Triple Lemon Loaf

This loaf of lemony goodness has converted me to the brighter side.

Before this lovely recipe I was always a little “eh” about lemon recipes. Sometimes it was really refreshing, sure, like after a hot day in the summer a nice lemon sorbet would be fabulous! But when it really came down to it, chocolate was always the answer. Always.

“Do you want the lemon meringue pie or the brownie covered in caramel and pecans?”

Stupid question. Brownie. Done.

But this cake/loaf/bread, whatever you want to call it, is exceptional. Maybe it is because there is lemon in the cake, then a lemon syrup is poured over it, and then to top it off a lemon glaze. So yeah, there is a lot of lemon, but if you’re going to go for lemon you may as well go hard!

The cake is so moist and packs a little punch in your first bite, but not over powering, it’s just the right amount.

It rained all day today with lightening and thunder so bad that the house vibrated. So this cake was a nice reminder that summer is almost here, and that this crazy weather is just a mini speed bump.

If you’re going to bake this in a decorative loaf pan, beware! I oiled that thing up like it was nobody’s business, but the top of it still stuck in there!

Luckily, the second one came out perfectly! Lesson learned: decorative pans just aren’t worth the grief for this.

Tip: Wait 30 minutes for the cake to cool because when you pour that glaze on it’s going to soak into a warm cake, like mine did. I really wanted to wait, I really did. It would have looked so pretty if I had waited. But I couldn’t…I’m sorry.

This recipe is from the cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking written by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito who run a bakery, called Baked, in good ole’ Brooklyn.

Enjoy,

Madeline

Pistachio Walnut Bars with a Citrus Glaze {And My Obsession With Cookbooks}


It’s hard to believe that before my sister-in-law came into the family, I didn’t own any of my own cookbooks. I pretty much just went off the internet and printed out recipes. I know the internet now has pretty much every recipe that is printed in books, but there is something really comforting about holding a cookbook in your arms and looking at all of the post-it notes of opportunity in sticking out at you.

About three years ago, my brother and sister-in-law gave me my first cookbook – Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. To this day, it still is one of my favorite cookbooks because it gives you a huge variety of desserts, breads, pastries, and even some savory baked items. Over the following year I received a few more from them, The Sono Baking Company Cookbook, Desserts By The Yard, and The Craft of Baking. Each one filled with amazing recipes so different than the book before it. I don’t think either of us realized what that one Martha Stewart cookbook would kickstart for me.

I have a routine when I get a new cookbook. I see it at some cooking store/bookstore and instantly am sucked into it’s cover. I flip through the pages to see if there are pictures, because for me if there are not pictures it gives me a bad first impression. (Except for cookbooks like Betty Crocker’s Joy of Cooking & The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. It is just common knowledge that these are going to be awesome recipes, no picture necessary to entice the tastebuds.)

Once the cookbook has passed my picture approval stage, then I find at least 5-10 recipes in it that I know I’m going to make. When you first look at a cookbook, you’re not going to love every recipe. But as I have learned over time, those recipes that at first glance sounded bizarre or too difficult, will soon sound delicious and attainable. I’m not inclined to buy a cookbook that is full of basic recipes, a little challenge is good in the kitchen.

Then I take my new beautiful cookbook home with me and whip out the stack of Post-it notes. I go through each page, look at the picture (if available) and read through the ingredients & instructions. Sometimes I will make a note on the Post-it of an idea that I want to add on to the recipe. After about an hour or more of serious scanning, the cookbook is covered with little yellow (or pink) Post-its bursting out of it, begging for me to open to their page and start cooking.

Now I am going to let you in on my secret. Technically, I only own 8 or 9 cookbooks but recently I have discovered this amazing new way of getting cookbooks for free. Let me introduce you to the Public Library of Los Angeles County (& the Santa Monica Library). Seriously, I know this is weirding you out right now, and it did for me at first too, but the library is overflowing with every cookbook imaginable. These are just some of the ones I checked out today:

And my routine is the same, I go through and post it note them, and then probably a second round too. For library books I will either scan the recipes I want, or type them up. If the book turns out to be really good, I will go out and buy it, but usually I am only copying down a handful of recipes. This way I get to try out a ton of new books, without spending all of my money on cookbooks (although I would have a wall of them if that was an option).

This recipe today is coming from a new cookbook I picked up recently from of all places, Costco! Normally the book is about $35 and I got it for $18! I read about it online and put it on my list of books I wanted to pick up from the library. Then when I was making the trip to Costco for bulk amounts of sugar (yeah), I saw this cookbook sitting there and couldn’t resist.

The collection of recipes is so perfect for the kind of baker I am, it only made sense for me to own it. It is called Home Baked Comfort and has featured recipes from Huckleberry in Santa Monica (I have a post coming about them soon!), the amazing blog Smitten Kitchen, the famous Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, and more! Don’t get me started on the beautiful food photography in this book.

The first recipe I tried from this book was the Pistachio-Almond Bars with a Citrus Glaze. I altered it to fit my kitchen, which was not stocked with almonds but with walnuts instead. Also, I personally am not a big fan of orange flavors in desserts so instead of lemon & orange glaze, I did a lemon & lime glaze.

I know it’s a pain, but you need to get the food processor & your mixer out for this recipe.

The nuts, sugar, and rinds will all come together into a sand like texture. To this you will add the flour, baking powder, and salt.

There is no saying this nicely, the batter looks baby food. Trust me though, a little green in your life isn’t bad.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. It was probably my fault for making these during lunch time.

I brought these little bars to a few people, and everyone had positive feedback. They are so moist but with a crunch from the nuts, and a little bite from the citrus in the glaze. The thing with these is that they really are not that sweet, but its the citrus that gets your taste buds craving more.

Can’t wait to share more of these recipes with you!

Enjoy!

Madeline

Lemon & Raspberry Creme Brûlée {And A Reminder That Change Is Good}

Two years ago around this time I was seriously considering becoming an Environmental Engineer. I was taking Intro to Chemical & Environmental Engineering, was halfway through the Chemistry series, and moseying along through Calculus. I was so sure that my love and passion for the environment meant that I needed to study how to fix it hands on, and that sounded like a good idea on paper, right? So what if I hated math…(ha!)

My desk was constantly covered in sheets of paper while I tried to work through monotonous calculus problems. My idea of a break would be to scroll through TasteSpotting for an hour, envious of people who blogged about food. I was forcing myself down a path that made me miserable because I didn’t realize I could do something else and still incorporate my love for the environment.

Fast forward to today where my life is not even comparable to how it was two years ago. I walked into my room today to a mess on my desk which included: colored paper, glue sticks, 5 cookbooks, hand written notes about ideas for recipes I want to try, and a camera. I’ve somehow become the person I secretly wanted to be without even realizing it until now. I take classes that genuinely interest me now, I bake amazing & beautiful desserts, and I have people who support my creative side and my academic side.

The point of all of this is to explain how we change. Our ideas change, our feelings about people change, our tastes change, and sometimes you just need someone to remind you that change is good. Change leads you to a new form of happiness.

Two years ago, I would not have made this dessert. “It is fruity and has no chocolate in it” old Madeline would have said. But, despite lacking chocolate, this dessert is quite pleasing to both the eyes and the mouth.

I hope if you are hesitant and worried about betraying your near and dear friend, chocolate, that you’ll give this a try and then go back to your go-to chocolate cupcake recipe. You won’t be disappointed.

And you get to use a flame torch. Yeah, a flame torch in the kitchen.

Enjoy 🙂

Madeline