Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

The Aptly Named Aphrodisiac Biscuit

Resistance is futile.
Resistance is futile.

If Valentine’s Day is all about showering the ones you love with an overload chocolate, then this biscuit is sure to do the trick — and then some.

“Aphrodisiac Biscuit” is aptly named because it not only has chopped chocolate inside a tender interior but glossy melted chocolate spread lavishly all over its top.

This decadent treat is from “The Big Bottom Biscuit: Specialty Biscuits and Spreads from Sonoma’s Big Bottom Market” (Running Press, 2019), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by Michael Volpatt, who opened the Big Bottom Market in Guerneville in 2011, a combo retail store and cafe that serves sandwiches, salads, and of course, biscuits.

It includes more than 50 recipes for biscuits, biscuit dishes and things that go with biscuits. In short, it will expand your horizon on just what biscuits can be.

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A Prickly Affair With Persimmons

While this is a faux persimmon, my new-found adoration of Hachiya persimmons is very much real.
While this is a faux persimmon, my new-found adoration of Hachiya persimmons is very much real.

Like so many great love affairs, this one began with trepidation.

After all, an astringent personality is not something one warms to readily. What was required was untold patience for its latent sweetness to reveal itself in time.

Such was my relationship with Hachiya persimmons.

Now, with its cousin, the Fuyu, the attraction was immediate. Cheerfully hued, beguilingly sweet, and ready to eat in a flash while still crisp, the Fuyu is thoroughly captivating in salads or pickled.

But the Hachyia? Well, it was more like that demon lurking in the shadows in a horror movie, biding its time as it transformed ever so slowly but surely into something blobby, oozy, and frightening.

Can you blame me for trying to avoid it for years?

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Jubilee’s Rice Muffins

Simple and satisfying rice muffins.
Simple and satisfying rice muffins.

“Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking” (Clarkson Potter) is one of the most acclaimed cookbooks of the past year.

For good reason.

Activist, historian and food writer Toni Tipton-Martin’s book, of which I received a review copy, contains more than 100 recipes. But it is so much more than a cookbook. It is a resounding testament to the ingenuity, fortitude, passion and perseverance of African-American cooks throughout the ages.

When you think of African-American cuisine, you might automatically think soul food. But Tipton-Martin shows the real breadth of the cuisine. With hundreds of historical cookbooks she’s collected over the years, she combed through recipes to get at the heart of how black cooks have richly shaped our culinary landscape through the ages.

The result are recipes that are both modern and timeless, such as “Curried Meat Pies,” “Jamaican Jerk Ribs,” “Honey-Soy Glazed Chicken Wings,” “Baked Ham Glazed with Champagne,” and “Caramel Cake.”

What’s more, with many of the recipes, she also includes the actual historical recipe that inspired it with its succinct measurements and directions. By doing so, she connects the past to the present, making you really feel as if you are carrying on a cultural and culinary tradition whenever you take the time and effort to make one of these recipes.

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Toasted Sesame-Chocolate Chip-Cashew Cookies

A wonderful mix of ingredients creates a powerhouse of nuttiness in these cookies.
A wonderful mix of ingredients creates a powerhouse of nuttiness in these cookies.

Are you making a list and counting it twice…

To figure out which cookie you should make and eat next?

Then, prepare to add this one to it.

“Toasted Sesame-Chocolate Chip-Cashew Cookies” is an unexpected mix of so many good things you love that you wonder why nobody thought to put them all together before.

It’s from the new “Betty Crocker Cookies: Irresistibly Easy Recipes for Any Occasion” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), of which I received a review copy.

It comprises more than 150 cookie recipes. There are short-cut ones such as “Santa Heart-Shaped Cookies” that make use of Betty Crocker cookie mix. But if you’re more inclined to make your cookies entirely from scratch, there are plenty of those types of recipes, too, including boozy “Bourbon Old-Fashioned Cups” (that includes bourbon and Angostura bitters), “Sparkling Orange Ricotta Sandwich Cookies” that makes use of orange juice, orange zest and candied orange slices, and “Chocolate Coconut Cookie Tots” (that require no baking at all).

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Going Green For The Holidays with Matcha Cream Pie

Beyond the tree and wreath, add a little more green to your holidays with this spectacular matcha cream pie.
Beyond the tree and wreath, add a little more green to your holidays with this spectacular matcha cream pie.

With a new year dawning, let’s all be brave enough to pledge to trust our gut instincts more.

I know so many friends who agonize over situations — analyzing, re-analyzing, and plain over-analyzing — before taking action, even if they know in their heart immediately what they should do.

I’ve been there many a time, myself.

Case in point: this “Matcha Cream Pie” recipe, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal in September.

It’s a recreation of the signature dessert at Stonemill Matcha in San Francisco by Pastry Chef Mikiko Yui.

It’s a dazzler, covered in a cloud of orange zest-scented whipped cream. It’s only when you cut into it that it truly reveals itself with its dramatic deep green filling made with matcha.

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