Tag Archives: cake

Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries

Blondies

Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans & Cranberries

Tonight is about combining two of my favorite things in life, Blondie Bars and “The Voice”. I am obsessed with NBC’s singing competition show “The Voice”. I love the concept, the talent and most of all the judges. It’s one of my guilty pleasures you could say.

My friend Cindy had a contact at NBC, and was able to get us in to last night’s show.  I have to say it’s extremely fascinating to see how a live show works. It really looks nothing like the final product you see on television. Her contact was nice enough to give a bunch of old broads a thrill, and let’s us sit in the judges chairs…the big, red ones that turn around when they hear an amazing voice. I’m pretending I’m Shakira.  Oh c’mon let me have some fun!

Anyway, tonight I’ve invited those same girls over to my house to watch “The Voice” finale. And for the finale you’ve gotta have treats, right. Which leads us to my other latest obsession;  Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries. What! You’re rolling your eyes at the addition of cranberries. You have to trust me on this. The cranberries add that little bit of tartness that combines perfectly with the crunch of the pecans and the richness of the chocolate chips. I guarantee, these will become your latest obsession too.

Blondies

Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans & Cranberries

Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries

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Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries

Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries

Mama’s Tips: 

When I bake “bar cookies”, like brownies or blondies, I like to line the pan with parchment.  I always have a couple rolls on hand so I’m never out of it. This way I can just lift the baked bars right out of the pan without anything sticking to it. It makes cutting the bars into cleanly cut squares so easy and professional looking.

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Recipe: Easy 

Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts

Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts

Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts

I love”homey” food, but you already knew that, didn’t you. Some people like to curl up with a warm blanket and a book, I myself, like to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a piece of cake. When curling up, it’s always best not to have a piece of cake that’s too sweet and sugary. No, proper curling should be done with a less sweet, almost bread like cake that will perfectly compliment a cup of tea. Ta Da! That’s where this Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts comes in.

This cake is the BFF to a cup of tea. The “not-so-sweet” cake is filled with chunks of juicy apple and topped with earthy, crunchy pine nuts. Really, a perfect combination of flavors. This recipe will make two, 8″ x 4″ loaf cakes, so guess what, keep one for yourself and give the other to your BFF. Wrap it up in parchment paper and tie it with baker’s twine, and I guarantee, they’ll be very impressed.

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Apple Loaf with Pine Nuts

Adapted from Real Food, Winter 2013

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Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Life is funny, nothing ever stays the same.  Friends, please forgive me for getting all sentimental and philosophical on you, but this time of year brings back lovely memories for me. It doesn’t seem so long ago that by mid-October every year my boys and I would spend hours planning their costumes for Halloween, who they would walk the neighborhood with, and which candy I should buy to give out to the local revelers. But things have changed, my boys have moved on to begin their own lives, and my husband and I have been left here to celebrate Halloween alone, just us and a few bags of mini Snickers bars. I know, so sad.

In fact, things have gotten so bad that the local children will not even walk up my long, steep driveway for a measly mini candy bar anymore. In recent years I’ve had to go stand at the bottom of the driveway with “full sized” candy bars if I wanted to see any action.

Halloween is also that time of year when I can use pumpkin with reckless abandon.  I love to use it in muffins, cookies, cakes and pies, and I really can’t understand why it’s not popular all year round. One of my fall favorites is this Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze.  The cake part is mildly flavored with those traditional autumn spices, and the streusel filling is a perfect little surprise in the middle of the cake. What could be bad about pumpkin, nuts and chocolate.

So, one last thing.  Do you think it would be weird if I asked my 25 year-old son to let me dress him up as a Power Ranger so we could go house to house trick-or-treating together? I’m just kidding, kinda’.

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Adapted from “Very Best Baking”

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Almond Pear Cake-Gluten Free

Almond Pear Cake

Almond Pear Cake

 

My favorite time of the year is the end of September when summertime evaporates into a fond memory and leaves turn golden and the air turns crisp.  Oh wait, that was my former life growing up on the east coast.  As Jimmy Kimmel said in his monologue last night referring to the autumn in Los Angeles; that it was a “bone-chilling 95 degrees today”. He went on to say, “that we have one season…and it’s the good one!”  I’ll be honest with you, since moving to the west coast I definitely do not miss the other three seasons, but I do have a major hankering for the fall. After residing here for three decades I still bring out the heavy sweaters and boots this time of year, and yeah, I’m sweating profusely in my effort to embrace the season.

It’s time to say good bye to the summertime fruity favorites; strawberries, blueberries, peaches and plums and hello to cranberries, apples, pumpkins and pears. I do love the latter as they harken the start of the holiday season, and all the celebratory family meals ahead of me.

My personal favorite fall fruit is pears. In this gluten-free cake, they are paired with almond meal, sliced almonds and fresh pear puree which results in an overly moist and flavorful cake. I think this Almond Pear Cake-Gluten Free will become one of your go-to desserts for the upcoming season.

Almond Pear Cake

Almond Pear Cake

Almond Pear Cake – Gluten Free

From USA Pears

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