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A Healthier Take on Strawberry Shortcake for a Big Group

I want to eat this all day, every day.

It’s no secret that there are a few select foods that I could literally could eat every single day and not get tired of them.  Nachos (and I do), a good burger, and my homemade strawberry shortcake.  My homemade strawberry shortcake is sublime.

I stumbled upon this recipe years ago when I needed to come up with a dessert for like 15 people.  Individual shortcakes would have been way too time-consuming (and quite frankly they’re kind of dry), but I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to use the pounds of strawberries that my mom had.  And then I found the original recipe I’ve adapted here…as my original post mentioned, I’m obsessed.  It’s literally the best.

healthier-strawberry-shortcake-for-a-big-group-nessa

But, as with many recipes, I wanted to see if there was a way to make it just a tad more healthy—cut down on the calories just a bit, but also bringing in some healthier elements.  And the fact is, I might like this version even just a bit more.

I cut the sugar a bit, and it definitely doesn’t lose anything.  And then I’ve substituted half of the flour for whole wheat (or white whole wheat, which is a bit softer), which gives it a great heartiness and also a slightly nutty, warm flavor that I really love.  You can make this ahead of time when feeding a big group and it’s the most moist, fragrant, yummy summer dessert I can think of.  Pair it with fresh strawberries and a bit of homemade cinnamon whipped cream, and you’ve got yourself a winner! [Read more…]

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Snickerdoodle Zucchini Bread

This bread is the BOMB!

Snickerdoodle zucchini bread...cinnamon-sugar is my kryptonite

Cinnamon-sugar is my kryptonite in general, so it’s no surprise that I was drawn to this recipe.  It’s all the best things about my snickerdoodle bread (which is amazing, but also will make a major dent in your calories for the day), combined with a bit of whole wheat flour and fiber from zucchini.  Make no mistake, this is definitely a breakfast dessert, but it’s now only a bit of splurge rather than a complete diet derail.

Snickerdoodle zucchini bread...plenty of sweet, with a bit of healthy mixed in

The hardest thing is finding the cinnamon chips—if you see them, buy like 6 bags!  (Though this may be part of the scarcity problem…).  I think Hershey’s discontinued theirs, so I’ve been buying them on the Amazon black market, and will need to look elsewhere soon.  Cinnamon chips are seriously the best, and appropriate in all manner of delicious breakfast and dessert recipes.

Snickerdoodle zucchini bread

This was a hit at work.  And I had trouble keeping my hands off it.  I had a piece with my morning espresso, but went back several times throughout the day for another bite.  I probably had three pieces total, one bite at a time! [Read more…]

Maple and Oat Scones

This is my new breakfast obsession.

oat-maple-scones-done

I don’t know the last time I found a scone recipe I was so into.  Don’t get me wrong, I love scones, but they’re generally more of just a vehicle for condiments, an excuse to slather on jam or honey.  The scone itself is not so much the point.  But these scones are completely the point.

oat-maple-scones-baked

These are absolutely divine with a tiny bit of honey, but they’re honestly even amazing without anything at all.  There’s butter and maple syrup baked right in, so they really don’t need anything.  And they only took a few minutes to whip up and get in the oven.  Perfect for company, or just for you to devour by yourself with coffee and a blanket on a cold winter morning… [Read more…]

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread

Most normal people would look at a recipe for double chocolate banana bread and think, “hey, that sounds pretty amazing!”

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread done

But as we all know, I’m not normal.  So my first thought was, “You know what would make this so much better? Peanut butter chips!”

(weirdly, this is a fairly normal question/answer I have with myself…)

double chocolate peanut butter chip banana bread chips

Healthy?  Nah.  But amazing?  You betcha.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread slice

This is super moist, almost fudgy, and the peanut butter chips take this to a whole new level.  It’s not unhealthy (in fact, most of it’s not bad for you at all), but the peanut butter chips take this over the edge into dessert territory and up the calories and sugar quite a bit.  Totally worth it in my world, though.   [Read more…]

Peach Raspberry Cobbler

You know when you end up with an ingredient and then have to find recipes that will help you use that ingredient?  Yeah, that’s what we’re looking at here.

Peach Raspberry Cobbler

See, I’m a “crisp” girl.  Peach crisp, apple crisp, cherry crisp—if it’s got oats and streusel topping, I’m on board.  So, while I like cobblers just fine, I never choose them over crisp.

peach raspberry cobbler sugar sprinkled

But as I mentioned a couple weeks ago in this garlic cheddar beer bread, I had a brand-new bag of self-rising flour that I needed to use up before Passover.  And after lots of Googling recipes for self-rising flour, I couldn’t resist this peach raspberry crisp even though there are NO good fresh peaches right now.  So I re-worked it using canned peaches (I know, not ideal) and it turned out great!

Peach Raspberry Cobbler done

My favorite part about this recipe—besides how delicious it was—is how it came together so incredibly fast.  It seriously was crazy easy and simple to pull together, but felt special as well.  And it would be totally awesome with fresh peaches. [Read more…]

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

So, I really am struggling with calling this cake.

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

It’s honestly not that sweet at all. It’s got a light crumb, and feels a lot like a zucchini or banana bread (maybe a bit less moist than banana bread).

rosemary chocolate chip olive oil cake baked

I was really intrigued by the sweet and savory combination, with the rosemary. To be honest, the flavor didn’t bowl me over, mostly because I felt like the chocolate overwhelmed things a bit. It was simple and good, but not earth-shattering.

rosemary chocolate chip olive oil cake rosemary

I’m a sucker for rosemary, and fresh herbs in general, and love the idea of using them in baking sweets. As I was eating this, I kept re-imagining it as a slightly different flavor combo, particularly citrus and herb. Maybe lemon and rosemary, or grapefruit and thyme? Something a little punchy to contrast with the earthiness of the herbs. Let me know if you have ideas! But regardless, this really was a lovely breakfast treat, and got totally devoured at work in an hour or two. [Read more…]

Maple Pudding Cake (Pudding Chômeur)

So somehow I tried out this recipe back in November and then it totally fell into a black hole in my memory and I moved on. Not because it wasn’t awesome, but…Thanksgiving maybe? Early senility? Wine?

Maple Puddings

Anyway, I had been weirdly fascinated by this recipe since finding it on Smitten Kitchen, despite the fact that caramel isn’t generally for me. But I do love pudding, and I do love sweet biscuit dough (which is essentially what this is), so really it should have been a home run.

Maple Pudding closeup

Which, if you can’t tell from the glorious pictures, it was. It’s an odd little dessert, but quite easy and quite unique. I was a little obsessed. It’s strangely similar to a peach cobbler, but…caramel.

Maple Pudding

It was even surprisingly good re-heated the next day—a bit more dense and crystalized, less pudding-y, but still a delight. All-in-all, this is an interesting addition to the dessert arsenal. [Read more…]

Healthy Apple Muffins with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

Crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping.

Crunchy. Cinnamon. Sugar. Topping.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Basically, that’s all you need to know about this recipe. But I guess I could mention the fact that they’re mostly whole wheat, low in sugar, and full of wholesome fruit. I mean, if that kind of thing’s important to you.

healthy apple cinnamon muffins apples whole

When you make this, the batter will worry you because it is crazy thick. Like, bread dough thick. You won’t pour or spoon it into the muffin tins, you’ll kind of awkwardly drop it in there and kind of smoosh it. Don’t try to smash it into the muffin cups, just kind of drop it and it will expand as it bakes to fill in the gaps. And despite the thickness of the batter and the density of the baked muffins, they’re super moist! [Read more…]

Easy, Awesome Challah Bread

ISN’T IT PRETTY?!?!

Easy, Awesome Challah Bread

Seriously, this bread is just beautiful. And it’s not just beautiful, it’s amazingly soft and flavorful and perfect.

Easy, Awesome Challah Bread cut

I’d never had challah bread before this, but basically it’s a yeast-leavened, lightly-sweet braided dough made with eggs, then brushed with an egg wash before baking. It can be soft or dense, made with many different grains, created into other shapes (spirals, circles, birds, etc.), but at its heart it’s just a slighly sweet eggy bread.

Easy, Awesome Challah Bread with Honey

And I can’t imagine that it gets much better than this recipe! First-try bread recipes can be tricky sometimes, and rarely are they absolutely perfect the first time. But this recipe was super forgiving (I let it rise quite a bit longer than the recipe called for), the braiding was super easy, and the final product made me want to eat ALL THE BREAD. And I’m not even a bread person…

Easy, Awesome Challah Bread done

Let’s just look at it again, shall we???

Okay, moving on… [Read more…]

Unleavened Almond Bread

I apparently don’t read directions well, which is why my stash of unleavened bread ended up molding with a few days to go (fridge, schmridge). So Sabbath morning I needed to make something to take me through the last few Days of Unleavened Bread.

Unleaved Almond Bread

I considered just making the same soft unleavened sandwich bread that I’d made a few days earlier, but decided something a little sweeter was in order. My Aunt Paula had sent me this recipe, one of their favorites, so I gave it a try.

Unleaved Almond Bread with Honey

I’m a sucker for almond flavor to begin with, and this was super simple to whip up. I took the sugar amount down a little, but it’s up to you how sweet you want it. I also used a combination of white flour, whole wheat flour, and almond meal, which gave it an awesome texture. All-in-all, this one’s a keeper! [Read more…]

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