Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Diana Henry’s Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake

Yes, this is the way this chocolate and olive oil cake is supposed to look.

Yes, this is the way this chocolate and olive oil cake is supposed to look.

 

I think of this as the Frank Gehry of cakes.

It’s all angular pieces that jut this way and that. It seems to not make sense or be of this world. But the longer you gaze at it, the more you appreciate its quirky distinctiveness.

Just wait until you taste it, too.

“Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake” is a recipe by the incomparable Diana Henry, the London-based columnist, broadcaster and author who has a true gift when it comes to food writing, making you see, smell and taste an ingredient or dish in its totality just from the words she pens on a page.

The recipe is from her newest cookbook, “How To Eat A Peach” (Hatchette), of which I received a review copy.

How To Eat A Peach

It’s a compilation of her favorite dishes in her menu notebook that she’s jotted down entries in since she was 16. These are the dishes she most wants to cook for friends, family and herself. They include such scrumptious fare as “Sea Bass Crudo with Radishes & Nasturtiums,” “Autumn Vegetables with Hazlenut, Roast Bell Pepper & Anchovy Relish” and “Arroz Nego with Romesco Sauce.”

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Norwegian Sweet Buns with Cardamom

A basket of warm, pillowy cardamom-chocolate buns.

A basket of warm, pillowy cardamom-chocolate buns.

 

Saffron and vanilla are among the world’s most expensive spices. That’s a given.

But can you guess what the third most pricey one is?

Yes, cardamom.

Like the other two, it owes its hefty price tag to the fact that it has to be harvested by hand.

Thankfully, a little goes a long way, so you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy it.

While it’s used in a lot of savory dishes, especially in Indian cuisine, I especially love it in baked goods. Its flavor — sort of like sweet cinnamon and ginger crossed with citrus and mint.

North Wild Kitchen

So it’s no wonder that “Sweet Buns with Cardamom” jumped out at me immediately in the new cookbook, “North Wild Kitchen: Home Cooking From the Heart of Norway” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy. It is by Nevada Berg, who created the blog of the same name, which was named by Saveur magazine as “2016 Blog of the Year.”

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Jammin with Jam

A variation on the usual thumbprint cookies, and made with Jamnation jams.

A variation on the usual thumbprint cookies, and made with Jamnation jams.

 

As a Stanford University economics major, Gillian Reynolds was only too familiar with the law of supply and demand.

Now, she’s living it — supplying delicious jams that aficionados are demanding more and more of with gusto.

Reynolds is the founder of San Francisco’s Jamnation. With her brother Christopher, a trained chef, they make jam with local organic fruit, surprising flavorings and a big dose of wittiness.

Just get a load of some of the jam names: “Plum and Get It” (pluot with honeysuckle essence), “Midnight in Pearis,” (Bosc pear butter with vanilla and nutmeg), and “Cardamom Knows Zest” (Seville orange marmalade with cardamom).

Gotta love the cute names -- as well as the deliciousness inside.

Gotta love the cute names — as well as the deliciousness inside.

I had a chance to try a couple samples recently: “Rose to the Grindstone” (Arctic Star nectarines with rose essence), and “Sublemonal Message” (Meyer lemon marmalade with ginger).

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It’s Not Too Soon For Pumpkin Spice, Is It? Plus Wine Time

Perfect with coffee or tea, Donsuemor Pumpkin Spice madeleines. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Perfect with coffee or tea, Donsuemor Pumpkin Spice madeleines. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

Tender, cake-like and full of autumnal spices, Donsuemor’s Pumpkin Spice Madeleines are a sweet treat hard to resist.

Yes, you might not be ready for pumpkin spice season yet. But it is upon us in full force already. So you might as well embrace it wholeheartedly. Especially when it means indulging in cookies like these.

Donsuemor has been baking French madeleines in the East Bay since 1976.

A package of six pumpkin spice ones are about $4. Find them at Raley’s, Mollie Stone’s and other retailers.

You Know You Want A Pumpkin Spice Latte

It is indeed that time already at Starbucks. The frenzy over pumpkin spice lattes has begun.

But why slog over to Starbucks, wait in line, and fork over bucks when you can get your fix by making your own pumpkin spice latte at home for a lot less money.

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Two Treats In One: Blackberry Torta Della Nonna

Perfect little mounds grace this intriguing tart.

Perfect little mounds grace this intriguing tart.

 

How magical and intriguing is this tart?

What could possibly create all those perfect little mounds that give this Italian dessert its distinctive look?

When James Beard Award-winning Chef Alon Shaya first laid eyes on this treat in Italy while working at a salumeria-restaurant, he thought it surely must be extremely difficult to make, a laborious affair that demanded the highest precision.

He soon learned how wrong he was.

Eddy, a matronly and motherly cook who took him under her wings, learned how to make this from her mother, who learned it from her mother before her. And she gladly taught it to Shaya.

The secret to its perfect little mounds?

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