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Irish Soda Bread

18 Mar

Hello my far-away-friends,

I’m not sure I have anything poetic to say here, but I’ll highly recommend that you make this bread asap. It has a few simple ingredients. It comes together quickly. It just came out of the oven and I ate almost half the loaf already. Eat it warm or toasted with salted butter (or butter and salt). And if you dare, a drizzle of honey or some jam. Blue or soft cheese would also be delightful. This is a mood lifter to both bake and consume.

More soon,


A Joy of Cooking recipe

Butter a bread loaf pan. Preheat 350.

Whisk together in a large bowl:

  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (I sieve through a fine mesh strainer)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I did more like a rounded 1/2 tp kosher salt)

Stir in:

  • 1 cup raisins
  • and/or 2 tsp. caraway seeds [I did caraway only. don’t worry if you have neither on hand]

In another bowl, whisk together:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and still warm
  • 1 cup buttermilk [if you do not have buttermilk, mix regular milk with a tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar and let stand for 5 mins]

Add the flour mixture into the liquid. Mix until flour is just moistened.

Bake 45-50 mins. Let cool in pan on rack 5-10 mins, take out and let cool rest of the way.

Granola Crisp + Mulled Cider

7 Nov

This is a holdover from summer. It was my go-to crisp — I must have made more than half a dozen times. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still stand loyal to my apple crisp recipe and will continue to make for every Rosh, Thanksgiving etc. But… this is more of an everyday crisp because it contains way less sugar, butter etc. It is great with ice cream for dessert or yogurt for breakfast. For serious. And it is infinitely adaptable. The original Bon Appetit recipe was all strawberries. My fave was strawberry peach combo pictured here. I’ve also done strawberry rhubarb (for which you’d want to slightly up your sugar). Play around. My most recent incantation for fall was to do apples + 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Because of the pectin in apples, don’t need the cornstarch.

2 lb strawberries (hulled, halved, quartered if large). Or whatever combo of fruit you like.

3 Tbsp. raw sugar (can add more if your chosen fruit is less sweet)

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch (this is necessary for the berry dominant combo. don’t need for apples. and can reduce if berries are well balanced w another firmer or pectin fruit like stone fruit or rhubarb)

1/4 olive oil

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/3 cup sliced almonds (I omit)

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 all-purpose flour

Plain yogurt, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream for serving.

Preheat 350. Toss strawberries, raw sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Transfer to a 9″ pie pan or 1 qt baking dish.

Stir olive oil and maple syrup in medium bowl to combine. Add oats, (almonds if using), coconut, flour, and 2 (good) pinches of salt and work until mixture comes together in loose clumps. Scatter over pie filling.

Place crisp on baking sheet (in case spill over. can foil line, but I don’t). Bake 35-45 min until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. (Original recipe reccs that you cool at least 30 min before serving.) Serve w yogurt, ice cream etc.

Can also be baked 1 day ahead. Cooled. Covered. And chilled in fridge.

And for a taste of fall…

Flour Bakery Mulled Cider 

This recipe exceeded expectations. The orange makes all the difference. I’d go for the whole spices, as the recipe was written – but ya know, sometimes you gotta work with what’s on hand so I used some dashes of ground allspice and nutmeg as subs.

1 half-gallon fresh cider

2 cinnamon stick

8 allspice berries

1 orange, scrubbed clean, unpeeled, sliced thin

1 tsp whole cloves

1 inch fresh ginger, rough chopped

1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg.

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat, cover, and let steep for an hour. Strain through a sieve and reheat. Pour into mugs. Can store leftovers and reheat.


Corn Muffins

3 Nov

I have a lot to say about Corn muffins. (No, I’m not going to go on about how long it’s been since the last post or promise that i’ll be better. Rather, I’ll just stick to the topic at hand). Sam & I ate a lot of corn muffins as kids with huge pats of butter, which we referred to as Sammie Sandwiches. You’d take a bite – then in a game we called Batteries- you’d move your arms around like a robot until you swallowed it and then you had to freeze. And could only be unfrozen when the other person said your full name. Which inevitably led to the same jokes of feigned ignorance… “Wait, what’s your middle name again?”

Childhood stories aside I’ve always found corn bread and corn muffin recipes to be a bit disappointing. Especially when you can just make a box of Jiffy – which let’s face it, is delicious. But these are so good they are motivating me out of Snacko Backo retirement. The picture and story should serve as a friendly reminder to always slather with butter. And if you are feeling bold, drizzle with maple syrup, mmmmm…..

These are delicious anytime but ’tis the season, so think about enjoying w a warm bowl of chili or even a thanksgiving dinner…? (Made this Veg chili the other day, still so delicious)

This recipe comes from the New York Times. Tiny rant – I hate how they put up a paywall to see recipes. I just.. ugh.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (plus more for butter pan and eating)

2 cups coarse or stone ground cornmeal (this is important – you just aren’t going to get that satisfying texture w. fine ground)(another tip – brands like Bob’s Red Mill label it as Corn grits/Polenta. And you find it in grocery store with grains, not with baking flours etc. And apparently you are supposed to any leftovers in fridge).

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt (i did more like a heaping tsp of kosher salt)

1 cup sour cream or whole milk yogurt

1/2 cup whole milk

2 large eggs, at room temp

Demerara sugar (or sugar in the raw), as needed

(note I am moving the butter the pan stage down after mixing. NYT reviews says some wait time after mixing ingredients gives some time for the baking powder to activate. Not sure if that’s true… but does seem to hold when I make pancakes…)

Heat oven to 400.

In large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In separate bowl, whisk together melter butter, sour cream, milk and eggs. Fold butter mix into dry ingredients.

Generously butter the cups and tops of muffin tins (these muffins will overflow). (I made some w paper baking cups and surprisingly preferred those without. It’s like you get all this additional crispy surface area without).

Then scoop (cookie or ice cream scoop work well) batter into tins. This made 12 muffins filled to the brim. Sprinkle each muffin top w Demerara sugar.

Bake until golden on the edges, 18-22 mins. Cool on wire rack for 10 mins, remove from muffin tin and cool to room temp. Serve w even more softened butter.


Earthquake Cookies!

19 Dec

Oh man, are these good. admittedly, slightly more work than your average- say choc chip cookie- but way worth it. They taste pretty much exactly like brownies. The recipe comes from Sofra bakery- which is an outstanding bakery in Belmont, MA. Guess people also call these chocolate crinkle cookies. I will say too, they are quite pretty and fitting for the holiday season.

Call it laziness or efficiency, but I’m just cutting and pasting the recipe from New


Total time: 1 hour, plus at least 8 hours chilling time
Hands-on time: 40 minutes

Makes: 2 dozen cookies


  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), melted and cooled [snacko backo- i used bittersweet ghirardelli chips]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar


Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until light and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl. Lower the speed and add the eggs one at a time, scraping between additions. Still on low speed, add the chocolate. Mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla to the mix. Staying on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture in three additions, scraping the bowl between additions.

Transfer the dough, which will resemble very wet batter, to a bowl; cover and refrigerate at least overnight, and up to 1 week.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the confectioners’ sugar and the granulated sugar in separate bowls. [ i feel like i only ended up using like a 1/2 cup of each so maybe start there when pouring in bowls]

Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop or portion scoop and shape the cookies into a ball. Roll each ball into the granulated sugar first and then into the confectioners’ sugar, coating completely.

Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet 1/2-inch apart. Bake until puffed and cracked and just set around the edges, 14 to 16 minutes. The centers will still be soft and appear under-baked. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Serve right away or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


Tartine Brownies

15 Nov

This has been my go-to brownie recipe for a while now. It comes from the amazing Tartine bakery in SF. Sent to me by the lovely Jess P. The merits of this recipe are many. You’ll notice it uses only brown sugar, has a whole pound of melted chocolate and whipped eggs which give it that light and fluffy texture. Serve them warm and they are gooey and delicious. Move them to the fridge, and they’ll transform into a dense fudgy texture. Either way, these are not your cakey brownies and anyone looking those… well I’ll refrain from throwing insults here…

I like to top these with a sprinkle of fleur de sel (a lovely and light sea salt) before putting in the oven. Or with the giant m&m’s that only come out around easter. Because they are so rich, I often cut them into relatively small pieces but follow your heart. And who says your brownies need to be uniform, I like to vary them in size for those who want a little more or a little less.  I’ll also often bake them a day ahead if brining to a party because time in the fridge makes them easier to cut.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I use the ghirardelli 60% choc chips)
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9″x13″ glass baking dish with parchment.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. [in the stand mixer- it never seems to take me this long. I just watch out for the wide ribbons] Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. If you are using nuts, evenly distribute them across the batter [Not my thing. Or be like snacko, sprinkle some fleur de sel] Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25 minutes [they won’t look really done but take them out anyway]. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares, or size desired [as I said, cut into at least double that]. The brownies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.



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