Pear Snacking Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

This cake was just calling for all of the Bosc pears that I’ve received in my CSA share recently. I love it when I have all of the ingredients readily available to make a special treat.🙂

As a side note, I don’t really understand the idea of a “snacking” cake. This is definitely a CAKE. The brown butter glaze was absolutely essential and absolutely fabulous. Yes, it was easy to eat and, yes, it’s not a fancy layer cake. I also suppose it would be a wonderful snack! We enjoyed it for dessert.😉

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour and decreased the amount of fresh nutmeg. I also omitted the nuts. Delicious!

I’m sharing this special “snack” at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #142 this week, co-hosted by Elaine @foodbod and Michelle @O Blog Off. Enjoy!🙂

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup/227 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature, more to grease the pan
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup/100 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 to 4 large pears (2 1/4 pounds/1 kilogram), peeled, cored and shredded or finely chopped (to yield 2 1/2 cups) (I finely chopped the prepared pears in a mini-food processor.)
  • 2 ¾ cups/350 grams all-purpose flour (I used 175 g all-purpose flour & 175 g whole wheat pastry flour)
  • ¾ cup/75 grams rolled oats
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped, optional

For the Brown Butter Glaze:

  • 5 tablespoons/70 grams unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons/25 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup/125 grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons/45 milliliters heavy cream or milk, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of coarse salt
  1. Prepare the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-2-inch square or 9-inch-round pan and line bottom with parchment paper. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  2. Using a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add sugars, baking powder, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda and beat for 1 minute.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  5. With the mixer on low, beat in half the pears, and then beat in the flour until smooth.
  6. Beat in remaining pears, then the oats, beating until well incorporated.
  7. Beat in nuts, if using.
  8. Spread batter in the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center of the cake, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Prepare the glaze: In a small saucepan, melt butter, then let it simmer until the foam on top falls to the bottom of the pot and turns brown, about 3 minutes. It will smell nutty and rich when it’s ready.
  10. Whisk in brown sugar until it dissolves.
  11. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla and salt until you’ve got a thick glaze with the texture of hot fudge sauce.
  12. Spread this over the cooled cake. Let the glaze set for at least 2 hours before serving.

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Churro Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

My kids had friends over for a taco dinner the other night, and we “needed” a special dessert. These churro cupcakes were perfect for our theme!

This recipe was adapted from Lady Behind the Curtain, via Sweet Carolines Cooking. I loved the cinnamon-sugar topping underneath the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Although we did debate whether or not these cupcakes were more “churro” or “snickerdoodle,” we all agreed they were tasty.🙂

I’m sharing this party food at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #140 this week, co-hosted by Julie @Hostess at Heart and Linda @Fabulous Fare Sisters. Enjoy!

Yield: Makes 24 cupcakes

For the Cupcake Batter:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups cake flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 1½ T ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¾ granulated sugar, plus 2 T for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups milk (I used 1 percent)

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. (1 brick) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp milk, if needed to thin consistency

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Line 2 muffin pans with liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract.
  5. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until just combined after each.
  6. Fill each cupcake liner three-quarters full. Bake 17-20 minutes, or until cupcakes bounce back at the touch of a finger.
  7. Remove cupcakes from oven and place cupcakes on wire racks to cool.
  8. Meanwhile, make the cinnamon-sugar topping: Place the butter in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, or until melted.
  9. In another small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  10. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, brush melted butter on the tops and dip into the cinnamon sugar mixture, making sure to entirely coat the top of the cupcake.
  11. Make the frosting: Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
  12. Add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, until incorporated and desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add a teaspoon or so of milk to thin.
  13. Using a pastry bag with a fluted tip, frost cupcakes. Be careful not to coat the outer edge of the cupcakes so that the cinnamon sugar can shine through.
  14. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Damson Plum & Cream Tart

This is the second dessert I was able to make with the bounty of Damson plums I received in my CSA share. The plum compote was a great way to preserve the plums for a later use; it keeps for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

The sweet compote paired very nicely with the lightly sweetened cream filling and crust. The quantity of compote used to garnish the top of the tart can be adjusted to affect the overall sweetness of the finished tart.

This recipe was adapted from Gourmet, via The pastry recipe is from Martha Stewart. Store-bought pie crust could easily be substituted. I have been eating the leftover compote drizzled over vanilla ice cream!

Yield: One 10-inch tart, Serves 6 to 8

For the Pastry:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

For the Compote:

  • 1 pound Damson plums or prune plums
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or citrus juice
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

For the Cream Filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  1. Make pastry dough: Pulse flour, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined.
  2. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds.
  3. Drizzle 1/4 cup ice water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture holds together when pressed between 2 fingers (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse.
  4. Shape dough into 1 large disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (Dough can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 3 months. Let chilled dough stand for 10 minutes and frozen dough thaw before using.)
  5. Make the compote while pastry chills: Bring whole plums, sugar, salt, wine/citrus juice, and bay leaf to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat, covered, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved (be careful juices don’t boil over). (I used an enameled cast iron saucepan.)
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until plums fall apart, about 30 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a bowl and chill, uncovered, until cold, then cover.
  8. Discard pits and bay leaf, then add a little confectioners sugar to taste if desired.
  9. Prepare the pastry: Between layers of plastic wrap, roll dough into an approximately 12-inch round, enough to cover a 10-inch tart pan bottom and sides.
  10. Prick bottoms all over with a fork, then freeze tart pan on a cookie sheet until firm, at least 1 hour.
  11. Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle, preferably on convection.
  12. Place chilled tart crust in oven. Turn oven temperature down to 400°F and bake until golden all over, 11 to 13 minutes.
  13. Transfer tart pan to a rack to cool completely, then remove shell from pan.
  14. Make the cream filling: Put cream in a large bowl, then scrape seeds from vanilla bean into cream.
  15. Beat in sugar and zest with an electric mixer until cream just holds stiff peaks.
  16. Fold in about 2 tablespoons plum compote, then spread cream in the prepared tart shell.
  17. Serve topped with some of remaining compote (you will have a lot left over).

Note: Compote keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.

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Single-Crust Damson Plum & Apple Pie

I “had” to make this wonderful weeknight pie with the Damson plums I received in my CSA share.🙂 Apparently, they are too tart to be eaten raw and must be cooked. Lucky for me, I received over two pounds of them and was able to enjoy them in two different desserts!

The combination of tart fruit with a sweet cookie-like crust in this pie was absolutely delicious. Blending plums with apples was a wonderful bridge from summer to fall as well.

This recipe was adapted from The Guardian, contributed by Nigel Slater, via Smitten Kitchen. The original recipe used prune plums. It was almost a cobbler with its crumbly lid and oozing filling. Amazing.

I’m sharing my pie at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #138 this week, co-hosted by my friends Mollie @The Frugal Hausfrau and Johanne @French Gardener Dishes. Enjoy!

For the Pastry Lid:

  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (I used the zest from about 1/2 a naval orange.)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup plus 6 1/2 tablespoons (175 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse or flaky salt
  • milk or heavy cream, for brushing crust
  • turbinado or granulated sugar, for sprinkling crust
  • softly whipped, lightly sweetened cream, or vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional (unnecessary!)

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound ripe Damson plums or Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered
  • 1 pound apples, peeled, cored and cut into smaller chunks (I used Pink Lady apples.)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • squeeze or two of fresh orange juice
  1. Make the pastry lid: In a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in the lightly beaten egg and scrape down sides.
  3. Slowly add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat until combined.
  4. Scrape dough into a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and stick in the freezer for 10 to 20 minutes, or until firmed up.
  5. Assemble the pie: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C or gas mark 4).
  6. Butter a pie dish. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  7. Add the fruit and sprinkle it with the sugar, cinnamon and orange juice. Gently toss the ingredients together once or twice. 
  8. Roll out the firmed-up lid dough between sheets of plastic wrap or on a very well floured counter.
  9. Gently lift it onto the pie and fold the edges underneath to fit the dish. Crimp the edges, as desired. (Note: The crust may tear- all the better to let juice erupt through.)
  10. Cut 4 vents in the top to allow steam to release and additional juice to bubble through.
  11. Brush the crust with milk or cream, sprinkle with sugar. 
  12. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly golden on top, covering the edges after the first 15 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning.
  13. Scoop onto dishes and serve plain or with whipped cream or ice cream, as desired. (I thought it was perfect on its own!)

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Blueberry & Corn Crisp

I can’t try enough crisp recipes using summer berries. This dessert was described as a “unique and textured crisp with the flavors of corn muffins and blueberry jam smashed together.” I loved the textural contrast of the fresh corn kernels in the topping with the soft blueberry filling. Yummy!

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Nicole Rucker. I used medium-fine cornmeal instead of coarse. We ate it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course.🙂

Yield: Serves 8

For the Filling:

  • 5 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed) blueberries
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse  salt

For the Topping and Assembly:

  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup coarse-grind cornmeal or polenta (I used medium-fine cornmeal)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 1 large ear)

To Make the Filling:

  1. Toss blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt in a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

To Make the Topping and Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°, preferably on convection.
  2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl to combine.
  3. Using a pastry blender or your hands, work butter into dry ingredients until no dry spots remain and mixture holds together when squeezed.
  4. Add corn and toss to evenly distribute.
  5. Press topping between your fingers and break into large pieces over filling.
  6. Place baking dish on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake crisp until topping is golden brown and juices are thick and bubbling, 50–60 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.

Note: Crisp can be made 1 day ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

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Speculoos-Toffee Cookies

These were a perfect choice for a Father’s Day dessert for my husband. Two of his absolute favorite flavors combined in a crispy on the outside- chewy on the inside cookie. Their flavor was reminiscent of Pepperidge Farm “Bordeaux” cookies- a childhood favorite of my husband’s and mine. Delicious!

This recipe was adapted from, via Jess @ Cooking is my Sport. I made them slightly smaller and used Trader Joe’s chunky Speculoos cookie butter. They would also be insanely delicious as a cookie-wich!

Yield: 4 dozen 3 1/2-inch cookies

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy or chunky Speculoos cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup Heath toffee bits
  1. Cream together both sugars, the butter and the Speculoos cookie butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and salt and stir to combine.
  3. In separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and corn starch together with whisk until well combined. Slowly add it to the wet mixture, mixing until well incorporated.
  4. Using the lowest speed of mixer, or by hand, stir in the Heath toffee bits.
  5. Refrigerate cookie dough at least one hour, preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Line two rimmed baking sheet pans with parchment paper.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop, spoon out portions of dough. Place onto sheet pans about 2-inches apart.
  8. Bake cookies for 11 minutes, rotating the baking pans halfway through, or until the edges are lightly browned.
  9. Allow cookies to sit on the baking pans for about 3-5 minutes, before moving to cooling rack to cool completely.

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Milk Bar Sugar Cookie-Cake Squares

My word. These were yummy. Easy too. We had them as part of our Memorial Day cookout along with a skillet chocolate chip cookie– and ice cream, of course! All-American, right?😉

This recipe was adapted from Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi, via the Washington Post. Apparently, these cookie squares are known as “The Greta” (named after Tosi’s mother) at Momofuku Milk Bar. They would be perfect with red (or even red, white, and blue!) sprinkles for the Fourth of July. I opted to top them with cinnamon sugar which is another tasty option.🙂

Yield: 2 dozen 2-inch cookie-cakes

  • 2 sticks, 16 T, unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola, grapeseed, or other neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 to 4 T decorative sprinkles or sparkling sugar OR 1 T granulated sugar mixed with 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Generously grease a 9 x 13-inch deep sided baking pan with butter. Line with parchment paper- hanging over all sides of the pan. Coat the parchment paper with cooking oil spray.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high-speed for 3 minutes, until fluffy and homogenous. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
  4. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-low speed for 1 minute, or until just combined. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
  5. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat on medium-low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, then add the milk and beat for about 30 seconds to form a soft dough.
  6. Using an offset spatula, spread the dough evenly in the pan, making sure it gets into the corners.
  7. Scatter the cinnamon-sugar or sprinkles on top generously.
  8. Bake on the center rack for 20 (if you desire a slightly under-baked in the center cookie) to 30 minutes (for a firmer cookie), or until the cookie slab has puffed, lightly browned and is firm to the touch.
  9. Cool completely in the pan.
  10. Using the parchment paper, remove cookie the cookie from the pan. Cut into 24 two-inch squares.

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