Commandatore Irish Soda Bread

May the luck of the Irish be with you all year long.


4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar + tablespoon for topping
1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon for topping
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons caraway seeds + 1/2 teaspoon for topping
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
3 eggs at room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan.

Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter gently into the flour mixture until well combined, and stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk and eggs together; lightly beat the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. Place the dough into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle sugar, caraway seeds, and salt on top.

Bake in the preheated oven until the bread has risen and the top is golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. A knife inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm.

I adapted this recipe.


Pie Day Chocolate Pudding Pie


A little espresso powder makes the pudding that much better.


Pie Crust
6 tablespoons very cold butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons very cold crisco
3-4 tablespoons ice cold water

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/8 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For crust:

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl and use a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of small peas. Slowly add the water one tablespoon at a time and use a fork to gather together dough. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll on a well-floured board and place in a pie tin.  Cover with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until slightly browned and cooked through.  While cooling, make pudding.

For pie filling: whisk the dry ingredients into a medium pan.  Add milk and whisk. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Let it boil for 1 minute and pour it into pie shell.  Let it cool on counter for 20 minutes before cooling it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Blueberry Corn Muffins


A good reason to get out of bed.


1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup melted and cooled butter
1 cup fresh blueberries


Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Whisk all the wet ingredients in another bowl until well mixed.

Being careful not to overmix, use a spatula to combine wet and dry ingredients until just mixed.  Then fold in blueberries.

Cover and set in refrigerator of at least one hour.

15 minutes before you are ready to bake preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line or spray muffin tins (this make about 8-9 muffins).

Remove batter from refrigerator and using an ice cream scoop, fill each tin to the top.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then without opening the oven door, lower oven temperature to 375 degrees for another 8-10 minutes until muffins are done.





I am reposting this one because it is a heavenly, pillowy-soft, sweet loaf of bread.  Thank you Food 52 for the inspiration.

tablespoons water
tablespoons bread flour

1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
320 grams bread flour, plus 30 grams more
Scant 1teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
tablespoon sweetened condensed milk or milk powder
eggs, 1 for the dough and 1 for the egg wash
tablespoons butter, softened
milk or water, for the egg wash
DIRECTIONSIn a small saucepan, whisk together 6 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of bread flour until no lumps remain. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. It should thicken to a gel-like consistency after just a few minutes. As soon as lines appear in the mixture when stirred, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a small, clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature.

Next, heat the milk briefly to just above room temperature, about 110° F or lukewarm to the touch. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.

In the meantime, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the bread flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl or a measuring cup, whisk together the starter, cream, condensed milk (or milk powder), and one egg.

When it’s ready, add the yeast mixture to the wet ingredients, and whisk gently, just to incorporate. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in all of the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a loose, shaggy dough, then switch to using your hands. Knead for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough forms a semi-smooth ball. The dough will be quite sticky — sprinkle the extra 1/4 cup flour, a tablespoon or so at a time, over the dough and your hands as you knead to keep it from sticking too much. I usually use at least 2 tablespoons and often up to the full amount, but you may not need it all.

Add the butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time, kneading after each addition. Add the second tablespoon of butter only after the first has been evenly incorporated. The dough will be slippery and messy at this point, but just keep kneading and it should eventually form a soft and pliable dough that’s easy to work with. Knead for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a large bowl with plenty of room and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until well doubled. Alternatively, you can let the dough proof overnight in the refrigerator.

Once the dough is doubled, turn it out and punch it down. Divide it into three or four equal pieces. For each piece, roll the dough out to a long oval. Fold the oval into thirds widthwise, then flatten again. Roll the dough up lengthwise, then place into the loaf pan. Repeat with remaining pieces.

Let the dough rise again until it’s nearly doubled, another hour or so. After about 40 minutes, preheat the oven to 350° F. When the dough seems ready, test it by pressing it gently with one finger; when the indentation bounces back slowly but remains visible, the dough is ready to bake.

Whisk your second egg with a splash of milk or water, and brush the egg wash over the dough. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden-brown on top.  When it’s done, the bread will sound hollow when tapped. Let it cool before slicing.


Brown Butter & Cinnamon Muffins


2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter, browned
1 egg


In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl whisk wet ingredients.  Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients using a spatula and do not over mix. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease or line muffin tins. Fill batter to the top.  Bake for 8 minutes on 425 degrees then without opening the oven door, lower to 350 degrees and bake for about 9-12 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.


Speculaas Biscuits from Ottolenghi & Goh

These would be perfect with vanilla ice cream.


Spice Mix:
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground aniseed
3/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

450 grams flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
250 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
330 grams dark brown sugar
3 1/2 tbsp dark rum or brandy
1 large egg white, lightly beaten until frothy
1 cup sliced almonds

Sift flour, spice mix, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Place butter and sugar in the stand mixer and with the paddle attachment beat on medium high speed for about 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add alcohol and beat until incorporated.  Finally, ass the sifted ingredients and continue to beat on low speed.  The dough will feel dry and difficult but will eventually come together. Tip onto a work surface and bring it together.  Split dough into two flattish disks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degree F and line baking sheets. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Use any cutter you like.  Place them on line baking sheet and brush with egg white and sprinkle almonds.  Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until golden brown and the almonds are toasted.  Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes and then let cool completely on wire rack.

I got the recipe from Ottolenghi & Goh’s book, Sweet.


Chocolate Strawberry Muffins


Want to make high-top bakery muffins?  Follow this recipe.


2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips


In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl whisk wet ingredients.  Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients using a spatula and do not over mix.  Fold in strawberries and chocolate chips.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease or line muffin tins. Fill batter to the top.  Bake for 8 minutes on 425 degrees then without opening the oven door, lower to 350 degrees and bake for about 9-12 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.



Katie’s Chocolate and Coffee Frosted Cake

photo 6A dense, rich chocolate cake with a coffee swiss meringue buttercream frosting surrounded by chopped walnuts.


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)

Swiss meringue buttercream:
120 g egg whites
200 g sugar
360 g butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 cup chopped walnuts for decorating


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour two round cake tins. 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 evenly into cake tins and bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes before you turn out.

While cake is cooling, make buttercream. Dissolve the coffee in warm milk. Place the egg whites into your mixer bowl, add the sugar and place the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Stir constantly with a whisk until all sugar is dissolved. It takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Rub the egg whites between your fingers, when sugar has dissolved, it’s ready. Transfer the bowl to the mixer and start beating using a whisk attachment until glossy stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool. This takes about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl and start gradually, piece by piece, adding butter, beating with a hand mixer on the smallest gear. First, it will get curdled, but keep mixing on low until smooth and silky. At the end add the coffee.

Frost and garnish as desired.


Apricot Sweet Tart


Very buttery, nutty, apricoty.


1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/8 to 1/4 cup ice cold water

1 1/2 pounds fresh ripe apricots
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt


In a food processor, place the flour, salt, ground almonds, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Add remaining water, if necessary. Do not process more than about 30 seconds.

Turn the pastry out onto your work surface, gather it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour. Remove from refrigerator, roll out and place into tart pan. Trim edges and put back in the refrigerator while you prepare apricots.

Slice apricots with skin on. Place the slices in a large bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Then add the granulated white sugar and toss gently to combine. Arrange the apricot wedges evenly on the pastry shell. Scrape any remaining sugar from the bowl and sprinkle over the apricots.

Bake the tart in a preheated 400 degree F oven for about 35 – 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

I worked with this recipe.




Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies

You can thank me later.


Peanut Butter Batter

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2/3  cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extra
A few pinches of flaky or coarse sea salt

Brownie Batter

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon flaky or heaped 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
2/3 cup flour


Heat oven: To 350°F .

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment and coat the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray or butter.

Make peanut butter batter: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

Make brownie batter: In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.

Assemble brownies: Spread a thin layer of brownie batter (about 1/3 of total batter, but no need to be exact) in bottom of prepared baking pan. Dollop peanut butter batter all over in big spoonfuls. Dollop remaining brownie batter in pan, aiming, if you can, between the peanut butter dollops. Use a butter knife to swirl the batters together in loose figure-8s. Sprinkle chips all over.

Bake: For 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free.

I used this recipe.