Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze | Zoë Bakes  

Everyone should have a great sugar cookie dough (or two) in their kitchen arsenal. The perfect sugar cookie bakes up crisp, sweet and able to handle a bit of icing without getting soggy. I’ve baked dozens over the years and Sarah Kieffer’s Olive Oil Sugar Cookie is one of my favorites, along with her Lemon Sugar Cookie recipe, both you can find in her best selling 100 Cookies book. It’s also where you’ll find her famous Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies and the amazing Peanut Butter Marshmallow Swirl Brownies (amazing!!!)! This is a must have book. You can watch my son, Henri and I make these Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze from Sarah’s book on his YouTube Channel “Baking with my Mother!”

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Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Bundt Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Bundt Cake | ZoeBakes by Zoë François

I made this Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Bundt Cake with my friend Andrew Zimmern. You can watch us working pumpkin magic in the kitchen together in the video below.

I recently made a pumpkin pie and roasted several pumpkins and squash, so I have lots of great gourd puree on hand and this is one of my all-time favorite cakes, so I wanted to share it with you.

The chocolate pumpkin bundt cake I made with Andrew has a rather thin line of chocolate streusel and I went for a bolder chocolate layer when I put the recipe in my book, Zoë Bakes Cakes. That is reflected in the recipe and directions below. You can roast your own pumpkin or use canned, either is terrific for this easy and tasty cake.

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Bundt Cake | ZoeBakes by Zoë François
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Caramelized White Chocolate Peach Scones

Caramelized White Chocolate Peach Scones from ZoeBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I rarely bake scones, since my son was deemed the scone expert in the family. But, I had a craving and he was busy being a teenager, so I set off to make these caramelized white chocolate and peach scones myself. He came home and told me I did a nice job, so that is really all the endorsement you should require to know these are worthy. 😉 The peaches sitting on my counter were ripe, but not busting open with juice, so they were just right for adding to the scone. You want them to have flavor and be ripe, but still have some body, so they don’t turn to mush when you mix them into the dough. Typically I’m not a huge white chocolate fan, but I’ve been on a white chocolate caramelizing kick and thought it would be a lovely match for the peaches. Caramelizing white chocolate give it a bit of a nutty edge that it otherwise lacks and makes it way more flavorful and interesting. Caramelizing the white chocolate is something that requires a touch of patience, so I recommend doing it with a glass of rose wine (not so much that you forget to stir the chocolate) and settle into the kitchen for a bit.

VIDEO: Watch me caramelize the chocolate and make the scones. Read More

Red Velvet Cake with Basket Weave

An Easter Basket made from Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Basket Weave and Roses is a decidedly Southern treat. According to the NYTimes it originated in Texas in the 1940s, but red velvet cake spread to the rest of the south and then found its way north. I first heard about it from my stepmother, who is from Alabama. Her mom made it for her when she was young and now I make red velvet cake for her at her birthday. I always pair red velvet with cream cheese icing (which is one of the classics), and used it to fill the layers and do a crumb coat on the cake (way more about that in the book), but if you are going to attempt this basket weave finish (see my reel on instagram to watch how I did it) I would suggest going with a buttercream icing, which is much easier to pipe and less temperamental than cream cheese icing in a warm kitchen. You can use any of the buttercreams (there are many) from Zoë Bakes Cakes, but for this cake, I went with the simple American Buttercream.

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No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake!

no bake strawberry cheesecake (8 of 4)

This is my homemade version of a 1960s dessert. The original recipe could have been found on Strawberry Jell-O package or CoolWhip containers. I thought it was brilliant, despite the fact that it was overly sweet, too stiff from the Jell-O and, if one were being picky, they may point out the slight chemical after taste. But, in its defense it was fast and very pretty. My version of no-bake strawberry cheesecake is made with nothing but fresh sweet strawberries, cream cheese, real whipped cream, and just the slightest bit of gelatin to keep it standing tall until you bite into it, then it melts in your mouth. No oven required, which makes it ideal for the sultry summer days.

Watch my video on how to make and assemble the strawberry cheesecake in my instagram highlights. Read More

Banana Pudding

banana pudding (2 of 5)

The quintessential southern dessert — banana pudding — is found on the back of the box of Nilla wafers. You can certainly use Nilla brand wafers for this banana pudding and there will be no judgment and it will taste just like you remember when you ate it as a kid. OR you can make your own vanilla wafer cookies and be so glad you did.

They are super easy and fast to make and they don’t have any of the cardboard box flavor overtones. Wait, did that just come across as judgy? Either way you are going to love this recipe. I was inspired to make it after an old friend from high school (that’s a very old friend) made it for New Year’s Eve and posted pictures on Instagram. I found the Nilla wafer recipe in the BraveTart cookbook by Stella Parks.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram you probably have seen my pastry tutorial “stories.” I’m slightly obsessed with working through a recipe in 15-second intervals, often with eclectic baking music. You’ll find this banana pudding recipe made from start to finish on my Instagram page archived in my “highlights.” There are many other recipes and techniques you may want to check out there as well.

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