No-Knead Sourdough Partial-Wheat Orange & Vanilla Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

These cinnamon rolls are a mouth-full in more ways than one (ba-dum-ch)! Alright, alright—kidding aside—cinnamon rolls have long been one of my favorite cooking projects. For years, I was loyal to Ree Drummond’s recipe, but that’s all in the past after I succeeded in my version of unbelievably soft buns (seriously, how can something that’s sourdough and half-wheat be this delightfully squishy?). My recipe is a heavily modified combo of Basically’s Cinnamon-Date Sticky Buns and King Arthur’s Sourdough Cinnamon Buns.

If you’re like me, the first thing you’re wondering before you even consider baking: “yeah but like… how long is it going to take?” Well, here’s my approximate breakdown: this recipe takes about 30 minutes of initial active time + 2 hours of mostly-passive time + 6 to 24 hours of totally passive time, then a short burst of around 20 more minutes active time before baking. I can’t tell you how long it will take you to gather ingredients in your own kitchen, find your rolling pin/wine bottle, etc. but it’s probably going to be around an hour of actual work (I promise, it’s v worth it) and minimum 10 total hours between start and finish. My recommendation: Make this in the afternoon, chill overnight, then finish it in the morning for breakfast. Perfect for when you have overnight guests or for holiday mornings.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Vanilla Glaze

Recipe Inspiration: Basically’s Cinnamon-Date Sticky Buns
Makes 8 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 100 grams sourdough discard*
  • 50 grams brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 200 grams all-purpose flour
  • 150 grams whole wheat flour

Filling

  • 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Glaze**

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice (or milk, for a milder flavor)
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest (from about 1/2 of the orange)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp. vanilla bean paste

Preparation

Dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine buttermilk, vegetable oil, sourdough starter, brown sugar, egg, yeast, salt, and baking soda. Mix on medium speed with the bread hook until relatively homogeneous, about 1 minute (break up remaining clumps of brown sugar/yeast/starter with your fingers if needed).
  2. Add flours and mix on medium speed until fully combined into a tacky dough, about 2 minutes. Alternatively, mix by hand or with a wooden spoon in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Scrape bowl to incorporate any tough bits of dough stuck to the side into the main dough mass. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a lightly damp clean kitchen towel.
  4. Let dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. After the half-hour, fold it several times over itself in the bowl. If you’ve never done this before—don’t overthink it. We aren’t really “kneading” here. Just imagine that you’re bringing all the dough that’s sitting at the bottom of the bowl to the top, in 6 or so big stretchy folds. Repeat resting-and-folding process 3 more times, resulting in a total of 2 resting hours and 4 folding sessions. The dough will magically become less sticky and more elastic with each folding round (this is because the wheat flour fully hydrates and the gluten develops).
  5. Chill dough in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 6 hours but up to 1 day.

Filling

  1. Mix softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together until combined. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Turn chilled dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and roll into a 16×12-inch rectangle (if necessary, lightly oil your rolling pin to avoid the dough sticking).
  3. Spread cinnamon butter evenly over the whole rectangle, then roll it tightly into a 16-inch log.
  4. Slice log into 8 rolls and place them into a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or 13×9 pan. You can also use basically any other medium/large baking dish. The rolls will almost double while baking, so use whatever will give them an inch or so of space on all sides. Cover pan and let rise until rolls look and feel puffed, about 30 minutes (they will not rise much in this time).
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once preheated, bake rolls until deeply golden brown on top, about 25 to 35 minutes.

Glaze**

  1. Combine powdered sugar, orange juice or milk, orange zest, and vanilla to create an icing.
  2. Let cinnamon rolls cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then pour glaze evenly over cinnamon rolls. The rolls are best when enjoyed warm and fresh. Store leftovers covered tightly at room temperature, and warm before serving.

Notes

  • *I keep my sourdough starter at around 100% hydration, so adjust your liquid/flour minimally as needed for a starter that resembles thick pancake batter.
  • **I like the childhood nostalgia of an orangey Pillsbury pop-canister cinnamon roll, but you have options with your icing. For a classic vanilla glaze, omit the zest and use milk. For maple icing (my second fave), use milk and substitute 1/4 tsp. maple extract for zest. For coffee icing, use coffee or espresso instead of juice/milk and omit zest.

Pork Tenderloin with Miso Maple Pan Sauce

Get your autumn pants on, y’all. Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite season. People may rave about summertime cooking (sure, there’s a lot of produce), but I am never more inspired than when I see the grocery store fill up with squash and apple cider. Once the weather cools down a tad and I can acceptably turn the oven on again, one of the dishes that re-enters our regular dinner rotation is roasted pork tenderloin. I grew up thinking that all pork except the pulled and bacon varieties were universally dry and devoid of flavor. I believed this falsehood up until a few years ago when I developed this recipe and learned that pretty much anything from the top half of the pig (think blade steaks, the loins, and all of the chops) are much more appropriately cooked to a tender and succulent 145°F (medium rare) rather than a chewy 160°F. Try one perfectly cooked, succulent pork tenderloin and you’ll never go back to “well done” pork again.

This particular dish was inspired by the latest episode of Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway’s excellent Home Cooking podcast, where Samin mentioned a miso-maple dressing and I immediately started dreaming about the possibilities. I added some sauteed aromatics to create the sauce, and Dijon and white wine vin to lighten things up. The sauce is savory without being heavy and bright without being tangy. It could totally be customized with fresh minced ginger along with the shallots and garlic, finely chopped thyme stirred in at the end, or apple cider instead of water for a sweeter glaze. I could see myself serving this at a dinner party, but it’s perfectly quick and easy for a weeknight dinner too. Overall, a 10/10 meal.

Pork Tenderloin with Miso Maple Pan Sauce

Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients

Pork Tenderloins

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 pork tenderloins, around 1.5 lbs each*
  • Salt & pepper, to season

Miso Maple Pan Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • Parsley, to garnish (optional)

Preparation

Pork Tenderloins

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven (preferably around 12 inches in diameter) over medium-high heat.
  2. While skillet heats, pat tenderloins dry with paper towels and season them all over with salt & pepper. You’ll use around 3/4 to 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, depending on the size of your tenderloins.
  3. Place both tenderloins in the skillet (curving them to fit as needed) and reduce heat to medium. Sear until deeply golden on three out of the four sides, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Turn tenderloins onto their fourth/final side and move pan to oven.
  4. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature at the thickest point of the tenderloins reach 145°F. If you have a wire probe thermometer, now’s the perfect time to use it. If you don’t, now’s the time to get one**.
  5. Remove the loins from the skillet, cover with foil, and let rest while you make your sauce.

Miso Maple Pan Sauce

  1. Heat the skillet over medium heat and add 3 Tbsp. butter. Once butter is melted and foamy, add shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until very aromatic and beginning to turn translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add water, maple syrup, mustard, miso, and vinegar. Stir to scrape up any remaining fond from the bottom of the pan and to fully combine the sauce.
  3. Cut pork against the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve drizzled with sauce. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley if desired.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this pork with a dark greens salad (kale, diced apples, and dried cranberries would be great here!), chilled homemade applesauce, or broccoli slaw for some freshness. To embrace the autumn feel, add roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes, crispy Brussels sprouts, or buttered orzo to your plate.

Notes

*2 pork tenderloins typically come in 1 package at the grocery store, so this recipe is designed for that size. If you buy your pork from a butcher counter and/or have tenderloins that are bigger/smaller—that’s fine! Just adjust the final oven time a few minutes more or less as needed to hit that 145°F internal temp.
**My probe thermometer is hands-down my favorite kitchen tool. It seriously improves all your roasting, candy-making, and frying experiences. I would never consider making a Thanksgiving turkey without one. I’ve gone through several Polder Classics over the years and highly recommend them for a cost-effective option. If you’re looking for the highest quality, my recommendation is the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm.


Straightforward But Oh-So-Delicious Pork Green Chili

I have a public service announcement for everyone who loves tender, shreddy pork as much as I do: if you don’t already know about the magic of country-style pork ribs, now is your time to wise up. They’re cut from the shoulder region—the same area where the quintessential but inaptly named “butt” comes from. Instead of devoting an entire day to roasting one of those 10-lb. shoulder roasts, you can have the same succulent meat in only a few hours with the smaller country-style ribs. Ever since a friendly meat counter clerk tipped me off to this info last year (and unwittingly changed my entire life), they’ve been my go-to choice for one of my fave cold-weather meals: green chili.

This recipe is simple and super forgiving, making it a wonderful dish to throw together on a cold afternoon at home. The cooking time is relative to the size of pork ribs you have, so err on the side of allowing for more cooking time (up to 4 hours). If the pork gets super tender before that, you can always turn the oven down to 175°F to just keep it warm until dinnertime. If you have nice and gelatinous (mmmm) homemade stock, this is the perfect use for it. If not, don’t trip! Just use a higher quality store-bought stock. Last thing: I typically have a tub of frozen green (and red, for that matter) chopped New Mexico Hatch chiles in our freezer at all times, and they work really well here. If you’re lucky enough to have fresh roasted chile stands in your area, then 3/4 lb. skinned and finely chopped mild Hatch green chiles would be even better.

Straightforward But Oh-So-Delicious Pork Green Chili Recipe

Makes 4-6 servings
Active cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Total cooking time: 3-4 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. bone-in country-style pork ribs (approximately 3 large “ribs”)
  • Kosher salt, to season
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (homemade if possible)
  • 1 (13 oz.) tub frozen roasted and chopped mild Hatch green chiles (like Bueno Foods brand), thawed
  • 4 tsp. corn starch
  • 4 tsp. water
  • 1 large Russet or Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbsp.)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Season your country-style ribs generously with salt on all sides (you’ll use around 1 tsp.).
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (3.5 qt or bigger) over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not quite smoking, add pork and sear until golden brown on all four sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. You should start to see fond (little golden bits) starting to build on the bottom of your pot after your first or second turn. If not, increase your heat slightly. If your oil or smoking or your fond is getting darker than the color of honey, turn your heat down to medium.
  3. Remove seared pork and set aside on a plate. Add onions and garlic to pot and stir to saute. If there is no oil left in your pot, add another Tbsp. or so to get everything lightly coated. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes, or until they are aromatic, translucent, and just beginning to brown.
  4. Pour in stock and stir to gently scrape up the fond from the bottom of the pot. Add green chiles and bring to a simmer. Place pork ribs back into the pot, submerging them in the liquid if possible. Cover pot and place in oven.
  5. Cook for 2-2 1/2 hours, or until pork begins to feel tender when squeezed with tongs.
  6. In a small bowl, combine corn starch and water to make a slurry mixture. Gently stir slurry into green chili, along with potato (if using). Cook in oven for an additional 1/2-1 hour, or until potatoes are tender, liquid is slightly thickened, and pork falls apart when squeezed with tongs.
  7. Carefully remove any pieces of bone (they should easily pull apart from the from meat) and pieces of un-rendered fat. Use tongs to squeeze/shred the pork into bite-sized chunks. Stir in lime juice and season with additional salt to taste if needed.
  8. Serve the green chili with guacamole, shredded cheese or crumbled cotija, cilantro leaves, thinly sliced radishes, and/or tortilla chips. Or ya know, don’t—it’s just as delicious without adding anything extra.

Notes

This recipe could also be made using a slow cooker instead of the oven, but don’t skip the searing and sauteing! Follow the first 4 steps, but place the liquid and ribs into your slow cooker. Cook on low for approximately 4 hours or high for 2-3 hours, or until pork is falling apart. Add the potato during the last hour of cooking if desired.

Leftovers are delicious when topped with an egg and served with a toasted tortilla for breakfast the next morning.

Lemon Curd Buttermilk Ice Cream

Ask me what my favorite food is and I’ll interrupt with “ice cream!” before you’ve finished the question. When I was given an ice cream maker in 2017, I thought my life was going to be a non-stop joy ride from that moment forward. TBH, I barely looked at it for the next two years. The ice cream aisle and I are friends; why would I ruin that relationship? It was only when I was developing a lemon curd filling for Cauldron Cakes that inspiration really struck.

This recipe was born out of two no-churn ice cream recipes. The first I saw during my time at America’s Test Kitchen when the talented team behind Cook’s Country were performing the oh-so-difficult task of narrowing countless options to a mere 12 takes on a flawless no-churn method. They didn’t have to search far for willing taste-testers.

The second was in the Savory Spice Test Kitchen, where Michael Kimball blew my mind by developing vanilla ice cream using a buttermilk base. His recipe produces an ice cream that not only lets shy vanilla flavors shine but also has just enough tanginess to lighten and brighten. It’s an ice cream that feels like a fitting afternoon treat, not just a decadent evening splurge.

While I was inspired by these outstanding no-churn ice creams, I want to let you in on something: I prefer churning when I go through the homemade ice cream effort. It takes a little more attention and an extra appliance (ugh), but it offers a lighter, smoother texture as opposed to the denser and firmer results of no-churn. But, the differences are slight with this recipe, so do whatever makes you happy! Ice cream should only spark joy.

Regardless of which freezing method you choose, there are a few key steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most from your base. The primary goal when making ice cream at home is to reduce the formation of ice crystals. Too much crystalline formation takes what could be lusciously scoopable ice cream and turns it into a solid, spoon-bending hunk of disappointment—and I’m speaking from experience here.

This recipe provides some insurance: both alcohol (here, in the form of bourbon or whiskey) and liquid sugar (in the form of corn syrup) help to discourage ice crystals. Incorporating air by whipping the cream gives you a head start against solid hunk-dom, but if you really want to ensure scoop-ability, remember to chill out.

Everything—from your ingredients, to the prepared ice cream base, to the final container it goes into—should be as cold as possible. A chilled cream base means less time freezing or churning, which means less time for ice crystals to form in the first place. When your ice cream is perfectly frozen and soft, transfer it to a chilled storage container so it doesn’t melt and refreeze all willy-nilly around the edges. Sound easy enough? Good! Let’s get started:

Lemon Curd Buttermilk Ice Cream Recipe

Lemon Curd

Recipe Inspiration: Pierre Hermé’s Lemon Cream, as described by Dorie Greenspan on Serious Eats
Makes about 2 1/2 cups lemon curd

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 5 lemons)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pats

Preparation

  1. Combine sugar, lemon juice and zest, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk thoroughly until combined.
  2. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and set the lemon mixture in its bowl on top of the pot (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the simmering water).
  3. Whisk constantly until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. It should reach 180°F on a thermometer. This could take up to 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, a few pats at a time. Let each addition melt and incorporate before adding another.
  5. Filter through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd. Let cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator until cold, at least 2 hours. Curd can be made and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Lemon Curd Buttermilk Ice Cream

Recipe Inspirations: Michael Kimball’s No-Churn Buttermilk Vanilla Ice Cream for Savory Spice and Morgan Bolling’s No-Churn Ice Cream for Cook’s Country
Makes about 1 1/2 pints ice cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lemon curd
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. bourbon or whiskey (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Remaining lemon curd, sprinkles, and/or strawberries for serving

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl, combine lemon curd, buttermilk, corn syrup, bourbon/whiskey (if using), vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until combined and set aside.
  2. In a blender, whip cream until stiff peaks form, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Scrape with a rubber spatula as needed, every 15 seconds or so.
  3. Add lemon curd mixture to blender and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.

For traditional churning:

  1. Gently scoop mixture into a lidded container and chill until very cold, about 1 hour.
  2. Transfer ice cream base to ice cream machine. Churn according to your machine’s specifications, until ice cream is the consistency of thick soft-serve. In my setup, this took about 25 minutes.
  3. While ice cream churns, chill a lidded quart-sized container in the freezer. This will prevent any of the newly churned cream from melting around the edges when it comes out of the machine.
  4. Scoop ice cream into chilled container. Enjoy immediately as “soft-serve” or freeze until firm, at least 1 hour, before scooping into bowls or cones.
  5. Serve with leftover lemon curd, sprinkles, or sliced strawberries, if desired.

For no-churn method:

  1. Place a loaf pan or medium baking dish in the freezer to chill, at least 15 minutes. If you’ve already created the ice cream base, keep it in the refrigerator while the dish gets cold.
  2. Pour ice cream base into cold dish. Freeze until firm throughout, about 3 to 6 hours, depending on the depth of the dish.
  3. Scoop and serve with leftover lemon curd, sprinkles, or sliced strawberries, if desired.
  4. To store, cover baking dish tightly or transfer scoops of ice cream into a chilled, lidded container.


Cauldron Cakes | Harry Potter Recipes

I’ve been working on these for a while. Since I started this Harry Potter recipes development project, I have been thinking about what cauldron cakes from the wizarding world would look and taste like. I mean, except for the name, they’re never given much of a literary description. In searching the internet for other people’s interpretations, I found a lot of chocolate and overturned cupcakes–honestly, those just didn’t do it for me, and I thought I could do better.

Let’s start with the shape. The reason this recipe took me so long was my search for the perfect baking mold. I didn’t want to make just another ill-disguised upside down cupcake or a cake carved vaguely into the shape of–what is that? a lump? No, I wanted these to be pristine little half-domes with a clean, smooth coating. You know, like a cauldron. My solution: silicone. I bought these molds from the crafting store and started experimenting. I had used silicone for chocolate and Bavarian creams in culinary school, but never baking. Turns out, these silicone molds are not as nonstick as their cousins, Silpats, would have you believe. My first batch of cakes completely tore apart as I tried to remove them from their divots. Lesson learned–grease and flour them, and give your cakes plenty of time to chill in the molds before releasing them for clean shapes.

In the Harry Potter books, chocolate is found in the forms of frogs and wands and in big blocks (in case of Dementors, duh), plus Chocolate Cauldrons are specifically called out as the magical equivalent to filled truffles. Since cauldrons already have a chocolate version, I went another way for the flavoring: blackberry and lemon. The lemon curd topping makes these little cauldrons look like they’re filled with bright, golden Felix Felicis, but you could switch it up with whatever “potion” (okay, okay–jam or other sweet spread) you choose. The blackberry cake holds its vivid purple color exceptionally well during baking and is a charming little surprise after you bite through the chocolate coating.

Speaking of the coating, these little cauldrons are encased with white chocolate colored with–wait for it–charcoal. And you thought that fad was over. Yes, you can totally use a black gel food coloring but where’s the fun in decorating if you’re not cautiously twisting open activated charcoal capsules that you got in the supplements aisle, praying that you don’t stain anything in your kitchen black (again)? It’s a fun ingredient to use for adding natural coloring to food, even if it’s super unnecessary as a health supplement. It has the added bonus of creating a matte finish, which adds a lot of authenticity to the cauldrons.

Overall, these little cakes were unbelievably adorable and I couldn’t stop looking at them. Even my SO couldn’t keep the smile off his face when he admitted that they were “pretty cute.” Yes, the recipe is a bit of a project, but it could be simplified by using a boxed cake mix (either pre-flavored or with the homemade juice mixture stirred in). The blackberry and lemon together create a wonderful balance of fruity sweetness and tart citrus, but the cauldrons could be recreated with different flavor combos (strawberry cake instead of blackberry, chocolate cake with caramel sauce “potion,” yellow cake with cherry preserves, the list goes on). Even with my imperfect chocolate piping skills, they were forgiving enough to be one of the most enjoyable baking projects I’ve done in a long time.

But anyway, enough talking! Let’s get to it:

Cauldron Cakes Recipe

Cake Recipe Inspiration: Stella Parks’s Classic Vanilla Butter Cake on Serious Eats
Makes about 30 cauldron cakes

Blackberry Cake

Ingredients

Blackberry Juice

  • 1 (16 oz.) bag frozen blackberries
  • 1 cup water

Blackberry Cake

  • 1/2 cup reserved blackberry juice
  • 2 Tbsp. whole milk, room temperature
  • 5.3 oz. granulated sugar (150 grams; about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature (85 grams; 6 Tbsp.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5.3 oz. all-purpose flour (150 grams; about 1 cup plus 2 1/2 Tbsp.), plus extra for flouring molds

Preparation

Blackberry Juice

  1. Combine blackberries and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook uncovered until berries are broken down and juice is reduced and thick, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Filter out fruit solids through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to extract juice. You should have just over ½ cup juice. It’s okay if yours didn’t reduce exactly to 1/2 cup. If you have over 1 cup, simmer juice for 10 to 15 more minutes to reduce further. If your juice reduced too much, add water until you have 1/2 cup.
  3. Let juice cool completely at room temperature.

Blackberry Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease silicone molds with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle generously with flour to coat. Gently shake out excess flour, then place prepared silicone molds right-side up on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Combine blackberry juice and milk and set aside.
  3. Combine sugar, butter, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric mixer). Beat on medium speed until light and aerated, about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula halfway through.
  4. Add egg and vanilla to sugar mixture and continue beating until fully incorporated.
  5. Add a third of the flour and mix on low until combined. With the mixer running, drizzle in a third of the juice mixture. Repeat with alternating thirds of flour and juice until all ingredients have been incorporated, stopping to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.
  6. Do a final scrape of the mixing bowl with to ensure all flour has been incorporated into the batter. Fill each of the silicone molds with 1 scant tablespoon of the cake batter*.
  7. Bake for 11 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of several of the cakes comes out clean.
  8. Let cakes cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, then transfer to the freezer and chill for at least 1 hour. Carefully push cakes out of the molds and keep refrigerated until ready to decorate.
  9. Repeat baking and cooling process with remaining batter**.

Assembly & Decoration

Ingredients

  • 2 (10 oz.) bags white melting wafers (like Ghiradelli’s)
  • 6 to 15 capsules activated charcoal or gel food coloring***
  • About 1/2 cup prepared lemon curd or preferred fruit jam

Preparation

  1. Place white chocolate wafers in a medium glass bowl. Heat in the microwave until chocolate is melted, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 15 to 30 seconds.
  2. Carefully open charcoal capsules over white chocolate and stir to incorporate the powder (discard the capsule shells). Add charcoal (or gel food coloring) until the desired color of gray or black is reached.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture into a pastry bag or resealable zip-top bag and snip a small opening in the corner to pipe.
  4. Using the cleaned and dried silicone mold, pipe about 1 1/2 tsp. of chocolate coating into each space. Press chilled cakes gently into coating, just until the chocolate comes up flush to the top. Work quickly, as chocolate coating can set in the piping bag after several minutes (if this happens, reheat briefly in the microwave).
  5. Pipe a lip/edge onto the top of the “cauldron” with chocolate. Let coating set, about 5 minutes, before carefully pushing cauldrons out of the mold.
  6. If desired, lay out a piece of wax or parchment paper and pipe a small “X” formation that will act as the cauldron feet. Set the cake on top of the “X” and let chocolate set before peeling off of paper.
  7. Onto the top of each cauldron, spoon or pipe lemon curd (or jam “potion” of choice). You could also add sugar pearl sprinkles to emulate bubbles or any other decorations of your choice.
  8. Store cakes at room temperature for up to 6 hours and in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

*My silicone molds held 2 Tbsp. of filling. If you have a differently sized mold, fill each divot about halfway.
**This recipe yields enough batter to make about 30 (1 Tbsp.) cakes, or enough for two molds. If you don’t have two molds (I don’t either), refrigerate the batter while you wait for the first cakes to bake and chill. Let the batter sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before baking the second batch. Alternatively–just make cupcakes with the remaining batter, cut out the centers, and fill with lemon curd before frosting or dipping the bottoms in chocolate coating. They’re like extra-capacity cauldrons!
***I used activated charcoal from the supplements aisle and twisted open the capsules to pour out the charcoal. You can also find powdered charcoal which you can sprinkle in, 1/4 tsp. at a time. Be careful not to get this charcoal on any plastic, wood, or clothing—it will stain. Don’t want to mess with charcoal? No shame. Black or gray gel coloring would work just as well.

Note: I in no way condone J.K. Rowling or her hurtful anti-trans sentiments. I believe in the power of stories and that books belong to their community of readers. I have made a commitment never to purchase merchandise, materials, or access to experiences (like Harry Potter World) that may financially benefit J.K. Rowling in anyway.


Beef & Barley Stew

Being the farmer’s daughter has its perks. My dad raises grass fed beef, so my freezer is often loaded with the best ground beef, roasts, and even a few steaks (if I can get my hands on a filet mignon, I’m a happy gal). I grilled every chance I got this past summer. That, combined with the fact that I haven’t been back home to Kansas in a few months (sorry family!) means that my meat supply is seriously dwindling.

When I did my regularly scheduled freezer search to plan dinners for the week, I found the short ribs, roasts, and cubed stew meat that I had been squirreling away for when the weather turned chilly. Since it basically snowed the entire last week of October, I felt like a slow-cooked barley stew was totally deserved.

Although I hadn’t ever attempted to put barley in the slow cooker, this came together super easily. It only took a few hours for the grains to soften and the meat to be perfectly cooked, tender but not shred-y. I used my old trick of adding honey along with the crushed tomatoes to help minimize the flavor of canned-ness (you know what I mean). With all the hearty flavors involved, this stew really benefits from the splash of red wine vinegar and fresh parsley at the end—so don’t skip ’em!

Beef & Barley Stew Recipe

Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil (use only if following oven method)
  • 1 lb. cubed beef stew meat
  • 1 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • Salt & pepper, to season
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish

Preparation

To make in a slow cooker:

  1. Add stew meat*, barley, vegetables, garlic, canned tomatoes, paprika, herbs, and honey to slow cooker. Pour stock over and season generously with salt & pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Cook until barley is softened and stew meat is tender, about 2 to 3 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on low.
  3. Finish the stew with a small splash of red wine vinegar (this helps brighten up all the flavors). Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

To make in the oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Add stew meat in an single layer (cook in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding) and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side.
  2. Remove stew meat from pot and set on a plate. Add vegetables and garlic and saute until beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add barley, tomatoes, honey, paprika, herbs, and stock. Season generously with salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine.
  4. Cover pot and place in oven. Cook until barley is softened and meat is tender, about 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Finish the stew with a small splash of red wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

*For extra flavor, sear the stew meat as directed in Step 1 of the oven method before adding to the slow cooker.

This recipe is also published on redgerfarms.com, where my family sells all natural grass fed beef.