Custard Fruit Tart and Cooler Weather

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It’s finally cooling down a bit here. You’d think living in San Diego, I’d never have to turn on my air conditioning, but nope, it’s been on almost non-stop the past days and weeks ūüėĖ. While I can withstand a hotter environment a bit (more than I can say for my hubby), I also have my daughter to think about and I don’t want it getting too hot for her. So you can imagine our electric and gas bill has been a bit high lately. But thank goodness today is cool and overcast, our windows are open, and our ac is OFF.

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Yesterday I made a fruit tart! They’re actually pretty easy to make. I did have a little trouble with the tart crust and shrinking, so I’m looking forward to trying it again and getting it right. My waistline however, needs a little break right now from all the baking I’ve been doing. I also hope to make the custard a little thicker next time so I’ll have to work on that also. For now, please enjoy the picture of the tart! It was de-lish. ūüėč

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Rustic Fruit Galette (10 years later)

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September has me feeling a bit nostalgic. About 10 years ago I moved away from home and unbeknownst to me, I would find my love for cooking, baking, and all things in between. I remember the first (and only time) I made a fruit galette was in September. It wasn’t difficult per se, but I was definitely uncomfortable. While the galette both looked and tasted good, I never made it again. I’m not sure why, maybe I put so much effort into researching how to make it, I felt it was more difficult than it actually was. So I just never made it again

But I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately and I after browsing some of my past blogs, I came upon my post on making a rustic fruit galette and I was inspired to make it again. What a difference 10 years can make! The crust was surprisingly easy and quick to make. I felt comfortable working with the flour and the butter. Kneading the dough and rolling it to make a beautiful tasty crust took me only minutes. I didn’t use any egg or milk as a wash on the crust because I was impatient and just wanted to get it in the oven, but it was still beautiful in my eyes. =)

The portions that I used for the crust were 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter, 3 Tbs cold water, and pinch of salt. The technique on the other hand needs to be more clear. I think I need to make it one more time so I can confidently write out the recipe for the crust, but I promise it will be posted as soon as I write it down!

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Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

IMG_2041This recipe was shared¬†with me by my sister who tried it and loved it. I booked marked it and it’s been waiting for me,¬†sitting in the favorites of my laptop ..quietly and humbly…ready to spring into action and change my mundane day¬†with its chocolatey olive oil powers.

IMG_2050“Simplicity is a prerequisite for reliability.” -Edsger Dijkstra ¬†

Don’t let it’s simple and plain appearance fool you. I guarantee you, this cake won’t let you down and will be a staple in your dessert repertoire.¬†I initially made this recipe thinking I would probably make adjustments after I tasted it, but after my first bite, I was done.

The edges were slightly crisp, the inside was moist and soft. I could taste the sweetness and the chocolate. None of the flavors overwhelmed each other and the texture was just right.
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Whether you’re trying to be more healthy or maybe you’re not, or maybe you believe cake should always have butter and milk, put all that aside and try this recipe. I think it will satisfy any chocolate cake lover out there. It’s so easy I made this while my daughter was napping. I used all purpose flour and regular white sugar since I didn’t have super fine and¬†baked mine for 40 minutes. I also think my cake pan may have been 10 inch instead of 9 and¬†it still came out wonderful.

Since I didn’t do many¬†changes and followed the recipe almost exactly, I won’t put a recipe down. But you can¬†find the recipe here, on The Cooking Channel if you want to try it.

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Meet Blondie: Cousin to the Brownie


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Blondies! One of my favorite baked treats. Have you ever had them? ¬†I first made them about 6 years ago when I was craving a certain something but couldn’t pin my finger on it. ¬†After searching for recipes and inspiration, I found something called Blondies and they seem to be the thing I was needing. ¬†Gave them a try and since then I’ve been hooked. ¬†They’re like the cousin of brownies in terms of texture, but since no chocolate is added they bake into a nice caramel color. Why would you NOT add chocolate you ask??? I don’t know! But just try it! Trust me, they’re wonderful. They are fast and simple to make. ¬†You can probably bake a batch¬†and clean up in 45 minutes tops. ¬†I love the texture of these blondies, soft, chewy, sweet…perfection. ¬† They’re perfect when you’re craving something sweet from the oven. ¬†I always add nuts to mine, preferably walnuts, but I had pecans at home and they were just as tasty.

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Blondies (makes 9 blondies)
¬Ĺ cup butter
1 cup unpacked packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
¬Ĺ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
¬Ĺ cup nuts, Walnuts or Pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Lightly spray a square 8×8 baking pan.
  3. Melt butter, add sugar, vanilla, stir together and let cool.
  4. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
  5. When butter is cooled add egg and quickly whisk.
  6. Whisk flour into butter mixture.
  7. Fold in walnuts.
  8. Bake 350 for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean at center.

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No sifter, so I just whisk all my dry ingredients together.
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Butter Sugar Mix 01c352a5359597335bebd91bef0d357f16338c6554
Added the egg

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Added the flour

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In 20 minutes you’ll have a delicious baked treat ūüôā

Pecan Crumb Cake and a Little Vacation!

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I’m very excited. ¬†This has been a short work week for me with Monday being Memorial day and now¬†today is my¬†Friday. ¬†That made it a 3 day work week…sweeet! Next week my husband and I are going on a little anniversary trip and I can not wait to spend a few days just relaxing and experiencing a new place, seeing new sights, and trying new foods together. ¬†Albeit,¬†we’re not traveling far, it’s still nice to just get away and see a¬†new place we haven’t been to.

With that said, I might not be cooking much next week but I do have a really good recipe to share today, Pecan Crumb Cake. ¬†Crunchy, buttery, sweet topping, with a light soft yellowy cake. ¬†This recipe makes for a pretty big cake…but one of my favorite things about baking is being able to share it. ¬†So make this, enjoy this, and share it (only if you want to of course)! ¬†It’s perfect with a cup of hot coffee or tea. ¬†I adapted the recipe I found called Grandma’s Crumb Cake, and I hope I done grandma proud.

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Pecan Crumb Cake
Crumb Topping
1/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 ¬ľ flour
¬Ĺ cup melted butter
2 cups roughly chopped pecans
Cake
2 ¬ľ cup flour
3 ¬Ĺ tsp baking powder
¬Ĺ tsp salt
1 cup milk
¬Ĺ cup butter, at room temperature
1 ¬ľ ¬†cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
powder sugar for topping

Bake 350
Lightly spray a 9X13 cake pan
30-40 minutes

Crumb Topping

  • In a medium size bowl, whisk sugar, cinnamon, butter until combines
  • Add in flour and pecans and stir until stiff dough forms
  • Set aside

Cake Batter

  • Sift flour, baking powder, salt
  • Cream butter, sugar
  • Add eggs and vanilla and blend
  • Add flour and milk, alternating between the two. ¬†I did three additions of each. So about 1/3 of milk and flour each time.
  • Mix just until smooth and¬†do not over beat.
  • Pour into baking pan
  • Crumble the crumb topping on top. ¬†I like a mixture of big crumbs and small crumbs.
  • Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes.¬† Insert toothpick in center and if it comes out clean it‚Äôs done.

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Adding pecans was a good addition…I think I’ll always use pecans for this cake now.photo 3
Crumb topping before adding the flour.photo 4
The crumb topping.  Utterly delicious.photo 5
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Add egg and vanillaphoto 21
Adding in the flour and milk, alternating each.  I did three addition of each.photo 31
No crumb topping…naked cake!photo 41
Going in the oven!photo 51
About now your house should smell a little bit like heaven.  Enjoy!

Blueberry Yogurt Scones

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The first time I ever made scones which was almost 10 years ago, I didn’t even know what scones were.¬† I just found a baking recipe that looked appealing and gave it a go.¬† Let’s just say that first experience has led to a 10 year scone making hiatus.¬† Although since then I’ve certainly had scones at stores and cafes, I’ve never thought about making them again.¬† This weekend I decided to give it another try.¬† I mean it has been 10 years and hopefully my time in the kitchen since then has taught me something about baking.

Looking up scone recipes I saw most used cream or buttermilk, which are two ingredients I don’t usually have on hand, and I really REALLY did not want to go out to the store to just buy one ingredient.¬† But I usually always have yogurt in my fridge so I looked up recipes for Yogurt Scones.¬† To my happy surprise there were a lot of well rated recipes using yogurt.¬† After going back and forth I settled on this one by King Arthur Flour,¬† if it’s good enough for King Arthur it’ll be good enough for me.

I made a few changes, added in 2 TBS of brown sugar, used vanilla extract only, left out lemon zest,¬† and used only 1 egg.¬† My conclusion after tasting them…I really enjoyed them.¬† A lady at work even asked for the recipe!¬† Win!¬† These scones were light, not too sweet, and perfect for snacking or for breakfast.¬† You could eat these with butter, or jam, or even whipped cream.¬† I just ate as-is.¬† I didn’t sprinkle any sugar on top, but I think next time I will.¬†¬† If I had almond extract I would have used it, because almond flavor is delightful.

If you want to see a technique for making scones without using a standing mixer, I like Tyler Florence’s video.¬† Some things about making scones to keep in mind are use cold ingredients and do not over work the dough or else it will be tough and the texture of the scone won’t be too great.¬† Here is my version for Blueberry Yogurt Scones.

Just a few common ingredients for scone.

Blueberry Yogurt Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar + 2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbs cold butter, cut
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
2 tbs melted butter to brush on top
Sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.
In separate bowl add egg, vanilla, and yogurt and stir till just combined
Using pastry cutter or fork cut cold butter into flour until crumbly
Gently fold in blueberries
Add in yogurt mixture and fold in with fork or hands
Be careful not to overwork dough
Incorporate  and knead just until dough comes together
Place dough onto floured work surface
Roll into circle or rectangle about 3/4 inch thick and cut into triangles
Place pieces on to baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Brush melt butter and sprinkle sugar on top
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Remove from oven and let cool.

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After cutting cold butter into flour, the dough is still very loose.
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The dough is still crumbly after adding in the liquid.
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Forming my dough in to a rectangle.
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Imperfect triangles
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Going into the oven.
Blueberry Yogurt Scones perfect with tea or coffee.
Warm tasty scones!

A Really Good Chocolate Chip Cookie

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For Mother’s Day, I wanted to bake some chocolate chip cookies for the moms at my work. I’ve been trying to make a decent chocolate chip cookie for years.¬† For me, a really good chocolate chip cookie is soft, dense, and chewy. I prefer the taste of white sugar in my cookie versus brown, and I like to have nuts in my cookies, preferably, walnuts.¬†¬† I don’t think I’m asking for too much in my cookie am I?¬† But despite my perfectly reasonable guidelines for my homemade cookies, they’ve always turned out too cakey or too sweet or just sometimes plain out inedible. But after discovering the amazing Pinterest, my life has changed drastically, okay my life hasn’t changed too much, but Pinterest is still pretty great. ¬† I found myself having access to extremely helpful information about EVERYTHING, including, chocolate chip cookies.¬† CONCLUSION: There are insanely passionate people out there over chocolate chip cookies.¬† And I thank them.

One of the best information on chocolate chip cookies was found on SeriousEats.com, and the article pretty much breaks down for you all the ingredients in chocolate chip cookies, why use it and what happens if you leave out the ingredient.  This is a great article/experiment for people who are interested in understanding the science behind chocolate chip cookies and you can find the article here.

So I now have a recipe that I feel makes for a pretty perfect chocolate chip cookie.¬† And I would be proud to make these for my kids (whenever I¬† have them. someday). I’m sure this recipe was adapted from somewhere…but I’ve did so much research over time from the internet for chocolate chip cookies, I really don’t know where I found the original.¬† But I’ll share with you my version to make delicious and beautiful chocolate chip cookies.

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A Really Good Chocolate Chip Cookie
1/2 cup frozen butter (slightly melted)
2/3 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 chocolate bar, roughly chopped (I like milk chocolate, but semi sweet is good too)
¬Ĺ cup roughly chopped walnuts

In a medium size bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside

Put frozen butter into a bowl and microwave for about 1 minute or until butter is just slightly melted. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer or another large bowl. Beat until melted butter becomes softened butter.

Add in sugars and beat for a few minutes until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat on medium just until the egg and vanilla are incorporated.

Scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl and stir in the flour mixture. Mix just until flour is incorporated.

Fold in the chocolate and walnuts. Cover the dough and refrigerate until well chilled.
*Chill minimum of 2 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grab a spoonful of the dough or an icecream scooper and roll into a ball about the size of a golf ball. Flatten slightly and put onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Place cookies about 4″ apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are just BARELY lightly browned around the edges. Watch them closely! When done, let sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to a cutting board or your counter to cool completely (This step is important to get the cookies to settle and give it the nice chewy crackly look).

Let cookie sheet come back to room temperature before making more cookies.

Recipe yields about 16, 4″ cookies.

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Can one have too much chocolate and walnuts? hmm probably not.
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The dough is really thick and yummy.

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The cookies start to settle back and become crackly after sitting on the baking sheet.
Enjoy with a cold glass of milk.
Happy Mother’s Day!