Cherry Almond Danish

Cherry Almond Danish

It’s all about mom! Surprise her in bed with a warm, flaky danish and a cup of coffee. I know I would be thrilled at such a gesture. This lovely Cherry Almond Danish is made with ready-made puff pastry and can be assembled ahead of time, making it easy to have ready for the oven. With its flaky pastry, fruity filling and cream cheese layer, this danish makes for a perfect brunch item for Easter, Mother’s Day or any entertaining occasion.

Using pre-made puff pastry gives you peace of mind that it will be flaky and golden with very little effort. The cherry sauce has a hint of almond flavouring as does the sticky sweet glaze and it’s topped with toasted almonds. It’s a combination I love and it’s so easy to make, giving you no excuse not to treat that special lady or welcomed quests.

A slice of Cherry Almond Danish sits on a white plate with a fork to the side. The plate sits on a flowered cloth that is draped over a wooden tray with a cup of black coffee in the upper right corner.
Cherry Almond Danish
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    8 1 1/2" slices 40 minutes
    Cook Time
    25-28 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    8 1 1/2" slices 40 minutes
    Cook Time
    25-28 minutes
    A slice of Cherry Almond Danish sits on a white plate with a fork to the side. The plate sits on a flowered cloth that is draped over a wooden tray with a cup of black coffee in the upper right corner.
    Cherry Almond Danish
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8 1 1/2" slices 40 minutes
      Cook Time
      25-28 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      8 1 1/2" slices 40 minutes
      Cook Time
      25-28 minutes
      Ingredients
      Danish
      Glaze
      Servings: 1 1/2" slices
      Instructions
      Danish
      1. Combine cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until cherries are soft and syrupy about 10 minutes.
      2. In a small bowl whisk together 1 tbsp of cornstarch and 1 tbsp cold water. Stir into cherries and whisk constantly over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a full boil.
      3. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
      4. Preheat oven to 425℉ and line a heavy baking sheet with parchment.
      5. In a small bowl cream together cream cheese, 1 tbsp of powdered sugar and vanilla.
      6. Lay puff pastry sheet on parchment and stretch slightly in width and length to 11-12".
      7. Using a pastry scraper or knife cut 1" wide fingers on the top and bottom third of pastry (length of fingers will be 3-4") and the centre 4" portion will be uncut (see photo).
      8. Spread cream cheese evenly along the centre uncut 4" portion of pastry.
      9. Spread cherry filling evenly on top of the cream cheese filling, leaving the fingers uncovered.
      10. Pull fingers across filling, alternating sides as you go (it's ok to have some small spaces in the pastry). Tuck any excess pastry underneath.
      11. In a small bowl whisk together egg and 1 tbsp milk or cream. Brush generously onto pastry.
      12. Bake in preheated oven for 25-28 minutes until golden and puffed. Remove from oven to a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
      Glaze
      1. In a small bowl whisk together 1/2cup powdered sugar and 1 tbsp milk or cream. Drizzle over pastry while warm and sprinkle with toasted almonds.
      2. Serve warm, cutting into 1 1/2" slices.
      Recipe Notes

      -Toast almonds in a preheated 350℉ oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring once.

      -Using a pastry cutter to cut fingers allows a clean cut without cutting through the parchment.

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      Cinnamon Raisin Challah

      Cinnamon Raisin Challah

      Do you fondly remember raisin bread as a child?  I do, yet these days my husband and I tend to eat cinnamon raisin bagels more so than the bread.  I couldn’t resist giving the raisin bread I remember some new life.  This loaf is sweet and eggy with lots of cinnamon, a pinch of cardamom, plump raisins and a sprinkling of coarse sugar. 

      What is Challah?

      In very basic terms, Challah is a braided yeast bread made with eggs.  So by this definition, one can imagine the possibilities for variations.  

      Traditionally however, Challah is an egg-rich, braided bread eaten in the Jewish cuisine on ceremonial occasions. The term Challah is also a reference to the separation of a portion of the bread for an offering. 

      To me, it’s a darn tasty way to enjoy toast in the morning!

      About this Challah

      In this recipe, I opted to use brown sugar because I wanted that hint of molasses.  I also added a small amount of cardamom because I think it is wonderful in baked goods.  The raisins are pre-plumped, mostly because mine were looking a little dry. The top is dusted generously with coarse sugar for a little extra indulgence and crunch.  This loaf was braided with only 3 strands, but by all means, use a 5 or 6 strand braid if you prefer.  

      Enjoy!

      Baked and golden Cinnamon Raisin Challah braid rests on a wooden trivet that is draped with a navy and brown napkin. The loaf has two slices cut and resting at the front of the loaf. A knife and apricot jam sit to the side.
      Cinnamon Raisin Challah
      Print Recipe
        Servings
        1 large loaf
        Servings
        1 large loaf
        Baked and golden Cinnamon Raisin Challah braid rests on a wooden trivet that is draped with a navy and brown napkin. The loaf has two slices cut and resting at the front of the loaf. A knife and apricot jam sit to the side.
        Cinnamon Raisin Challah
        Print Recipe
          Servings
          1 large loaf
          Servings
          1 large loaf
          Ingredients
          Servings: large loaf
          Instructions
          1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook stir together water, brown sugar and yeast. Allow to proof for 7-8 minutes.
          2. Stir in 2 whole eggs, egg yolks, oil, and raisins. To this mixture add 2 cups of flour, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Begin kneading, allowing all the flour to be absorbed. Add remaining flour gradually until dough begins to pull away from the sides and is smooth about 7-8 minutes. The dough will be a little sticky but you should be able to handle it without additional flour.
          3. Lightly oil a large bowl and turn out dough into bowl flipping to coat sides. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a draft-free area for 90 minutes. (It will not appear to be double in size)
          4. Remove dough and knead a few times to punch out the air. Divide dough into 3 equal portions of approximately 300g each. Allow dough to rest for about 5 minutes. This helps relax the dough and will make it easier to roll into logs.
          5. Line a large baking tray with parchment.
          6. Roll each third into a 14" long log. Lay the 3 logs parallel to each other on the baking tray. Braid dough tightly, pinching the ends together and tucking under slightly.
          7. Cover loaf with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a draft free area for 45 minutes.
          8. Preheat oven to 350℉. In a small bowl whisk together 1 large egg and cream. Brush generously on the loaf and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for approximately 32 minutes until golden and an internal temperature of 195℉ is reached.
          9. Remove from oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool prior to slicing.
          Recipe Notes

          For extra plump raisins, soak them in hot water for 10-15 minutes and drain well prior to adding to dough.

          This bread is wonderful toasted with a little apricot jam.

          It toasts quickly because of the sugar content.

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          Affiliate Disclosure

          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
          Toasted Bran Muffins

          Toasted Bran Muffins

          Nancy Silverton’s bran muffins from La Brea Bakery are hailed to be one of the best, and for good reason.  The crumb is tender and rather light for a bran muffin, yet they have that familiar fibrous chew. The flavour has a subtle toasted note and a hint of orange.  They have minimal refined sugar by using pureed raisins to add natural sweetness and moisture.  They are my personal favourite in the bran muffin arena with just a small smear of butter.

          I originally stumbled upon these muffins from Alexandra Cooks Nancy Silverton’s Bran Muffins, who slightly adapted the recipe by blending all the raisins, leaving the final texture without whole raisins.  It’s also my desired way to eat them even though my recipe reflects the original method. Both ways are delicious and it comes down to personal preference. 

          I’ve gone on to adapt the recipe slightly further by replacing a small amount of the water with orange juice and I’ve opted for a different mixing method with wonderful results. It’s recommended to use paper liners as they tend to bake up with a nicer domed top if using them. Without the liners, the tops tend to spread just a little more. I also recommend that you weigh your dry ingredients for better results.  I have done both, and have found that my weighted measures provide more than my standard scooping with a measuring cup. It does make a difference in this recipe.

          If you love muffins, Nacy Silverton’s are a must to make, whether it be the original recipe or my slightly altered version, you won’t be disappointed.  Enjoy!

          Recipe for Toasted Bran Muffins adapted from Alexandra Cooks Nancy Silverton’s Bran Muffins 

           

          Toasted Bran Muffins
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            12 muffins 20 minutes
            Cook Time
            30 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            12 muffins 20 minutes
            Cook Time
            30 minutes
            Toasted Bran Muffins
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              12 muffins 20 minutes
              Cook Time
              30 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              12 muffins 20 minutes
              Cook Time
              30 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: muffins
              Instructions
              1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Spread wheat bran out on a large baking sheet and toast in oven for 6-8 minutes turning once.
              2. While wheat bran is toasting and cooling, cook 1 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat until soft and the water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Puree raisins until smooth.
              3. In a medium bowl, whisk together wheat bran, flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
              4. In a large bowl whisk together oil and brown sugar. Add egg and egg white and whisk to combine. Stir in pureed raisins, remaining 3/4 cup water, buttermilk, orange juice and orange zest.
              5. Add dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup of raisins. Scoop evenly into muffin cups, mounding the batter.
              6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool for 5-7 minutes before removing muffins from tin to cooling rack.
              Recipe Notes

              -it is highly recommended to weigh dry ingredients.

              -when scooping the batter, the muffin cups will be very full.

              -if you don't want whole raisins in the final muffin, cook all the raisins with 3/4 cup of water and blend, continue with recipe adding only 1/2 cup additional water (for 1 1/4 cup total) and omit raisins at the end.

              Affiliate Disclosure

              I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
              Poached Egg and Kale Toasts

              Poached Egg and Kale Toasts

              I love eggs with greens, so when I was on the hunt for a nice lunch, I couldn’t think of what would be better than braised kale and eggs. Poached Eggs and Kale Toasts are not only quick and delicious, but a great way to eat your greens. Need more motivation to kale?  It’s crazy high in vitamin K, high in vitamins A and C and also a great source of fibre to name just a few. 

              Curly leaf kale braised with shallots, red pepper and garlic get a bright finish with a splash of white wine vinegar.  The tender, yet still slightly chewy kale provides a good texture contrast with the soft eggs.  Crisp toast is the perfect crunchy base to soak up any juices and runny yolk. It goes to prove that eating well can be simple and delicious with only a few quality ingredients. Enjoy!

              Recipe source for Poached Egg and Kale Toasts:  Compelled To Cook

              Poached Egg and Kale Toasts
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                4 Toasts 15 minutes
                Cook Time
                12-15 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                4 Toasts 15 minutes
                Cook Time
                12-15 minutes
                Poached Egg and Kale Toasts
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 Toasts 15 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  12-15 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 Toasts 15 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  12-15 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: Toasts
                  Instructions
                  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet, add shallots and garlic. Cook on medium for 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
                  2. Add kale, red pepper and water. Continue to cook, stirring often until kale is tender but still has some texture and all the water has been absorbed about 10-12 minutes. Stir in white wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
                  3. While kale is cooking, add 3" of water to a shallow pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and add 1 tbsp of white vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. Crack eggs, one at a time into the water. Cook for 4 minutes for soft eggs. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess moisture.
                  4. Toast bread and butter if desired, top with a generous portion of sauteed kale and top with a poached egg. Sprinkle with chilli flakes if desired. Serve immediately.

                  Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup

                  Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup

                  I’m getting older you know!  But the benefit of this, is the chance to have a party.  So that’s just what my husband did for me this year on my recent birthday.   Along with my extra year of age, I also received many wonderful gifts that day.  One of which was a Mexican food basket that contained great items such as fresh tomatillos, corn husks and chipotle peppers in adobo. But the one ingredient that really got my attention was the dried hibiscus flowers.  I knew right away that I wanted to use this product for a blog post and set to work on making a lovely, richly infused Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup.

                   

                  Dried hibiscus is just that, hibiscus flowers that have been dried, and probably most common for making tea.  When steeped, it has the most amazing deep purplish- red colour and tart berry like taste.  Perfect for beverages, hot or cold, jams, and sauces.  Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup is slightly tart and fruity with a hint of sweetness.  It’s amazing on pancakes, ice cream, cake, yogurt and fruit.  A little thicker than a simple syrup, but go on and stir it into a vodka cocktail, champagne or punch as well.  That’s if it makes it past the pancakes and ice cream of course…..enjoy!

                  Recipe source for Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup:  Compelled To Cook

                  Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    2 1/2 cups 10 minutes
                    Cook Time Passive Time
                    30-35 minutes 90 minutes
                    Servings Prep Time
                    2 1/2 cups 10 minutes
                    Cook Time Passive Time
                    30-35 minutes 90 minutes
                    Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      2 1/2 cups 10 minutes
                      Cook Time Passive Time
                      30-35 minutes 90 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      2 1/2 cups 10 minutes
                      Cook Time Passive Time
                      30-35 minutes 90 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Servings: cups
                      Instructions
                      1. In a medium sauce pan bring water to a simmer. Add dried hibiscus and bring back to a boil, stirring to soak all the hibiscus. Turn off heat and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, allowing hibiscus to drain naturally without squeezing or pushing on it.
                      2. Return liquid to the pot and add frozen strawberries along with any juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to a steady boil and allow to cook, uncovered for 15-20 minutes, mashing berries with a fork or back of a wooden spoon to help them break down.
                      3. Mix cornstarch with 1 tbsp cold water until dissolved. Add to syrup, stirring constantly until mixture is fully combined and has returned to a boil. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and allow to cool to room temperature, then cool completely in the refrigerator to reach full thickness.
                      4. Pour into sealable jars or airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Will keep refrigerated for 2-3 weeks well sealed.
                      Recipe Notes

                      -Yields approximately 2 1/2 cups of syrup.

                      Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

                      Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

                      Okay, I’ll say it….BACK TO SCHOOL is upon us!  For some, this will be a welcome event, as everyone falls back into a structured routine.  For others, it marks the end of summer, saying goodbye to camping and late night fires.  As for me, it’s a reason to bake up wonderfully moist Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.  Perfect to grab and go in the morning on your way out the door, lunch boxes or a mid day snack to get you through the day. 

                      The recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins makes 14 rather plump muffins.  I know, I know, 14 is not the norm as everyone expects to get 12.  I’ve considered mucking around with the amounts to bring the volume down, but I ask myself why?  They’re perfect the way they are, and frankly, the more muffins the merrier.  I know my husband would agree, and you won’t regret having a couple extra tender, chocolaty muffins either.  Enjoy!   

                      Recipe source for Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins:  Compelled To Cook

                      Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
                      Print Recipe
                        Servings Prep Time
                        14 Muffins 25 minutes
                        Cook Time
                        18-20 minutes
                        Servings Prep Time
                        14 Muffins 25 minutes
                        Cook Time
                        18-20 minutes
                        Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
                        Print Recipe
                          Servings Prep Time
                          14 Muffins 25 minutes
                          Cook Time
                          18-20 minutes
                          Servings Prep Time
                          14 Muffins 25 minutes
                          Cook Time
                          18-20 minutes
                          Ingredients
                          Servings: Muffins
                          Instructions
                          1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line 14-18 muffin tins with paper cups.
                          2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
                          3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each. Peel and mash bananas, add to bowl along with yogurt, orange juice and vanilla. Whisk to combine well, then add flour mixture, whisking until just combined and starting to smooth out. Stir in chocolate chips.
                          4. For large muffins, scoop a generous 1/3 cup of batter per muffin tin. For smaller muffins, use a 1/4 cup of batter per muffin tin.
                          5. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, depending on size. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan slightly before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
                          Recipe Notes

                          Will keep for several days at room temperature wrapped individually or in a sealed container.  They freeze well wrapped individually and will keep for up to a month.

                          Looking for more great muffins?  You’ll want to try Pumpkin Seed and Nut Muffins