Archive for the 'How To' Category

Headlines: How to prevent apple browning, last few cans of pumpkin left on the earth – Rye & Olive Oil Honeycrisp Tart


I’m so out of cake-baking mode right now, that I don’t know if I should be called a baker. I don’t think I’ve made a cake since New Year’s. And it was a shoddy, miniature one that was really a pumpkin quick bread baked in a round tin.

Have you heard about the potential canned pumpkin shortage that is supposed to happen?

“‘I would not wait until Nov. 20 [to buy canned pumpkin],’ University of Illinois professor Mohammad Babadoost, who works in the Department of Crop Sciences, told the Associated Press . ‘I’d buy it whenever it comes to the store.'”

Great name and solid advice coming from Babadoost.


Luckily, the apple crop is doing fine this year, and I was jazzed about being all Food52 about the olive oil and the rye and the apple varietal. The crust, as with many healthy versions of baked goods, left something to be desired taste- and consistency-wise, but I didn’t even mind because it was COOL. And PRETTY. And HEALTH. It’s real good for breakfast. With a bit of honey and Greek yogurt/creme fraiche? Please just stop.


I was also concerned that my apples would brown before I could bake them into the tart, but Honeycrisp seem to hold up pretty well. Serious Eats recently conducted an experiment on the best way to prevent apples from browning. The final solution? A saltwater soak. In a saltwater…solution. Haha jokes.


Here’s hoping you can use the final apples at the bottom of your fall barrel to make this slightly sweet beauty.




Rye & Olive Oil Honeycrisp Tart

An LH Original

For the tart dough:

125 grams whole wheat flour

125 grams rye flour

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup cold water

For the filling:

3 medium honeycrisp apples (or other variety)

2 tablespoons butter, cubed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla, almond extract or imitation rum extract

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup preserves (like apricot or raspberry)

1 tablespoon water or Triple Sec

To make the tart dough, whisk the two flours in a medium bowl until combine. Stir in the olive oil with a fork, then add the water, mixing with the fork until the dough just starts to come together. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead briefly, patting the dough into a disk. Roll out the disk with a rolling pin into a shape that will fit on your baking sheet. It can be free form. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the filling, core the apples and slice into wedges no more than 1/8″ thick. Toss with the sugar and extract in a medium bowl.

Remove the baking sheet with dough from the fridge and prick all over with a fork. Arrange the apple slices, overlapping them and leaving an edging of dough. Fold over the edge of the dough, and dot the cubed butter over the top of the apples.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the crust begins to look golden at the edges.

While the tart is baking, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, bring the preserves and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened. If the preserves contain large chunks of fruit, transfer the glaze to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Strain the glaze through a mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing the glaze with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Use while still warm.

When the tart is finished baking, remove it from the oven and brush the warm glaze over the top. Slice and serve immediately, maybe with a bit of creme fraiche.

Bittersweet Rhubarb Simple Syrup Experiment, A Metaphor

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Isn’t our whole life just one bittersweet series of experiments?

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This syrup is timely, because rhubarb is having a moment with cocktails right now. I mean, it was this spring, and this syrup lasts in the fridge until summer so you can still have your off-season cocktail.

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Here’s to the day when all bitter things are made sweet,


P.S. Happy Sparklers Day in two!

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

From The Kitchn

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the rhubarb through the strainer until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Press the solids a little with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup.

Pour the syrup into a jar. Cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate.

The leftover rhubarb solids also make a great jam!

Kitchen Hack: Flossing these Nutella mini rolls


Guys, remember that beautiful Nutella bread? She’s done it again, but this time, with less of a twist.

Instead of making a star flower thing, I rolled out the dough into an obscenely long rectangle, slathered it with copious amounts of that dream within a dream hazelnut chocolate spread and cut it into teeny tiny rolls.



Kitchen hack ALERT: For once, the Internet was a reliable source of information, imagine. This is the first time I’ve actually tried the “make perfect cinnamon rolls by slicing them with string or non-minted dental floss” baker hack. I’ve been reading about this for years. It actually worked!


Simply roll up your cinnamon rolls into a long log, as you do, then use a piece of string to slice off rolls. Here’s a little vid demo for you.


Top with a crazy chocolate glaze and sink into nutty, cocoa bliss this weekend. Super fast!


P.S. I really identified with the song “Truffle Butter” the other day, which states “I floss errthang, but I ain’t a dentist.” What a line, what a line.

How to Make Two Cupcakes with Just One Measuring Tool

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To prevent this post from feeling extremely lonely (see above. poor, sad little upside down cake. name that movie.), I’m going to add a little interest. A little intriguing twist, you might say. Some extra sparkle.

We are talking about a two-cupcake recipe here. Just two. For a few humans, two cupcakes sounds like a weeknight date dessert for two (oh fer cute), but for the rest of the population, a two-cupcake recipe falls under the category of “Single Lady Dessert.” Or single dude. I won’t discriminate.

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But back to my twist.

Eight ingredients. One measuring tool. That is, a teaspoon. You may recall me waxing on about the most revolutionary baking equivalent I learned: four tablespoons to a 1/4 cup? No, you don’t remember this extremely interesting and personal fact about me that I shared with you in confidence on the Internet?

Well fine whtvr. I learned that, and it was great. Also useful, particularly for this recipe: Three teaspoons to a tablespoon.

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If you don’t mise en place your ingredients like I did, you can easily whip these up with only two small bowls and your teaspoon (if you use the teaspoon to stir).

Glaze away (re-using your small bowls, of course), and in 30 minutes flat you’ve got a tasty treat with the added bonus of a sparkly kitchen. I found the cupcakes sturdy but a little eggy. There is a heckuva lotta vanilla in this recipe for just two cupcakes, but go with it. Top with a big swirl of frosting (not my half-thrown attempt at a glaze), and I’m sure you could forgive any egg flavor.

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One Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes for Two

By How Sweet Eats

1 egg white

6 teaspoons (2 tablespoons) sugar

6 teaspoons (2 tablespoons) butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

12 teaspoons (1/4 cup) flour

1/4 heaping teaspoon of baking powder

pinch of salt

4 teaspoons (1 1/2 tablespoons) milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 2 liners.

In a bowl, add egg white and sugar and whisk until combined. Add in vanilla and melted butter and stir until mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir until smooth. Stir in milk. Divide batter equally between the 2 cupcake liners.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until cake is set. Let cool completely, then frost as desired.

How to Fake a Birthday Party (Spoiler Alert: Sparkler Cupcakes)

cupcake sparks 2

What starts as a real birthday party can sometimes turn into a fake birthday party. It’s ok. It happens. It’ll make lovely photos for a this-is-my-fake-beautiful-life blog post.

I learned a few significant lessons on this day, one of them in reverse:

  1. Fake parties are just as enjoyable as real parties.
  2. Any fake party can be turned into a real party immediately with the addition of sparklers.

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Sparklers are so amazing. They fix everything. They are the best.

Tip on sparkler cupcake cakes: Get a few volunteers to help light the sparklers. They take a while to catch, and you don’t want half of them to burn out while you’re lighting the rest.

Another tip on sparkler cupcake cakes: Don’t use too many sparklers. Or you might start your cake on fire.

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These are my real, beautiful friends in my fake beautiful life. HI GUYS.

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Stay tuned for the cupcake recipe tomorrow.


You’re my,


Pipe Dream #226: To Keep Your Bread Fresh – Spiced Zucchini Bread + A Poor Poem

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When you bake as much as I do, it’s pretty much essential to have a freezer.

Freezers come in handy during the baking process. Sometimes I cheat and try to force butter to firm up after melting or to cool cupcakes faster so I can frost them. Flash freezing certain cookie doughs or biscuits or pastries prior to baking will help them keep keep their shape. Freezing bars and cake layers make them easier to slice cleanly and evenly.

Freezers make sharing easier. Rather than eating a whole pan of brownies, I can pop them in the freezer and take one out whenever I want. Just warm it up in the micro, and it’s like, instant warm, fresh brownie. Or if I bake something on a Friday that I want to share with co-workers on a Monday, I can freeze the final product and defrost later. Or if I have company coming over, I can grab some pre-shaped cookie dough balls from the deep freeze, add a few minutes to the baking time and have fresh-baked cookies in 15 minutes.

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A few freezer tips, in case you’ve never used one of these babies before:

  1. Make sure you always shut the freezer door. Otherwise you will find a thick layer of ice on your goods the next time you open the door. And you will not want to wear it. But you may want to eat it. It’s like perfectly clean snow conveniently located in your kitchen. Of course, I never ate the frost that collected in my freezer when I was a kid.
  2. Make sure to seal your bakes well before freezing. For baked cake layers, I double wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in Ziplocs before freezing. Remove as much air as possible from anything you’re wrapping, and try to use air tight containers. Sometimes I’ll even seal the edges of plastic tupperware dishes with masking tape. No freezer burn, please.
  3. Make sure not to freeze for too long. While freezing will significantly extend the shelf life of many baked goods, some things will only freeze for so long. Unbaked yeast breads, for example. Sometimes if I freeze them too long, they won’t rise properly. Also, the texture of certain finished products will change after a freeze and defrost. You may not get that perfectly crackly crust that you would have had if it had been fresh-baked.

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Quick breads were made to be popped out of the freezer for those cold, lazy mornings when you have a crowd to feed and all you want is  five more minutes with your feet not touching the ice cold floor. Hopefully this post will save your footses.

Frugal life tip: don’t chuck your overgrown zucchinis! This bread made use of one of those massive summer zucchinis that it is too woody to be cooked, which happens to  make it the perfect consistency for baking.

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And now, a rhyming list, also known as a poor poem:

Quick breads snifftable, I will swoon out

Quick breads giftable, I will wrap up

Quick breads rifftable, I will wax on

Hey, I only promised to keep your bread fresh, not your cultural prowess.

You’re welcome,


Spiced Zucchini Bread

Adapted from Food & Wine

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I ground mine fresh, so I guessed on this)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 medium zucchini (about 7 ounces), finely shredded
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with vegetable spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cardamom. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir gently with a spatula until the flour is just incorporated. Stir in the sour cream. At this point, you could also stir in a cup of chocolate chips or toasted pecans, if you were so inclined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 50 minutes until the top is browned and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. If the loaf browns too quickly during baking, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely. These loaves freeze well, so I doubled the batch and wrapped one loaf tightly in plastic wrap to defrost as needed.

One Delightful Dinner Party, A Wild Chow How To

Once I was invited to a dinner party by my friend Lisa. It was a delightful amalgamation of friends, strangers and Italian food. It felt like family.

Five Steps to a Family Dinner Party

Step One: Invite a bunch of people to come over to your house, neighbors, friends, strangers. Chat.

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Step Two: Get some plates. Matching is nice, but any will do. Clean is nice too.

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Step Three: Bake some bread. Slice it, or don’t.

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Step 4: Make a food assembly line. Encourage large portions. Greens, pasta, bread = no fail.

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Step Five: Slice up a big dessert. Encourage large portions.

Like you didn’t already know this. But seriously, it was  a really nice dinner, full of easy company. Maybe I would feel different if I was the one hosting




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