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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…]

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Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts

I’ve long been on the record as “meh” on banana bread.

Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts

As my two-year-old niece would say, it’s not…offensive. It’s just not something that calls to me on any level.

Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts nuts

But let me tell you…bourbon sure does take this up a level! And candied walnuts don’t hurt either. What I’m saying is, this banana bread is AWESOME.

bourbon vanilla banana bread with candied walnuts ready to bake

This recipe is also super easy and fast. It’s taking one of the most basic recipes many of us remember from our childhood and just taking it up a few notches. Vanilla bean paste instead of just extract. A subtle deep, almost caramel flavor from the bourbon. Beautiful sugar-crusted nuts for texture. If that isn’t an impressive dessert (okay fine, breakfast), I don’t know what is! [Read more…]

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Why, you ask?  It’s cinnamon swirl bread, which is a total no-brainer.  Gooey, cinnamony goodness spiraling through a tender, crumby loaf.  And it is.  But for some reason when I made it a few months ago, I wasn’t totally in love with it.  The filling was awesome, but the bread was just…fine.  The texture was good, but the outside was crustier than I wanted and the bread’s flavor (it tasted like…bread) was a disconnect from the sweet filling.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread done

But I’ve come to see the error of my ways, because you deserve cinnamon swirl bread in YOUR life too.  I’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe to make the bread and filling feel like they’re part of the same recipe, including adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a little extra sugar to the dough.  The filling was perfect just as it was.   [Read more…]

Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies

This is a very simple cookie.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies

It came about because I was visiting my best friend in Dallas last month. We were craving sweets but she’s given up dairy for a while because it seems to upset her baby’s tummy. We wanted to make chocolate chip cookies but that was out because of the dairy in the chocolate chips. So after some recipe searching, we found these lovely, comforting cookies.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies baked

These are basically like oatmeal raisin cookies, without the raisins (because, ick). We gorged on them and sat on the couch and watched “10 Things I Hate About You” and it was wonderful. These ended up being dinner that night at the airport, as well as breakfast with my coffee the next morning at work.  [Read more…]

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble

Apparently, making some kind of pear pie is becoming my new Thanksgiving tradition. My family always has so much food that I just try to fill in gaps or find something a little interesting to contribute.

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble baked

Last year I wanted a fruit dessert, since we had so much rich stuff. I made my healthy apple pear pie with streusel topping, which was exactly what we needed in the midst of all the sweets.

caramel pear pie oat crumble assembled

This year I didn’t really have anything specific in mind. Then, I ran across this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen and knew that I had to make it right away. While I don’t really get that excited about caramel, I absolutely LOVE pears and any kind of crumble topping.

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble slice

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble

What’s really magical about this pie happens while it bakes. What starts as a simple streusel topping—oats, sugar, spices, butter—turns into a golden melt-in-your-mouth crust when the caramel bubbles up and marries up with the streusel.

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble closeup

Seriously, it’s amazing. On the whole, the pie was just a TAD sweet for me. I prefer something mildly sweet but not too rich, but for a Thanksgiving treat it was great! [Read more…]

Apple Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake

I think fall may finally be sneaking up on us here in Georgia. We’ve had a gorgeous late summer and early fall…making up for the terrible, rainy spring and summer we had. Even in mid-October we’ve had temps in the upper 70s and even 80s. I was laying out at the pool last weekend. For real. The pool was tarped over and there was only one chair left, but I was there.

fall rain

Then this week it turned gray and rainy and a little chilly.

bartok cuddle

This guy just wanted to cuddle. I don’t blame him. I’m not ready for fall weather, but I do think I’m ready for fall food. And is there a more quintessentially-fall dish than one combining apples, cinnamon, and streusel topping?? I think maybe not.

Apple Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake

I’ll be honest—I don’t think I’ve ever tried out a traditional coffee cake recipe besides the one I grew up on (my mom’s, which is amazing, and I will post for you soon). I mean, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? So last week when it was my turn to make treats for a co-worker’s birthday, and knowing that she loves cinnamon-y things, I figured I’d whip up my mom’s coffee cake.

Apple Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake close

But then I was browsing Pinterest and found a recipe I’d pinned a long time ago for an apple cinnamon chip coffee cake. “Hmm…” I thought,”Intriguing. I have all this homemade apple butter and I stocked up on cinnamon chips. Maybe this is fate.” [I typed “fat” the first time and almost left it because that seemed apropos as well]

Apple Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake piece

So I gave it a try, and loved how easy the recipe was. But I made a number of adjustments, such as using half a bag of cinnamon chips instead of a whole bag (which really seemed like overkill). The biggest change I made, though, was swapping out the basic powdered sugar glaze the recipe suggested for the sweet and slightly crunchy cinnamon-sugar streusel topping that’s more traditional for coffee cakes. And it was amazing! This cake was so moist, even a couple days after I made it (I had to make it Sunday and serve it Tuesday). The cinnamon chips in the cake were like tiny little gems of awesome studded throughout. [Read more…]

Birthday Red Wine Chocolate Cake!

I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.
~W.C. Fields

Sometimes I have incredibly coherent, well-phrased, occasionally-beautiful thoughts. And then sometimes, like when I saw this recipe for the first time, I just blurt things out.

UM. WHAT. YES.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake slice

That’s pretty much how that conversation went in my head.

Last year my birthday fell on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which was very sad from a food and wine standpoint. This year, it fell on the 8th day, the day after the Feast of Tabernacles, and unfortunately I spent the majority of it in airports and airplanes trying to get home from Steamboat Springs. I did get to have a lovely dinner with my parents the night before, however, and brunch with my mom that morning before I left. And I happened upon a lovely wine bar (Cru) during my 3-hour layover in Denver and celebrated in my own way—with flights of Cabernet and some creamy tiramisu. So not all was lost.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I started a little ritual last year for my birthday, where I’d pick a dessert recipe that had really captured my imagination for some reason—maybe it felt a little fancy, needed a special occasion, was a little more work—and make it for my birthday. Except, scheduling being what it is in my life, it basically ends up being somewhere within a month window of my birthday. Which is kind of the same thing. I just wanted something that felt a little special, and an excuse to make something fun. Last year it was my vanilla almond cupcakes with homemade peach jam filling. And this year it’s this awesomeness.

Growing up, birthdays weren’t really a big thing. But to me, I like to make a tiny bit of fuss for it. Not go overboard, but just a little something special.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake Baked

This cake really is special. First, there’s the Dutch cocoa (vs. regular), which has so much more depth than regular cocoa powder. Then you add the red wine and a hint of cinnamon, and this cake just perfectly encapsulates indulgence. It’s everything that’s great about being a grown-up. It’s rich but not sweet, super moist but dense, just amazing.

[Read more…]

Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

First, while we’re on the subject of “healthy”, don’t forget that the healthy living challenge and sweet slow cooker giveaway is available through next Monday (April 8th), so go here to enter to win—super easy, no personal info or signing up for anything required.

So, cookies. Cookies are the perfect fast, easy dessert, something you can just whip up if company comes over unexpectedly. And my mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe is endlessly adaptable. You can add any kind of chips, make the cookies regular or peanut butter or chocolate, add oatmeal or nuts, or pretty much tailor them to your exact specifications. We’ve also made a lot of small tweaks over the years to make it as healthy as possible.

peanut butter oatmeal choc chip cookies finished

I am all for dessert, but if I have the opportunity to make it healthier, I’ll totally take that bet. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we have a fair amount of diabetes and such in my family, so we started making a lot of healthy swaps when I was a kid, like honey instead of sugar, whole wheat flour instead of regular, that kind of thing. But interestingly, our cookie recipe stayed mostly the same until only five or so years back, when we started playing around with substituting oil for the butter-flavored Crisco it called for. It’s taken some experimentation, but it’s a lot better for us and I think we’ve got it down!

peanut butter oatmeal choc chip cookies dough

Bookmark this baby, because this recipe will be your new best friend. [Read more…]

Saturday night dessert (Dark Chocolate Lava Mug Cake)

I know I did a post on mug cakes a while back, trying out a few different recipes. And I have some new ones to try too, which I’ll get to later. But I wanted to do a separate post on this cake because it is awesome. It’s the best I’ve found so far, and the thing I like most is that it doesn’t taste too sweet or rich. With the dark chocolate, it’s the perfect balance of sweet, bitter, and creamy.

As I’ve established in other posts, I don’t keep desserts in my apartment, because I have an insane sweet tooth and would weigh 300 pounds. That way if I’m craving something, I either have to go somewhere and get it (which, let’s face it, I’m way too lazy to do) or make something (which takes time and energy, so I have to REALLY want it). Mug cakes fall into a dangerous area, because they only take five minutes to make, which is practically like keeping something in my pantry. But I can’t quit them.

This here bad boy is my preferred Saturday night date.

Amazing that this many different ingredients can fit into a coffee mug.

[Read more…]

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