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.
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 THE POST
This coffee cake is like the Sound of Music in real life. It’s all about my favorite things.
Jam? Check. Streusel? Check. Excuse to eat dessert for breakfast? Check.
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 THE POST
I think I’ve found my new favorite cupcake recipe. These are as close to a perfect texture and taste as any cake or cupcake I’ve ever made.
Someone described them as “bomb-ass”, and I’m not going to argue with them. I mean, it would be rude.
We wanted to do a special girls’ night for Casey’s birthday a few weeks ago, and I heard through the grapevine that she was obsessed with some Publix lemon raspberry cake, so the flavor palette for her cake was easy enough. I was super excited, because usually people want chocolate or something super sweet, so the chance to make a fruity dessert was one I wouldn’t pass up.
And it’s a good thing these were basically perfect, because they were pretty much the only thing that went right that evening. The restaurant ended up being a nightmare (45 minutes to order, hour and a half for food to come, took two hours to get a second drink order in), so by the time we left our numbers had dwindled by half and it was already quite late. Thankfully, three of us persevered and went to our friend’s Midtown high rise for wine and cupcakes and a great rooftop view.
Right call. The cupcakes are the most insanely moist, dense crumb you can imagine, packed with super tart lemony flavor that never tips over the line into that weird cloying fake lemon flavor that I hate. Even without the icing they’re perfection. But the icing is a work of art itself. Fluffy buttercream taken to the next level with raspberry jam adding some fruity goodness and tanginess to the frosting’s sugar overload.
In other words, you should make these TODAY.READ THE POST
Yeah, that’s a mouthful. But these cookies deserve all of that name and more. They probably are the best cookies I’ve had in my life.
So, this all goes back to December, when some sales rep sent us a box of cookies from Levain Bakery in New York. These cookies weighed like 5 pounds each and were the size of your fist. Now honestly I’m rarely that tempted by store-bought or bakery cookies. I’m a homemade girl all the way. But I was stressed and there were these chocolate ones with peanut butter chips that were calling my name.
So I broke off a piece of one and took it into a meeting with me…
Game over. I became instantly obsessed (and I ate the rest of that cookie, duh). We decided to order more and then found out it was $75 for four cookies, which…NO. So I decided that, hell or high water, I was going to perfectly replicate these cookies.
And I believe I’ve gotten like 99% of the way there. I tried a couple different copycat recipes and this was definitely the closest. I also read through a lot of the comments and suggestions and found a couple that make a big difference, so I’ve incorporated them into my recipe below. One other thing I’ve found is that I actually like them better the next day, vs. fresh. The texture sets and they become moist and amazing and dense, and a little less rich than fresh out of the oven.
Fair warning, each cookie is like 550-600 calories. But it’s definitely worth it on occasion. Trust me and make these NOW. READ THE POST
It’s kind of crazy that I’ve never made banana cake before, because it’s something that my extended family made quite a bit when I was growing up.
But it was always with cream cheese frosting, and then a few years ago my sister had a brainwave and threw this caramel frosting on instead. And a legend was born. (I may be being melodramatic)
Now don’t get me wrong, I really like banana cake with cream cheese frosting (pretty much anything with cream cheese frosting, for that matter). But there is something about this sugary, crackly caramel frosting that just adds the perfect depth and complement to the moist, dense cake. The fact that it’s crazy easy is just the icing on the cake…so to speak.
This is also a cake that is perfect to make the night before, because this frosting really seals in the moisture of the cake. And, of course, use up the billions of browning bananas sitting on your counter.
I haven’t eaten a banana in probably six months, but I still buy them like clockwork, with the best intentions. This is a thing everyone does, yes?
Humor me…READ THE POST
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.
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.
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!
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 THE POST
So, getting rid of my leavening for the Days of Unleavened Bread is generally a very easy thing. I get rid of my baking powder, baking soda, and yeast, and that’s pretty much all she wrote. But this year at the last minute I found a brand-new bag of self-rising flour hiding under a pile of dry goods.
Yes, I could have just thrown it away (it’s like $2), but that felt weird, so I looked up recipes that would use it in large quantities. I saw several crazy easy recipes for beer bread, and was instantly sold.
It’s beer, sugar, and self-rising flour. It literally doesn’t get easier than that. I added garlic, parsley, and cheddar because—duh.
Throw some melted butter on the top in the last few minutes of cooking, and you have a yeasty, cheesy, moist, dense treat.READ THE POST
Some people go crazy trying to manufacture unleavened desserts during the Days of Unleavened Bread, but generally I gravitate (must like for gluten-free things) towards naturally unleavened recipes. Pie is one of those glorious things.
I went home for Passover, the Night to Be Much Observed, and the first Day of Unleavened Bread this year, as has become my custom. It was…kind of crazy, with lots of people in and out of the house, four kids four and under to keep track of a lot of the time (one of them teething mightily), and hordes of people to be fed seemingly every night.
Kansas this time of year is really a crapshoot weather-wise, and for the most part I really lucked out. We had two beautiful days, then one insanely windy day (which isn’t unusual).
Three gorgeous sunsets.
Actual water in the creek (it’s been bone-dry the past few years). Overall, the weather was very kind to me.
For the Night to Be Much Observed (or Remembered, which is the same night as the Jewish Seder), we needed to come up with a recipe to feed a lot of people and complement the chocolate toffee matzo that someone else was bringing. Extra points if the babies could all eat it (which meant everything had to be organic, non-GMO, and with very little sugar. After some discussion, I settled on peach rhubarb pie. My mom had strawberries and that was an option, but I felt like the combo of peaches and rhubarbs was a little unique, so couldn’t resist.
A few notes on this recipe—this is a VERY forgiving recipe, in terms of quantities, length of time, etc. That makes it a little challenging to give exact amounts or baking time (which will also very much depend on the crust you use). Plus, you’ll want to adjust some of the ingredients to your own personal taste (specifically the sugar; this was a bit tart for my personal taste, but was kept that way for the babies).READ THE POST
There is no such thing as having too many coffee cake recipes. That’s like having too much cheese, or too many raw sugar packets, or too many pairs of shoes.
Honestly, I have one coffee cake recipe (a cinnamon-streusel one) that is the best in the world, and my go-to under any and all circumstances. And I’m just now realizing that I’ve never posted it. So…that will need remedied. But in the meantime, this one—if you like the combo of espresso and chocolate—is definitely a keeper.
The sour cream gives this a lovely moistness and a dense but somehow light crumb. Everyone at work totally raved about the taste and the texture, so you could probably switch up the toppings if the chocolate/espresso flavor combo isn’t for you.
The original recipe (link at the bottom) calls for you to split the topping and batter, and have a layer of topping in the middle. Since I was using a big springform pan I definitely didn’t have enough batter or topping to make this work, but if you go the bundt or tube pan route, you may want to give this a try. Either way, the melted chocolate, deep espresso notes, and little spikes of cinnamon make this worth getting up in the morning.READ THE POST
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last! Things have been nuts with work, and some travel as well. While I haven’t cooked much, I actually have a backlog of recipes that I just haven’t been able to find the time to put together and post.
July has been a whirlwind. My mom came for a visit, which was great. We cooked an awesome dinner one night, but I also talked her into getting burgers, Thai, and Chinese takeout. Which was bomb. Then last week I was up in New York for work, then spent a long weekend in L.A. with a bestie hiking the Hollywood Hills and drinking copious quantities of wine. On top of insane work hours, what few minutes of free time I can squeeze out are taken up by the last stages of planning for our Scotland trip right now (!!).
But I realized last night that I’d never posted this dutch baby recipe, which is practically criminal. These things are awesome. These aren’t something I grew up with, but it was the recipe for apple pie german pancakes that gave me the idea. I had some leftover batter, and so I looked up what to do with it. I effectively made one of these, and have been hooked ever since. They’re easy, fast, incredibly versatile, and delish!READ THE POST
These pancakes look like Cookie Monster.
Once you see it, you can’t un-see it….
Last weekend after my insane 4th of July (which involved accidentally hiking over 15 miles and burning a billion calories), I woke up the next morning feeling like an 80-year-old, kind of fell/rolled out of bed, and got my coffee made like usual. But as I sat on the couch my stomach demanded something more. After poking through Pinterest for a hot second, I had talked myself into this glorious breakfast.
By all rights, I shouldn’t like these pancakes, because I have this weird hangup about hot and fruit. Fruit shouldn’t be hot. I take fruit crisp out of the oven and put it right in the freezer. Hot fruit is weird. But these were amazing. Fresh, summery strawberries in a golden crispy pancake, drenched in maple syrup. Practically perfect in every way.
I’ve also made a small-batch mixed-berry adaptation of these that is to die for.
Crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping.
Crunchy. Cinnamon. Sugar. Topping.
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.
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 THE POST
Cookie cakes are a big meh for me usually. One time my co-worker had this incredibly detailed dream, and part of it was that I got married at work (like seriously, back in the open-office plan desks) and there was a cookie cake.
And I was like, “Well, that’s how you should have known it wasn’t real! I hate cookie cakes!”
I don’t know what possessed me to try this deep-dish cookie pie originally. I was home for Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is a whirlwind of giant family meals, needing to feed 15 people, 25 people, 35 people. Lots of dishes. Loading and unloading things from the car. Figuring out what gaps there are in the list of food everyone’s bringing. So I vaguely remember needing to throw together a dessert last-minute, so it needed to be simple, a crowd-pleaser, and ready to walk out the door in under an hour.
The result was WAAAAAYYYYY too sweet for me, but I could see the seeds of something good and easy in there, so I shelved it until I could play around with ingredients a little. Now, three or four batches later, I love the result.
By decreasing the sugar significantly, substituting some whole wheat flour, adding peanut butter and dark chocolate chips instead of just semi-sweet, and throwing a sprinkle of sea salt, the resulting skillet cookie is sweet but not cloying, a little denser, and offers infinitely more complex flavors (also healthier, but that wasn’t the main point). If an achingly sweet version sounds good to you, don’t fear—the original is linked at the bottom of this post. But this version is much more up my alley, and has been pronounced AMAZING by some of the dudes in my life, so it’s still a major crowd-pleaser.
READ THE POST
Oh my word, THESE POPOVERS.
These are heaven. They are light, puffy, buttery, cinnamony-sweet heaven. And they’re so fast and easy!
I halved the recipe, since I was only cooking for me (yes, it still made 7 popovers, DON’T JUDGE ME). It’s so insanely fast, you just blend up the ingredients in your blender (or with a whisk) while the oven heats up, and like 20 minutes later you have piping hot popovers. It’s impressive, really.READ THE POST
I went on a roll this fall of trying new fruits and veggies that I’d never had before. I tried acorn squash for the first time (definitely delish!), and then that same week saw these weird little orange tomato-like things in my grocery store and just had to grab one. Turns out it was a persimmon, specifically of the fuyu variety.
So the next logical question was what to make. I browsed a ton of recipes, but most were salads, and I definitely didn’t want to go that route (boring). Then I found this somewhat odd-sounding muffin recipe and had to give it a try.
I “healthied it up” by using half whole wheat flour and cutting down on the sugar just a little. The persimmons gave it a lovely sweetness, with the lemon giving it a tart complement. The overall texture of the muffins was pretty light but still hearty, due to the whole wheat flour. And, like most muffin recipes, they came together in a flash.
I ate one fresh out of the oven with blackberry honey from Croatia, and then took them to work for my breakfast for the next few days (with honey from New Zealand…I definitely have a honey souvenir addiction!). This is such an easy and versatile recipe that you could swap out the persimmons for many other fruits, and even swap in a different citrus zest to mix things up (orange would have been lovely here as well).READ THE POST
A month ago I was crowing about the glorious chocolate stout cake with chocolate ganache I made for my birthday. It was fudgy and rich but not too sweet, with a depth from the stout. Basically perfect. Then, a couple days later, my friends asked if I could bring a dessert to their dinner party. They’re both gluten-free, and I have a number of go-to recipes. But I couldn’t get that chocolate cake out of my mind.
I knew I’d pinned a gluten-free quinoa cake months ago, but didn’t quite love the exact ingredient proportions. I found another, tweaked it a little, and used the same chocolate ganache as the other cake. I took the remaining three-fourths of my birthday cake and the quinoa cake to the party.
I had to label them because they were identical, and honestly, I think people liked them equally. The only real difference you could tell was that the quinoa cake didn’t have the stout (on account of the gluten), but I plan to adapt it for a bourbon or similar at some point—just have to do my research on gluten and alcohol. And there was still some of the whole quinoa in it since my blender isn’t great, but if you use a food processor it will puree it and you’d never even know.
This cake is topped with a super easy (but fancy looking) pouring dark chocolate ganache…I show two different techniques in that post, but either way you’re talking like 5 minutes max, and 2-3 ingredients.
Salmon is one of my favorite simple, healthy dinners. It cooks quickly, is super versatile, and is such a nice break from boring chicken.
This recipe can be made either entirely on the stove or finished off with a nice broil in the oven. Besides the salmon, everything else in this recipe is a pantry staple, and you can throw it together in like 10 minutes total.READ THE POST
I’m on an ice cream kick. I’ve tried like four different recipes in the past few weeks, all with this super easy coconut milk base. Because it’s been HAWT!
I had seen several recipes for roasted plum ice cream, which I found super intriguing, but when I went to the store they were out of plums. And then these beautiful, firm apricots just jumped out at me.
Apricot is such a strong flavor that I couldn’t think of a good spice complement (I’d planned to do cardamom with the plums), so I just kept it super simple—honey, vanilla, and a little bit of sea salt.
While it was a bit tart for my taste (I was trying to go easy on the honey but probably went a little TOO light), it was refreshing and delicious!READ THE POST
Any time I’m home to visit my family, we’re always feeding a big crowd. Generally we stick with what we know—grilled burgers or chicken, taco salad or nachos, soup and chili, or something similar. But every so often my sisters and mom and I put our heads together and come up with something different.
When I was home in July, we had one night where we were only going to have like 15 people—a considerably smaller crowd than our usual 25 or more. My sister and I decided we were really craving Thai food, so quickly had Mom poke through her cabinets to see if we had the makings for a Thai peanut sauce pasta. Since my mom’s cabinets are better stocked than most small grocery stores, we had almost everything we needed.
Beyond the basics of the sauce recipe, we totally winged it (wung it??), adding all the delicious flash stir fried veggies we could find, chicken, and whole wheat noodles. This dish was meat, carbs, and veggies in one, so we knew we had to make enough to get the whole hungry horde through dinner.
And it was definitely a hit! There wasn’t even a spoonful left after supper, the pan was scraped clean. Combined with the moist strawberry shortcake I made for the big group, I think everyone was stuffed.READ THE POST
You know those times when you realize that you’re having a bunch of people over and that you forgot to figure out a bread? But you’re like an hour from dinner and pretty much everything would take way too long?
(yeah, me neither)
Lucky for me, I’ve found a couple of pretty quick bread recipes that are pretty quick (and aren’t just biscuits). I have this 1-hour focaccia bread and a 1-hour french bread, but this goes even further. You can have this thing done start to finish in about a half hour (give or take a few minutes depending on how long it takes to bake). And the flavor is AMAZING!
This is a key part of bread making…
Bread is a non-negotiable part of meals for my mom, so super happy to have another great recipe in the arsenal.READ THE POST
I’ve really slipped on my healthy breakfast train the last month or two. I had family in town, then was out of the country for a couple weeks, and have been buried under work and lack of sleep. So I just haven’t had the time or energy to do much baking or cooking to prepare for each coming week. Thankfully, over 4th of July weekend I finally got back on track with these beauties.
I really haven’t done a lot of baking lately, partly because when I use my stove and oven it makes my kitchen feel like Death Valley during the summer. My A/C can’t come close to keeping up. But I decided it was worth it to give these guys a try. I mean, coffee and chocolate in a muffin together?? Sign me up!
As much as I love whole wheat flour, I was a little nervous about using it exclusively, since sometimes that can make things a little too dry and dense. I shouldn’t have worried, though—these were moist and light even as reheated leftovers at work the next day. And the dark chocolate chips are these gooey little nuggets of awesome. For something that literally takes like 5 minutes to stir together, the return on this is totally worth it!READ THE POST