Dark-Chocolate Cherry Brownies



Olive oil cooking spray
1 1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely ground coffee
2 eggs
2 tablespoons half-and-half
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh, chopped


Heat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside. In another bowl, beat butter, sugar and coffee with an electric mixer on high until crumbly, about 30 seconds. Add eggs one at a time; beat on medium until a thick mocha-colored mixture forms. Add half-and-half, vanilla and chocolate chips; beat on low until just combined. Add flour mixture; beat on low until a thick batter forms. Pour into baking dish and top with cherries. Bake until edges are slightly firm but center is soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 30 minutes; cut into 12 pieces.

I got the recipe here.


Morning Cherry Cake

Nina brought me some cherries so I made a cherry cake.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 pound fresh sweet cherries, divided
1 cup flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (or almond meal)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter, or spray with a non stick cooking spray, an 9 inch spring form pan and line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Rinse, dry, and pit all the cherries. Then take about 14 cherries (about 1/3), cut them in half, and set them aside (place on a sheet of paper towel, cut side down) to be placed on the top of the cake during baking. To the rest of the cherries, cut into quarters (to be folded into the cake batter).

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugar until thick and light colored (about 3-5 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract (if using). Then fold in, with a rubber spatula or wire whisk, the melted and cooled butter and milk just until incorporated. Next, fold in the flour mixture just until moistened. Gently fold in the quartered cherries (not the cherries that you have halved for the top of the cake). Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or back of a spoon.

Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven. Quickly arrange the remaining cherries, cut side down, on the top of the cake. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. If you find the cake over browning, cover with a piece of aluminum foil.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly (about 10-15 minutes).

I worked with this recipe.

Rainy Day Chocolate Cake

photo 2

The rain kept me from going for my walk today so I made chocolate cake.


1/2 cup  unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup  buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted chocolate (whatever leftover chips or scraps you may have)


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy.  Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Fold in melted chocolate. Scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure everything is mixed in.

Pour the batter into loaf pan and bake for 70 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes before you turn out.

I got the recipe here.


Whole Wheat Banana Bread


This is supposed to be the recipe of the year.  Let’s see.


2 cups thoroughly mashed banana; about 4 or 5 medium ripe bananas
2/3 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts into the banana mixture. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix again to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the batter.
  5. Bake the bread for about 60 to 75 minutes, until the bread feels set on the top, and a paring knife (or other thin knife) inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs (but no wet batter). If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 15 to 20 minutes of baking. 
  6. Remove the bread from the oven. Cool it in the pan for 15 minutes, then loosen the edges, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.

I worked with this recipe.

Roasted Hazelnut Flutes

Karen loves these at Le Pain Quotidien so I thought I would make them for her.


1 cup flour
1/2 cup cool water
pinch of instant yeast

2 1/3 cups skinned hazelnuts
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup cool water
2 teaspoons instant yeast 
2 cups golden raisins


To make the starter: Combine the starter ingredients, cover, and let rise at cool room temperature overnight, until expanded and bubbly.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the hazelnuts in an ungreased 9″ x 13″ pan. Bake them for 24 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown. Set them aside. As they cool, the skins will come off easily.

To make the dough: Combine the starter, flour, salt, water, and yeast, mixing and kneading to make a soft dough.

Knead it for several minutes. The dough will be sticky, but try to avoid adding more flour.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes.

Gently deflate the dough, turn it over, and let it rise an additional 45 minutes.

Knead the nuts and raisins into the dough. It might take a while. 

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.

Working on a floured surface, stretch and roll the pieces 10″ long. Place the flutes 2″ apart on two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, six to a sheet.

Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let them rise for 2 hours at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the flutes for 10 minutes.

Gently lay a sheet of aluminum foil over each pan. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans in the oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) midway through the baking time. The finished flutes will be set and barely beginning to turn golden.

I used this recipe. 

Niner’s Lemon Birthday Cake


Happy Birthday, Niner.


1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup milk
finely grated rind of 2 medium lemons

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Beat together the butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy and lightened in color. 

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides as necessary.

In a separate bowl, whisk the baking powder into the flour. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three parts alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. The batter may look slightly curdled when you add the milk. That’s OK; it’ll smooth out as you add the flour. Mix until everything is well combined; the batter will look a bit rough, but shouldn’t have any large lumps. Stir in the grated lemon rind.

Thoroughly grease a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, leveling it and smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake the cake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

While the cake is baking, make the glaze by stirring together the lemon juice and sugar. Heat briefly to dissolve sugar but do not boil. 

Remove the cake from the oven, and let cool for 15 minutes before turning out.

Brush the glaze all over the hot cake, both top and sides. Let it sink in, then brush on more glaze, continuing until all the glaze is used up.

Once cake is cook, make the icing by mixing the sugar and salt, then mix in 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, adding just enough additional juice to create a thick glaze, one that’s just barely pourable. Drizzle it artfully over the completely cool cake..

Black & Blueberry Muffins



2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted & browned butter, cooled
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries (reserve one blackberry for icing)
1 cup powdered sugar + 1 tablespoon milk for icing


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter muffin pans. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg, milk, and butter, stirring only enough to dampen the flour; the batter should not be smooth. Fold in berries. Spoon into the muffin pans, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes each.

Mash blackberry and milk together.  Add powdered sugar and whisk well until smooth.  drizzle on muffins.

Chocolate Coffee Shortbread


Just give me a latte and a few of these bad boys and I’m good.


255 grams salted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
100 grams granulated sugar
50 grams light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
295 grams flour
2 tablespoons espresso powder
170 grams semi- or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped in chunks
1 large egg
Demerara, turbinado, raw, or sanding sugar, for rolling
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling


Beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed. Add flour and espresso powder, and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chunks, mix just until incorporated. Mixture will look crumbly.

Divide between two sheets of parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap and use your hands to form the dough halves into log shapes about 2 to 2 1/4 inches in diameter. Chill until totally firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line one or two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly beat the egg and open up the chilled cookies logs to brush it over the sides. Sprinkle the coarse sugar on the open paper or plastic wrap and roll the logs into it, coating them.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch thick rounds. You’re going to hit some chocolate chunks, so saw gently, squeezing the cookie to keep it from breaking if needed. Arrange cookie slices on prepared sheets one inch apart (they don’t spread much) and sprinkle each with a few flakes of salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to get golden brown. Let cool slightly before transferring to the cookies you don’t eat immediately to wire racks to cool.

I worked with this recipe.

Swedish Princess Cake

First challenge of 2018.  Happy New Year. Bake more. Complain less.

Vanilla Custard
cups whole milk
vanilla beans, split with seeds scraped out
egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup 1 tablespoon cornstarch
tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Sponge Cake, Fillings, & Decorations
3/4 cup sugar  + 2 tablespoons
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
3/4 cup all purpose flour
teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
teaspoon almond extract
tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
tablespoons jam
pound marzipan
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Red food coloring (gel, not liquid)
Green food coloring (gel, not liquid)
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
ounces bittersweet chocolate
tablespoons sugar

For the Custard: In a pot over medium heat, heat the milk with the vanilla beans and seeds just until it starts to simmer. Turn off the heat and let it sit. Mix egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Remove vanilla pods from milk and slowly pour milk into bowl, stirring constantly. Return to the pot and whisk 4 to 5 minutes, until very thick. Add butter and stir until melted. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to overnight.

Make the Fondant Rose: Make the fondant by microwaving the marshmallows until melted (15-20 seconds). Stir in the powdered sugar and knead for a few minutes on a clean surface, adding more powdered sugar if it sticks, adding a few drops of water if it’s too dry, until smooth and pliable. Knead in red food coloring drop by drop until you have your desired shade of pink. Dust two small pieces of parchment or waxed paper with powdered sugar and one by one, place the balls of fondant between the sheets of greaseproof paper and flatten each ball out with your fingers, to a thin circle, approximately 2 cm/1 in in diameter, to form the petals. Roll the first petal up to form a center bud and wrap the remaining petals around the bud to make a rose. Leave to dry at room temperature for at least an hour.

For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 175 °C. Butter or spray a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment circle, then butter or spray that as well. In the bowl of a KitchenAid or electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and 3/4 cup sugar until very thick, pale, and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add almond extract. Sift flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder over bowl (or sift into a separate bowl first) and fold in with a spatula. Fold in the melted butter and stir just to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.

When the cake is completely cool, use a serrated knife to carefully slice it into three even layers. Divide the jam evenly between the first two layers, spreading a thin layer over the top. Next, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar to the whipped cream and beat until it holds stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the pastry cream, reserving the other half. Evenly divide the pastry-whipped cream mixture between the first two layers, spreading it carefully over the thin jam layer.

Stack the two first layers, then top with the remaining cake slice. Set aside one cup of the reserved whipped cream, then use a rubber spatula to shape the remaining whipped cream into a dome shape on top of the cake, then set the whole thing into the fridge for an hour to set.

While the cake is chilling, make the green marzipan exterior. On a surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, knead the marzipan until it’s pliable. Add two dots of green gel food coloring and knead until the color is uniform. If you like, add another dot or two of food coloring until it reaches a light lime color. Place the marzipan between two sheets of waxed paper and roll into a 16-inch diameter circle, large enough to generously cover the cake.

Take the cake out of the fridge and gently drape the marzipan over the whipped cream dome. Shape and smooth the marzipan around the cake to get a clean appearance. Trim the edges and tuck them neatly under the cake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip with the reserved cup of whipped cream, and pipe a row of stars around the edge of the cake to hide any imperfections.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (in 10-second increments). Make a skinny-tipped cone with parchment paper and fill it with the melted chocolate, then snip off the tip to create a makeshift pastry bag. Carefully pipe the chocolate over the top of the cake in a swirl or curlicue. Top with the pink rose in the center.

Thanks for the recipe Food52.

Bomboloni d’Antonio


The Italian Doughnut comes to Mar Vista.


2 cups bread flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
75g (heaping ⅓ cup) granulated white sugar
100g (7 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
20g fresh cake yeast or 1 package (7g) dry instant yeast
7g (1½ tsp) salt
150g (3) whole large eggs
40g (2) egg yolks
110g (1/2 cup) lukewarm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
granulated sugar, for coating

Pastry Cream Filling
1½ cups whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cake flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 heavy cream for whipping before filling

First, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water, and allow it to sit until it blooms.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients except for one of the whole eggs, and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, then high speed for 5 more minutes.

Add in the remaining egg, and beat on medium speed until a smooth and elastic dough forms {you may have to add a little more flour if it seems too sticky}.

Knead by hand for a couple of minutes, then place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours until tripled in size.

While the dough is chilling, make the pastry cream. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until well combined, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture until thick and pasty. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk and cream until bubbles just start to form around the edges. Do not let it boil.

Remove the milk from the heat and slowly drizzle into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Scrape the egg mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 3 minutes. Boil, whisking, for 10 seconds (the cream will become thick and glossy and won’t have any foam on top), then immediately remove from heat.

Pour the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve set over a small bowl and whisk in the vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.

After the first rise, lightly knead the dough, roll it out to 1/2 inch thickness, and cut out rounds.

Transfer all your rounds to baking sheets lined with wax paper, spray lightly with water, and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Allow the bomboloni to rise another hour and a half until they triple in size once more.

When ready to fry, heat vegetable oil in a large, deep pan to a temperature between 330-350 degrees F.

Fry the bomboloni a few at a time, making sure to not crowd the pan. Fry them for about 3 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown, then drain off the excess oil, and set them on a wire rack to cool.

While they are still warm, pour some granulated sugar in a small bowl, and roll the bomboloni around until completely coated in the sugar.

Whip cream until still and fold in pastry cream.  Fill will pastry cream once cooled.

I worked with this recipe.