Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake

The name ‘pound cake‘ comes from the fact that the original pound cake contained one pound each butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Originally, no leaveners were used in the cake except for the air whipped into the batter. It was only in the 1900’s that artificial leaveners like baking soda and baking powder were added to reduce the density of the cake. Other variations include the addition of flavoring extracts like vanilla and almond or dried fruits such as cranberries or currants. At times, some or all of the butter was substituted by a cooking or vegetable oil to obtain a moist cake.

One of the most popular variations is the sour cream pound cake. The butter is substituted by sour cream to moisten the cake and also get a tinge of a tangy flavor. Despite all these variations which alter the characteristics and the flavor of the cake drastically, the name pound cake is still used today.

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Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake
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Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter or line pan of choice with parchment paper. (loaf pan or a Bundt pan)).
  2. In a bowl, cream butter & sugar with an electric mixer until pale & fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add salt, vanilla & sour cream.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour & baking powder. Combine wet & dry ingredients, then beat on low for about a minute.
  4. Transfer about 1/3 of batter to another bowl. Add raspberry preserves & beat until combined. Add 2-3 drops red gel food color if desired. To remaining batter, add lemon juice & beat until combined.
Assembly/Baking
  1. To preferred baking pan, add a layer of white batter then alternate between pink & white batter. Use a knife to swirl the batters together but don't overdo it or you will end up without a marble effect.
  2. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean. If top browns too quickly, lightly cover with a piece of foil paper.
  3. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove pan & finishing cooling on a wire rack.
Frosting
  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese for about 20 seconds on medium speed. Add powdered sugar & mix to combine well. Drizzle frosting over cooled cake, slice & serve.
Recipe Notes
  • My choice of baking pans were some mini Bundt pans. I thought they made a nice individual presentation.

Baked Churro Cups w/ Strawberry Cream Cheese

Although there are many myths about the origins of the ‘churro’, most people believe there are three realistic stories and in each of them, the original country of churros is different: Spain, China & Ancient Egypt.

First of all, if you are not familiar with churros, they are a sweet snack consisting of a strip of fried dough dusted with sugar or cinnamon and usually served with a small bowl of hot, thick chocolate. Brion & I tasted them for the first time when we were travelling in Spain in the winter of 2014.

The inventor of churros has often been researched, but the truth is that this dessert was created so many years ago, that only a whole country can be named when talking about its beginnings.

Although, today you can find numerous shapes for churros, the traditional one is from Spain, being a large, semi-circle of fried dough. This shape is actually very similar to horns of the ‘churra sheep’ that are native to the Iberian Peninsula.

The relationship between Churros and chocolate is almost inseparable, either in a cup or as a filling. However, this combination is not exclusive because Mexico, Philippines, Argentina & Chile all eat a different kind of churro. In Cuba they created the guava filled churros or eat them with ice cream in different flavors.

As per usual, I’m always looking for a way to have deep fried foods baked. I guess it stems from my many years of being in the commercial food service industry when it seemed everything was deep fried. I resist having to smell or eat anything that has to be fried in hot oil. That being said, here’s my take on a churro dessert that is baked and filling it with some strawberry cream cheese.

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Baked Churro Bowls
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Course dessert
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MINI CUPS
Ingredients
Churro Bowls
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
Course dessert
Servings
MINI CUPS
Ingredients
Churro Bowls
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
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Instructions
Churro Cups
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir until butter is completed melted. Turn off heat and add in flour. Stir until all flour is incorporated and becomes a smooth dough ball. Add in eggs and stir into dough, mixing until dough becomes smooth and uniform again. Scoop dough into a pastry bag.
  2. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  3. Invert your MINI muffin tin or cake pop pan, so that the bottoms are facing up, and lightly grease the exterior of 21 of the molds. I recommend you space them out, skipping every other mold, so that the bowls aren't too close together. Using a star tip, pipe around the greased molds until you cover the entire mold. Make sure when you are piping that each new circle layer is touching the previous layer, so that there are no gaps. Bake for 25-30 minutes until churros turn golden brown and are crispy. A pool of oil will be puddled at the bottom of the baking pan, but you can ignore that.
  4. Gently remove the churro bowls from the molds and let cool for a few minutes. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Pour into a Ziploc bag. Place one churro into the bag at a time, moving the churro bowl around in the bag until the exterior of the bowl is completely covered in cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining churro bowls. Do not skip the sugar step as your churros will have little flavor without the sugar. I also found that the Ziploc bag method works much better than just simply trying to roll the churro bowls in a bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar. Set aside until your filling is ready.
Strawberry Filling
  1. Pulse softened cream cheese, strawberries & sugar in a food processor until smooth. If berries aren't juicy enough & mixture is too thick, adjust consistency with a few drops of milk. If it is too thin, adjust with a little more cream cheese.
  2. I left my filling fairly runny but make it as stiff as you wish, it will taste great no matter what! Fill churro cups with filling & top with more strawberries - whole or sliced. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes
  • Another filling alternative would be some Kahlua & Fresh Fruit:
  • 6 cups fresh fruit
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Kahlua
  • Cut fruit into 3/4-inch pieces & place in a bowl, sprinkle with brown sugar.
  • Add Kahlua; stir gently. Cover & refrigerate 30 minutes to blend flavors.

Vegetable Torte w/ Chicken/Turkey Sausage

There is so much to love about summer, not least of which is the amazing bounty of fresh produce. This summer vegetable torte is a great way to showcase flavorful late-summer vegetables and savory herbs that are available. It is similar to a crustless quiche or a frittata that makes a wonderful addition to a brunch or a backyard barbecue.  It can be served warm or cold.  Either way, it’s delicious. 

One of the baking pans I have found extremely useful over the years is the ‘springform pan’. The function of this pan is to make it possible to take out of the pan a cake which is too fragile to trust to the conventional method of turning it upside down. A pan with a removeable bottom eliminates the need to risk inverting the cake.

A cheesecake might be the best example of a cake needing such a specialty pan. This was just what the late Pierre Franey was thinking of when he introduced the springform pan to New York Times readers back in 1980.

The pan he had in mind was made by Kaiser, a German metal goods company founded in 1919 by Wilhelm Ferdinand Kaiser to provide quality equipment to avid bakers like his wife. The company claims to have invented the springform pan, which it calls ‘the intelligent round cake pan’, and is the world’s largest manufacturer of them. They make 30 types, including one with a glass bottom that can double as a serving plate.

Thinking beyond cheesecake, the springform pan works so good when used to make this torte. The high sides of the torte gives it such a special look. It bakes up firm, but still creamy and delicious. It can be served as a vegetarian main course with a side salad, or served alongside some grilled sausage as we did for our meal.

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Vegetable Torta w/ Chicken/Turkey Sausage
Instructions
  1. Place the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes tossing occasionally. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a sheet pan with a rack. After the zucchini sits for 30 minutes, rinse off the salt, drain and pat dry with a few paper towels. Pour the zucchini slices onto the rack and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove and cool.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Brush the bottom & sides of a 9-inch springform pan with oil. Line bottom with parchment paper & brush parchment with oil. Wrap outside of pan with aluminum foil.
  3. In a skillet, heat oil & sauté onion & mushrooms until veggies are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs until combined ( can still be a bit lumpy). Beat in cream or 1/2 & 1/2. Stir in garlic, basil, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper. Using a slotted spoon to drain off any liquid on sautéed veggies, then add sautéed vegetables & zucchini to egg mixture along with drained sun-dried tomatoes & marinated artichokes. Add grated Swiss cheese; stir with a rubber spatula to combine. Spread mixture in prepared pan & set pan on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 1 1/2-1 3/4 hours or until top is puffy & golden brown & the center no longer jiggles when shaken. Remove from oven & allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then run a sharp knife around edges of torte to loosen. Gently remove pan sides. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Hot Cross Cream Cheese Braid

Hot Cross Buns, the sweet roll with a mythical history, are an Easter classic. This simple piece of spiced bread decorated with a cross, while not an extravagant treat, is a global food tradition. Given their long running history, it is no wonder there are so many fables surrounding their origin. From warding off evil spirits to cementing friendships, the stories of hot cross buns can be documented back to 6th century Greece.

While hot cross buns are now sold and enjoyed throughout the year, they were once reserved for Good Friday alone. Brion & I are extremely fond of these little gems, so every year I enjoy to come up with a new version but still not straying away from the original iconic bun (or bread) taste.

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Hot Cross Cream Cheese Braid
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Instructions
Marinate Fruit
  1. In a bowl with a lid, marinate prepared dried fruit in your choice of alcohol or orange juice overnight or at least 30 minutes.
Sweet Dough
  1. In a bowl, combine yeast, lukewarm milk & 1 Tbsp sugar; allow to sit until frothy.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom & ginger.
  3. In a larger bowl, melt butter slightly; add remaining sugar, beaten egg, vanilla, a portion of the marinated fruit & frothy yeast mixture. Combine then add flour mixture & continue mixing to combine all ingredients.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 15 minutes. If necessary, add a bit more flour. Shape into a ball; place in a greased bowl, turn over once or twice to coat the dough with oil. Cover, let rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla & any excess rum drained off fruit until smooth.
Assembly & Baking
  1. On a lightly floured work surface or parchment paper, roll the dough into a 12 x 14-inch rectangle, ensure an even thickness of 1/4 inch.
  2. Along one long side of the dough make parallel, 4-inch long cuts that are 1-inch apart (like piano keys), with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Repeat on opposite side, making sure to line up these cuts with those you have already made on the other side.
  3. Spoon all but 1/4 cup cream cheese filling down the center of the rectangle. (Reserve the 1/4 cup of the cream cheese for making crosses on baked braid). Leaving 1-inch on the top & bottom unfilled. Smooth cream cheese mixture then top with remaining marinated fruit.
  4. Begin folding the cut side strips of dough in pairs over the filling at an angle, alternating left, then right, as if you were braiding, until you reach the other end. Tuck the ends underneath the braid.
  5. Transfer to a baking sheet; cover with a loose plastic wrap & a towel. Allow to rise in a draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F. Just before placing braid in the oven, make the egg wash & lightly brush over the top of the braid.
  6. Bake 20 minutes until golden brown. Check after 15 minutes; if the braid is starting to brown to fast, float a piece of foil, shiny side down, over it. Remove from oven & allow to cool slightly.
Decorating
  1. Place 1/4 cup cream cheese mixture in a small piping bag that has been fitted with a small round tip. Make crosses on braid.
Recipe Notes
  • If you would prefer, mix all the marinated fruit right into the dough instead of putting some in the filling.
  • If you would rather not decorate with some crosses on top, use all cream cheese in the filling, your choice.

Glazed Peach Coffeecake

Coffeecake as we know it today wasn’t so much a creation as it was an evolution, with many countries given as the potential origin point. It is generally accepted that coffeecake originated from northern or central Europe during the 17th century. At that time, coffee was still fairly new to Europe, having only made it to the continent in the previous century.

While the earliest coffeecakes included coffee as an ingredient, updated popular recipes recommend eating the cake with coffee and instead deriving flavor from nuts, dried fruit, oats, cinnamon and other spices. Another addition to coffeecakes has been to incorporate yogurt, cheese or sour cream in the batter to produce the cake-like texture which further deviates from its bread origins.

The countries laying some sort of claim to the coffeecake such as Germany, Austria and Denmark were already well versed in sweetened breads and cakes and found that their local sweet paired incredibly well with this new beverage. It became very commonplace in these countries to have a small sweet served alongside coffee.

When the coffeecake made its way to North America via German immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bolstered by the creation of refrigerated sections in grocery stores, the addition of sour cream became more common place, both as a means of adding more moisture into the cake as well as activating the baking soda. Another modification to the coffeecake came with the popularity of the Bundt pan in the 1950s. With its ring-shaped design, the Bundt pan allowed bakers to drastically increase the moisture content in their cakes without having to worry about the center being uncooked.

Sometimes cake, sometimes bread, the only real defining trait of a ‘coffeecake‘ is that it is meant to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee.

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Glazed Peach Coffeecake
Since the recipe calls for canned peaches you can enjoy the taste of summer early.
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Peach Glaze
  1. Drain peach halves; set peaches aside. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice & peach syrup. Bring to a boil then stir in butter & almond extract. Set aside.
Coffeecake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 8-inch pie pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. With a pastry blender, cut in cream cheese & shortening until mixture resembles coarse peas. Stir in milk & lemon zest. On a lightly floured work surface, knead dough gently & form into a log shape. Do not overwork dough. Divide into 12 slices.
  3. You will need 12 peach halves (or pieces). Alternating with dough rounds & peach halves or pieces, form a ring around the sides of the pie pan. Fit the last 3 pieces of dough & peach in the center.
  4. Bake cake for about 10-15 minutes then pour WARM peach glaze over the PARTIALLY BAKED cake & continue baking for another 45-50 minutes or until cake tests done. Serve warm as is or with ice cream or whipped cream.

Dutch Apple Pumpkin Cheesecakes

For Canadians, Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. Even if the basics are the same across the country …. turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes …. every family has their own special twist they put on it somewhere. That could easily come in the form of dessert.

There are few flavors that say autumn better than pumpkin and ginger but why not switch up the traditional pumpkin pie for something extra special. I’m thinking, what’s wrong with combining a number of our favorites in one dessert!

Starting with a gingersnap crust for the base, then a pumpkin cream cheese layer topped with cinnamon apples. The thing with ‘Dutch apple’ (pie) that sets it apart is the crumb/streusel topping. So in keeping with the name of this recipe, I’m making a streusel topping as the final layer of our Thanksgiving dessert. Of course, you can always add a scoop of ice cream.

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Dutch Apple Pumpkin Cheesecakes
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Ingredients
Gingersnap Base
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
Apple Filling
Streusel
Servings
Ingredients
Gingersnap Base
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
Apple Filling
Streusel
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Instructions
Gingersnap Base
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line mini cheesecake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a food processor, add gingersnap cookies & process until you have fine crumbs. Place in a bowl; add butter & mix until fully combined. Evenly distribute the mixture between the mini cheesecake pans. Press each one down firmly & bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven & set aside to cool.
Cheesecake Filling
  1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla & spice for 1-2 minutes until smooth & creamy. Add in the pumpkin puree & mix until fully combined. Turn mixer to low speed & add egg; beating ONLY till just combined.
Apple Filling
  1. Prepare apples & combine with cinnamon, sugar & flour.
Streusel
  1. In a small bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar & cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Assemble & Bake
  1. Evenly distribute the cheesecake filling over the gingersnap crusts. Top with apple filling then spoon an even layer of streusel over each cheesecake cup.
  2. Bake at 325 F. for 10-12 minutes or JUST until cheesecakes are set. Remove from oven & allow to cool at room temperature for at least an hour.
  3. Serve topped with a bit of whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
Recipe Notes
  • I have always loved Dutch 'Speculaas' spice so I used it in all 3 parts of the filling instead of what I listed in the recipe. It has a unique combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, aniseed, mace & black pepper.
  • This recipe can be easily halved if 36 is too many for you.

Lime & Guava Cheesecake Truffles

Any season is cheesecake season, but some cheesecake recipes have a bit of an edge. Truffles are the perfect summer dessert, especially when there’s lime and guava involved. You can make these without using your oven and since they are kept in the freezer, perfect for hot days. These truffles have a rich and creamy cheesecake interior with lime undertones, a Maria biscuit base, all topped with some guava cardamom drizzle.

For those who aren’t familiar with Maria biscuits, here’s a bit of food history about them (you might have guessed that was coming). On January 23rd, 1874, Queen Victoria’s second son, Alfred, married the Russian Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna Romanova. Peek Frean, a London bakery, released a biscuit to honor this, naming it after Marie. They imprinted the name Marie right on the cookie and in a nod to architectural styling at the time, put a beaded border on the cookie’s edges. They also had docker holes in them. The biscuit is made from wheat flour, sugar, palm oil or sunflower seed oil and has a vanilla flavor.

That’s how this very international cookie was created. From England to Russia, to the Philippines, India, Mexico and Puerto Rico, today half of the globe considers Maria biscuits a household staple. They are manufactured and sold by multiple companies around the world.

How this biscuit has travelled the whole world and kept its original look and recipe almost intact for over a century is somewhat of a mystery. Maria Brand is well-known in Canada under the President’s Choice biscuit manufacturer.

Marie biscuit crumbs are a nice trade off for the usual graham wafer crumbs used in so many cheesecake bases. It helps that they aren’t to sweet, so they offer a counter to the other sweet ingredients used and even broken they don’t become complete ‘mush’.

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Lime & Guava Cheesecake Truffles
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Servings
TRUFFLES
Ingredients
Servings
TRUFFLES
Ingredients
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Instructions
Base
  1. In a food processor, pulse Maria biscuit cookies until crushed slightly. Remove from processor & set aside.
Cheesecake Truffles
  1. Zest the lime & set aside half the zest for sprinkling on top of truffles for garnish.
  2. In the food processor, place the other half of the zest with the cream cheese, sugar & vanilla. Juice the lime to obtain 3 Tbsp of juice & add to processor. Combine until smooth.
  3. Using a Tbsp or a mini cookie scoop, scoop small balls of cream cheese mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper. Place balls in freezer.
  4. After about 20 minutes, remove balls from freezer & roll in crushed Maria crumbs. Place back in freezer.
Guava Drizzle
  1. Place guava paste, water & cardamom spice in a small microwave bowl. Heat carefully, mixing well. Set aside to cool then drizzle over cheesecake truffles. Sprinkle with remaining lime zest. Keep frozen in a covered container until ready to serve.

‘Twisted’ Mango Pie Bread

Bread shaping as an art form has a long history. Some types of dough lend themselves well to particular shapes. For instance, a high fat mixture like a brioche can be shaped or braided easily, while a sticky variety is better suited to something simpler.

Apart from braiding bread into a variety of shapes you can simply use the twisted method. No different than making a cinnamon twist but with a bit more prep work involved.

The filling is where you can let your personal imagination and creativity take over. I chose to make some mango filling for ours but any choice that appeals to you works. A note worth mentioning about filling though is that filled strands need more care during handling and twisting as they are prone to tearing.

The question to egg wash or not to egg wash? The main purpose of it is to enhance the top crust with a shine and crispiness. Even though I’m going to brush my bread with cream cheese glaze, I think its still a good idea.

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'Twisted' Mango Pie Bread
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Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword mango pie bread
Servings
WEDGES
Ingredients
Bread Dough
Mango Filling
Cream Cheese Glaze
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword mango pie bread
Servings
WEDGES
Ingredients
Bread Dough
Mango Filling
Cream Cheese Glaze
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Instructions
Bread Dough
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together yeast, 1 tsp sugar & lukewarm milk. Set aside until yeast mixture begins to form a frothy foam, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/4 cup sugar & salt. Add yeast mixture, melted butter & beaten egg. Knead until dough comes together in a ball & no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a greased bowl & cover with a damp towel. Set aside to rise for about 20-30 minutes.
Mango Filling
  1. While the bread dough is rising, place all ingredients for the mango filling (except cream cheese), in a heatproof bowl. Combine & microwave for 1-2 minutes until it resembles puree. Allow to cool. With a handheld mixer, mix mango puree & cream cheese to make the filling for bread.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Deflate dough slightly & divide into 4 equal parts & form into balls. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each ball into roughly 12-inch circles.
  2. Divide the filling into thirds. Spread 3 of the dough circles with mango filling. Layer them, ending with the circle that was left without filling. Using a pizza cutter, divide the layered dough into 10 equal strips.
  3. Line a 12-inch round pie dish with parchment paper. Carefully twist strips & place in pie dish, side by side. Cover with a greased piece of plastic wrap & allow to rise in a draft free place for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  5. Brush with egg wash & bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven & allow to cool for about 10 minutes. While the bread is cooling make the cream cheese glaze.
Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, Beat together cream cheese,, butter & vanilla. Add sifted powdered sugar & beat to a smooth consistency. When bread is still warm brush with glaze.

Cardamom Lime Easter ‘Bunnies’

Although we may change the way we celebrate Easter this year, we can still enjoy some great food. One of the special things about any holiday is the brunch that seems to come with it and Easter is no different. The word itself sounds like coziness.

The practice of creating special breads to celebrate holidays, harvests, religious rites and other occasions worldwide, dates back thousands of years. In some cases, breads aren’t symbolic as much as traditional, baked as a reminder of family, togetherness and celebration. They often contain warm spices like cinnamon or cardamom. Some have a touch of liqueur added to them while others are created in special shapes or have little surprises baked in them.

Cardamom may not get the acclaim of cinnamon, nor does it pop up in recipes as often as ginger, but its flavor pairing capabilities are extensive. This is a flavor that you may love or hate, but for me it is very addictive. Warm, subtly spicy, exotically aromatic, a flavor that transforms both sweet and savory recipes into heavenly dishes.

With some simple snipping and shaping, this cardamom sweet dough turns into adorable bunnies for Easter brunch. Edible table décor!

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Cardamom Lime Easter 'Bunnies'
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Servings
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Instructions
Sweet Dough
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together yeast , 1 tsp sugar & lukewarm milk. Set aside until yeast mixture begins to form a frothy foam, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, remaining sugar & salt. Add yeast mixture, melted butter & egg. Knead until dough comes together in a ball & no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a greased bowl & cover with a tea towel. Set aside in a draft free place until dough doubles in size, about an 1 hour.
Filling
  1. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, lime zest, cardamom & butter. Mix well. Set aside.
Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter & lime juice. Add powdered sugar & mix until glaze consistency. Set aside until buns are baked.
Assemble & Bake
  1. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide in half; roll each half into a rectangle about 12x10-inches. Sprinkle filling evenly over one of the rectangles. Place the second sheet of pastry on top. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the pastry & lightly roll with a rolling pin.
  2. With a pizza cutter cut 14 strips. You will use 12 of the strips for 'bunnies' & 2 strips for their tails. To form bunnies, overlap one end of strip over the other to form a loop; bring the end that's underneath up over the top end, letting one end extend on each side to make ears.
  3. Place the shaped 'bunnies' on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 2-3-inches between them as they will expand a bit. Cut each of the remaining strips into 6 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball & place it in the loop to form the tail. Loosely cover the 'bunnies' & let them rise for about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush bunnies with egg wash & bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven & allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack.
  5. While still slightly warm, brush bunnies with glaze. Sprinkle with lime zest & top tails with whites candies.
Recipe Notes
  • If you prefer your bunnies to be a bit more plump, instead of making 12, just make 8 or 10.

Fig Bread

Today, March 28th, marks the date of my mothers birth. Although she left this earth 43 years ago, her memory remains crystal clear. She was a wonderful mother who made our lives so much better in ways we never realized. She set a good example just by the way she lived the ‘best version of herself’.

When this date rolls around each year, I like to post something on the blog that I think she would have enjoyed to make. Baking was a ‘job’ she really seemed to enjoy and our family certainly reaped the benefits of that.

Since Easter is only a week away, I thought a fig bread would be nice. Fruit appears in myths from around the world with figs being regarded as a sacred symbol by many.

Velvety soft on the outside with sweet crimson flesh within, the fig is a captivating food. Widespread and abundant throughout the Mediterranean region, figs have been eaten fresh and dried for storage for thousands of years. The fig found its way to America with Spanish missionaries who brought the fruit to Southern California (USA), in the 1700’s. The variety became known as ‘Mission’ figs.

Easter and Good Friday inspire a particularly rich array of decorative breads and buns that make some of the nicest edible centerpieces.

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Fig Bread Wreath
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Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine American, European
Keyword Fig bread
Servings
Ingredients
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine American, European
Keyword Fig bread
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Bread Dough
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together yeast, 1 tsp sugar & warm milk. Set aside for about 5 minutes until frothy
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, remaining sugar & salt. Add yeast mixture, melted butter & egg. Knead until dough comes together in a ball & no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a greased bowl & cover with a tea towel. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Fig Filling
  1. Coarsely chop figs. In a bowl, cream together butter, sugar, cinnamon & cardamom; add figs. Stir to combine & set aside.
Assemble & Bake
  1. Fit a piece of parchment paper to cover bottom & sides of a 10-inch round springform baking pan. Deflate dough & divide into 6 parts. One small part of the dough will be used to for the middle. Roll out in a round circle & place a scoop of filling in the center. Pull sides up around filling & pinch together. Place the 'bun' in the middle of the pan, seam down. Roll out another small piece of the dough into a circle. Cut it into parallel strips then place strips over bun in a weave pattern.
  2. Next roll each of the remaining 4 strips into long rectangles (about 6" x 16" each). Divide filling between 2 of the strips, placing a row down the center of each one. Bring sides together over filling & pinch to seal.
  3. Lay one filled strip over each of the 2 remaining rectangles of pastry (seam side down). Cut angled strips on either side of filled pastry. Using these strips, form a braid over top.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Transfer braids to baking pan forming 2 circles around the center ball. Beat egg wash together & brush over surface of bread wreath. Allow to rise for about 15 minutes in a draft-free place.
  5. Bake until golden brown about 30 minutes. Remove from oven & place on a wire rack to cool.
Cream Cheese Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together cream cheese, butter, vanilla & powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle or pipe over fig bread. Decorate with fresh figs if desired.