Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Start the Day Off Right with Blackberry-Rye Cream Scones

Buttery, tender, and filled with fresh blackberries.
Buttery, tender, and filled with fresh blackberries.

It doesn’t have to be a holiday like Valentine’s Day to make any day a whole lot sweeter and more pampering with “Blackberry-Rye Cream Scones.”

Rye flour gives them an earthy color and a nutty taste, while a sprinkling of sugar on top before baking creates that crackly sweet crunch none of us can resist.

The recipe is from “Bake Smart” (Harvest, 2023) by Brooklyn-based Samantha Seneviratne, a recipe developer and food stylist who stars on the Magnolia Network’s “Everyday Cooking.”

It’s a collection of 100 recipes for homespun treats such as “Burnt Caramel Basque Cheesecake,” “Chocolate Chestnut Loaf,” “Pretzel Cheese Buns,” and “Buckwheat Walnut Linzer Cookies.”

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Indulge In Scandinavian Brunsviger (Brown Sugar “Focaccia” Cake)

A sweet version of focaccia that's a specialty of Denmark.
A sweet version of focaccia that’s a specialty of Denmark.

Is it focaccia?

Or is it cake?

It’s kind of both. And boy, is it dang delicious.

It looks exactly like focaccia with its dimpled top, which creates perfect crevices to hold the buttery, sweet syrup that gets poured over its entire surface before baking.

Take a taste, and it’s as if pancakes drenched in butter and syrup were transformed into focaccia instead.

“Brown Sugar ‘Focaccia’ Cake,” otherwise known as brunsviger, hails from Funen, the third largest island in Denmark and the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson.

It’s a featured recipe in the new “Scandinavian from Scratch” (Ten Speed Press, 2023), of which I received a review copy.

Described as a “love letter to the baking of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden,” it was written by Nichole Accettola, an American chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who lived in Denmark for 15 years and now runs Kantine, a Scandinavian bakery in San Francisco.

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In the Mood For Hot Buttered Rum

A new love affair with an old favorite.
A new love affair with an old favorite.

Pardon me while I lounge in front of this roaring fire.

With a plush throw wrapped around me.

And my feet snuggled inside way-too-cute, furry white bunny slippers with the floppiest ears.

OK, maybe not. But sipping this soothing warm drink sure makes me feel as if I’m doing all of that.

When’s the last time you had a “Hot Buttered Rum”?

Me? I can’t even remember.

What a shame that is. Because once you take a sip, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been enjoying more of these regularly.

I thank Toni Tipton-Martin and her new book, “Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs & Juice” (Clarkson Potter, 2023), of which I received a review copy, for reminding me of the pleasures of this cozy drink.

The culinary journalist and editor-in-chief of Cook’s Country magazine has used her expertise and passion for historic research to write a book that pays homage to Black drinking culture through the ages by spotlighting its hospitality, creativity, and longevity.

You’ll be thirsting to make everything from “Strawberry Wine,” “Coffee Liqueur,” and “Pomegranate-Demerara Rum Punch” to “Pineapple-Lemon Highball,” “Absinthe Frappe,” and the clever, non-alcoholic “Cosmockpolitan.”

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Refresh and Reset with Sicilian Orange Semolina Cake

Your happy cake.
Your happy cake.

If you’ve ever been guilty of procrastibaking, raise your hand.

Uh, yes, that would be me, multiple times when I’ve pushed aside writing deadlines for a few hours because I just felt the urge to bake a batch of cookies.

And if you’ve ever stressed baked, raise your other hand,

Yes, me again, both arms up, as I’ve been guilty of sliding a Bundt cake or pan of brownies into the oven when everything else has seemed too overwhelming.

Jack Hazan knows those times all too well. After all, he’s an actual New York City psychotherapist and founder of Modern Therapy Group, who also happens to be the chief baking officer of JackBakes, a baked goods company whose breads are now carried in more than 5– online and brick-and-mortar stores.

He’s also the author of “Mind Over Batter” (Chronicle Books, 2022), of which I received a review copy. It’s a novel self-care cookbook that touts baking as therapy.

Let’s face it, as merry and fun as the holidays are, they can also raise the roof on anxiety as we all try to be everything to everyone and feel obligated to accept every invitation that comes our way.

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Zingerman’s Gingerbread Coffee Cake

The ultimate gingerbread cake.
The ultimate gingerbread cake.

It may be called “Gingerbread Coffee Cake,” but it boasts no mountain of crunchy streusel on top like you might imagine.

Instead, this coffee cake actually has brewed coffee in it.

Along with a bountiful array of invigorating spices.

So much so, you won’t even miss the absence of a crumb topping.

This cake is so extraordinary that when Zingerman’s Bakery made the decision not to include it in its first cookbook, “Zingerman’s Bakehouse” (Chronicle Books, 2017), regulars were aghast.

Fortunately, the beloved 30-year-oled, Ann Arbor, MI bakery rectified that omission by featuring it in its newest cookbook, “Zingerman’s Bakehouse’s Celebrate Every Day” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.

The book is a collaborative project by the team at Zingerman’s that includes managing partner Amy Emberling, marketer Lindsay-Jean Hard, editor Lee Vedder, and marketing manager and food photographer Corynn Coscia.

The idea for this cookbook grew out of the pandemic, when people were eating out less, and desiring to cook and bake more at home. The Zingerman’s staff used that time to write down more of its best-loved recipes to share.

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