Cardamom cream scones with candied ginger

From David Tanis’ wonderful book, Market Cooking. I made this for the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan. It is very easy and delicious!

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. cardamom, ground
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 T. (plus extra for sprinkling on scones sugar
6 T. cold unsalted butter, plus 2 T. for brushing the tops of scones
2 T. candied ginger, chopped
2 T. golden raisins, plumped in warm water and drained if dry
2 T. currants, plumped in warm water and drained if dry
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl stir the flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together. Cut the butter into small chunks and work it into the flour mixture until it is the texture of sand or pebbles. Add the currants, raisins and candied ginger. Make a well in the center and add the beaten eggs and cream. Stir in a circular motion with a fork until dough forms a rough ball. Dough will seem moist and sticky.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute Gently roll or pat the dough into 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into wedges or use a 2″ cutter for circles. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Prick each scone with a fork, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with flour.
Bake until nicely browned 12-14 minutes.

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Angel food cake with mint marinated strawberries and mascarpone cream

From Williams Sonoma blog-a perfect spring dessert! I bought my cake at Whole Foods and it wasn’t big enough to divide into three layers but I think a homemade cake would be! My neighbor boys picked johnny jump ups and mint from my garden and decorated this cake for their mother for Mother’s Day. A quick update from my four year old helper-“Dad did not like the flowers or the strawberries with mint and I did not like the whipped cream because it wasn’t sweet!”. I will go back to my family Birthday Angel Food cake recipe next time. This recipe may be for adults!

For the cake:
1 cup (5 oz./155 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) sugar
12 egg whites
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the minted strawberries:
1 lb. (500 g) strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar
1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, plus whole leaves for garnish
For the mascarpone whipped cream:

2/3 cup (5 oz/155 g) mascarpone cheese
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). In a bowl, sift together the flour and 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) of the sugar. Repeat the sifting 3 more times.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low speed until they begin to foam, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, cream of tartar and vanilla, raise the speed to medium, and beat until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add the remaining 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar. Raise the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg white mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture, taking care not to overmix.

3. Spoon the batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan, then gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air pockets. Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched, 35 to 45 minutes. Invert the pan onto a wire rack and let cool upside down for about 30 minutes. To release, run a paring knife around the edges of the pan. Turn right side up on the rack and let cool for 10 minutes longer.

4. Meanwhile, make the minted strawberries: In a large bowl, stir together the strawberries, sugar, and chopped mint. Let stand until the juices have released, about 25 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the mascarpone whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the mascarpone, cream and vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

6. To assemble, use a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut the cake horizontally into three layers of even thickness. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate, cut side up. Spread the layer with a third of the mascarpone whipped cream and the minted strawberries. Place the middle cake layer on top and spread with another third of the mascarpone whipped cream and minted strawberries. Place the top cake layer on top, cut side down, and spread with the remaining mascarpone whipped cream and minted strawberries. Garnish with the whole mint leaves and serve immediately. Serves 12 to 15.

Ruth Reich’s Giant Chocolate Cake

From the former editor of Gourmet Magazine, this is a easy, moist cake to make for a crowd. I do think you need to double the frosting recipe to really cover the whole cake. I cut one of the rectangle cakes in half and frosted it for a group of twelve and there was plenty. It is a rich cake! The cake freezes well unfrosted. The cream cheese in the frosting is a delicious combination. Picture coming soon!

FOR THE CAKE:
1 ⅛ cups/100 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process), plus more for dusting the pans
¾ cup/175 milliliters whole milk
1 ½ teaspoons/7 1/2 milliliters vanilla
3 cups/375 grams flour
2 teaspoons/10 grams baking soda
Salt
1 ½ cups/340 grams (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups/356 grams dark brown sugar
1 ½ cups/300 grams granulated sugar
6 eggs

FOR THE FROSTING:
5 ounces/143 grams unsweetened chocolate
¾ cups/170 grams (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup/225 grams whipped cream cheese, or whip in mixer before adding butter
1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla
2 ½ cups/312 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two large rectangular baking pans (13 by 9 by 2 inches) and line them with waxed or parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pans with cocoa (you could use flour, but cocoa adds color and flavor).
Measure the cocoa powder into a bowl, and whisk in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water until it is smooth, dark and so glossy it reminds you of chocolate pudding. Whisk in the milk and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
Put the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat in the sugars until it is light, fluffy and the color of coffee with cream (about 5 minutes). One at a time, add the eggs, beating for about 20 seconds after each before adding the next. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches and the cocoa mixture in 2, alternating flour-cocoa-flour-cocoa-flour.
Pour half of the batter into each pan and smooth the tops. Bake in the middle of the oven until a tester comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Let the pans rest on cooling racks for 2 minutes, then turn the cakes onto racks to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: Chop the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler. Let it cool so that you can comfortably put your finger in it. While it’s cooling, mix the butter with the whipped cream cheese. Add the chocolate, the vanilla and a dash of salt, and mix in the confectioners’ sugar until it looks like frosting, at least 5 minutes. Assemble the cake, spreading about a third of the frosting on one of the cooled layers, then putting the second layer on top and frosting the assembled cake

Simple Almond Pistachio Cake

From Food 52, a super light, chewy cake that has a wonderful flavor from the cardamom. I used my regular extra virgin olive oil instead of my extra light and I think it is fine. This cake is delicious with a cup of tea or coffee any time of day!

Makes one 9″ cake
50 grams (1/2 cup) shelled pistachios
50 grams (1/2 cup) almond flour
100 grams (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 eggs
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
120 milliliters (1/2 cup) good-quality olive oil
113 grams (1/2 cup, 1 stick) lightly salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ cake pan (or spring form pan) with parchment paper, lightly grease the pan, and dust it with sugar, tapping out the excess sugar. In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios until they’re fairly finely ground, but make sure not to pulse too much or they’ll become a paste. Add the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and cardamom to the ground pistachios and pulse until everything is combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until very thick and light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the egg/sugar mixture, beating as you go. Once combined, keep the mixer running on low and drizzle in the melted butter (if you don’t have salted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt with the butter). Beat until the mixture comes together, but don’t overmix as you want to keep as much air in the batter as possible. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, taking care not to deflate the batter as much as possible. Once combined, pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until the sides of the cake turn golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before turning it out onto a rack to slice.

Orange and Star Anise Shortbread

This is an amazing cookie from the new book Sweets by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. The book is great, however, there are a lot of errors in many of the recipes and they finally have released a list online of all of the corrections . Not only does this shortbread have great flavor but it has wonderful texture which I think is from using the Italian “00: flour and white rice flour.

2 1/2 c./360 g Italian “00” flour
1/2 c. plus 1 T/70 g white grainy rice flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill brand
3/4 c. plus 1 1/2 T/165 g granulated sugar
1/8 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. ground star anise (3 whole star anise, ground in a spice grinder and passed through a fine siev
1 t. flaky sea salt
finely grated zest of 1 large orange (1 T)
scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
1 c. plus 1 1/2 T./250 grams butter, cold and cut into 3/4″ cube
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Sift both flours, the sugar, baking powder and ground star anise into a large mixing bowl, Add the salt, orange zest and vanilla seeds and mix to combine. Add the butter and use the tips of your fingers to rub it into the dry mixture until there are no large bits butter and the consistency is that of breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix gradually using your hands or a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Shape into a rectangle and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Cut dough in half and roll out one half on a lightly floured work surface until is just under 1/4″ thick. Using a 3″ cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Reroll scraps to cut out more cookies.
Bake 16-17 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking. They should be golden brown on the edges and lightly golden in the center. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Perfect Sugar Cookie

From the Flour, a cookbook and bakery in Boston by Joanne Chang. This dough is perfection. Be sure to let it rest at least an hour before baking. I rolled a half of the dough out at a time and kept the other half chilled. Every single bit of the dough rolled out into about 80 cookies. I am going to freeze the cookies and frost them as needed. Note**I prefer the frosting from my blog, Binx’s Christmas Cookies. The butter adds a glisten and it is the perfect amount for this batch of cookies.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
3 c. unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment ( or a hand held mixer) cream the butter with the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (5-10 minutes), scraping the sides and bottom often. Beat in eggs and vanilla and mix for at least 2-3 minutes, until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl often. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed. On low speed slowly blend in flour mixture until evenly mixed. Let rest wrapped in plastic as an 8” disc at least one hour until dough is firm enough to roll out. Flour a work surface and the dought and roll out 1/4” thick. Cut out cookies and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool cookies at least 30 minutes.
Frosting-see Note** above about optional recipe
3 1/4 c. (1#) confectioners sugar
5-6 T. milk
food coloring as desired
Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and whisk in enough milk to make a stiff icing.

Fresh Fig Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

From the wonderful Melissa Clark of the NY Times. I used a fig butter from Trader’s Joes and it was delicious. I made this in a 10″ springform pan but you could also bake it in two 9″ cake pans. I only made a half recipe of the frosting as I did not split the cake horizontally and just frosted the top.

FOR THE CAKE:
Butter, for greasing the pan
3 cups/384 grams all-purpose flour, more for flouring the pan
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ½ cups/300 grams granulated sugar
4 large eggs
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons buttermilk or plain yogurt
¾ cup/116 grams chopped fresh figs (3 to 4 figs)
¾ cup/225 grams fig jam
¾ cup/85 grams chopped pecans or walnuts
FOR THE FROSTING AND TOPPING:
12 tablespoons/180 grams unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
2 cups/16 ounces/454 grams cream cheese, softened
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons/60 grams honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ⅔ cups/450 grams confectioners’ sugar
1 cup sliced fresh figs (about 5 figs)

Make the cake: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch cake pan (or two 9-inch pans), and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, baking soda and salt.
Using an electric mixer, whisk to combine sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Whisk in oil and buttermilk or yogurt to combine.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture just until combined. Fold in figs, jam and pecans.
Scrape into prepared cake pan and bake until browned and springy to the touch, about 65 to 75 minutes (or 35 to 45 minutes for the 9-inch pans). If the top gets too dark before the cake is finished baking, cover it with foil. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
While cake is cooling, make the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and salt on low speed until smooth. Beat in honey and vanilla, then beat in confectioners’ sugar.
To assemble the cake, remove cooled cake from pan and peel off parchment paper. Slice cake in half horizontally, so you end up with 2 layers. (You don’t need to do this for the 9-inch cakes.) Spread half the frosting between the layers, sandwiching it. Dollop remaining frosting in a thick layer on top of the cake, leaving a 1-inch border on the top of the cake, the sides, bare. Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with sliced figs.

Salted Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen’s latest email. Once you have prepped all of the ingredients, the cookie dough comes together quickly. You cannot go wrong with this cookie-it is full of wonderful tastes and textures! These hearty cookies have something for everyone—they’re chewy, crunchy, salty, and sweet.

1 ¼ cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (3 ounces) quick oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups packed (8 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar
⅔ cup crunchy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 ½ ounces pretzel sticks, coarsely crushed (2/3 cup)
Flake sea salt

1. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add peanut butter, egg, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
2. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture; continue to mix until just combined. Add chocolate chips and pretzels and mix until just incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
3. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 2 tablespoons chilled dough at a time, roll into 1 1/2-inch balls and space them evenly on prepared sheets, 12 per sheet. Press each ball to 3/4-inch thickness using bottom of greased dry measuring cup.
4. Bake until puffed and cracks just form on top, 11 to 13 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Sprinkle cookies with sea salt, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving.

Granola Bark

From the new Tartine All Day cookbook. This is my latest favorite cookbook and it is chock full of wonderful recipes! The bark is good for snacking and the crumbs are perfect for ice cream!

1½ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
3 cups Rolled Oats, not quick-cooking
1¼ cups Almonds, chopped
1¼ cups Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
½ cup Flax or Chia Seeds, whole or ground
¼ cup Sesame Seeds
½ cup Almond or Hazelnut Flour
½ cup Maple Syrup or Honey, or ¼ cup of each
½ cup Coconut Sugar
¼ cup Water
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
⅓ cup Olive or Vegetable Oil
1 Large Egg White, whisked until frothy

Combine the cinnamon, oats, almonds, coconut, flax or chia seeds, sesame seeds and almond flour or hazelnut flour in a large bowl.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 13 x 18 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Combine the maple syrup or honey (or a mix of both), coconut sugar, water, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and let cool to warm room temperature.
Add the olive oil and egg white to the cooled syrup mixture and whisk to incorporate. Pour over the oats mixture and mix well.
Spread the mixture evenly across the prepared baking sheet. Using another same-size baking sheet or the bottom of a pot, press the mixture down firmly to compact it before baking.
Bake for 45 minutes or longer, until dark golden brown, rotating the sheet after about 15 minutes to promote even browning. While the granola bakes, open the oven door a couple of times to release steam.
Set the baking sheet on a cooling rack until the surface of the granola is crisp. Leave the oven on. If the surface is still tacky to the touch once it has cooled, return the pan to the oven and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes. Don’t let the bark get too dark, or it’ll taste bitter.
Once cool, break the bark into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting

From the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten)-another fabulous recipe. The cake is so light and the frosting is so delicious! Very easy to make and a perfect chocolate cake!

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt2/3 cup hottest tap water
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2/3 cup half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 × 13 × 2-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer -fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl. On medium speed, add the vanilla, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In another bowl or a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the hot water, cocoa powder, and espresso powder until smooth. Add the half-and-half and whisk until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the flour and chocolate mixtures alternately in thirds, starting and ending with the flour. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl to be sure the batter is well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan. Turn out onto a flat platter or board and frost the top with the mocha frosting. Cut in squares and serve.

Mocha Frosting (Frosts one 9 x 13-inch Cake)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt, ¼-inch-chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon Kahlúa
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the chocolate, butter, and espresso powder in a bowl. Heat the cream to simmer and pour it over the chocolate mixture, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. (If the chocolate isn’t melted, microwave the mixture for 15 seconds.) Stir in the Kahlúa and vanilla and stir until the mixture is smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes only, until cool but not cold.

Scrape down the bowl and beat the frosting with a handheld mixer on high speed for 15 to 20 seconds only, until the mixture forms soft peaks. (If you overbeat it, it will curdle!) Note: I beat my frosting for at least 1-2 minutes-watching it very carefully! Spread on the cake immediately with a metal spatula.