Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Swirled Sesame Tea Cake Made With A New Artisan Tahini

The taste of sesame galore in this tea cake made with a new artisan tahini.

The taste of sesame galore in this tea cake made with a new artisan tahini.

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Just as all peanut butters aren’t created equally, neither are all sesame seed pastes.

Otherwise known as tahini, the vital ingredient in hummus, now’s there’s one that not only makes you sit up and take notice with its robust flavor, but also its mission to cross cultural divides.

New York-based Goni Light and husband Yonatan Sela created SoCo Tahini a year ago. The two are no stranger to business endeavors — or to tahini. They both grew up in Israel. Sela received an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, and worked for a venture capital firm before becoming chief business officer of YouNow, a live broadcasting-based social network. Light earned a master’s of science at New York University before working for years as a finance manager at Proctor & Gamble.

SoCo Tahini.

SoCo Tahini.

When they came to the United States, Light and Sela were dismayed that they couldn’t find any decent tahini. So, they sourced their own, first selling it at a stand at Burning Man, before establishing a bona fide company last year, Seeds of Collaboration or SoCo for short.

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Now’s The Time For Crostata Di Marmalata

Apricot squared -- with apricot jam and fresh apricots.

Apricot squared — with apricot jam and fresh apricots.

 

Last week at the farmers market, when I spied baskets of ripe apricots with the intense orange-red glow of a tropical sunset, I couldn’t contain myself.

Then, I just had to bake.

These beauties were destined for “Crostata Di Marmalata,” an easy apricot jam-filled tart that I took the liberties of blinging out by decorating it with halves of these early stone fruit.

The recipe is from master baker Jim Lahey’s newest book, “The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook” (W.W. Norton, 2017), of which I received a review copy.

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You probably know Lahey for the phenomenon he created with his revolutionary no-knead bread recipe a decade ago. Lahey, who opened his Sullivan Street Bakery in New York in 1994, is known far and wide for his way with bread, made with wild yeast he hand-cultivated in Italy.

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Discover Kinako Ice Cream

Ice cream flavored with a toasty tasting Japanese product.

Ice cream flavored with a toasty tasting Japanese product.

 

When my husband heads to the store to buy ice cream, I just roll my eyes.

Because he always gets the same flavor, no matter what.

In a world of Chunky Monkey, Tin Roof, strawberry cheesecake, Vietnamese coffee and more, he reaches for vanilla. Every single time.

Oh, he’ll tell me that he might get something different this time.

But of course, he never does.

So I am left to my own devices — to make my own. And in my mind, the more distinctive, the better.

ThePerfectScoop

That’s why when “The Perfect Scoop” (Ten Speed Press) was revised and updated recently, I couldn’t wait to pore through my review copy. The original frozen desserts bible by food writer and popular blogger David Lebovitz, who worked at Chez Panisse for a dozen years, was published a decade ago — when I didn’t yet own an ice cream machine. This time around, I was ready. Boy, was I, to make something creamy smooth and unique.

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Of Moms — And Cranberry Roly Poly

The personality of moms encapsulated  in a baked treat.

The personality of moms encapsulated in a baked treat.

 

It’s been an unbelievable 11 years now since my Mom passed away. I still think about her nearly every day, too.

I’m sure all daughters brag about their mother being incredibly kind, thoughtful and gracious. But mine definitely was.

Still, there were moments that she offered up an opinion that I could have done without at the time, but now leaves me in stitches in hindsight.

When I was a teenager, I once came slinking into the kitchen, feeling thoroughly self-conscious after looking in the mirror that morning, only to have my Mom proclaim loudly, “You know you have a big pimple THERE.” Uh, yes, I do know, Mom. Thanks A LOT, A WHOLE LOT.

There was the time in my 20s when I came home for a visit, and the first thing my Mom said was, “Those pants make you look fat.” Oh, great.

And of course there was the long ago time that I brought a boyfriend over for her to meet, whom I thought she would adore, only to have her tell me afterward, “I don’t like him. He doesn’t put you first.” But Mom, you just don’t know him well enough yet

She may have been blunt, as only an Asian mom can be. But darned if she wasn’t right in every one of those cases — and so many more.

If she were still here this Mother’s Day, I would bake her these “Cranberry Roly Poly” treats. Because she always loved to see the joy I got from cooking and baking. Because cranberries offer up both sweetness and tartness. Because every mother-daughter relationship has moments of both those extremes. And because if you’re lucky, as I was, they will balance each other out in the end, leaving you both with an honest and respectful love.

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Carrot Cake Perfection By The Artful Baker

A carrot cake recipe that will replace any other you used to use.

A carrot cake recipe that will replace any other you used to use.

 

Simply put, “Carrot Cake with Blond Chocolate Frosting” is perfection personified in every single forkful.

Like the creator of this recipe, the uber talented baker Cenk Sonmezsoy, I, too, was skeptical that a carrot cake made without walnuts would prove completely satisfying. After all, I love nuts in almost anything for their added texture, richness and flavor.

But in his cake, you don’t miss the walnuts at all. That’s because browned butter takes its place, getting incorporated into the batter to add a divine nutty aroma and taste all its own. Moreover, the frosted cake gets ringed with toasted pumpkin seeds, which add a big dose of toastiness and crunch.

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This dynamite recipe is from “The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From An Obsessive Home Baker” (Abrams, 2017), of which I received a review copy.

You may already know Sonmezsoy for his award-winning food blog, Cafe Fernando. If you don’t, it’s high time you got to know this Instanbul-based writer, photographer and food stylist, who received his MBA from the University of San Francisco before going to work for a high-tech PR firm.

Ironically, during his time in San Francisco, Sonmezsoy lived in an apartment so small that he never cooked or baked. It was only when he returned to Istanbul that found himself longing for the food he left behind in San Francisco. So, he began baking like crazy, starting with brownies. He started his food blog in 2006, which took off like mad, capturing the fancy of so many influential bakers and publishers that he quit his corporate job in 2010 to devote full-time to blogging.

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