Lemon Pound Cake

Oh hey, lemon again? To be honest, I’m not a fan of lemon flavored things.  Actually, let me correct that; I’m not a fan of overly lemon flavored treats.  I don’t mind mild lemon flavor, but I’m not a fan of the body-distorting-mouth-puckering-in-your-face-lemon flavor. This pound cake takes a ride on the milder side, and is refreshing and perfect for the ongoing gorgeous spring season.

Fun fact- these lemons were actually grown in my mother’s backyard! When she was visiting in December, she filled her luggage with these lemons (her tree only produces harvest in the winter months) to share with us 🙂

 (Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

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Lemon Pound Cake

Yield: 1 Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup yogurt or sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons (1 whole lemon) lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and oil and beat on high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time. Add yogurt (or sour cream), lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined, making sure to scrape the bowl as needed. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, about 45 to 60 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, tent with a piece of aluminum foil.

Allow cake to cool for 1 hour, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Make Glaze:

In a bowl, whisk together sugar and 1 tablespoon milk, adding more milk if needed to thin it out. Pour over cake while it is still slightly warm, and cool completely before serving.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Thanksgiving came and went, and I’m sitting here asking myself where the year went? We’re about one month away from ringing in 2017. 20-17. Let that sink in.

 

Sweet potatoes are in season every season, but we find ourselves loading up on them especially during the cooler months.  I stumbled upon this fabulous recipe by Grandbaby Cakes for Sweet Potato Pound Cake, and I was sold. I had one lonesome sweet potato hanging out in my pantry, and I just knew that it was destined for greatness.

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Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Yield: One 9”x5” Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potato
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine mashed sweet potato, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and oil. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined. Add cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger. Mix on low speed until completely combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

 

Note: Cake can be kept at room temperature for a few days.

Instructions on roasting sweet potatoes: Wash and pat dry potatoes. Place each potato on a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a tiny bit of neutral flavored oil. Wrap loosely with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 60 minutes. Potatoes will be ready when they can pricked with a fork easily. Cool slightly before using.

Ground Beef Puffs / Keema Puffs (Patties)

I’ve shared a lot of nontraditional (nontraditional for us Pakistanis) Ramadan foods, and I think it’s time to share some traditional Pakistani Ramzan fare 😉

We love the deep-fried goodness that are pakoray (fritters) and samosay (triangular meat or vegetable filled pastry), but we try to limit our intake of them to 1 to 2 times a week (2 is really pushing it) during Ramadan.  I love the ease of homemade Puffs/ Patties (pronounced pey-teez), and they make for a really impressive addition to your spread.  The key to amazing Patties is to use a good quality puff pastry, and you need a knockout filling recipe.  I finally scored a filling recipe that I can use as my go-to from Fatima Cooks.  The resulting Patties are delicious and gorgeous, and totally stand up to the beauties from Pakistani bakeries 🙂

 

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Keema Puffs/ Patties

Yield: Varies

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ onion, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 pounds puff pastry, thawed and cut into desired size (may need more/less)

Directions:

Heat oil in a vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and ginger-garlic paste, and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper, red pepper flakes, red chili powder, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add ground beef, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Stir often while breaking up large lumps. Cook until all liquid has evaporated and mixture is dry. Cool completely, then add cilantro. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

Prepare an egg-wash by whisking egg and water together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Lay puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground beef mixture in the center of the pastry. Fold pastry as desired and seal edges by pressing down gently with a fork. Place on prepared baking sheet and continue with remaining ground beef and pastry, placing at least 2-inches apart. Brush with egg wash, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and on the bottom. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

Note: Puffs can be kept frozen and baked at a later time. Freeze unbaked puffs (with egg-wash) in a single layer on a parchment or plastic wrap lined baking sheet. When completely frozen, remove from pan and store in a freezer-safe container. Bake unthawed, adding a few minutes extra to baking time.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I fell in love with the flavor of pumpkin a few years ago (here are just a few of the goodies I like to make with the flavorsome squash). I’ve been experimenting with it a bit more this season, and this delicious, moist, and autumn-centric Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread was a result of said testing. It pairs well on its own, or alongside a mug of steaming tea or coffee, and it is Zuni-approved 😉

(Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.)

 

PumpkinChocolateChipBreadPic

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Yield: 1 Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon ground all-spice
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, water, and eggs until smooth.

Add all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and all-spice. Stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 60 to 80 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow bread to rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Biscotti

It’s so funny how similar we are to our parents, be it in beliefs, values, manners, or preferences. Growing up (even now), while snacking on potato chips, I would actively seek out the chips that were folded. My brother would snack on them inconspicuously, while I would look into the bag and deliberately reach for the extra-crunchy folded chips.

Pizza preferences are similar- given a choice between a crunchy crust and a softer crust, I will always choose crunchy. The same goes for toast.

My father was the same way. Whenever I baked cookies, he would ask that I bake them longer so that they would be extra crunchy. Growing up, I never realized that I shared the same affinity for all things crunchy that he had; but now that I look back, I’ve realized that I too was his partner in the crunchy camp. It’s not like my parents purposefully fed me crunchy things, so that I would grow to prefer them; it’s just one of those things that happened naturally.

I see similar shared traits between my son and husband too- they both love snacking on popcorn and nuts (especially pistachios and pine nuts). Don’t even get me started on chocolate. Although we feed our son a vast variety of foods, I see him enjoying certain things that his father enjoys.

 

That’s where these Biscotti come in. I wanted to bake something to keep on hand to snack on, and when I stumbled upon them in my ATK Family Cookbook, I just knew that they would be something I would enjoy. The day after I made them, I remembered that my father too was someone who enjoyed biscotti. A few weeks before he passed, he specifically asked that I pick up a package of them for him to enjoy with his tea. He loved to eat them as is, enjoying the crunch along the way.

Oh my Papa, may Allah bless you with the gardens of Heaven, and may you be blessed with all of those things that you enjoyed and savored!

 

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Biscotti

Yield: 2 to 3 Dozen Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup desired add-in (chocolate chips, toasted chopped nuts, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla, until completely incorporated. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour mixture. Add desired add-in, and mix until combined.

Divide dough in half, and using floured hands, shape each portion into a 2-inch by 13-inch log. Transfer to baking sheet, placed at least 3 inches apart. Bake 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the loaves are golden and begin to form cracks on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 325°F.

Transfer the loaves to a cutting board, and cut diagonally into ½-inch to 1-inch slices. Lay the slices cut-side up on the baking sheet, leaving a bit of room between each piece. Bake 15 minutes, flipping halfway through baking, until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.