Maple Oatmeal Scones

What do you do when you have trouble relaxing on a rainy day by the lake?

Maple Oatmeal SconesImagine plates upon plates of these light, melt-in-your-mouth Maple Oatmeal Scones. I actually like them better without the drizzle of extra maple frosting sweetness; however, my husband and our good friend disagree…and since these were ultimately for them (with a few saved for select family members!), well…all were glazed 🙂 I always add a few oatmeal flakes to help tasters know what they’re popping into their mouths.

Although these scones are very, very easy to make and come together in minutes, the slightly sweet maple dough is one of the stickiest I’ve come across. It’s quite the adventure to roll out, unless you liberally flour your hands, the counter, and the rolling pin. I’d actually recommend sandwiching the dough in between cling wrap AND using ample amounts of flour. If it gets too sticky to actually work with (this is above and beyond what you would actually think of as sticky), pop it back into the fridge or freezer for a bit before trying again. Also, flour the cutter you’re using as well. I’m telling you…these Maple Oatmeal Scones are that gooey!

These stay good for quite a few days, so no need to get up early before your brunch. Of course, between you, me and the lamppost, these scones go from a 10 to an 11 if you serve them warm the day of your event. My husband likes them best warm with a bit of jam, so have some handy for the table.


Maple Oatmeal Scones (adopted from Ina Garten)



  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound cold unsalted butter, diced (Yes, it is 1 pound of butter. This recipe makes dozens (I made 27 of them), so don’t worry too much)
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash


  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of an electric fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  • Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-size pieces. (I sometimes use my fingers)
  • Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs and add quickly to the flour-and-butter mixture. Mix until just blended.
  • Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 to 1 inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into 3-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.
  • To make the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. When the scones are done, cool and then drizzle each glaze.
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Blackberry Pie

Blackberry Pie, Sliced, Whipped CreamYou’re never too busy for dessert, but you may be too busy to write about them.

These past few weeks have been PACKED–stressful, exhilarating, exhausting…but all-in-all, almost lovely. Plus, the weather has been just horrible here in Cleveland these past few weeks (really…months/since November), so what else can cheer you up than the smell of something in the oven? Yes, of course there are many happy moments…even in the rain. But this moment, the moment when something you’ve whipped up is starting to come together in your oven, delicately heating your house and gracing your nose with its presence…can something really beat that?

Never try anything new on guests. That’s why you try it on family. I served this delicious Blackberry Pie for Mothers’ Day for my Cleveland mother and grandmothers. I liked it so much, I would make it in Phoenix any day of the week (mom, don’t you want to fly me out during our next rain-filled streak?).

I must admit, for my first pie lattice, it wasn’t half bad. So decent, in fact, that you’ll notice that in the pics there are some nibbled corners. Um…yea, so about that. How in the world do people bake without tasting?

Blackberry Pie, Lattice TopI really do promise you though, the scariest part about this pie is starting. Then, it’s really just a bird-by-bird process. Make the pie crust, stick it in the freezer. Roll it out, stick it back in the fridge/ freezer. Just about when the freezing time is up, make the crust. It’s really only 10 minutes of active time once you understand how to make a pie crust…I swear! Don’t be afraid of putting the crust back in the fridge a few times if you are working with it too much with your hands (trying to get it perfect!), and it then gets too malleable. But, do try to work as quickly as possible so the butter stays cold and you can continue on your merry way. Continue reading

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Healthy Chicken Mole

Hatch Peppers, Chicken MoleI vaguely remember one sentence (and perhaps only one) from one of college papers. It read something along the lines of: “Cinco de Mayo has become Cinco de Drinko.” Granted, I was a sociology and Spanish major very interested in the American appropriation and acculturation of Mexican values and culture, but still—did I really write the word “drinko” in a sentence? Yes.

Did I chuckle with what I thought was sheer academic and linguistic brilliance when writing it? Most likely.

Am I still chuckling? Absolutely.

By now you may be thinking that I am going to give you the BEST margarita recipe of all time in honor of Cinco de Drinko (err…Cinco de Mayo). Well, I have it. But you’re not going to get it today.

What will make your mouth water is my healthy recipe for Chicken Mole, done my way. That means easy instructions, some good-for-you swaps, and budget-friendly ingredients.Healthy Chicken Mole, Orange

Continue reading

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Blackberry Macaroon Tart: Passover Style

This Blackberry Macaroon Tart is everywhere these days!

Blackberry, Macaroon, Coconut, Tart, PassoverIt may be because Super Natural Every Day is making a huge splash on bestseller lists, Smitten Kitten featured and gushed about it, and oh yeah, Martha Stewart gave it some prime real-estate (and let’s take a quick second to talk about brand management at its best…illegal stock sale, what?), but that’s just a guess.

My expectations were over the moon. They were Buzz Lightyear’s “To infinity and beyond high.” They were (insert *small sigh* here) too high.

Don’t get me wrong. This tart was delicious, SO easy to make, and very easy on the eyes. The clouds of coconut provided a subtle pillow for the tangy, almost-in-season blackberries, and the salty pistachios provided a delightfully salty crunch with each bite. Continue reading

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Passover Lemon Cheesecake

Passover Lemon Cheescake, LemonI am so sick of the flourless chocolate cake that I, and thousands of other bakers, make for Passover each year. Yes, you can tweak it. Yes, there are countless variations. But aren’t you ready for some dessert variety this year?

I was.

I was so ready for something new that I was willing to ignore my husband’s preference for chocolate to try something citrus, something fresh, something…different.

Passover Lemon Cheescake, Filling

You can make this Passover Lemon Cheesecake 2 days in advance, so it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your preparations.  It’s so easy, you may as well make it in addition to the chocolate cake you’ve always made.  Feel free to substitute your favorite filling–but the crust is a sure winner, even if you’re not keeping Kosher for Passover.

Cheescake, Passover, KosherLemon Passover Cheesecake, Stolen Piece(Note from the chef: I had never made this before, so we had to try it prior to serving. At least this way, no one will be afraid to take the first bite…?)

Passover Lemon Cheesecake (adopted from Epicurious)


For crust:

  • 3/4 cup sliced blanched almonds (I used almond meal; so no Food Processor was needed for me! Who hoo!)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup matzo cake meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (I needed a tablespoon more to ensure that the crust was moist)


  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Make crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle.
  • Pulse almonds, sugar, matzo cake meal, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. (Or use almond meal and nix this step completely). Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter until combined well. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan. Bake until crust is firm and a shade darker, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool crust completely in pan on a rack.

Make filling and bake cheesecake:

  • Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  • Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. When you think you’re done, keep mixing until the batter is silky smooth.
  • Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, mixing until incorporated. Mix in zest and vanilla.
  • Put springform pan in a shallow baking pan and pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set 1 1/2 inches from edge but center is wobbly, 45 to 50 minutes (filling will continue to set as it cools). Transfer cake in pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around edge, then remove side of pan. Cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.
  • If not eating that evening, loosely cover and chill (for up to 2 days).

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The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip, Cookie, DoughA good, no a GREAT chocolate chip cookie is possibly my favorite baked indulgence in the entire world.

Chocolate Chip, Cookie, BatterBut, it has to be truly exquisite.

I’m a fan of the crunch. For those of you who know me, I’m always chomping on something. It’s a horrible habit that I really must break, but the day for discipline is not today. Especially not when I’m making these crispy chocolate chip cookies, especially not when I can already smell their gooey chocolate wonder….and especially not when I know I am going to have to bribe people tomorrow.Chocolate Chip, Cookies, Batter,

I’m confident this bribery will work.

I’m not even a little too confident, because when my coworkers taste these absolutely lovely, absolutely phenomenal, absolutely these-are-so-much-better-than-your-mom-made-you-once chocolate chip cookies, they will be putty in my hands.

“Oh, you need another hour of my time?” they’ll ask.

“Is that really all you need?” they’ll question.

“Is there anything else I can do?” they’ll beg.Chocolate Chip, Cookies, Baking Rack

Yes, they will beg.  And if you saw me in person tomorrow, you would too. Continue reading

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Black Bean Brownies: Shhhh!

Black Bean, Brownies, Healthy, Pantry Baking I talk the talk, but sometimes I just really don’t walk the walk.

Take running, for example. I’d really like to become a runner. It seems like a great idea! When it’s nice out, what could be better than to work the mind and the body outside, soaking in some glorious-but-sometimes-fleeting peace of mind with sunshine (perhaps the best cocktail there is.)?

But then I try to run, and forget that I am not, in fact, a runner. Every time I work up the gumption to run, the days thereafter are agony. By the time I can walk with only a slight limp, I have forgotten that I am not a runner, and the vicious cycle continues. Apparently, if your body isn’t used to something, you shouldn’t just take it on a long run “just because.” You’re supposed to engage in the frequency method–doing a few miles a few times a week until your body is ready to take it to the next stage.  For some reason, I simply can’t believe that an ex-college swimmer can’t go for a 5 mile run.  And so, alas, I’m still not a runner.

Where am I going with this? Well, I’ll tell you.

Black Beans I love desserts. But, I really only love bites of them…and I really like to make them more than I like to eat them (Am I even allowed to say that?!? Don’t judge. Please, don’t judge.).  My husband loves desserts. I love my husband. So, I wanted to help him walk the walk of eating healthfully while indulging in one of his favorite things (perhaps second to only yours truly: chocolate).

Enter the Black Bean Brownie. I know, I know. They sound absolutely disgusting and crazy, and border on the offensive.  In reality, they’re a revelation. They maintain their chocolate goodness, sport an entire can of black beans (great fiber and protein!), and have minimal oil and sugar. They may even be better for you than a protein bar.

Okay, I made that up.

Black Bean, Brownies, Chocolate, Chocolate ChipsBut, so what? They definitely taste better than a protein bar. Plus, it’s not even really that crazy to combine the two. Black  beans and chocolate have been married before in culinary history, I’ll let you know.

Try my Black Bean Brownies. Just try them. You’ll still want that glass of milk to go along with the decadence of a brownie, but you’ll still feel good about yourself after having one… or even two.

I may have one myself after my run today…wish me luck! Continue reading

Posted in Beans, Brownie, Budget-Friendly, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Dessert, Healthy, Minimal Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments