Archives for category: Desserts

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Friday night I saw the the film The Lunchbox, a love story of sorts centered around Mumbai’s incredibly efficient lunchbox delivery system. If you watch this movie hungry your stomach will be grumbling throughout, craving the mouth-watering curries that the lucky character Saajan gets to eat each day for lunch. It also made me want to remake my red lentil tarkaspicy coconut curry, and quick curry.

But this post takes a different tack. Inspired by the craze of cross-pollinating baked goods all over this town I read Julia Moskin’s story in this week’s Times with interest. I can’t really say or write “scuffin” without smirking (cronut is easier for some reason), so I’m not calling these that. These are basically muffins filled with jam. I didn’t include the cream from the original recipe although I’m sure that would be tasty (I just rarely have cream on hand and it didn’t seem totally necessary here). I also added whole grain rye flour instead of using all-purpose pastry flour, making for a richer, slightly denser flavor that I like, kinda the philosophy of Tartine’s Book No. 3, on baking with whole grains.

If you’re avoiding butter and eggs (I’m looking at you my vegan friends) you could substitute coconut oil for the butter, and half a mashed banana for the egg. Check out this post for a few different vegan egg replacements for baking. And if you use the coconut oil instead of butter, use 1/4 c additional coconut oil instead of the olive oil that’s called for below, that will just keep for a more consistent flavor.

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Whole Grain Muffins with Jam
adapted from Julia Moskin, The New York Times

4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing muffin tins
1 c whole-wheat flour
3/4 c rye flour (you can use all-purpose or any other type you like)
1/4 c wheat germ
3 tbsp raw sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c whole milk
1/4 c olive oil
approx. 1/2 c of your favorite fruit jam

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease 12 muffin cups with butter and set aside. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt the butter and add to the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork until just combined.

In a separate bowl whisk together the egg (or 1/2 banana if using), milk, and olive oil, and add to the dry ingredients until just combined.

Scoop the dough into the muffin tins, reserving about 1/4 of the dough for topping. Make a small well in the dough and drop in a spoonful of your favorite fruit jam. Using the remaining dough cover the tops of the muffins, across the top you can scatter a little sugar, or flax seeds, or poppy seeds, crushed nuts might be good too.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until browned. Let cool then, using a butter knife, transfer out of the tins to a rack.

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Yields 12 muffins

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Like most New Yorkers (heck, New Englanders, East Coasters, Mid-Atlanticers) I feel that spring can not get here fast enough. I want to start making and blogging about produce-based dishes with exotic ingredients like asparagus, ramps, and spring lettuces. I fear I may be in a dessert–breads–grains rut for lack of seasonal inspiration. Alas, this yummy gooey breakfast-or-is-it-dessert (does it matter?) banana bread.

I’m not want one to roll my eyes at excessive chocolate. In fact, I open them wide and grin a wide grin. My friend @superdaniela tipped me off to this double chocolate banana bread over at smitten kitchen and I decided to give it a whirl, substituting and creating variations on a theme as I so often do. (Maple syrup instead of sugar, for instance.)

Last year at this time I was blogging about spicy carrots and the year before a chickpea sauté with pickled shallots and there are actual photos in that post with blossoming trees! One day, I’m told, spring will come again.

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Chocolate Banana Bread
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
1/2 c Earth Balance or coconut oil, melted
1/2 c maple syrup
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 c semisweet or dark chocolate chips or pieces
1/2 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan (8 x 4 or 9 x 5 in.) and set aside.

Mash the bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. Add the melted butter, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. Combine. In a separate medium bowl, sift the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, flours, and cocoa powder. Add to the banana mixture, stirring just until combined. Then stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for approx. 55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (save for some melted chocolate chips!). Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes then run a butter knife enough along the edges and flip upside down onto a cooling rack.

Store at room temperature wrapped in foil or wax paper.

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You may have heard the northeastern U.S. got hit with a snowstorm Thursday night and New York City was no exception. It wasn’t massive or anything, maybe 8 inches, but it was enough to quiet the city the way that snow does here—by night, almost no cars on the road save for some yellow cabs and black livery cars, and by day, parents with children and sleds in tow headed for the parks.

As luck would have it I had to work my monthly shift at the Park Slope Food Coop yesterday, and while there, packaging cheddars and enjoying the rare luxury of an empty coop (no lines!), I got inspired to make two favorite cold-weather foods: cheese fondue and gingerbread. A shift-mate told me she was planning to make a gingerbread cake with Guinness and I thought, that’s just the thing. A gingerbread made with stout and molasses.

I found this recipe via the Smitten Kitchen blog, Claudia Fleming’s gingerbread from her days at Gramercy Tavern (but more recently of North Fork Table & Inn—I stayed there once, the breakfast was memorable). It produces a dark and stormy kind of gingerbread, with bite, not a timid cake. It’s intense and moody and spicy and just the way I like it. The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar on top of the 1 cup of molasses, so of course I reduced this, leaving out 1 cup of sugar and I think it’s just right this way. I also don’t own a bundt pan so cooked this in a glass 9 x 9 inch dish which worked out just fine. The cooking time was 45 minutes. (Only thing is this recipe produces more batter than I could fit in that sized dish so I’m left with a little excess batter which I plan to make into gingerbread muffins later today.)

Oh and I finally joined twitter. Much to my surprise, having a blast. Follow me @laduelala. Tweeting and retweeting on all manner of #food #art #architecture #yoga.

Molasses Stout Gingerbread
Adapted from Claudia Fleming

1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar (either packed dark brown sugar or 1/2 brown sugar 1/2 maple syrup)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Accompaniment: Unsweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a bundt pan (or other baking dish) generously and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature. Note: make sure saucepan is large because when the baking soda is added the mixture puffs up like a soufflé.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into your pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes in a bunt, 45 minutes in a 9 x 9 square dish. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. It’s also nice served with a cup of black tea.

Some say this gingerbread is better if made a day ahead.

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Photo below of the Christopher Wool exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. It’s up til the 22nd of January.

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