Honey Tea Cake with Oatmeal Blueberry Crumble and Yogurt Glaze

Why, you may ask, if I had yogurt, honey, blueberries and oatmeal did I not just stop there? Why did I not make myself a bowl of oatmeal with yogurt and berries and enjoy a wholesome hearty breakfast? Most days I would agree with you. Most days I am content to sip my green tea and eat my grapefruit half and carry on about my day until lunch time. But SOME days, I don't want grapefruit. Some days I just want cake.

And THIS cake is absolutely delicious. It is also completely easy to make. Its great for breakfast with a cup of coffee of for dessert with a little scoop of frozen yogurt. Either way, I highly recommend it. 

Citrus Tart

t never ceases to amaze me that Citrus is a winter fruit. It is just so sunny and bright and sweet. It seems much better suited for backyard barbecues and hot days at the beach. But it is, nonetheless, a winter fruit. And thank goodness it is. A pink and juicy Cara Cara can serve as a completely adequate sun substitution on a short dreary winter day. A ruby red grapefruit can brighten even the grayest of mornings. The past week or so I have been stocking up on citrus with what I'm sure is an unrivaled fervor. Ive been drawn to it in a way that I have not been in years past. I come home with bags and bags of the fruit, not to mention completely pillaged the neighborhood lemon tree. 

This brings me to this recipe. Now that I have amassed a stockpile of fruit I have to actually USE said fruit and there is only so much juice one can drink. One of my all time favorite recipes is Tartine Bakery's Lemon Cream. I basically adapted theirs (as I see very little room for improvement) but used different citrus juices. You can use any combination of citrus. All grapefruit would also be nice. 

Not-Messing-Around-Chocolate-Cake

I do not mess around when it comes to chocolate. Especially chocolate cake. When some people have a bad day, they have a glass of wine or take a long bath. When I have a bad day? Chocolate. Thus, I think its needless to say, I've been working on perfecting this recipe for a long time now. Many people just use cocoa powder in their chocolate cakes. I think this is crazy and more than a little bit stingy. Chocolate cakes need chocolate, in the case of this cake, 12oz of good bittersweet dark chocolate. 

As for the frosting, I've tried it all. Nothing can compare to a good rich, creamy ganache. I use equal parts heavy cream and chocolate. You could also use your favorite chocolate buttercream recipe. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Its here! Its here! Its here! Cookie season (aka the holiday season) is finally here! Nothing makes me as nostalgic as holiday cookie baking. It reminds me of flour covered afternoons in my grandmothers kitchen, rainy afternoons with a plate of homemade cookies by the fire, and frantic christmas eve prep with my mom. Bing Crosby was always there too. He still accompanies me in my kitchen for Holiday cookie baking. And there is nothing to kick off cookie season like these hazelnut shortbread cookies with chocolate ganache. They are warm, nutty, festive and most importantly, chocolatey (have I mentioned how much I love chocolate?) They do take a certain amount of prep. The ganache should be made an hour or two in advance so it may thicken. The hazelnuts have to be toasted and ground into meal before you can make the shortbread. I like to just make an afternoon of it. 

Pistachio Pound Cake with Candied Kumquats

Its really hard to be patient. But being a baker means a lot of waiting. Waiting to rise, waiting to bake, waiting to cool, waiting to soften, waiting to boil, waiting to freeze. It can be really...boring. This recipe provides a fair amount of downtime. You have to candy the kumquats in advance. You have to bring the butter and cream cheese to room temperature before you beat them together. You have to wait for the cake to cool before you frost it. But in the end, it really is so very wonderful. The tangy cream cheese, the zesty sweet kumquats and the warm nutty cake really do come together quite harmoniously. So put on a good playlist, grab a good book, or whip out the crosswords (my favorite) and enjoy the wait! 

Cranberry Custard Pie

Thanksgiving staples are not easy to come by. Although, the last few years I have been more and more open to the expansion of my pie horizons. This particular pie is a significant diversion from my norm, but if my husband has anything to do with it I will be making it for many years to come. The tartness of the cranberries is so nicely balanced by the sweetness of the vanilla bean custard. Baking an already stovetop cooked custard is definitely a bit unconventional, but I assure you, it CAN be done and it is delicious. 

Just please, for the love of all that is good, make sure you have a good flaky pie crust. I can't stress this enough. 

Chocolate Caramel Banana Bread

Banana Bread will forever be a staple in my kitchen. Because for whatever reason, I always think its a wonderful idea to buy bunches of bananas at the supermarket. Every time I think, "this time will be different. I will eat all of these bananas." I want to be the kind of person who will eat all of those bananas. I am not. Every time, without fail, I let them sit on the counter and ripen to a fragrant, mushy, deep chocolate brown. Maybe I subconsciously do this on purpose. I do really love banana bread. Its great with a cup of tea or coffee for breakfast or an afternoon snack, its great with a scoop of ice cream as a dessert. In my opinion, if you add walnuts to your banana bread it is eligible to be considered for lunch or dinner. 

This particular banana bread is better suited for the scoop of ice ream, dessert route. It makes a great banana bread sundae. But it would be completely within bounds to eliminate the caramel and add walnuts instead for a more traditional banana bread.

White Chocolate and Dried Fruit Scones

Scones. Gosh. I can't tell you how many times I have tried and failed to make a good batch of scones. How many times I have developed my own scone recipes that just turn out...weird. I started thinking that maybe I just didn't like scones. But it turns out I just didn't like bad scones. And I made a lot of bad scones. They were either too dense, too dry, too chewy, or too bland and in the case of one particularly unfortunate batch, too gritty. 

After much searching and very much failure, I think I have it figured out. These scones are still dense and crumbly like a traditional scone, but they are also flaky and buttery like a biscuit. I think the extra flakiness can be attributed to the addition of fat with the cream cheese. It is really important that you keep everything as cold as possible throughout the whole process. this will really help with the final texture.