Tag Archives: almonds

Honey Glazed Fig and Date Breakfast Cake

I am not a morning person.  I need a few quiet moments (more like 60 quiet moments) to myself, with a steaming cup of coffee, to clear out the cob webs and figure out how I’m going to tackle the day.  I trudge to the kitchen, in the darkness, one eye open, hair all askew, heading directly for the coffee maker.  Even the dog knows it’s best not to approach.  Truly, I admit it, I’m an ogre.   On the flip side, if you want to stay up all night and party like it’s 1999, I’m most certainly your gal.

Fig and Date Breakfast Cake via SweetRevelations

Weekends thankfully, are different.  I can wake on my own time and head to the kitchen to make something a little more decadent for everyone.   Often it’s buttermilk pancakes, scones or cinnamon rolls, sometimes fresh doughnuts (the best!).  Sometimes, it’s cake!  Like this super moist, cardamom spiced cake, topped with fresh figs, fresh dates, sliced almonds, pepita’s and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.  Just to make it more indulgent, I poke holes in it when it comes out of the oven and pour a sweet honey glaze on top.  This is how I redeem myself for my grumpiness from Monday to Friday.  Glazed breakfast items.  Works every time.

Fig and Date Breakfast Cake via SweetRevelations

This is a brunch worthy, company worthy, breakfast cake.  The cake itself is very fast and simple to throw together.  It’s also pretty versatile, so you can play around with your toppings and spices and add what appeals to you.  A simple dusting of powdered sugar works too, if you want to exclude the honey glaze.  But seriously, why would you?  I mean truly, honey glaze should never be excluded.

I’m curious to know, are you a morning person or a night owl like me?

Happy week-end everyone,

Renee

xo

Honey Glazed Fresh Fig and Date Breakfast Cake

*adapted from Joy The Baker

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 8 fresh figs, sliced in half
  • 3-4 fresh dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. pepitas
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1-2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for topping
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. liquid honey
  • 2 tbsp. hot water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 10-inch cake pan.

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, and sugar in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, butter and vanilla and almond extract.  Add the buttermilk mixture all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined, careful not to over mix.
  2. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.  Top batter with fresh figs and dates, gently pressing them into the top of the batter.  Sprinkle with sliced almonds, pepitas and coconut  and then sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar.
  3. Bake for approx. 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool slightly while you prepare the glaze (keep it in the pan).  Whisk the powdered sugar and honey in a small bowl, adding 1-2 tbsp. of hot water to make a smooth, thin glaze.  Using a skewer, poke holes in the cake, to allow the glaze to seep through.  Pour the glaze over the warm cake.  Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.  The cake will keep well for a few days at room temperature.

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Cranberry Swiss Zopf Bread

I hope that you enjoyed the holidays where ever you may have been, with the people most important to you.  We had a busy few weeks and I’m just settling back into a routine.  Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my daily naps, hockey games and endless hours reading, it looks like Christmas threw up in here!  It’s time to get things tidied up.

Swiss Loaf- SweetRevelations

Usually, on week-ends, when I set my mind to an afternoon of cleaning, I start off right away with making some bread dough.  I spend a few quiet minutes mixing and kneading, and when the bread is left to rise, I get straight to work.  Must be something happening in my subconscious about settling in for a few hours of work, to make the house in order again, with a sweet, yeasty, warm reward at the end.   I’ve been kneading homemade bread for years and the comfort it brings me is unmatched to any other item I bake.  There’s a swish and roll on the countertop while kneading, sometimes the only sound in the house, as I do my work.  Some of my best thinking happens in these moments.  I do think of my ancestors, living in a simpler time, doing the same thing for their family.  Perhaps my great-grandfather, a cook, baking fresh bread and biscuits for his children!  It’s more about the process for me, the kneading and then resting, allowing the ingredients to do their magic.   A simple task really, that takes a few hours from start to finish, that this whole house gets to enjoy.  This weekly, sometimes daily, mixing and kneading ritual for me, centers around spending time in our home, making it a home, and inviting my family to share in this good wholesome food with me. Not to mention the smell, that intoxicating, welcome home smell, that really is like no other.

swiss bread- SweetRevelations

I regularly use fresh or dried fruits in my breads and biscuits.  Often adding fresh berries, when I can.  For the most part, fresh fruits do very well in breads and biscuits as long as they aren’t overripe and super juicy.  Fruits actually help the leavening process, by adding some extra sugar for the yeast to feed on.  This time, I opted for a pretty Swiss Braided Zopf, a gorgeous recipe from King Arthur Flour, that I’ve made many times.  I didn’t actually mix the berries in the dough this go around, but quickly tucked them in all of the nooks and crannies just before the second rise.  The recipe uses sour cream and eggs and produces a rich tasting, not too sweet, moist loaf, with a tender crust.  Perfect for coffee break.   Or breakfast toast.  Or French Toast.  Or Bread Pudding.  You get the idea.

Swiss Braid- SweetRevelations

Don’t let working with yeast intimidate you.  It’s really pretty straight forward, and with fast acting yeast, it’s almost impossible to mess up.   Most bread dough does very well with an 8-10 minute kneading time.  It generally doesn’t need to be complicated or fussy.  Bread dough is usually pretty forgiving, and you can work on some of your errors the next time you bake a loaf.  As with all baking, it’s a learning process, but so worth it!  At the end of the day, you’ll end up with a stunning loaf that your family will drool over.   You won’t be able to butter it fast enough!

I’m curious to know from you, dear friends, what are some of your baking or food traditions?  Are you starting new ones, or continuing on with some of the kitchen love you grew up with?  This year I will really be more focused on sharing more of my food traditions and stories with you.  I’ve loved writing about my bake shop experiences, but really, the heart of this baker, started a long time ago in my childhood home with some great teachers.  It has only increased as I’ve become a homemaker, in this amazing community with access to outstanding farm to table foods and locally sourced ingredients.  I’m going to share with you more about my passion for using simple ingredients, and a no-fuss approach to creating new food traditions while still embracing the old.  Lets make homemaking the new food trend for 2016 every body!

Thank you, as always for a wonderful blogging year.  I do so appreciate you.  Happy New year!

Renee

xo

  Cranberry Swiss Zopf Bread

*from King Arthur Flour

  • 3/4 cup full fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white, lightly beaten (reserve remaining yolk for glaze)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed)
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt. Set aside.
  2. Warm the sour cream to lukewarm in a microwave, for approximately 15 seconds, stirring once removed. Add the melted butter and stir.  Add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture, then stir in the egg and 1 egg white. Stir until the mixture comes together to form a shaggy mass, then set it aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Knead the dough, by hand, until it’s smooth and elastic, for approximately 8-10 minutes (or use a mixer and a dough hook too if you have it).  Place dough in a greased bowl, cover the bowl with a tea towel, and set the dough aside to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s doubled in bulk.  I usually put mine out of the way, on top of the fridge.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased countertop and knead it gently a few times, to expel the excess carbon dioxide. Divide it into three equal pieces, and roll each piece into an 18-inch log. Braid the logs together, pinching them at both ends and tucking the pinched ends under.
  5. Place the braid on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and tuck fresh cranberries in all of the folds and crevices.  Cover it again, and allow it to rise for another hour.
  6. Whisk the remaining egg yolk with 1 tbsp. water, and brush the braid with this glaze. Sprinkle with almonds.  Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and shiny. Remove it from the oven and let it cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Zopf is traditionally served at breakfast, toasted or not, and makes an outstanding French toast too!

 

 

 

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Cranberry, Orange and Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti is by far my favourite afternoon pick me up with tea.  I don’t bake it much in the summer, but as soon as fall rolls around it’s in the oven pretty much weekly.

biscotti sweetrevelations

When I owned the bake shop, I would make an enormous batch every Christmas Eve.  I always tied a clear bag that was full of biscotti, with some gorgeous Christmas ribbon, and gave it to my customers as they picked up their Christmas baking.  As a way of saying thank you for their patronage each year.  I keep a jar of Biscotti in the cupboard at work too.  I’m all for sharing!   Anyone is welcome to come and grab a piece with their afternoon tea.   It’s kind of like my way of spreading love.

Cookie love.  Chocolate-y, orange-y, crunchy cookie love.

biscotti sweetrevelations

The recipe is incredibly versatile.  I load chocolate chips, cranberries, dried apricots, pumpkin seeds, and nuts in them.  Whatever I have on hand at the time.  This particular version has dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and almonds.  I also, always add orange bakery emulsion or orange zest to the recipe.  It adds just a slight citrus note that makes each crunchy bite even more amazing.  Another fabulous combination includes almonds, white chocolate and dried apricots.  The combinations are endless!

biscottisweetrevelations

Don’t be intimidated by Biscotti.  It couldn’t be any simpler.  The dough only bakes for about 30 minutes.  After that, it’s sliced up into those delicious dipping fingers and left in the oven for the rest of the night.  Other recipes usually call for a double bake, but I slice it up and put it back in the oven and turn the oven off.  Overnight, or several hours later when the oven has cooled down, the Biscotti are nice and crisp.  When I get up, I can throw them in the cookie jar and get on with my day.

One in hand, of course.

Happy Biscotti baking and coffee dipping friends,

Renee

Cranberry, Orange and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

*adapted from a recipe by Julie Van Rosendaal

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp orange bakery emulsion or orange zest
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350°.

  1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the butter, sugar, eggs, orange juice, orange emulsion and vanilla until smooth.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir just until combined – avoid over mixing. Add the almonds, cranberries and chocolate chips and gently fold in.
  2. I prefer my Biscotti pieces to be about 6-7 inches long.  Place all of the dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  With dampened hands (essential),  shape the dough into a rectangle about 6 inches wide and 12 inches long.  It should be just under an inch thick.  Do the best you can, you can’t go wrong here.  Similarly, if you prefer smaller cookies, shape the dough into two logs,  2-3 inches wide and  1 inch thick.  (You should be able to fit both on one same sheet.)
  3. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then carefully transfer the whole piece to a cutting board and cut on a slight diagonal into ¾-inch slices with a sharp or serrated knife.
  4. Place the Biscotti back on the cookie sheet, this time laying each piece on its side.  Put it back in the oven, and turn the oven off.  Leave overnight or for several hours without opening the door.   In the morning, you will have crispy Biscotti waiting for you! Store in a cookie jar for several weeks, if they last that long.

 

 

 

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Glazed Cherry Almond Scones

Fresh bread is my nemesis.  Warm out of the oven, it gets me every time.  It doesn’t matter what it is, biscuit, fresh loaf, cinnamon buns or scones there is no smell better than that of bread, in any form, baking in the oven.

scone[1]

I find the whole process of kneading and rolling so comforting.  Always have.   For the past few days I’ve been down and out with a bad cold.  The constant coughing when I lay down has left me restless and unable to sleep.  So I find myself in the kitchen early in the morning rolling dough to feel better.  Yesterday it was these cinnamon buns, today scones.

It seems everyone in this house wins when mom doesn’t feel well!

scone 6[1]

This is my favourite recipe that I’ve shared with you before.  It’s so incredibly versatile.  When you can use fresh fruit do so, it’s worth it.   Montmorency cherries and buttery flaky glazed bread under a blanket of almond glaze.  I’m feeling better already!  These are frozen cherries that I typically use for pie but they offer an amazing sweet and tart flavour to the scones.  The simple almond glaze is a must.   I tried this flavour recently at a local bake shop and was smitten with the combination!

scone 2[1]

No butter or additional spread is needed.  Warm and glazed these scones are simply enough all on their own.  Bake some now and freeze the rest for another morning.  These would be an excellent make ahead item for Christmas morning!

scone 4[1]

Glazed Cherry Almond Scones

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, frozen
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat works best)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups frozen tart cherries
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • chopped almonds to sprinkle on top

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.  Use a cheese grater to grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture.  Mix gently with a fork to coat the butter with the flour mixture.

2.  In a separate small bowl mix the buttermilk, sour cream and egg.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour buttermilk mixture in.  Mix gently to incorporate.

3.  Knead dough on a floured surface, maximum 1o times.  The idea is to knead very little to keep that butter cold.  Roll into a large rectangle, about 22 inches by 12 inches.  Spread whole cherries all over the surface of the dough.  Starting with the longest side, roll the dough up towards you into a log.  Tuck in the seam.   You should be left with a log about 22 inches long.  Pinch the ends together and press down on the log to slightly flatten it.   Keep the seam on the bottom.

4.  Cut the log in half.  Cut each half in half.  Cut each quarter in half.   You will be left with 8 squares.  Cut each square on the diagonal to make 2 scones, for a total of 16 scones.

5.  Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or place unbaked scones on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for at least an hour.  Place frozen scones in freezer bags for easy storage.  Bake from frozen.  Combine the powdered sugar, milk and extract and the glaze warm scones.  Top with chopped almonds.  Enjoy!

 

 

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