glazed passion fruit bars

Glazed Passion Fruit Bars | daisysworld.net

If you like lemon bars, I think you’ll love this variation of my Meyer Lemon-Mascarpone Bars, which substitutes passion fruit juice for lemon juice. Like lemon bars, these Passion Fruit Bars have a thick, buttery shortbread crust and luscious ooey, gooey filling, but with the distinct, floral flavor and aroma of passion fruit. The sharp tartness of the passion fruit is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the sugar and the richness of the creamy mascarpone. The glaze adds a touch more sweet-tart flavor and a little crunch from the passion fruit seeds.

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vanilla bean & meyer lemon chess pie

Vanilla Bean & Meyer Lemon Chess Pie | daisysworld.net

Citrus season reaches its peak in winter.  Isn’t that great timing?  Just as Mother Nature is dumping massive amounts of snow on many parts of the country, here in California, she is providing an abundance of tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, and lemons so that we can bask in the bright, citrusy sunshine even on the coldest days of winter.  To me, nothing says summer-in-the-middle-of-winter more than meyer lemons.

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mini pumpkin butter and orange cream cheese sticky buns

Mini Pumpkin Butter and Orange Cream Cheese Sticky Buns

“I could eat a million of these!,” exclaimed my husband, Chris, as he took a bite out of the first of many mini sticky buns he had for breakfast. I definitely agree with him as not only are they cute, but they are delicious and very easy to make. These miniature version of sticky buns are filled with orange-flavored cream cheese and pumpkin butter and topped with a pecan and brown sugar glaze.  Continue reading

apple crisp with oatmeal walnut streusel topping

Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Walnut Streusel Topping

Growing up, my mom loved fruit and always kept a variety in the house which she encouraged my brothers and I to eat.  However, one fruit that was conspicuously  absent was the apple.  It was not the taste she didn’t like. Rather it was the sound of someone biting into one that bothered her. It was like fingernails on chalkboard and the sound literally gave her goosebumps and sent chills up her spine. Continue reading

apricot cornmeal cakes

Apricot Cornmeal Cakes

These days, I am completely obsessed with stone fruits. Every time I go to the store, I pick some up, either to eat fresh or to cook with.  I am featuring apricots in this recipe, but peaches, nectarines, or even plums would work just as well.  I came across this recipe from A Spicy Perspective, a beautiful blog from professional writer, recipe developer, and food stylist, Summer Collier. What intrigued me was her addition of Chinese Five-Spice Powder, which I have only (narrow-mindedly) used in savory dishes.  Continue reading

nectarine, peach, and blackberry cake

Nectarine, Peach, and Blackberry Cake

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was waxing poetic about the many things I loved about the summer. Yet, it feels like summer is quickly slipping away. June is a distant blur; July came and went in a blink of an eye. Now, the days are getting shorter and there’s a hint of autumn in the night air. August is almost halfway over. Where did the time go?  Continue reading

at the county fair: mexican grilled corn

At the Fair: Mexican Grilled Corn

While grilled corn is delicious with just some butter and sea salt, try this Mexican version, called elote, grilled corn that is smothered in crema Mexicana or mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder seasoning, and freshly-squeezed lime.  This is a popular snack sold by street vendors in Mexico.  Some ingredients are Mexican staples but are widely available in grocery stores and Hispanic markets here in the US. 

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vanilla bean custard with roasted berries

Vanilla  Bean Custard with Roasted Berries

Every cook should have a homemade custard recipe in his or her repertoire.  It is the base for so many desserts and yet, is fairly simple to master.  The key is to temper the eggs with the milk so you don’t end up with bits of scrambled eggs.

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cream cheese shortbread with toasted walnuts and orange zest

Cream Cheese Shortbread

If you’re looking for buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a nutty crunch, look no further than these cream cheese shortbread cookies flavored with toasted walnuts and orange. The addition of cream cheese transforms these from the traditional sandy and crumbly shortbread to lighter, softer cookies. For an even more cake-like texture, roll the dough into balls instead of using a cookie cutter. Continue reading

chocolate almond toffee bars

Chocolate Covered Almond Toffee Bark

It seems that I inherited my sweet tooth from my Dad. Like me, he favors quick breads, cookies, and candies, and, like me, he also loves chocolate. When I saw this recipe for Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars, I knew it was the perfect treat to make for him.  I got my opportunity last weekend when we had a family gathering. I made sure there would be some extra pieces for my Dad to take home. What I didn’t expect was that he would have some competition for the leftovers…from my nephew, who proclaimed that all the leftover bars were his. I had to be the peacemaker and divide up the remaining pieces equally. It appears that a sweet tooth runs in my family. Note to self: Make a double batch for Christmas morning so Dad and little nephew could have as much as they want.

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almond and orange shortbread cookies

I have always loved reading catalogs from my favorite stores like West Elm, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and CB2.  To this day one of my guilty pleasures is leafing through pages looking for food styling inspirations and new props to use for plating.  I’ve been busy lately, but yesterday I finally had a time to relax with a cup of coffee, a cookie or two (or three) and my pile of catalogs.  Naturally, I found a few things I want so I folded down the page corners and left the catalogs conspicuously on the coffee table in the hopes my husband would get some hints for my upcoming birthday.  I wonder if it will work? Continue reading

pumpkin swirl coffee cake

Today I’m doing my best Paula Deen imitation with this recipe for Pumpkin Swirl Coffee Cake which requires almost 12 ounces of butter. I certainly don’t recommend baking with and eating this much butter all the time, but it is a nice indulgence once in a while.  The result is quite possibly the most buttery and moist cake I’ve ever made. It is also  light and tender with just the right amount of sweetness and spice. The crumbly pecan and brown sugar streusel made for a great topping, as well as a base, for the cake. My kitchen was filled with the heavenly aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, reminiscent of Thanksgiving, which, by the way, is a mere 56 days away!

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red currant and poppy seed cake

A month ago, I would have passed on making this cake. It wasn’t because this recipe, from Aran Goyoaga of the breathtakingly beautiful blog Canelle et Vanille, didn’t sound delicious.  On the contrary, her recipe have always been so tempting, but I’ve never attempted any of them.  Why, you ask?  Well, I’m a little embarrassed to say!  Continue reading

parmesan basil biscuits

I just love baking (and eating) biscuits, and this recipe elevates them with the addition of parmesan cheese and basil. The cheese gives the biscuits its savoriness and slightly crumbly texture, while the purple and sweet basil, which came from my garden, adds a subtle peppery, yet sweet flavor. These rich biscuits make a wonderful accompaniment to pastas, soups, and salads. They’re also great for making Italian breakfast sandwiches filled with slices of prosciutto and eggs.  Above all, they are absolutely delicious to eat plain, with only a generous dab of butter. Continue reading

pâte à choux: éclairs and cream puffs filled with pistachio cream

Pâte à choux, or cream puff pastry, is versatile dough that is used as a base for many sweet and savory treats.  Strictly speaking, it is more like a thick paste that is made by adding flour to boiling water and butter to form a sort of roux to which eggs are then added. The resulting dough, called panade, should be light, with a smooth and shiny appearance and sticky consistency. Continue reading