Mini Pavlovas

Spring is in the air bbs! And to me, a quintessential spring dessert is pavlova. Pavlovas are meringue nests, either in mini or large form, and are typically filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, lemon curd, or fresh fruit. It can be adjusted based on what is fresh and in season, so there are practically endless possibilities. I feel like that is a running theme of this blog, desserts that can be customized to your liking, and I’m not mad about it. I encourage everyone to play around with flavors and combinations and find what works best for you, the fun is in the process! For these pavlovas, I borrowed the basics from this recipe on ZoeBakes, doubled for more minis, and went from there!

I feel like I may be the only person on this earth not watching Game of Thrones right now (it’s Sunday night as I’m typing this), and I am instead choosing to watch the 2nd season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina AGAIN because that’s exactly how I roll. Something I should have done today is give my room a good spring cleaning, but what did I do instead? Take a nap, watch TV and make pavlovas. Good stuff good stuff, guess that spring cleaning will have to wait until next week!


Until then, here are 5 things to be happy about!!
ONE. 
Staying up to watch that extra episode because you know you can sleep late tomorrow.
TWO. Tent dresses.
THREEFern fossils.
FOUR. Fried chicken with hushpuppies.
FIVE. Cleaning out your wallet, makeup case, and purse.
Let’s get baking!!

MAKES: 12 mini pavlovas
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
BAKE TIME: 2 hours

 

PAVLOVA INGREDIENTS

8 egg whites
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup cold water
2½ cups sugar
2 tsp vinegar (cider, white wine, or distilled)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch

PAVLOVA STEPS

ONE.  Preheat your oven to 300ºF. To prepare your baking sheets, trace 3″ circles about 2 inches apart from each other on the underside of a sheet of parchment paper cut to size. Flip the paper over so that the circles show through but no pencil marks will rub off on the meringues.

TWO. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the salt until medium-stiff peaks form. At this point, drizzle in the water with the mixer on low speed. Slowly add the sugar a little at a time, and once all is added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whip until the egg whites form stiff peaks. This means that if you remove the whisk attachment and hold it upright, the egg whites will stick straight up.

THREE. Add the vanilla and vinegar, and then sprinkle in the cornstarch. Fold the cornstarch into the egg whites with a rubber spatula, lightly shaking the spatula as you fold to eliminate any lumps.

FOUR. Scoop even amounts of meringue onto each traced circle. Using an offset spatula, start by smoothing around the sides, then create a dip in the center, which will prevent the top from cracking during baking. For a more polished look, smooth the sides of each meringue by holding the spatula horizontal and dragging from the bottom to the top in quick strokes all the way around.

FIVE. Bake the pavlovas at 300ºF for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 275ºF and bake for another 15 minutes. Finally, turn the oven down again to 250ºF and continue to bake for 30 more minutes. At this point, turn off the oven, turn the oven light on, but do NOT open the oven door. Allow the meringues to sit in the off oven for at least an hour, up to overnight to fully dry.


BLUEBERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS

1 pint of blueberries
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
Splash of amaretto liquor (optional)


BLUEBERRY SAUCE STEPS

ONE. Combine all the above ingredients in a saucepan and mix to combine. Cook on medium heat until the blueberries begin to break down and the alcohol cooks off. Allow to cool completely before serving.

WHIPPED CREAM INGREDIENTS

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract


WHIPPED CREAM STEPS 

ONE. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed. Add in the sugar and vanilla until the sugar is dissolved and the whipped cream is the desired consistency. For this, some stability is helpful since the blueberry sauce will go on top.

ASSEMBLY

ONE. To serve, carefully remove a meringue from the tray so as not to shatter the thin sides, top with a generous scoop of whipped cream, a pour of blueberry sauce, and some extra berries. Best eaten immediately, but if needed, unfilled meringue shells can be stored in an airtight container overnight.

XoxoxoxoxoD

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Wildflower Coconut Cake

Hello!! How convenient that my birthday falls on the same day of my Sweet D posts. As a result, I bring you my birthday cake 2019, because yes, I do bake my own birthday cakes! It’s great because I can do whatever flavors or designs I want, and no one can tell me not to! This year I chose a crowd pleaser though, who doesn’t love coconut cake?? This particular recipe comes from Queen Ina Garten herself, because I was looking for the classic flavors of the coconut cake from the bakery by my house: vanilla, almond, coconut, and the sweet tang of luscious cream cheese frosting. And, to pull out all the stops, I tried my hand again at some buttercream flowers, and I get better every time!

Before baking this year’s cake, I took a trip to Michaels and got some supplies, including some cake boards, baking strips, a wire cake trimmer, a flower nail, and some fancy gel food coloring. The cake board goes on your cake stand or plate, and allows for easy transfer from one surface to another. The baking strips are something I should’ve gotten a LONG time ago- you soak them for 5 minutes before baking, and then wrap them around the sides of the cake pans. This keeps the sides of the pan cooler, and results in a cake that bakes more evenly and flat. The cake trimmer lets me take the uneven top off in one motion, because I am notoriously bad at cutting my cakes evenly. The flower nail and gel food colors are for the buttercream flowers and wow does the flower nail make a difference! It lets you get every side of the flower in one motion, and results in much more even flowers.

I’m excited about what my 24th year on this earth holds, hopefully many more cakes and a pie or two (or seven). Until then, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
ONE. Zippy limes.
TWO. Bike baskets.
THREE. The glow you get from being outdoors.
FOUR. Pitchers on the porch.
FIVE. Strawberry Rhubarb jam.

Let’s bake!!

MAKE: 1 2-layer cake
PREP TIME: 2-3 hours (depending on flowers and decorating)
BAKE TIME: 45-55 minutes.

 

COCONUT CAKE INGREDIENTS

¾ lb. (3 sticks)  unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, at room temp
1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1½ tsp almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 oz. shredded sweetened coconut

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS

1 lb. cream cheese, softened
½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ tsp vanilla bean paste
¼ tsp almond extract
1 lb. powdered sugar
Shredded sweetened coconut (for decoration)

BUTTERCREAM FLOWER INGREDIENTS

1 stick butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 Tbsp whole milk

CAKE STEPS

ONE. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease 2 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. If you’re using baking strips on the outside, start soaking them now.

TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bow one or two times during this process to make sure it’s all being evenly mixed. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, then add them one at a time to the butter mixture. Once all the eggs are incorporated, add in the vanilla and almond, and mix to combine.

THREE. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into another bowl. You’ll be adding the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the butter mixture in 5 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold the shredded coconut into the batter.

FOUR. Divide the batter evenly into the two pans and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 30 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING STEPS

ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and almond extract on low speed until combined, but do not whipped.

TWO. Carefully spoon in the powdered sugar a few at a time until it’s all smooth and incorporated. Repeat for a second batch.


BUTTERCREAM STEPS

ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar until combined. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached the desired consistency, but make sure it’s not too wet because it will be harder for flowers to hold their shape. Repeat as necessary for more flower colors.

CAKE ASSEMBLY

ONE. Place one cake flat side down on your cake stand or plate. Add a cup or so of frosting to the top and spread evenly. Place the other cake on top so that the flat bottom of this cake is the top. Crumb coat this cake with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting, and chill for 20-30 minutes.

TWO. Coat the cake with a second, thicker layer of cream cheese frosting and smooth out. Gently press the shredded coconut around the sides of the cake evenly. Top the cake with the chilled buttercream flowers and fill in any gaps with extra buttercream. Now cut yourself a generous slice and enjoy!!

*Pro Tip #1: for buttercream flower tips, see here.

*Pro Tip #2: when storing leftover cake (assuming there is any!), press two pieces of sliced sandwich bread over the cut sides. This will prevent the cake from drying out and keep it nice and soft.

YAY! XoxoxoxoxD

Almond Bundt Cake with Candied Citrus Peels

Since when is it April?? Literally where has the time gone? I’m all turned around and suddenly I’ll be 24 in a week? Yikes. But before I worry about that, I’m here to give you this life-changing recipe for an almond bundt cake so moist and so versatile that you may never need to make another cake again. Adapted from this recipe from Zoe Bakes, I tweaked a few little things and switched a blood orange glaze (I think they’re out of season now) with a lemon and orange one instead, similar to a frosting my grandma used to make when I was little. The combination of citrus and almond is heavenly and bright and springy and when I served this cake for dinner, there was not a single piece left over.

Some notes about this cake- the recipe calls for cake flour, which is much finer than all-purpose, and as a result creates a cake with a smaller, denser crumb. For some reason I had a box of cake flour in my house that had baking powder and salt already mixed in, do not use this! You want to be able to control the amounts that you add in, so stick with the straight up stuff. Also, it’s important to use almond paste that’s relatively new/ fresh, because if it’s too old and dry, it won’t incorporate into the batter and you’ll end up with chunks of almond paste throughout. Finally, the base cake recipe is pretty customizable, you can add a touch of citrus zest to the cake itself, serve it with or without glaze, change up the fruits, it’s all up to you! But I myself am dramatic as hell so I decided to teach myself how to make candied citrus peels to go on top, and 10/10 would recommend you try that at least once yourself, it’s deceivingly easy and SO good. Everyone’s getting chocolate covered orange peels as gifts this year.

Before we get started however, here are 5 things to be happy about today!
ONE. Receiving food as presents.
TWO. Phone calls that accidentally last over an hour.
THREE. The first day of the year that you can go outside without a coat and realize it’s comfortably warm. (Thanks Taylor!)
FOUR. Naps on a rainy Sunday.
FIVE. Spring cleaning.

Let’s bake!

SERVES: 8-9 people
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
BAKE TIME: 45-50 minutes
DECORATING TIME: Unlimited!!!

ALMOND CAKE INGREDIENTS

¾ cup cake flour
½ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp kosher salt
7 oz. almond paste, diced into squares
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
5 eggs, room temperature

CITRUS GLAZE INGREDIENTS

3½ cups powdered sugar
Zest of two lemons
Zest of one orange
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. orange juice

CANDIED CITRUS INGREDIENTS

Peels from 1 lemon + ½ orange
2½ cups sugar
1 cup water (plus more for boiling)

ALMOND CAKE STEPS

ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Generously butter and flour a 10-cup bundt pan, tapping out the excess flour. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cubed almond paste until it breaks into tiny pieces. Add the sugar a little bit at a time until combined and grainy. Add the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, until half is in, scraping the bowl with a spatula every now and then. Beat the mixture on medium speed until smooth. When the mixture is uniform, add in the rest of the butter, and beat until fluffy and light.

THREE. Add the vanilla bean paste, and then the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. At this point, take the bowl out of the stand mixer and fold in half of the flour with a spatula. Repeat with the rest until just combined, don’t overmix!

FOUR. Fill the prepared pan with batter, smooth out the top, and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then flip onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


CITRUS GLAZE STEPS

ONE. In a bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and citrus zests, then add the lemon and orange juices, a few tablespoons at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. You may not use all of it if you want a thicker glaze, and that’s fine! Transfer the glaze to a measuring cup for easier pouring.

CANDIED CITRUS PEEL STEPS

ONE. Using a vegetable peeler, cut wide strips of peel from a lemon and an orange, avoiding the bitter white pith as much as possible. If you want smaller pieces, cut the peels into smaller strips, but you can also leave it as is.

TWO. In a small saucepan, add the peels and enough water to generously cover them and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, strain the water out, add fresh water, and bring to a boil again, then drain again. Repeat this one more time. This process will take some of the bitterness out of the peels!

THREE. In the same saucepan, whisk together 2 cups of the sugar and a cup of water, then bring to a boil. Add the peels and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the peels are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes, then drain.

FOUR. In a small bowl, toss the peels with the remaining ½ cup sugar until they’re thoroughly coated, then remove one at a time, shaking off the excess. Allow the candied peels to dry before arranging or packaging.


CAKE ASSEMBLY STEPS

ONE. Set a cooking rack in a rimmed baking dish, then place the cake on the cooling rack. Pour the glaze over the cake*, coating as little or as much as you’d like. Let the excess glaze fully drip off into the sheet pan below, then transfer the cake to a stand or plate. Arrange the candied citrus peels on top, and serve!!

*Tip: save the glaze that drips off onto the sheet tray, and use it to drizzle over the cake when serving!!

XoxoxoxoxD

Cheesecake Pudding Pie

Spring has sprung, ladies and gentlemen!!! At least, I hope it has since I have frantically purchased a new pair of rain boots AND a rain coat (from here and here, respectively if you’re at all interested in my shopping problem), so I say bring on those spring showers!!! Also not for nothing, this new rain coat is made from 25 renewed plastic bottles and I feel great about it. ANYWAY, back to food which is the real reason why we’re all here. This weekend I had the pleasure of doing truly nothing- you know when you realize that you have not one single plan for the weekend and suddenly the possibilities are endless? That was me for the first time in WEEKS so I knew I had to make it count. Aside from sleeping until 11 on Saturday, I took a trip to the garden near my house and wandered around the greenhouses with my sister, and then promptly came home to make this pie.

Adapted from this recipe from The New York Times and created by Erin McDowell, it starts off its life as a heavenly cheesecake pudding, which is essentially created like a pastry cream, only with a generous amount of cream cheese for that classic cheesecake tang. And, because I can never let well enough alone, I decided to jump a step further and pour the whole thing into a graham cracker pie crust and voila! A pie is made!! This could also probably be classified as a lazy person’s cheesecake, because it doesn’t require the temperamental baking in a water bath or hours of chilling, and in a pinch, you could even use a store bought pre-made graham cracker pie crust. I myself discovered that Honey Maid makes boxes of already crushed graham cracker crumbs, which is really a genius idea, and I hope whoever thought of it gets a promotion.

I even had some leftover filling which I turned into this baby pudding cup!! (And then promptly devoured)

This recipe could be embellished in all sorts of ways if that was something you wanted to explore, I think next time I may swirl in some raspberry coulis on top because literally why not, you know? For the time being, I topped it with a handful of fresh berries, and I can confirm that the whole pie was gone by the next day. Gone, yes, but certainly not forgotten. Now go forth, and make your cheesecake dreams come true!!

But first, here are 5 things to be happy about today!!
ONE.
Old computer games.
TWO.
Mystery books.
THREE.
“Adopt Don’t Shop”.
FOUR.
Reusable straws.
FIVE.
The tropical gradient of a mango skin.

MAKES: 1 9-inch pie (plus maybe enough filling leftover for one ramekin of pudding!)
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
BAKE TIME: 12 minutes
CHILL TIME: 1½ – 2 hours

PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS

5 Tbsp melted, salted butter
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar

CHEESECAKE PUDDING FILLING

2 1/3 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp kosher salt
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
Raspberries or other fruit, for decoration

PIE CRUST STEPS

ONE. Preheat  your oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, mix together all your crust ingredients until everything is incorporated. The crumbs should be packable and hold together if pinched.

TWO. Pour the crumbs into a lightly buttered 9-inch pie plate and gently but evenly pack down along the bottom and sides. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the crumbs are toasty. Set aside to cool.


CHEESECAKE FILLING STEPS

ONE. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, salt, and a ¼ cup of the white sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

TWO. In a heat-safe bowl, whisk the remaining ½ cup of sugar plus the cornstarch to get rid of any lumps. Add in the egg yolks and mix until everything is combined and the eggs are thick and pale yellow.

THREE. Once the milk has come to a simmer, slowly drizzle about 1/3 of it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that you don’t scramble the eggs. Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, pour the contents of the bowl into the saucepan with the rest of the warm milk and mix thoroughly.

FOUR. Heat over medium, whisking constantly, until the mixture gets thick, about 5-6 minutes. At this point, switch to a rubber spatula, scraping the sides of the saucepan as you stir, until large bubbles start to come up to the surface.

FIVE. Off the heat, stir in the cream cheese and vanilla extract. Push the filling through a sieve to remove any lumps or accidental cooked egg, then pour the filling into your cooled graham cracker crust. Allow to chill in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Top with fruit or whipped cream (or both) and enjoy!!!

XoxoxoxoxoD

Conchas!!

I would like to mark down March 10th, 2019 as a very special day in my life calendar, because it was the day that I made my first Concha, and I can already tell that we will have a long and happy life together. Also called Pan Dulce, these beautiful works of art are a Mexican bakery staple known for their intricately patterned tops, often resembling the swirl of a shell. A concha consists of two parts: a sweet cinnamon roll, and a crisp, colored (and sometimes flavored) streusel-like topping, which forms the crackly pattern on top. Whenever I used to come across pictures of these, I just assumed that some kind of baking pan or stamp was required and so I never really gave it much more thought. THEN, I came across this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen, and suddenly they were so attainable!!! No stamp needed, just a pairing knife, a steady hand, and some patience, and since I have two of those things, I once again took a bread-making quest that paid of incredibly well!

Almost as soon as you start this recipe, you will start to wonder why no one has managed to make a candle that can capture this scent exactly. No offense but the combination of fresh bread and cinnamon is the only thing that matters in this world. Truly. Anyway, if you thought these treats couldn’t get any better, boy do I have news for you! Something that is very fun and special about this recipe is that it’s totally customizable! By mixing different flavors and colors into your streusel topping, you are opening up so many possibilities here! You can add cocoa powder for a hint of chocolate, lemon zest, freeze dried berries, or combine several food colors for a rainbow pattern, and it’s 100% up to you! I kept mine on the simpler side for my first try, and used a red gel food coloring to give my Conchas a bright pink finish. From there, you could follow the traditional concha shaped top by cutting a shell pattern into the top (the bun rises and expands while baking to form the crackled top that these are known for), but you can also add concentric circles, stripes, grids, or any number of patterns and see how they turn out!

Before we get started, let’s all take a moment to appreciate these 5 things to be happy about today:
ONE. Falling asleep in the car on the way home from a long day.
TWO. Using something you had been saving for a special occasion.
THREE. An evening of zero productivity.
FOUR. An evening of extreme productivity.
FIVE. Asking for a booth at the restaurant.

 

MAKES: 12 buns with topping
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
RISING TIME: 2½ hours (divided)
BAKE TIME: 18-20 minutes

DOUGH INGREDIENTS

3 Tbsp. warm water
2½ tsp active dry yeast
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/3 white sugar
¾ cup evaporated milk
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, at room temperature
4 cups all purpose flour

TOPPING INGREDIENTS

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Gel food coloring of your choice or 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder

STEPS

ONE. Warm the bowl of your stand mixer by filling it with hot water and letting it sit for a minute. This will allow you to add warm water with the yeast and not have the heat change when it touches the cold metal bowl. Once the bowl is warmed, remove that water and add in the 3 tablespoons of warm water and yeast. Allow the yeast to bloom and get foamy, about 5-7 minutes. If it doesn’t foam up, your water was either too hot or too cold, or the yeast is no good, so you’ll have to start over.

TWO. When the yeast is ready, add in the oil, melted (and slightly cooled!) butter, sugar, evaporated milk, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs. Using the dough hook attachment, mix until the eggs are slightly broken up and everything is incorporated.

THREE. Add the flour all at once, and mix the dough on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth, and a little sticky. Coat a large bowl with oil or cooking spray and transfer the dough. Cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for an hour, or until it has doubled in size.

FOUR. While your dough is rising, you can make the buttery streusel topping! Mix all the ingredients in your stand mixer until smooth and incorporated, then decide whether you want the topping to be chocolate (add the 2 tablespoons of cocoa) or colored (add gel food coloring of your choice!), or both! I went for pink this time but you can do whatever you want! Scoop out about a tablespoon’s worth of topping for each bun, I did this ahead of time so that the topping was ready when the bread was!

FIVE. After the bread dough has doubled, turn it out onto a baking mat or countertop and section it into 12 rolls. If you want to weigh them individually so that they’re even, you can, but I just eyeballed it. Shape them by hand into uniform, round buns and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

SIX. Take each topping round and flatten it into a disk in your palms, then lay it over the top of each bun so that the top is totally covered. Repeat for all. Using a pairing knife, cut some patterns into the top- you can research some of the more traditional patterns here, but you can also do whatever you feel like! When all designs are done, cover the whole tray with a towel and allow the buns to rise again for another 30 minutes, until doubled in size again. Preheat your oven to 350ºF halfway through this second rise.

SEVEN. Bake the buns for 18-20 minutes, until they are lightly golden and the topping has spread into the classic concha shape. Best eaten soon after baking, with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate!!

YAY! xoxoxoxD

 

Rhubarb Snacking Cake

HELLO! I bet you thought I was done with the rhubarb recipes, huh? Well, I’m sorry to report that since I have a combination of no self control and no concept of how much rhubarb is too much rhubarb, I bought about 12 stalks too many and they are currently taking up more of the fridge than is convenient. So, until such time as I find recipes for all of it, the winners will undoubtedly find their way here. Today’s recipe is a slightly adapted version of this one from The New York Times. That recipe uses the name “quick bread”, but in my opinion, this turned out with more of a cakey texture, hence my renaming it to a snack cake. In addition to the name change, I switched out lemon zest for the orange zest (I know that might be weird, but I don’t love the rhubarb and orange combo), and sprinkled the top with some turbinado sugar for a nice crispy lid.

The result is a wonderful mix of bright lemon, caramelized sugar, and tart rhubarb, which bakes into little pockets with an almost jam-like texture. It is delicious on its own with a nice cup of tea, served warm with some butter or a light confectioner’s sugar glaze, but could also benefit from a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream or a quick toasting. ALSO, this recipe can actually serve as a base for any number of other fruits, including blueberries, strawberries, or peaches.

Now I’d like to tell you that by this time next week I’ll be off my rhubarb kick, but I’m afraid to make that promise so I guess we’re just going to have to see. I hope you stick with me while I ride this out. Now let’s get to it!

 

Ingredients
(adapted from The New York Times “Rhubarb Quick Bread”)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for greasing the loaf pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbs lemon zest (if you’re really tied to the orange zest, it can be substituted here)
1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt (this makes for SUCH a moist cake)
2 large eggs
1¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the loaf pan
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1¾ cups diced rhubarb (about 4 large stalks)
1 tbs turbinado sugar, for topping

 

Steps

1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350ºF. Generously butter and flour your loaf pan. Set aside.

2. In the larger of two bowls (you don’t even need a mixer for this one!), mix together the melted butter, sugar, lemon zest, and yogurt until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until combined. In the second bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. At this point, thoroughly wash your rhubarb and cut into roughly ½-inch pieces. Add the flour mixture and 1½ cups of the diced rhubarb (saving the last ¼ cup for the top) to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.

4. Spread the batter evenly into your loaf pan and artfully top with the remaining rhubarb and a sprinkling of the turbinado sugar.

5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the edges are crisp and golden, and a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. And, technically you’re supposed to cool it completely then before slicing, but I was so impatient and it was 10pm and I cut it almost immediately. While I wouldn’t ~really~ recommend doing this because the cake tends to crumble, I have to say nothing really beats the taste of cake still warm from the oven. I’ll leave the choice up to you!

Enjoy!!

xoxoxoxoxoxoD

Strawberry (and Rhubarb) Shortcakes

OKAY so I know it’s been ages and I’m terribly sorry. Time once again got away from me and I found myself making some of the same things over again without the motivation to write about them, but we are BACK. I hope everyone’s extended weekends were relaxing and full of guacamole, because mine sure was! I don’t know about you guys, but I love a weekend where I don’t have a single plan lined up. Maybe that’s the grandma in me, but I love waking up on a Saturday and having a leisurely breakfast and taking a stroll around some gardens without worrying about what’s coming next, you know? With the weather being pretty disappointing all weekend, I actually found myself being able to sleep late, spend some time with my sisters, and do some low-maintenance cooking, I truly wish all weekends were like this.

srb10.jpg
Now anyone who knows me knows that I have been obsessing over rhubarb for weeks now, but I’ve been drawing a blank on what to use it for (I’ll gladly take suggestions below, btw). I made a pie, which came out pretty good, but then after that I felt lost as to what should come next. Enter this recipe. I’ve always associated Memorial Day with strawberry shortcake, so when the time came to make dessert for our barbecue it was the first thing that popped into my head. But, since I can never leave anything alone I HAD to change it up, so I reduced down some of my rhubarb and strawberries into a thick, sweet and slightly tart compote and I will probably never make plain strawberry shortcake again.


I used my most trusted biscuit recipe for these shortcakes from the cookbook of the incredible Joanna Gaines because they are truly the flakiest biscuits I’ve ever made, so technically I guess these are more Strawberry Rhubarb Biscuits, but let’s all be real, biscuits and shortcakes are almost identical. Anyway, now that I’ve said biscuits five times in two sentences, let’s just get to it.


Flaky As Heck Biscuit Ingredients
(adapted recipe from 
Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines)

4 cups self-rising flour
2 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbs white sugar
3 sticks salted butter, grated (I’m telling you, grating the butter is the KEY)
2 eggs, beaten
1½ cups Buttermilk
*1 egg + 1 tbs buttermilk + turbinado sugar for topping the biscuits

Flaky As Heck Biscuit Steps

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Add in the grated butter and mix with your hands or a pastry blender until the butter is about the size of peas and is evenly incorporated throughout the flour mixture.

2. Add the beaten eggs and mix with a wooden spoon until the egg is entirely mixed in.

3. Next, add the buttermilk and carefully mix the entire dough together with your hands until a single large ball can be formed; it should be relatively sticky. If the dough seems too dry, add more buttermilk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to overnight.

4. To roll out, generously flour your rolling surface (I use a silicone mat), and roll your dough into a wide rectangle about ½ inch thick. Using a large cookie cutter, cut 20-24 biscuits and lay them side-by-side on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, it’s okay if they’re touching!

5. Before baking, brush with the beaten egg and buttermilk, and then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and slightly crisp. Allow to cool full before cutting in half and filling.


Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Roughly 2 cups (about 6 large stalks) Rhubarb, chopped
¾ cups white sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 tsp cinnamon (if desired, this is optional)
2 lbs. (about 2 cups) strawberries, chopped if large, halved if small

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote Steps

1. In a large saucepan, add the chopped rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and cinnamon, and mix to combine. Cook on medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften and break down into a sauce, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Once the rhubarb is almost cooked, add in half the chopped strawberries (use the rest to garnish the shortcakes with) and cook for 5 more minutes, until the strawberries become slightly soft. Set aside to cool until serving.


Whipped Cream Ingredients

2 cups heavy cream
2 tbs white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Steps

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until thick but still scoop-able, about 1-2 minutes on medium speed.

Serving Suggestion

1. To serve, cut each biscuit in half and top with the compote, fresh strawberries, and a heaping spoonful of whipped cream. Repeat 2 or 7 times. YUM.


xoxoxoxoxoxD