Pipe Dream #264: To Remember By – Jackie’s Flapjacks

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One of the sweetest times of my life was when I visited Jackie’s house and she fed me a self-saucing lemon pudding and flapjacks. I was so exhausted from living abroad that sitting in a beautiful home with lovely people and eating dessert was the best thing that had ever happened to me, and I will never forget it. I asked her for the recipes to remember her by, and now I’m sharing one with you.

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These are so simple, and addictive. If you don’t have orange marmalade, you can try topping these with honey or another preserve, but I think the bitterness of the marmalade really provides a nice contrast.

Haha “nice.” That is a very British way to describe things. But sometimes it just works the best.

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Jackie’s Flapjacks

A recipe by my English auntie Jackie

250 grams/9 ounces unsalted butter, chopped

250 grams/9 ounces golden caster sugar (I used light brown sugar)

175 grams/6 ounces golden syrup (or corn syrup/maple syrup/honey)

425 grams/15 ounces porridge oats (I think this is old fashioned oats)

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

3 tablespoons orange marmalade

50 grams/2 ounces chopped walnuts (if omitting walnuts, add on additional ounce of oats)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/160 degrees C. Grease a 9 x 13 (or slightly smaller, depending on how thick you’d like the bars) pan. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the oats, nuts and zest. Tip into the baking tin and smooth it down.

Bake 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown but the center is soft. Mark, cutting halfway down into 12 pieces, and let cool. Heat the marmalade with 1 tablespoon of water until syrupy and glaze the bars.

I Got It Right: Sturdy Chocolate Cupcakes with Malted Buttercream

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These cupcakes are like fireworks, and they made my brain explode with wonder. All the best for my bstud frans.

First of all, the cake part is above and beyond exceptional (I expound on this below.).

Second of all, the malted swiss meringue buttercream is the love of my life (Extreme, but I’ve pined for it ever since i saw this magnificence.).

Third of all, they are the prettiest thing I’ve even tried to do in ages (Amidst all the weeknight bars and things, these really were a creative effort.).

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In case you happen to be turned off by the word ‘sturdy’ in relation to cake, let me be the first to tell you that ‘sturdy’ does not mean ‘dry,’ ‘hard,’ or otherwise ‘inedible.’ These cupcakes, as dreamed up by America’s Test Kitchen are not one-bowl or foolproof, but what you pay for in time and technique is rewarded by a standout cupcake. Somehow, it manages to come cleanly out of it’s liner and hold up while remaining moist and very chocolate-y. The one-bowl cupcakes from Martha that I usually use are flavorful, but very fragile, and I’ve always been annoyed by it.


Fragile Oppression would be a great band name. You can have that for free.

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Good night and good luck,


Sturdy Chocolate Cupcakes

From America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook

For the ganache filling:

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

For the cupcakes

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed or regular cocoa

3/4 cup hot coffee

3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) bread flour

3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) white sugar

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the filling: Place all three ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave until the mixture is warm to the touch, 20-30 seconds. Whisk until smooth, then refrigerate until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.

Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Place the chocolate and cocoa into a medium bowl. Pour the cover over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until cool, about 20 minutes. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. Whisk together the wet ingredients into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Divide the batter between the muffin tins. Place a slightly rounded teaspoonful of the filling mixture in each cupcake. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17-19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the tin on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then carefully lift each out and let cool on a wire rack before frosting.

Malted Buttercream

Adapted from Food & Wine

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3 tablespoons malt powder, dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons of hot water

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are just warm to the touch. Return the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk. Add the vanilla and beat the egg whites at high speed until firm and glossy, about 5 minutes. With the machine on, whisk in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. If the mixture begins to look curdled, continue to beat until smooth before adding more butter. Beat the dissolved malt powder.

Favorite Shots: KKD

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Your daily dose of simple carbs via VSCOcam.


Pipe Dream #263: To List It – Nutmeg Logs

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No, it’s not Christmastime. Yes, these cookies include nutmeg. No, I don’t really care that these are not seasonally appropriate. Because yes, they are one of the most amazing cookies you will ever eat.

Like, they are in my top five favorite cookies. If that was a real list, because I haven’t even thought about it except to include these. And these, maybe.

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They are my aunt’s recipe, and they always remind me of her. At least, they will always remind me of her, when I make these every year from this point on in my life. It’s not like she’s dead or anything. I suppose that would increase the nostalgia. This recipe will only get more warm and fuzzy for me, I can feel it.

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Apply gold dust. I used freshly grated nutmeg for a change, and I was really pleased.

Please remember these for your to-do list next November. You will not be disappointed.


Nutmeg Logs

Adapted slightly from my auntie’s recipe

Makes about 5 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons imitation rum extract (or rum???)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (or not fresh)

For the frosting:

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon imitation rum extract

2 cups powdered sugar

nutmeg for sprinkling

Cream together the butter and white sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla and rum flavoring. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and ground nutmeg, mixing until fully incorporated.

Shape the dough into long rolls about 1/2″ in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while the oven preheats.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and slice the logs into 2″ slices and flatten slightly, so they look like logs. I had troubles with this because I am silly, so I shaped my cookies into tiny disks. You can really make them whatever shape you like.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are set and you think you might possibly see a shade of brown at the edges. Let cool on a rack. Beat together the frosting ingredients and spread a little on each cookie, sprinkling each with nutmeg.

Pipe Dream #48, Revisited: To Do More RAKs – White Chocolate Bread Pudding

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So, welcome to this week, when I finally catch you up on things I baked at Christmastime. Consider it a late gift from me. Or a really early gift. Or just a random gift, which is never a bad thing. Remember RAKs from middle school? Random Acts of Kindness?

Nice idea, usually lame execution in middle school. “Sure, I’ll sharpen your pencil for you. RAK for the day, CHECK.”

Now that I’m an adult, I can do more with the whole idea. Like go big on this bread pudding. I mean, I’m not sending you to an all-inclusive in Fiji this Wednesday, but it’s better than carrying your trapper keeper, amirite?

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I have many bread puddings in the archives. This one is standout because of the sauce. The white chocolate sauce. Get in it.

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Daintily dolloping,


White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Adapted from Serious Eats

For the bread pudding:
9 ounces crusty, day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup (about 2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
4 large yolks
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the sauce:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

Grease an 8-inch square pan with non-stick spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the bread cubes in the greased pan.

In medium saucepan whisk milk, cream, and sugar to combine. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until scalding. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until melted and smooth. Let sit to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

In large bowl, whisk egg yolks and egg to combine. Slowly whisk in warm milk mixture to combine. Whisk in vanilla.

Pour mixture over the bread cubes into prepared pan, pressing down with hands until all the bread cubes are soaked to the max. Bake until just set, about 25 minutes. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving.

To make the sauce, heat the cream in a small saucepan until it is just simmering. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until melted and smooth. Garnish the bread pudding with the sauce and pomegranate arils or other fruit.

Brunch in L.A. is a Thing, Apparently

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So I know brunch is brunch is brunch, right? Everyone loves this marvelous mash-up meal. Sleep in, brunch your way into the afternoon, then consider  a nap. Take it, friends. Take the nap. It’s Sunday, Sabbath-day.

Not to mention the fact that the food is everything anyone ever cared about combined into one meal. Mimosas at any hour + every amazing sweet breakfast pastry + a salad if you feel like it. My three main food groups.

But in L.A., I feel like people really love brunch. Like, it is a regular, glamorous thing that people do. Maybe more so than in the Midwest. I try and do brunch as often as possible on my own terms, like this recent one which included a pannekoeken/dutch baby. (I had been waiting to try one forever. They really are a cinch to make, and they look so impressive, all puffed up like a pastry peacock.)

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But omword did I really enjoy a few restaurant brunches while on vaca. Including:


Ranunculus and San Pellegrino (because this is L.A.) and a prosciutto and Gruyère croissant.


And even this bread pudding. I know. Just stop.


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And once even crepes, my true love.

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But always coffee.

Brunching blissfully,



Pipe Dream #262: To Keep My Options Open? – Flourless PB Banana Maple Muffins

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Statement of the hour: One great thing about being gluten-free is that you don’t have to be chocolate-free.

Can I get a holler on that?

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I’m not gluten-free, but I have friends that are, and I would feel significantly worse for them if chocolate contained gluten. This recipe contains it AND peanut butter AND muffins, which are two other items that needn’t cause coeliacs regret.

These muffins are a wonder. While not the most traditionally fluffy of muffins, they are extremely moist and flavorful. I was pleasantly surprised–even if I hadn’t underbaked them, I know they wouldn’t have been dry. Plus, I can’t think of anything easier than grinding a few ingredients in a blender to taste (you can play with the sweetener, flavorings, salt, etc.).

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The maple flavoring is optional, as are the chocolate chips. But let’s be honest, when are the chocolate chips ever optional?

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Fabulous food styling by Carica. Endless obsession with chocolate chips on my table by Lauren.


Flourless PB Banana Maple Muffins

Adapted from Averie Cooks

1 medium ripe banana, peeled
1 large egg
heaping 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used half vanilla and half maple extract)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch salt
heaping 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick spray, dust with flour, then tap out the excess.
Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a blend and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.Spray a tablespoon measure with non-stick spray and use it to fill each tin about 3/4 full.
Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until the tops are set, domed and springy when pressed. The muffin tops will sink as they cool. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to cool on a wire rack.

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