Category Archives: Sweets

Banana Muffins


This recipe for banana muffins comes from the same Thomas Keller cookbook, Bouchon Bakery, that I’ve been making a lot of baked goods from. The recipe is pretty exact but not very difficult and if you follow it step by step, you will be sure to have great results.

Keller suggests resting the batter overnight. This allows the flour to hydrate, or absorb the liquid which results in an extra moist muffin. This is also a great idea because you can make the batter the night before and it will be ready to pop in the oven in the morning.
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Apple Cake

This quick bread comes together easily and includes one of my favorite foods, apples. I got the idea from a blog that I visit often and it’s a recipe from her great grandmother which I figured was a good sign. I tweaked it a little by adding some buckwheat flour for extra nuttiness and using olive oil instead of canola. I also reduced the amount of sugar for a little less sweetness.

The end result is a recipe that is great to have on hand because it comes together so quickly and with mostly pantry staples. It’s also easy to swap ingredients like using only regular flour if you don’t have any buckwheat flour in your pantry.

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As soon as we got Thomas Keller’s new Bouchon Bakery cookbook, I knew I had to bake something from it immediately. The recipes are very accessible for a home cook but just a touch more complicated than what I’m used to baking. I followed this recipe exactly and couldn’t have been happier with the results.

Financiers are one of the classic petit-four cakes. They have moist centers and crispy edges and while they’re best eaten the day that they’re made, they can also hold up a few days as long as they’re covered. While typically baked in individual financier molds, I used what I had on had which were these mini-muffin pans.

This recipe is much more precise than my usual measurements and directions but when it comes to precision, I trust Thomas Keller and it paid off. For baking more complicated recipes, it’s always worth measuring by weight with a scale rather than measuring cups and spoons.
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Olive Oil Shortbread

Hurricane Sandy is hitting our area and I’m doing lots of baking until the power goes out. We did all our grocery shopping yesterday before the crowds descended on the bottled water aisle. I stocked up on provisions for spending the next two to three days inside. Lots of beer and wine, as well as ingredients for chili, apple cake and these short bread cookies.

I made one batch that was just plain and another with some drizzled dark chocolate on top. Both were delicious and since this recipe is very basic, it’s easy to add different flavors.

Stay safe and enjoy!
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Chocolate Chip Macaroons

These chocolate chip macaroons would be great to bring to a tea party, like the one in the picture above. We were actually having a tea party within a bbq but I’m pretty sure these cookies would be welcome at either one.

They’re very light and only require a few ingredients. Most recipes call for unsweetened coconut but I couldn’t find any at my grocery store so I just reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe. I cooked them until the chocolate had just started to melt and the cripsy outside and gooey inside mixed perfectly.
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Plum Tart

I saw these great plums at the farmers market last Sunday and I knew I had to make something with them. I was having some family over for lunch that day and was trying to be a little ambitious to make lunch and a dessert all before 1 pm. My plan was to make a simple pastry crust, top it with pastry cream and add the sliced plums once it was cool. It seemed easy in my mind! However, the pastry cream requires a lot of attention and I happened to be in the middle of some important steps once people starting arriving and it didn’t quite turn out. So we just ate the tart shell with the plums which was delicious but not quite what I intended. Both the tart shell and the pastry cream can be made ahead of time but of course that requires a little more planning. I made the tart again, later in the week when I didn’t have a bunch of things going on at once, and these are the end results.

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Olive Oil Cake

My boyfriend started a new job today and I wanted to make him a treat to celebrate. This olive oil cake is a great everyday cake that’s really simple to make. It’s not too sweet and would pair really well with fresh whipped cream or honey. The outside is nice and crunchy with a soft, moist center. It’s also a recipe that lends itself well to lots of tweaking. Nuts or fruit would be a great addition.

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