rhubarb lemon almond loaf

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 

That’s right … it’s rhubarb season!

I heart heart HEART rhubarb. 

It’s tart and fresh …

It screams spring is finally here

My mouth salivates just thinking about it.

Add to it some lemon curd and almonds … and you have yourself the makings of a pretty darn delicious loaf.

For realz.

This combo is ridiculously delightfulI tend to use those words a lot to describe my baking … don’t I???

Well it is!

It’s got that slight nutty flavour thanks to the almond meal and slivered almonds … plus it has the tartness of the stewed rhubarb AND then … the pop of the lemon curd … which just melts into the loaf as it bakes.

Sigh.

RIDICULOUSLY. DELIGHTFUL. No word of a lie.

I based this recipe on the hummingbird bakery‘s rhubarb almond loaf The lemon curd isn’t necessary … but it sure does make for a tasty treat.  Lemon and rhubarb are a combo made in heaven … I promise.

stewed rhubarb

ingredients:

4 – 5 stalks rhubarb, chopped into small pieces

70 g sugar

20 g butter

Place the rhubarb in a saucepan along with sugar, butter and 50 ml of water.  Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb softens.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

almond loaf

ingredients:

190 g butter, at room temperature

140 g flour

190 g sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

50 g ground almonds

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ginger

25 ml buttermilk

100 g stewed rhubarb

1/4 c. lemon curd

15 g flaked almonds

 Preheat oven to 325 F.  Grease the loaf pan and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.  About 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well on medium speed after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything has been mixed properly.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl; combine the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, cinnamon and ginger.  Add half of the mixture to the creamed butter/sugar/egg mixture, followed by half the buttermilk. 

Mix well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and then the rest of the buttermilk.

Stir in the stewed rhubarb making sure it is evenly mixed into the batter, then pour into the prepared loaf tin.  Add dollops of the lemon curd.  Swirl them in.Sprinkle with flaked almonds on top.

Bake for 50 – 60 minutes

coconut-almond sticky buns

I am so excited about this recipe … I honestly did a happy dance the first time I made it.  And then again the second … third … fourth and fifth times I made them.

There’s lots of dancing going on in my little apartment :0)

You might think it’s silly of me to be so excited about sticky bunsBut these aren’t just any sticky buns.  These are THE BEST sticky buns.

No lies.

Why you might ask???

1.  Super easy to make.  I have gotten the “prep” time down to 7 minutes.  Anyone can whip these up first thing in the morning or in a cinch when company unexpectedly arrive.  Or on Christmas morning …

2.  They smell ridiculously delicious while they are baking.  It starts with the smell of toasted coconut & almonds.  And then becomes a sugary sweet spicy doughy loveliness … wanna sell your house?  Bake these!

3.  They taste great.  Who doesn’t love coconut & almond?  Or chocolate & cherry?  Or cranberry & white chocolate?  Yeah … all of those are options … all you need is a little imagination and the perfect sticky bun can be all yours.

4.  You too can have a Martha moment!  I know … I usually shy away from a Martha reference … however in this case … I totally embraced the Martha in me … baking the sticky buns and then placing them in a slightly larger holiday tin.  Holy Martha! 

5.  Holiday hostess gift … check!  Who needs to gift a bottle of wine when you can gift a tin of sticky buns????  I think you want to join in the dancing, lovely smelling, martha madness that these sticky buns can bring to ones life. 

*bakers note: if you don’t have a food processor, this can be done with a handheld mixer or a whisk.  don’t worry about some of the cottage cheese curds – they bake out :0)

*the recipe below is for 1 pan for sticky buns … but I have actually divided the dough in half and made 2 different types at once … just use smaller pans.

coconut – almond sticky buns

ingredients:

1 c. shredded coconut

1/2 c. slivered almonds (or chopped almonds)

* other flavour options: dried cherries & dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries & white chocolate

dough:

3/4 c. cottage cheese (4% is great – but 2% works as well)

1/3 c. buttermilk

1/4 c. sugar

2 oz (4 tbsp) butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

2 c. flour, extra for rolling

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp b. soda

filling:

1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

2/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

* you can also swap the nutmeg for cardamon, or use chinese five-spice … just about any spice that catches your fancy

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Spread the coconut and almonds on cookie sheets, and bake until toasted – about 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Increase the temperature to your oven to 375 F or 400 F (depending on your oven).  Spray the sides and bottom of a 9 – 10 inch springform pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

 In the bowl of your food processor combine the cottage cheese, melted butter, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla.  Pulse until smooth – about 15 seconds.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and pulse until the dough starts to clump together.  It’s pretty sticky.

Done. Scrape the dough out and place it on a very well floured surface.  Knead the dough – about 5 times, you’ll notice how nicely it comes together (and super quickly) … Grab your rolling-pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle. 

Time to use your pastry brush and that second batch of melted butter.

Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border unbuttered around the edges. 

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg (or your choice spices): sprinkle the mixture evenly over the buttered surface.  Pat it gently, and then sprinkle the toasted coconut and almond on top.Once filled, roll up the dough.  Start at the long edge, and roll jelly-style.  With a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into 12 equal pieces (I trim the slight excess dough at each end)Grab your springform pan and gently arrange each piece, cut side up.  Don’t worry if there are small gaps between each sticky bun – you want them to touch slightly. 

Ok … if you’re like me, you might think … both sides are cut sides!  Don’t worry, simply pinch one end and put the pinched end down.  You might notice that some of the almond/coconut mixture falls out … that’s ok, gather it up and then sprinkle the top of the sticky buns prior to baking. Bake until golden and firm to the touch, about 25 – 28 minutes (but there will still have that slightly raw middle … yum).

Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack – about 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove the springform ring, and then transfer the sticky buns – all in one piece – to either a serving plate … or pull a martha and set in a parchment paper lined tin.  

Make a glaze (powdered sugar, lemon juice and a little milk – whisked together) and drizzle it over the buns.  That’ll add that extra hit of sticky to this buns.

Sigh.  I can’t wait to get home and dance my way through another batch :0)

toffee, coconut oreo squares

MOTHER OF PEARL!

These squares are an absolute delight!

Actually … they are more than simply a delight … These are intensely, wonderfully, richly, decadent, sinfully delicious.

Are you sold on them yet?

How about if I promise that they are super simple to make as well?

Are you excited yet?

You should be. These are dead simple … and a huge bang for their buck.

Think I’m overly confident?

I’m not.

These are GOOD.

I’ve brought these into work twice already … had a request to make a batch for a colleague’s niece; baked them for the Halifax Seaport Market, and then baked another batch for last Friday’s Daytime Ottawa appearance on Roger’s (you can watch it hereskip the first 2 minutes).

Obsessed much? These are worth obsessing about.

Consider these the first of my holiday baking recipes. Swap things in and out as you like – pecans can replace almonds … fudgeos can replace oreos … heck … I bet dolce de leche could replace just regular condensed milk to make these even more intensely amazing.

After playing around with the this recipe a few times I’ve realized that toasting the coconut and nuts is the way to go. It adds another 10 minutes to your baking / prep time … but it’s so well worth the effort. I promise … You won’t regret it … although, I think you just won’t regret making a pan of these.

Nuf said. It’s time for me to share the love and the recipe … and it’s time for you to preheat your oven and gather your ingredients. Lovin’ from the oven awaits!

toffee, coconut oreo squares

ingredients:

1/4 c. butter, melted

2 1/2 rows of oreo cookies, crumbled (use a food processor … it saves loads of time)

1 1/4 c. coconut flakes, toasted

1 c. almonds (or pecans), chopped and toasted

3/4 c. chocolate chips

3/4 c. toffee pieces

300 mL can condensed milk

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper. You want to ensure that the sides hang over the edges of the pan.

Pour the melted butter directly onto the parchment paper. I know … it seems strange, but it works. Spread it around so that the base of the pan is covered with the melted butter.

Dump the oreo cookie crumbs on-top of the melted butter. Flatten the crumbs evenly over the entire base – I use the bottom of a measuring cup to help flatten the base.

That was the most difficult part of the entire recipe. For realz :0)

Take your toasted coconut and evenly sprinkle it over the oreo cookie crumb base.

Now sprinkle the toasted almonds (or pecans) over the coconut layer.

The chocolate chip layer comes next.

Followed by the toffee pieces.

Time for the second hardest part of the recipe. Combine the condensed milk and vanilla together, and then evenly cover everything. Use a spatula to spread the condensed milk to all 4 corners of the pan.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes (my oven seems to be a 33 minute bake). You’ll notice that nothing looks very set when you take the pan out of the oven. Don’t worry. It’ll set.

Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. I find that it’s then best to place the pan in your fridge and allow the squares to cool for another hour. This allows it to firm up enough to be able to cleanly cut into squares.

As usual I lift the entire, uncut lot out of the pan (thank you parchment paper!) … trim off the sides and then cut into equal pieces. You should get at least 16 squares – more if you want to share the love with more people.

Oh .. and those sides … don’t toss them away. Those are your special treat. After all … you need to reward yourself after slaving away in the kitchen :0)