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A Cake That Spans Two Seasons

Wednesday, 9. October 2013 5:25

A little bit of both summer and autumn in one cake.

A little bit of both summer and autumn in one cake.

 

I am in deep denial.

That it’s October.

That somehow more than three-quarters of the year is now gone — whoosh — just like that.

Fortunately, though, I can turn to cake to make that transition from summer to autumn a little easier to swallow. Cake makes everything better, doesn’t it?

Especially one that combines the flavor of summer peaches with fall apples.

This simple cake is from “One Bowl Baking” (Running Press), of which I received a review copy. The new cookbook is by Yvonne Ruperti, a former recipe developer and writer for Cook’s Illustrated magazine. As the name implies, the book is filled with recipes for cakes, cookies, tarts, and biscuits that take only one bowl to whip up.

The original name of this particular cake is: “Super Moist Applesauce Quick Bread.” But I changed it to: “Super Moist Apple-Peach Sauce Cake” with the quick swap out of regular applesauce for Santa Cruz Organic Apple Peach Sauce, of which I also recently received a sample.

A blend of organic apples, peaches and apple juice concentrate, it comes in a six-pack of individual 4-ounce cups for about $4.99. It’s naturally fat-free with no additional sugar added. One container (one serving) has 70 calories.

Santa Cruz Organic Apple Peach Sauce.

Santa Cruz Organic Apple Peach Sauce.

The flavor is a nice change of pace from just standard apple because of the tang and complexity that the peach adds. The consistency is runny, almost slurp-able, actually. In fact, you could almost drizzle a little on a plate with the cake for a ready-made coulis.

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Category:General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (14) | Author:

Fall for An Apple Pumpkin Galette and a Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 23. September 2013 5:25

A taste of autumn with apples and pumpkin.

A taste of autumn with apples and pumpkin.

 

I admit I do mourn the end of summer’s sweet berries and peaches.

But the start of fall is definitely easier to swallow with a bounty of fresh apples to bake with.

“Apple Pumpkin Galette” caught my attention because of the addition of the autumn hard squash in it. The recipe is from the new “Sunset Cook Taste Savor” (Oxmoor House) of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook spotlights recipes for 16 ingredients including artichokes, avocados, chicken, cheese and apples.

SunsetCookTasteSavor

The straightforward dough recipe for the galette makes enough for two of these free-form tarts, but you can just freeze half the batch to use at another time.

The dough is rolled out into a circle. You fill the center with slices of apples and pumpkin — or kabocha squash, as I used as recommended by the cookbook — that have been tossed with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, a dash of bourbon and sugar. Then, fold the edges of the dough over, before baking.

With Sunset’s meticulous testing, I was taken aback by the amount of sugar called for in the filling, which seemed like way too much. The recipe originally called for 1/3 cup brown sugar plus 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar for three apples and 1 1/2 pounds of squash (about half of a small pumpkin or kabocha). So, I decided to cut the amount of granulated sugar back to 3/4 cup, which turned out to be plenty. But feel free to add more if you have a big sweet tooth.

The pastry bakes up flaky with a hearty filling. My husband was not too keen on the addition of the squash. He would have preferred an unadulterated apple tart instead. Me? I kind of liked how the kabocha made this tart unique. It gave it a slightly savory quality and added a twist.

One of fall's earliest apples: the SweeTango.

One of fall’s earliest apples: the SweeTango.

The original recipe calls for Granny Smith apples, but I used SweeTango ones instead, of which I had received a sample. The SweeTango is a cross between a Honeycrisp and a Zestar! apple. It’s got a great crunch and wine-y, spicy flavor.

SweeTango apples are an early season variety. They’re available at Walmart through the end of September, and at Mollie Stone’s and Safeway stores hrough October.

CONTEST: Three lucky Food Gal readers will each win a couple of pounds of SweeTango apples, an apple timer, a cutting board, a T-shirt, and a reusable grocery bag. Entries are limited to those in the continental United States, as well as Alaska and Hawaii. Entries will be accepted through midnight PST Sept. 28. Winners will be announced Sept. 30.

How to win?

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Category:Enticing Events, Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (20) | Author:

Sweet Almond Buns and A Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 16. September 2013 5:25

A breakfast pastry adorned with almonds that's not too sweet. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

A breakfast pastry adorned with almonds that’s not too sweet. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

 

It’s rare that I allow myself a pastry for breakfast during the week.

But come Sunday, I am sure ready to indulge in one.

“Sweet Almond Buns” are just the perfect size, too. Not Super-Size me over-the-top. But just a couple bite-fulls of something sweet, tender and with a haunting hint of cardamom.

The recipe is from “Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts” (Weldon Owen) by veteran cookbook writer Rick Rodgers. The book, which I received a review copy of when it came out in 2010, is full of inspired recipes for the most important meal of the day. There’s everything from “Golden Cornmeal Waffles with Fried Chicken” to “Raspberry Jam Doughnuts” to “BBQ Shrimp and Grits.”

BreakfastComfortsBook

These little buns are full of almonds, one of my favorite nuts. They get stirred into the yeast-fortified dough, and mixed with sugar to sprinkle on top of the buns just before baking.

For those who don’t like their breakfast treats cloying, these are perfect as they are just sweet enough.

An almond-packed prize. (Photo courtesy of the Almond Board of California)

An almond-packed prize. (Photo courtesy of the Almond Board of California)

CONTEST: One Food Gal reader will win a most almond-packed prize from the Almond Board of California. It includes 1 pound of whole natural almonds, one jar of almond butter, 1 pound of sliced almonds, an insulated travel pouch for breakfast on the go, and a $20 VISA gift card to help you purchase everything else you need for a hearty breakfast.

Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Sept. 21. The winner will be announced Sept. 23.

How to win?

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Category:Enticing Events, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (18) | Author:

Can’t Beat Peanut Butter and Chocolate for the Long Holiday Weekend

Friday, 30. August 2013 5:25

An ice cream sandwich that you don't need an ice cream machine to make.

An ice cream sandwich that you don’t need an ice cream machine to make.

 

As a native San Franciscan, I’m proud to say that my first encounter with an ice cream sandwich was with the It’s It, the iconic treat invented here way back in 1928.

In our freezer at home, my Dad would often stash a few of those big-fisted oatmeal cookie sandwiches filled with vanilla ice cream and dunked in chocolate. As a kid, I couldn’t even eat an entire one at one sitting.

I’ve been a sucker for ice cream sandwiches ever since.

So when a review copy of “Ice Cream Sandwiches” (Ten Speed Press) landed in my mailbox recently, I leafed through it with the utmost nostalgia. The book is by Donna Egan, founder of the Buttercup Cake Shop, London’s first cupcake bakery. After opening in 2006, the bakery added ice cream sandwiches to its repertoire five years later and has never looked back.

The book features 65 recipes for all manner of ice cream sandwiches. The “Peanut Butter Dream” caught my eye because, well, who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together?

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Category:Chocolate, Favorite Cookie Recipes, General, New Products, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (9) | Author:

Musings on Peach-Nectarine Buttermilk Ice Cream

Wednesday, 24. July 2013 5:25

Buttermilk ice cream with chunks of peaches and nectarines.

Buttermilk ice cream with chunks of peaches and nectarines.

I have done a very dangerous thing.

I have taken the plunge to buy an ice cream machine.

My freezer’s not going to know what hit it.

For years, I contemplated buying an ice cream machine because, well, who doesn’t love ice cream? But each time the temptation hit, I pushed it aside, fearing I’d be making ice cream all the time if it was that convenient. And well, eating ice cream all the time does have its consequences.

But as I started work on my first cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press), which will publish in November, I realized I would need to test the ice cream recipes from the chefs contributing to the book.

I could no longer say “no” to the Cuisinart ice cream maker that I’d coveted.

I did the deed a couple weeks ago. And I’ve already used the dang thing three times. God, help me.

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Category:Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (15) | Author: