Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

I have a confession to make.

Coffee has been a recently acquired taste for me.

I know, as a college student it is shameful, isn’t it? Think of all the 8AM’s I could have been more awake for! And all the late nights studying! Think of all the trips to hipster coffee shops where I could have blended in!

~cue flashback~

Hipster barista: Can I help you?
Molly: Hi, yes, is there coffee in a macchiato?
Hipster barista: …Yes.
Molly: Ok, I’ll have a 12 ounce cider, please. To go. (BUSTED)

~end flashback~

Ooh, it hurts like a profile picture from 2008, doesn’t it? I know. BUT the good news is the wrongs have been righted, and I’m now very capable of appreciating the taste of coffee and not just the smell.

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

I finally learned to enjoy coffee when I had espresso in Italy, and if that bouche-y statement doesn’t help me fit in at hipster coffee shops then I don’t know what will. I never had much interest in learning to like coffee because I didn’t want to become one of those people who has to have their coffee before you can talk to them in the morning. Dependency on anything to that degree fah-reaks me out. But the little espresso cups were so cute I had to order one, and one thing led to another, and…

Now I like coffee! Huzzah! I shoulda seen it coming when I started liking really bitter chocolate. Surely that was step one.

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Now that you know entirely too much about my coffee history, I’m gonna give you a recipe for rum-soaked pumpkin bread WITH COFFEE SWIRLS STRAIGHT OUTTA YOUR DREEEAMS.

It’s all worth it now, right?!

Rum-soaked pumpkin bread I have had—-shout out to Bluboy—-and it is gooooood. Turns out, when you swirl espresso and brown sugar into rum-soaked pumpkin bread it. is. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.

This bread would make a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert spread. And then for breakfast the next morning. (If there’s any left, that is.) Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl
(Adapted from Pastry Affair)

Pumpkin Bread
3/4 c. (185 grams) pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 c. (100 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. (67 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger*
1/4 tsp. ground allspice*
1/2 tsp. salt

Espresso Swirl**
1/4 c. (55 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 – 1 tbsp. espresso powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Rum Simple Syrup
1/4 c. (60 mL) water
1/4 c. (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 tbsp. rum

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside
2. Make the pumpkin cake: beat together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until completely combined. Gently stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
3. Make the espresso swirl: whisk together the brown sugar, espresso powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. In the loaf pan, spoon half of the pumpkin batter evenly in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle generously with espresso filling. You might not need all of it. Top with remaining pumpkin batter and smooth with a spatula.
5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While the bread is baking, make the rum simple syrup.
6. Make the simple syrup: Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rum.
7. When the cake comes out of the oven, brush generously with the rum simple syrup. The syrup will trickle down the sides of the bread and along the bottom on its own to coat the loaf on all sides. Once bread is completely cooled, remove from pan and serve in slices.

*Can be replaced with 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
**Save any extra! It makes a great topping for oatmeal

Chewy Pumpkin Everything Cookies

So last week you tolerated my blatant disregard for all the rules of fall with a post about salad (albeit a RULL delicious one), and in exchange for your generosity I promised you that this week I would bring the carbs out to play.

Well, are you in for a treat! Cuz the fall carbs are here and they have the game all set up and they’re just waiting for you to decide between the little dog and the race car game piece.

Chewy Pumpkin Everything Cookies | memo2munch

Yay for keeping promises!

After all, dependability is an important life characteristic. While we’re on that topic, the “On This Day” feature of Facebook recently reminded me that I’ve valued good character since at least 2009:

Vintage Molly Facebook status, circa 2009–and I quote, “Can we pass around some honesty instead of swine flu?”

Helloooo, #subtweet. How embarrassing. (That incorporation of current events, though.)

Chewy Pumpkin Everything Cookies | memo2munch

Chewy Pumpkin Everything Cookies | memo2munch

Wish I’d known how to make today’s recipe back then because CLEARLY I could have used some chewy, delicious, pumpkin everything cookies in my life. Anyone wanna speculate on what I was referencing? I haven’t a clue. Perhaps the lunch menu said tater tots when in fact it was those smiley face potato thingies. Ultimate betrayal.

Anyway, I’m going to pretend everything I posted on the interwebs prior to 2012 doesn’t exist, and you’re going to make the BEST pumpkin cookies in all the land.

Chewy Pumpkin Everything Cookies | memo2munch

When I say chewy pumpkin everything cookies, I mean that in two ways. First, these cookies are literally everything. Everything you’ve wished for in a pumpkin cookie but never gotten because pumpkin cookies are ALWAYS thick and cakey. That is, until now. (Not trying to bash any other pumpkin desserts, but if I wanted pumpkin bread, then I would just make pumpkin bread.)

Second, they kinda have a little bit of everything mixed in. I tossed some trail mix (read: cranberries, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, pumpkin seeds, almonds, currants, EXTRA CHOCOLATE CHIPS) we had laying around into the dough, and it was soooo yummy. Such autumn in every bite.

Chewy Pumpkin Everything Cookies | memo2munch

Chewy Pumpkin Everything Cookies | memo2munch

All you need to know is that I had approximately way too many of these in one sitting (bits of raw cookie dough don’t count).

OH that reminds me! Pumpkin replaces eggs in this recipe, so not even your better judgement can stop you from nibbling on the dough.

Yeah, I’ll go ahead and get the flour and stuff out for ya.

Chewy Chocolate Everything Cookies
(Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
makes 18 cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup (115g) vegan butter or regular butter (if not vegan)
1/4 cup (50g) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. pumpkin puree
1.5 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg*
1/4 tsp. ground cloves*
1/4 tsp. allspice*
about 3/4 cup trail mix

Method
1. Melt the butter in a medium, microwave safe bowl by microwaving for increments of 30 seconds, stirring after each interval. Whisk in the brown sugar and granulated sugar until no lumps remain. Add vanilla and pumpkin and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, toss together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula or large spoon. The dough will be soft. Fold in the trail mix. Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes. This step is essential!
3. Take the dough out of the fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls, about 1.5 Tbsp. of dough each. Place on baking sheet and slightly flatten with fingers. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies will look very soft and a bit underbaked, but they will continue to cook on the sheet once you remove them from the oven.
4. Cookies get chewier and more flavorful over time, so these are a great make-ahead dessert!

*can sub 1.5 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice

Mini Blueberry Cornmeal Pies (Vegan) & Making Pie Crust EASY!

OK SO I COULDN’T WAIT.

I couldn’t wait 4 hours for a slice of pie like I was supposed to, cuz of the whole *letting the filling set* and all that.

But that’s just what happens when you take the pies out of the oven at like 8 PM and they’re so mini and corny and blue that there’s no way you’re waiting till midnight for a bite. I mean, I waited like an hour so that should count for something. Long story short, my filling ran allll over the place. The plate, the table, my face. But it sure does thicken up nice if you give it a chance. (No regrets)

Vegan Blueberry Cornmeal Pie | memo2munch

Vegan Blueberry Cornmeal Pie | memo2munch

Vegan Blueberry Cornmeal Pie | memo2munch

Vegan Blueberry Cornmeal Pie | memo2munch

I know a lot of people worry about making pie crust from scratch, but I learned a new technique that makes it SUPER EASY.

Use a food processor.

So easy. And you get flaky results EVERY TIME, no matter what fat you use.

A chef named J. Kenji López-Alt created this method, and you can read all about his food-sciencey reasons why it works here if you feel so inclined. Then if you’re like me, you’ll swoon & decide this is the man you are going to marry. (But don’t actually do that very last part k thanks)

Also, it turns out bae has a cookbook coming out on September 21st! It’s called, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. How serendipitous. Not that this was news to me, or anything. We are engaged after all.

As a final ode to summer, I used one of her greatest berry triumphs for these pies, along with a sprinkle of cornmeal in the crust ’cause why not? That texture. Give ’em a try 🙂

Blueberry Cornmeal Pie
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For the crust
  1. 1/2 c. cornmeal
  2. 2 c. all-purpose flour
  3. 2 tbsp. sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp. salt
  5. 10 tbsp. vegan butter or shortening (can use regular butter if desired), cut into small pats
  6. 3-4 tbsp. ice water
For the filling
  1. 2 pints blueberries (about 4 cups), fresh or frozen
  2. 1/2 c. sugar
  3. 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  4. 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  5. vegan buttermilk, for brushing (optional, can be made mixing 1/4 c. vegan milk and 1 tsp. lemon juice)
Instructions
  1. Make the crust: In the body of a food processor, or in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, 1.5 cups of the flour, all of the sugar, and the salt and pulse/whisk briefly to incorporate. Scatter the butter pats evenly over the surface and pulse/cut until no dry flour remains and dough just begins to collect in clumps, about 25 pulses. Use a rubber spatula to spread the dough evenly around the bowl of the food processor. Sprinkle with remaining flour and pulse until dough is just barely broken up, about 5 short pulses. Transfer dough to a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp. of the water and fold and press the dough using the spatula until the dough comes together to form a ball. Add another tablespoon of water if necessary. The dough won't be crumbly, like normal pie dough. Don't worry!! Divide ball in half. Form each half into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling and baking.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/ 190 degrees C. Let the dough stand at room temperature for ten minutes before rolling it out to 1/4 inch thickness. Transfer the dough from one of the balls to your pie pan of choice and trim edges.* The other ball will be used for the top.
  4. Make the filling: In a bowl, stir the blueberries with the sugar, flour and lemon juice, lightly mashing a few berries; scrape into the prepared pie crust. Brush the overhanging pastry with water and carefully set the top crust over the berry filling. Press the edges of the dough together and crimp decoratively. Cut 4-5 slits in the top crust. Brush with buttermilk if desired.
  5. Bake until crust is dry and lightly browned all over and fruit is bubbling. This will vary depending on the size of your pie pan. My 5 inch pans took about 40 minutes, a regular pie will likely take at least 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool for at least 4 hours before serving so the filling can thicken up.
Notes
  1. *Leftover dough can be rolled out, brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, cut into squares, and baked in an oven until crispy to make pie crust chips. Don't waste that dough!!
Adapted from Serious Eats
Adapted from Serious Eats
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Back to School Popeye Crepes

Do you get it?! Do you? Cuz, like, Popeye liked spinach, and it made him extra strong and ready to face his challenges, so I just thought it would be a good ‘beginning of the school year’ post and…

Well, you know.

Popeye Crepes | memo2munch

I can’t guarantee instant, bulging muscles after eating these, but I CAN guarantee the best-tasting serving of vegetables you will ever have the pleasure of feeding yourself. So tasty, in fact, that you won’t even taste the vegetables. That’s a good trade-off, right?

And I mean, how cool are GREEN CREPES?

popeye crepes | memo2munch

Now I really want to try sneaking other veggies or fruits into these crepes to make different colors. I bet beets would make just gorgeous magenta crepes. Or maybe you could make purple by using blackberries. Oh man, I would literally eat my body weight in crepes if they were purple and slightly blackberry flavored.

Time to put that at the top of my to-do list. (Sorry, anatomy homework.) Besides, I need practice crepe-flipping anyway. I broke about half of this batch before I got the hang of it. Turns out I didn’t have the heat high enough…

Popeye Crepes | memo2munch

Naturally, the filling could be anything you want. I followed the recipe from Green Kitchen Stories (and watched the video approximately 87 times because it was so beautiful) and liked the apple and tahini filling a lot more than I expected, especially with the addition of strawberries.

Here are some other fillings I might try:
-cheese and more spinach (spinach melt, holla)
-egg and tomato
-strawberry and/or banana (nutella optional, but who are we kidding?)

Let me know what other ideas you come up with!

Popeye Crepes | memo2munch

Also, I apologize for the lack of pictures. Photographing these babies was a struggle. Just to give you an idea of how sorry a scene it was, the wooden panels you see in the background are actually my kitchen floor. Don’t worry, I sanitized first!!

Popeye Crepes
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Crepe batter
  1. 1.5 cups flour of your choice
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 2 cups (500 ml) non-dairy milk
  4. 1 cup (250 ml) water
  5. 1 tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil, plus more for frying
  6. pinch of sea salt
  7. 2 generous handfuls fresh spinach, rinsed (or thawed frozen)
Chickpea, Apple & Tahini Filling
  1. 3 tbsp. tahini
  2. 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  3. juice of one lemon
  4. 2 small apples, grated
  5. around 2 cups (600g) cooked chickpeas
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. honey to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all the crepe ingredients in a blender and put the lid securely on. Alternatively, if you have an immersion blender you can place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend with your immersion blender. I want one of those things. Either way, blend until smooth and green. Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes.*
  2. Heat an 8 inch frying pan on medium heat. Add a bit of oil or butter. Then pour about 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the batter into the pan. Tilt the pan in circles until the batter has evenly coated the bottom of the pan. Fry about 1 minute on each side, until crepes are golden and can be turned easily. Fry all of the crepes and put on a baking sheet to cool off.
  3. Make the filling: Whisk tahini, oil and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Add grated apple, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the chickpeas and mix until chickpeas are coated. If you want a sweeter filling, you can add some honey.
  4. Add a generous scoop of the filling in the center of each crepe and fold in half to serve.
Notes
  1. *This is important!!! The batter will be too runny otherwise
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Welcome home! Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

Well guys, I’m writing this post from the States! After 3 and a half months working at the USA Pavilion at this year’s world’s fair in Milan, Italy, I’m back home again in Indiana!

memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

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I can’t help it. Cheesy, America-related references and jokes are kind of ingrained in me by this point. Or should I say *corny*. Cuz I’m from Indiana.

I’ll stop, I’ll stop.

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memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

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So far my time has been spent as such:

  • Stuffing my face with bagels and maple syrup (not together…)
  • Facebook stalking the friends I had to say “see you later” to (miss you guys!!)
  • Hugging friends and family I haven’t seen for a looong time
  • Trying not to fall asleep at 6PM
  • Stopping myself from saying “Benvenuti, welcome” to everyone who walks past me. (Is this how workers at Disney World feel?)
  • Daydreaming about gelato

So you can see I’ve been super busy.

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memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

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memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

Anyway, my cousin David made me promise to cook an Italian meal for the family when I got back and said that he would get me whatever ingredients I needed, which is an even nicer offer than you would think because I became a food snob while I was in Italy, so, you know, ingredient standards have gone up.

Here was our menu:

Antipasto

Tomato Bruschetta (Pronounced broo-SKEH-tah, not broo-SHEH-tah. When you have a –ch in Italian it sounds like a k. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Told you I was a snob now.) on Crostini

Primo

Mushroom Risotto
Sauteed Zucchini (with onions and garlic, made by my grandpa)
Bread

Dolci

Flourless Chocolate Cake topped with Chocolate Meringue (Recipe from an Italian food blog because it was #necessary)
Macedonia (made by my grandma)
A selection of Italian cheeses, courtesy of Eataly in Chicago
Italian shortbread cookies, also courtesy of Eataly

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memo2munch | Mushroom Risotto & Flourless Chocolate Cake

Man, it was SO fun to make this meal. I simultaneously got to pretend I was still in Italy and spend time with people I love. And I got to feed them, too. (Cue inner Jewish mother fist pump)

Risotto is not as hard as you might think! Another benefit? It’s naturally gluten free! Give it a try. x

Mushroom Risotto
Serves 6
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Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock if not vegetarian)
  2. 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  3. 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1 cup finely chopped onion
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 8 oz. white mushrooms, finely chopped
  7. 2 cups arborio rice*
  8. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  9. 1/2 tsp. salt, or as needed
  10. 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  11. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for topping
  12. Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms and set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the stock warm over very low heat.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and white mushrooms.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board and finely chop. Add to saucepan with the the onions, white mushrooms, and garlic. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the rice and let it toast for 1-2 minutes, until the edges become translucent. Pour in the wine and stir well until evaporated. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed.
  5. Continue to add stock in small batches and cook each batch until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remember to stir constantly.
  6. Keep repeating this process, adjusting the heat if need be so that the rice is simmering gently, until all the stock is used up. This should be about 20 minutes after the wine was added.
  7. Remove the saucepan from heat and beat in the butter. Then beat in the cheese and pepper. Serve topped with more cheese.
Notes
  1. *It is important that this variety of rice is used for risotto. Regular white rice does not contain enough starch to make the risotto turn out creamy.
Adapted from Mushroom Risotto with Peas
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Meringue
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For the brownies
  1. 125 g. (1 stick + 1 tbsp.) butter
  2. 125 g. dark or semisweet chocolate, I prefer dark
  3. 150 g. (a bit less than 1 cup) brown sugar
  4. 3 eggs, whites and yolks separated
For the meringue
  1. 2 egg whites
  2. 112 g. (just over half a cup) white sugar
  3. 1 tsp. cornstarch
  4. 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 25 g. (1/4 c) unsweetened cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Grease an 8 or 9 inch round pan and cover the sides with parchment paper.
  2. For the brownies: Melt together the butter and chocolate using either a double boiler or a microwave. (If using a microwave, make sure to stir the mixture every 30 seconds so that it does not burn.) Add the sugar and mix until the sugar is not quite fully dissolved. Let cool for a few minutes before adding the yolks one by one and stirring well to incorporate.
  3. In a clean bowl, beat the whites to stiff peaks. Add a little of the whites to the chocolate mixture and stir. Then, add the chocolate mixture to the whites. This will help the mixture incorporate better. Stir gently until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the meringue.
  4. For the meringue: In a clean bowl, whip the whites to stiff peaks, adding the sugar gradually. Add the vanilla, cornstarch, and cocoa powder and stir delicately until the mixture is shiny and homogeneous.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven carefully and then spread the meringue on top. Bake for another 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool briefly before taking out the parchment paper. Serve as you like!
Notes
  1. This recipe was originally written in grams and the conversions are not quite perfect, so if you don't have a kitchen scale just do the best you can!
Adapted from Mon Petit Bistrot
Adapted from Mon Petit Bistrot
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

6 Ingredient Cherry Cobbler

6 Ingredient Cherry Cobbler | memo2munch

There are certain times when it’s ok to post a recipe with lots of butter and refined white flour on your (mostly) healthy food blog.

Those instances include, but are not limited to:

-You’re in Italy, and dairy doesn’t bother you here (I know, but I’m so serious)
-You’re in Italy
-Cherries are in season
-The idea of cherry cobbler with ripe juicy cherries and a scoop of creamy vanilla gelato is IRRESISTIBLE

I mean, it was out of my control, really.

6 Ingredient Cherry Cobbler | memo2munch

A friend of mine and I discovered a farmer’s market in Brera that happens every Monday and Thursday, and it’s absolutely jam-packed with reasonably-priced fruits, veggies, local honey, cheeses, meats, and even fish! (Ugh, JAM-packed. I can’t handle myself today.)

I posted the picture below on Instagram of our conquests.

6 Ingredient Cherry Cobbler | memo2munch

Every fruit stand was overflowing with gorgeous produce, but it was clear that cherries were the main attraction. The vendors wouldn’t hesitate to let you sample one to prove their’s was the best… so we sampled. 😉

Oh my goodness, these were the BEST cherries I have ever tasted, hands down. The flavor was so concentrated, it was as if someone had taken the flavor of 30 cherries and condensed it into one little fruit.

6 Ingredient Cherry Cobbler | memo2munch

Actually, the same could be said of the color. My hands were sooo purple by the time we finished pitting all of the cherries for the cobbler! Just look at that juice:

6 Ingredient Cherry Cobbler | memo2munch

I bought so many cherries that something needed to be done with them or else they’d go bad before I could eat them all. Enter: cherry cobbler! Simple, rustic, lets the cherries keep their spotlight.

Um, I’d like some more more more, please.

6 Ingredient Cherry Cobbler | memo2munch

6 Ingredient Cherry Cobbler | memo2munch

Things are going well at the Expo! We had a visit from the First Lady (can’t even explain the coolness), and Mario Batali came with her (wearing his orange crocs, of course)!

Each country participating in the Expo has a designated national day, so we’re looking forward to July 4th here at the USA Pavilion!!! Some countries have had parades or special performances highlighting their culture. Yesterday I saw a Korean B-Boy (break dancing) group called Morning of Owl perform! That was prettttty dang awesome.

I’d tell you what we’re planning, but I don’t even know yet! No head-spinning from this one, though. That’s for sure.

Enjoy some cobbler this week! xo

6 Ingredient Cherry Cobbler
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups pitted cherries
  2. 1.25 cups + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
  3. 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  5. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  6. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  7. Confectioner's sugar to finish, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C.
  2. Mix cherries with the 1 tbsp. flour, granulated sugar, and lemon juice until it looks like a paste. Place the mixture into a square baking dish and cook in the oven until the juices start to release.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients except the confectioners sugar until you have a crumbly dough, similar to sugar cookie dough.
  4. Remove baking dish from oven and top with chunks of dough. Gently combine with berries so that you still have chunks of dough together and some remains on top.
  5. Bake covered until sturdy, then bake uncovered briefly to brown.
  6. Dust with confectioner's sugar to serve.
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Cindy’s Surprise Engagement Party–and CAKE!

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Even though we’re living in Italy where there are sweet treats of practically every size and shape, each delicious in its own exciting way, there is still nothing quite so celebratory as a good old American-style cake with frosting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not much of a frosting fan, so for an everyday treat (and I do mean every day) I would gladly choose a piece of apricot crostata or a scoop of gelato over a slice of cake. But when you’re celebrating something as special as an engagement? You’ve just got to have cake.

That, my friends, is a rule.

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So last week my friends Alyssa and Natasha and I made a cake to celebrate our friends Cindy and Tommy, who recently got engaged in Paris (PARIS!!!). Specifically, we made a chocolate layer cake. With mascarpone frosting and strawberry jam between each layer. And alllll the berries on top. (I’ll take mascarpone frosting over the cloyingly sweet stuff any day. It’s like cheesecake INSIDE ANOTHER CAKE).

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I think it’s amazing how fast it’s possible to form connections with people, to develop excitement about events that happen in their lives as if they’ve been a part of yours forever. I’ve only known Cindy for just over a month, and I’ve known Tommy for like a week, but I can already tell that they’re special, just like I can with the others I’ve met on this summer adventure! When Tommy suggested we throw Cindy a surprise engagement party, there was never a second thought. And when we couldn’t find the style cake we were looking for, making it from scratch was obvious.

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Surprise parties are so. much. fun. I love them, I really do. It’s the only kind of deception that’s acceptable because you know when the deceived person finds out the truth, he or she will be really happy!

Acceptable deception. Am I allowed to put those two words together like that?

Anyway, planning the surprise party was a huge, awesome group effort. It’s hard when you live in not only an unfamiliar area, but also a foreign country, to figure out a place, how people will get there, especially how they are going to get there before Cindy, etc. Big thanks to Alyssa, Tommy, Alex, Adriana, Natasha, Francesca, and Chiara for all your help with the planning and carrying-out of the party! And thanks to everyone who came for bringing the party to life. 🙂

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Ok, let’s talk CAKE. This cake was a kind of mash up of cakes from two of my favorite bloggers and also a photo I saw on pinterest. Classic.

The recipe for the chocolate layers comes from Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction. What I most love about her blog is that Sally tests and retests her recipes until they consistently turn out exactly how she imagined them. She’s dependable, and that is something I really appreciate. Plus, last time I checked, the recipe for this chocolate cake had 590 comments from happy readers. That should be proof enough!!

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Another blogger whose name happens to also be Molly inspired the mascarpone frosting and the jam between the layers. I love her blog, My Name is Yeh, not just because she has an awesome name 😉 but also because she is one of the most hilarious and creative people on the interwebs/in the world. She combines ingredients I never would think to combine, and she is so unique with her cake decorations and food styling. 

PARTY16-20-25

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The picture from pinterest was of a layer cake with frosting and jam in the middle, but no frosting on the outside. A “naked” cake. I thought it looked so rustic and beautiful! We didn’t make enough frosting to cover our whole cake, so we chose to leave the sides bare instead of making more. I’m so glad we did.

PARTY45-23

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CONGRATS CINDY AND TOMMY! <3

Chocolate Layer Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
  2. 1 and 3/4 cup (350g) granulated sugar
  3. 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk1
  8. 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil (or canola oil, or melted coconut oil)
  9. 2 large eggs, at room temperature2
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. 1 cup (240ml) freshly brewed strong hot coffee
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C degrees. Butter & flour three 8 inch round cake pans
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer on high speed, mix the buttermilk, oil, room temperature eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee. The batter will be VERY thin. This is ok.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 18-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/
Mascarpone Frosting
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Ingredients
  1. 12 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  2. 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
  3. 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  4. 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  5. a pinch of kosher salt
  6. Strawberry preserves
  7. Mixed fresh berries
Instructions
  1. Beat butter, mascarpone, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. add sugar and salt and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.
  2. Once cake has cooled, spread layer thickly with frosting, top with strawberry preserves. Repeat with remaining layers. To finish, top with mixed fresh berries.
Adapted from My Name is Yeh
Adapted from My Name is Yeh
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

International Women’s Day & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

I’m always game for baking a cake, but when it’s for a cause this great, my heart feels even fuller!

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake | memo2munch

Sunday was International Women’s Day, the culmination of an everyday truth into one ginormous day of appreciation!

For my part, I helped out with a dinner-discussion on women’s rights with an awesome club I’m in, Oxfam Club at IU, an affiliate of Oxfam America.

There are hundreds of ways to “get involved,” on a huge university campus. You have to do some sifting before you find the groups that are meaningful to you and have a real impact. That’s when you find Oxfam Club at IU. 😉

International Women's Day & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake | memo2munch

Anyway, dinner-discussions are cool, too. We cooked the whole meal together from scratch using beautiful produce from Bloomington’s local farmer’s market.

This included purple cauliflower. P-U-R-P-L-E. Yeah, I know.

International Women's Day & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake | memo2munch

Also, public service announcement: acorn squash are incredibly hard to peel. I think I spent half the time picking up scraps I’d accidentally sent airborne. How do people prepare squash gracefully?!

Our menu consisted of a salad (with beets, carrots, arugula, and pears), green curry (with cauliflower, squash and eggplant) served over jasmine rice, and roasted potato slices.

For dessert I brought today’s recipe, a blood orange upside down cake!

International Women's Day & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake | memo2munch

The company was great, and so was the discussion. Morgan, who is involved with IU’s Feminist Student Association, came and talked with us, and had so many interesting things to share and is such an inspirational speaker. She compared life for women in the US today to that in the 1970s. This was especially striking because 1970 wasn’t that long ago, yet so many things were different! (As in, women had zero varsity sports teams, and risked losing their jobs if they became pregnant.)

International Women's Day & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake | memo2munch

In many developing countries, women are the support system of their entire communities. Often they are the farmers that grow the food for the world, while they themselves have very little to eat and little access to education and technologies that would make their lives easier.

Oxfam America knows that empowered women can change the world, and they do some amazing things worldwide with that truth in mind. Here is the link to their page.

International Women's Day & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake | memo2munch

Aaaand I’ll go ahead and put my soapbox away now, sound good?

Let’s talk about CAKE.

International Women's Day & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake | memo2munch

A day celebrating strong women means we need a cake with some strong colors and flavors to match. Enter: blood oranges. Look at them colors.

International Women's Day & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake | memo2munch

This cake is made by melting (vegan) butter and brown sugar in a cast-iron skillet (a delicious combo in itself), arranging slices of orange on top, and then pouring the batter over all of it. Let it do its magic in the oven, and then when you flip it over you’re left with the gooiest, most decadent caramelized oranges atop the perfect cake to soak it all up.

YUM.

International Women's Day & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake | memo2munch

Really, you could do this cake with any fruit you’d like. This recipe is modeled after a classic pineapple upside down cake (which I promise I will actually make for you, Grandpa Gene, next time I see you!)

ENJOYYYYY

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
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For topping
  1. 1-2 blood oranges, sliced into very thin rounds, with some of the peels cut away
  2. 6 tbsp. vegan butter
  3. 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
For batter
  1. 1 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 c. fine cornmeal
  3. 1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
  4. 2 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1/4 tsp. salt
  6. 6 tbsp. vegan butter, softened
  7. 1 c. granulated sugar
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  10. 1/2 c. orange juice*
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Make topping: Melt butter in a 10 inch cast-iron skillet (alternatively, if you don't have a cast-iron skillet you can prepare the topping in a frying pan and pour it into a greased, 10 inch round cake pan). Add brown sugar and simmer over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring.
  3. Remove from heat and arrange orange slices on top of mixture, slightly overlapping each other. I made a ring around the outside and then filled in the center. Set aside.
  4. Make the batter: Whisk together flour, cornmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
  5. In a large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  6. Gently beat in half of flour mixture. Then mix in the orange juice. Fold in the remaining flour mixture, stirring until just combined and no major lumps remain.
  7. Spoon batter over orange topping and spread evenly. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for five minutes. Then, invert a plate on top of the skillet. Using oven mitts, keep the plate and the skillet pressed firmly together and confidently flip the cake onto the plate. Gently remove skillet.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature. (We ate ours with coconut whipped cream!)
Notes
  1. *I used the juice from an extra blood orange, but you can use regular, store-bought orange juice.
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

You guys, I’m having a banana moment.

Or is obsession a better word?

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Cuz “moment” makes it sounds like a temporary thing. (It’s probably not.) But “obsession” makes it sound like a bad thing. (It’s definitely not.)

Whatever, bananas are awesome and fun to spell in a duet with Gwen Stefani. Also, this kinda makes me a Despicable Me minion, correct? Correct. Dave and I are best friends.

bananaminions

See? Best friends.

I’ve always loved bananas, but now I’m becoming a banana fiend! I have half a banana on my oatmeal at breakfast and then for lunch I’ll have the other half on some toast with almond butter and honey (TRY THAT) or just by itself as a snack later on in the day. I’ve got a whole system, you understand. Other times I’ll toss it into pancakes or caramelize it and use it in baking.

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Can we talk about how versatile bananas are for a sec? They’re a dream when you mash ’em up and bake with them. They have binding properties like an egg, they’re naturally sweet and can replace some of the sugar in recipes, AND they can replace some of the fat as well while still maintaining a soft and fluffy product.

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Baking aside, bananas themselves are very nutritious! They are very rich in the electrolyte potassium. Potassium helps our bodies control blood pressure and aids in muscle function. If you have high blood pressure, eating foods with potassium can be just as beneficial as cutting down sodium! (Doing both is even better!) Have muscle cramps? Digestive issues? Cramps? Bananas can help with each. You go, bananas!

Need more reasons to eat bananas? Here are 25 more!

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

As it turns out, though, most Americans aren’t eating enough bananas. Of the 4,700 milligrams recommended, we only eat an average of 2,500 to 3,000 milligrams. Get on that banana eating, people!! (Other good sources of potassium: avocados, citrus fruits, blackberries, prunes, raisins, carrots, spinach)

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

For today’s muffins, I did what any sane person would do and combined banana and CHOCOLATE!!!

The two go together wonderfully, but then again chocolate is incredibly easy to get along with. 😉 I’m beginning to think there are very few things that don’t pair well with chocolate. I tried an ancho chili and cinnamon dark chocolate the other day, and it was soooooo yuuuuummmmmyyyyy. Wasn’t expecting to like it too much, but boy was I wrong. Gobbled that thing right up, mmmmmm mm. (Side note–have you tried something you expected not to like and ended up loving it? Leave me a comment!)

So anyway, you can see why banana and chocolate together was a given. Chocolate drizzles are also a given. Oh, yeah.

Enjoy!!!

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Yields 12
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Ingredients
  1. 1 egg
  2. 1/4 c. brown sugar
  3. 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium, very ripe bananas)
  6. 1 cup flour of your choice (oat, almond, coconut, brown rice + corn mix, spelt, all-purpose, whole wheat, etc.)
  7. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  9. 1/2 tsp. salt
  10. 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  11. 3/4 c. chocolate chips
  12. More chocolate, for drizzle (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. grease a muffin tin or line with papers.
  2. Whisk together the egg, sugar, apple sauce, vanilla, and mashed banana.
  3. Toss the dry ingredients together in a separate, smaller bowl.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Depending on what flour you use, you might need to add a little water at this point. Aim for a batter that is not as runny as pancake batter, but not as solid as cookie dough.
  5. Scoop into muffin pan and bake for 18-22 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove from tins.
  6. Prepare the drizzle: place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted. Use a spoon to drizzle over the muffins. I used about 1 Baker's bar of semi-sweet chocolate to do this.
Adapted from Yammie's Noshery
Adapted from Yammie's Noshery
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

6 Ingredient GF Double Chocolate ABC’s (Almond Butter Cookies)

A-buh buh buh buh-buhhh
(A-buh buh buh buh-buh)

Raise your hand if you know what song that was and/or like lil Michael Jackson and/or like chocolate! If you raised your hand, welcome to da club (extra snaps if you got all three! *snapsnapsnap*).

6 Ingredient GF Double Chocolate ABC's | memo2munch

If you didn’t raise your hand, you can leave now. Goodbye. So long. I gave you three chances! Come back when you have reevaluated your priorities cuz they are TWIIIISTED. OK actually I forgive you please come back so I can force help you to at least like one of those things

But I mean just look at itty bitty Michael Jackson and these choco-filled cookies and tell me at least ONE of them isn’t appealing. Come on now.

6 Ingredient GF Double Chocolate ABC's | memo2munch

6 Ingredient GF Double Chocolate ABC's | memo2munch

Oops, those of you who didn’t get the song are probably like “WHY MICHAEL JACKSON WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING HERE?!”

Well, the song was “ABC” by the Jackson 5. You know that part right the beginning where Michael does his “buh” thing, and then everyone repeats after him like it’s summer camp, and you really want to join in too? Yeah, it was that part.

I thought of the song because I was editing the cookie pictures, and I wanted a short title to save them as. Almond Butter Cookies turned into ABCs, and I haven’t stopped hearing that song in my head since. Not that I mind.

6 Ingredient GF Double Chocolate ABC's | memo2munch

Turns out it’s a pretty fitting association. These cookies only have 6 ingredients, and you can whip them up in literally under half an hour, start to finish. Which makes them easy as…

(I’m gonna say it.)

(I’m going there. Today is the day.)

1-2-3! Ah, I feel so free now that that bad pun is off my back.

6 Ingredient GF Double Chocolate ABC's | memo2munch

But seriously, these are the easiest cookies to make, and they taste wonderful!

I think I might even like almond butter and chocolate better than peanut butter and chocolate. Sorry, Reese’s!

6 Ingredient GF Double Chocolate ABC's | memo2munch

Even without any kind of flour, these cookies are perfectly chewy and never crumbly. Bursts of melted chocolate add smoothness and a richness of flavor. And with a base of nutritious almond butter, you can indulge without a second thought!

I sprinkled these with a little bit of sea salt before baking them, and it was sooooo good. Highly recommended.

Next time I want to try them using hazelnut butter. Hello, Nutella Cookies!

Please note: See that pretty little teacup with the flowers in it? My roommate Tori made that. Yeah. So now not only has she provided authentic chai spices from India which I used in my GF Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread, but now she’s given me this stellar photo prop! It will definitely be making more appearances in my photos in the future. Thanks, Tori!

6 Ingredient GF Double Chocolate ABC's | memo2munch

 

GF Double Chocolate ABC's (Almond Butter Cookies)
Yields 14
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large egg
  2. 1 cup (250g) almond butter*
  3. 1/2 cup (90g) brown sugar, lightly packed
  4. 1 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1/4 cup (21 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 1 cup (190g) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  7. sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease or line your baking sheet.
  2. Beat the egg in a medium bowl until frothy. Mix in the almond butter, brown sugar, baking soda, and cocoa power so that the dough is uniform. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.
  3. Scoop balls of dough the size of 1.5 tbsp each onto the baking sheet. Gently flatten the balls slightly with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look slightly undercooked, but that is ok. They will finish cooking on the baking sheet.
  5. Allow to cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer them to a wire rack.
Notes
  1. *Homemade, natural, or commercial almond butter will work, but you might need to use less almond butter if it is more oily.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/