Blueberry-Almond Coffeecake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Blueberry-Almond Coffeecake! The battle begins. Will you choose to eat this incredible coffee cake first thing in the morning for breakfast or the last thing at night for dessert? The brown sugary crumbled topping seems like candy, but the fluffy moist cake filled with blueberries seems more like a last course to the meal. Whatever is one to do??? My choice? I’ll never tell. Enjoy!

BLUEBERRY-ALMOND COFFEECAKE

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons corn starch

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

CRUNCHY TOPPING

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and flour a 10″ round baking dish. In a bowl, gently toss blueberries and cornstarch to coat. Set aside. Cream together sugar and butter. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. While mixing gradually add milk, yogurt, almond extract, and egg. Blend well. Gently fold in blueberries. Pour batter into baking dish. To make topping, combine brown sugar and flour. Cut butter into topping until it resembles pea-size crumbs. Spread over cake batter. Sprinkle almonds over all. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm.

All the Buzz!

Life can find us as busy as a bee some days, so I invite you to drop by from time to time to find something sweet. Who doesn’t enjoy dining al fresco, picnics in the park, and foods that are healthy? I do. I like fresh ingredients, garden herbs, rich chocolate, and French butter…to name just a few. But I’m in good company. Some of my recent posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter as well as Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) on Instagram. Come along with me for “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: All the Buzz! This remarkable journey of the palate is special because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement. What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? It’s as simple as reciting your A-B-Cs. One of my passions is being at home in my own country kitchen. I love to cook, and my husband loves that I do it often. Now more than ever, since I am retired, I relish the thought of creating something delicious from scratch. I adore time-honored traditions using tried-and-true recipes. Yet, I often never think twice about tweaking old favorites or modifying others to suit the inner craving of the moment. Most of the recipes serve 2-4 people, but can be altered in any direction. The leftovers are golden morsels to be eaten again later or shared with others. And I love to share. To me, seeing a smile in gratitude is thanks enough. The recipes you will find here in the next several weeks can be prepared very easily. Feel free to contact me with questions. Now take a deep breath, inhale the aromas, and join me on a tasteful journey entitled, “EATING MY WAY THROUGH THE ALPHABET: ALL THE BUZZ!”

Zingy Lemon Blueberry Scones

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Zingy Lemon Blueberry Scones! Question: What do you get when you cross a cake and a quick bread? Answer: An English Scone, of course! Now here’s an excuse to eat something lightly sweetened in the middle of the day. Scones are popular with brunch or afternoon tea in some countries. They are made in a single-serving size and come in several variations. By adding fresh fruit and a sprinkling of sanding sugar, the results are astounding. Drizzle a lemony glaze on top to transform this beauty into a dessert as well.

ZINGY LEMON BLUEBERRY SCONES

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon granulated lemon citrus peel

1 1/2 cups butter

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1/2 cup chopped almonds

3/4 cup milk

White sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Lemon Glaze Icing Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons butter, softened

1 tablespoon granulated lemon citrus peel

1/4 cup lemon juice

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large with sheet with a Silpat nonstick baking mat. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and lemon citrus peel in a large bowl. Add butter and blend until crumbly. Fold in the blueberries and almonds. Stir in the milk. On a lightly floured surface, transfer dough. Form into two 6-inch disks. Cut each disk into 6 wedges. Gently transfer wedges to the prepared sheet; brush with milk; sprinkle lightly with the sanding sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Cool on the pan. Drizzle with lemon glaze. Serve warm.

Lemon Glaze:

Whisk together powdered sugar, butter, lemon citrus peel, and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over warm scones.

X-tra Large Chocolate Chip Cookie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: X-tra Large Chocolate Chip Cookie! Here’s to the Cookie Monster in all of us. If you live your life on a grande scale, this recipe will easily become a family favorite. My husband said, “It’s like indulging in a giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup!” I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun with a cookie recipe. By baking the dough in an iron skillet, the edges got a little crispy while the center stayed super-chewy. If you didn’t know better, you’d think this came straight from the neighborhood bakery. Fill up a glass of milk and indulge yourself.

X-TRA LARGE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt crystals

10 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup peanut butter chips

3/4 cup chocolate chips

1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9″ iron skillet with two tablespoons butter. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside. Cream together butter, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla to blend. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Stir in peanut butter and chocolate chips. Press the cookie dough into the prepared iron skillet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a golden color and edges are crisp. Check with a toothpick to be sure the cookie is cooked through in the center. Remove from oven. Let cool 10 minutes; loosen edges. Turn onto a round pizza pan. Reinvert back onto a platter, slice, and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Unrivaled Chocolate Caramel Treats

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Unrivaled Chocolate Caramel Treats! Do you get weak in the knees over chocolate? You may be tempted once you taste this salty sweet confection. One little piece will have you rolling your eyes in delirium. The crust keeps this bar crunchy, kinda like a shortbread cookie. And the sea salt crystals form a balance that is unrivaled! This recipe has a few shortcuts, so it can be thrown together in a matter of minutes. No baking is required. Don’t hate me!

UNRIVALED CHOCOLATE CARAMEL TREATS

Ingredients:

Club crackers, whole

1 cup crushed Club crackers

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup coconut, flaked

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, melted

16-ounce can of Chocolate Fudge Frosting

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt crystals

Instructions:

Put one layer of whole Club crackers on the bottom of a 7″X11″ pan. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, coconut, milk, and melted butter. Boil ingredients for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let cool. Form a layer of caramel mixture over crackers. Put another layer of Club crackers on top. Frost with canned frosting, sprinkle with pecans and sea salt crystals. Store in the refrigerator.

Tropicana Bars

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Tropicana Bars! When you combine exotic fruits, flaky coconut, and macadamia nuts, you may feel as though you stepped off an airplane onto a tropical island in the Pacific. This mouthwatering dessert is perfect for summer. Go ahead, take a bite for a quick trip to a faraway destination. Let your mind wander to swaying palm trees, magical waterfalls, and sunshine that warms the body as well as the spirit.

TROPICANA BARS

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups Zucchini Jam*

1/4 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup macadamia nuts, crushed

1 tablespoon crystallized sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together sugar and butter. Set aside. Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together until blended. Combine dry ingredients with sugar mixture until crumbly. Spread 3/4 of batter into a 9″x13″ greased dish to make a crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Layer with Zucchini Jam, coconut, and nuts. Crumble remaining batter over all. Sprinkle with crystallized sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into 24 squares.

* For Zucchini Jam recipe, please follow the link below.

http://Snapshotsincursive.com/2016/04/12

Raspberry Pots de Crème

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Raspberry Pots de Crème! A taste of France is knocking on the door, and it arrives at your table in a little porcelain dish. The rich dark chocolate, with a hint of liqueur, satisfies that sweet craving at the end of a meal. Top off each pot de crème with luscious whipped cream, fresh raspberries, and a mint sprig for an extraordinary dessert that is sure to please.

RASPBERRY POTS DE CRÈME

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, room temperature

4 tablespoons sugar

Pinch sea salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels

4 tablespoons bourbon whiskey or preferred liqueur

1 1/3 cups half and half

1 pint raspberries, fresh

1/4 cup raspberry jam

Whipped cream

Mint sprigs

Instructions:

In a blender combine eggs, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and bourbon whiskey. Blend to break up chocolate. In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Do not scorch. Pour milk into blender while it is running. Blend 1 minute to cook eggs and dissolve chocolate. Immediately pour into small coffee cups or porcelain ramekins. Refrigerate 3-4 hours until firm. Warm the raspberry jam for 20 seconds in the microwave oven. Add fresh raspberries to make a sauce. To serve, place a dollop of whipped cream over the chocolate. Spoon raspberry sauce over whipped cream. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.

Nonpareil Thumbprint Cookies

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Nonpareil Thumbprint Cookies! Ask my husband what his favorite candy is and without hesitation, he’ll respond “Nonpareils”. Think about it… dark chocolate buttons sprinkled with tiny beads of white candy. And they’re French! With today’s recipe, the nonpareil takes center stage crowned over a dark chocolate thumbprint cookie as rich as a brownie. Dusted in powdered sugar, it’s just the right size for nibbling.

NONPAREIL THUMBPRINT COOKIES

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup powdered sugar for rolling

40 nonpareils

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a small bowl. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, add yolks, cream, and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture just until combined. Roll balls using 1/2 tablespoon sized scoops of dough. Roll each ball in powdered sugar. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Press gently in the center to form an indentation. Bake 10 minutes or until set. Remove from oven. While cookies are warm, place one nonpareil in the middle of each cookie. Let cool before transferring to wire rack.

Solunto Restaurant & Bakery in San Diego, California

Dining Outside the Home: Solunto Restaurant & Bakery in San Diego, California. You may as well throw any semblance of willpower out the window when you cross the threshold into Solunto’s Ristorante in the heart of Little Italy. Especially if you’re hungry. Close your eyes for a moment. Inhale. The aromas alone of handcrafted breads, decadent pastries, napoletana pizzas, flavorful gelatos, and artisan coffees can mean only one thing. You’re going to be here awhile. But that’s okay. Solunto is all about family and friends socializing over a meal. Savor every bite; just leave room for more. The crisp Italian dessert shells, known as Cannolis, are filled with sweet, creamy filling. But don’t take my word for it. The pastry case is a feast for the eyes. Try one of everything. Solunto’s Bakery has “to-go” boxes.