Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cream cheese pound cake

Dessert celebration, round three! I knew I needed to make this cake as soon as I read the words “cream cheese” and “pound cake.” I was even more convinced after I read that they’re even better after they’ve been frozen, which seems like some sort of pound cake miracle. And really, no matter what I did to these cakes, they prevailed. Freezing, fridging, leaving them on the counter: they were still great. Also, they’re quick to put together, and the recipe makes a double batch. Dessert miracle, indeed.

Cream cheese pound cake (

Timing: Totally forgot to time myself with this one too, sorry! I think it was something like: 3 minutes for pan prep, 5 minutes for dry ingredient mixing, 15 minutes for the rest of the mixing, 3 minutes for getting it all into pans, 60 minutes for baking.

Scaling up: You could double this, I think, without the batter getting too unwieldy. (Keep in mind that each batch makes two loaves.)

–       Refrigeration: This did well in my fridge for two days. Any longer than that and it started to dry out. (A note: the crust stayed crisper and tastier when I left it out at room temperature instead, but it was still good post-fridge.)
–       Freezing: I froze this after baking it, per the recipe’s original suggestion. As always, wrap it well in plastic wrap to make sure it doesn’t get freezer-burned. I just de-frosted it in the fridge for a few hours and then on the counter for another hour. I’m guessing you could freeze the batter and then bake it, but since you can bake it ahead of time, why bother?
–       Sitting out: This sat on my counter well for two days. I covered it in plastic wrap, but left a small corner open for air flow, so the texture didn’t get ruined. Any longer and you should freeze it so it doesn’t dry out.

Serving: This would, obviously, be great served with summer berries and/or whipped cream. (Whipped cream might be a little difficult to time for a large event.) If you really want to double-down on the cream cheese, you might serve it with an almond cream cheese frosting and fruit. Or mascarpone cream  or ricotta cream or even geranium cream (!). Or if you’re following the dreams of my 12-year-old self and having a chocolate fountain, you can cut the cake into nice little cubes and serve them on skewers for dipping.

cream cheese pound cake (

Cream cheese pound cake
From this recipe.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz) butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare two 9×5 loaf pans by putting in a piece of parchment paper, and buttering and flouring the remaining two exposed sides. (You can also 10-inch bundt pan, although that will be harder to use with parchment paper, and thus potentially harder to remove while keeping it pretty.)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until it’s fluffy. Add the sugar, and continue to beat it for another two minutes. Mix in the eggs, beating the mixture after each one until it’s well-combined. Add the vanilla.

Lower the mixer speed. Add in the flour mixture a third at a time, mixing after each addition until it’s just combined, making sure to scrape down the sides as you go.

Divide the batter between your two loaf pans (or put it all in the bundt). Bake for 55-60 minutes for loafs and 75 minutes or so for a bundt, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (My loaves took about 7 minutes longer.) Cool the cakes completely before removing them from their pans. Use a thin knife to loosen the sides if they won’t come out easily.

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S’mores blondies

Round two of dessert celebration! I actually posted these on my other blog last year, when I first came up with the recipe, but they’re amazing enough that I thought they were worth sharing here.

Brown butter s'mores blondies (

Scaling up: You could easily quadruple the recipe for two large pans of blondies. Any more than that and you’ll probably want to make multiple batches.

Timing: I forgot to time my prep for these, sorry! From memory, I think it was approximately: Pan prep took 3 minutes. Browning butter took around 7 minutes, and then I let it cool for 10. Mixing everything together and putting it in the pan took around 15 minutes.

–       Refrigeration: These kept in my fridge for two days. I wouldn’t go longer for fear they’ll dry out.
–       Freezing: I froze these two ways: 1) totally cooked, with marshmallows on top, and 2) just the batter, without the marshmallows. Both methods worked well, although the second method was noticeably better (marshmallow was a littllllle less fluffy after having been frozen). So if you have the time, freeze the batter without the marshmallows on top. To bake, add the marshmallows and bake straight from the freezer. Mine didn’t take any longer to bake than the non-frozen version, but I think that might have been a fluke.
–       Sitting out: These can sit out for a day or even two (covered with plastic wrap) with no adverse effects. Any longer and they’ll probably dry out.

Salted brown butter s’mores blondies
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons kosher salt (more like 1 teaspoon if you’re using table salt)
1 cup flour
½ toasted pecans
½ cup chocolate chips
10-15 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8×8 pan.

Brown the butter (instructions here). Let it cool.

Mix together browned butter and brown sugar. Beat in the egg, and then the vanilla. Mix in salt, then flour. The mixture will be thick. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and place one marshmallow on every square inch or so. Place back in oven, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until it’s set in the middle (the marshmallows might make it a little hard to tell, but don’t worry about them being slightly underbaked, they’re gooey and delicious that way). The marshmallows will puff out and melt back over the top of the blondie.

A note: It will seem tempting to cut into them hot. They’re ok that way, ignoring the burning-hot marshmallow, but unlike most brownies, they’re at their most extraordinary after they’ve cooled.

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By the time Lee and I get back from England, there will be less than two months until the wedding. There are two options: 1) freak out, or 2) celebrate. We also just officially crossed the mark of having all the major things figured out. As of right now, we could have wedding with no table runners and lumps of flowers just dropped on the table, but with food for people to eat and plates for them to eat it off of, and someone to marry us and music for people to dance to.

So I think I’ll pick 2) celebrate! over 1) burst into frantic, hysterical tears. Yes? Yes. And what is a celebration without dessert? Rhetorical question, every celebration needs dessert, duh.

I have three recipes for you over the next few days, for freezable, wedding-worthy desserts. Today, we’re exploring salted caramel brownies. Salted? Caramel? Brownies? Yes.


A note: don’t overbake these. The gooeyness is essential to the flavor as well as the texture, and if you bake them too long, the caramel starts to disappear into the brownie.

Making the caramel took 15 minutes. Melting chocolate and butter took 13 minutes. Stirring in the rest of the ingredients and arranging everything in pans took another 10. Baking took 25-35 minutes.

–       Refrigeration: Go on and stick them in the fridge. I wouldn’t do more than a day or two, though, so that they don’t dry out. Make sure to pull them out at least an hour or two before you serve them, so they’re not hard.
–       Freezing: You can put the batter into pans, freeze them, and then bake them straight from the freezer. Mine took an extra five minutes of baking time, for a total of 35 minutes, but watch yours closely. Like I point out above, you want them gooey and almost a little underbaked.
–       Sitting out: You’re good to go. I left mine out overnight and they were fine.
–       Prep: You can definitely make the caramel ahead of time, and leave it in the fridge for several days.


Salted Caramel Brownies
From Deb Perelman’s fantastically creative brain and blog.

For caramel:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt, more to taste)
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Put some parchment paper on a large plate. If you’re feeling thorough, butter it. If you’re feeling lazy, like I was, don’t bother.

Get a medium saucepan. Make sure it is totally dry. Melt the sugar, which will take about five minutes. You’ll probably need to stir it a few times as chunks form. (A note: use a fine-grained sugar. The natural sugar I used the first time was so course it almost looked like demerara, and it made it really hard for it to dissolve evenly.) (Another note: hot sugar is hot. Don’t be like me, remember not to touch it.) It will probably be a coppery, caramel-y color by this point. If it’s not, cook it for a few more minutes, but keep an eye on it and don’t let it get too dark. You want it to be basically exactly the color of packaged caramel candies from the store (see picture below).

Remove it from the heat, and stir in the butter. It probably won’t incorporate entirely into the sugar. Don’t worry about that, but do stir it well. Stir in the cream and the salt, and it should start to come together. Put the pan back on the heat and bring it to a simmer, and cook it until it has all incorporated. Remove it from the heat again, and pour the mixture onto the parchment papered plate. Put it in the freezer until it’s solid enough to cut, around half an hour.

When it is firm, use a sharp knife to cut it into approximately 1-inch squares.


For brownies:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped (I actually messed up and used sweetened chocolate the first time I made these. I still liked them. I maybe even liked them more than the normal ones.)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, butter and flour the two remaining exposed sides.

Make a double boiler by putting a heat-proof glass bowl over a pan full of water. Bring the water to a simmer, and melt the butter and chocolate in the bowl, until smooth. Stir it regularly, and don’t overheat/don’t burn the chocolate.

Remove from heat. Whisk in the sugar, and then the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and the salt. Stir in the flour.

Fold most of the caramel squares into the batter, reserving a small handful. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smooth it out, and sprinkle the remaining caramels on top. (If you’re freezing, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer.)

Bake for 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (That is, clean from brownie crumbs. It will almost certainly have some caramel on it.) Brownies will cut better (and not burn your mouth with hot caramel!) if you let them cool first.

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Spring vegetable dip with chevre and asparagus

Hello from England! I’m sitting here in a coffee shop looking out at centuries-old buildings, drinking what might be the only decent latte in all of Oxfordshire, sitting next to a man who looks just like Slavoj Žižek. Lee just marched off in her fancy dress and Harry Potter cape to take a final exam.

(Speaking of this coffeeshop, can we talk about the fact that when I’m not in Portland, I find the most Portland place possible? In the middle of Oxford, the baristas here are all tattooed and thrift shop chic and playing Jay-Z. We were in Amsterdam last week, and we were wandering a lot. When Lee was leading, we ended up at a synagogue and a convenience store full of butch lesbians. When I was leading, we ended up in a square with an artisanal chocolate shop and a coffee shop with twelve types of pour-overs. I’m hopeless.)

England’s about a month behind Oregon, so when I left, our lilacs were dried and brown, and the summer heat was starting to show off what it can do. But here, it’s still a little chilly, and there’s asparagus! Asparagus! I’ve become a little obsessed with wild asparagus (blame this picture), and yesterday’s late night wikipedia-ing led me to the information that Germany’s asparagus season goes until June 24th(!) So that’s my excuse for posting a recipe that might be a little out of season for most of you. I’m in Europe! Things are different here!


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