Archive for ‘breakfast & brunch’

August 19th, 2013

cherry almond quickbread

cherry almond quick bread 1

This bread is too good. I-can-eat-the-whole-loaf-in-a-day-if-I’m-not-careful too good. Mmmm. And it is super simple to make!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar (*You can make a sugar-free version of this too using a sugar baking substitute).
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherries
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp. almond extract


  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan.
  •  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cherries and toss to distribute evenly.
  •  In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, butter and almond extract. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Do not overmix.
  •  Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top of the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn the loaf out onto the rack and let cool completely before serving*.  Makes 1 loaf (+ a baby mini loaf if you want it to, which I like making to “test taste”).
  • * This step is crucial to being able to slice the loaf. I know it is SO HARD TO WAIT. This is where your mini loaf can come in handy 0 eat it while you are waiting on the big loaf to cool!

cherry almond quick bread

I stumbled across the recipe in a Williams Sonoma product catalogue of all places! Just another reason to love WS. I’ve now made this bread no less than 6 times (I even made sugar-free versions for a friend and she loved it so much!) and now I keep dried cherries in my pantry at all times. You know. Just in case I need to make a loaf.

Don’t laugh.

Make it once and you’ll be won over. I promise!

August 13th, 2012

dried cherry almond scones

I love cherries – dried or fresh, the tartness with the sweetness makes them a perfect fruit in my opinion.

I discovered dried cherries a few years ago, though I had only every really enjoyed them in my homemade trail mix or just by the handful when traveling. This scone recipe is super simple, it takes about 30 minutes – which is exactly the kind of baking I love: instant gratification baking!

dried cherry almond scones

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 scones


  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/3 + 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. + 3 Tbsp whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 c. dried cherries
  • egg wash 1 egg + 1 tsp water, beaten
  • raw sugar for sprinking
  • sliced almonds for decorating

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in butter pieces and pulse until well incorporated. Pour into medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl combine 1 egg, whipping cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Add cherries; mixture should be sticky.
  4. Turn onto floured surface and knead 4 to 5 times with floured hands, make sure all cherries are well incorporated. Pat out into TWO 1/2" thick circle shapes and use a knife to make 3 diagonal cuts (like cutting a pizza pie) to get 6 triangles out of each circle (this will yield 12 scones total). Brush triangle tops with egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar and top with sliced almonds.
  5. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, until bottom edges appear golden.
  6. Remove and allow to cool 5 minutes before transfering to a cooling rack.

I found this recipe on Food Network’s site, it originally came from Blacksmith Inn in Wisconsin.  I added a little extra whipping cream than the original recipe called for and I used a food processor to bring the dry ingredients together rather than how the original recipe directs.  I also think these would be tasty made with orange zest and cranberries, or even lemon zest and blueberries – there is lots of room for creativity!

The scones turned out great – not overly sweet and the cherries offer just the perfect compliment of tart fruitness that you can enjoy these any time of day…and trust me, I’ve had them at all hours of the day since I made them!

January 13th, 2012

blackberry muffins with lemon zest

I’ve been having bakers withdrawl since hubs has been fasting from sweets… who else am I going to pawn all my goodies off to if not the hubs? Usually he has his fair share and takes the leftovers to work, but he has been gone so the oven has been cold and my pans and mixing bowls have been quite sedentary.  Until last night.

Often I peruse food websites late at night because I’m a glutton for punishment. I love drooling over beautiful pics of food at midnight, wishing the cheese stick or cookie I am nibbling on would taste half as good.  Sometimes I jump up and turn on the oven and othertimes I just continue to dream. While perusing this week I came across this recipe on Williams Sonoma for blackberry muffins and I just knew I had to try it! For one, it’s not an overtly sweet recipe and for 2, we have (had) frozen blackberries in the freezer!

sugar pecan crumble topping


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

Cooking Directions

  1. in a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour and lemon zest. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the pecans and stir to combine. Set aside.

blackberry muffins

Yield: 12 muffins


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries (or 2-1/2 cups frozen unsweetened blackberries)

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray.
  2. in a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg, melted butter and buttermilk. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Sprinkle with the blackberries and gently fold in with a large rubber spatula just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Take care not to break up the fruit. Do not overmix.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each to a bit above the rim of the cup. Top each muffin with the topping, dividing it evenly (the sugar will melt and produce a glaze effect).
  4. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Unmold the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature, with butter.

I should probably take a cue that baking at night (and on a time limit – I was having a Skype date with the bestie) is probably not a practice I should take up regularly.

Apparently I have a hard time reading directions while under duress (I might be stretching it to say that being a few minutes late to my Skype date qualifies as conditions of duress…).  The directions specifically state to add the sugary pecan topping to the muffins before baking them, not after.


No wonder I couldn’t get the topping to “melt” and form a glaze.

I was also annoyed at the mess it was making when the sugar failed to adhere to the muffin tops, so much so that I nuked it a few times in an effort to make it more syrupy…

I guess the bright side is that since most of it fell off, they were a tad healthier without the extra sugar!

I gave two to our maintenance man, two to our mail man, I ate two, and I sent the rest with hubs to work this morning. And it’s a good thing because another day in this house and I would have finished them off!

December 19th, 2011

easy bacon spinach frittata

I’m not a morning person. It’s not that I’m moody or grumpy when I wake up, quite the contrary!

It’s just that usually by the time I wake up it’s closer to noon than it is to morning!

Some weekends I do wake up early enough to make breakfast, and on those days I’ll make waffles, pancakes, dutch baby’s and anything of the carb variety. Recently I decided to change up my carb fest for a more hearty breakfast and since I had some grocery items on hand (bacon and spinach) that don’t normally live in our fridge, I decided to whip up a frittata. It was splendid!

bacon spinach frittata

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 slices (or more)


  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lactose-free, fat-free skim milk
  • 1/2 lb fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 7 slices bacon
  • 1/2 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet (or a frying pan that is over-safe) over medium-low heat. Remove bacon from pan when done and set on a plate with paper towels to drain. Roughly chop bacon once cooled and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the same pan and cook on medium low heat for 3 minutes, or until the onions are softened and slightly translucent.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, add the spinach and stir until the leaves are wilted.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk and stir just until combined. Add a dash of salt, if desired.
  6. Add the egg mixture and the bacon to the skillet. Stir until well mixed and then return the pan to the heat and cook on medium for about 5 minutes so the eggs begin to set.
  7. Sprinkle the cheese across the top, and then carefully place the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges are brown and eggs are cooked through.
  8. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Want to know the best part of this recipe?

I had the leftovers for lunch the next day and they were just as delicious as the morning before!