Blood Orange Cheesecake Bars

These blood orange cheesecake bars are a perfect way to make use of some of the wonderful citrus currently in season. They’re a delicious treat combining a smooth creaminess alongside striking citrus, made all the better by the contrasting silky and crunchy textures. I absolutely love them.


Blood Orange Cheesecake Bars

1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/4 Tsp Sea Salt

3/4 Tsp Cardamom

¼ Cup Brown Sugar

⅓ Cup Solid Coconut Oil

1, 8 Oz Package of Cream Cheese, room temperature

1, 7.5 Oz Package Crème Fraîche

1 Cup Powdered Sugar

2 Large Eggs, room temperature

2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Zest of One Large Orange

6 Tbs Fresh Blood Orange Juice


Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8” baking pan with tin foil, making sure to cover the entire bottom and sides.

For the crust: To a medium bowl add both flours, the kosher salt, cardamom, and brown sugar, and whisk together until combined. Add the coconut oil and rub it into the flour until it’s combined and the mixture resembles wet sand.  

Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press down evenly on the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the oven and let the crust bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

For the filling: Reduce the oven’s temperature to 325°F. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Set mixer to medium-low, and cream the cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the crème fraîche and powdered sugar. Mix everything together on medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Next, mix in the eggs on low speed, one at a time, until just combined. Add the vanilla, orange zest and juice, and mix on low until just combined. Pour the batter into the cooled crust and place in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center jiggles ever so slightly.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely, then place it in the fridge until fully chilled. Cut into 9 equal sized squares and enjoy!


Olive Oil Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes


Who doesn’t love a classic chocolate molten lava cake? As a little kid, my parents would occasionally let us order a dessert after dinner to share, and if there was a molten lava cake on the menu, we’d get it every time. I love this dessert so much because while at first glance it can look like a pretty boring, standard cake, the gooey warm chocolate center that’s unleashed upon the first bite reveals a dessert of seriously pure bliss.

Traditionally you’ll find that most lava cakes are made with butter, but for my version I wanted to use this wonderful Extra Virgin Olive Oil from La Tourangelle. Their olive oil is rich and delicate, which works perfectly in this recipe as it imparts a lot of flavor.


This recipe yields two servings, so if you want to make this for a crowd (and you definitely should) then just double or triple the recipe to fit your needs. Luckily, this recipe is deceptively easy to make—it’s all made in a single bowl, ready for the oven in under 10 minutes.


So whether you want a stunning treat for the romantic occasion of Valentine’s Day or for no particular occasion at all, this couldn’t come more highly recommended. This is basically the reason chocolate cravings exist, and you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you La Touragnelle for sponsoring this post. As always, all words and opinions are my own.


Olive Oil Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

3 oz Dark Chocolate Baking Bar, at least 60%

4 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

¼ +⅛ Espresso Powder

⅛ tsp Fine Sea Salt

4 tbs Light Brown Sugar

1 tbs +1 tsp Flour

1 Large Egg +1 Large Egg Yolk, room temp

Cocoa Powder, for dusting

Baking Spray, for greasing

4 tbs Whipped Cream, for garnish

3 tbs Toasted Hazelnuts, for garnish

Equipment: 2, 6oz Ramekins, medium bowl, knife


Heat oven to 425°F and spray the two ramekins with baking spray, then lightly dust with cocoa powder and tap out the excess.

Roughly chop up the chocolate and add it to a medium bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler.

Once melted, whisk in the olive oil, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt until smooth. Next, whisk in the brown sugar and flour, followed by the egg and yolk; whisk again until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared ramekins and bake for 13-14 minutes. I recommend 13 minutes if you want a truly molten center, or you can bake it for 14 min if you want it a little more cooked.

Let the molten cakes rest out of the oven for 1 minute. While you are waiting, run a knife around the edges to loosen. Carefully invert the cakes onto a plate, top with whipped cream and toasted hazelnuts and enjoy a little bite of heaven!

Chicken Lettuce Cups


These chicken lettuce cups are a wonderful fusion of refreshing and fulfilling–the richness of comfort food with the rejuvenation of fresh veggies. This is a dish that walks the line between sweet and savory and is all the more complex and enjoyable because of it.

It all begins with the sauce. Hoisin and minced ginger provide a sweet, spicy, barbecue-inspired set of flavors enhanced by the herbality of cloves. Soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and rice vinegar mount a fleet of savory notes to which sesame oil adds its signature toastiness.


The chicken follows suit, introducing more garlic and ginger to enhance the dish’s sweet and savory profile. Scallions provide a pleasant bite while water chestnuts lend a crunchy texture. As the chicken and the sauce come together, flavors of salt, herbs, spices, and more evoke a sweet and savory profile that’s overwhelming in the most enjoyable of ways. The lettuce and carrots help keep the richer elements fresh and lighten up otherwise heavy direction of the dish.

La Crema’s 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay mixes surprisingly well with this dish. The wine’s natural oakiness and spice work well with the savory aspect of the dish while its notes of fruit go along well with the sweet aspect of the dish. If you’re looking for a good excuse to make this dish, the Chinese New Year is actually coming up in a couple weeks. Make sure to head over to La Crema’s blog to grab these recipe for this delightful dish. Enjoy!


Thank you to La Crema Wines for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are my own.

Key Lime Cardamom Tart


Happy New Year! The holidays are finally behind us, which means citrus season is in full swing. Here in California the citrus is absolutely amazing—just this morning I was perusing several varieties of grapefruit bursting forth with flavor, color, juiciness, and delectability. The light, bright tastes and textures of citrus really are a welcome relief from the decadence of recent seasonal meals and desserts.

With all this in mind, a key lime pie seemed like a perfect way to introduce the fresh citrus of the season. Key limes feature a more concentrated flavor in comparison to standard limes, and their zest is very potent. They’re also much more aromatic, which gave me the idea of including cardamom, itself a very aromatic, citrusy, and floral spice. This combination might be a little surprising at first, but these two flavors work together very well, with impressive flavors and aromas to spare. All this atop a graham cracker crust basically equals the best of desserts. So if this pie is calling your name, go ahead and follow the recipe below.

Key Lime Cardamom Tart

Yields 1, 9-inch tart

2 1/4 cups graham crackers, finely crushed

6-7 tbs unsalted butter, melted

3 large egg yolks

1 scant tbs key lime, or lime zest

1 can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup + 2 tbs key lime, or lime juice

1 ¼ tsp cardamom

Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Equipment: Hand held or standing mixer, 1, 9.5 x 1 inch Tart pan with removable bottom, large baking sheet


For the crust: Heat the oven to 350°F. Add the crushed graham crackers to a medium bowl, along with 6 tbs of melted butter. Stir everything together with a spoon until it begins to look like wet sand. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add the additional tablespoon of butter.

Add the mixture to a tart pan and press the crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom and up sides of the tart pan. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce oven’s heat to 325°F

For the filling: Add the 3 egg yolks + lime zest to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for about 4 minutes.

Stop the mixer and add the condensed milk to the yolks and beat for 4 minutes. Add the lime juice and cardamom, whisking by hand until combined.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and place in the oven. Bake the tart for about 25 minutes. The tart is ready when the edges are set, and the center still jiggles ever so slightly.

Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator. Store in the fridge until fully chilled. Garnish with whipped cream before serving.


Cardamom Jam Sandwich Cookies


Not sure if you agree with me, but these cookies basically look like Christmas contained in a batch of baked goods. The stars and hearts cutouts, the rich colors, the snowfall powdered sugar—it all invokes the inescapable joy of this time of year. And these cookies certainly contribute to that joy, and in a thankfully straightforward way. You need about half an hour, ingredients you likely already have in your cupboards, and your favorite choice of jam, and these cookies will be a reality in a snap. Happy holidays and enjoy!


Cardamom Jam cookies

Yields about 22 cookie sandwiches

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

16 tablespoons 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and softened

1 tbs vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp ground cardamom

2 tablespoons plain or vanilla bean crème fraîche, room temperature

about 1 cup jam of choice—I used strawberry and lemon curd

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting optional

Equipment: Standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, baking sheet, parchment paper, and cookie cutters—I used these.


In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together for a few seconds until combined.

With the mixer on low, add the butter, a small piece at a time. Add the crème fraîche and the vanilla and continue mixing until a cohesive dough begins to form. Divide the dough in half and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375°. Roll a disk of dough on a lightly floured surface until about 1/8 thick. Cut out as many cookie tops and bottoms as you can, re-rolling the scraps as necessary. Carefully transfer the cookies to a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper, making sure to space them about 1 1/2 inches apart from one another.

Bake the cookies until their edges take on a light golden brown color, about 9 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat this process with the second round of dough.

To make the sandwiches, spread choice of jam ( spread only use a small amount since these cookies are already sweet) on each cooled cookie bottom and top with a cut out cookie top. Dust the cookies with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from If you give a blonde a kitchen.

Gingerbread Waffles

The very essence of gingerbread is emblazoned with the spirit of this season. It’s so uniquely tied to the wintry spices of this time of year that its uncommonality keeps its state of being persistently special in seemingly suspended animation. This year I’ve decided I just might try to carry this over to Christmas morning itself—for which these waffles are utterly perfect. Buttery, rich, full of sweet molasses and spicy ginger. They’re a treat not soon to be forgotten. Enjoy the video and follow the recipe below for a dish of delicious holiday morning treats.

Gingerbread Waffles

Makes 2-3

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine sea salt

2 tbs dark brown sugar

1 ¼ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp cloves

¼ tsp cardamom

¾ tsp cinnamon

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk, warmed

4 tbs unsalted butter, melted

3 tbs sour cream, room temp

5 tbs molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat belgium waffle iron. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl.

Beat the eggs in medium bowl with a whisk or hand beater until fluffy. Whisk in the milk, melted butter, sour cream, and molasses until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.

Spoon about 3/4 cup batter into each mold, and cook until golden brown. Serve warm waffles with whipped cream and a little maple syrup.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Sweet potatoes today, buttery fluffy breakfast sandwiches tomorrow. I’m putting all those extra sweet potatoes in my kitchen to good use by turning them into the most delicious biscuits. Follow the recipe below and you’ll have yourself one tasty meal in the morning.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

2 (250g)cups all-purpose flour

1 tbs +1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp fresh crackedpepper

1 tbs +1 tsp maple syrup

8 tbs very cold unsalted butter, cubed

¾ (150g) cup sweet potato puree, chilled* see note below

½ cup low-fat buttermilk, plus extra for brushing  


Heat the oven to 415F°.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper to a bowl and whisk to combine.

Add the cubed butter to the bowl and using a pastry cutter (or your hands) cut the butter into the flour mixture until butter becomes the size of peas.

Whisk the buttermilk, sweet potato puree, and maple syrup together in a bowl or measuring cup until smooth, then add to the flour mixture. Mix everything together with a spoon until a shaggy dough begins to form.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle. Fold the two edges so that they meet in the center. Rotate the dough, gently roll out and repeat the same folding process. Rotate the dough, gently roll it out again and repeat the folding process one last time.

Pat the dough until it’s about 3/4-inch. Punch out as many biscuits using a 3-inch biscuit cutter. Re-roll scraps and cut out the remaining biscuits, you should end up with six.

Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops with some additional buttermilk. Bake the biscuits, rotating once, for about 18 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool on wire rack.

Use a serrated knife to cut each biscuit. Spread mayo on both sides of the biscuit, then fill with a slice of cheese, some arugula, a few pickled jalapeños, and a fried egg. Enjoy while hot!


To make the sweet potato puree: Place one large sweet potato that’s been peeled and cut into three-inch pieces in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, let cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Store in the refrigerator and use once chilled.  

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce


Butterscotch is so good—from being the hard candy you snatched from grandma’s crystal jar to chocolate’s sworn enemy on the battlefield of adorning sundaes, it never disappoints. So I thought it would be fun to create some for the holidays, since a butterscotch-slathered sundae is impossible to resist and because some people don’t prefer pie at their Thanksgiving dinner. I mean, I don’t understand those people, but I respect their decision and I got their backs. This butterscotch recipe is pretty straightforward and simply delicious. So whip some up if you wish and enjoy Thanksgiving!


Bourbon Butterscotch

makes about 1 cup

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup + 3 tbs dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon large kosher salt, or more if needed 2 tbs bourbon, this is optional


Melt the butter, sugar, heavy cream, and salt in a wide saucepan or skillet. Gently stir everything together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

One smooth, allow the sugar and butter mixture to come up to a heavy simmer. Let simmer undisturbed for 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla extract and bourbon if using. Carefully taste the butterscotch and add any additional salt or bourbon if needed.

Transfer to an airtight container and let cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. This sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks. This sauce is best served warm.


Caramelized onion & bacon puff pastry squares


The fact that we’re almost halfway through November is a little crazy, don’t you think? I swear that I just savored my last peach of summer mere weeks ago. But now that we’ve officially made the transition from summer to fall, it’s time to embrace the season. Now it’s time to invite your friends over, to enjoy gatherings with family, and to fill your kitchen with the coziest of appetizers, dishes, and desserts.


Speaking of appetizers, these little puff pastry squares are simply incredible! Caramelized onion and bacon work perfectly together to produce sweet overtones with a lovely bursts of char. Coming alongside, some tangy goat cheese and equally tangy mustard brings a pleasant contrast to the combination of flavors. I used Maille’s honey mustard specifically, because it’s not only totally delicious but also expands the sweet and tangy dynamic to which these treats are devoted. Thin slices of d’anjou pear finish the flavor profile in style—a delicious fall fruit for some delicious fall fare.


Divide all these ingredients evenly between a few puff pastry squares, and you’ll have a simple, impressive, and addictive appetizer on your hands. So bake some of these off for the holidays and treat your friends and family!


Thank you to Maille for sponsoring this post. All words are my own

Caramelized onion, bacon, & goat cheese puff pastry squares

Yields 9 squares

1 Puff pastry sheet, thawed

3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped

1 ½ tbs unsalted butter

2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced ¼’’-⅛’’ thick

1 Jar Mallie Honey mustard

crumbled goat cheese

½ small d’anjou pear, thinly sliced *optional

kosher salt, as needed

1 egg + 2 tsp water, whisked (egg wash)

Begin by caramelizing the onions. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauté pan, or in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt, and stir to coat onions with butter. Spread the onions out in an even layer, and reduce heat to medium low.

Cook the onions for about 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. If spots on the bottom of the pan begin to burn a bit, simply splash with a little water or chicken stock to add a little moisture.

Once the onions take on a lovely caramel color and jammy texture, remove from heat and transfer to another bowl to cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Unfold the pastry sheet on a piece of parchment paper and cut into 9, 3x3’’ squares. Next, use the tip of a sharp knife to lightly score a ½’’ edge inside each square, essentially tracing out a smaller square. This will create a pocket for all that yummy filling. Transfer the parchment paper to a baking sheet.

Place 3/4 tsp of Maille’s honey mustard in the center of each inner square. I used a pastry brush to smooth it out, but the back of a spoon works too! Place 1 slightly heaped tablespoon of caramelized onions in each “inner” square. You may need to flatten the onions slightly, just make sure to keep the filling inside the scored lines.

Divide the chopped bacon evenly between each square, and if using a pear place slice right on top, then sprinkle with a bit of goat cheese. Use a clean pastry brush to brush the edge of each square with egg wash. Place in the oven and cook for about 16 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Enjoy warm!

Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies


I recently wrote about pumpkin spice done right with a batch of cinnamon rolls I created, and now I have another fresh pumpkin spice recipe for you just in time for the holidays. This is a solid batch of oatmeal cookies, replete with delicious chocolate chips and a texture to die for. I snuck just the right amount of pumpkin spice into this, and just like that it’s become one with Fall—an established recipe with a touch of appropriate seasonal spice. Follow the recipe below and bring a treat to Thanksgiving that your family will fight over.


Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies

3/4 cup ap flour 

1/4+ 2 tbs cup spelt flour

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

1/4 tsp cardamom

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed 

1 egg, room temp

4 tbs maple syrup (any grade)

 1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

3/4-1 cup chocolate chips

Tahini glaze

1 Tbs tahini

1/2 p sugar

4tsp milk, plus more if needed

Pinch salt


In a medium bowl mix together the both flours, oats, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and cardamom until well combined.

Cream brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Then beat in the egg until fully combined. Next, mix in the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, and vanilla. The mixture will likely look curdled at this point, but that’s okay.

With the mixer on low, slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the wet. Once the everything is just about combined add in the chocolate chips and mix on low for a few seconds more. 

Cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour, or overnight. When you’re ready to bake pre-heat oven to 350 F°.  Place about 12, 2 tablespoon sized portions of dough on a lined cookie sheet and bake them for 12-13 minutes. The edges should be set and the center might slightly look shiny, which is totally fine. 

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minuets then transfer to a baking cooling rack. Continue this process until you bake off all of the cookie. Makes about 3 dozen smaller cookies.

Mix together glaze ingredients until smooth. If the glaze seems a little thick, add a splash more milk add need until a glaze-like texture is achieved. 

Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies and enjoy!

Spiced Apple Bundt cake

Let’s indulge in all things fall, shall we? This spiced apple bundt will fill your home with the most wonderful of scents—like a mix between pumpkin bread and pancakes. But let’s be honest, even though it will smell like a dream fresh out of the oven, the best part is eating it! Follow the recipe below to enjoy this family favorite!

Spiced Apple Bundt

2 cups (250g) All purpose flour

1 cup (115 g) spelt flour

1 ¼ tsp baking soda  

1 ½ baking powder

2 ¼ tsp cinnamon

1 ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

½ tsp ground cardamom

¾ tsp sea salt

¾ cup (150g) brown sugar, packed

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

1 cup grape seed oil, or other neutral oil

3 large eggs

1/2 cup (122 g) unsweetened applesauce

2 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups shredded green apples

For the Cream Cheese Layer

12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 large egg

3 tbs granulated sugar

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


1 cup powdered sugar

3 tbs dark maple syrup

1 tbs milk

Pinch sea salt


1, 11-cup capacity bundt pan, large bowl, whisk, medium bowl, spatula, standing or hand held mixer, micro plane zester, cooling rack


For the cake, preheat oven to 325° F (180 °C), and lightly grease the bundt cake; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and salt; set aside.

In a larger bowl, whisk together oil, both sugars, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla until very smooth; set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, sugar, and vanilla, and beast on medium-high speed until combined.

With a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing until just combined. Then fold in the shredded apples.

Pour half of the batter into the bundt pan. Carefully spoon the cream cheese layer over the batter. Try your best to keep the cream cheese away from the edges of the pan. Pour the remaining batter over the top.

Place the cake in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with just a couple lightly moist crumbs. This is a large, heavy cake so don't be alarmed if it takes a little longer in your oven.

Allow the cake to cool for at least 45min-1 hour in the pan before inverting onto a baking sheet to cool completely.

Once cake is cool, make the glaze. Mix all glaze ingredients together until a smooth, slightly thick glaze is formed. If the glaze looks a little thin, go ahead an add a little extra powdered sugar.

Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and enjoy!



As we begin our shift into a new season of gourds and hearty vegetables in place of berries and stone fruits, I thought I’d create a recipe for that transition period. While summer is bathed in sunshine, sweet fruits, bright produce, and a sizzling breeze, fall is robed in chilly, misty mornings, produce fit for stews, and excuses left and right for lighting up the fireplace or reaching for some hot chocolate. Fall is accordingly a season for cozy home gatherings, which is exactly such an occasion for which I developed this recipe.


The Concord grape is the key transitional produce item in this recipe that spans the threshold between the seasons. Its versatility and availability lends strengths to dishes both vibrant and comforting, and alongside baked brie it’s as comfortable as you can get. Roasting the grapes accentuates their flavor, and saturates them in the pleasant herbality of rosemary. Brie is perfect for the season—earthy, nutty, buttery and creamy. Baking it softens and melts its interior so that its lovely texture is released upon cutting into it. Candied walnuts enhance the cheese’s already nutty flavors, while honey pairs with the grapes for a pleasant overall amplification of what makes this dish great. They also find a companion in what ought to considered the final ingredient—J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot.


The Los Osos Merlot begins with a floral aroma and notes of tart black cherry. The first sip introduces dark chocolate and spices, finishing with rich, deep fruits. A wonderful wine on its own, this Merlot enhances everything that shines about the baked brie and roasted grapes. Its balanced tannins and medium body reflect the earthiness of the cheese and walnuts, while its notes of chocolate and berries express the sweetness of the grapes and honey. It’s simply a wonderful match. As I said before, fall is a season for gatherings, and this cozy wine and comforting appetizer beg to be shared and enjoyed with those whose company you cherish. So please take my recommendation and treat this recipe as a perfect excuse to invite them over.


Many thanks to J.Lohr for sponsoring this post! And, as always, all opinions are my own.

Baked brie with roasted grapes

1/2 lb concord grapes, washed and dried

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

3/4 tsp freshly chopped rosemary

pinch of kosher salt

1 wheel of Brie cheese

honey, for drizzling

1/4 cup candied walnuts, chopped

Sliced baguette or crackers for serving


Heat oven to 400°F. Place the grapes in a small baking dish and drizzle with oil, vinegar, rosemary, and a pinch of salt. Gently toss everything together with the grapes still on the vine. *You can also remove all of the grapes from the vine if desired. 

Place the dish in the oven, shaking them halfway through, until their skins begin to burst and begin to shrivel, about 30 minutes.

Remove the grapes from the oven, and set aside to cool slightly. Reduce the oven’s temperature to 350°F. Place the wheel of brie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the cheese begins to soften and ooze.

Transfer the cheese to a plate and place the roasted grapes and it’s juices over the top of the brie. Garnish with a drizzle of honey and chopped walnuts. Serve warm with crackers or sliced baguette.



The fanatical, seasonal craze that is pumpkin spice has now reached its fever pitch. And this is for good reason, despite how often so many people take it too far. In my husband’s family tradition, this time of year is filled with famous iterations of bourbon-infused pumpkin pies and luscious, buttery pumpkin breads that would make you lose your mind. The recipes have been floating amongst family members for a couple generations, and let me tell you: this is pumpkin spice done right.


A few years ago I was invited to take part in this family tradition and I thankfully won over many hearts with what is now is a staple recipe for cinnamon rolls. So this year I thought I would infuse my recipe with pumpkin, and of course the many spices associated with it, and the result was not only unutterably delicious, but a brand new recipe in its own right.

If you’re therefore looking for a knockout recipe for your next holiday gathering, or at least want to cash in on all that’s good in the all-too-often ridiculous fad of pumpkin spice, look no further! I promise you this will be one of the tastiest treats ever to have emerged from your oven.


Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

For the Dough

Yields 12 Rolls

3-3¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 3/4 tsp pumpkin spice

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tsp granulated sugar

2 1/4 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast ,or 1 Individual Packet- I used Fleischmann's Yeast 

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

6 tbs unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg, room temp

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 ½ tsp vanilla extract

For the Filling

½ cup packed dark or light brown sugar

1 tbs cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin spice

for the FROSTING

Enough for 12 Rolls

4 oz Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs unsalted butter, Softened

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

pinch of kosher salt

Few Splashes of whole milk—about 1 tbs


Standing mixer with hook attachment, and whisk attachment, large bowl, saucepan, thermometer, small bowl, rolling pin. A 13" x 9" x 1" high sheet pan to bake all12 rolls at once.


For the dough—In a large bowl whisk together 3 cups flour, kosher salt, pumpkin spice, and nutmeg; set aside.

Gently warm the milk in a saucepan or the microwave to 100-110F°, or to your yeast manufacturer’s recommendation. Add the warmed milk, 1 tsp granulated sugar, and the yeast to a small bowl. Gently mix, and let stand until foamy, about 8-10 minutes.

While the yeast is proofing, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the melted butter, pumpkin puree, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the yeast mixture and mix on low to combine.

Stop the mixer and add the 3 cups of flour and mix on medium-low speed. Once it turns into a sticky dough, stop the mixer and switch to a dough hook. Continue mixing the dough on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and check the dough. It should be soft and slightly sticky, but not so much that it sticks aggressively to your hands. If the dough seem too tacky, continue to add in the remaining flour in tablespoon increments. You may not need all the flour, so check the tackiness of the dough after each addition. The dough will be soft and should clear the sides of the bowl, but will still slightly stick to the bottom of the bowl

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. You could use the same bowl you mixed it in, as it should be pretty clean. Place the dough in a warm, draft-free place. The oven or microwave are two great places. Let dough rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly punch down the dough. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then roll out into a 18x10-inch rectangle.

For the filling, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Spread the 4 tablespoons of softened butter over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a ½ inch border on one side. With your rolling pin, lightly roll over the sugar mixture to help pack it into the dough.

Roll the dough lengthwise up from bottom to top, making sure to tuck and pull as you roll.

Run a moistened finger along the ½-inch edge of the dough without filling, and pinch to seal the edge. Cut into 12 pieces. They should be just over 1-inch thick. Place the rolls onto a 13" x 9" x 1"-inch baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for another 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Depending on how quickly the rolls are rising, heat oven to 375 F°. Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 20-25 or until lightly brown on top. You don’t want to brown the rolls to much as this will make them harder when they cool.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together the cream cheese, vanilla, powdered sugar butter, and salt. Once combined, add in the butter and whisk until smooth.. Add a small amount of milk to create a more “glaze like” texture, continue to add milk until desired consistency is obtained.

Pour glaze over cinnamon warm buns and enjoy every bite!



Over the years my appreciation for sheet pan meals has only grown. This is especially true for those times when I have a crazy work week, but still want to enjoy a meal that tastes like it took all night to make. And this chicken fajitas recipe is exactly that kind of meal.


The main reason this works is that not only can all the ingredients fit into a single sheet pan, but they benefit from being all mixed together. This creates a dish that’s both full of flavor and ridiculously convenient. Simply slice up some chicken, peppers, and onion, then saturate them in the rich mixture of chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and garlic. When this all comes together, the unmistakable taste and fragrance of fajitas unfolds.


I decided to match this full-flavored dish with La Crema’s equally full-flavored 2016 Pinot Noir. It exudes deep notes of cherry, rhubarb, plum, raspberry, citrus and spice. It’s simply a great companion to have alongside these fajitas.

Head over to La Crema’s blog to snag the recipe!

This is a sponsored post. Thank you for supporting the brands the help support The Broken Bread. As always, as words and opinions are my own.

Orange Blossom Cake with Figs


I shared an image of this cake on IG not too long ago and I was so happy to see that so many people where just as excited about fig season as I was. Fig season doesn’t last too long, so I wanted to share this recipe before their time is up.

This yogurt cake has been a staple recipe of mine for so long. Not only is it easy to make, but the recipe is very flexible. For this particular version I kept it simple and added orange blossom extract, which adds the most intoxicating aroma. I made a simple, tangy crème fraîche frosting, which really lets the orange blossom shine. Fresh figs and chopped pistachios are the final touch, which in my opinion really bring all these flavors together in the most pleasant way.

I hope that you get a chance to make this cake because it is just too easy not to. If not, I hope at the very least that this cake can be a source of inspiration for your next fig-focused dessert.




Orange Blossom and Fig Cake

2 cups all purpose flour

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp orange blossom extract

2 large eggs

¾ cup plain yogurt

⅓ cup coconut oil or vegetable oil

For garnish: sliced figs and chopped pistachios

Equipment: 8x2 inch cake pan, parchment paper

Crème Fraîche Frosting

3 ounces unsalted butter, room temp

4 ounces crème fraîche, room temp

2-21/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch sea salt

Equipment: standing mixer fitter with whisk attachment


Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the cake pan a line with a piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Add the sugar and oil to a medium bowl and whisk together. Then whisk in the eggs, yogurt, and extract until smooth. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and place in the oven.

Bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool for 15 minutes before gently removing from pan. All the cake to cool fully before frosting.

For the frosting, add the butter and the crème fraîche to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. The liquid might separate from the crème fraîche, but just continue beating until it becomes smooth and creamy—about 3 minutes or so.

Stop the mixer and add a pinch of sea salt, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Starting on low, slowly increase the speed to medium-high and beat everything together for about 45 seconds, or until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low, add the second cup of powdered sugar in small increments until all of it has been added. Taste the frosting and add the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar if a sweeter frosting is desired. Scrape down the side of the bowl, then beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting seems to separate at all, simply continue beating until smooth.

Once the cake has cooled, top with frosting, sliced figs, and chopped pistachios.


Peaches & Cream Popsicles

While I am very excited for the arrival of fall, I can't ignore the fact the here in Southern California summer will be here for a little longer—which is something I'm more than okay with. So for as long as I can, I will continue to embrace summer, and all of the beautiful produce it continues to yield—like peaches! Since it's still so hot out most days, I wanted to make a refreshing yet healthy popsicle that I could eat when I needed to cool down. So as long as peaches are still around, enjoy the last of those hot sunny days by crafting these end-of-summer treats!

Peaches & Cream Popsicles


2 ½ cups plain yogurt

1 tsp ground vanilla bean seeds or 2 tsp vanilla extract

4-5 tbsp honey, or more to taste

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill muesli, plus a little bit extra

1 large peach, firm but ripe, thinly sliced

Equipment: Medium bowl, 10 capacity popsicle mold, 10 wooden popsicle sticks


Mix first 4 ingredients in medium bowl until combined.

Transfer the mixture ideally tp something with a lip, like a measuring cup and fill each popsicle mold halfway with the yogurt mix. Place 2 peach slices in each mold. then fill each mold with the remaining yogurt mix (there should be a little room left in each mold) and garnish with a little extra muesli.

Attach lid onto mold, insert sticks, freeze overnight, and enjoy! If the popsicles are difficult to remove, simply dip, or run the molds under warm water for a few minutes to loosen.

Lemon Poppyseed Shortcakes

     One of the many perks of living in California is that strawberry season starts early and ends late. That's why I found this to be the perfect dessert to create in order to savor those last bits of summer strawberries that are still around. Strawberry shortcakes are a weakness of mine, and this lemon & poppyseed version is no exception. Instead of a few images, I'm sharing a short video that I made in partnership with Bob's Red Mill to show you how easy these treats are to make. 

Enjoy xx

Lemon & Poppyseed Shortcakes

Makes 6 shortcakes

½ cup granulated sugar, divided  

1 tbs + 1 tsp lemon zest, preferrably organic

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbs +1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp fine sea salt  

2 tsp poppy seeds

8 tbs very cold unsalted butter, cubed

½ cup low-fat buttermilk, plus extra for brushing  

2 tbs lemon juice

demerara sugar, for sprinkling

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 ¾ cup Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Equipment: baking sheet lined with parchment paper, pastry cutter, 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter, pastry brush, cooling rack.


Add 1/4 cup of sugar and the lemon zest to a large bowl. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar becomes fragrant and is well incorporated.

To the sugar, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds and whisk to combine.

Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture and using a pastry cutter (or you can use your hands) cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter becomes the size of peas.

Add the buttermilk and the lemon juice to the bowl, and mix everything together with a fork until a shaggy dough begins to form. Bring the dough together a bit while still in the bowl, then place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-inch circle that's about 1-inch  *note: if the dough seems too dry for any reason, simply add a little extra buttermilk, 1 tsp at a time until the dough comes together. Use a 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter to cut out 3 shortcakes, re-roll the scraps and cut out 3 more.

Place the shortcakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops with some additional buttermilk. Sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar and place in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes.

While the shortcakes are chilling, preheat the oven to 415°F and begin prepping the strawberries. Place the strawberries in a medium bowl and toss with the remaining sugar. Set the strawberries aside and allow them to sit at room temp until the shortcakes are ready.

Place the shortcakes in the oven and bake, rotating once, for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool on wire rack for 15-20 minutes.

Use a serrated knife to cut each shortcake in half. Top each one with a few dollops of sweetened cream and a few spoonfuls of macerated strawberries. Eat immediately.

Marinated chicken & papaya salad

     I love working with a variety of proteins, especially when they’re incorporated into meals like fresh summer salads. It’s always intimidating though, because it’s difficult to learn how to consistently cook a cut of meat to perfection. One I’ve recently figured out relatively well is grilled chicken—and it’s thankfully not too hard to get a hang of.

     The two main aspects of the process I focused on were pounding out the chicken and marinating the chicken. If you get these two things right, then everything tends to fall together. Pounding out the chicken makes sure you’ll be able to cook it evenly and swiftly, while marinating the chicken enriches its flavor and retains its irresistibly juicy texture. For my marinade I combined lemon juice, garlic, and herbs, which really helps the chicken blend well with the salad’s components. Among these are mixed greens, hydrating cumbers, creamy avocados, and sweet papaya. All these elements together really make for summer salad bliss.


     When experimenting with this recipe, I found La Crema’s 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay to be virtually the perfect—it has its own bold personality while excellently complimenting the salad’s sweet and savory fusion. It begins with notes of apple and citrus, working into melon and papaya laced with spices, finishing with a light oakiness and crisp acidity. It’s so good. So if you find yourself frequenting the grill this summer, then head over to La Crema's blog and enjoy this salad with cold glass of California chardonnay!


Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

No-Churn Coffee & cookie ice cream

     It's National Ice Cream Day! And as a lover of all things ice cream I wanted to share this delicious coffee-cookie concoction that I came up with not too long ago. Let me first say that if you're not a fan of coffee-flavored desserts, I suggest you look away now, as this ice cream is dedicated to all the coffee lovers out there.

     I really appreciate the simplistic beauty of no-churn ice cream. This appreciation especially rings true during those times where the craving for ice cream hits immediately and I'm in no position to bust out my ice cream machine. I still can't get over the fact that it really only takes 2 ingredients to make a glorious batch of creamy ice cream. All you really need to worry about is what kind of extra toppings you're going to toss into the mix. This recipe in particular fuses my two loves: coffee and chocolate. I really wanted to achieve a deep coffee flavor in this ice cream, so I infused my heavy cream overnight with ground coffee beans and voilà: I ended up with a flavorful coffee base that was begging to be turned into ice cream.

     Crushed Oreos and caramel also made it into this recipe. I had both on hand and I really couldn't imagine a coffee ice cream with out a little chocolate. As far as the caramel goes, I think the recipe works well with or with out it. So if you don't have any available, I promise that the coffee and cookies will taste just as lovely. 

No-churn coffee ice cream

2 cups heavy cream, plus a bit extra

½ cup coarsely ground coffee beans

1 ¼ cups crushed Oreos, about 12 or so

1 can sweetened condensed milk

pinch kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla

Caramel, optional


The night before, make the coffee infused base. Add the heavy cream and ground coffee beans to a sealable bowl or jar. Mix/shake the cream and coffee beans a bit until well combined. Place the covered bowl or sealed jar in the refrigerator and let infuse overnight. 

Strain the infused cream into a measuring cup, and add as much heavy cream as needed to measure out 2 cups.

Add the condensed milk and 1 cup of the crushed cookies to a large bowl, and fold together until combined.

In the bowl of a standing mixer add the 2 cups of infused heavy cream, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold the cookie mixture and a small portion of the whipped cream together to lighten it up. Add the remaining amount of whipped cream and fold until just combined.

Pour mixture into either in a 9×5” loaf pan and sprinkle with the top of the ice cream with the remaining crushed cookies. * NOTE, if using caramel, pour half of the ice cream into the pan and drizzle with some caramel. Add the remaining whipped cream and drizzle with a little more caramel and topped with the remaining crushed cookies. 

Tightly wrap the pan with plastic wrap making sure that 1 layer actually touches the ice cream this will help prevent crystallization. Wrap a second layer around the first and place ice cream in freezer until solid, about 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Remove ice cream from freezer about 15 minutes before serving, this will help it soften just a bit. Serve as is, or with a light garnish of crushed graham crackers.



     When I made this summer salad, I found that the process of just combining amazing ingredients yielded a dish so quickly I decided to make two versions. This version focuses on peaches and pecorino, while the other version (on La Crema’s blog) focuses on an avocado BLT approach. And these versions are made possible in large part by how fresh and bright and vibrant so much produce is this time of year. Peaches, tomatoes, romaine, citrus, avocados—hard to go wrong combining any of these in a salad.


     This salad is all about contrasts and complements. The peaches and pecorino, for example, come together in saccharine savory delight. The brisk cheese is striking while the buttery fruit is satisfying, but instead of cancelling each other out they coalesce into something special. The grilled romaine provides a charred savory base, while the honey-lemon dressing in which the salad is splashed provides a sweetened garnish. Each component plays off the other, and each bite is certainly the better for it.


     The final layer of contrasts and complements is completed by the wine, in this case La Crema’s Monterey Chardonnay. It’s peachy and pineappley on the one side, but acidic and minerally on the other. Tropical fruit and spices are held in skillful balance, just as bright citrus and the aroma of a seaside breeze strike a similar symmetry. An exciting wine for an exciting dish, no less full of surprises. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do, and please go to La Crema’s blog to check out my other version!

     Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. This is a sponsored post and, as always, all words are my own.

Grilled Romain With Peaches & Pecorino

2 heads of romaine, halved lengthwise, rinsed and dried well

Olive oil, for brushing

2 peaches, stones removed and sliced

Shaved pecorino cheese, for garnish

Lemon-honey dressing

4 tbs lemon juice

Zest of one small lemon

1 tbs dijion mustard

3 tsp honey

6 tbs olive oil

Salt, to taste

Begin by making the dressing. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, and honey to a small bowl and whisk until combined. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue whisking until the olive oil is well blended. Season dressing with salt to taste; set aside.

For the salad, heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat (a grill pan set over medium-high heat can also be used). Brush each of the cut sides of the romaine with olive oil, place on the grill, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, turning once, until slightly wilted and char marks appear.

Divide each half of romaine between four plates. Garnish each plate with an equal serving of sliced peaches, pecorino, and desired amount of dressing. Enjoy salads right away!