Father’s Day Blueberry Muffins


Thanks to Once Upon a Chef’s recipe for these perfect blueberry muffins.


2 cups  flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup milk
2-1/4 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Spray the pan and the liners with non-stick cooking spray.

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

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract. (The batter may look a little grainy — that’s okay).

Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine. Add the berries to the batter and fold gently with a spatula until evenly distributed. Do not overmix.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin (an ice-cream scoop with a wire scraper works well here); they will be very full. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly on top of the muffins.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin to free it from the pan if necessary (the blueberries can stick), then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool completely.


Baked Doughnuts


King Arthur Flour has some great recipes.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a doughnut pan, so I improvised.


1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs, beating to combine.
  4. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
  5. Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  6. Spoon the batter into the lightly greased doughnut pans, filling the wells to about 1/4″ shy of the rim.
  7. Bake the doughnuts for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and wait 5 to 7 minutes before turning them out of the pans onto a rack.
  8. For cinnamon doughnuts, shake warm doughnuts in a plastic bag with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup cinnamon-sugar. For sugar-coated doughnuts, shake doughnuts in a plastic bag with about 1/2 cup non-melting topping sugar (for best results), or confectioners’ sugar.
  9. For frosted doughnuts, see our three easy doughnut glazes. Sprinkle the glazed doughnuts with toasted coconut or chopped nuts, if desired.

Orange, Almond, & Chocolate Biscotti


I adapt my grandmother’s recipe to add any flavors that are available.

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
2 tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sliced almonds
6 oz melting chocolate


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine orange zest and sugar and let sit for a few minutes.  Sift flour, sugar/zest, and baking powder. Cut in crisco until small crumb consistency.  Add beaten eggs, orange juice, and vanilla.  Stir in almonds.

Split dough into 4 equal pieces.  Form “football” shaped loaves and bake them for approximately 30 minutes until cooked through.  Check with toothpick. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Slice each loaf into approximately 6-9 pieces diagonally.  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.



Cream, Sponge, and Fruit


A twist on the Victoria Sponge


200 g caster sugar
200 g softened butter
4 eggs, beaten
200 g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons milk

3/4 cup jam
container of berries
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar


Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease two 8″ round cake pans.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined and smooth.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.

Add the flour, beating gently just until well combined.

Divide the stiff batter evenly between the cake pans.

Bake the cakes for about 20 minutes, or until they start to pull away from the edges of the pans. Remove them from the oven, cool for a couple of minutes, and turn out of the pans onto a rack to cool completely.

Whip the cream and add sugar.

When the cakes are cool, place one layer on a plate. Spread a generous layer of jam, then add a layer of whipped cream and berries. Add the next layer and cover with chipped cream. 

Brown Butter Salties


They melt in your mouth.


3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Coarse-flake sea salt for sprinkling
Handful of sliced almonds for decorating

Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line cookie sheet with silpat or parchment.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to brown. When the butter has browned and is ready, the foam will have subsided and it will have turned a nutty color. Watch closely so as not to burn the butter.

Pour the browned butter into a medium bowl and stir in the brown sugar and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together. With a spoon, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and lightly press it into the top of cookies. Bake for 12 minutes.

Cinnamon, Walnut, and Raisin Loaf


It was a little bumpy of a week and this was the therapy I needed on a Saturday morning.


2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a bowl, combine the flour and 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until smooth. Fold in raisins and walnuts.

Pour half the batter into pan. In a small bowl, combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon; stir in butter. Drizzle over batter and cut through with a knife to swirl. Top with remaining batter.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and walnuts and sprinkle over top of loaf before baking.

Bake for 55-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Wait 15 minutes before removing from pan and let cool.

Must-Have Ginger Cookie

IMG_2762If you had a craving for a big soft ginger cookie, you could be eating these in less than 30 minutes.


3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2-1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar for rolling


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Roll into 1-1/2-in. balls, then roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° until puffy and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Italian Breakfast Rice Pudding


If you never had rice pudding for breakfast, then you are missing out.


2 cups whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream, split 3/4 + 1/4
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons apricot jam


Place the milk, 3/4 cup cream, sugar, rice, and King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes, until thickened. This is very similar to cooking risotto.

Test the rice to ensure it’s done. You want a firm bite, but no crunchy center to the kernel.

Remove the pudding from the heat, and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup cream and the Vanilla Bean Crush or Pure Vanilla Plus, along with a pinch of salt. Top with a 1/2 teaspoon of apricot jam

Serve warm; or refrigerate, well covered, and serve chilled. Sprinkle with a touch of ground cinnamon, if desired.

I got the recipe here

Torta dello Nonno

Thanks to Food52 for the recipe for Grandpa’s 78th birthday.



400 grams flour

150 grams powdered sugar

1 pinch salt

4 eggs

200 grams butter

1 fresh vanilla bean

Pastry Cream

1 liter whole milk

8 egg yolks

250 grams sugar

½ lemon, zested

80 grams flour

1 fresh vanilla bean

120 grams pinoli (topping)


Prepare the shortbread. Place flour, powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, and salt in a food processor. Pulse several times until mixed well. Transfer ingredients into large bowl, creating a well in the center for your eggs.

Using a fork or your hands begin incorporating eggs into your flour mixture. Once everything has formed into a messy ball, transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and knead well. The dough should be smooth. Split the dough into two disks: one with 2/3 of the dough and the other with 1/3. Wrap well in plastic wrap and allow dough to rest in the refrigerator while you prepare your pastry cream.

To prepare the pastry cream, place a large pot on the stove with milk, take the vanilla bean and carefully, with the back end of a knife, extract the seeds by scraping. Add the seeds and the vanilla pod to the milk and on low heat, bring the milk to a low simmer. As soon as the milk begins simmering, remove from heat to allow the milk to infuse with the vanilla bean. This should only take about 5 to 7 minutes max.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl and with an electric mixer, beat your egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and smooth and slightly fluffy. Gradually add sifted flour and lemon zest.

Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and add the mixture with eggs. Do this little by little while constantly whisking your egg mixture so as not to scramble your eggs. Return the entire mixture to the stove on low heat, whisking constantly to thicken the mixture. This will happen all at once, so be on watch. When the cream is very thick, turn off the heat and, using a spatula, empty into a low, wide bowl. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes, then cover it so the surface is in contact with plastic wrap, so that it does not create a skin. Transfer to a refrigerator. This can be kept in a refrigerator for up to 3 days and can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Remove the dough from the fridge, allow it to come to room temperature. Taking the larger disk of dough, roll it out into a circle that will cover a 9-inch pan. For this, I use a tart pan with a bottom that’s easily removed. Springform pans work well too. Butter and flour the pan. Make sure that the dough is large enough to line the pan (covering the sides generously). Wrap the dough onto your rolling pin and unroll it onto the cake pan, pressing it gently down into the pan and being sure to cover the pan’s bottom and sides.

Remove the excess pastry using a sharp paring knife. With a fork, dock the surface of the dough and pour in the pastry cream, using a spatula to make a slight mound in the center (this will help it from collapsing after baking). Roll out your remaining pastry in a disk just a bit larger than your pan. Again, transfer the dough by wrapping onto your rolling pin and unroll over your dreamy cream mountain.

Create a nice seal on the cake by pinching the edges of the crust closed. You can decorate these as you’d like—and be sure to dock the top crust with a fork. Brush the entire surface of the crust with an egg wash (egg and water, or egg and milk if you prefer). Sprinkle generously with pinoli and bake at 350° F for 45 to 50 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool before serving. Finish with a generous dusting of powdered sugar, like any good Italian dessert. Refrigerate.


Chocolate Cake

It’s the simple things that always scratch that itch.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp espresso powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

ganache topping

3/4 cup heavy cream
6 ounces chopped chocolate)


Set oven to 325F

Spray a standard 9×5 loaf pan and line it with a sheet of parchment paper, leaving the ends to hang long. This way you can lift the frosted cake out for cleaner cutting.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and espresso powder. Whisk together the sour cream and milk. Sift together the dry ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl alternately with the wet, beginning and ending with dry. Blend only until mixed, don’t over beat.

Turn the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread out evenly. Bake for about 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Set aside to cool. Remove from pan after 20 minutes.

To make the ganache topping, heat the cream to a simmer and remove from heat. Add the chocolate and let sit for a minute, then stir until smooth. Pour over the cooled cake and then let the ganache firm up in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

I worked with this recipe.