hot toddy bundt cake

1 close up slice glazed hot toddy bundt 2 lemon bourbon honey glaze on bundt 3 four roses bourbon lemons honey jar 3 lemon zest sugar 4 creaming butter sugar lemon bundt mixing batter hot toddy lemon bundt slicedHot toddy weather seems to be here to stay this winter. It seemed only natural to me to create a bundt cake inspired by the honey lemon bourbon beverage.  The perfect slice to complement hot tea, hot toddy, or hot company.

Hot Toddy Bundt Cake
adapted from Taste of Home

Cake
1 cup butter, softened
zest of two lemons
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 teaspoons bourbon

Glaze
juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon bourbon
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (maybe more)

In a bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream and bourbon. Beat just until blended. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. tube pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Whisk together glaze ingredients. Using a pastry brush, coat the surface with glaze. Repeat every ten minutes or so to build up a sweet layer (think of it like basting). If you do not have the time or patience, thicken the glaze with additional confectioners’ sugar to make a frosting for spreading over the top.

ginger mango granola

a jar of ginger mango granola dried mango plate pour olive oil in granola miz bowl scene of granola stove mix tin of baked ginger mango granola two jars of granolaA fresh batch of granola for my upcoming road trip! This go around, I changed up Melissa Clarks’ recipe with some dried mango, candied ginger, and walnuts. Packed and ready: a tasty remedy for the munchies and a potentially queasy stomach, along with a hint of summertime flavor.

Ingredients

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (regular or gluten free)

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup coconut

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 cup chopped (or torn) dried mangoes

1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread mixture in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add mangoes and candied ginger, tossing to combine.

Much alone or atop yogurt.

when the air is filled with dark chocolate and tangerines

a ball jar of freeze dried tangerines b ground tangerine dust chocolate covered freeze dried tangerine tangerine air brownie the stacked brownies tangerine dustRecently I noticed a new addition to the freeze dried foods selection at my local market: tangerines. While I enjoy fresh tangerines, they are rarely available where I live, and the texture of canned tangerines is a little slimy for my liking.  Imagine my delight for this new storable tangerine option!  Crisp and filled with air like a cheese puff, though incredibly light and flavorful, I immediately thought of making bittersweet and bright, dark chocolate snacks with these freeze dried fruits.  Simple to do; the small tiger-striped bites melt in your mouth without the dense chewiness of dried fruit or over the saturated syrupy taste of a jelly.  Fun for a party!  Next I ground the remaining freeze dried tangerines in my coffee grinder to add an unexpected citrus twist atop dark chocolate chunk brownies.  Make your favorite brownie recipe, bake, sprinkle with powdered sugar, then let the tangerine dust work it’s magic at the very last minute.  The tangerine and dark chocolate air is an added bonus.

tart tree float

From decorations and music to food and drink, I get all sorts of sentimental feelings during the holiday season. You may remember last year when I shared one of my favorite tree-gazing beverages, the pink snow float. This year I put together a more tart beverage with pink grapefruit and lime, more for tree-rocking and sushi eating than lazy lights gazing. Adjust the amounts based on your taste. Begin with pink grapefruit juice, add gin if you wish, then drop in sweet scoops of lime sherbet (I used my melon baller for the little glasses). Top off the drink with club soda or another fizzy liquid and watch the bright green bubbles grow to the top of your glass.

Rocking around the Christmas tree, have a happy holiday! Everyone dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way.”

november golden pear cake

“Because it was cozy, simple, and delicious,” she said.

I get giddy when people think of me when they discover a new recipe, so you can imagine my delight when my friend Jillian wrote to me about her experience in the kitchen making October Apple Cake. We agreed that the possibilities for variations on this recipe were ripe, and this is how the November Golden Pear Cake came to be.

I changed up the modest ingredient list to make my own perfectly sweet & gluten free autumnal cake with pears, substituting oat flour with rice flour and swapping out the chocolate chunks with cubes of buttery caramel. Can I describe a dessert cake as both delicate and hearty? I hope so, because this recipe seems to fit those descriptions, and when sliced in wedges, it radiates like the golden November sunshine.

Enjoy, serve, or gift the November Golden Pear Cake at any time of day. It’s amiable to eat with a fork and cup of tea at the breakfast table, as a handheld treat on a fall forest potluck picnic, or as appetizer pick-ed mini bites preceding a festive night’s cheese course. Happy Novembering.

Ingredients

1 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
3 pears (I used D’Anjou)

optional: 1/2 cup caramel bits or 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Grease a pan with olive oil and dust with flour, set aside (I also lined the bottom with a circle of parchment paper).

2. In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs for 10 minutes.

4. Peel the pears and chop them into chunks. Chop up caramel or chocolate into chunks.

5. Add the brown sugar and olive oil to the fluffy, fluffy eggs and continue to whip for another minute. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until combined.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then nestle the pear and caramel chunks until they are nice and snug in the batter.

7. Bake for about an hour, then if you can stand the wait, let it cool. Turn out the cake onto a plate and serve hot with drizzled caramel and sprinkled with sea salt, or cold with freshly whipped vanilla cream on top.

cozy porter candy apples

It’s getting to be sweater weather around here, and though I don’t knit, I do keep this colorful variegated yarn on hand called “schoolyard.” The colors in this yarn remind me of a basic box of Crayolas, and I like to use it for tying up brown paper packages and cellophane bags of goodies. The other day I brought it into the kitchen and used it to cozy up some naked lolli sticks for this year’s festive candied apples.

Last year I bookmarked this Brooklyn Brew Shop recipe on The Mash and thought it was prime time to try it for myself and cozy up some bare apples!  I followed the outlined recipe with the exceptions of subbing light brown sugar I had in the cupboard for the dark brown sugar and the always cozy double chocolate stout (stout = “porter on steroids” as once described by a beer shop guy) for the maple chocolate porter listed. I had difficulty actually biting into the candied apple, so I ended up slicing the apples and serving them that way. The look of the toffee is sinister and the flavor is slightly sweet with hints roasted coffee. I think I will make another batch of toffee and form a few porter candy spiderweb toppers for the weekend (cinnamon/molasses gelato sundaes, anyone?).

To make your own sweatery sticks, glue the beginning of the yarn at one end of the stick with a dot of liquid glue and overlap to cover the glued piece. Continue wrapping the stick with yarn to desired length and secure the end with another dot of liquid glue.

apple bacon monkey bread minis

Monkey bread for all seasons is what I’m talking about.  And while we’re at it, let’s add a few extra food groups to the mix and make them in individual servings.  Of course you can make your own bread dough, but I went the quick route and used canned biscuits.  I find it most satisfying to cut through the buttery biscuit dough with kitchen shears.

Once the dough is divided, coat the pieces generously in cinnamon and sugar (shake ’em in a bag!).  Chunk up a few apples (I used Gala this time) and break apart baked bacon pieces.  Load up the popover tins in layers of cinnamon sugar dough, apples, and bacon, then spoon about 2 teaspoons of melted butter and brown sugar over the tops.  Bake for about 20 minutes at 350-degrees.  These monkey bread packages are most delicious straight from the oven.

The flavors were inspired by one of my favorite autumn meal pairings of pork barbecue sandwiches and cinnamon apple cobbler.  The little bakers twine bow and parchment paper package was inspired by these brown paper (CAKE) packages tied up with string.  Happy Fall, All!