almond puff loaf


Sometimes I get my inspiration from restaurants or a particular craving I have. Sometimes they just come to me from my wild imagination or another food blog. But sometimes, it’s literally sent to me… like this one which I received in my Sunday morning King Arthur Flour recipe e-mail. This recipe falls into the latter category.

This almond puff loaf looks fancy, with its layers of fluffy pastry and dense almond, but is actually incredibly easy to make. The texture is almost akin to that of a danish, but not nearly as sweet. The majority of the sweetness in this comes from the jam and icing on top, with the pastry merely serving as a vessel for the almond flavor and delightful flaky yet creamy texture.

You will need a mixer for this, unless you’ve been doing a lot of working out and have some crazy upper body strength. The first layer comes together after just a few minutes in the stand mixer, while the second layer starts off in a saucepan and is then transferred to the mixture and beat until cool. It will form a very thick batter that is spread on top of the bottom layer and then baked. You will want to use a large baking pan (I used a half sheet pan) for these as they will puff quite a bit in the oven. Once puffed and golden brown, you remove them from the oven and spread them with jam so it warms and melts and gets nice and gooey. Then, top with a drizzle of icing and you’re done!

almond puff loaf

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves


    For the bottom layer:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, cold
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the middle layer
  • 1 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the top layer
  • 2/3 cup jam or preserves
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
  • For the icing
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a half sheet pan with parchment.
  2. Make the bottom layer
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.
  4. Cut butter into flour using a pastry blender (or hands) until everything is crumbly. Stir in water until the mixture forms a cohesive dough.
  5. Diving dough in half (each half should be about 4 5/8 ounces). Using wet hands, shape each half into a rectangle approximately 10-by-3 inches on the baking sheet, leaving at least 4 inches between the two (they will puff!).
  6. Make the middle layer:
  7. In a small bowl, mix the flour and salt.
  8. In a medium saucepan, heat the water, butter, and salt until the mixture comes to a boil.
  9. Add the flour mixture to the saucepan all at once, and stir until the mixture thickens and bgins to pull away from the sides of the pan. It should take less than a minute.
  10. Carefully transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed for about 1 to 2 minutes, allowing the mixture to cool some. If it is too hot, it will cook your eggs when you add them.
  11. Add sugar and beat until incorporated.
  12. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated. Continue beating the batter until each egg is totally absorbed and the batter no longer looks slimy.
  13. Add almond and vanilla extracts and beat until incorporated.
  14. Divide batter n half, spreading half of the batter over each of the dough strips on the baking sheet. They should be completely covered by the second layer of batter.
  15. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the pastry is a deep, golden brown and is very puffy.
  16. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack.
  17. For the top layer
  18. While still warm, spread each pastry with jam (I used strawberry for one and boysenberry for the other). The heat of the pastry should help the jam to spread. Sprinkle with toasted almonds (if using).
  19. Make the icing:
  20. Stir together powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until it forms a thick, pourable icing. If the mixture is too thick, add another teaspoon of milk. If the mixture is too thin, add another tablespoon of powdered sugar.
  21. Drizzle icing over pastries and cut into strips to serve.


* Allow your pastry to cool a bit before drizzling the icing to get nice, clean icing drizzle lines (unlike some of us who don't seem to have the patience to do so).

* If desired, top with toasted almonds for extra crunch and almond flavor.

[ Recipe source: King Arthur Flour ]


blueberry crumb cake

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I would like to say that I knew July was Blueberry Month and that I made this recipe to be timely and trendy… I would like to say that I have my finger on the pulse of the food community and I was ready with blueberries for the month of July… but that would be a lie. I made this recipe because for some reason I thought that I needed the 5-pound clamshell of blueberries that I saw at Costco. I mean, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

After attempting to eat my way through said blueberries for a week, I still had at least two pounds left and was almost positive that if I ate one more blueberry I would go all Violet Beauregarde and Mr. Eats would have to roll me around until they finally found a cure for a blueberry overdose.

I thought about muffins and pancakes and even ice cream, but then I saw this post on my Facebook and I just knew. It was like love at first sight, but with coffee cake. I was pretty sure the cake-to-blueberry ratio was enough that it would allow me to still enjoy my remaining blueberries without becoming one.

I barely tweaked a thing and this recipe came out beautifully! The cake was super soft and springy, filled with bursting blueberries and topped with a crunchy, spiced crumb.

Make this for your 4th of July feast and your guests will beg you for the recipe. You could also make this for “national crumb cake day” which I am sure is a thing (or soon will be, if it’s not yet). These food ‘holidays’ are getting a bit out of hand…

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blueberry crumb cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch cake


    For the topping:
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries, clean and dry
  • 1/2 cup whole milk


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare a 9-by-2 inch round baking pan and line it with parchment.
  2. Make the topping:
  3. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Using a pastry blender*(see note), cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  5. Make the cake:
  6. Take 1 tablespoon of your flour and toss it with your berries, set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk remaining flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  8. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar and zest together until pale and well-mixed.
  9. Add egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat until combined. About now, mine started to really look like a batter.
  10. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture and beat on low until just combined.
  11. Add half of the milk and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  12. Add another 1/3 of the dry mixture and mix until combined. Add remaining milk, mixing until combined.
  13. Add last 1/3 of dry mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. The batter will be stiff.
  14. Fold blueberries into cake batter until evenly distributed.
  15. Bake the cake:
  16. Scoop cake batter into prepared pan and smooth the top as much as possible, and sprinkle top of the cake with all of the streusel. Really pile it on here.
  17. Bake in heated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out batter-free.
  18. Cool cake for 20 minutes in the pan before flipping it out onto a cooling rack. Removing the parchment paper lining, and flip the cake back onto a plate, being careful not to lose your streusel.
  19. Serve warm or at room temperature.


* Alternatively, you make the streusel by pulsing the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until combined. Add cubed butter and continue to pulse until the streusel has a sandy texture with pea-sized crumbs.

* You can be more or less generous with the blueberries in this recipe. I probably added two HEAPING cups of blueberries to mine in an attempt to work my way through as much of the remaining blueberries as possible. No blueberries? No problem, try this recipe with raspberries, blackberries, or whatever berries you have on hand!

* This cake can be stored wrapped in foil in the refrigerator for about 5 days, or you can freeze it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil, for up to three months. Thaw overnight before serving.

[ Recipe from Smitten Kitchen ]


cherry clafoutis

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Cherry season is in full swing and we take advantage of these few short weeks be packing our refrigerator full of cherries – both red and rainier. We generally eat them plain, enjoying the sweet, firm fruit as an after-dinner or mid-day snack. However, I wanted to get a little creative to see what else I could do with these guys.

Clafoutis is something that I have been meaning to make for awhile now, not quite understanding what it was. Is it cake? Custard? What does it taste like? Where does it come from?

Well, the only way to get my answer was to finally buck-up and make the darn thing, so I did, with the help of this article from Serious Eats. And now I have my answers. The flavor is very similar to that of a dutch baby but with a thicker, richer, more custard-y center. The center should be set, so it won’t be pudding-style creamy, but it will still be soft and almost pillowy.

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Cherries are traditional, but if that’s not your style you can substitute stone fruits like apricot or peach, or probably even berries would do (though they may be more prone to bursting). I left my cherries whole but did pit them as our annual cherry consumption warrants owning this helpful little gadget – which makes pitting cherries easy as pie. (Well, probably easier than pie, actually.) You can halve the cherries if you like or leave the pits in, but I find that would make eating the clafoutis much less enjoyable.

While traditionally served for dessert, I think this would fare equally as well as a breakfast or brunch dish in place of a dutch baby, pancakes, or other bready sweet. Plus it has fruit, which means it’s good for you! You can enjoy your clafoutis warm or room temperature, or cold from the fridge for a midnight snack. I recommend a gentle dusting of powdered sugar, though it will still be delicious plain, or with a healthy dollop of whipped cream – the choice is yours!

cherry clafoutis

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1 9 or 10-inch clafoutis (serves 8 - 10)

Serving Size: 1 slice


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 3/4 pound sweet cherries, pitted
  • Powdered sugar, for serving
  • Whipped cream , for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees and butter a 9-inch or 10-inch cast iron or nonstick skillet. (I used this one)
  2. Scatter cherries (or other fruit) into the bottom of the buttered pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, and salt until combined.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth and lump-free.
  5. Pour batter into the pan, over the fruit, and place pan on a baking sheet (in case it overflows) and carefully place into the oven.
  6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool slightly before serving. Serve directly from the pan or carefully transfer onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

[ Recipe from Serious Eats ]

liege waffles

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Liege waffles are like not like those waffles you had for breakfast over the weekend. Though they are made on the same iron as those waffles, liege waffles are unique in both flavor and texture.

Unlike your soft and fluffy breakfast waffle batter, liege waffles are made with a brioche dough that is studded with pearl sugar. The brioche dough imparts a denser texture with a buttery richness to it, while an overnight rise gives the waffles a deeper flavor with a slight tang, and the pearl sugar lends pockets of molten sweetness and the liege waffle’s trademark crunchy, caramelized exterior.

These waffles are generally made using a belgian waffle iron, however since I don’t own a belgian-style waffle maker, I had to use my regular waffle iron. The waffles came out beautifully, with the one caveat of being thinner than the traditional liege waffle. Additionally, I had to make sure to flatten the dough before placing it into the waffle iron to ensure that it baked all the way through.

Either way, your waffle iron’s “ready” alert will be useless in this case. These waffles will splatter and steam throughout their baking process as the sugars melt, caramelize, and re-melt, and re-caramelize over and over again. Your waffle iron will be a complete mess, but don’t fret. Just keep going and each waffle will be even better than the last as the melted sugars build up on the iron and impart a deeper, more caramelized flavor onto each subsequent waffle. (See my notes on how to clean up this horrible mess at the bottom of the recipe.)

Because these implore the use of a bread dough and have a crunchy exterior, these waffles yield the best flavor and texture when enjoyed warm…especially when paired with fresh sweet berries, a drizzle of nutella, and sweet whipped cream. That being said, we enjoyed them at all temperatures both with and without toppings, as breakfast, dessert, and a mid-day snack.

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liege waffle


  • 1/2 cup whole mlk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups [ Belgian pearl sugar]


    Make the dough:
  1. Warm milk and water together until warm to the touch (between 110 and 116F degrees)
  2. Pour milk mixture into the bottom of a large stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook.
  3. Add sugar and yeast and stir to combine.
  4. Let rest until the yeast activates, about 5 minutes. You will know the yeast is activated when it looks foamy.
  5. Whisk eggs and vanilla into the milk/yeast mixture until combined.
  6. Stir in 2 2/3 cups flour, reserving extra 1 cup of flour for later use.
  7. Turn mixer on low and stir until combined, add the salt and continue mixing until the mixture forms a dough.
  8. With the mixer on low, add the butter to the dough 1 tablespoon at a time, thoroughly kneading after each addition to ensure the butter is incorporated. Repeat this process until all of the butter has been added, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  9. After all the butter has been worked into the dough, add the remaining 1 cup of flour and knead with dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes, or until glossy.
  10. Rest the dough
  11. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  12. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  13. Once the dough has come to temperature, stir the dough to deflate it and re-cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  14. Knead in the pearl sugar
  15. Pour the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and flatten slightly. Pour pearl sugar over the dough and knead the dough until the pearl sugar is incorporated. Try not to get mad when the sugar hops out of the dough and onto the counter. If you lose a few pearls, so be it.
  16. Make the waffles
  17. Heat your waffle iron. I don't ever grease my waffle iron, but if it's normal for you to do so, go for it. **Let me take one second to go on my soap box and ask that you please not spray your waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, as the residue it leaves behind will actually ruin your waffle iron. If you must grease it, please put some oil or butter on a paper towel using silicone-tipped tongs, rub it on your waffle iron. Of course, you are always welcome to ignore my advice.** Moving on...
  18. Divide your dough ball into 16 pieces and roll those pieces into balls.
  19. When you're ready to cook the waffle, flatten the ball into a disk about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and place it into your waffle iron. **Note:** If you have a belgian waffle maker, you may not have to flatten it. I flattened mine since my waffle maker inherently makes thinner waffles and learned this technique while making other waffley things.
  20. Press your waffle iron closed tightly on top of the dough, then release the pressure and allow the waffle to cook as per normal waffle protocol. Ignore your waffle iron's sirens (if it is equipped with such things) and allow the waffle to cook fro 4 to 6 minutes, until it is a deep golden brown. As you get further through your waffle-making some may even end up with blackened caramelized sugar bits. I like to refer to these as flavor crystals.
  21. Once your waffle is done cooking, carefully remove the waffle (I find a plastic fork to be ideal for this task, as its plastic tines won't harm your waffle iron. Silicone-tipped tongs would also work well.) and place the waffle on a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying. Remember that the waffles are going to be covered in molten sugar and will likely make you say unkind things when the hot molten sugar comes into contact with your precious fingertips or the roof of your mouth.


* You can find belgian pearl sugar on [ amazon] or in the baking section of your local Sur la Table.

*I always advise against spraying your waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, as the residue it leaves behind will actually ruin your waffle iron. If you must grease it, please put some oil or butter on a paper towel using silicone-tipped tongs, rub it on your waffle iron.

*To clean my waffle iron, I usually soak a dish towel with water, press it in the iron, and let the steam do its work. I found that in this case, it was actually easier to let the iron cool and use a wooden skewer to gently scrape off the burned-on sugar, which popped off with ease. If yours is giving you a hard time, use a warm, damp rag to gently wash off the hardened on sugar. Don't despair, remember that sugar dissolves in water. So even though it may take some time, it will get clean.

[ Recipe from Smitten Kitchen ]

wanna be starbucks cherry oat bars

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Apparently our local Starbucks has a new pastry in stock these days. I don’t know if it’s legit new or just “new to us” new, but it is called the Michigan Cherry Oat Bar… and it happens to be Mr. Eats’ new favorite thing these days. So, of course, he requested that I make a from-scratch version. When I told him that would be difficult to do having never tasted the sweet treat, one appeared at our home within days.

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