baking

Birthday Blondies with frosting and sprinkles

Birthday Blondies with frosting and sprinkles

This week’s recipe is inspired by birthdays. Mine! And never one to pass up an opportunity to make a giant spread of food, I made myself some blondies.

My friend helped fund a salted pretzel cake from local baker Wandering Whisk Bakeshop for my celebration. But I wanted to have a couple other treats available at the celebration in case we ran out of cake, or family members with dietary restrictions (or picky palates) wanted something else.

Honestly, it was really just an excuse to bake a lot of things I would never eat myself. And to bust out the sprinkles.

Walnut, Date and Orange Bread

Walnut, Date and Orange Bread

Current obsession in my kitchen: Recreating a granola I like to order at my go-to coffee shop. It’s an expensive habit, so I set out to reverse-engineer it at home. One of the key ingredients is dates, those large raisin-like dried fruits that have lots of delightful health benefits. I bought a bag of whole, pitted dates for my granola, and they are the perfect sweet addition.

But what to do with the rest of the bag?

Make bread!

Strawberry Chocolate Muffins

Strawberry Chocolate Muffins

Do you smell the sweet fruit wafting through the produce aisles? It’s strawberry season in Florida!

These are tea cakes, really just muffins that are a little bit dainty. They are the result of wanting a treat that was not totally desserty but had chocolate in it. Oh, and used the gorgeous strawberries I had just bought. Oh, and contained some almond flour, because I have a lot of it leftover from Christmas cookie baking.

Sage and Cheddar Biscuits

Sage and Cheddar Biscuits

I feel like all I’ve been writing about recently are carbs, which sounds about right, because it’s mid-November a.k.a. High Time for Gluttony.

We rarely had bread products on the Thanksgiving table growing up (too much food!), but now that I host Thanksgiving dinner, I typically try to cram one in.

My thoughts turned to biscuits this year, and also sage, a wonderfully fragrant herb we tend to think about only around the holidays. It does evoke wintery vibes, but it can be versatile in dishes from poultry to pasta.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I love making bread from scratch in my kitchen, and this is one of my favorites. It’s a sweeter bread, but it’s not sweet enough to be a dessert bread, which I like. It’s ideal for breakfast, slathered in some butter or jam, or as the basis for French toast.

This makes two loaves, so keep one for yourself and give one to your friend this holiday season. People love a gift they can eat.