It is September (oy!) and I have already pumped out a few pumpkin desserts. It doesn’t seem right. A pumpkin freakazoid, I am not. I am not one of those chicks just waiting for Starbucks to roll out their limited edition Pumpkin Spice latte (it is like Disney releasing Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King out of ‘the Disney vault’ every year around Christmas, real limited there Walt) – it is pumpkin flavored syrup, and I am a bit leery of flavored syrups, plus I prefer my coffee black. But I am one of those chicks waiting for pumpkin doughnuts (or donuts, I am never quite sure how to spell something so delicious) at Dunkin’. Because, seriously, they may not have an ounce of real pumpkin in them, however they are freaking amazeballs. Especially if you are eating them along with a hot cup of joe.
That past paragraph just proves I prefer to eat my calories versus drinking them…
But does flipping the calendar from August to September truly mean it is pumpkin season? Perhaps, in some corners of this world it does, or corners of our brains. Brains that are a tad bit fried from summer. Brains that have been deprived of cinnamon and sugar and bodies craving sweatshirts and chunky sweaters. However, I never crave pumpkin until about November.
Which means…It is still summer fruit season in this house – and I just got peaches in my CSA this week and it isn’t officially fall (and therefore time to break out all things pumpkin) until next week sometime. So, peaches it is. But don’t count these out as a summer only dessert…the browned butter adds a hint of fall, but doesn’t shout it from the roof tops. It is like the smell of the crisp morning air this week that made it feel almost like fall, but then you have the warm (seriously, downright hot) sunshine of the afternoon that makes you dream of sweet juicy peaches.
Oh, September, how you mess with my brain …
Who cares if you have fully swung into fall or grasping to the last rays of warm summer sunshine…find peaches, brown butter, and bake these bars…They are all sorts of loveliness.
Brown Butter Peach Raspberry Bars
Makes a 9x13in pan (12-16 bars)
- 1 cup White sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup Raspberry Jam
Brown your butter: Over medium heat, place butter into a small/medium saucepan. Melt. Once melted, the butter will foam and then it will turn clear/golden, and finally begin to brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep a close eye on the pan, it will go from browned to burnt in a blink of an eye. Once brown, remove from heat and place in a small bowl. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan (or line it with parchment paper). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry blender or a mixer with paddle attachment, cut chilled browned butter and egg into mixture. It will be crumbly, but will come together when pressed between thumb and pointer finger.
Press 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared 9x13inch pan. Evenly spread raspberry jam over crust, leaving about a 1/2 inch border without jam. In a single layer, tile peach slices over raspberry jam.
Scatter remaining crumbs over top of the peaches. Place bars in preheated oven and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the jam is bubbly around the edges and the crumb becomes golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.
Yo! I have a cake for you today.
And if you bake this cake…you will have cake tomorrow.
It goes along the lines of the proverb … give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish…
Proverbs don’t just pop into everyone’s brains randomly?
It happens to me all day long…well, not proverbs, but thoughts that have no purpose for being there.
Such as, when you walk down a wide hallway (i.e a hospital hallway) and you pass someone going the opposite way, you both keep to the right, same is said for bike paths, and sidewalks. We go to the right. So, in England and other parts of Great Britain (all of Great Britain drives on the wrong side…err the left side of the road, no? I need to wikipedia this…), do they then keep to the left? I don’t remember encountering this situation when I was there years ago…but I was in a large group and we just took up the whole damn sidewalk. Suppose I go back … I need to figure this out…don’t want to look like a silly American or get run-over on a bike path.
And I wonder this in all seriousness.
Also, we are getting purple scrubs for the pharmacy department. They are considered lilac in color. Or Barney-esque. I am super pumped to wear scrubs when I roll out of bed 20 minutes late (or later…let’s be honest) and every pair of dress pants I own are scattered about the floor and wrinkled and the rest of my clothes are in the laundry room half in/half out of the dryer…and did I mention that I still need to jump in the shower? And they call me a grown adult! Ha! These mornings I will gladly darn my purple scrubs. However, this week I thought it great if the whole department could wear the purple scrubs, take a group photo, and title it ‘What a Grape Bunch’. Even right now, this makes me giggle uncontrollably. Do you get the pun?? Hilarious. Picture the fruit of the loom grape dude (minus the horse).
Seriously. Puns. Funny.
No one found it as funny as I.
And if they did laugh, they were probably just laughing at the mere sight of me doubled over in laughter.
The picture has to happen.
Randomness just pops in. And has a habit of staying awhile.
But this cake…not so random. This was 100% premeditated cake baking. My CSA two weeks ago provided me with fresh yogurt, peaches, and blueberries. The yogurt, while I am sure would have been excellent eaten alone, in a parfait, blended into a smoothie, etc…but when I get fresh yogurt I prefer to bake with it. Nothing adds moisture like yogurt. If a cake calls for sour-cream or buttermilk (anything with a bit of an acidic bite) – I substitute with yogurt, if available.
And the peaches and blueberries…well I refrained from just eating them, straight up. It was tough. I LOVE BLUEBERRIES. And there is nothing better than eating a peach while perched over the kitchen sink while juice runs down your chin and forearm, eventually finding its way to the tip of your elbow. That my friends, is summer.
The yogurt cake I have for you today is amazingly simple…and quick. I almost guarantee that you have all the ingredients. And the pan…well, I recommend using a springform pan because it does rise, but I think a regular round cake pan (with high sides) would do the trick. I think. But don’t shout if things go a-rye…I confessed that I truly had no clue. So if you are worried and are cursing me that you don’t have a springform pan, I am sure your neighbor does…or perhaps your sister or that weird aunt across town. Just ask. It is totally worth it.
And the compote. Seriously easy. Seriously delicious. And the leftovers (if you are lucky enough to have them) can totally be eaten by the spoonful or swirled into your morning oatmeal, morning parfait, or atop your waffles and pancakes. Oh! and don’t forget about ice cream or perhaps lemon sorbet…holy smokes. DO THIS. NOW! It is a total summer must.
Also another summer must…blowing a bicycle tire and walking the remaining 3-ish miles home…Total summer must. I think I am about to learn how to fix a bicycle tire…
- 1+1/2 Cups Full Fat Yogurt
- ⅔ Cup Olive Oil – use best quality you can get your hands on
- 1 +1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 2+1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2+1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- Peach and Blueberry Compote
- 2 Peaches, peeled and diced (large)
- 1 Cups Blueberries
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch (so there is no clumping)
- ¼ Cup Water
- Juice of ½ Lemon
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper ( or grease with butter).
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt – set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth and no bumps remain.
- Pour cake batter into prepared springform pan and place in preheated oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Place tinfoil over cake towards the end of the baking time if the top begins to brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan.
- While cake is cooling, prepare compote.
- In a medium sized saucepan, combine all ingredients for compote and set over medium heat. Bring contents to a boil and then reduce heat and let cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until mixture thickens. Stir occasionally.
- Remove from heat and let cool before spooning over cake.
- Store in refrigerator in a sealed container and use as you like. Can be reheated in microwave (about 30 seconds, stir).
Cake recipe is slightly adapted from The Kitchn
Note: This cake would be great with any kind of citrus zest. Lemon, lime, or orange zest, grated and rubbed into the sugar and then go on with baking as you would have otherwise. Oh! and no peaches? Try some plums. Or straight up berries. I’m not sure you could screw this up.
I don’t like banana things. I like bananas…I take that back, I love actual, real life, peel and eat, yellow … and let’s be clear on the yellow…darkish yellow, not the new yellow that leads one to believe it was green just moments ago… they must be, ya know, perfectly ripe bananas. I just detest banana things. What does banana things include? I am so very glad you asked…you didn’t? Oh! Well…too bad.
Banana chips or dried bananas – ya know, those thin slices of hardened fruit (errr dried) that are found primarily in trail mixes that inevitably result in the almonds, walnuts, cranberries, raisins, M&M’s (or chocolate buttons if you aren’t careful), and heaven knows what else they have thought to cram into trail mixes these days, taste like bananas. Gross. Gawdawful.
Banana flavored Runts (or any banana ‘flavored’ candy). Who eats this stuff? It doesn’t even remotely taste like a banana. Have the creators of the infamous banana ‘flavor’ actually consumed a banana in their life? I think not. Banana flavored Laffy Taffy – NO! 1) It doesn’t taste like bananas and 2) Laffy Taffy never fails to numb my lips, resulting in me drooling on myself. Fact.
Banana Splits. Bananas DO NOT belong in my ice cream. Brownies, cookies, nuts, cherries, strawberries…yes, go right ahead – join the ice cream party…but bananas, please stay at home, you are not welcome. And speaking of ice cream, banana flavored popsicles…who enjoys these so-called treats? Probably you…and I have now offended you, but I can’t be sorry because it is disgusting.
And have you seen on Pinterest these two ingredient banana cookies and banana frozen ‘yogurt’ or would it be ice cream? First, these are labeled as ‘healthy’…well, yes, bananas are healthy, or healthier than say a bag of potato chips or Oreos, however – they are chock full of sugar and eating a tray of banana cookies – which is inevitably what will happen when something is labeled healthy and is also a cookie…you will undoubtedly eat a dozen of them and still crave the damn chocolate chip cookie that you were trying to avoid in the first place, which would have been a wiser choice (because you would have only eaten 1, ha!) plus, it wouldn’t have tasted like a banana. Which leads me to the second point…why would you want a banana flavored cookie…just eat a banana or a cookie. No need to mash the two together. ACK!
Banana bread/muffins/cakes/pancakes/waffles….No where near my cup of tea (or coffee – we are talking about me here…). Banana nut muffins are my morning nemesis. Mark this down…it is THE ONE sweet good that I will turn down given the chance ( not counting the banana cookies mentioned above)…. How come when heat is applied to a banana, all of its heavenly goodness is removed? Banana foster – no, just give me the pound cake and butter/sugar/caramel goodness and perhaps swap the bananas for peaches or apples. Or plums. Why bananas? Peach foster, please.
There are slight exceptions to the rule…a plain old banana can be fancied up with a dollop of peanut butter or sliced and covered in chocolate hard shell sauce and frozen. And I think the chocolate bit needs emphasized…the bananas must be sliced and never placed whole on a stick, frozen, and dipped in chocolate, and then eaten in public. No one, and I mean NO ONE can pull off eating a chocolate covered banana on a stick in public. NO ONE! Maybe my head is in the gutter…it normally is…but come on!
Get the point? I greatly dislike bananas unless it is just a banana…so why do I continue to bake banana bread? Because I am bonkers and think that if I stuff more things into banana bread that I will actually enjoy it (next up, peanut butter banana bread?!?)…and honestly, this chocolate banana bread came pretty damn close and so did this chocolate banana zucchini bread…I think the common link here is the chocolate.
This go around, I stuffed cherries, chocolate (that was sea salted), and walnuts along side the bananas…Think Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, but with the addition of banana and well, bread. I don’t know. But I do know my older brother would have eaten the whole loaf given the chance, since cherry cordial ice cream is his favorite and he actually likes bananas in his ice cream or he likes bananas in his bread. What?!? All I know, he eats what I bake and well he didn’t get any….but he would have liked it. Those that were lucky enough to have this stuffed into their bags as they were leaving my house ( you don’t leave without a doggy bag made from my freezer) texted me as they arrived home, that the this bread was delicious and the chocolate made it nice and rich.
I’ll have to take their word for it.
- 1+1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Cup Quick Cooking Oats
- ¾ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¾ Teaspoon Salt
- ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- 2 Eggs
- ⅓ Cup 2% Greek Yogurt
- ½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted and cooled
- 1 Cup Mashed Bananas (about 3 overly ripe bananas)
- ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1 Cup Pitted Cherries
- ½ Cup Toasted Walnuts (or pecans), roughly chopped
- 4 ounce dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped (or about ½ cup chocolate chips)
- Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside. (i also use parchment paper and let a little bit hang over the edges for easy removal)
- In a small bowl, toss together cherries and almond extract. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, mix together melted butter and bananas. Blend in eggs and yogurt. Mix until everything is well combined.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Fold in cherries (with any juice in bowl), toasted walnuts, and chocolate to batter.
- Pour batter (it’ll be thick, so I use the term ‘pour’, lightly) into prepared loaf pan and place in preheated oven and bake until toothpick, when inserted near the middle comes out nearly clean with a few crumbs attached – about 50-60 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool on rack for about 20 minutes before inverting on wire rack and letting cool completely.
My hands are tan. The tops at least…the palms are pinkish/orange (my carrot intake might be a touch out of control…again). They don’t look like my hands. Honestly, I think they look dirty…I am just so darn used to them being pale. My mind is weird. I can see the million tiny crevices and lines much easier now and they don’t seem sooo veiny right now. The skin on my knuckles are more reddish than tan…perhaps brick red? My scar on my left hand near my thumb, right at the wrist…the exact spot where your hand would hit the top oven coil if you were pulling a tray of cookies from the oven…that scar is almost invisible – blending nicely with the tan. And by most accounts…I am still pretty pale.
My hair is lightening up…nothing like it was when I was a little tike (see below)…but definetly blonder…especially the baby fine hair around my temples. I love the effect that warm sunshine has on my hair. P.S … I was not a photogenic child. There are a few hundred photos of me, in my parents hutch, of me …with that same exact face…
Freckles across my nose and cheeks have popped and are in full bloom. They make me look younger than I am. No matter the amount of sunblock will stop the freckles from sprouting….Freckles have had a permanent residence on my face from spring to fall since I was a child. I welcome them with open arms…I enjoy seeing them when I glance in the mirror, always a bit of a surprise that first week or so of spring. I wonder if there will be a summer where they won’t show up…most adults don’t have freckles. Or maybe they are just wearing makeup, hiding the little guys.
Iced coffee is becoming my morning ritual. It has thrown the barista at the hospital’s coffee cart for a loop. Nate now asks if I want it hot or cold…he is a quick learner. For some reason, iced coffee needs a touch of cream. Why? Hot coffee is taken black. Iced…I need cream. It is something I don’t understand. But Nate knows to give me the room for cream when I drink it iced. He is this good with the entire hospital staff and our insane coffee addiction.
Popsicles have found their way into my fridge. I bought a mixed box (strawberry, lime, and wild berry) and a coconut/banana box yesterday. I devoured a lime one on the short car ride home. I couldn’t wait. It is a childhood habit. Remember those Good Humor Strawberry Crunch bars…those were our favorite. I have switched to all-natural, real fruit, popsicles…but the feeling of summer in the air is the same. I am thinking of sticking one in my gin and tonic tonight.
I guess what I am saying is that summer has entered into my little world and is letting istelf be known. Hi. Welcome. I’ve been expecting you. Stay awhile. Warm my skin, lighten my hair, and brighten my days.
I have been craving lime for weeks now. The almost nightly gin and tonics with a squeeze of lime have been hitting the spot as of late, but I want more. I want to put it in everything I cook and bake. A squeeze here, some zest there…So, when I saw that Joy had whipped up a lime and berry bundt cake…I knew it would be recreated in my kitchen, sooner or later…or sooner rather than later. I swapped mixed berries for strawberries and added a lime glaze to make it really limey…and ladled roasted strawberries over each individual slice – a total must! Roasted strawberries in general are a total must, but that is for another blog post…
Not a lime fan? Swap it for lemon. Only have raspberries? Ok. No bigs. Make it your own and enjoy it in the late evening with perhaps another gin and tonic. Eat it as the sun is setting and the shadows are getting longer and the air begins to cool. Enjoy it as you relax on your patio and smile as you hear the squeals and laughter of the kids next door as they play late into the evening. Eat it as you sit and listen to baseball on the radio like your grandparents did… Eat it as you welcome summer…
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 cups Fresh Strawberries, hulled and cut in half
- 8 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
- 3 to 3½ Cups Powdered Sugar
- Zest of 1 Lime
- Pinch of Salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a bundt cake pan. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and lime zest and with back of a spoon or fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar. Voila..you have lime sugar!
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together lime sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together eggs, butter, buttermilk, and lime juice.
- Pour wet ingredients over drying ingredients. Stir until all dry ingredients are combined and moistened. The batter will be thick. Fold in strawberries to evenly distribute.
- Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and place in preheated oven and bake for about 45-55 minutes until a toothpick when inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes before inverting cake onto wire rack – let cool completely before icing.
- Once cool, prepare icing. In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, powdered sugar, lime zest, and salt. Whisk until smooth. The icing will be thin. Pour icing over cake and serve immediately. Note: I refrigerated the icing, making the icing thicker without adding more powdered sugar.
Adapted from Joy the Baker
30 years. 3 decades. 1,565.32 weeks. Even more days, hours, minutes, and seconds. 30 years of heart beats and breaths. 30 years where smiles have outnumbered frowns. Laughter has been abundant. Tears have been rare. Cities have been explored and oceans have been swam. Miles have been walked, ran, and flown. Friendships forged and loves lost. There have been high hopes and big dreams alongside stinging disappointments and slight blunders.
While the past 30 years (especially the previous 5+) have seemingly flown by with little resistance (and I am sure the next 30 will do the same)…I am honestly and wholeheartedly looking forward to this upcoming decade. I would be lying if there haven’t been moments in the past year where I have slightly freaked out about turning 30…they weren’t moments of comparison between my position in life and that of others. We all lead different lives at varying paces. However, do you ever feel like you are just tumbling along like a rogue sock in this big dryer called life? Yeah…moments of feeling lost in the shuffle have made me apprehensive about turning 30. I guess I always assumed 30 year olds didn’t tumble. 30 year olds knew what they wanted. They walked confidently. How naive my younger self was. While I don’t feel like I am tumbling about, but have gracefully graduated to gentle stumbling…I think learning how to confidently walk is what awaits me/us in our 30’s. And you are silly if you can’t find the joy in that.
Birthdays have a tendency to be celebrated with layered cakes and multiple scoops of chocolate ice cream and rivers of hot fudge and mountains of whipped cream and showers of sprinkles. However, after I recently had a rather heated (ha!) text message conversation with a friend over the best cake flavor (chocolate versus spice), we both realized that cake was our 4th favorite dessert. Who argues over their 4th favorite dessert? Pies, cookies, and brownies are favored over cake…all day, every day. So, on this 30th birthday of mine…there will be no cake, but a dessert I have made no less than 5 times in the past 3 weeks. A favorite of mine? Perhaps.
The simplicity that is a crisp is why I favor this dessert in the spring/summer. A few cups of fruit that is hanging about the house, tossed with some sugar, a thickener, and perhaps a squeeze of a lemon or lime…topped with a quick crumble and in no time you have a dessert that will please everyone and anyone. Young and old. Friends, coworkers, and family.
Plus, when you have a friend who supplies you with bundles of rhubarb because it grows in abundance behind her house ( I give thanks to whoever owned the house prior to her … we would have been fast friends as well) and when the strawberries are sweet and delicious … my mind can think of nothing else besides strawberry and rhubarb. Rhubarb and strawberry. It is the only thing I have been pumping out of my kitchen.
So, while I enjoy a bowl of warm strawberry rhubarb crisp and say adieu to my roaring twenties…I am giddy and anxiously awaiting what my 30’s will have in store for little old(er) me. Cheers!
- Crumb Topping
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
- ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- pinch of salt
- 2 lbs Strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- 2 Cups Rhubarb, ½ inch dice.
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar (less if you like it tart)
- 3-4 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime (if you don’t have citrus, just omit – it’ll still be awesome, trust me)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Prepare topping first: In a medium bowl, combine all crumb topping ingredients and mix until well combined. Place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Prepare filling.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, corn starch, and lemon/lime juice. Carefully toss to combine.
- Pour filling into 9 inch deep dish pie plate (or an oven safe dish that will hold this amount of filling – casserole dishes work well).
- Carefully spread chilled crumb topping over fillling.
- Placed in preheated oven (place a baking sheet/tinfoil below baking dish to catch any drippings) and bake for about 45-50 minutes until the top becomes golden brown and the juice around the edges are bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
- Store at room temperature loosely covered.