. And then when I took my first bite, the flavors just exploded in my mouth.
The recipe is so simple that it’s hard to figure out why it’s so GOOD.
You don’t need any special equipment, or really anything in the way of special ingredients, to make this. It can be thrown together in just a few minutes of hands-on time. It’s just this magical combination of spices and cooking the meat until it’s really tender. Easy peasy.
A couple of tips on this one…the turmeric ended up staining my non-stick loaf pan. So now I have a savory pan and a (new) pan for sweet bakes 🙂
Also, Nadiya’s original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cayenne which is…WHOA. But you do you. I’ve backed that off significantly in the recipe below.
Y’all, I feel so fancy. After a billion hours of watching Great British Bake-Off, I actually undertook the omnipresent pastry cream or “creme patissiere” myself with this absolutely delish salted honey custard.
And here’s the thing—IT’S SHOCKINGLY EASY. (Side note, why don’t American desserts have more pastry cream?? Missed opportunities…)
Now granted, this recipe uses cornstarch (or “corn flour”, as the Brits call it), which Mary Berry seems to consider a cheat for the skill levels of GBBO contestants.
But it’s normal in most pastry cream recipes, and is definitely our friend here in achieving a thick, pipe-able pastry cream that is great for filling cakes, cream puffs, and more (you can see it trying to spill out of the cream puffs below).
And let’s talk about this flavor, which is so DREAMMMMMY. It’s sweet enough, but the salt balances it out nicely. Quite subtle. I’m not a caramel person and so have never really understood the appeal of salted caramel. Now I know that *this* is my own personal salted caramel.
I discovered this salted honey custard as a component in the cake I initially made for my birthday…”salted honey orange cake” sounded right up my alley. But I ended up finding that neither the cake nor the frosting really did anything for me.
This custard on the other hand was my everything, and so I did a birthday cake re-do recently—“Elvis” peanut butter, banana, & honey cream puffs with this as the filling.
I interrupt this Thanksgiving recipe programming to bring you something I’ve been kind of obsessed with for the past month. With working from home, I’ve been able to play around with some easy but unique recipes for lunch or things that require a little planning ahead for dinner, and these buttery, flaky no yeast flatbreads have been a basis for several delicious meals.
The fact is that Smitten Kitchen rarely leads me wrong. I so appreciate her recipes, the clarity and detail of the steps, the tweaking to make it perfect but still super easy. And these delicious no-yeast flatbreads are no exception.
On the one hand you’ll probably look at this yogurt flatbread recipe and go “wow, that’s a lot of steps”. BUT WAIT…I know it might look fiddly but I promise it’s not. It’s just that the steps are written to be very detailed so you never feel lost. These really are easy and don’t take much hands-on time.
Because I’m only cooking for one, I usually make a half batch, which is five flatbreads in total. And because I can rarely resist eating the first one out of the pan just by itself, tearing pieces off, that leaves me with two fresh and usually two as leftovers.
A couple things that come in handy (though certainly not required) are a scraper tool and a silicone basting brush. I’m also in love with my thin rolling pin, so much easier for this type of task than the traditional fat kind with the handles.
These no yeast flatbreads come together in three easy phases, over the course of a couple hours…but not much hands-on time. I literally do it in between conference calls, about 5 minutes to mix up the dough, and then about 10 to roll them out into the “snails”.READ THE POST
It’s weird because I don’t really like caramel, and I’m not super into popcorn…but I’m ALL IN on this homemade caramel popcorn.
My mom’s been making it since I was a kid, and it’s a must-have on Thanksgiving for my family. It’s just SO GOOD! She makes a massive tub and we munch on it all afternoon while playing cards and watching .
It’s also so easy…caramel can feel quite daunting. I’ve watched approximately 1,250 hours of Great British Bake-Off and caramel is always tripping up the bakers.
But the caramel we’re making today is the opposite of fiddly. And the actual hands-on portion of this recipe is quite minimal.
Y’ALL. Peanut butter and jelly babka. This is just such an all-time flavor combo, and I’m kind of obsessed with it right now to be honest (stay tuned for a boozy pb&j milkshake comin’ at ya…).
It’s no secret I’m into basically peanut butter anything, but there’s something so comforting about a classic pb&j…this peanut butter and jelly babka is basically a fancy, addictive pb&j sandwich from when you were a kid. It’s what you WISH your sandwich had been.
Don’t be put off by the seemingly-long list of instructions…I’ve been super detailed to help make everything go well, but while this needs plenty of time in rising and baking, the actual *hands-on* parts are not difficult or time-consuming at all.
There *will* be a point when you’re trying to twist the two cut parts together where everything is falling apart, jelly and peanut butter oozing everywhere, and you’re like WHAT HAVE I DONE??? But just push through, the mess doesn’t matter. It’ll be fine. Lick your fingers when you’re done.
One other note of importance, I found I only needed just over 2 1/2 cups of flour to get the right consistency, as I didn’t want to make the dough too dry and tight. Personally I often find babkas drier and denser than I prefer, so I wanted to keep this one light and soft.
So let’s dive in, shall we??READ THE POST