sweets

Cornmeal Peach Cobbler

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying the last few days of official summer. I’m here to tell you though, that you can’t fully enjoy your last days of summer break without this cobbler. Adapted from this recipe from Food52, it’s the low maintenance, no fuss, last-good-peaches-of-the-summer peach dessert of your dreams. The filling is similar to that of a traditional peach pie, while the cornmeal biscuits add a new twist on the classic cobbler.

With the past week being so unbearably hot here in New York, it certainly doesn’t feel like September has arrived. That being said, I am more than prepared to pretend it’s fall until the weather catches up with us. Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite season for really all the reasons. Fall weather? The best and most beautiful. Fall clothes? The coziest. Fall food? Apple cinnamon EVERYTHING all. the. time. And I know it seems crazy to wish away the summer but honestly, I’ll take a crisp autumn day over 80º weather no contest. BUT, I realize that this is still a summer recipe so I should probably stop talking about that right? I’m SORRY I just get so overexcited, you know?

Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about this week:

ONE. A good Labor Day trip to the beach, savoring the last beach day of the year.
TWO. A thunderstorm after days of a heat wave when the air finally feels cool again.
THREE. Seeing the fall’s first apples for sale at the farm stand.
FOUR. Collecting cookbooks.
FIVE. A weekend with no plans, where you can do whatever you feel like.

Okay, now that we’ve got that covered, who’s ready for cobbler??

Serves: 8-10 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes

Peach Ingredients

3 lbs peaches (about 9 peaches), peeled and sliced into wedges
1/3 cup sugar
3 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla
1¼ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon

Cornmeal Biscuit Ingredients

1 cup flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
6 tbs butter, diced into ½ inch cubes
2/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Demerara Sugar, for dusting

Steps

ONE. Toss the sliced peaches with the sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or so until the peaches release some juices and become syrupy. Drain the peaches in a colander or mesh sieve and reserve ¼ cup of the peach juice.

TWO. Whisk together the reserved peach juice, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Pour this mixture over the drained peaches and mix thoroughly. Transfer to your 9-inch baking dish or pie plate, liquid and all. Place the filled pie plate on top of another baking sheet (to catch any leaks or spills).

THREE. At this point, preheat the oven to 375º F. To make the biscuits, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in the cubed butter with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles peas and is evenly incorporated.

FOUR. Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula and mix until there are no dry ingredients left. Add more heavy cream as necessary, a tablespoon at a time, if the mixture is too dry.

FIVE. Scoop the biscuit mixture on top of the peaches, using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, leaving a little room in between each one, as the biscuits will spread. Brush the top of each biscuit with heavy cream and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

SIX. Bake for 35 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool completely to set the filling, then serve warm with a generous pour of cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

YUM! xoxoxoxoxoD

sweets

Cinnamon Birthday Cake (with Marzipan Succulents!)

Hello! It’s been a bit since I last posted, I’ve been all over the place but I’m back now, never fear. Today’s recipe is brought to you once again by my love of cinnamon, in case you haven’t sensed the theme here. I turned 23 on Monday, and because I know who I am, I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own birthday cake. It works because I can experiment and pick my favorite flavors, but no one complains because it’s a cake for me anyway! (As if anyone could complain about eating cake though.)

So to start, I use a classic birthday cake recipe from a Williams-Sonoma Cake cookbook that I’ve had for years now, and it’s simplicity is its greatest asset. But because I can never leave anything alone, I added a few tweaks here and there in the form of some cinnamon, almond extract, and a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, and boy it went well. As my mo remarked, the cake smelled like snickerdoodles as it was baking, and was moist and amazing when iced and sliced. To complete the cinnamon masterpiece I covered this cake in a cinnamon-y buttercream and free-handed a few marzipan succulents for decoration. I, of course, know that they could be cleaner if I used cookie cutters or stencils, but I simply didn’t have any so I made do!

This whole recipe is great because without my flavor additions, they serve as basic templates for cake and buttercream that can be changed as you see fit. I’m including stars next to the ingredients that I added so that the following recipe can be two in one! Let’s get baking!!

Makes: 1 2-layer 9″ round cake or 1 9×13″ sheet cake
Prep Time: 1 hour+ (depending on how into decorating you get!)
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 1.5-2 hours

Cinnamon Cake Ingredients
adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon*
½ cup whole milk
½ vanilla bean (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
½ tsp almond extract*
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten

Cake Steps

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour your desired cake pans, or grease and line your pans with parchment paper (which is my preferred method, to keep the consistency correct and to prevent sticking mishaps).

2. In a large bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. If you’re using a vanilla bean, add the milk, almond extract, and scraped vanilla bean seeds + pod to a saucepan and heat over low heat (do not boil the milk!), until the vanilla has infused with the milk. Remove and discard the pod. If you’re using vanilla extract instead, add both extracts to your milk at room temperature.

4. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or large bowl + hand mixer), cream your butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add in the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

5. Drizzle your eggs into the bowl of the mixer on low speed, a little at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding more.

6. Next you’re going to be adding your flour mixture and your milk mixtures alternatively, starting and ending with the flour. Add your flour in 3 batches, your milk in 2. Mix until just combined.

7. Pour the batter into your pans and spread evenly. Before baking, tap your pans on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

8. Allow the cakes to cool almost entirely in their pans, trying to move cakes around when they’re still warm makes them way more likely to crack or break! While they’re cooling, you can make your frosting.

Cinnamon Buttercream
adapted from Domino Confectioners Sugar
*you may have to do this in 2 batches if you have a smaller mixer like me! If so, just divide these amounts in half*

7 cups (2 boxes) confectioners sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
¼-1/3 cup whole milk
½ vanilla bean, scraped, or 2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract*
½ tsp ground cinnamon*

Buttercream Steps

1. Cream together your butter and sugar. Slowly add in the milk, little by little until your frosting has reached the desired spreadable consistency.

2. Add the extracts (or extract and vanilla bean seeds), and cinnamon, and mix to combine.

3. Once your cakes have cooled, generously frost the top of your first cake and stack the second cake on top, so that both domed tops are in the center and the top and bottom of your cake is flat.

4. “Crumb coat” the cake with a thin layer all over and chill for 15 minutes. Finish with a second, thicker coating of frosting. Dip your spatula in warm water and run it along the sides and the top to smooth.


Decorations

Almond paste (marzipan)
Food Coloring
Cocoa powder
Chocolate Shavings

or any sprinkles/ extra frosting you want!

Steps

1. To color your marzipan, break off a large chunk and make a well in the center, adding in a few drops of the color you want. Knead it around in your hands until the color is evenly distributed. Warning, you WILL dye your hands this way, I looked like Elphaba from Wicked for quite a while.

2. To make a succulent, I cut out star shapes in gradually smaller sizes, starting with the largest and then 3-4 more, getting smaller each time. I layered them on top of each other one at a time and pressed the center in until the pieces were stuck together.

3. Brush the edges with a little cocoa powder and arrange them on the top of the cake. Cover the area with chocolate shavings if you feel like it, I thought the cake needed to look a little more like a garden you know?

Then, take at least 600 pictures to brag to your friends about your masterpiece, and enjoy!!!

xoxoxoxoxoD

sweets

“St. Patrick’s Day” (Sort-Of) Scones with Cinnamon-Honey Butter

If there’s anything that the British have done right in this world, it would be tea and scones. There’s something about the combination of a warm, buttered scone with a strong cup of tea on a rainy day that makes me feel like I live on the moors or something, you know? But you know, until I own by own castle I’ll have to enjoy my tea and scones in the kitchen like a regular person.

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This recipe has been used by my mom and my grandma for as long as I can remember. Usually it’s dubbed the “St. Patrick’s Day Scones” recipe, but for some reason I have a thing about raisins in my baked goods, so this batch doesn’t contain them. I know, it’s pretty shameful because raisins are a staple of a lot of cookies and things, but there’s just something about the texture that really freaks me out. You could always add them in this recipe if you felt like it, just toss about 1½ cups of them with the flour before the wet ingredients are added and proceed as usual.

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Raspberry Rhubarb Jam from my favorite farm makes an excellent addition here!

This is an excellent base recipe for anything you’d like to add to your scone batter really, whether it’s fruit or chocolate chips, but I also think it’s really nice as is, and becomes the perfect vehicle for jam or this fabulous cinnamon-honey butter. These are drop scones, so no rolling out or cutting is required, it’s about as low maintenance as could be. The tops are brushed with egg and sprinkled with demerara sugar so that they bake up crispy on the outside and tender and buttery on the inside, and I’m literally eating one right now they are so good. Without further ado, let’s bake!!

Makes: 18 to 20 small/ medium sized scones
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20-23 minutes
Total Time: ~45 minutes

Scone Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, very cold
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 egg + 1 tbs milk (for egg wash)
Demerara sugar

Steps

1. Heat your oven to 350ºF. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter in small cubes and mix in with your fingers or a pastry blender until it becomes the size of peas and is evenly distributed throughout.

3. Beat your eggs and milk together in a small bowl. Gradually stir into the flour mixture until a dough forms- you can use a spoon to mix at first, but by the end, clean hands are your best chance of fully mixing this dough.

4. Drop scoops of a little less than ½ cup of dough onto baking sheets- leave some room between them, they tend to spread just a little.

5. Whisk together 1 egg and 1 tbs milk and brush the top of each scone, then sprinkle generously with demerara sugar.

6. Bake scones for 20-23 minutes until lightly golden. Enjoy with butter, jam, and a cup of tea. (Notice how most of my recipes can be eaten with a cup of tea?)

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Cinnamon-Honey Butter Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks); softened
3 tbs honey
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt

Steps

1. Combine all the above ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until soft and well combined. This is best served room temperature (soft), but can be stored in the fridge.

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Enjoy!! xoxoxoxD

 

 

sweets

Forget-About-Cinnamon-Rolls Cinnamon-Cardamom Buns

Okay I’ll be the first person to profess my love for cinnamon rolls. Homemade or from the Pillsbury tube, they’re like a warm hug and a fuzzy blanket on a snowy day- but in food form. That makes sense sort of, right? Cool. Back to my point, I’ve been watching a lot of The Great British Bake-Off and was inspired by Bread Week to make these beautiful Swedish buns flavored with cinnamon and cardamom. I never thought I’d see the day where something would replace my cinnamon rolls, but these soft, knotted buns have definitely earned a spot in my snow day baking lineup. As a side note, who knew that it would be SO hard to find cardamom at a normal grocery store, is it just me? I spent at least an hour and a half at two different grocery stores and found not a trace, only to return home and find two full jars hidden in the back of my spice cabinet. I think the universe wanted me to try these too.

Bread dough is something that has continuously mystified me. I made it a New Years Resolution of mine to try more bread recipes because I will NOT let it get the best of me, and I was pleasantly surprised by this one. As I understand it, there are several ways to start your bread dough, and I was originally nervous that the recipe I was following didn’t require you to bloom the yeast at all first, but it turned out just beautifully without that step so don’t be worried!

If you’re looking to shake up your routine without straying too far from the classic cinnamon roll, the flavor of cardamom is truly under-appreciated, and brings a wonderfully spicy-sweetness to these rolls that will instantly make them a cold-weather classic.

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Adapted from Food52’s Classic Swedish Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns.

Makes: around 18 buns
Prep Time: 1 hr.
Inactive Time: ~2hrs.
Total: about 4 hrs.

Ingredients:

For dough:
1 tbs cardamom
1 cup milk
135 grams (about ½ cup) superfine sugar
1 packet fast-action dried yeast
150 grams unsalted butter, softened (about 1½ sticks)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 egg
660 to 720 grams bread flour (roughly 2¾ to 3 cups)

For filling:
200 grams unsalted butter, softened (or 2 sticks)
90 grams superfine sugar (a little more than a quarter cup)

Beaten egg, for brushing
1 tbs honey + 1 tbs corn syrup, for brushing
Superfine sugar, for sprinking
Ground cardamom, for sprinkling

Steps:

1. Add milk and cardamom to a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Heat until it reaches around 115ºF. Make sure not to overheat, if the milk is too hot it could kill the yeast and your dough won’t rise!

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and egg. Add the cardamom-infused milk and stir briefly, then add in most of the flour- this is by judgment really, but less is always more! Remember, you can always add more flour if the dough is too sticky, but you can’t take it out!

3. To knead, either attach the dough hook to your stand mixer and let mix for about 5 minutes, or turn out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until its soft and smooth.

4. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place, until doubled in size. Meanwhile, mix together the cinnamon, sugar and butter to make a smooth paste for your filling.

5. Once the dough has sufficiently risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Roll the dough into a wide rectangle (measuring off my Silpat, mine was around 9″ x 13″, but don’t stretch too thin), and spread half of your filling over the entire area.

6. Fold the dough in thirds long-ways (or “hot-dog style” like in elementary school) like you would fold a letter, taking the top third down to the middle, and then fold the bottom long side over the top. It should now be a third of the width, but the same length.

7. Cut the dough into 2 inch wide strips (you can estimate this part), and then cut every strip down the middle but not all the way, so that each strip looks like a pair of pants. Also if that’s not the cutest line in a recipe I don’t know WHAT is.

8. Take the cut strips and tie them into a rough knotted shape, feel free to experiment, their perfection lies in their imperfection. Place the knotted buns onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rise again, until doubled in size (around 40 minutes or so).

9. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Brush each bun with beaten egg. Bake for around 10 minutes or until golden brown. The key is to underbake them just slightly so that they remain soft.

10. Brush the still warm buns with the glaze of honey and corn syrup mixed with a little water (unless you can find golden syrup, in which case, use that!), and sprinkle with sugar + cardamom. Best eaten warm!

xoxoD