Michael’s Banoffee Pie

fullsizeoutput_3d95You gotta love this month’s baking challenge with the Home Baker’s Collective.  A dedicated pie. This one goes out to one of my quarantine partners and my best friend–my husband, Michael. This could be one of his faves.


Pie Crust:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup crisco (cold)
1/3 cup unsalted butter (very cold)
6-7 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar

14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
2 bananas, sliced

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter and crisco  until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. Divide in half. Form each into a ball. Cover each ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate while making pie filling.


Fill a medium pot with water and place can of condensed milk (label off and NOT opened) in the pot.  Simmer for 2 hours.  Let it cool before opening. It will be thick and lucious. Slice the bananas and place them into the bottom of the crust. Pour/spread cooled condensed milk over top.


In a large bowl, whip cream, sugar & vanilla until stiff peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Dana’s Caramel Latte Macarons


The Home Bakers Collective issued a macaron challenge. “What kind of macaron are you?” After many years of fussing with French macarons, I’ve moved over to the Italian way of doing things.  Espresso shells filled with chocolate ganache and caramel.


210 g almond flour
210 g powdered sugar
2 tablespoons espresso powder
170 g egg whites (split in half/85g each)
230 g sugar
155 g water

Chocolate Ganache
170 g chopped chocolate
170 g heavy cream
1 teaspoon powdered espresso

198 g sugar
120 g heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Macaron Shells:
Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Sift together flour, powdered sugar, and espresso powder twice. Set aside.

Split egg whites in half.  Place 85 g in bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment. Do not start to whisk.

Place the other 85g in bowl with powdered sugar, almond flour, and espresso powder. Mix until combined into paste.

Make the syrup by putting the sugar and water into a medium pot.  Let the sugar boil and get to 244 degrees f.  While the sugar is heating, begin to whip your egg whites to medium-stiff peaks.  Turn the mixture on slow if you achieve the desired peaks and the sugar is not quite ready.  Once the sugar is ready, quickly pour it into the egg whites in a constant steady stream down the side of the bowl while the eggs are whisking at medium speed.  Continue whisking until the meringue is room temperature.

Add 20% of the meringue mixture to the almond/powdered sugar paste.  Once incorporated, add then rest of the egg whites until they are incorporated and the the batter falls from then spatula like lava.

Fill piping bags and pipe out macarons onto baking sheets.  Tap sheet to get rid of any air bubbles and then let them rest for approximately 20-30 minutes until a skin forms over the top.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees while they are drying out.  Bake each tray for 10 minutes and then rotate them and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before filling.

Chocolate Ganache

Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat stirring occasionally. When cream starts to boil, turn it off and stir in espresso powder. Pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth.  Allow ganache to cool before putting in piping bag.  

Pour sugar into an even layer in a medium saucepan.

Heat on medium-high heat.  When the sugar starts to melt (you will see it liquify on the sides) then use a rubber spatula to mix.  The sugar will clump up at first but then will eventually melt. Make sure to keep it moving so it does not burn.

Once the sugar has melted, stop stirring. Allow sugar to cook until the sugar has turned to a little darker amber color to get a deeper caramel flavor. Once you get the desired color, immediately remove caramel from the heat. It will burn quickly so keep watching.

Slowly pour the heavy cream into the caramel and whisk until incorporated. It will bubble up so be careful. Add the butter and whisk until combined.

Let cool on counter for 30 minutes.


Remove shells from refrigerator. Pipe a dollop of caramel in the center of a shell, surround it with the chocolate ganache and then cover it with the top shell.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Linzer Favat


Pete and Amy gave me a ton of tangerines from their home. I decided to make some marmalade and then some linzer-esque tarts with ginger. Very SoCal. Very crumbly, very good. Use any shape cookie cutter you want.  I used rectangles and diamonds. I included the recipe for the marmalade in the link below.  You can also use any marmalade or jam you desire.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon ginger
1 1/2 cups butter softened
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Tangerine marmalade


In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together butter, sugar, and vanilla until combined.  Don’t over mix.

Add flours, ginger, milk, and salt. Mix on low speed until it comes together and there are no more butter streaks. Again, please don’t over mix.

Empty out bowl onto plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment. Take dough from refrigerator and roll to 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut your shapes.  Take half the cookies and cut out a window using a smaller cutter.

Place cookies on sheet and refrigerate for another 30 minutes and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake cookies for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly browned. Let cool.

Dust the tops with powdered sugar.  Turnover the bottoms so that the clean side will be on the bottom of the cookie.  Spread some jam over the cookie and then cover with top.  Let set for a few moments.

Lava Flow Swiss Roll


Remember those Snowballs from Hostess?  With the pink marshmallow dome?  Well that is what this reminds me of.  The Home Bakers Collective issued our first challenge “A Swiss roll in your Favorite Drink.”  I am not much for drinking but I had one of these years ago in Hawaii and I loved it.


Strawberry & Pineapple Jam
800 g fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
400 g fresh pineapple, cored and cubed
792 g sugar
115 g lemon juice

Strawberry Swiss Roll
3 eggs, seperated
1/4 + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons freeze dried Strawberries, pulsed until very fine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
75 g cake flour, sifted

Coconut Meringue
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white wine vinegar
4 large egg whites
136 g sugar
40g unsweetened coconut flakes

Coconut Whipped Cream

238 g cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon coconut cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



In a large bowl mash strawberries and pineapple.  Transfer to a saucepan then add sugar and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower to a simmer.  Stir often until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F. Place in a bowl and let cool in refrigerator.

Strawberry Swiss Roll

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 12 x 17 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved and yolks are lightened in color. Drizzle in coconut oil, whisking constantly, until incorporated. Whisk in milk, vanilla, and salt.

Sprinkle sifted cake flour and dehydrated strawberries over batter and fold until combined.

Using a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until frothy in stand mixer. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat on high speed until whites hold medium peaks.

Fold a small amount of egg whites into batter to loosen it, then add the remaining egg whites.  Fold until just incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared jelly roll pan spreading the batter into an even layer using a large offset spatula.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until the top is springy and edges are just starting to brown.

Remove from oven. Carefully invert warm cake onto a piece of parchment.  Peel off parchment paper backing from bottom of cake.   Dust a clean tea towel with powdered sugar and lay on top of cake. Flip cake over on to towel.  Carefully roll up the warm cake in the towel. Let rolled cake cool completely before unrolling and filling.

Coconut Roulade

Line an 12 x 17 inch jelly roll tray with the baking paper, and preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Mix the cornstarch, vanilla and vinegar together in a small bowl until smooth then set aside. Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until stiff,  then whisk in a little sugar, and a little of the cornstarch paste, and continue adding until they are completely mixed in.

Sprinkle half the coconut onto the prepared pan evenly. Spoon the egg white mixture over the coconut. Smooth out the surface with on offset spatula. Sprinkle with the rest of the coconut.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until golden colored.

Place a towel on the counter, topped with a sheet of baking paper, sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar and turn out the meringue onto the paper. Let cool.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Place cream in cold bowl from stand mixer.  Using whisk attachment on medium speed, whisk until cream is medium to stiff peaks.  Fold in coconut cream and vanilla extract.


Unroll strawberry sponge and add an even layer of jam followed by an even layer of whipped cream.  Slowly, re-roll the sponge.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Place chilled roll on parchment. Take the cooled meringue and wrap around like a blanket.  You want the trim it so it covers the sponge and just has one seam.  It is okay if it is a little longer since you will trim the ends. Place seam side down and trim ends.  Serve chilled.

Honey Buttermilk Biscuits


I have no idea where I got this recipe but I’m sure there are only so many ways to make a biscuit.


2 cups flour (I used White Lily)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Cut butter into dry ingredients using a pastry cutter until it resembles course meal. Refrigerate the mixture for about 15 minutes to keep the butter very cold.

Remove from refrigerator and pour in buttermilk.  Mix with a spatula until just combined.  Do not over mix. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface.  Gently pat it into a rectangle until it is 1/2″ thick.  Fold the dough over itself about 4-5 times and then gently pat into another square about 1 inch thick.  Using a sharp knife slice into 12 squares. Try to do a clean slice in each direction so you don’t compress the layers and inhibit height.  I cut the outer edges too and then fold them back over themselves to make one more biscuit.  It doesn’t hold up as the first 12 but I like odd numbers in baking.

Place them gently on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes.

While baking, melt butter and honey together and then whisk.  Put aside.

As soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, brush the honey butter mixture over the biscuits and let cool for a minute before devouring.

Ginger Molasses Oatmeal Cookies


I had 45 minutes extra this morning so I made these.  Simple and delicious.  Check out this recipe and so many other good ones from Broma Bakery. This is reprinted from the site.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar + more for coating the cookies
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crisco, melted
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup old fashioned oats


Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the melted and cooled crisco and egg. Stir well. The dough will crumbly. You’re doing it right.

Pour in the molasses and oats and stir everything together until combined.

Use a large cookie scoop to make tennis ball sized dough balls, placing them 3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.

Now it’s time to flatten out the cookies. Grab two small bowls and fill one with water and one with granulated sugar. Take a flat bottomed glass, dipping the bottom of the glass in the water and then the sugar. Press the sugar coated bottom firmly into the dough ball to flatten it out, leaving behind a thick sugar coating on top of the cookie. This will give the cookies their signature crunch.

Repeat for the rest of the cookies. Bake at 375°F until the edges are golden brown and the centers have puffed up, but are still raw in the middle, about 11 minutes for us.

Allow cookies to sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool. Enjoy!

Biscotti O’Brien



The Irish-Italian mixture worked well for my family so why not try it with Biscotti?

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup toasted almond flour
1/2 cup toasted rye flour
1/4 pound of crisco
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon whiskey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt for topping
1 tablespoon sugar for topping


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Sift flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a bowl. Cut in crisco until small crumb consistency.  Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and whiskey until just combined. Fold in caraway seeds and raisins.

Split dough into 2 equal pieces.  Form two longs about a foot long each and about 1 1/2 to 2″ wide.  Roll them in sugar and salt. Bake them for approximately 25-30 minutes until cooked through.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.  Slice each loaf into 1/2″ pieces on a slant. Place them on the cookie sheet and return to oven to toast for approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, flip over to other side to toast evenly.

Orange & Rosemary Shortbread


It’s all about cookies during the holiday baking season. These orange and Rosemary shortbread pack a punch when it comes to flavor.


156 g cups sugar
zest from 2 oranges
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (chopped roughly)
226 g unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
320 g flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
coarse sugar for rolling


In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, orange zest, and rosemark. Use your fingers to work the flavors into the sugar.  The sugar will become a little moist and start to smell delicious.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until incorporated.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

With the mixer on low, gently add dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Mix until ingredients are well combined and a stiff dough is formed.

Divide dough in half and make two logs about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Pull two sheets of plastic wrap and coat them with decorative sugar.  Roll the logs to coat them.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove dough from refrigerator (and plastic) and slice dough into ¼ inch thick cookies and place on prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart.

Bake until cookies are just golden at the edges, about 16-18 minutes.



Date & Pecan Biscotti


I make it a point to always have some biscotti around the holidays.  You can swap out the flavors for anything you have in your kitchen and will not be disappointed.  Well, unless you pick gross flavors.

2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 pound of crisco
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Zest of two oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2  cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups chopped dates


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Cut in crisco until small crumb consistency.  Add beaten eggs and vanilla until just combined. Fold in pecans and dates.

Split dough into 2 equal pieces.  Form two longs about a foot long each and about 1 1/2 to 2″ wide.  Bake them for approximately 25-30 minutes until cooked through.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.  Slice each loaf into 1/2″ pieces. Place them on the cookie sheet and return to oven to toast for approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, flip over to other side to toast evenly.  Let cool and decorate with melted chocolate or powdered sugar.

Fave dei Morti


I worked with this Italian recipe from Le Delezie di Patrizia. I made some changes. They are best dipped in cappuccino.

300 g toasted almond flour
150 g flour
250 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 whole eggs + 1 additional egg white
30 grams of butter
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients together until smooth. I rolled mine into two logs and cut 1/4″ pieces.  Flattened them a bit on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  I sprinkled powdered sugar on when they came out of the oven.  You can make any shape you want.