Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Mushroom Cookies

Yup, those are little bits of mushroom on those cookies.

Yup, those are little bits of mushroom on those cookies.


Yes, mushrooms in cookies.

Not those kind of mushrooms, people. But Candy Cap mushrooms.

If you’ve never had Candy Cap mushrooms, you are missing out on one of the most captivating ingredients around.

Elusive Candy Caps grow in the wilds in the Bay Area. But their growing season is so short, and the mushrooms so perishable, that you find them mostly sold in dried form.

What makes them so prized is their fragrance and flavor. Think maple syrup on steroids — with a hint of curry on the finish that lingers on and on. In fact, bake with them and your kitchen will smell enticingly of maple for days. Eat an ample enough of them in a dish or baked good, and you will have the scent of maple syrup even exuding from your pores, which, heck, is way better than garlic, right?

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Go On, Have A Little Beer In That Cake

A beer-y delicious cake.

A beer-y delicious cake.


Yes, this cake is two treats in one.

It’s not just brewski with cake; it’s beer in the cake.

“Big Honey Hefeweizen Spice Cake” is from the adorable cookbook, “Cake, I Love You” (Chronicle Books, 2017) by Jill O’Connor, of which I received a review copy.

O’Connor is a veteran cookbook author, as well as a food columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. And she obviously knows her cakes, as evidenced by the 60 recipes in this book.


Whether you like to bake cakes that are no-nonsense or like to spend hours decorating them to the hilt, you’re sure to find a cake in here to please.

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Juhu Beach Club’s Desi Jacks

Sweet, savory, and spicy -- these aren't your childhood Cracker Jacks by any stretch.

Sweet, savory, and spicy — these aren’t your childhood Cracker Jacks by any stretch.


Juhu Beach Club in Oakland may be shuttered now, but its spirit lives on in “The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook”
(Running Press) by Preeti Mistry with East Bay food writer Sarah Henry, of which I received a review copy.

Mistry has vowed that Juhu Beach Club, which she ran with her business partner and wife Ann Nadeau, will rise again in some form, though details are scarce at the moment.

In any event, you can still enjoy her cooking at her very fun Navi in Emeryville with its unique pizzas, toasts and cocktails.

Born in London and raised in suburban Ohio, Mistry, a former “Top Chef” contestant, is an inventive, inspired cook who is adept at remastering comfort food with bold Indian flavors and flair. On her trips to her ancestral country of India, she fell in love with street food. There’s a playfulness in her food that reflects that.


That’s evident in recipes such as “Shrimp Po’Bhai,” “JBC Fried Chicken & Doswaffle,” “Chai-Spiced Bacon,” and “Bloody Meera.”

Take her “Desi Jacks.” This revved up version of caramel corn is featured at Navi. It’s even free during the daily Happy Hour, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

This is a snack that’s sure to get the party started.

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Baking A Childhood Favorite: Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake

Blum's coffee crunch cake -- it's not nearly as hard to make as you might think.

Blum’s coffee crunch cake — it’s not nearly as hard to make as you might think.


If you grew up way back when in San Francisco like me, no doubt you grew up obsessed with Blum’s coffee crunch cake.

This neighborhood bakery was famed for this airy two-layer cake slathered inside and out with swirls of coffee whipped cream. The piece de resistance? The shellacking of crunchy toffee pieces all over it.

It was the cake families bought for birthdays, and all manner of other celebrations. Mine certainly did. That cake was always front and center for my birthday, as well as my two brothers’.

The secret was that you had to eat as much of it as you could that very first day. Because once refrigerated overnight, the toffee pieces turned soft and soggy, and not nearly as appealing. So I cop to always cutting myself a rather gargantuan piece as a child. It’s a wonder my parents let me get away with that, let alone eating a coffee-laced product at that age, when they’d never let a brewed cup itself pass my lips.

Thank goodness they did, too, because that cake remains an iconic part of my childhood. Just the thought of it is enough to make me smile big-time.

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Meyer Lemons II: Sweet and Decadent

Zest, juice and slices of Meyer lemon flavor this irresistible Meyer lemon coffee cake.

Zest, juice and slices of Meyer lemon flavor this irresistible Meyer lemon coffee cake.


April showers bring May flowers. But last winter’s deluge of rain nearly drowned my poor little Meyer lemon tree.

Usually flush with deep green leaves and bountiful with sunny yellow lemons, it looks more like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree right now. In fact, I managed to pick all of about four decent-sized ripe lemons this year — not nearly enough to make this spectacular “Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake” by Martha Stewart.

But lo and behold, my friend Kiki to the rescue. With her tree overflowing with lemons, she gifted me a big bag of them — plenty to make this cake that requires a load of Meyers.

Thin slices of lemon are layered and baked right into the cake, which has a batter laden with lemon zest, too. Then, a mountain of crunchy streusel goes on top — an amount nearly as deep as the cake, itself. Finally, a Meyer lemon citrus glaze is drizzled over the top.

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