chocolate-almond upside-down cake

Chocolate-Almond Upside-Down Cake

The holidays are over and I’m back from my self-imposed hiatus from blogging.  I knew that with all of the holiday preparations and spending time with family and friends, I wouldn’t have enough to blog, so rather than feeling guilty about it, I decided to just take the time off.  I was feeling burnt out anyway, and the time away from the blog has really helped.  I’m excited to be back and I have lots of simple, easy-to-make recipes to share this coming year, including this Chocolate Almond Upside-Down Cake I adapted from pastry chef Gale Gand.

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candies and confections – part 1: salted butter caramels

 

For someone with a such a sweet tooth, I am actually a little surprised that I don’t make candies and chocolates more often. Well, since Chris and I had such a great time making these caramels, that’s about to change.  It was surprisingly simple to make, with one caveat: extra care is needed when cooking a sugar/cream mixture. It is lava-like and will stick to any exposed flesh if splattered, causing a nasty burn.  That’s why I always have a big bowl of ice water nearby for emergencies.

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banana tarte tatin


Tarte Tatin is a French upside-down tart primarily made with apples, and caramelized with butter and sugar until golden brown. It is usually made in a skillet and put over the stove top first to start the process of caramelizing the sugar and then finished in the oven. In this shortcut version from the October 2011 issue of Bon Appétit magazine, the apples are replaced by bananas and then baked in ovenproof crème brûlée dishes. I added some orange zest since I’ve been on such an orange kick lately and I knew that it would enhance the sweetness of the caramel.

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pumpkin bread pudding

pumpkin bread pudding
This bread pudding is so fantastic that I’ve decided to serve it at next month’s Thanksgiving Feast instead of pumpkin pie.  It is such an easy and quick dish to make, yet so satisfying.  The rich, warm custard has just the right amount of spices and pumpkin flavor. Garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce, this is the perfect fall treat!

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