Posts Tagged 'spring'

Pipe Dream #216: To Retire Early – Rhubarb Crumb(le) Cake

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I saw a recipe for a “big crumb” cake, which emphasized the crumb part of the cake, and thought, “Duh, everyone’s favorite part. I want this now so I can pick the crumbs off the top.” And then I promptly waited probably two years to make it because I was half-waiting for rhubarb season, even though this riff on a classic American coffee cake can be made with any half-pound fruit ya like, I’d wager. (P.S. I apologize that rhubarb is sooooo not in season right now. Forgive me.)

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A friend of mine pointed out that it is odd that these types of cakes are called “coffee cakes,” as they really have nothing to do with coffee. The only logical explanation is that this is the perfect slice to have with your afternoon coffee…for those of you who sit around in the sunshine dozing, reading and doing other laid-back things on your average afternoon. Someone has to live like this. Please tell me who.

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Maybe this cake would have made more of an impact on my life if I hadn’t already made this hulking monstrosity, which not only featured the actual biggest crumbs this world has ever seen, but also an excellent sliver of actual cake at the bottom. Because the crumbs of the behemoth crumb cake were so massive, I actually appreciated the cake part a lot. When I made this rhubarb version, which featured a very similar cake/crumb recipe, I found myself wishing the bottom of the cake had not got so brown.

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Two years from now, when I make another crumb cake, I am going to double the cake recipe from the behemoth cake and cut the crumbs by like 2/3, and it will be the most perfect crumb cake ever, and I will sit in the sunshine and eat cake and enjoy my early retirement from work, life and the cares of this world. The end.

Completely pipe-dreaming,


Rhubarb Crumb(le) Cake

Adapted from smitten kitchen

For the rhubarb filling:
7 ounces (or about a 1/2 pound) rhubarb, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1/4 cup whiet sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour (I was out and used all-purpose and it worked great)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) softened butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and spray an 8-inch-square baking pan with non-stick spray. Toss the rhubarb with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

To make the crumbs, whisk the sugars, spices and salt into melted butter in a large bowl until smooth and amalgamated. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture comes together in a solid dough. Leave it pressed in the bottom of the bowl.

To prepare the cake, stir together the sour cream, egg, heavy cream and vanilla in a small bowl. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and a spoonful of the sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened and the mixture looks like large crumbs. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add the remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about a 1/2 cup of the batter and set aside.

Scrape the remaining batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the rhubarb over batter evenly, then dollop the reserved cake batter over the rhubarb.

Using your fingers, break the crumb mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size and sprinkle over the cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Pipe Dream #210: To Be TartNotATart – Strawberry Rhubarb Cornmeal Cobbler

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I realize that rhubarb is no longer in season. But I’m posting this anyway, because I think you should make this cobbler, except with a different fruit. Unlike a more traditional cobbler recipe, this one includes cornmeal in the biscuit dough, making for a light, cornbread-y type topping. I think this would pair particularly well with a lemon-blueberry filling, or the late-summer plums with which this topping was originally paired. I’m looking forward to making another strawberry rhubarb cobbler with a more traditional biscuit topping.

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I loved loved lived the sweet-tart flavors meld. The rest of my family felt that neither the biscuit topping nor the filling was sweet enough. I think they were just wishing that it was a crisp or crumble like they are used to snarfing. I beg to differ regarding the sweetness, but you could try increasing the sugar in the filling by 1/4 cup if you’re nervous about it.

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Stop. Look at that.

Ok, the original recipe called for 1 hour and 15 minutes of bake time, but I found my biscuits brown and fruit gurgling at 50 minutes. If your biscuits are getting brown before your fruit is warm, just cover them with a little aluminum. Also, it is key to let the cobbler cool for at least 30 minutes before serving; it gives the fruit juices time to thicken up a little bit after simmering with the cornstarch.

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Springing, already,


Strawberry Rhubarb Cornmeal Cobbler

Adapted from Food & Wine

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb + 2 1/2 pounds strawberries, in chunks
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup milk

In a bowl, toss the rhubarb and strawberries with 3/4 cups sugar and the cornstarch and let stand for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the cornmeal, sugar, ginger, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Add the milk and pulse until moistened.

Spread the filling in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Scoop 15 mounds of dough over the filling. Bake in the center of the oven for about 50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden and crisp. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.

Pipe Dream #207: To Not OD – Crystal Cake Batter Cookies

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Guys, these cookies are vice in ultra overload. They are sugarcakebattercrystalmeth-type cookies (not that I would know about such things, but don’t you imagine crystal meth to look kind of like a unicorn/sprinkles?). The kind that will send you for a ride. And they could be better.

Mostly, it’s my fault. I fancied them up with a big, fat, unnecessary swirl of icing. They probably just needed a lick of icing, but as per my usual form (best phrase mix eva), I went a little overboard. I mean, when a girl has a grad party, you gotta go big. Especially when she looks like this. Can you blame me?

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But actually, I think the cookie recipe is a bit off. The dough part. The cookies feel too sugary, and they flattened out a bit too much for my liking, even after freezing them and making little stack of dough so they would be thick cookies! And take note, I nearly never chill dough for long enough. Impatience is my virtue.

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They are a fun idea, and they are not a bad use of that leftover cake mix you have in the pantry, but just prepare yourself for something like two weeks worth of sugar in one go. And this is coming from me, so you know it’s real.

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Frosted Cake Batter Cookies

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

For the cake batter cookies cookies:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup yellow or white boxed cake mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Mix in the egg and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.

Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. This will prevent the dough from spreading too much.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and use a small cookie scoop to portion out the cold dough on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 5-7 minutes until edges are slightly browned. The centers will look soft, but they will set up as the cool. Remove to a cookie sheet and let cool completely.

For the cake batter frosting:

Pipe Dream #207: To Be Oh Fer Cute – Raspberry Heart Scones

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“Oh for cute.” Typical Minnesotan expression of something endearing or attractive.

“Oh fer cute.” My own mild mockery of this phrase.

But these scones are no joke. They are both cute and yummy and potentially yummier because of their cuteness. Is this possible, you ask? Can something be made more palatable because of its attractiveness?

The answer, according to me and also according some relational societal trends, is a resounding yes.

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The dough was a bit of a mess. I had to add a buncha extra flour once I got it  on the cutting board. Do ya best.

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Once cut, they held their shape fairly well, likely due to freezing the scones before baking them. Rustic-y, they are.

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Served with a dollop of cream and a spoon of lemon curd, these babies lack nothing. Not brains, not brawn. Prepare for a second date.

Primping, probably,


Raspberry Scones

Inspired by smittenkitchen

2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 (6 ounces) cups fresh raspberries
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400°F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Try to work quickly and not handle the dough too much so the butter doesn’t melt.

In a small bowl toss together fresh raspberries and 1 tablespoon sugar and stir into flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Turn out the dough onto a seriously well-floured surface pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter (or the rim of a glass dipped in flour) cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling the scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops just start to brown.

Note: If you use a mini cutter like I did, the recipe will make a lot more scones, and you will have to bake them for a shorter time. I did mine for about 12 minutes from a frozen state.

Other Note: You can freeze these after you cut them out so that you can prepare these beforehand. Just freeze them on the baking tray for a half hour, then transfer to a plastic bag. When you bake them, just add a few minutes onto the baking time.

Serve scones warm with whipped cream and lemon curd.

Pipe Dream #205: To Be Opposites on the Color Wheel – Chived Feta Biscuits with Paprika

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Make these tonight. They taste like those cheddar biscuits from Red Lobster except with a sassy paprika sprinkle on top. I kind of unintentionally made them. I’ve seen recipes for the Red Lobster biscuits floating around for ages, and for some reason, they always call for Bisquick. I never have Bisquick on hand–whipping up drop biscuits is just too easy–so I have never made them. Sometime I’ll try it, maybe with a faux-Bisquick mix of my own. How hard can it be?

Either way chives + cheese +flaky biscuit = all this girl ever wanted in a savory snack.

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Remember how I just talked about associating red and blue color combinations with America/the 4th? Welp, red and green is another color set that I wish people would dissociate with Christmas. I mean, I love red and green Christmas colors, but if I want to wear red, green and teal plaid in to the office, please don’t tell me that I look like Christmas. I look like opposites on the color wheel, ok? Red and green are meant to be together.

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A word: Grate in this butter. It will make you so much happier than trying to “cut in” the butter with two knives. Hwhat a chore, hwhat a chore.

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Stir in your mise-en-placed additions. Or don’t mise-en-place them. I mean, why?

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Pat out ya rounds. Slice. Bake. They can even be frozen. I’ve been keeping a few in the freezer in case I get a craving for overpriced seafood.

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Chived Feta Biscuits with Paprika

Adapted from Joy the Baker

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into cubes

1/2 egg, beaten

1 1/2 tablespoons cold water

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons full-fat greek yogurt, cold

1/4 cup chopped chives

heaping 1/3 cup (3 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 egg beaten for egg wash

coarse sea salt, cracked black pepper, and paprika for topping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and black pepper.  Cut in butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  In another bowl, stir together the egg, yogurt, and water.  Add this to the flour mixture, stirring a bit to make a soft, shaggy dough.  Stir in the chives and feta and dump mixture onto a counter to knead the dough together.  The mixture will come together in about 10 to 15 kneads, but try to handle the dough as little as possible.

Roll out the dough into a 1-inch thickness.  Cut into 2-inch rounds using a biscuit cutter or into mini circles with a cookie cutter.  Reroll any remaining dough and continue making biscuits. Place the biscuits on prepared baking sheet, brush with egg wash and sprinkle generously with the sea salt, black pepper, and paprika.   Bake for 12-15 minutes (less time if you are making mini biscuits).  Serve warm.

Note: To make these ahead of time, flash freeze the biscuits on your baking tray for about a half an hour before transferring to a plastic bag. Bake from frozen, and add a couple minutes onto your baking time.

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




A Mad Grad, Upcoming Delights

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Oh, Wades, the things I do for you. Given my sister’s obsession with DQ’s Brownie Oreo Earthquake, I felt it was only appropriate to festoon her grad party dessert table with every Oreo/marshmallow cream dessert I could think of. I was up til 2 a.m. baking, but baby was it worth it. I’m proud of her, ok? She’s good at everything.

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Give it up, these Oreo Cupcakes alone would have been worth braving the relentless rain that day, but there were several other desserts that made the cut. (Not pictured is the savory Greek food served that day. I had to keep telling people, “It’s like eating a taco; you’ve got this.” Nice work, Mum.)

Upcoming recipes you should be on the watch for:

– Oreo Truffles (On sticks.)

-Puppy Chow Bars (Hwhat?? I know.)

-Frosted Cake Batter Cookies (Also, I know.)


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Cousens. Fet.

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Coffee. Actually, this was mostly creamer. The ice cubes are coffee, so they melt into the creamer and your coffee won’t be diluted. Genius!

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Hi there, I love you two.

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Celebrating. Watch out, SoCal, her she comes!



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