It’s the season for apples, cinnamon, pumpkin and all things autumn, and there’s really no better accompaniment for all those good things than a salted caramel sauce. It’s so versatile and adds another dimension to dessert with its more complex sweetness and buttery smoothness. Drizzle it over cheesecake or pie, swirl it into brownies, sandwich it between cake layers - there’s so much you can do!
September is a great month for baking and cooking. I love the squeezing in of summery recipes I didn’t get around to earlier and the slow trickle of cooler days that let you start dipping into comforting, cozy favorites. Here are the notables from our homes and ones we are itching to try in October.
I’m not crazy about making all things pumpkin the moment Fall begins. BUT, I’m not one to complain about cinnamon rolls either. So, when my little sister visits and requests that we make these, I don’t object.
Hello again. It has been quite a while. A summer hiatus came naturally for us — we didn’t plan it, but we didn’t fight it either. But as Fall begins and the school year starts up again, we are going to get back into a more regular rhythm here on the blog.
We all enjoyed the break, taking a rest from routine daily life and relishing time with our families. It was nice not to feel the pressure of blog posting. An unforeseen blessing was that all three of our families were able to spend about a week together in Colorado! It was a special time, and one that doesn’t happen frequently.
Another reason I enjoyed the break is that it gave me ample time to tackle a major project that has been years in the planning.
When I first heard of hamburger buddy, I was skeptical. The name doesn’t sell it very well, calling to mind boxes of prepackaged, minimal assembly required meals. Convenient, sure, but not something I usually go for at the store. Though the recipe doesn’t explicitly say so, I’m positive this is supposed to be the homemade version of Hamburger Helper.
If you look closely at these photos, you’ll notice that the crumb is a little more open than it should be. Perhaps it wasn’t shaped as tightly as possible or the dough wasn’t developed as well as it could be for even distribution of yeast development. Guess why I don’t care. BECAUSE MY EIGHT YEAR OLD SON MADE IT. I realized one day that he was totally capable of baking bread start-to-finish all on his own and that not only would it be a great learning opportunity for him, but it could also become one of his “chores”. So I walked him through the process and wrote down these ingredients as we baked this loaf together - intended to be easy and forgiving and to yield a loaf that he would be proud of and all the kids would want to devour.
Just over a year ago, I made the Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake for my husband’s birthday. He requested it. We had just finished watching the first episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table: Pastry, and he turned to me and said “I want that for my birthday.” That being pastry chef Christina Tosi’s iconic Birthday Cake.
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.