Tag Archives: baking

Earl Grey Soaked Currant Cream Scones

Many years ago when I was just starting my career in fashion, I took my first of many trips to London. It was on that first trip I discovered the culture of  high tea and scones. I also vividly remember my embarrassment when I ordered scones for breakfast , only to be told that they are only served in the afternoon at high tea. Well, it’s many years later and well we live in a culture where we can have any food we want any time of day or night. So with that I do like the luxury of a nice scone on a quiet, leisurely weekend morning. This is my favorite go to scone recipe. This recipe has evolved over the years and my latest twist is soaking the currants or raisins in Earl Gary Tea enhancing subtly the sweetness of the currants. You’ll be surprised how easy this recipe to prepare scones this delicious.

From by the bay wishing you high tea anytime food memories!

Maryann

Earl Gray Tea

noun

  1. a blend of India and Sri Lankan black teas which are flavored with the oil of bergamot. This tea is named after the mid- 19th century British Prime Minister Earl Charles Grey.

Earl Grey Tea has several health benefits. As many traditional teas, Earl Grey tea leaves come from the tea plant — Camellia sinensis — and contain compounds called flavonoids and flavanols which are natural chemicals. These tea components are potent antioxidants  which with regular use may help with protection from digestive cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Earl Grey Soaked Currant Cream Scones

Makes approximately 8 sconces

Ingredients

  • 1 Earl Grey teabag
  • 3/4 cup dried currants ( or raisins)
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • Demerara or raw sugar (for sprinkling)

Directions

In a small bowl add currants and teabag. Cover with boiling water and set aside for 15 minutes. Remove teabag and strain the currants. Set currants aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt and whisk together. Add butter and blend with fingertips until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in currants. Whisk cream and eggs in a small bowl and add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined do not overwork. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat to 1 inch round. Cut out rounds using 3 inch cookie cutter. Gather dough to cut additional rounds. Transfer scones to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush dough with cream and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake scones for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until golden brown approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. Scones are best eaten same day.

 

 

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

One of the many things I love about cooking is that inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. My inspiration for this recipe came from my health club. Yes, you heard that right, my trainer had just returned from a trip to Rome and brought back with her bags of the most amazing chocolate chip biscotti. These crispy little biscuits were so delicious, I was charged with creating a version as close to the original as possible. I’m sharing my version of chocolate chip biscotti, here are a few tips : italians typically use their “00” flour for baking. This flour is low gluten and very fine, used in Italy for making pasta and sweets. If you can’t find type “00” flour use pastry flour or all purpose flour. It will have a slightly different texture. It’s very important to use a high quality chocolate. I like chopping my own chocolate . These biscotti are crispy and not too sweet. You will be transported to Italy with each bite. This is a cookie you will always want on hand.

From by the bay, wishing you crispy biscotti memories!

Maryann

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Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups flour ( use type “00” flour if available)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus extract to sprinkle on top
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sambuca
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 3/4 cup blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions

Heat oven to 350° F.  Place almonds on a baking sheet and toasted in the oven for approximately 8 minutes as they start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. Coarsely cut and set aside. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Place aside.  In a stand mixer, oil and 3/4 cup sugar together. Add the eggs and continue to mix. Add sambuca, and vanilla. Add flour until combined.  Add toasted almonds and chocolate. Mix to combine. Cut the dough in half and roll into two logs, each approximately 2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Place logs side by side 3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of the logs with extra sugar. Bake on center rack for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Take the logs out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Use a serrated knife and cut into 3/4  inch slices. Place cookies on baking sheet cut side up in oven and bake for 10 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. Store in an air tight container for 1 week.

Mom’s Apple Cake, also know as Jewish Apple Cake

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For as long as I can remember, my Mom made this apple cake. At this stage of my life, this means it’s a very long time, let’s just say Mom is over 90 and we can leave it at that!  When Mom referred to this cake she called it Mom’s cake -meaning my dad’s mom or my mom called it the Jewish Apple Cake. Now for starters we are not Jewish. We also called several cake’s mom’s cake since my grandmother was an amazing baker – thus the need to further identify the cake such as Jewish Apple. I did a little on line search about Jewish Apple Cake. It seems it’s called Jewish Apple because it does not use dairy such as milk or butter. There are many versions of this recipe with slight variations but basically the same recipe. I also read that this recipe was published long ago in some women’s magazine. No matter the source,  the real testament to this recipe is that it’s so good, it had stood the test of time . A recipe passed by word of mouth from generation to generation and from friend to friend. The bottom line about this cake how good it tastes, that it is super easy to make and it’s a true celebration of fall! It’s a cake that satisfies the apple lover in each of us. You will get such joy from the wafting aroma of baking apples, sugar and cinnamon and then the joy of eating this yummy cake.

From by the bay, wishing you tasty apple cake food memories!

Maryann

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Mom’s Apple Cake a.k.a. “Jewish” Apple Cake

Ingredients

For Apple Filling

  • 5 medium apples , preferably those good for baking such as macintosh
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For Cake Batter

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use nonstick cooking spray to grease tall tube pan, then lightly dust with flour.  Peel and core the apples, then cut into 1 inch cubes. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the 5 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon. Toss to coat the apples evenly. Set aside. In another bowl sift together the flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl add the oil, juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. the batter will be thick. Pour half the batter into the tube pan, make sure the batter is spread evenly. Top with half the apples. Pour the remaining batter into the tube, again ensuring the batter is spread. Arrange remaining apples over the top.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely ( at least 25 minutes). Run a clean knife between the cake and pan to loosen the cake before turning onto a plate.

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Whiskey and Rye Chocolate Chip Cookie

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It’s Fall and time to get back into the kitchen to bake. I can’t think of a better cookie than this bumped up version of a chocolate chip cookie. This is by far my favorite recipe. It’s crispy, sweet and salty. Chocolate is in every bite thanks to using different sizes of chocolate bits in the cookie. You will want to make this recipe over and over again.

Enjoy!

From by the bay wishing you sweet chocolate food memories!

Maryann

Whiskey and Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by San Francisco Cooking School

Ingredients

  • cups chocolate wafers (discs, pistoles, fèves; preferably 72% cacao), divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rye flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Ingredient Info

  • Find chocolate wafers (do not use chocolate wafer cookies) at specialty food stores, some grocery stores, and online.

Preparation

  • Pulse ¾ cup chocolate wafers in a food processor until pea-sized pieces form. Whisk all-purpose flour, rye flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and bourbon and beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients, mixing just to blend. Fold in chopped chocolate and remaining chocolate wafers.
  • Portion dough into 16 balls (about ¼ cup each) and transfer to a rimmed sheet sheet as you go. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.
  • Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Scrape vanilla seeds into sea salt in a small bowl and mix to combine (save pod for another use).
  • Divide dough balls between 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 3″ apart. Flatten each ball to about ¾” thick and sprinkle with vanilla salt. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown around the edges, 14–18 minutes (cookies will firm up as they cool). Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.
  • Do Ahead: Cookies can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Luck of the Irish Soda Bread

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Although I’m not Irish, I have always enjoyed eating Irish Soda Bread.  St. Patrick’s Day is the unofficial start of Spring. After a long winter, you start to see the signs of spring. The crocus start peeking out of the ground, there is a big outdoor parade with lots of green the official color of spring and then there is Irish Soda Bread. I had some Irish good luck when my mother’s close friend Nancy, shared her family recipe with me. I find this bread pretty easy to make and quite forgiving in the preparation. Ready to celebrate Spring with some of your own good luck?

From by the bay wishing you some good luck food memories of your own!

Maryann

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups flour, plus a tablespoon to mix with currants

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup currants

1 tablespoon caraway seeds, optional

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, caraway seeds and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk and egg together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound. Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Savory Corn Muffins

My personal preference for breakfast is savory over sweet, so that is how I came up with this savory corn muffin recipe. This recipe is perfect for breakfast or to serve at dinner whenever you would normally use corn bread such as along side chili or your favorite meatloaf. To make this even better, the recipe couldn’t be easier, it’s just measure some ingredients, mix and bake!

From by the bay, wishing you savory food memories!

Maryann

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Savory Corn Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners. In a large bowl, mix together corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add egg, butter,buttermilk scallions and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Stir gently to combine. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Top each muffin with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Double Chocolate Rice Krispies Cookies

This is a delicious cookie – crispy on the outside, softer on the inside with a double dose of chocolate using good quality cocoa powder and chocolate chips and then two surprise ingredients. The first twist is using rice krispies which gives the cookie a light crunchy texture and then I top the cookie with coarse sea salt. I love to use Maldon sea salt. It gives a lovely subtle salty balance to the double chocolate sweetness. This sweet and salty cookie is definitely a wow!

From by the bay, wishing you sweet and salty chocolate food memories!

Maryann

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Double Chocolate Rice Krispies Cookies

Makes 24 to 30 cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup rice krispies

coarse sea salt, for topping (optional)

Directions

Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat for 1 minute more.

In a medium bowl shiftt together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients all at once to the butter and egg mixture. Beat on low speed until just combined.

Stop the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips and rice krispies.

Roll dough by the heaping tablespoonful. Place on cookie sheet, leaving about 2-inches between each dough ball.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cookies are just done. the cookie will set while cooling.   Allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool before storing. Eat within the week.

Apple Crostata with Fig Glaze

Wondering what do do with those apples you just picked or bought at the farm stand ? This is a delicious and easy to make apple crostata with an easy glaze made from store bought jam. I picked fig jam for my glaze but apricot work work just as well. I love making this recipe the crust is simple and the rustic shape of the pie is part of the charm. You can use a box grater of a mandoline to slice the apples, but if you don’t have either just slice the apples as thin as you can with a knife. This is quick to assemble , bake , eat and enjoy!

From by the bay, wishing you yummy apple food memories!

Maryann

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Apple Crostata with Fig Glaze


1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter diced and chilled
3 tablespoons ice water (approx.) mixed with 1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 large apple, like honey crisp
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons fig jam
2 teaspoons water


Directions:
To make pastry place into a food processor the flour and 2 tablespoons sugar. Pulse to blend. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the texture is grainy . With the motor running add the water and vinegar mixture slowly, stop just when the dough comes together.  Remove dough onto parchment paper, flatten into a disk and cover. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. While the dough is chilling cut apple in half apples from the stem down. Using a mandoline slicer and slice apples thinly. Please apples in a bow ,adding the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix well. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Once the dough is chilled, remove  from the refrigerator and  keep dough on parchment paper and lightly flour top of the dough. Quickly roll out into a circle approximately 10 inch diameter. Transfer parchment paper with dough onto a baking sheet. Leave a 1/2 inch border of dough from the outer perimeter and arrange apples in a circle working from the outside in a concentric circle continue  towards the center until filled in.  In a small sauce pan heat jam and 2 teaspoons water and heat until combined. Remove from heat and brush the apples with the glaze. Place in the over and bake foe approximately 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Donut Muffins

It’s fall and it’s seems like there is pumpkin spice all around us……..there is a reason, pumpkin spice smells and tastes delicious, but use it where it’s makes a difference. There is no finer place than sugar donut muffins! These light as air muffins are a perfect fall morning breakfast. I’ve updated the recipes for the season using my own pumpkin spice blend. This sugared blend is also perfect for your morning coffee. Enjoy!

From my the bay wishing you sweet pumpkin spice food memories!

Maryann

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Pumpkin Spice Sugar Donut Muffins
Adapted recipe from Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, California
12 standard size muffins
Ingredients for batter
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup fine granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
Ingredients for Topping
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix ( see my pumpkin spice mix recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 Degree F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Sift together in a bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside. Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating to combine. Using a wooden spoon to mix, alternate adding the flour mixture with the milk and buttermilk. Make sure everything is combined, try not to over mix. Spoon the batter evenly, into each muffin tin, filling the cup almost to the top. Bake muffins in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool slightly, and remove muffins from the tin. In a bowl mix the sugar and pumpkin spice mix together. Use a pastry brush to brush each muffin allover with the melted butter and then roll into the pumpkin spice sugar mixture. Serve warm or cooled at room temperature.

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Pumpkin Spice Mix

Ingredients

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Directions

Mix spices together .

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream

My grandmother had a birthday tradition – she would make a sponge cake and serve it with whipped cream or chocolate whipped cream depending on whose birthday it was and their favorite! I went through all my grandmother’s recipes and never found her sponge cake recipe. After trying many recipes, I finally stumbled on  this recipe from Cake Boss, it’s as close as I could get to grandma’s recipe, it’s delicious, especially with whipped cream. I made this version, this past July 17th in honor of my father for his birthday!  It was wonderful to relive those special food memories from my childhood!

From by the bay, wishing you whipped cream food memories!

Maryann

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Chocolate Sponge Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream

One recipe chocolate sponge cake, one recipe chocolate whipped cream, 1/2 cup crushed chocolate wafers to decorate the top of cake.

Directions

Ice cake with chilled chocolate whipped cream. Sprinkle crushed chocolate wafers one top of the cake and serve.

 

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Adapted from Cake Boss recipe

 

Ingredients
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole milk, less 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons fresh brewed coffee
1/4 cup butter (lightly salted)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
1. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl with paddle attachment for 4 minutes. Do not skip this step!

2. Add sugar, and continue beating for another 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and stir on low until just combined.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add to eggs and sugar on low speed until just combined.

4. In a saucepan, heat milk, coffee and butter on low heat just until butter is melted. Add to batter, beat just until combined.

5. Pour into two greased and floured 8″ round cake pans.

6. Bake at 325 until the middle springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto wire cooling racks and cool completely.

Hint: Cakes are close to being done when you start to smell them about 45 minutes

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Ingredients

2 cups chilled heavy cream

1/4 cup Hersey Chocolate Syrup

 Directions

In a medium metal mixing bowl add the cream and using an electric mixer beat until cream is in stiff peaks. Fold in chocolate syrup gently until chocolate is incorporated through out.