I had my doubts about this cake. The ingredients and method both seemed unusual to me, and I expected it to be maybe one dimensional and unremarkable. I know the recipe promises the cake will be “light, delicate, and delicious … like a milk chocolate bar”, but I was skeptical. But I’ve been working through my vintage recipe project and the occasion of my 1 year old’s birthday was pretty low stakes, so I gave it try. And I am so glad I did! This cake came out of nowhere and totally won me over. It is so so delicious. It’s not fancy, it’s nothing gourmet or complicated, but it is light as a dream with a delicate texture and chocolate flavor. The cake layers and the whipped cream together are airy and not too sweet - in fact, the cake is almost salty in the way that the most delicious milk chocolate has the sweet/salty element that keeps you going back for more. The frosting is very sweet, but it pulls it all together and balances the cake and cream. I’ve made a lot of cakes and watched a lot of kids eat those cakes and most of the time they don’t finish, or they eat the frosting and leave the cake or pick out the cake and leave the frosting. Not this time. They inhaled it., each one of them, both days it was served. So did the adults… I mean, when a cake is this light, it goes down real easy.
A little less than a year ago, I posted this recipe for Mac n’ Cheese. The technique of cooking the pasta in the béchamel sauce was new to me and so appealing for cutting down on dishes. It reliably gave the baked Mac n’ Cheese a wonderful texture too, something that had eluded me with other recipes. Now my Mac n’ Cheese comes out the same every time and just the way I like it. I found this recipe, and I’ve stuck with it very happily.
Here we are tuning in for part 3 of the well-stocked kitchen, a series in which we take a walk through our kitchens and name off what we consider some of our favorite and essential items for cooking and baking.
With summer heat in full swing, we’ve been noticing a switch in what looks appealing. Warm, cozy comfort food isn’t nearly as enticing as fresh, bright meals that require minimal oven time. Here are some recent bakes & makes and new recipes we are eyeing.
We aren’t gluten-free in my home, but I have enough family and friends who are that it helps to have a few stellar gluten-free recipes on hand to pull out for parties and get-togethers, or just because! And I have to admit, I’m prejudiced against recipes that tout themselves as “gluten-free” and then simply call for a gluten-free flour mix in the ingredients list, or worse for me, some home-concocted mixture of 100 different flours and powders that I simply don’t have on hand and probably never will invest in.
Getting into a groove of summer reading and leisure is something of a challenge having kids. It used to be that once school was over, I could sit down with a book and read nonstop. Many times all three of us would read a book in a day, take a small breather, and dive right into another. A cousin who lived across the street was often frustrated…begging us to come out and play soccer or jump on the trampoline or do something active!
Ever since I tasted Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies, I have had an eye on her cookbook Dorie’s Cookies. One bite of the World Peace Cookie, and I was crazy over the play between crumbly and chewy, the deep chocolate flavor, the ease of baking, and the adorable little puddle-circle shapes. The recipe struck me as genius, and I wanted more.
That’s all I really want to say to introduce this recipe. I could go on about how yummy they are, but really I just want you to take my word for it and make them. They are Ottolenghi at his best - simple but totally packed with flavor.
These English muffins are so vastly different from our sourdough English muffins, both in terms of flavor, texture, method, and time. Our sourdough English muffins are bready and made in the traditional way of a yeasted bread - risen, shaped, proofed, cooked - and in order to develop the sourdough flavor, all of it done over the course of 12-24 hours. These whole wheat English muffins, on the other hand, are soft and wheaty, and the dough is almost more of a batter that gets scooped onto a griddle, flipped, and finished off in the oven - all in a wonderfully short 2 hours. They aren’t perfect circles and they look pretty rustic but they are undeniably yummy. You can get up a little early and make these for a same-day late breakfast or brunch. Kind of magical if you ask me!
This is one of those sides that are perfect for lightening and brightening a heavier meal, that is interesting and tasty, but requires minimal ingredients and almost no time. Simple, but perfect, especially in warmer weather.
Summer is in full swing! I’d love to know how you all do your summers. Do you just let the days run their course or do you have a daily schedule? I have to admit, I don’t achieve my ideal summer day every day, which I envision as a balance of scheduled and free time. Schedule takes discipline and that just seems to go out the window when there’s no external accountability for it (like school.) Tips would be appreciated!
For now, I’m going to seize this lazy Saturday morning and browse these links. Join me!
I hope I’ve gotten your attention. I hope you didn’t skip over this post thinking, “Blech, I hate oatmeal it’s so gross” or wondering why anyone would be excited about oatmeal at all. I used to not be excited about oatmeal, too. Now we have it every Monday and Friday and even my kids are happy about it. Here’s the thing: these tips are game-changers because they turn your bowl of oatmeal from a flavorless mess of gluey slop into something that is actually full of flavor, delicious, and doesn’t even need brown sugar. (Although you can still put brown sugar on. I do. Along with a lot of other yummy things. Read on!)
This Moroccan Chicken Pie is easily one of my favorite foods. I remember the first time I took a bite…it was an explosion of flavor and I couldn’t get enough of it. Crispy, buttery, flaky, sweet, savory, nutty, spiced, herbed…oh it’s just too good.
And the whole process of making it is nearly as satisfying as its taste.
Welcome to our June GBBO! Now this dessert goes by two names: schichttorte (as introduced on the GBBO) and baumkuchen. The German cake was traditionally made on a spit over a fire, each layer being brushed on, baked, then another layer brushed on to bake on top of the previous one. The end result is a beautiful ringed pattern, reminiscent of the cross section of a tree. Over the years, a simpler version was invented where layers were brushed into a pan, then baked under a grill or broiler. The same intricate layers were created, but now horizontally stacked.
The quest for the smoothest, creamiest and fluffiest hummus is no stranger to the internet. Methods for achieving this ideal are all over the map, some swearing by certain brands of canned chickpeas, others insisting on starting from dried chickpeas, or maintaining you must soak them, boil and even peel them.
For our household, I’m often looking for easy, crowd pleasing, economical meals. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up how to eat a potato for dinner. But happily, one of my searches brought this kugel to light. The original recipe never mentioned serving it as dinner, but that didn’t stop me. Doubling the proportions, using a large casserole dish, and adding a sprinkle of cheese on top (or not), this seemed substantial and tasty enough if served along a nice side of greens or veggie or fruit. While I make it for dinner many times, it also serves as a stupendous brunch dish. Plus, I love how it takes under a half an hour to whip up. The rest is hands off time in the oven.
Reminiscent of applesauce cake, these uber-moist pear muffins with a touch of spice and a crunchy oat topping are a sweet breakfast treat—and a great way to use up those too bruised or over-ripe pears.
I, for one, have hit a bit of slump as far as reading goes this past month. Maybe because it was the end of the school year and activities were in full swing. I’m certainly looking forward to summer when reading is such a pleasurable, leisurely pastime. We’ve also become engrossed in a TV show, so movies have fallen to the wayside (ah, the tangles of shows!). But again, summer is a great time to pick a list of movies to work through over the more relaxed season. Yes, perhaps I’m purposefully forgetting that life only picks up during summer time, especially for farmers, but still, I’m resolved to carve out more time for reading, watching, and listening the next few months. They’re just too good to do without!
At Beneath the Crust, we spend a large part of every day in the kitchen. After countless hours — really too many to count — spent cooking and baking and meal-prepping for our families and friends, we know which items we reach for time and again, and which ones are left getting dusty on the shelf. That’s why Maria, Sophie and I feel confident in presenting to you a new series: the well-stocked kitchen. Over the next couple weeks, we’re going to share with you which kitchen items we consider pretty much essential.
Because it’s May, and I’ve been thinking eagerly about packing away the cashmere and boots in favor of flowing floral dresses, billowing tops, and bright prints, I thought this time around it’d be fun to “dress” from head to toe in some exciting summer looks.
Humor me, please, because snow and chilly temps have been in the forecast and I. Just. Can’t.
Ok, so I haven’t been able to get Iced Fingers out of my head since I saw them on the show years ago. They looked like hot dog buns filled with whipped cream and jam and topped with icing. And Paul Hollywood’s nostalgia is almost palpable as he tries each one and calls them a childhood favorite. Naturally I was intrigued. Somehow (how exactly though..?) all these years have passed without me actually trying them.
What was I waiting for?! You guys. These. Are. YUM. I almost can’t understand why they are so yummy. They really are just hot dog buns filled with whipped cream and jam and topped with icing. The bun is so soft and light and not very sweet; and the whipped cream is so fluffy and light and not very sweet; the jam is tart and sweet and the icing is pure sweet and it all comes together as a soft, light, sweet-but-not-too-sweet mesmerizing confection.
I hope your week was a good one and that you can enjoy these two days of rest, or whatever we Americans call weekends. They’re hardly restful. But hopefully they’re rejuvenating!
My week was … well … about the same as every other week. Kids do school, kids do soccer, kids play, we get outside, we see friends, I clean, I cook, I resolve conflicts, I negotiate hostage situations talk down toddler tantrums, etc. Some days I do it pretty well, some days I fall pretty low. Those highs and lows seems to be part and parcel of the gig. Sometimes it’s easy; other times, I’ll be honest, my love tank runs on almost empty. There’s a lot of self talk for times like that, but maybe the simplest is, well, someone did it for me. Maybe that’s what we can celebrate this Mother’s Day, that our mothers showed up even when they were low on sleep, stretched thin, over touched, tired of cleaning, or whatever it was. They showed us what it was to love even when they weren’t really feeling the love. I know that’s not the stuff of the grocery store flowers and sappy Hallmark cards, but it maybe it’s more meaningful for all that?