Cobbler Two Ways

Hi hello!

Happy end of weekend but almost holiday week! I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving already, that completely snuck up on me.

I thiiiink I know what I’m baking, maybe? Probably. At least I have a very good idea…

As for normal baking tendencies, I’ve now made us this cobbler two weeks in a row with different fruit and slightly different biscuits – it’s a winner! I’ll include notes for both versions in the recipe itself. Very forgiving, very delicious.

This weekend’s was cranberry + blueberry, plus I added dark chocolate to the biscuit topping… highly recommend. I love anything cranberry so was very excited to find them on sale at the market the other day; I may or may not have bought a couple extra bags to stash in the freezer. To be fair, I’m on cranberry sauce duty for turkey day so at least two will be used for that, ha.

As always, per usual, this was excellent with ice cream and also excellent for breakfast. I dropped a shower of pomegranate seeds over the top which not only was colorful and pretty, but also added a nice crunchy contrast.

We’ve had some beautiful sunsets lately in the city! Inevitably they look better to the naked eye than through a camera lens but… I try. Besides, I’m blessed with a very unobstructed western view, so I try to take advantage and admire them as much as I can.

Somehow the day got away from me today and I’m HUNGRY… time for dinner! I think it’s going to be veggie nachos… that’s a very Sunday dinner for me. I have perfect little 1/4 sheet pans that make a single serving of nachos exceptionally – I only have these ridiculous little pans because my oven in grad school was basically the size of an Easy Bake oven, and I’ve hung onto them ever since. Good thing too, since they’ve gotten a second life as nacho pans – what better afterlife could you ask for?

In other news, finally finished this guy! 16×20 on stretched canvas; so pleased with how it came out. A little bit of my home-away is on my walls now!

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Cranberry & Blueberry (or apple!) Cobbler with Cornmeal & Dark Chocolate Biscuits

Two variations are shown here: one is cran-apple and with plain biscuits (no chocolate; added cinnamon on top) and the other is cran-blueberry with dark chocolate biscuits. Both are delicious! Whole grain, refined sugar free. Adapted from Food52, here. Yield: 9″ or 10″ cobbler; serves 5-6.

for the cobbler:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup fine or medium cornmeal
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1/2 c buttermilk*
2 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 1/4 c dark chocolate, finely chopped

*I was out of buttermilk both times I made this (it’s not something I usually have on hand) – so I subbed in 1/4 c plain whole-milk yogurt whisked with 1/4c milk, adding milk until it reached the consistency of buttermilk. Any of the standard buttermilk subs will work well here, if you don’t have it

for the fruit:
2-3 c fresh (or frozen) cranberries
4 (about 1½ pounds) sweet-crisp apples, such as Fuji or Gala, cut into ¾-inch chunks OR 1c blueberries (fresh or frozen)**
zest and juice from one lemon
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp coconut sugar + extra for sprinkling
Pinch kosher salt
Cinnamon, for topping (optional)

**I’ve made both the cran/blueberry and cran/apple version; they’re both delicious

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles a coarse meal with butter pieces no larger than peas.
Stir in the buttermilk/buttermilk sub and vanilla until just combined, followed by chocolate (if using). Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

In a baking dish of choice (deep 9″ pie dish, 2qt baking dish, 9 or 10″ cast iron skillet, etc) , toss together the cranberries, apples or blueberries, lemon zest and juice, tapioca starch, coconut sugar, and salt. Drop ~6 large dollops of batter over the fruit, leaving some areas of fruit exposed. Sprinkle with a bit more coconut sugar and cinnamon, if desired. Place the pan on a sheet pan to catch any drips. Bake the cobbler until the fruit is bubbly and the biscuits are golden brown, 45-50 min (tent with foil after 35 minutes to prevent the biscuits from getting too brown.) Let cool slightly (or completely) before serving. Keeps well overnight in the fridge; leftovers make great breakfast, either cold or reheated.

Inadvertent Tuesday Baking Spaz

Six point five inch cake pans are probably the best invention in the cooking world.

Seriously! I had no idea how much I was missing out until they came into my life… I make EVERYTHING in them! They’re perfect for two people (because really, even I think a 3 layer, 9 inch cake for two is a wee bit excessive), and it means that Kira and I can try even more things, since we don’t have to forage our way through a huuuge amount of food. Perfect.

Tuesday’s random baking occurrence happened to involve some blackberries, nicely donated by Kira’s lovely Mutti. What better use for slightly-tart blackberries than in CAKE?! And what better excuse for breakfast than a whole wheat cake with fruit?! Or midmorning snacking. Or mid afternoon. Or whenever.

I really love snack-type cakes. You know, like the type that isn’t very sweet, usually made in an 8 inch pan. They take me back to my childhood, when my wonderful Mutti would make crazy chocolate cake, and I would come home and power down a fourth of the cake (no, I’m not joking) for an after-school snack. No milk, either—milk is for sissies! I’ll chase my cake with a shot of ice cream, thank you! I would (and maybe still do, *ahem*) eat it by excavating the cake from underneath, to preserve the glazed bit on the top and on the sides, to be eaten last and with great relish. Corner pieces are my favorite–all the glaze puddles in the corners! I’ve been known to scrape the glaze off of Vati’s cake, when he was distractedly looking the other way, teehee! Not that I do that anymore, psshhh…

Anyway. This random baking spaz involved, like I said, blackberries. Lots of antioxidants in those cute little seedy characters. This cake was significantly less sweet than most cakes, which Kira and I really liked. We reduced the sugar a bit, but it has a nice crust of crunchy turbinado, which provides a bit more sweetness. This cake got a definite two thumbs, waaaay up. It really would be perfect for a light ending to a brunch, and I’m sure it goes well with ice cream (what doesn’t?!).

Not the most aesthetic, but WHATEVER. It was delicious, and we wanted cake sooner rather than later.

Blackberry Yogurt Cake

Adapted from here!

Though we made it in 6.5″ pans, I’ll post the full recipe :). We made a few adaptations—I’ll note them in the recipe.

Preheat yo’ oven! 350, pleeease. Lightly grease your pan of choice (originally a 9″ round cake pan).

  • 1 egg
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c butter (we used unsalted), softened (or microwaved, if you’re lazy like me)
  • 1/2 c sugar*
  • 1.5 tsp sugar for sprinkling on the top, for crusty deliciousness!
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt, thinned with a bit of milk**
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • blackberries, as many as you deem appropriate

*As you know, I have a penchant for reducing the amount of sugar in recipes. This one originally called for 2/3 c for the entire cake. Since we halved it, I used 1/4 c brown sugar. Kira and I both like it—if you want it sweeter, feel free to up the sugar. If I made the full batch, I’d probably use a scant 1/2 c.

**The original recipe called for buttermilk. We have it, but it’s currently in a bit of a frozen state for preservational purposes… as we (rightly) thought we’d not use it right away. Since plain yogurt is a buttermilk substitute, we used that instead, and thinned it out with a bit of milk. It worked perfectly! I would totally do it again.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium-type bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar with your trusty handheld mixer that you inherited from your grandmutti, until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla.

Mix in the flour, being careful not to spray it everywhere with the electric power of the beaters. I do NOT speak from experience this time… well, rather I speak from experience in that it DIDN’T happen this time, so there! Alternate the flour and the buttermilk until you have a batter. It’ll be rather thick.

Spoon the batter into the pan, and place the berries into the cake, pressing them down into the batter. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top (make sure you don’t skip this—it’s excellent!). We used turbinado, and it creates a super tasty crunchy crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown. For a half recipe, it was probably somewhere around 25-20 minutes (just keep checking after 15 until a tester comes out clean).

Indulge your gastronomical gremlins’ snack attacks any time of day… they’ll love you for the change from muffins to cake (because they’re fickle like that). Besides, it has fruit and a serving of whole grains, AND reduced sugar. I’m thinking this makes it a nicely balanced snackie, which should appease both you and your gremlins :)

Keep Calm and Cake On!

old picture, from Wurstfest. But cute! Roomiesss!

The Roomie has landed! Our apartment is now officially EPIC. And the fridge is fully stocked with deliciousness, hooray! Be prepared to read about lots of shenanigans that will most likely ensue, in the kitchen and otherwise. Or, if you’d like to witness it yourself, you can come stay in the closet/guest room. Yep. We have a guest room sized closet, be jealous.You can be like Harry Potter, in his cupboard! Except more awesome,  since we’re WAY cooler than the Dursleys.

Because I was SUPER EXCITED that the Roomie (otherwise known as Kira, just so we’re all on a first name basis here…) was arriving, I decided to make… a CAKE! Of course. What else?!  The only problem was that I made it Saturday… and she wasn’t arriving until Sunday night… which meant that I spent all of the time between wanting to eat it. Oops. But I didn’t! Willpower wins, so there! Take that gremlins! Be satisfied with your muffins and stop bothering me.

Also, in the interest of my quest to utilize everything and not waste anything, I had my eye on some dangerously ripe buhhhnahhnnas (say it with a drawl or an accent, it’s much more fun!). Because why would you make anything else when you could make banana cake?! Besides, it’s only the BEST BANANA CAKE EVER, and who needs an excuse for that?! I certainly don’t. In fact, one of the besties at home (Michellleeee!!!) can vouch that this cake is epic. AND the Roomie like it. A lot. So YAY! Cake wins all around. Moral of the story: Make cake whenever possible. Or as the British government wisely said, Keep Calm and Carry On. Or, rather… in my case… Keep calm and cake on. Always!

adorable small cake

Fabulous Buh-naah-na Cake

Adapted from The Pastry Affair (a really fab blog!), here

This cake is delicious. It’s simple, requires mostly what you have on hand in the pantry, and comes together in snap. Not only that, but it’s surprisingly light—a nap is not obligatory after finishing a slice :) The banana and chocolate flavors come together perfectly, and there is a perfect banana to chocolate ratio. It’s excellent with vanilla ice cream, of course (what isn’t ?!), but also stands divinely on its own. I always refrigerate it, so the glaze stays hard, but it’s really good out of the fridge, so everyone wins.

Whatcha need:

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (or microwaved until soft. I’m always too impatient)
1/2 cup white sugar (or less. I always use less—maybe more like 1/3 c)*
3/4 cup brown sugar (also less. Like maybe 1/2 c. Depends on your preference for sweet)*
2 large eggs
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

*I’ve also successfully made this cake in a half batch, with 1/2 c coconut sugar in place of the brown+white. I LOVE it this way, but up to you!

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease two 8 or 9″ cake pans (alternatively, make half the recipe, like I did for Kira, and use two 6.5″ pans. Perfect for two roomies!)

Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon,  and salt.

Using a hand mixer, cream the sugars and softened butter together until fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Add vanilla and mashed buhnahnas. Mix again.

Add in buttermilk and flour, alternating between the two, and starting and ending with flour. You can use your mixer for this too, which is obviously nice. Pour your batter into pans, and inhale the lovely banana aroma. Bake until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. (It’ll be less for the 6.5″ pans–unfortunately I’m not sure how long mine took. I set the timer for 20, and watched them carefully from there. I’m thinking about 25 total). Let cool in pans for at least 10 minutes, and then let cool completely before frosting.

Keep Calm… and Sprinkle On? I think so.

Chocolate Glaze

In a double boiler, melt together 1/2 c of butter, and 2 c of chocolate chips. For a 6.5″ cake, I used a little more than half of this amount. I also threw in a little vanilla—it’s a nice addition. Let this cool a bit before frosting, otherwise it’s extremely runny. Which is kind of fun, but not exactly aesthetic…

Top with sprinkles! Of course. What else?! This is why my gremlins are technicolor.

Enjoy with a fab roomie, who you are super excited to live with, after a really civilized picnic-style dinner of good cheese, crusty bread, fresh basil, and fresh veggies. YUM.

din din!

I look like I’m about to fling the cake on the floor, oops!

AND THEN.

Do a happy dance because your lovely parents bought you a surprise for your 21st birthday on Friday! A RED Kitchenaide STANDMIXER! Happy, happy, HAPPY! Danke schoen, Mutti and Vati, you are quite possibly the BEST EVER!

Kitchenaide, you are my new pet!