Awesome Almond Apple Crisp

A small cup of Almond Apple Crisp topped with cranberry ice cream

This Awesome Almond Apple Crisp is the easy, last minute, under appreciated cousin to the Apple Pie. It is every bit as delicious and, I think, beautiful, in a rustic way, albeit not as refined looking.

It can be in the oven in less than 30 minutes and emerges bubbling, crisp (hence the name) and the perfect landing place for a scoop of ice cream. My topping typically has rolled oats, but this time I wanted the toasted almonds to be the clear star, so I used oat flour instead of the old fashioned oats and all-purpose flour, making this crisp entirely gluten-free (and vegan).

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Grapefruit Pound Cake

Grapefruit pound cake on a white platter

This is the most awkward time of year for produce. Our expectation in winter is that we have to rely on imported or frozen fruit, if we want anything other than snow to eat. During the summer we have all kinds of local options and even take them for granted by August. Right now, at least in Minnesota, we’re watching the buds come out on the trees, the crocuses are popping up and we’re hopeful that it won’t snow again. But, it will.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter cookie 05

As you may know, my son (The Fabulous Baker Boy, as I call him on Instagram) baked his way to the bank this summer. You can read all about his baking adventures here. One of his customers requested peanut butter cookies and they turned out to be one of the most popular treats of the summer.

The recipe he chose came from David Lebovitz’s book Ready for Dessert. They are magnificent and easy, easy, easy to make. David has you refrigerate the cookie dough, which really does improve the texture and they don’t spread out or lose the crosshatch pattern. The Fabulous Baker Boy used Skippy peanut butter, per David’s request not to use a natural, freshly ground version. I couldn’t agree more, even though I prefer to eat the all natural kind. Peanut butter made with hydrogenated vegetable oils will hold their shape better and won’t be as greasy or dense. One thing we found is that the texture changed considerably with the amount of baking. If you want a softer cookie, as David describes, you want to err on the side of under baking slightly. Our cookies were more like peanut butter shortbread, because we made the cookies way bigger and baked them several minutes more, but we LOVED them like this. Maybe try a tray each way and decide which style you like better.

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Blueberry Cobbler with White Peach Ice Cream!

Blueberry Cobbler with White Peach Ice cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Last weekend my family and I went to Avon, Minnesota to see a special 4th of July live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. For those of you who have never been to Minnesota, you will get a quick and thorough understanding of the place if you tune in to listen to Garrison Keiller’s show on NPR. He ends every broadcast with the phrase “…where the women are strong, the men are good looking and the kids are above average,” which pretty much sums up the place.

We brought enough food to share with the thousands of other patriotic NPR listeners sitting all around us. We arrived 4 hours early (we were far from the first ones there) and didn’t want to risk getting hungry. You know how that goes. For dessert I made blueberry cobbler, the biscuits were made with tarragon from my garden. It was hot from the oven and required its own basket and carrying case. This is significant only because of the distance between our car and the field we set up in. But, my family never said a complaining word and I marched on blissfully with my cobbler. In the end they, carrying everything else, were happy that I did.

It was such a hit that I made another batch and baked them as individuals in dainty ramekins my friend Jen bought me during her trip to Maine. This time I served the blueberry cobbler with white peach ice cream. Read More

Butterscotch Pudding with Coffee-Caramel Bananas, and a Trifle!

Butterscotch Pudding Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Butterscotch is one of those flavors that can make you travel through time. I remember eating it, still warm off the stove, when I was just a kid. It was straight from the box of Jell-o instant pudding and it was fabulous to my 7-year-old taste buds. Today I’d probably have a very different reaction to that product and my poor kids have never even tried it. I’d be horrified by its overly sweet and gelatinous taste and they would probably love it! Instead I made them some from scratch, so they would have the same romantic memory, but this one they can take into adulthood.

I got David Lebovitz’s Ripe for Dessert book this year from my aunt Kris, the same one I sent the cake to FL for. It is a lovely book about all kinds of tasty desserts made with fresh fruit. As I was flipping through it fell to the page with butterscotch pudding. He paired it with bananas, which at first seemed like a match that would be far too sweet. But the banana’s are caramelized in coffee, which perfectly balances the sugar with the bite of coffee. Sweet enough to satisfy my sons and yet not at all cloying like the Jell-o of my childhood. Read More