All posts tagged dessert

  • skillet cookie for two

    cast iron skillet cookie for two - chocolate chunks and peanut butter chips

    In the hours between lunch and dinner, I’ll sometimes get an itch for something sweet to eat. The only way to get rid of that itch, of course, is to scratch it. When I stumbled upon a recipe for a cast iron chocolate chip cookie from Portland Monthly, I saved it and tucked it away for a particularly itchy day. The original recipe calls for a 10 inch skillet, but it’s scaled down here for a 6.5 inch skillet. The result yields plenty cookie for two people. Maybe a little too much, but who’s complaining? When scaling down baking recipes I usually stop when I get to one egg, but a whole egg would be too much here and this recipe includes just one tablespoon of egg. Crack your egg, whisk it, measure out a tablespoon and save the rest for breakfast the next day. We’ve made this twice and it’s safe to say it will become a regular in our treat rotation when an afternoon pick-me-up is needed. Cory first made it with just chocolate chips, then I mixed things up with some chopped dark chocolate and peanut butter chips. Our little skillet was a gift from my mom and our go-to for frying eggs and toasting nuts, and now? Cookies. Thanks, mama!

    Skillet Cookie For Two
    Adapted from Portland Monthly

    1/3 cup and 1 tbsp flour
    1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 tablespoons white sugar
    1 tablespoon egg, whisked (about 1/3 egg)
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (I used a mix of chopped chocolate and peanut butter chips)
    pinch of flaky sea salt, for garnishing

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk flour and baking soda, set aside.

    In another bowl, cream together room temperature butter and sugar until well combined. Add egg, salt, vanilla and mix until combined. Add the contents of the flour bowl to the wet ingredients until just incporated. Fold in the chocolate chips (and/or peanut butter chips).

    Flatten the dough into a lightly oiled 6.5 inch cast iron skillet. Bake for 13 minutes, or until the center is just set and comes out clean with a toothpick. If you want a crispy brown top, broil the cookie for about a minute. Check on it after 30 seconds, and let it broil for another 30 seconds if it hasn’t browned yet. Remove from oven and sprinkle some flaky salt over the cookie. Let cool for a few minutes, cut, and serve. Additionally, you can transfer it to a plate, then cut and serve.

    Makes 1 6.5-inch cookie

  • carrot and polenta cake with marsala

    carrot cake with polenta and marsala

    “Let’s go for a walk”, Cory suggested and before I knew it, we were slipping on our shoes and heading out the door. We didn’t have a destination in mind, but our feet took us in the direction of Powell’s Bookstore, which is where we inevitably ended up. Powell’s is a large independent bookstore, taking up an entire city block and then some. It’s a labyrinth of a place and I hardly know where anything is, except for the cookbooks. They must have at least 3 aisles of cookbooks. It’s completely overwhelming and easy to lose an hour there, conjuring up future meals in my head. Despite how often I cook and how much I think about food, I only own a few cookbooks. After two cross country moves in less than 18 months, packing up box after books got old fast, so we ended up donating much of our book collection. Now that we’re in Portland and intend to stay here for at least a couple years, adding a couple cookbooks to the shelf here and there won’t be too painful when we pack up our stuff again, right? That’s what I tell myself, at least. A copy of Domenica Marchetti’s The Glorious Vegetables of Italy went home with me that night.

    I’ve been happily cooking my way through the book, making crostinis, baking polenta, roasting squash, pureeing soups, and most recently, baking a cake. This is definitely my kind of cake. No frosting, no fondant, no layers, and it doesn’t have to look pretty. While it may seem plain looking at first glance, this cake has a lot going on. The polenta gives the cake a nice coarse texture, it’s accented with a bit of citrus and hints of nutmeg, and your favorite olive oil really gets the chance to shine through here. After just a few minutes in the oven, our little apartment was filled with the scents of orange and marsala. It felt a little like Thanksgiving or Christmas, the days we always have a pot of mulled wine simmering on the stove. It’s the kind of cake I can’t wait to make for just about everyone I know. I have plans to bake it for a get together next week and I’m wondering how it might hold up in the mail with all the other Christmas treats I plan on sending to family. The cake is perfect for dessert, and hey, you could probably get away with having it for breakfast too.

    carrot cake with polenta and marsala 2

    Carrot Polenta Cake with Marsala
    (adapted from The Glorious Vegetables of Italy)
    I made a few minor tweaks to the cake based on what I had on hand. The original recipe calls for the zest of an orange and lemon, but I just used the zests from two oranges since I was out of lemons. I also used a 9″ springform pan, instead of an 8″ x 8″ cake pan. The cake was ready after 32 minutes for me, instead of 35.

    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup dry marsala wine
    zest of 2 oranges
    1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
    1/2 cup polenta
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    dash of freshly grated nutmeg
    2 cups shredded carrots (about 3 large carrots)
    powdered sugar, for dusting

    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush an 8″ x 8″ cake pan with olive oil. Shred the carrots.

    In a large mixing bowl, mix together olive oil, sugar, eggs, marsala, and orange zest until blended.

    In another bowl, whisk together flour, polenta, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid the clumps. Stir in the carrots until thoroughly mixed in. Transfer the batter into an oil-lined cake pan.

    Bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick runs clean. Depending on your oven, it may help to check the cake a few minutes early. Once the cake is done, transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and set on the rack until warm or room temperature. Dust the cake with powdered sugar, and serve.

    Serves 8-10

  • huckleberry buckle

    huckleberry buckle

    When we moved to Oregon, I was hoping we’d be able to catch more of berry season black raspberries, marionberries, boysenberries, huckleberries, and other mystery berries I’ve never had before, but we missed it. Well, for the most part. I did manage to snag a bag of huckleberries at my first trip to the PSU Farmers Market. After sneaking a few, I deemed them too precious to eat and decided to do something special with them. AllRecipes to the rescue! I found a recipe for a huckleberry buckle, a moist cake with a crunchy streusel topping that’s bursting with huckleberry sweetness and tartness. I decided to have a go at it, despite the 90+ degree weather. I hated life the whole time the oven was on, but once I had that first bite with vanilla ice cream, all was well again.

    So, what the heck is a buckle? According to the HuffPo article, a buckle is a cake where fruit is layered above the batter, which causes the cake to rise around the fruit, the fruit to sink to the bottom, and the whole thing just ends up buckling inwards. Mayyyybe this isn’t a buckle, it’s probably a crisp. But huckleberry buckle (or hucklebuckle, as I’ve been calling it) is a lot of more fun to say than huckleberry crisp, so huckleberry buckle it is.

    Note: the recipe calls for a 8″ x 8″ pan. My 8″ x 8″ pan was a casualty of the Second (yes, second!) Pyrex Explosion of 2014, so I used a 10.5″ pie pan and the cake was ready after about 22 minutes of baking. Huckleberries are similar to blueberries, so if you don’t have huckleberries in your area, feel free to substitute blueberries for this recipe.

    huckleberry buckle

    Huckleberry Buckle
    (adapted from AllRecipes)

    For the cake:
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/4 butter, softened
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup milk
    2 cups huckleberries or blueberries

    For the streusel:
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 cup butter, softened

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease your baking pan.

    In a bowl, cream together sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg. In a larger bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix in milk, the sugar/egg/butter mixture and combine thoroughly. Stir in the huckleberries (or blueberries). Pour mixture into the baking pan.

    Make the streusel by combining sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter in a bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the cake batter and bake for 25-30 minutes.

    Check with a toothpick to see if the cake is ready. Once ready, let it cool for a bit before serving. Serve with ice cream.

    Serves 10-12

  • date balls & detroit eastern market

    I get cranky when I’m hungry. In an embarrassing “I’m a grown woman and I know I shouldn’t be acting like this” kind of way. I’m not proud of it and I try to prevent it. When friends invited us to Eastern Market in Detroit this weekend, I jumped on board and immediately shouted “YES, OF COURSE!” but I knew to pack a snack in case we had a late lunch (and we did! 3 PM, but it was soo worth it). I wanted to make a snack that was small, easy to transport, and that could be shared with my gluten intolerant friend.

    Date balls! They’re a simple no fuss sort of snack. No freezing, no baking, no complicated instructions. Just blend, roll into balls, and eat. Since they’re made with just nuts and dates, it’s not like you’re spoiling you’re next meal, right?

    With 4 date balls carefully stored away in my purse, off to Detroit we went!

    eastern market - 01

    Eastern Market is the largest historic public market in the country. Something I didn’t know before visiting, and once I got there I was completely overwhelmed. I anticipated doing all of our weekly produce shopping there, but I was so overwhelmed I ended up forgetting lots of staples. Oops. I also got distracted by all the beautiful dogs.

    eastern market - 03

    Look at that giant dog!

    eastern market - 02

    Lots of pretty flowers, too. But they’re not as good as dogs. Adopting a dog just isn’t something that’s going to happen for a very long time, so I tend to go a little overboard when I see any dog.


    Today’s lunch, made with lots of fresh bounty from Eastern Market. Pasta with pesto, cucumbers, and bell peppers. Toast with mayonnaise and pesto, chopped up radishes, scallions, pickled carrots, and tossed in pesto. Sauteed dandelion greens.

    Oh, right. Date balls! This is a very forgiving and customizable recipe.

    before after medjool date balls

    Have an assortment of different types of nuts in the pantry? Just throw a hodgepodge of them in the food processor. You don’t need 2 cups of a certain type of nut, just use what you have. Don’t have 2 cups of nuts? Use as much as you have and replace the rest with oats. Don’t have ground cardamom? Try cinnamon. Feel free to experiment with coconut flakes, vanilla extract, or unsweetened cocoa. Don’t have dates? Well, go get some! They’re date balls, after all. Let the dates act as a base for any ingredient in your pantry that you think sounds good for date balls.

    medjool date balls

    Date Balls

    2 cups nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, whatever you have on hand. For this batch, I used 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup pistachios)
    2 cups medjool dates, pitted
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

    Add ingredients to food processor and blend for about a minute and test for stickiness. If the mixture sticks together when you pinch it, it’s ready. If not, blend for another 30 seconds. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time, forming it into balls. Repeat until mixture is gone. Can be eaten right away or refrigerated.

    Makes about 20 date balls

  • vanilla fig popsicles

    I’ve missed figs. Summer came and went with no trace of them and I thought the same would happen this year. Recently, when stocking up on frozen fruit at Trader Joe’s I discovered…

    whole green figs from trader joes

    Figs! Precious figs! Frozen, but FIGS! The mission figs we’d buy in San Francisco would often be so ripe that one of us would have to carry them by hand on the way home, lest they’d burst open within a bag. They would have to be eaten in just a couple days, though that never seemed to be a problem for us.

    During a recent mini-heat wave, I’d pop a couple of these in my mouth to temporarily stay cool, but I ultimately wanted to incorporate them into a frozen treat. Popsicles, of course! They were a staple of our diet last summer and I suspect things won’t change much this year. However, by the time I got around to making some popsicles out of these guys, it was cold again. Oh well. Practice for summer, right?

    fig vanilla popsicles

    The amount needed for the popsicles depends on the size of your molds. I use these molds from Tovolo and they are fine and dandy. The popsicles are plenty sweet from the figs and the addition of yogurt lends a nice tanginess. Before adding the mixture to your molds, I recommend giving them a taste test. If it’s not sweet enough for you, drop in a tablespoon of honey and give your blender a good pulse.

    Vanilla Fig Popsicles

    1 bag of Trader Joe’s whole green figs, minus 4 (I ate those four!)
    1 1/4 cups milk of your choice (I used full fat cow’s milk)
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon honey (optional)

    Add figs, milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract to a blender and blend until smooth. Give the mixture a taste test. If not sweet enough for you, add a tablespoon of honey and blend again for a few seconds. Transfer the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for at least five hours. Once frozen, run the popsicles under warm water for about 30 seconds and gently remove the molds. Serve and enjoy!

    Makes 6 popsicles