Category Archives: strawberry

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

I firmly believe that you can never, ever have too many everyday cake recipes. Ever. And even if you can, you should add this Brown Butter Strawberry Torte to the list anyway.

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

This is one hell of a cake, y’all. Rich brown butter batter is topped with tons of quartered fresh strawberries, then baked until golden and studded with little jammy berry pockets. Jammy berry pockets!!!

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte comes together with minimal effort. That’s the appeal of everyday cakes, after all: you can make them without thinking too hard or dirtying too many dishes, and then you have cake on a Tuesday or a Saturday or a Thursday or whatever. They’re great for eating in your pajamas or serving to company—a utility dessert if you will.

The most taxing part of this recipe is browning the butter, which requires five whole minutes of staring at a pan and occasionally swirling it until the butter is dark and nutty and wonderful. After that, it’s just whisking up batter, pressing in sliced strawberries and throwing it in the oven for an hour. In that time, the fruit softens and buckles into the batter, resulting in a rustic craggy little cake. I know I’m biased, but I think it’s really beautiful.

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

I think this goes without saying, but you can use any fruit you like in this cake with excellent results. I chose strawberries because they’re right on the verge of being in season, but blueberries, blackberries, mango, pineapple or any other fruit that goes with brown butter would all be good variations.

Pro tip: pretty much everything goes with brown butter.

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
makes one 9-inch torte

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon, for sprinkling
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled & quartered (about 3/4 of a 16 oz box)

For serving (optional):
whipped cream
fresh strawberries, quartered

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl and let cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, In a small-medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Returning to the large mixing bowl, whisk granulated and brown sugars into the brown butter. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

Transfer batter into the prepared pan, then use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to smooth it to the edges. Scatter strawberries over the top and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle the additional tablespoon of granulated sugar over the top. Bake 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (not batter). Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge and releasing the springform.

Serve warm or room temperature with whipped cream and/or fresh strawberries, if desired. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

Double Strawberry Linzer Cookies

Double Strawberry Linzer CookiesTwo cookie recipes in a week? Sure, why not. With Valentine’s Day coming up, these Double Strawberry Linzer Cookies just couldn’t wait.Double Strawberry Linzer CookiesThey’re filled to the brim strawberry flavor, and even I—an avowed midwinter strawberry hater—can’t resist them. Oh yes, I’m that person. Every year I get on my soapbox about strawberries not being in season in the dead of winter, and yet every year I make a strawberry baked good in the middle of February. I’m full of contradictions.

Thing is, I don’t do my midwinter baking with fresh strawberries, instead relying on flavorful and consistent freeze dried strawberries. I buy them in 1.2-ounce bags, grind them up and throw them in cakes, cookies, bars, buttercream candies, and anything else I can imagine. Here I swapped freeze dried strawberry powder for the ground nuts usually found in linzer cookie dough, yielding a batch of gorgeous pink strawberry roll-out cookies.Double Strawberry Linzer CookiesThe cookie dough is rolled very thin, cut in two-inch circles (some with little windows), and baked for just six minutes. The results are firm, but on the soft side, something that makes these linzers irresistible when doused with confectioner’s sugar and sandwiched with strawberry jam. Yum.Double Strawberry Linzer CookiesWhile these little treats are unapologetically strawberry, they can be made with any freeze dried berries and jam you like! I’ve even been toying with the idea of using freeze dried mango in this dough (maybe with this filling?) for a little tropical flair. The possibilities are endless.Double Strawberry Linzer Cookies

Double Strawberry Linzer Cookies
makes about 4 dozen sandwich cookies

Cookie Dough:
1 1.2-ounce package freeze dried strawberries
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Assembly:
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
~6 ounces strawberry jam

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
2-inch round cookie cutter
smaller round cookie cutter (I used the wide end of a piping tip)
sifter or wire mesh strainer

Make the cookie dough. Place freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 30 seconds. Add flour, baking powder and salt, and pulse to combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated sugar, followed by the egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into quarters.

Working with one quarter at a time, sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet) for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. It is okay to stack the sheets of dough in the freezer.

While the dough is freezing, place racks in the center positions. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Peel on of the pieces of parchment off. Use a lightly floured 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies. Use a smaller cookie cutter to punch the centers out of half the cookies. Place them 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Scraps can be re-rolled, frozen, and cut.

Bake cookies 6-7 minutes, until tops are no longer raw-looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.

Set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Once all cookies are baked and cooled, set the cookies with the centers cut out on a prepared rack. Sift confectioners sugar over the tops.

Spread each whole cookie with 1/2-1 teaspoon of jam (amount is based on your preference). Carefully sandwich cookies together. Serve.

Strawberry Linzer Cookies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. Place wax paper between layers for best storage. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Double Strawberry Linzer CookiesDouble Strawberry Linzer CookiesDouble Strawberry Linzer Cookies

Strawberry Rhubarb Kolaches

Strawberry Rhubarb KolachesAnother kolache recipe? You better believe it.Strawberry Rhubarb KolachesIf you know the magic that is a warm, fresh kolache from the Czech Stop in West, Texas, (the town, not the region) you know why I keep making them in my own kitchen here in NYC.Strawberry Rhubarb KolachesStrawberry Rhubarb KolachesStrawberry Rhubarb KolachesThey’re super soft and tender and filled with anything from prunes to pecans and they’re just as Texan as they are Czech. Well, *almost* as Texan as they are Czech, kind of like me. I’m a Czech Texan…Czechxan?Strawberry Rhubarb KolachesStrawberry Rhubarb KolachesMaybe it’s because my birthday is next week or because I keep waking up in this alternate reality where I may not get to see my family for a while or because I haven’t driven the expanse of I-35 between Fort Worth and Austin in a few years, but these Strawberry Rhubarb Kolaches are filling a Texas-shaped hole in my soul.Strawberry Rhubarb KolachesNowadays you can get your kolache fix all over the state of Texas and in many other places including Brooklyn, New York, and yet here I am kneading up sour cream dough and simmering fillings late at night and cutting pastries in the morning. Why? Because nothing—nothing—beats the smell of fresh kolaches baking in your own kitchen.Strawberry Rhubarb KolachesOh, and the flavor! Soft, rich, buttery pastry with a warm puddle of filling right in the middle—they’re heaven. This Strawberry Rhubarb situation is particularly good. Tangy with hits of lime and ginger, it’s the perfect foil to the sweet pastry and posypka (crumble).

They won’t solve all your problems, but they may very well cure what ails you. You know, if what ails you is a a little homesickness for Texas or a late-spring kolache deficiency.Strawberry Rhubarb Kolaches

Strawberry Rhubarb Kolaches
makes about 16-18 pastries

1/2 cup (1 stick) + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lime zest (from 1 medium lime)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling:
1 cup 1/2-inch diced fresh strawberries (about 8 ounces)
1 cup 1/2-inch diced rhubarb (about 1 1/2-2 trimmed stalks)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Posypka (Crumble):
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the dough. Cut 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter into 8 pieces.Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the lime zest, and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

Make the strawberry rhubarb filling. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 12-15 minutes, or until rhubarb softens. Cool and transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut kolaches, rerolling as necessary. Place 3 inches apart on prepared pans.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Brush on the tops of cut kolache dough. Flour the back of a tablespoon and press it into the center of one kolache to make a well. Immediately fill with 2 teaspoons of strawberry rhubarb filling. Flour the tablespoon again and repeat process with all remaining kolaches on the baking pan. Repeat process with remaining baking sheet.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap (or greased foil) and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes, or until puffy.

Make the posypka (crumble). Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until crumbly.

Position oven racks near the center. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove plastic wrap from one baking sheet of dough. Top each kolache with a big pinch of posypka. Bake kolaches uncovered for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans front to back at the 10 minute mark. They will be barely-golden when they are done. Brush baked kolaches with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Let kolaches cool slightly on the pans. Serve warm.

Kolaches are best the day they are made, but may be refrigerated for a couple of days. Warm before serving.Strawberry Rhubarb KolachesStrawberry Rhubarb KolachesStrawberry Rhubarb Kolaches

Friday Favorites: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a divisive occasion, but whether you love it or hate it, it’s a week away. I, for one, think any excuse to show people you love them is a good one, and you won’t be surprised to learn that I express love primarily through food (and videos of dogs on Instagram).

Here are some of my favorite treats from Valentine’s Days past. Look out for a new one next Wednesday!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayRed Velvet Cheesecake Bars

I may associate red velvet with Oscar Night, but most bakers like to make it for Valentine’s Day. These bars are much simpler to make than the traditional cake, and bypass the frosting in favor of a thick layer of cheesecake.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayStrawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

I’ll never understand why strawberries are so popular for Valentine’s Day. Who wants to eat a flavorless February strawberry?! That said, freeze-dried strawberries are good year-round, especially when pulverized and mixed into soft sugar cookie squares and buttercream. They provide both flavor and color here—these are food coloring-free!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams

Speaking of strawberry buttercream, that’s the name and filling of these homemade candies! The frosting is made and chilled before being scooped, rolled, and enrobed in dark chocolate.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayCoconut Cluster Brownies

I have a bit of a thing for cheap drugstore chocolate, which is exactly what inspired the milk chocolate-coconut candy layered on top of these brownies. I’ll take these over a heart-shaped box any day of the week!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread

These Chocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread hearts are one of my favorite recipes on this site. They’re simple to make and the flavors are universally loved, and while you can make them in any shape you like, I think they are particularly adorable as half-dipped hearts.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Cut-Out Cookies

For all the class and restraint embodied in those shortbread, these cookies go in the exact opposite direction. They’re brash and bright and snarky and I l-o-v-e love them. Oh, and while icing is great, the rich chocolate cookies underneath are the real stars of the show.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Valentine’s falls on a Friday this year, and if you’re anything like me, making a fuss after a long workweek is not my idea of a good time, especially if it means I have to wear real clothes. Skip the fancy dinner and celebrate the morning after with a Chocolate Puff Pancake. It’s super delicious and easy to make and you don’t have to change out of your pajamas to make it.

Have you made any of these or any of my other Valentine’s Day recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayFriday Favorites: Valentine’s Day

Fresh Strawberry Malts

Fresh Strawberry MaltsHave you noticed that I live for berry season? Is it obvious I start thinking about it the minute I’m done with holiday baking? Because I do.Fresh Strawberry MaltsAnd in case you‘ve missed it, I have a bit of a “thing” for malted milk powder, especially in classic Chocolate Malts.Fresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsTo those points, did you know that if you combine fresh strawberries, a hefty dose of malted milk powder and a pint of vanilla ice cream in a blender and let it whirl, you’ll wind up with something creamy, thick, and bursting with malty strawberry flavor?Fresh Strawberry MaltsBecause you will. And it will be such a stunning shade of light pink that it won’t need any sort of accoutrements.Fresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsBut, I mean, a little whipped cream and a festive paper straw never hurt anything.Fresh Strawberry Malts

Fresh Strawberry Malts
makes 2 medium or 3-4 small malts

12 ounces fresh strawberries (about a 1 pound box, trimmed and hulled)
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream

For serving (optional):
whipped cream

Combine strawberries, malted milk powder, and vanilla ice cream in a high-powered blender. Pulse a few times to break up the strawberries and then blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, top with whipped cream (if desired), and serve immediately.Fresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry MaltsFresh Strawberry Malts