Crunchy Granola

Let me start by saying Happy New Years! What are your resolutions for 2013? Is eating healthier one of them? I thought I’d kick off the new year with a heart healthy granola, great for breakfast/dessert/snacking … you name it.

Granola

Recipe:

1 1/2 Cup old fashioned oats

1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, etc.)

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, cherries, raisins, etc.)

dash of cinnamon

dash of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper, and spread evenly. Cook for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Cool and store in an airtight container. Serve with milk, yogurt, or eat plain!

Crunchy Granola

Plum Crumb Coffee Cake

We still have plums from our 4th of July Plum Picking extravaganza! I’ve been eating them raw and baking them in yummy sweet treats. The most recent creation was a delicious crumb coffee cake.

I had a blueberry coffee cake recipe on hand, but decided to mix plums into the batter instead. I tossed the plums in a bit of flour before putting them in the batter, hoping to prevent all the fruit from sinking. I’m glad to report that the fruit dispersed evenly throughout the cake.

I also wanted big crumbs on top of my cake, isn’t that the best part of coffee cake anyways? I found a topping recipe that didn’t disappoint!

It smelled amazing when it came out of the oven!

Cake Recipe:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh sliced plums
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease and line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper.
Cream sugar and butter together until fluffy with a handheld mixer. Then beat in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to sugar and butter mixture in 3 stages, alternating with the milk. Dust plums with flour then mix into the batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Now make the topping!

Topping Recipe: Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker post http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2008/06/09/new-york-style-crumb-cake/
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour
Combine sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a  bowl. Add flour and mix with a rubber spatula until mixture comes together in a thick pasty dough. Cool about 15 minutes.
Crumble into pea-sized pieces and spread evenly over the cake batter.
Bake at 350 F degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until done, test with toothpick. Let cool and enjoy!

 

Blackberry and Strawberry Shortcake Sandwiches

My little brother graduated college this weekend in Santa Cruz! It was an exciting, family-filled weekend. Before the ceremony we checked out a farmer’s market in Santa Cruz, where we got yummy pizza from a mobile pizza oven (crazy!) and flavor packed gorditas sopes, and agua frescas from a Mexican stand. After the ceremony we proceeded up gorgeous Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay, where we dined on fresh seafood and prime rib. As we drove up the coast we saw numerous stands selling strawberries. I didn’t have a chance to purchase any of these berries, but it did remind me that strawberries are still in season!

I was back in San Francisco Sunday, and was thinking about those strawberry stands off Highway 1. I decided to go to the farmer’s market and pick some up. I bought a generous amount along with some blackberries. They taste like candy!

Now that I had the sweet, juicy berries, I thought of things to make. No way I was going to bake them, they had to be eaten in their raw form. I decided to make some strawberry shortcake! As I often do (why can’t I just follow a recipe?), I made my own spin on strawberry shortcake.

Strawberry shortcake already has so many variations, but when when I think of a traditional version I think of a sweet biscuit, piled high with strawberries and whipped cream. My shortcake was a cross between a soft cookie and traditional shortcake. The texture was a soft interior with crisp edges. They reminded me more of a cookie since they baked up pretty flat. The texture was much more delicate, and much lighter, than a typical biscuit-like shortcake. I’ve had many bland shortcakes in the past, so I pumped mine up by using buttermilk, orange zest, and vanilla extract to give it extra flavor.

I sliced the strawberries and let them macerate in a sprinkling of sugar and their own juices. I left the blackberries as they were.

When it was time to assemble the dessert I split the cakes, and piled them high with the macerated strawberries and fresh blackberries.

 

I topped with some light french vanilla ice cream before capping the dessert with the cake top. What a refreshing summer dessert!

Recipe:

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons cold butter

2/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry cutter (or in food processor) cut in cold butter, until butter is in pea-sized pieces. In a separate bowl mix buttermilk with orange zest and vanilla extract. Add to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Using a #30 ice cream scoop, scoop onto a baking pan. Cook at 375 F for 12 minutes.

Slice desired amount of strawberries and sprinkle with sugar as needed (depends on sweetness of berries). Let sit for 30 minutes or so.

To assemble, slice the cakes (or use one whole cake as your base depending on the thickness you want for your cake, I like a thin layer of cake so I sliced mine). Top with strawberries, blackberries (if you have them), and any other berries you’d like to use. Put a scoop of ice cream on top of the berries. Place the top of the sliced cake on top. Enjoy!

Bananas for Banana Cake

Check the updated recipe on Real Working Girl

How often do you find yourself with overripe bananas sitting on the counter? That happens here a lot. Actually, I will intentionally buy extra bananas just to let them sit and get brown and squishy. Once they are sufficiently beyond the stage of eating raw, I usually proceed to make banana bread. But not this time … I wanted to try something a little different, banana cake! Recently I came across a banana cake recipe that drew me in, from a blog called Butteryum. Contrary to this blog’s title this cake actually had very little butter, which I am a fan of. It calls for two, just 2, tablespoons of butter for an 8×8 cake. Most cakes this size usually call for a full stick of butter! I knew I had to try this cake, and that it would be moist with the mashed bananas and sour cream (I used light sour cream to further reduce the calories)!

You may be wondering how this is different from banana bread. For starters there is a silky frosting. You don’t find that on banana bread! Also, I add brown sugar to my banana bread, giving it a deep, almost molasses flavor. This cake is different, it has a lighter crumb and texture. It’s even lighter in color reminding me more of a cake.
Here is the recipe, adapted from Butteryum! I used a different frosting recipe.
Cake: 2/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup light sour cream 1 egg 2 tablespoons butter, softened 3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Cream together sugar and butter with a hand held mixer. Beat in the egg. Once incorporated beat in the sour cream. Add bananas and vanilla extract, then mix everything together. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Fold dry mixture into the banana mixture with a rubber spatula. Mix until incorporated, don’t over mix! Pour into a greased 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before frosting. Frosting: 2 tablespoons butter, softened 3 ounces light cream cheese 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon milk 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth with a hand held mixer. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Taste the frosting for sweetness as you go (some people like their frosting sweeter than others). Beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cake. Check out my new blog for more delicious recipes: http://realworkinggirl.com/

Strawberry and Rhubarb

Spring reminds me of strawberries, and my favorite strawberry dessert
has to be my mom’s strawberry and rhubarb crisp. First of all it’s
delicious! Also it’s made with homegrown ingredients, and is very
nostalgic. I remember my mom leaving sticky 9×13″ pans of berry crisps
on the kitchen table during the summer. I would, not so slyly, pick
off the buttery topping which would result in gaping holes on top.
During fall the berry crisps would be replaced with apple crisps,
which served as the perfect breakfast before school (more to come on
apple crisps in the fall).

Lucky for me my mom brought down strawberries and rhubarb from the garden this weekend. I had to pay homage to the garden and make a crisp. I think this crisp is served best
room temperature or slightly warm (I like to zap it in the microwave
for a few seconds) with either a scoop of vanilla ice cream or freshly
whipped cream.

I made half a recipe, so I wouldn’t eat a whole pan! I can’t wait to
dig in for more after I write this!

Recipe:

Filling:
3 cups sliced strawberries
3 cups chopped rhubarb
1-2 tablespoons of white sugar

Put in a 9×9 pan. Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, add a
tablespoon or two of sugar. My strawberries were very sweet so I only
used 1 tablespoon of sugar this time.

Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cups chopped walnuts
6 Tablespoons of cold butter

Mix the flour, brown sugar, oats, and walnuts in a bowl. Cut in butter
with a pastry blender until mixture is coarse and the butter is in pea
sized pieces. (Or process all the ingredients in the food processor
until the butter breaks up into pea sized pieces).

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit filling. Bake at 400 F
degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to 325 F degrees and bake
another 25 minutes.

Let cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice
cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!

*Avoid eating rhubarb leaves, they are poisonous