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Monday, May 16, 2022

High Altitude Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

My local grocery store has had a long run of cheap flats of berries this spring (see Recently I bought raspberries, thinking my boys would help me eat them, but instead I had to come up with ways to use them because I couldn't eat a whole flat by myself before mold began growing. This recipe was so delicious that they disappeared within a day and I had to make a second batch. A double batch of the chocolate raspberry oatmeal here was devoured within days as well! 

This recipe comes from Dough Eyed, a baker in Colorado, and will work at elevations for 4,000-6,000 feet. I can't vouch for what will happen at sea level. 


High Altitude Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Yields 12 or a few more muffins, depending on how full you fill the tins

2 c flour
1 teas baking powder
1/2 teas salt
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c unsalted butter, melted
2 T vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/4 c sour cream
1 1/2 teas vanilla
1/2 c buttermilk
1 c mini chocolate chips
1 pint fresh raspberries, washed and dried gently

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Whisk together the melted butter, oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and fold together gently, until there are a couple of flour pockets remaining. Stir in the chocolate chips and raspberries until just barely combined. Cover, then let the batter rest for 20 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 375F and prepare the muffin tin by lining with paper liners. (I didn't, and wish I had. the berries stuck to the pan, even though it was greased generously.) After resting, fill the tin generously with muffin batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. If you can stand it, let the muffins cool a bit, then enjoy! 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Chocolate Chip Coffee Scones

I discovered this recipe in a Cuisinart food processor manual which is ironic since cook's aren't instructed to use a food processor at all. Instead bakers are told to cut the butter in small pieces and use a stand mixer to mix it into the flour. When Betsy and I first baked these while at an Airbnb in Tennessee we had neither a food processor or a mixer so grating the cold butter was our only option. I find I prefer this method of incorporating butter into the flour so I'm modifying the instructions. 


Chocolate Chip Coffee Scones

Adapted from Cuisinart Instructional Manual
Yields 8 scones

Ingredients for sea level follow. I found the recipe worked at my altitude (5000 feet). 

2 c AP flour
1/2 c sugar
1 teas baking powder
1/4 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
2 T  fine finely ground coffee, optional
1/2-1 c chocolate chips (I used dark chips, but you can use semi-sweet or milk)
1 c roasted chopped pecans 
8 T unsalted butter, cold (frozen or straight from the fridge) grated on a cheese grater
1/2 c sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 large egg
1 T vanilla extract
1 egg white 

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, chocolate chips and pecans in a bowl. 

Stir in the grated butter and lightly mix it into the dry ingredients.

In a liquid measuring cup mix the sour cream, 1 egg and vanilla together. Stir this into the flour mixture with a fork, stirring until a ball forms.

Drop the dough onto a floured counter and form into a 3/4 inch thick 7-8 inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges and place on prepared baking sheet.

Whisk the egg white until loosened and brush some on the top of each scone. Then sprinkle with sugar or turbinado sugar. 

Place into the oven and bake 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Place on a rack and allow to cool. You can eat them after a 5 minute cool-down or allow to completely cool and drizzle ganache over the tops. You may simply melt chocolate chips for a thick smear of chocolate but if you want something thinner, heat 2-3 tablespoons of half and half cream in a microwave and stir in an equal amount of chocolate chips. Allow them to sit in the hot cream until they melt. Drizzle over the top of each scone.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Beet and Carrot Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

 A truly beautiful salad. 


Beet and Carrot Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Serves: 6-8

This salad stores well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, I added the herbs, pistachios, and feta just before serving. 

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T maple syrup
1 teas table salt (or to taste)
1/2 teas freshly ground pepper
1 teas grated orange zest plus 2 T juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teas ground coriander
8 oz raw beets, trimmed and peeled
1 pd carrots, peeled
4 oz  (1 c) goat cheese, crumbled or feta, divided
1/2 c salted, shelled pistachios, chopped, divided (I used roasted, unsalted pistachios)
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 c fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

Place the olive oil, shallot, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, pepper, orange zest and orange juice, garlic, and ground coriander in a small jar and shake vigorously to emulsify. Set aside and shake again before adding to salad.

Shred the beets and carrots. This is easiest if you use a food processor but can be accomplished with a box grater. Place beets and carrots in a bowl and mix until combined. Pour over the amount of dressing you prefer. The original recipe uses the entire amount. I used about 3/4 of what I had and saved the rest for a green salad later. Mix well and allow to sit for 30 minutes. 

Top with the cheese, pistachios, cilantro, and mint, either over the entire salad over individual servings, especially if you are planning to refrigerate leftovers. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

What is it about ricotta that makes everything taste magical? I generally don't like pancakes but these are light, bright, and tender. Also, it's spring and my grocery store has had cheap flats of strawberries. I pureed some and added a bit of sugar for a thick fruit syrup, which was a perfect complement to the lemon. I think these will be my Easter breakfast tomorrow. 


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Source: New York Times Cooking

The amounts are doubled from the original, because I'm cooking for a crowd every day.

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 teas baking powder
1 1/2 teas fine salt
1/2 c sugar
2 lemons
3 teas vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c ricotta (whole-milk is preferable)
1/2 c buttermilk
2 T unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking and serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Place the sugar in a large bowl. Use a microplane to grate the lemon zest right into the sugar. Gently rub the zest and sugar together using your fingers. Using your fingers, gently rub the zest into the sugar. Then add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and whisk until foamy. Add the ricotta, buttermilk, and butter, then whisk until blended. Mix in the dry ingredients and stir lightly until the flour is incorporated. 

Melt some butter in a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Cook pancake batter until the tops are bubbling, then flip to finish the other side. I had some trouble with the pancakes being undercooked in the middle, but I used more batter than the recommended 1/4 c so make sure you cook bigger pancakes longer. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Cast-Iron Skillet Brownies

Made with melted whole marshmallows and baked in a skillet, these brownies have a chewy edge and a fudgy point. When baked in a muffin tin, there's lots of chewiness for those on a chewy brownie quest.


Cast-Iron Skillet Brownies

Yield depends on how wide you cut the wedges. I cut 14. Baking in muffin tins yielded 21.

Adjustments for altitudes of 4,000-6,000 ft:

Subtract 2 1/2 T sugar
Add 2 T flour

2 oz. marshamllows (about 8 large marshmallows)
1/2 c plus 2 T warm tap water
4 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 3/4 c AP flour
1 teas table salt
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (You may substitute bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips but they won't melt as much inside the brownie.)

Place your oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350F. Use butter or baking spray to grease a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.

In a large bowl, combine marshmallows, warm tap water, butter, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa. Place in the microwave and  run at 50 percent power until chocolate is smooth and fully melted. Stop microwave and stir occasionally. Let sit on counter and cool for 5 minutes.

Mix in sugar, oil, eggs and yolks, and vanilla with a whisk until completely combined. Gently stir in the flour and salt until just incorporated. Stir in the bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips.

Use a rubber spatula to place the batter into the prepared skillet. Smooth the top and place into the oven and bake for 33-38 minutes until a toothpick test into the center of the brownie comes out with just a few moist crumbs and a little batter. Try not to overbake since the skillet will be so hot after removal that the brownie will continue to cook. Rotate the skillet approximately halfway through baking. Place the skillet on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. You may want to place a kitchen towel or a hot pad over the handle so someone doesn't accidently grab it while the skillet is still hot.

Let cool for 30 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream while the brownies are still warm. Or allow to cool completely for more precise wedges. These brownies are very tasty on their own.

If you prefer round brownies (and I do) grease the cups of two muffin tins and fill the cups about 2/3c full. These will cook faster, so start checking at about 25 minutes and remove when the toothpick test shows just a few crumbs. 

I found the brownies seemed to soften up during storage. Freezing and using them as needed helps with this, if you see it as a problem. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Kale, Clementine and Hazelnut Salad

Technically a quick and easy winter salad, this recipe will work year round using any citrus that's available.


Kale, Clementine, and Hazelnut Salad

Source: The Washington Post who adapted it from The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook
Serves 6


1 pound curly kale, stemmed, washed and dried (you may sub other types of kale)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1T fresh lemon juice
1 teas kosher salt
4 clementines or mandarins, peeled and segmented
1 c hazelnuts (walnuts would work, too)


3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T honey, can be reduced (orange blossom honey is recommended but any will be fine)

Tear the kale leaves into bite-size pieces and drop into a large bowl. Add the oil, lemon juice and salt and massage, gently, into the kale for a couple of minutes. It will look like you've got half as much as you started with. Add the fruit and the nuts and toss.

Mix the dressing with a whisk or shake in a small mason jar until emulsified. Drizzle the dressing over all and toss to coat completely. I had a bit of dressing left over because I prefer a lighter coating.


If you can't find clementines or mandarins, use oranges cut into chunks.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Chocolate Revel Bars

Chocolate, oatmeal, and almonds make a yummy bar cookie. 


Chocolate Revel Bars

Makes a 9X13 pan

3 c old-fashioned rolled oats 
2 c AP flour
1 1/2 c packed brown sugar, light or dark
1 c raw unsalted almonds, chopped
1 teas baking soda
16 T unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 T unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teas vanilla
2 c (12 oz.) bittersweet chocolate chips
1 c sweetened condensed milk

Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9X13 pan with aluminum foil using enough foil that you can use it as handles when you remove the bars from the pan. Grease the foil once it is in place.

In a large bowl, place the oats, flour, sugar, almonds, baking soda, and 1 teas of salt. Stir to combine. In a second bowl, or a large glass measuring cup, mix the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla together. Pour the butter mixture into the flour/oatmeal mixture and stir until a dough forms. I found it easiest to use my hands to complete this step. Remove 1 1/2 cups of this dough for the topping and set aside in the bowl or measuring cup you used to melt the butter. Drop the remaining dough into the prepared pan and press to cover the bottom evenly. 

Place the chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1/2 teas salt, and remaining 2 T butter into a glass bowl and microwave at 50 % power until the chocolate chips are melted. Stir occasionally to ensure the mixture is fully combined. It took about 2 and a half minutes in my microwave. The chocolate will continue melting as you stir, so take it out of the microwave before all the chips melt away. This will look like fudge or thick chocolate frosting.

Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the oatmeal crust. Using your hand, crumble the reserved oatmeal dough over the chocolate layer. Place in the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool until the bars are set, about 6 hours. Use the foil overhangs to carefully lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into bars  the size you prefer and serve.