Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Milk Bar’s French Toast Muffins

All the wonderfulness of French toast -- in a convenient muffin form.
All the wonderfulness of French toast — in a convenient muffin form.

I love this delectable Christina Tosi recipe for “French Toast Muffins” for so many reasons:

  1. It lets you make a load of “French toast” in one fell swoop.
  2. It is a genius use of all those odds and ends of various bread loaves on the verge of freezer-burn at home.
  3. It’s easy enough for kiddos to do, making it an ideal way to spoil mom with breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. In fact, it’s featured in the “Milk Bar: Kids Only” cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2020), of which I received a review copy.

You probably know Pastry Chef Tosi as the founder and owner of the phenomenon known as Milk Bar bakery, as well as for her judging prowess on TV’s “MasterChef.”

Her creations at Milk Bar are beloved for their nostalgic effervescence and joyous kid-like appeal. So, a cookbook like this is a natural. It’s sure to entice kids into the kitchen with recipes such as “Coco Cabana Cereal Squares,” “Compost Pancakes,” “Donut Shakes,” and “Corn Dog Waffles.”

She even instructs how to judge if baked goods are done, by employing cocktail umbrella toothpicks to demonstrate, as well as trouble-shoots problems such as cupcakes or muffins sinking in the middle (You’re opening and closing the oven too much.).

For “French Toast Muffins,” you rip up bread slices into small pieces “as if you were feeding ducks in the park.” (One of the best recipe directions I’ve ever read, by the way.)

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Meyer Lemon Tea Cakes with Pomegranate Glaze

Meyer lemon juice and zest flavors these cute little cakes.

When a good friend gifts you a few late-harvest Meyer lemons from her backyard tree that have ballooned into the size of oranges, you know you need to do something special with them.

Not just halved and squirted over fish on the grill. Not just sliced to garnish glasses of iced tea. And not merely juiced to make mundane lemonade.

Nope, these babies were made for “Meyer Lemon Tea Cakes with Pomegranate Glaze.”

This easy-breezy recipe for individual cakes is from “Sweet” (Artisan, 2013) by Pastry Chef Valerie Gordon.

A monster-sized Meyer lemon.
A monster-sized Meyer lemon.

She owns one of my favorite bakeries in Los Angeles, Valerie’s Confections, which I always make a point of visiting whenever I’m in town just so I can snag a slice of her impeccable rendition of the iconic Blum’s coffee crunch cake.

For this recipe, Meyer lemon juice and zest are incorporated into this cake batter, along with creme fraiche (I actually used plain yogurt instead) for tang and moistness. The batter gets distributed amongst large muffin cups that are buttered but not lined.

Once they are baked and cooled, turn the cakes upside down to dunk the flat sides into a glaze flavored with Meyer lemon juice and pomegranate juice. You are left with precious little cakes simply too cute to resist.

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Super Natural Simple Sensational Big Raspberry-Rye Cookies

One of the best cookie recipes I've baked lately -- and that's saying something.
One of the best cookie recipes I’ve baked lately — and that’s saying something.

Take a long, deep breath. Now, inhale, imagining the sublime aroma of summer raspberries bubbling away, and turning soft and jammy in a buttery, golden pie crust in your oven.

Yet in reality, what’s baking away is not a pie at all, but cookies.

That’s the magical, irresistible promise of these “Big Raspberry-Rye Cookies.” They eat like cookies, but possess the taste and fragrance of raspberry pie a la mode, thanks to a heap of freeze-dried raspberries that give a concentrated berry boost, plus enough vanilla extract to lend a sweet, milkshake-like taste of nostalgia.

This recipe is from the newest cookbook by renowned food blogger and food writer Heidi Swanson, who created her site, 101 Cookbooks way back in 2003. “Super Natural Simple: Whole-Food, Vegetarian Recipes for Real Life” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, is her fourth cookbook.

Freeze-dried raspberries give these cookies intense berry flavor plus a wonderful lightness.
Freeze-dried raspberries give these cookies intense berry flavor plus a wonderful lightness.

Like her other books, this one is filled with smart, effortless, and enticing plant-based recipes. The 120 recipes, designed to be wholesome and nutrient-dense, will take you through morning, noon and night, with such delights as “Instant Sriracha Oats,” “Coconut-Asparagus Soup,” “Tangerine & Tahini Ponzu Noodles,” and “Minted Mushroom Kebabs.”

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Chocolate-Chip Hot Cross Buns

My favored hot cross buns for Easter.
My favored hot cross buns for Easter.

I have a confession to make: I love hot cross buns.

But the neon red, green and yellow dried fruit inside?

Not so much.

As an avowed carb lover, I always felt painfully left out at Easter, simply because I couldn’t bring myself to buy these holiday buns only to pick out and discard the bits of dried fruit so wastefully.

Now, however, I’ve found a delicious solution to my dilemma: “Chocolate-Chip Hot Cross Buns.”

Because if there’s one thing I love even more than bread, it’s chocolate.

This fabulous recipe is from “Just Desserts: Good Things Come to Those Who Bake” (Running Press), of which I received a review copy. This compact tome of 30 recipes is the first cookbook by Charlotte Ree, an Australia-based recipe developer and avid home baker.

This fun little book full of cheeky quotes will have you running to your kitchen to try your hand at such delights as “Nutella Thumbprint Cookies,” “Tiramisu Swiss Roll,” and “Vanilla Cake with Ricotta Frosting and Roasted Peaches.”

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Baked Goods With A Twist, Part III: The Out-Of-The-Norm Blueberry Crumb Cake

This isn't your ordinary blueberry cake -- not with whole wheat flour, plus a most unexpected ingredient.
This isn’t your ordinary blueberry cake — not with whole wheat flour, plus a most unexpected ingredient.

Blueberry cake is always a welcome guest.

But it’s the blueberry cake with a miso crumb topping that makes for a guest with gusto whom you won’t soon forget.

This unusual take on a classic spring treat incorporates mild — yet still salty and ever so fermented and funky — white miso into the mix.

“Blueberry-Miso Crumb Cake” is a recipe from Chef Chris Morocco for Bon Appetit magazine, published in the September 2020 issue.

Yes, it's white miso.
Yes, it’s white miso.

The cake is made with whole wheat flour, which gives it a hearty and nutty taste. Plus, it adds a healthful aspect, even if you are still eating cake. Or so you can con yourself.

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