Almond Magic Cake

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so obsessed with a recipe.  I pinned it years ago, and somehow forgot about it, though the idea was fascinating.  Then over winter break this year I stumbled back across it and knew I had to give it a try.

Almond Magic Cake | Finding Time for Cooking

I did make one major change to the recipe.  The original is for a vanilla cake, but my M.O. in life is, why make something vanilla when it can be almond instead??  I mean, seriously.  This cake is really easy to throw together, and yields the most amazing, creamy, custardy, flan-y cake.  I ended up making it again a few days later, in a gluten-free version (to be posted here later once I’ve perfected it).  Give this a try, you won’t be disappointed! [Read more…]

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Apricot Linzer Torte

I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. And BOY, was I wrong about this.

Apricot Linzer Torte

See, for the past two or three years, basically every time I’ve gotten with my friend Shalya for dinner, the conversation has eventually turned to food (okay, fine, it’s on food 92.5% of the time), and every single time she’s begged me to make a linzer torte.

Apricot Linzer Torte slice

Every single time.  And I always told her she was a weirdo, because who is obsessed with linzer torte, but fine, yes, I’ll make a linzer torte if she comes to my house.  But that day finally came.  And it was glorious.

Apricot Linzer Torte closeup

See, in my (limited) experience, linzer torte is basically just a simple buttery pastry crust with some jam in it, and a lattice topping.  Something that’s fine adorning a bakery case somewhere, but not something that anyone ever really chooses.  Fine, and sturdy, but not setting the world on fire.  Which just goes to show, I have been eating the WRONG LINZER TORTE all my life.

Apricot Linzer Torte slice closeup

This linzer torte recipe is anything but “fine”.  The dough basically punches you in the face with a combination of spices so aromatic my house smelled like heaven.  Pair that moist, tender spiced crust up with slightly chunky apricot jam, and you have a simple and perfect match made in heaven. [Read more…]

Jam Streusel Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is like the Sound of Music in real life.  It’s all about my favorite things.

Jam Streusel Coffee Cake slice

Jam?  Check.  Streusel?  Check.  Excuse to eat dessert for breakfast?  Check.

jam streusel coffee cake jam swirls 2

Coffee cake is kind of a perfect food.  It is easy to whip up and throw in the oven, leaving you to focus on other things.  It can be made the night before if you’re on a tight schedule in the morning.  It’s fancy enough for a brunch or shower.  It CAN even be a dessert.  And this recipe is particularly great, in that the cake itself is lovely and light and moist and fluffy—helped along by the buttermilk, greek yogurt, and extra egg yolks. [Read more…]

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna

I have been wanting to try this recipe out FOREVER!

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna

Why haven’t I, you ask? Mostly because I tried actually cutting up a butternut squash once many years ago and it was terrible, my hands hurt and were orange and I don’t ever want to do it again. Ever. Because I’m a chicken. So I had to wait until I remembered to pick up already-diced butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. And, sadly, that took me forever.

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna baked

Butternut squash and sage is a captivating flavor combination to start with. Add in gooey mozzarella, grainy ricotta, pasta, and a hint of nutmeg? Awesome.

butternut squash & sage lasagna sage leaves

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to put together, too. I roasted the squash a couple hours ahead of time, and the rest of the assembly was very simple—particularly since I used oven-ready lasagna noodles. While you could add chicken if you wanted (or even chicken sausage), it didn’t feel like it needed meat. It was hearty enough on its own, and would be great for a Meatless Monday type of meal plan. [Read more…]

Giovanna’s Family Secret Tiramisu Recipe

Tiramisu is possibly the best food in the world. Sweet, cold, creamy, with the bite of coffee and liquor. But I rarely have it, and almost never make it. I’ve found that restaurants in the U.S. get something wrong (not sure what it is—too bready? flavor’s off?) and while actually making tiramisu isn’t difficult, finding the right ingredients IS.

Giovanna's family tiramisu recipe, learned it from my host mom when studying abroad

My host mom from when I studied abroad, Giovanna, was the best cook, and gave me her family’s recipes for her pasta con pesto and tiramisu. And all of the sudden last Saturday night, I got it in my head that I HAD to make it for dinner the next evening. However, none of the stores had lady fingers (I called around), so I made my own. See separate post, the recipe I used is here. It was surprisingly easy. Or you could substitute madeleines or pound cake or angel food cake (the first would be better than the other two).

tiramisu finished

tiramisu finished2

I even made myself my own little personal-size serving in a cute little ramekin that I could eat that night!  [Read more…]

Homemade Ladyfinger Cookies (for Tiramisu)

Ladyfinger cookies just sound so…out there. Like something about which Violet, Dowager Countess at Downton Abbey, would toss out a little bon mot, reminding kitchen maid Daisy about the importance of delicately handling a situation whilst simultaneously praising the “pudding”. In other words,  ladyfingers don’t sound like something you and I are going to be making anytime soon.

ladyfingers finished

Except, we are. And it’s really quite easy. We’ll show that Dowager Countess who’s boss.

(And, yes, I might be a little too obsessed with Downton Abbey. Partly because Dame Maggie Smith is full of awesome).

ladyfingers finished closeup

I didn’t really intend to make my own ladyfingers, but I called a few different grocery stores to see if they had them for my tiramisu (recipe to follow), and they didn’t, so I had to review my other options. You can use pound cake or angel food cake, but those have a very different texture. You can also use madeleines, which I wish I’d remembered at the time but I didn’t, so here we are. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy making my own ladyfingers was.  [Read more…]

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