Sassy Strawberry Sorbet

When strawberries are season (like they are now), you have a few options. Option one: eat them raw. Option two: eat them raw dipped in homemade whipped cream. Option three: Strawberry Shortcake. All of these are totally reasonable options — especially option three (which I plan to make this weekend for a friend’s birthday) — only, are they the most strawberry-forward options? Well, the raw strawberries, yes. You don’t get more strawberry-forward than a raw strawberry. Or do you? What if you blend them and perk them up with sugar, lemon juice, and a few other secret ingredients and then give them a spin in an ice cream maker? You’ll wind up with something even better than a raw strawberry. You’ll wind up with my sassy strawberry sorbet.

Chocolate Cherry Poppyseed Cookies

chocolate cherry poppyseed cookies

Call me a rebel, but when a recipe calls for dried cranberries? I used dried cherries. “Adam!” you might say. “What are you? Some kind of thorn in the side of society, trying to topple the status quo?” To that I say, “Hey, I’m just your average every day food blogger who happens to like dried cherries more than dried cranberries.” Especially when they pop up in these chocolate cherry poppyseed cookies.

Almond Cake

almond cake on cake stand

We all have our ride-our-die recipes. These are the recipes we love above all others, the recipes that we’d go to hell and back for, the recipes that we want chiseled into our gravestones. In my particular case, I have two: the cavatappi with sun-dried tomatoes that I talk about all the time, and this almond cake… which I also talk about all the time. It’s a recipe that I first wrote about back in 2004 (!) when I made it with my friend Lisa in the kitchen of my Chelsea apartment, back when I was a grad student at NYU. Since then, I must’ve made this recipe at least a hundred times. It’s my go-to dessert in almost any and every situation and it always dazzles. And I’m doing a new post about it now because I want to really emphasize the point: this is a recipe that you need in your repertoire.

The Ultimate Chocolate Banana Bread

Banana bread is a great way to pretend you’re that eating something virtuous when, really, you’re eating cake. That’s what makes this chocolate banana bread, from Jessie Sheehan’s Snackable Bakes (my new favorite baking book), such a treat. There’s no pretense here about “healthfulness” or “low-calories” or “gluten-free” (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s basically chocolate cake mashed up with banana bread with all of the best qualities of each.

Lemon Meringue Pie

lemon meringue pie

Cooking clichés are cliché for a reason: they usually contain some wisdom. Take this one: “The simplest things to make are often the hardest.” I had this lesson hammered home to me in Japan, where just a tiny wedge of sweet potato was somehow the most incredible sweet potato of my life. Or in Kyoto where we ate a whole carrot that was battered and fried-tempura style, arriving at the table like a work of art. The American version of that, I believe, is pie. Simple to behold, challenging to make. And perhaps the most simple and challenging of all is the lemon meringue pie.

Salted Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

When the Oscars rolled around this year, I went through all of my dessert cookbooks looking for the most elegant dessert. And then I remembered: people like to drink wine during the Oscars. And when they’re done with their pizza, and eating dessert, what dessert still goes well with wine? Something salty. Which is why I had the idea to make these Salted Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies.

Citrus Upside-Down Cake

upside-down citrus cake

Some desserts just elicit an “ooh” or an “ahh” when you bring them to the table. This citrus upside-down cake is one of them!

I’ve made this cake (which comes to us from Melissa Clark) several times for dinner parties over the past few years. Every time I bring it out people stop their conversation to marvel at the grid of reds and oranges and yellows from the variety of citrus that I use. To put it in layman’s terms, it’s a showstopper! (Do laymen use the word “showstopper”?) And it’s actually a cinch to make.

Claire Saffitz’s Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake

meyer lemon bundt cake

Bundt cakes often look better than they taste. That’s because, at the end of the day, you’re dumping a bunch of cake batter into a big heavy mold that needs to cook for a while to have stability, but also (very often) dries the cake out in the process. So how do you make a big, impressive-looking bundt cake that actually tastes good? You soak it as soon as it comes out of the oven. I’ve seen recipes for lemon cakes where you cook sugar with lemon juice just until the sugar dissolves to make a lemon syrup and then pour that over the cake (see: The Barefoot Contessa); but I’ve never seen one where you mix raw lemon juice with sugar and olive oil and pour that over the cake. That was until I encountered Claire Saffitz’s Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake in her new cookbook What’s for Dessert?.

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