Peach Rye Cake

Peach Rye Cake before baking | Photo by Zoë François | ZoeBakes

“Morning, sunshine!” That’s what this Peach Rye Cake says to me and what a joyous way to start the day. Sure, it’s cake and can be served with ice cream as a dessert too, but the rye and honey evoke more of a morning muffin vibe, so I am suggesting this with a dollop of yogurt to start your day. When King Arthur Baking Company invited me to celebrate their official name change from King Arthur Flour with a recipe, I immediately thought of Vermont (King Arthur Baking Company’s home) and my childhood memories there. I grew up on communes in Plainfield and Glover, Vermont. Food on a commune is a constant dance, since there are so many mouths to feed. The smell of honey, baking bread and granola are some of my very first food memories. Sunshine streaming in the windows and the smell of sweetness in the kitchen  are the things I recall and what I wanted to recreate with this cake. A sun burst of peaches in a honey-sweet rye cake batter, that’s a perfect celebration. The fact that King Arthur Baking Company has changed their name to highlight all that they do for and with the baking community, beyond producing some of the very best flour, just seems natural and right. They represent the best of the baking community and are a constant go to for tested recipes, trusted resources, and the highest quality baking products. I am honored to have worked with them throughout my baking career and overjoyed to be a part of this special moment.

And…scroll to the bottom to see the Zoë cookie King Arthur Baking Company created for me. It is hilarious and delicious. Recipes below!

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Sticky Coconut Maple Bars

Sticky Coconut Maple Bars | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

My Granny Neal made a version of these Sticky Coconut Maple Bars every Christmas and I wrote a love letter to them and shared the recipe over at The Kitchn – Granny’s Christmas Bars! They’re really perfect for any occasion, but when I was a little kid they were a special treat reserved for Christmas morning. Enjoy! 

Sticky Coconut Maple Bars | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François 

Blueberry Bars for Back to School!

Blueberry Bars | ZoeBakes photo by Zoe Francois

This post is originally from 2011 and it is hilarious for me to read it, since my boys are now 17 and 19 years old and no longer have little fingers, because they’re 6-feet tall. The only thing that remains the same 7 years later; they still love these Blueberry Bars!

2011: Yesterday was the official end of summer in my house. Back to school for both boys, and I spent the day wishing they were home again. “Seriously?” You may ask. I spent the past several weeks anticipating the beginning of school with a certain glee, which may have bordered on unhealthy. I couldn’t wait to have peace and quiet in my house, for hours at a time. I looked forward to doing my work without interruption, sans little fingers dipping into the bowl. But, when it came to the actual day, I missed them and couldn’t wait for them to get off the bus.* Instead of pathetically staring out the window waiting, I decided to bake them some Blueberry Bars. Every MN kid loves bars.

For those of you from the coasts, I am referring to a layered dessert baked in a pan resembling a brownie/cookie/pie, but can be made with fruit, caramel, chocolate or anything else your pantry contains. Then they are cut into neat bars. I was first introduced to this concept when I moved to Minneapolis in 1993. Bars are generally served on a buffet table with lots of crock pots filled with “hot dish.” Every family has their own recipe, usually a tightly held secret, mostly kept from the neighbors.

To watch me make these bars and for tips on easy lattice and stable fillings, watch my instagram video. Recipe below.

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Lemon Lavender Shortbread with Affogato

Affogato with Lemon Lavender Shortbread | ZoeBakes (1 of 2)-2

There is something so perfect and ageless about shortbread. Nothing trendy or hipster about it, just the most basic, easy recipe and yet it feels sophisticated and posh. There are only three ingredients in shortbread; butter, sugar and flour. I dolled these up to make lemon lavender shortbread, because that is what I had on hand and they are gorgeous together. Shortbread is a great canvas for other flavors. Try adding rosemary, chili powder, thyme, sage, star anise, rose water, or anything else you can dream up.

They are traditionally served with tea, but I just stopped by my friend’s new ice cream shop (Milkjam in Minneapolis) and brought home some outrageous ice cream that was begging to be made into an affogato. If you have never had an affogato, you need to run—not walk—to your coffee/espresso machine, brew up the darkest coffee you can muster and add a scoop of your favorite ice cream. The results are nothing short of miraculous. Add a couple shortbread cookies and you have heaven.

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Coffee Ice Cream with Rosemary Shortbread

Coffee ice cream with rosemary shortbread recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m a dedicated coffee drinker. I was very loyal to illy for a time, while Costco carried it, but now my heart belongs to LavAzza. Many of you recommended it to me, but honestly I never tried it until I went to my friend’s bakery. At the Salty Tart Michelle creates pastries that inspired Andrew Zimmern to say it is the “best bakery in the World!” The coffee she serves is LavAzza. The coffee is excellent, worthy of her treats and good enough to make me switch from illy!

So when I wanted to make coffee ice cream I used Lavazza beans and a recipe from David Lebovitz, which I found in a recent copy of Fine Cooking magazine. The coffee flavor is so deep and intense that it almost has a bittersweet chocolate taste to it. If you’ve ever had Vietnamese ice coffee, this ice cream is reminiscent. That rich flavor just begged for something bright, so I paired the coffee ice cream with rosemary shortbread. A new addiction is born! Read More