October 3rd, 2019
August 22nd, 2019
Nonnettes are tender little muffins originating in Dijon, France. What sets them apart is the warm spice (pain d’epices) which is a blend including cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and coriander. It is easy to make and I will include the recipe at the bottom of this post.
In addition to the spices, the Nonnettes have a filling of orange marmalade, orange zest and Grand Marnier. They are perfect for the Fall weather to come. It is still summer on Lake Lure even in these early days of October.
I made these Nonnettes a few months ago and photographed them. The leftovers were frozen. I forgot to add the drizzle to them before I froze them. The muffins above came from the freezer. I added the glaze and enjoyed them just as much as when they were freshly made.
ORANGE MUFFINS (NONNETTES) WITH GRAND MARNIER (Adapted from The French Life)
3/4 Cup Water
7 Tbls Butter
3/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Tbls Pain d’épices spices
2 Tbls Grand Marnier
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup All-Purpose-Flour
1 Tbls Baking Powder
Zest of 1 Orange
6 tsps. Orange Marmalade
3 Tbls Orange Juice
1/3 to 1/2 cup Confectioners’ Sugar
Heat water, butter, honey and sugar, just until butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the spices and Grand Marnier. In a large bowl whisk the flours and baking powder. Add the orange zest and stir to combine. Pour in the syrup (it should still be fairly hot). Stir until combined. Flour and butter a 12-hole muffin tin. Divide the batter over the holes. Chill for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Using a teaspoon, make a little well in the center of the batter and fill with half a tsp of marmalade. Bake the nonnettes for 20 minutes. The nonnettes should be tender and spring back when pressed. Allow to cool completely before unmolding. Place the nonnettes on a rack, making sure there is a sheet of tin foil underneath it. Make a thin glaze by whisking the orange juice into the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the nonnettes and leave to set.
Pain d’épices Spices:
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
4 whole star anise ground
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp coriander
Use 1 tablespoon of this mixture in the muffins and save the rest.
July 17th, 2019
One of my favorite “low-carb conscious” recipe websites is Kalyn’s Kitchen. She has creative recipes for South Beach, Paleo and Keto diets to name a few. David has been on the Keto diet for long enough for it to have become a lifestyle choice. Sometimes he craves more than bacon and eggs for breakfast. These muffins made with mostly almond flour fit the bill. There is a small amount of flour in the mix, but not enough to give him pause. The muffins are spiked with bacon crumbles, green onions and Parmesan cheese. I love them too.
I thank Kalyn for this wonderful recipe. I may serve them when the whole family comes for the Labor Day Weekend. They are quick to assemble and will be an easy breakfast for 14 people all on different schedules. Let the fun begin! Happy Fall.
COTTAGE CHEESE AND BACON AND EGG BREAKFAST MUFFINS (Slightly adapted from Kayln’s Kitchen)
- 2/3 cup cottage cheese (regular or low-fat)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup almond meal
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 T water
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, fat blotted with paper towel, then crumbled
- 3 T thinly sliced green onion (scallions)
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray
- In mixing bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, white whole wheat flour, almond meal , salt, water, and beaten egg. Mix well.
- Gently mix in crumbled bacon and green onion, until well distributed in batter.
- Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with cottage cheese and egg mixture.
- Bake 25 -30 minutes, until muffins are firm and lightly browned.
June 19th, 2019
I love financiers. They are little cakes shaped like gold bricks and first sold in the financial district of Paris in patisseries to moneymen with their morning espressos. They are distinctive because of the ingredients; browned butter, almond flour, egg whites and plops of fruit. I have made them with raspberries and even did a savory batch with ground walnuts and sage.
Of course you need special rectangular molds to make them authentic. Here is a source for silicone molds. I was given some tin fluted molds by a friend. I love how pretty the financiers look with the scalloped edges. But you can also make financiers in mini-muffin tins if you don’t want to invest in yet another pan.
The summer has become humid with afternoon thunderstorms in our area. The only time that is pleasant on the porch is early morning before the heat and boat traffic take control. It is a good time for a cup of coffee and one of these small treats.
6 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cup Almond Flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
5 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 400° F and butter the financier molds. Sprinkle the molds with flour, tapping away any excess. Allow the butter to melt on a low heat, wait until it turns a light brown color and begins to release a nutty scent, then remove from the heat. Mix the flour, ground almonds and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg whites and the vanilla extract and combine everything well using a whisk. Add the melted butter and whisk vigorously again. Fill the moulds with the batter and place three berries on each mold. Bake the financiers for 5 minutes before lowering the heat to 350°F and allowing them to bake for another 10 minutes. Transfer the financier moulds to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Makes 18 Financiers.
May 23rd, 2019
I am beyond excited about the results of this year’s James Beard Awards ceremony. The winner of Outstanding Chef of the year is Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh North Carolina. Her empire has expanded to several other restaurants in Raleigh. We spend a lot of time in the Raleigh area because our family is there. Eating at Poole’s Diner has been on our bucket list, but it hasn’t happened yet. The lines are long and reservations are not taken. We even have a kitchen connection. Our DIL Kristen’s brother David is one of the line cooks at the restaurant. We will make it in there one of these days. Her other local restaurants are Death and Taxes which specializes in Wood Fired cooking, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey for fried chicken, biscuits and waffles, Chuck’s for burgers, Poole’s side Pies for Pizza and Fox Liquor Bar, a subterranean drinking den. The chef is multi-talented.
Chef Ashley Christensen’s first restaurant, Poole’s Diner hit the mark for traditional Southern fare with a creative edge. Her signature macaroni and cheese au gratin is the most popular item on the menu. You can find the recipe here.
But the reason I am thrilled by Ashley Christensen’s recognition is because she is a good person. There is no cheffy persona in her wheelhouse. She has turned her celebrated life toward good works. She was quoted as saying “I think that philanthropy, through restaurants, will ultimately end up being my life’s work.” She works for both the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Frankie Lemmons School for Disabled Children. The local Stir the Pot fund raiser is also one of her projects. Supporting her community and other chefs is what she is all about.
In honor of her Southern roots, I want to share this biscuit recipe that I have found to be a winner. I could never find Ashley’s biscuit recipe on line, but I have a feeling that it might be close to this one. The flakey layers are obvious in these biscuits. It is important to keep the butter cold while working the biscuits. Instead of cutting the butter into the flour, which will warm the butter, the stick of butter is frozen and then grated directly into the flour and stirred in. Working and turning the dough a few times ensures that it is not overly handled and produces many layers. Making these biscuits puts me in mind of Edna Lewis, Ashley Christensen and all of the Southern cooks that have made our region recognized for its creative cuisine. Congratulations to Ashley Christensen, a North Carolina native.
FLAKEY BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (Frozen)
- 3/4 cup Buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the dry ingredients.
With a box grater, grate the frozen stick of butter into the flour mixture. Stir into mixture. Add the buttermilk and stir just until combined.
Dump the mixture onto a floured board. Lightly flour top of dough and shape into a rectangle. Gentle fold into thirds like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold again. Repeat several times.
Gently flatten dough to 1″ thick. Using a 2 3/4″ biscuit cutter, cut out about 3 biscuits. Pull dough back together and cut the remainder into biscuits. You will get about 6 biscuits.
Place biscuits on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the tops with melted butter.
So many blueberries. I have an abundance. I wish I could say that I picked them or got them from a farmer, but they were for sale at my local supermarket for $1.88 a pint. I have plans for future dishes, but the first one I made was this Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake. I divided the batter between three 6 inch paper disposable liners; one to eat now, one in the freezer and one to share with a friend.
I love this recipe because of the thick batter that doesn’t allow the blueberries to sink to the bottom, the rich buttery flavor and the lightness created by the lemon zest. The crumble topping and the lemony powdered sugar glaze enhances it all. Perfect for breakfast with a strong cup of coffee on the deck or boathouse.
Our lake is transitioning from Spring to Summer with more boats in the water, music in the air and laughter filtering out of newly re-opened lakefront cottages.
This recipe is originally baked in a 9-inch springform pan but is easily adaptable to a 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. In my case, I had the three disposable 6-inch liners. Here is something similar. We are looking forward to the Memorial Day Weekend. Let the summer begin.
LEMON BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE (Barbara Bakes)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (You may need more)
- Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray with flour.
- Prepare crumb topping and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and milk. Mix in lemon zest. Add flour mixture and mix just until combine. Stir in blueberries.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
- Bake at 350º for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. About 210 degrees with an instant read thermometer.
- Cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and remove ring. Drizzle icing on cake. Cool completely before serving. (Unless you’re like us and would rather eat it hot even though the cake doesn’t cut as well.)
In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, and butter. Mix until mixture is crumbly.
Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice to create a thin glaze.