sweets

Blueberry Picnic Cake




Dear Beloveds, 

I believe in going out to lunch: it’s more casual than dinner, not too long, not too short, and it’s nice
Lunch is always nice
Over lunch is the best way to talk to people. 
And I love talking to people. 
So the locations are always changing, the people are always changing. 
But the interesting thing is that the talk rarely does: It’s always love or god or family or school or work or the future or the past or what-should-I-order. The characters and situations might change, but the bewilderment never really does. 
And I don’t know if this changes with adulthood/time-- but so many people my age talk about loneliness. 
They are lonely on the insides. 
Lonely on the outsides. 
And there are people in your phone but frequently it feels like all the communication done and information garnered via facebook doesn’t translate into the real world.



All so lonely. 

So I don’t know who you are. 

Maybe I don’t even know you. 

But please know this. 

I get lonely. 

Maybe you do too. 

So call someone. 
Or sit in the sun till the ache inside gets a little better. 
Or bake this cake. Just because it is good. 

And know, that somehow, someone, somewhere, is maybe thinking about you. 
And wishing you only the sweet things. 

I’m only wishing you sweet things. 

xoxo

p.s. I will be traveling for a while with poor internet access and no kitchen. So we'll probably speak again late August. Love love love. 
p.p.s. This is yet another blueberry cake recipe. I'm not sorry. 



Blueberry Picnic Cake

My cousin Claire told me to make this from our family cookbook. She was not kidding when she said it was worth my time. Claire is pretty rad. So is this cake. And with a smudge of ice cream: heaven.  xo


4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup milk 

2 pints fresh blueberries, washed, dried and dusted with 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar

Grease 13x9x3 inch baking pan. 
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat until well-blended. 
In a large bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add salt and vanilla. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar and beat until blended. 
Add egg yolks and beat until light and creamy. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, baking powder and milk. Mix throughly. Fold in the reserved beaten egg whites. 
Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Spread evenly in prepared ban. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. 
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. 



Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl


I keep comparing myself to who I was two years ago. 



Because when I was 18, I was pretty certain I knew what was up. 
I knew what I liked, and what I didn't. 
And I had a certain way of being and speaking and seeing. 
I thought I knew myself. 
Now two years have passed and I'm different. 


Go figure. 



And the only reason this is exciting is because I've surprised myself. 
I mean, actually really surprised myself. 

I've done a lot of things I never thought I would do or could do or was even capable of doing. 

I think I'm braver. 
I think I'm also quite a bit dumber, but maybe that's the tradeoff for being "vulnerable" or "impulsive." 
I now appreciate Taylor Swift, who I was definitely too much of a snob for at 18. 
I've gotten better about saying thank you. 
I now have a very long list of things I've learned since 18 called "Life Lessons." 
It has some absolute PEARLS of wisdom on it such as, "Always keep tums on hand" and "Save money." 



Whatever. 

However, what brought about these scintillating ruminations, is that at 18, other than Taylor Swift, I had absolutely no interest in cheesecake or cheesecake related edibles. 

Oh how the tables have turned. 

These are raspberry goat cheese brownies. Basically cheesecake's cousin. 
And they are really fucking good, especially when frozen. 

What I am trying to tell you is, you don't have to wait two years to become the new, improved you.
 You can start right now. 
With these crazy cheesecake cousin brownies. 


"To change one's life; start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions."
                                              - William James

You're welcome. 

XOXO 

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl


via thekitchn.com



Makes about 30 small brownie squares
Raspberries
2 cups raspberries, lightly mashed
2 tablespoons brandy or Kirsch
Brownies
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl
8 ounces goat cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour
4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for an hour
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Heat the oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan (or any 3-quart dish, like the gratin dish I use here) with butter or baking spray. Place the raspberries in a bowl and stir in the brandy or Kirsch. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter until liquid in a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan over low heat. When the chocolate is completely melted, remove from the heat, whisk in the milk, and cool for about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs one by one. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold in until just combined. Fold in about half of the raspberries and spread this brownie batter in the prepared pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with hand beaters, or by hand with a heavy whisk) beat the goat cheese with the cream cheese, butter, egg, sugar, and almond extract until light and fluffy. Gently fold in the other half of the raspberries and their juices. Drop the goat cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter in spoonfuls, then swirl it through the batter with a knife. Bake for 30 minutes or until just barely set. The top will be just turning light brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Store at room temperature, well-covered. The flavor and texture of these brownies really bloom when you let them rest overnight.

Lighter-Than-Air-Chocolate Cake


Hello Beloveds, 
Yesterday was my birthday. 
I’m 20. 


Now is such a difficult and strange time, and the past several months have had me all achey and breakey. Growing pains. 
Somehow, yesterday, the sky was tremendous and blue and I felt this delight and calm settle over me. I don’t know if it was the weather, or the fact that I was very tired, or just because I’m no longer a teen. 
But I was so happy. 
I am still so happy. 

A friend asked me what my intention for being 20 is. I told her, I said, "Gratitude and forgiveness. And I want to write better songs." 

That’s all. 

The future is strange and dark. No one, no one, no one knows what is coming next. And yet, somehow yesterday, under that blue sky, I felt a lightness and freedom that I have not felt for a very, very long time. 

It’s all going to come out in the wash, falling down and picking myself up again, with a song in my throat, I go forward. 

We go forward together. 

Thank you thank you thank you. 



Lighter-Than-Air-Flourless-Chocolate-Cake
via SmittenKitchen.com 

My mother baked me this incredible cake. It’s like eating a chocolate cloud. And gluten free! 

To make four cake layers:
12 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
6 tablespoons water
12 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder

For filling: 
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier* or Rum of Some Kind or Other 

Make cake layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease four 9-inch circular cake pans and line bottoms of circles with a piece of parchment paper.
Melt chocolate with water in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring. Cool to lukewarm.
Beat yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes in a standing mixer or about 8 minutes with a hand-held mixer. Fold in melted chocolate until blended. Beat whites with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks (you will need an enormous bowl for 12 egg whites).
Gradually add remaining 2/3 cup sugar and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Fold one third of whites into melted-chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
Spread batter evenly over four baking pans and bake until puffed and top is dry to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating cakes between racks to ensure they bake evenly. Transfer pans to cooling racks and if necessary, loosen edges with a knife.
Sift cocoa powder over top of cake layers and place a piece of waxed paper over the top of the pans. Place a baking sheet over paper and invert cake onto it, gently peeling off wax paper lining. Place layers in the freezer for about an hour, until they are firm enough to be carefully lifted without breaking.
Make filling: Beat cream with powdered sugar and Grand Marnier with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks.
Fill and stck cake: Bring first cake layer out of the freezer and arrange on platter, cocoa side down. Spread one-quarter of filling evenly over the cake. Bring the next cake layer out of the freezer, placing it gently over the filling, again cocoa side down. Repeat this process until all layers and whipped cream are used.
Keep cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Two hours should be more than enough to assure that the layers are no longer frozen.
Dark chocolate grated into curls with a vegetable peeler makes for an excellent garnish.
* You can substitute the following for Grand Marnier: 4 tablespoons Cognac and 1 teaspoon vanilla; 4 tablespoons cocoa and 1 teaspoon vanilla; or 4 teaspoons instant-espresso powder or instant-coffee granules dissolved in 4 teaspoons water plus 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Valentines Day

February, man. 

It's a rough month. 

School is hard. The weather is fickle. Life is tricky. And there's Valentines Day. 


 
Lately, I've been asking the cosmos to just throw me a bone. 
This past week I fell over twice because my backpack was so heavy, which simultaneously made me want to laugh and cry. 
I chose to laugh, but really wished that someone would just give me a hug instead. 

Also, Valentines Day is this week. 


There are about 2 things in the world that I hate. 
I hate papayas.
And I hate Valentines Day, even though it means lots of marked down chocolate on february 15th. 
Which is definitely a win for the stress-eating singles of the world. 


Whatever. 

Tonight, I made these cookies. 
This is the third time I've published this recipe here, and ironically, the last time I posted it was exactly around this time last year. These cookies somehow answer all my comfort food cravings and February sweetness needs. 


I hope you have a lovely week, and I hope your backpacks are a little lighter, and I really hope you make these cookies, because February man, it's a rough month. 

XOXO
m




Perfection In Your Mouth Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips or 2 cups store-bought chips or chunks
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.
Working with a stand mixer w/paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed mix in chocolate and nuts.
Spoon on tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 10 to 12 minutes. Until light brown on edges and golden in center.
Allow cookies to rest for one minute. Then using spatula transfer to cooling rack.