All posts tagged: dessert

4 reasons to love chia seeds, plus my favorite chia recipe

Last weekend, my niece and mom asked me about chia seed. They knew it was something healthy to eat, but they weren’t sure why, or how to use it. Fortunately, when I worked at Delicious Living we answered this question, complete with recipes. Here’s a roundup of chia information from DL, plus my favorite chia seed recipe. Chia seeds are easy to use. Unlike flaxseed, you don’t have to grind chia to reap its benefits, and it’s incredibly versatile in recipes. Chia seeds are full of nutrients. Gram for gram, chia contains more fiber than flaxseed and more calcium than milk, as well as significant protein, potassium, and plant-based omega-3s. Chia seeds last a looong time. In the refrigerator, they’ll keep for up to two years. Chia has its own day. March 23 is National Chia Day — who knew? I love this chia infographic made in partnership with the fabulous Mamma Chia, maker of USDA certified organic chia drinks and bars. My favorite recipe with chia seeds takes just a few minutes to put together, and then it sets …

Christmas recipe fix: Raisin Mumbles cookie bars

Last week, a dear friend of mine sent me a blurry photo and recipe with this hilarious comment: “This recipe is my Christmas recipe nightmare! A favorite of my husband and youngest son but a living mess to make EVERY SINGLE YEAR. My son and my sister-in-law made it this year and this is the debacle. Burned on the edges, underdone in the middle, left the oven a smoking mess, and the dog had a go at it as well. This recipe is very old—handed down from Grandma Betty. It certainly could stand some updating!” She added: “And it’s too many cookie bars! No one can eat an 11 x 15 pan of raisin mumbles!!” (To which I replied, genuinely, “Oh, it’s supposed to be bars?!”) I’ve often said that I love to cook but I don’t really love to bake—baking typically requires precision, not my forte. But cookie bars seemed doable … and  the challenge enticed me. Here’s what happened. Skip to the finished and delicious recipe below! I started by cutting the recipe roughly in half—and …

Mountain strawberry shortcake recipe

One person’s invader is another person’s honored guest. A friend of mine wages war against the rangy “mountain strawberry” plant that creeps into her Colorado lawn every summer. Despite the cute little berries, she considers this native plant an invasive pest and she works hard to eradicate it from her garden. But last week, during my visit to Sun Valley, Idaho, my aunt Sandy delightedly pointed out the very same plant in her garden and rejoiced over the many miniature strawberries dotting the vines. “The French call these fraises des bois,” she gushed, “and they’re considered a real delicacy because of their concentrated flavor. One of my French friends couldn’t believe we had them growing wild on our patio!” That afternoon, Sandy’s gardener harvested a cup or two of the precious berries. I made Sandy’s “best-ever” shortcake recipe, and she whipped up her special version of fresh whipped cream (secret ingredient: sour cream). That night for dessert, we feasted on Mountain Strawberry Shortcake. Shortcake recipe (originally from Bon Appetit, July 2006): 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 8 tablespoons sugar, divided 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 …

Why you should never trust (every) recipe

I’m psyched that a piece I wrote for Sunset magazine’s blog is now on the site! Titled “Why you can’t trust every recipe on the internet,” it’s a lighthearted look at a common problem — published recipes that may or may not work in a real kitchen — plus tips on what you can do about it. Though online recipes are proliferating faster than you can say “gluten-free cupcakes,” the resources for testing those recipes are drying up. As the LA Times asked in a recent article: “Is recipe testing a vanishing art?” I’m afraid the answer is yes. Needless to say, this can be frustrating and costly for the home cook, so I hope the blog gives you some useful guidelines in your own recipe adventures. And please leave a comment about recipe sites or publications that you particularly trust. I can say from experience that Delicious Living and Sunset are both excellent sources.

Why I simply had to make this gluten-free orange cake

I am the first to admit that I am not a happy baker. Baking is too precise. All that measuring just so. Plus I don’t really like cake; I’m a fruit-pie girl. And don’t get me started on trying to figure out high-altitude adjustments. (Boulder stands at 5,300 feet above sea level — enough to make muffins cry.) But when I saw this January 2015 cover of Sunset magazine, I felt an irresistible urge. I had to make this Corn Flour and Orange Blossom Chiffon Cake. My “you’re not a baker” voice tried to talk me out of it. “Are you crazy? It’ll never work.