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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Holiday Honey Cake

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Last week, Bernice enjoyed a lecture and tasting at her senior center about the amazing healing powers of eating local honey. When I heard this, I said get me some please! Today my mother brought me a beautiful little jar of this golden goodness which I immediately turned into a Jewish holiday classic — honey cake. I love this recipe! My baking mentor Susan Purdy included it in her high altitude classic Pie in the Sky, which I helped her test. This recipe, with very little modification, works at every altitude and you don't even need to use an electric mixer. What makes it so great is the inclusion of espresso powder, which gives it real depth and also adds a slight twist on the spices. I leave out the ginger (I'm allergic) and use cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and cardamom. Feel free to alter it to make it your own. Shanah Tovah! (Happy New Year!)

3/4 cup very hot water
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with oil spray, line with parchment and spray again. In a large bowl, dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water and then stir in the honey until it is smooth. Next mix in the sugar, oil, and eggs using a whisk. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and spices. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the liquids. Using your whisk, stir until smooth. The batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pan and set in the middle of the oven. Bake for 60-70 minutes until the top springs back and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on rack 30 minutes then remove pan and let cool all the way. If you want to dress it up, you can cut it into layers and fill it with apricot jam or glaze it and top it with toasted almond slices!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Best Blueberry Muffin of All Time (IMHO)

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Hello my peeps, yes it's been a while, but I'm back! Work has been taking up my entire life and basically killed me but now it's me time. Getting my juju back and starting to bake again, which I love! This is a recipe I recently developed (which I have been told is the best muffin ever) and of course can be used with a variety of fruit. The secret to the moistness and great texture is in the full fat Greek yogurt (so don't skimp). I promise to post more often, any requests?


2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup blueberries
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 room temp eggs
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup melted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw brand)

Preheat oven at 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Mix the berries and lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon from the total sugar amount and let sit in small bowl. Combine sugar, water, yogurt, butter, vanilla and eggs. In separate bowl combine flour, powder, and salt. Mix everything together with a spoon and put in muffin cups and sprinkle turbinado sugar on top. Bake 25 minutes until top is golden and it springs back when touched. Remember, less is more when it comes to making muffin batter, don't over mix as it creates tough and rubbery muffins.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Everyone should have at least one great cheesecake recipe in their repertoire. This is my new fave! I love the crust made from lady fingers (instead of the uninspired graham cracker crust) with the inclusion of espresso powder and chocolate chips. I love the addition of mascarpone instead of just cream cheese. And I love the chocolate chips in the cake which give your mouth something to do. Cheesecake is easy to prepare, but make sure you really whip the cream cheese because lumps are unacceptable! Making sure the ingredients are at room temperature helps them blend together more easily.

1 7-ounce packages crisp, Italian-style ladyfingers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
boiling water

Position a rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, grind ladyfingers into fine crumbs. Add melted butter, espresso powder, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips then pulse until incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press to form a crust halfway up the sides. Bake until set, 8 to 10 minutes, let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

While the crust cools, beat the cream cheese using an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar at high speed until smooth. Beat in the mascarpone, vanilla and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Set the springform pan in a roasting pan. Pour the mascarpone-chocolate chip mixture into the baked crust, then place the roasting pan in the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the top is golden and the center is set but still jiggly, about 1 hour.

Let cool in the water bath for 15 minutes, then transfer the springform pan to a rack to cool completely. Refrigerate the cheesecake (still in the pan) for 6 hours or up to 2 days. Remove cheesecake from the springform pan and put on flat platter. You can decorate with some whipped cream with a little coffee liquor in it. Or melt some chocolate and do a little Jackson Pollock drizzle thingy.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Paleo what? Vegetable wraps!

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Recently I visited Santa Fe and had a great time because my friends are the best! One of my favorite meals was surprisingly at Sweetwater Cafe with the lovely and talented Helga Ancona of KSFR fame. She recommended I try the spinach paleo wrap with turkey, sweet potato and some other stuff — and it was amazing! So as soon as I got back to NY, with the info the owner of the cafe was kind enough to share with me, I set about to figure out how to make the wraps and it was soooo easy! Sweetwater does the spinach version so I started with that and then branched out to other veggies. I think with the basic formula the possibilities are endless. Remember, depending on the moisture content of the vegetables used you might have to play with it a little.


Assorted Vegetable Paleo Wraps

Ingredients for Green Spinach flavor
4 ounces spinach
3 eggs
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large basil leaves
1 sprig tarragon leaves
2 sprigs fresh dill

Ingredients for Curried Carrot flavor
4 ounces shredded carrot
3 eggs
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Ras al Hanouj
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Ingredients for Beet and Dill flavor
4 ounces cooked beets, cut into cubes
3 eggs
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dill
2 tablespoons chives (add to batter at the end, do not purée into mix)

Procedure (for all flavors)
Pick one of the flavors above, then purée all those ingredients in blender until mixture is very smooth.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat (low to medium for the beet version) and spray lightly with oil. Ladle some batter into the pan then quickly tip the pan in a circle so the batter coats the bottom in an thin, even layer. Let cook you until bubbles rise to the surface (like in the photo above) and the edges start to come away from the pan and brown a little. Then flip over and cook the other side for 15 seconds. Do your best not to brown the wrap too much, so the vegetable color stays bright. Repeat with the remaining batter. Don't worry, the first few are always borked, even for me!

Wraps hold well in fridge up to 4 days.