Homemade Yogurt (Plain and Fruit)

How to make homemade yogurt, plain or with fruit | photo by Zoë François

I find myself digging into the past recently and finding recipes. My grandmother’s rugelach, cheese blintzes from the Kiev restaurant (a childhood favorite) and fresh homemade yogurt my mom used to make. We lived on a commune in VT, where we grew our own vegetables and raised a cow for dairy. Everything was local and organic, because if we didn’t produce it, we couldn’t afford it. My mom was the one to milk the cow, which she then made into homemade yogurt, butter and cheese. The flavor of that homemade yogurt, made from fresh milk, was divine. 48 years later, in Minneapolis we are allowed to keep chickens, but the city hasn’t approved urban dairy cows, so I just buy milk for making yogurt. Not as romantic, but still tasty.

How to make homemade yogurt, plain or with fruit | photo by Zoë François

Now that I have started making my own, I may never buy yogurt again. Homemade yogurt is so easy and has such an incredible flavor. Even my boys like it better. I happen to love it plain and tangy, but I’ll also put a layer of preserves on the bottom when I am in the mood for something a bit sweeter.

All you need is milk (you choose the fat content), a bit of heavy cream (if you’re feeling decadent) and some plain yogurt to get started.  (more…)

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Apple Honey Cake with Vanilla Rooibos Glaze (A Dunn Brothers Coffee Giveaway)

Apple Honey Cake | ZoeBakes (6 of 18)

Today is the first day of fall and the official start to baking season, my favorite time of the year. Along with the cooler weather comes apples, pumpkin and all the warm spices that fit them so well. This apple cake is made with honey, vanilla, cinnamon and is topped with a Rooibos tea glaze. All of these flavors were inspired by Vanilla Moon Cider, one of the new fall drinks at Dunn Brothers Coffee here in Mpls.

I have a long history with this coffee shop. So, when Dunn Brothers invited me to collaborate on a post, it was a natural fit. When I lived in Linden Hills it was the first coffee shop in the village and became a daily stop with my little boys. Dunn Brothers brilliantly set up a play area, so we tired moms could sip a cup of Sumatra, while our little ones entertained themselves within view. I even met some of my best friends in that play area. Later, when the boys were older and in school, I wrote my first book sitting at Dunn Brothers and drinking lots (and lots) more coffee. One of the baristas became a babysitter and another a trusted reader, when I needed a first pair of eyes on the book. They say it takes a village to raise children and the folks at Dunn were my eyes and ears as my kids got older. I’d walk in to the shop and was typically greeted with something like, “Your boys were just here, they’re headed over to Great Harvest (for a free slice of bread) and then to the lake.” Good to know! The people that worked there were my village. I moved from Linden Hills and was thrilled to find that Dunn Brothers had opened in a space near my new house. Not only did they serve coffee, but this location has wine and beer. Now my husband and I stop in the evenings, with our two dogs and sit at Dunn Brothers to watch our new neighborhood go by.

Dunn Brothers Coffee and all the wonderful people who work there are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year. I made this cake to help them celebrate and to highlight one of my personal favorite, non-coffee drinks, the Vanilla Moon Cider. *They are also offering a giveaway of Dunn Brother Coffee goodies and a $50 gift card. See the bottom of the post for details on how to win and the recipe for the cake.

Apple Honey Cake | ZoeBakes (14 of 18) (more…)

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My new Bread Baking Class on Craftsy!

Craftsy | Breadin5 titleCard

I am super excited to announce my new Craftsy bread baking video class. We’ve made a video of the most popular breads from our books with lots of tips and techniques for getting a professional loaf every time you bake with very little time or effort! It is the perfect companion to all of our books. In the video I’ll use a single dough to create the various breads, but the techniques are useful for all the doughs from any of our books.

Craftsy Bread Class | Breadin5 01

To see some pictures from my video shoot in Denver and to get 50% off the Craftsy video, visit my bread site Breadin5.com!

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Spice Cake from Silvana’s Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Kitchen

GF Spice Cake 04

This gorgeous cake is from Silvana Nardone’s most recent cookbook, Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen. She has created incredible recipes for those who are sensitive to wheat and dairy, using her own gluten-free AP flour mix and a simple recipe for homemade almond milk.  Of course, I headed straight to the dessert section and was seduced by this spice cake. It is super easy to put together and you’ll never know it’s GF and DF. Silvana suggests using a blow torch to toast the frosting. There is no tool I love more, so I whipped it out and threw some light flame on the top. It adds a caramel flavor to the already wonderful cake, so I highly recommend it. (more…)

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Our Roman Holiday (The Pope, Gladiators and Gelato)

After a week in Naples, with its lawless streets and swoon-worthy pizza (see my Naples post here) we were headed to Rome for a few days of art, architecture, gelato and gladiator school. We got so much more than we bargained for and loved every second of it. The boys even tolerated our need to visit as many of the ornate churches the vast city has to offer, with the understanding that there would be plenty of sword fighting gladiator moments, soccer games, pizza and gelato to balance the days. A Mass with the Pope was a bonus to this fabulous stop, one we had never dreamed of. (more…)

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Vegan Triple Chocolate Cupcakes from “New Vegetarian” by Robin Asbell (win a signed copy)

I’m a sucker for a chocolate cake and so it seemed the perfect place for me to dive into Robin’s newest book. This one caught my eye for another reason as well, it is vegan. No, I’m not a vegan, but I’ve been looking for this very recipe since the day my brother and his girlfriend announced to the family that they were. I’d been experimenting with vegan cakes to serve them, but honestly I hadn’t gotten very far. I’m too wedded to butter, eggs and cream. Robin came to the rescue. I gave the recipe a test run for Katherine’s (before mentioned girlfriend of my brother) Birthday. Truth be told I never actually gave them to Katherine, not for lack of desire, but because they are in Copenhagen at the Climate Change March, where they are preparing to display their artwork to affect change in the world. What a memorable birthday she will have and I will gladly make these cupcakes again once she returns, a perfect way to celebrate.

Robin manages to achieve a rich chocolate cake with a moist (but not dense) crumb without the benefit of eggs or dairy, mystifying! The filling is remarkably reminiscent of mocha pastry cream and the ganache is chocolaty and glossy. It all defies classic baking and yet it works wonderfully.

As a gift to you Robin has signed a copy of New Vegetarian for me to give away. Just leave a comment below and I will pick a winner next week. (more…)

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