Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake!

Ah.... a long overdue full weekend! A small glimpse of what is to come as harvest is slowly (a little too slow...) coming to an end. 

Now what is one to do with 2 whole days? Well let me tell you, eat lots of food, run lots of miles, watch lots of tv, and make lots of goodies. Surely this rare anomaly can't be wasted. 

This seemly normal cake is anything but! I've never used ricotta in anything before and after this, it definitely won't be the last. This recipe is almost too easy to have produced such a delicious cake: light, moist, and just the right amount of sweet, its melt in your mouth good. The lemon zest brings just the right amount of citrus burst to counter the sweet and nuttiness of the cake, its a definite winner!

I used Trader Joe's almond meal which is more course than the Red Mill's version so the cake came out a lot darker and grainier looking than the cake from the original recipe but I kind of like its rustic looks, fits the season (and not to mention half the price!).

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup lemon zest
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 ½ cup almond meal
  • Sliced almonds for garnish
  • 300 g ricotta cheese
  • Powder sugar for dusting

  1. Cream together butter, 1 cup sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest.
  2. Gradually add in egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until combined
  3. Add in almond meal and beat until combined.
  4. Fold in ricotta cheese
  5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form, add in the rest of the sugar and then beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold egg whites into the batter at 1/3 cup intervals until everything is well incorporated.
  7. Transfer batter into a 9" spring foam pan and sprinkle sliced almonds on top
  8. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes
  9. Dust with powder sugar

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Candied Pecans!

Its certainly been a while hasn't it? Not entirely all my fault as I have mentioned probably more than you care to read, its harvest! In the wine industry, this is by far the busiest time of the year. Ever wonder when grapes get picked, crushed, and transformed into wine? If you guessed between the months of August to November, you'd be right!

Unfortunately because the window for grapes are so tight, that also means no rest for the folks in the wine industry... typically a winery will be running 24/7 during this time of the year, so guess what I've been up to these last couple of months? Yup, hard at, and work... in the last month, I think I got 3 days off and you can count me as one of the lucky ones. There are people that have been working for 2 months straight! For those hard working folks, know that you are awesome! Definitely the troopers! 

Now because I've neglected to update my blog for so long, I felt that at least I should try to post a recipe or two in for the month of October as I have completely neglected September. Be warned that not all the screws in my head are screwed on properly at this point, so please excuse my lack of content for the new few posts to come. I am afraid I'm running on auto pilot for the most part. Because we can all use a little bit of baking therapy, here is a quick and simple cookie recipe that's fast but still delicious enough to knock people's socks off!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Candied Pecans

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt (pinch)
  • 1 ¼ cup old fashion oats
  • 1 ½ cup candied pecans*
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 ½ tbsp instant coffee powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
*Candied pecans
**Recipe from Better Homes cookbook
  • 1 ½ cups of chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla

For Cookies:
  1. Cream together butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and instant coffee.
  3. Slowly add flour mix to wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
  4. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and pecans.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 F.

For pecans:
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the chopped pecan onto the sheet. Bake in oven @ 325 degrees for 10 minutes (stirring once)
  2. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan or 8in skillet over medium heat melt about ¼ cup of the sugar, shaking pan to evenly melt the sugar (syrup-like), only stir to keep from over browning. Stir in remaining sugar as it melts.
  3. Reduce heat to low and continue melting until a light golden brown
  4. Add butter and vanilla to melted sugar, stirring until everything is well mixed
  5. Turn off heat; add warm nuts, stirring to coat.
  6. Pour and spread nut mixture onto a baking sheet and cool completely.