Chocolate Tiramisu

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I think I deceived some people last Sunday when I showed up to Easter dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house without that almond citrus cake. Luckily, I had made this chocolate tiramisu, which I think relieved any disappointment.

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My Aunt Grace is known for her tiramisu, but when I heard she wasn’t making it for Easter this year, I decided that instead of depriving my family of the sweet and creamy Italian dessert, I’d step up to the plate.

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I decided to make a chocolate variation of traditional tiramisu since I can think of very few pairings better than chocolate and coffee. Putting a twist on Giada’s recipe, I added a layer of chocolate on top of the whipped cream mixture to amp up the chocolate component. I think that layer was the best part.

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This recipe only takes about an hour to make, from melting the chocolate to assembling the layers. But it does take a bit longer to set. The lady fingers in my tiramisu still had a bite after a few hours in the fridge, so I think some extra refrigeration time would have done it well. By the time the tiramisu is ready, the cookies should be softened from the coffee bath and cream, and all three layers should be singing in unison.

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This tiramisu is a definitely a winner that would be the perfect end to a dinner party or any meal where you’re looking to impress. The prep work is simple, and the results are fancy and decadent. You can also finish the top layer off with a shaving of dark chocolate or a dusting of cocoa powder, but I think the chocolate swirl looks divine. I can’t wait to make this one again.

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Chocolate Tiramisu

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

–       1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

–       4 cups heavy cream

–       4 egg yolks

–       ¾ cup sugar

–       1 tsp. salt

–       12 oz. mascarpone cheese

–       ½ cup coffee

–       About 25 lady fingers

Melt the chocolate chips with 2 cups heavy cream and ½ tsp. salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted and smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, ¼ cup sugar, and the remaining ½ tsp. salt. Continue whisking over a pot of simmering water until the mixture has thickened and is pale yellow in color. Take the bowl off the heat, and fold in ½ cup of the melted chocolate. Refrigerate once incorporated.

Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 2 cups heavy cream with the remaining sugar until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whip the mascarpone cheese using an electric mixer until soft and airy. Fold the mascarpone into the whipped cream until incorporated. Fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream mixture until incorporated and smooth.

Dip the lady fingers into the coffee, and place in a layer on the bottom of a 5-inch deep dish. Spoon the whipped cream mixture on top of the lady fingers, then spoon the melted chocolate on top of the whipped cream. Repeat until another three layers are formed. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

 

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Almond Citrus Cake

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Happy Easter! I was hoping to get this recipe up before today, but alas, so life goes.

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I actually made this cake last week for Passover since the almond flour makes it perfectly Kosher for the holiday. After tasting it, I knew it would be a great Easter dessert, too.

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As I was discussing with a co-worker recently, lemon is one of those ingredients that just screams springtime. Now that it actually feels like spring in New York, I’m more than a little excited to start cooking with fresher and lighter ingredients.

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This almond citrus cake is a perfect way to celebrate spring’s arrival. The combination of lemon and orange in this cake is just right, with the two fruits working in harmony to create a delicious citrus flavor. The addition of orange zest and a slight reduction of sugar from the original recipe really helped to make this cake bright and not overly sweet.

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You can certainly use the original flours — hazelnut and quinoa — that The New York Times recipe suggests, but I love almond flour. (It’s also what I had on hand.) I really recommend the addition of almond extract if you decide to use almond flour to bring out the sweet and nutty flavor.

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On first inspection, this cake resembles corn bread. But upon tasting it, you’ll see that even though the cake is a little crumbly, it is also incredibly moist from the olive oil and light from the egg whites.

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This cake was a big hit at Passover, and I imagine it would go over just as well at an Easter brunch or as a sweet finish to any spring or summer meal.    Happy Spring!

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Almond Citrus Cake 

Adapted from The New York Times

–       4 eggs, separated

–       2/3 cup sugar in the raw, plus 2 tbs.

–       2 lemons, zested and juiced

–       1 orange, zested and juiced

–       ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for coating the pan

–       1 tsp. almond extract

–       1 ½ cups almond flour

–       ¼ tsp. salt

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow. Beat in the zest and juices, olive oil, and almond extract. Mix in the almond flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter in three batches. Pour batter into an 8 or 9-inch springform pan brushed with olive oil. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the springform pan.

The Liebster Award

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I hope everyone is having a great week! Now that spring is here and the days are longer, the weeks are just so much more enjoyable. As I mentioned in my last blog post, Lori from Creating Beauty in the Kitchen generously nominated me for a Liebster Award after I’d only been blogging for a few weeks. Lori makes delicious looking low-glycemic food including this recently posted cinnamon ganache berry tart that I can’t wait to make!

In following with the Liebster Award participation guidelines, here are my answers to the questions that Lori posed:

1. Coffee of Tea? I actually avoid caffeine because I have a mild case of Crohn’s Disease (which is also why I eat mostly gluten-free), but I love decaf tea. Some of my favorites include vanilla, mint, and chai.

2. What are your favorite colors to decorate with? Gold, yellow, and cream

3. Do you have a favorite t.v. show? What is it? Right now I am making my way through all of the past seasons of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. I’m currently on season four and loving it!

4. What is it about your best friend that makes him/her your best friend? Since it’s hard to choose just one human best friend, I’m going to tell you about my canine best friend — Max. If you look closely in the second to last photo from my buckwheat banana pancakes post, you can see his big, blond, furry head in the background behind the stack of pancakes. Here’s a clearer picture of him eyeing the pancakes on my Instagram. Max is a golden-doodle, and he’s been a part of my family for about seven years. He gets the paper in the morning, keeps me company on walks/runs, and loves when there’s commotion in the kitchen.

5. If you could learn how to do one thing, what would it be and why? This is a tough one. There’s a lot I want to learn, but in particular, I’d like to learn how to make and decorate a wedding cake and how to speak Spanish well again.

6. What is your favorite season of the year, and why? Definitely summer! After the longest winter in New York in recent memory, I can’t wait until the warm weather.

7. Use three words to describe yourself. Introverted, observant, honest

8. Cats or Dogs? Definitely dogs! (See question 4)

9. Who has influenced you the most, and why? My parents. I am lucky to have such a great support system from two very different yet equally amazing people.

10. What is your favorite thing to do when you want to relax? Cook/bake, read a novel, watch the Food Network or Grey’s Anatomy, go for a walk or run outside

Hopefully these questions give you a better idea about me since I don’t yet have an “About Me” page. Now in keeping with the Liebster tradition of passing on the award, here are the blogs that I’d like to nominate:

Officially Gluten Free: I came across Lyndsay’s blog recently, and I love her unique approach to gluten-free cooking. I love the idea of using rice paper to make gluten-free samosas!

My Life of Spice: Jessi’s desserts including these chocolate coconut truffles and this Nutella raspberry bread pudding look heavenly. Plus Jessi bakes gluten free!

Tabitha’s Gluten Free Dishes: Tabitha has a wealth of knowledge about the health benefits of eating gluten free. I love her fresh, colorful, and healthful recipes. I can’t wait to try out this sweet potato salad and this butternut squash and halloumi salad.

I’d love for these gluten-free ladies to answer these questions as the final part of passing on the Liebster Award:

1. What is a signature dish that you make that you are known for among your friends and family?

2. Who are some of your favorite professional bloggers that you look to for inspiration in the kitchen?

3. What is your favorite U.S. city and why?

4. What is the best book you’ve read recently?

5. Which country would you travel to if you won an all-expenses paid vacation to a destination of your choice?

6. What is one meal/dish that you have yet to make that you would like to challenge yourself by making?

7. Sweet or savory breakfasts?

8. What’s your favorite way to stay active?

9. Favorite cheese?

10. What do you hope to accomplish by writing a food blog?

 

Thank you, again, to Lori for her nomination! I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I liked writing it!

Buckwheat Banana Pancakes

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After traveling last weekend and battling a stubborn cold the previous weekend, I was due for a comforting homemade breakfast today. Pancakes are my go-to weekend breakfast since they are not only the perfect comfort food, but they cook up in no time at all. Instead of waiting for other carby breakfasts to bake in the oven, pancakes are done in about fifteen minutes from start to finish.

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I bought Bob’s Red Mill Organic Buckwheat Flour about a month ago and have been eagerly anticipating these pancakes since. These buckwheat pancakes cook up thick and fluffy, and the bananas add just the right amount of sweetness to complement the nutty and earthy taste of the buckwheat.

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I love these pancakes served with nonfat Greek yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. The weekend is off to a great start already.

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Buckwheat banana pancakes

Adapted from Cookie and Kate

Makes 8-10 medium-sized pancakes

–       1 egg

–       1 cup almond milk

–       1 tbs. maple syrup

–       1 tbs. coconut oil, melted, plus extra for the skillet

–       1 tsp. vanilla

–       1 cup buckwheat flour

–       1 tsp. baking powder

–       1 tsp. baking soda

–       ¼ tsp. salt

–       2 bananas, sliced into thin rounds

Whisk together the egg, almond milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla until combined. Add the buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix with a spoon until dry ingredients are incorporated. The batter should be wet, but not too runny. Heat your skillet and add a few dollops of coconut oil. Once the coconut oil is melted and the skillet is coated evenly, add spoonfuls of the batter to make whichever size pancakes you prefer. While the first side of the pancakes are cooking, slice your bananas and add several slices on top of each pancake. Flip pancakes once they are firm around the edges and bottom, and cook on second side until the pancakes and bananas are golden brown.

**On another note, thank you to Lori from Creating Beauty in the Kitchen for nominating me for the Liebster Award! More to come in the next blog post!