chamomile lemon poppyseed tea cake.

hi friends!

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i apologize for my absence. i am saddened by the lack of baked goods that have been in my life as of late. it’s a shame!

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this cake is so good i’m impressed by the fact that i didn’t eat all of the batter because oh my god. the batter tastes unbelievable.

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it’s like 80 degrees outside right now in LA but everywhere else has nice cold weather, and this is perfect for a cozy afternoon with tea and a good book.

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chamomile poppyseed lemon tea cake
adapted from two red bowls
makes one 8×4″ loaf

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon milk, any kind
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 2-3 lemons)
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice

for the chamomile syrup:
1/4 cup strong chamomile tea
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

preheat oven to 350 degrees. spray an 8×4-inch loaf tin with baking spray or line with parchment paper. brew a half-cup of very strong chamomile tea (i used two tea bags for half a cup of water) and set aside.
whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. in a small bowl, combine yogurt and milk and whisk until smooth.

in a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. using your fingers, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until fragrant, about a minute or so. (this helps release the flavor more fully.) add the softened butter and oil, and beat with an electric beater or plenty of arm strength until the mixture is pale and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until incorporated. finally, add the lemon juice, and whisk again until combined.

add a third of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and fold until just combined. next, add half of the yogurt mixture and gently fold again. add another third of the dry ingredients, then the remaining yogurt mixture, folding after each addition. finally, add the remaining third of the dry ingredients and fold gently until just combined.

pour the batter into the loaf tin or muffin tin, filling about 3/4 full. for the loaf tin, bake for 40-45 minutes, or until cake is golden-brown, bounces back when touched, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

meanwhile, bring the chamomile tea and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. let simmer for about a minute, until the liquid thickens just slightly, then remove from heat and let cool.

when the cake is done, let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan. brush the chamomile syrup over the loaf (you can poke holes in the top to let the syrup soak in more fully, if you like).

enjoy!!!!!

chocolate almond babka.

hi friends!

i read an article in the l.a. times yesterday morning by amy scattergood called bread, one of life’s small pleasures. clearly, it really spoke to me. in it, she reviews two new bakeries in los angeles, and ends with a declaration that gave me plenty of inspiration: “we may live in the Era of Toast, but it means nothing without spectacular bread.”

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yeast, flour, eggs, water, life. simple and important. thus, my new years resolution is to bake more bread.

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babka is an eastern european-jewish sweet bread, and it’s delicious. this one is not too labor intensive and only has about 3 hours of rising time.

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also, the dough would make excellent bread for french toast if you leave out the filling and the streusel. just stick it in the pan, let it rise, poke a few holes in the top and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

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chocolate almond babka

makes 1 loaf

recipe adapted from yossy arefi

dough

2 ¼ teaspoons or 1 packet active dry yeast
¾ cup milk at 110ºF
tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
tablespoons sugar
tablespoons vegetable oil
teaspoon vanilla extract
egg yolks
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
teaspoon salt

stir the yeast into the milk to dissolve. let sit until foamy.

while the yeast proofs, cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. add the oil and vanilla extract and mix well to combine. then, add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing until each yolk is incorporated before adding the next. increase the mixer speed to high and beat the mixture for about 2 minutes.

turn the mixer to low and add the flour and salt, followed by the milk and yeast mixture. switch to the dough hook attachment and mix the dough until a soft, tacky dough forms, about 3-4 minutes.

transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead by hand for two more minutes. the dough should feel soft, supple and smooth. move the dough to a clean, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

let the dough rise at a moderate room temperature for about 2 hours or until almost doubled in size. alternately, you can let the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator and shape it the next day.

filling
¾ cup roughly chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup cold unsalted butter

streusel
2 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 pinch salt
1 egg for egg wash
prepare the filling while the dough is rising. place the chocolate and almonds in a food processor and pulse for about 1 minute. there should still be some small chunks remaining. put all of the ingredient into a large bowl and use a pastry blender or bench scraper to cut the ingredients together into a streusel-like crumble.to shape the bread, roll the risen dough on a lightly floured surface into a roughly 15×18 inch rectangle. gently lift the dough to make sure that it will easily release from the work surface.

sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over the top of the dough leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges then roll the dough from the long end into a tight log, about 20 inches long. gently bend the dough into a u-shape and twist the arms of the dough two or three times around each other to form the loaf, then pinch the seams together.

place the dough into a greased 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan. cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room until the babka fills the pan, 1-2 hours.

preheat oven to 350ºF.

prepare the streusel: combine all of the streusel ingredients in a bowl and mix until crumbly. when the loaf has risen completely, brush with egg wash made from 1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle the streusel mixture over the top. use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the top of the loaf, which will release any air pockets trapped between the folds of the dough and filling.

put the loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for 20-30 more minutes. the loaf will be deep golden brown on top and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped when finished. let the babka cool to room temperature before slicing.

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enjoy!!!!!

peanut butter crinkle cookies.

hi friends!

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this is part 3 of the holiday cookie extravaganza on salted and sweet. i hope everyone had a fabulous christmas! i spent mine in chinatown having a feast at yang chow and then seeing the new star wars movie, which was fantastic!!!!!!

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i feel like peanut butter cookies are controversial because people either hate them or they love them. one person told me that they “have a complicated past” with peanut butter cookies, but i’m just gonna let that one go. they are really pretty and delicious so i don’t care.  later, haters!!!!!!

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peanut butter crinkle cookies
makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 large egg
½ cup creamy peanut butter (not natural or homemade)
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
granulated sugar, for rolling

in an electric mixer, combine egg, peanut butter, butter, sugars, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes. stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and beat on low speed until just incorporated.

turn dough out onto the counter and wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days.

when you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray; set aside.

scoop the dough out in 2 tablespoon portions and roll into a ball. toss each ball in the granulated sugar, making sure it is fully coated.

place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart. i baked about 8 cookies per sheet; do not crowd them because the cookies spread considerably. bake for about 12 minutes (start checking at 10 minutes), or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don’t overbake because cookies firm up as they cool. allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

enjoy!

gingerbread with white chocolate drizzle.

hi friends!

this is part 2 of the christmas cookie extravaganza here on salted and sweet. yesterday we had chocolate espresso snickerdoodles, and today: gingerbread!

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these cookies made my house smell goddamn fantastic. it was hard not to eat all of them at once. they are definitely not short on spice (sugar and spice and everything nice!), with ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper (!!!!).

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you don’t need to put fancy designs on them, but if you want to, you can just use a toothpick or a butter knife to make the imprints. also cookie cutters are very much encouraged.

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gingerbread cookies with white chocolate drizzle
recipe from the tartine cookbook
makes about 3 dozen small cookies

for the cookies:
3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ cup blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

for the white chocolate drizzle:
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

stir together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. set aside

beat the butter on medium high speed in an electric mixer until creamy. slowly add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is completely smooth and soft. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  add the egg and mix well.

add the molasses and corn syrup and beat until incorporated. stop the mixer again and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until a dough forms and all ingredients are well incorporated.

flatten the dough into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

preheat the oven to 350°. unwrap the dough and roll out into a rectangle 1/3 of an inch thick. cut into rectangles about 4 x 6 inches. bake until lightly golden along the sides but still soft in the centers, 7 to 15 minutes.

while the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a small pot of simmering water, stirring continuously. add the butter and stir until completely melted and smooth.

drizzle the chocolate over the cookies and allow about 1 hour for the chocolate to harden before moving the cookies.

enjoy!

chocolate espresso snickerdoodles.

hi friends!

this is the first of four holiday cookie recipes that i will be bombarding you with over the next couple of days. this past month i have been baking nonstop (even when i should’ve been studying for my finals) and i am finally able to share the recipes with you.

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guys i’m a good jew and all but i am currently listening to christmas music and i feel pretty festive so there’s no stopping me on this christmas cookie thing.

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this recipe comes from billy‘s new book! it is delightful. i only got it last month and i have already made four recipes from it.

these cookies are begging for a fire and a glass of milk, so go forth and be festive, my friends.

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chocolate espresso snickerdoodles
adapted from whip it up!
makes about 2 dozen cookies

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 cup light brown sugar
¾ cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons organic cane sugar

sift together the flour, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.

cream the butter, instant espresso, brown sugar, and white granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

add the eggs one at a time, making sure the first one is completely blended before adding the next. add the vanilla extract, then add the dry ingredients in 2 batches, mixing just until combined. refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.

combine the cinnamon and cane sugar in a small bowl or plate, then use a medium cookie scoop to portion out dough and roll in cinnamon sugar to coat.

place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly flattened and crackly.  you want them to be a little underbaked, as they will finish cooking on the baking sheet.  let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

enjoy!