Have I ever mentioned that I like dried fruits and nuts in my granola? Well, sometimes I do, like this time when they are in my granola bars. These homemade bars are so much “better than any store bought variety” and they even have, what I think comes from being a French inspired granola bar, a taste of butter in each bite. Lucky me- I found another great recipe from this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie Baking project. I also found a great recipe for the month of January that uses up all the leftover bits of dried fruits and nuts in the pantry from holiday baking. A few leftover Medjool dates from the sticky toffee pudding cake for Christmas..I sliced them up for the granola bars. I always have rolled oats, fruits, nuts and butter on hand, but had to run out for a jar of brown rice syrup, a very important ingredient that holds the fruits, nuts, coconut, butter and oats together in these bars. So, now that I have my own big jar of brown rice syrup I guess I’ll be making more granola bars with this wonderful recipe full of healthy tasty ingredients from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Just a few notes on baking Dorie’s energy granola bars; I used an 8″ square pan lined with baker’s sprayed parchment. I spread the granola bar mixture evenly in the pan before baking. Right after I took the pan out of the oven I pressed my granola bars down firmly with a spatula and cut into 14 bars when they were cool after about an hour. For the dried fruits and nuts part of my granola bars, I used a combination of dates, pistachio nuts, cranberries, chia seeds, coconut and pumpkin seeds, just what I had in the pantry. These wholesome bars are very good keepers, wrap in wax paper and store in plastic on the counter, for one week, but they won’t last that long.Please check out the other baker’s granola bars at Tuesdays with Dorie. If you are looking for this recipe and Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan, look no further than Amazon.com.
I started my holiday baking with a cranberry crackle tart from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Not a single doubt in my mind that Dorie’s sweet and tart dessert creation is a keeper. Looking for a not so overly rich dessert to end a heavy meal like Thanksgiving? This could be the one. Looking for a way to use up some of your Summer stash of homemade jam? I spread a few generous spoonfuls of my coveted rhubarb strawberry jam on the crust of this cranberry crackle tart and that was pretty close to heavenly in my humble opinion…Which begs the question….exactly what is a ‘crackle’ tart?… I was just about to talk about that. This recipe features a tart brimming with fluffy meringue laced with fresh cranberries spread over your favorite jam in a delicate pre-baked tart pastry..then the whole thing goes into a low oven and bakes until slightly browned and cracked or voilà ‘crackled’ on top. I think my tart is pretty but it’s always fun to guild the lily… the left over tart dough can either be cut into small leaves to decorate your tart or enjoyed as small cookies…just perfect with a dusting of powdered sugar and sprinkling of cranberries. Looking for new holiday recipes for both Thanksgiving and Christmas? I think that could be a great reason to join in the fun with the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group. Please check out the baker’s results here. Dorie was so kind as to share her tart recipe on The Splendid Table, so if you haven’t picked up your copy of Baking Chez Moi, you’re in luck as you can easily find this week’s assigned recipe here.
I could make a Strawberry Almond Cream Tart every week during strawberry season-that’s how much I like this recipe from Cooking Light’s Way to Bake cook book. Score-I love it when I find a favorite recipe! This strawberry tart with a graham cracker crust has it all going on-it’s fresh, fruity, light and sweet -also very popular at my Mother’s Day pool party. I don’t think we’ve ever had a big party on Mother’s Day, anyway the afternoon went by in a blur with kids in the pool, lots of food, drink, conversation and good times going on by all in our back yard. That morning I made 2 of these exact same strawberry tarts for the party and everybody liked them but the day went so fast for me that I neglected to take any photos which as you can imagine is a big no-no for any self respecting food blogger, like myself. So, as soon as possible I made another Strawberry Almond Cream Tart for my blog, which didn’t hurt my feelings one bit because I not so secretly wanted another piece as did my grandsons who enjoyed slices for an after school treat at grandma’s house. Now is the time to make a dessert with strawberries or just plain eat strawberries while they are ripe, plentiful and lower priced in the markets. We all know this so I hope you will host a party this holiday weekend and serve a beautiful homemade dessert with loads of big luscious strawberries for all to enjoy, doesn’t that sound like fun? Speaking of fun-The winner of last week’s Hamilton Beach set of mixers Giveaway is Deb from East of Eden Cooking, whom I will be contacting by email. That was kind of cool, I liked the giveaway-may have to figure out how to make that happen more often on my blog.
Thanks from me and Hamilton Beach to everybody who participated in the giveaway by leaving comments on my blog!
Adapted from Cooking Light 'Way to Bake'.
- 1 package (9 sheets) honey-flavored graham crackers
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 teaspoons water
- baking spray
- 2/3 cup or 5 ounces 1/3 less-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 6 cups medium strawberries, hulled and divided (2 cups for topping/glaze and 4 cups left whole for topping)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Spray bottom of a 9" metal removable bottom tart pan
- prepare the crust
- Place the graham crackers in a food processor and process until crumbly.
- Add the sugar, melted butter and water, pulse until combined and moist.
- Place the graham cracker in the prepared 9" tart pan, pressing into bottom and sides (about 3/4 of the way up) of pan.
- Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Cool completely on a metal rack.
- prepare the filling
- Combine the cream cheese, sugar and extracts in a medium bowl, spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled graham cracker crust.
- prepare the topping
- Place 2 cups of the strawberries in the food processor and process until smooth, scraping down once or twice.
- Combine the strawberry purée, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and over a medium heat bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 minute.
- Remove topping/glaze mixture from heat, cool to room temperature.
- Combine remaining 4 cups of strawberries, lemon juice and a few spoonfuls of glaze/topping in a medium bowl.
- Arrange the 4 cups of whole strawberries in a circular pattern on top of the cream cheese filling.
- Spoon the topping/glaze around the berries, filling in the edges.
- Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the edges.
- Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.
- Slice and serve.
Walnut-Fudge Upside Down Tart with a ~Giveaway~ Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer and Softcrape Hand Mixer
Oh Happy Day! Today is the day I’m offering one lucky reader an easier way to make my Walnut-Fudge Upside Down Tart. It is my pleasure to host a Giveaway from Hamilton Beach for both a SoftScrape 6 Speed Mixer with Case and a 6 Speed Stand Mixer. The generous folks at Hamilton Beach also gave me a set of the very same mixers to try out at home, so I can speak with authority when I tell you they are both quite capable of whipping up the thick chocolate and fudgy batter needed to make your own Walnut-Fudge Upside Down Tart. To enter this contest and have a chance at winning both these mixers from Hamilton Beach please leave a comment below telling me about one of your favorite recipes using chocolate by this Friday May 23 before noon Pacific Time-don’t you like how I included the thing about Pacific Time that was also to remind me to tell you that this contest is only open to U.S. residents age 18 and older.A quick note (!) about the thick chocolate batter that goes into this chocolate tart… I used a few spoonfuls of Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup which I brought back with me on the plane in my suitcase from NOLA, I know that’s crazy to be toting a large bottle of pure cane syrup in my suitcase-I triple wrapped it!- but it turned out to be SO WORTH IT!! If you don’t have your own bottle of Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup, light corn syrup with a smidgen of molasses might be a close approximation.
Adapted from Cooking Light.
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, Ghirardelli 60% brand
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons all purpose baking cocoa, KAF brand
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons pure cane syrup, Steen's brand
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Coat a 9" metal removable bottom tart pan with baking spray.
- Sprinkle the chopped walnuts in pan.
- Combine the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water.
- Slowly cook until chocolate melts, remove from heat and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.
- Using either a hand (with a large bowl) or stand mixer beat the eggs on medium speed until thick and lighter in color.
- Gradually add the sugar (1 tablespoon at a time) to the eggs, beating on medium speed until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cane syrup and vanilla, beat on low speed for 1 minute, until well blended.
- Add the chocolate mixture, beat on low speed for 1 minute, until well blended.
- Gradually add the flour mixture, beating on low speed until combined.
- Pour the batter over the nuts in prepared pan, spread evenly.
- Bake in lower third of oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is firm and slightly pulls away from the sides or a toothpick inserted comes away with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool in pan on metal rack, invert on plate to serve.
Disclosure: Hamilton Beach provided these products for a giveaway however, all opinions are 100% my own.
Do you have a recipe that you make from scratch just about every week? Well, this is that recipe for me and it happens to be for granola. We crave Greek yogurt sprinkled with honey almond granola…using this recipe. It is easy, fits in a large glass canister on my counter and easily satisfies a sweet tooth. I started with a simple granola recipe that I found in Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons by Megan Gordon. In the chapter, titled Basics there is a recipe for Make-Your-Own Signature Granola that I’ve made exactly that way. I’m sharing my own tweaked version of this recipe but love this cookbook and suggest adding it to your collection.
Favorite things about this granola recipe are the flavors of Orange Blossom honey, vanilla, cinnamon, toasted rolled oats, roasted almonds, maple syrup and extra-virgin olive oil. It’s kind of sad when my glass container of granola runs low..but it’s so easy to fill it back up again. I’m forever stocking up on the ingredients so I usually have everything needed right in the pantry-don’t you just love a recipe like that?
We are in the middle of our first hot (record breaking) weather of the season. Today our high will be 91F which is actually a few degrees cooler than yesterday, that’s a relief! I won’t be making any oven baked granola today but my pictures are from last week when it was cooler but not to worry -I heard the temperatures will be cooling off this weekend just in time to bake another batch of my favorite honey almond granola.
- 1 cup whole raw almonds
- 3 & 1/2 cups rolled oats, I used Bob's Red Mill
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking spice, optional-I used Penzeys brand
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder or vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, I used Whole Foods brand
- 1/2 cup Orange Blossom honey
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the almonds on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned, set aside.
- Stir together all the above ingredients, except almonds, in a large bowl until well mixed.
- Spread the raw unbaked granola evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and turn over granola with large metal spatula.
- Put back in the oven and continue baking for 15 additional minutes, if necessary- turn again and bake for 5 minutes or until you have desired browned color, don't over bake.
- Let the granola cool before breaking up in smaller pieces and placing in a covered container.
Tink, tink, tink. I know that we are headed towards Summer when I wake up early to make coffee and hear the chirping of birds outside my kitchen window. Only the birds don’t all go tweet tweet, we always have a few loud ones that go tink, tink, tink which is kind of weird and I have no idea what kind of bird calls out tink but that’s why I don’t need an alarm to wake me when the weather turns warm and our windows are open.
I have a thing for pies and tarts. Now- I’ve added crostata, an Italian inspired pie/tart filled with fresh strawberries and spread with rhubarb jam to my list of favorites. I look forward to a Summer filled with visits to the local farmer’s markets to find the freshest ripest fruits for the rustic pastry creations that I love to make.
I used the rhubarb jam with strawberries and orange that I made using a recipe from food in jars by Marisa McClellan. The verdict is the jam is delicious and I will be trying more recipes from this little gem of a preserving book.
I also will be baking more of Summer’s fruit (blackberries -for one!) using this crostata dough which is quick and easy to make, chill, roll out and bake. Make sure you use parchment paper for the baking pan to save on the clean up from the bubbling fruit juice escaping from your hot crostata. A scoop of vanilla ice cream on top is another good idea to try.
No matter how you decide to place the strips on top of your crostata-the cut pieces all come out beautifully and make lovely slices of strawberry pie. Don’t forget the rhubarb jam-I love rhubarb and think it adds so much flavor to this recipe, but purchased strawberry jam would be good too.
Adapted from Four-Star Desserts by Emily Luchetti.
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut in bits
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large eg yolk
- 2/3 cup rhubarb jam (recipe from food in jars by Marisa McClellan)
- 2 pints strawberries, hulled and cut in half
- Combine 2 cups of the flour, 2/3 cup sugar and butter bits in a medium bowl.
- Mix the ingredients with pastry blender or fingers until mixture looks like cornmeal.
- Add 1 egg and egg yolk, mix until dough comes together (1-2 minutes)
- Divide the dough in half, flatten, wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured work surface roll one of the pieces of dough into a 10" circle.
- Carefully lift the dough circle and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Roll out the second piece of dough into a 10" circle and cut into strips- I used a decorative fluted cutter.
- Chill both the dough circle and the dough strips until firm -about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and spread the jam on the 10" round circle, leaving a 1" edge all the way around.
- Place the prepared strawberries on top of the jam spread dough and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. This would be a fun and tasty place to use vanilla or lavender spiced sugar.
- Lightly beat the egg and brush it on the 1" edge of dough circle.
- Lay the strips on top of the strawberries (how you like), letting the end of each strip end on the egg washed edges.
- Fold the edges of the dough circle back over the lattice, about 1/2" over the edges of the strips.
- Brush all the edges and the dough strips on top with more of the egg wash.
- Bake the crostata for around 35 minutes or until filling is bubbling and pastry is golden brown.
- Cool on a metal rack, slice and serve the same day it is baked.
I’m not sure which came first-Irish Soda Bread with Muesli or Three Fruit Marmalade- but they belong together and are definitely a match made in heaven. Every year when Saint Patrick’s Day rolls around I’m usually good for baking a loaf or two of soda bread, but this year I did a little experimenting and came up with my own version of a Muesli filled loaf which I’ve been regularly baking since celebrating Saint Paddy’s day. I’m craving this freshly baked soda bread spread with butter and marmalade-I can’t even begin to tell you, so I’m going to share my recipe. Lucky me, I also have the recipe for the Three Fruit marmalade since I took Happy Girl Kitchen Co’s marmalade workshop at Cavallo Point in Sausalito a few weekends ago.
I’ve been inspired since the class and made half a dozen jars of spiced tangerine marmalade last week. I’ve always been partial to both jam and jelly making but lately, since discovering Irish Soda Bread for breakfast, I like having a jar of marmalade in my fridge. Meyer lemon marmalade has always been one of my favorites but now I will be branching out into the world of citrus…Watch out citrus fruit here I come! Three Fruit Marmalade-Happy Girl Kitchen Co. style – is next on my to-make list. I just love the chunky rind filled look of it and it’s delicious on my toasted soda bread. We were all given jars of the marmalade we made in class to take home. One of the marmalade making tips from the workshop is to find organic citrus fruit with rinds that will be sweeter in the finished marmalade so that the whole fruit can be sliced in small wedges which is easier than the traditional method where the entire rind is removed, sliced, boiled and finally put back in the marmalade.
I can’t think of another bread that can be made in one large bowl, formed into a ball, sliced twice on the top and baked on a parchment lined baking sheet in a hot oven for about half an hour that’s as good as Irish Soda bread-just bring on the Marmalade and that’s my idea of perfection from your own kitchen to the breakfast table.
I like to slice the entire loaf of my soda bread after it cools, place any leftovers in a plastic bag in the fridge and enjoy it for breakfast toasted with loads of marmalade spread on top. This bread is so easy to make and I think it’s healthy-that’s what I tell myself, anyway. I will keep making this loaf for breakfast until something I like better comes along-when that might be I can’t really say…
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup Irish-style whole meal flour, King Arthur's Flour
- 1 cup Muesli, Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style
- 3 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- 1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a large bowl mix together the flours, Muesli, sugar, baking soda and salt.
- In a small bowl or large glass measuring cup measure out the buttermilk then add the yogurt and egg- stir together.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture, stir together until well combined.
- Turn out the dough and knead it a few times-form into a ball.
- Place the ball on the parchment lined baking sheet and using a sharp knife cut a cross on top from one end of the top to the other-crisscrossing the cuts.
- Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean or with a few small crumbs.
- Cool on a rack before slicing.