It's kind of hard to keep up with all of them, but some months I find more to try than others. Case in point was this week. This month's Bon Appetit had a feature on the "New Basics" that had a very interesting Sesame Tea Cake that I wanted to try and the paper had a feature on baking with salted butter that sounded interesting. I don't usually have a lot of time to do multiple bakes in a week, but this weekend kind of opened up when some of our activities were canceled, so I took advantage and made all the things in one weekend. YIKES! My family and neighbors were happy, because I shared some with them!
The first thing I tried was the Sesame Tea Cake from Bon Appetit. It involved finding black sesame seeds, but to my surprise, my area grocery store, Wegmans, carried them in the international foods aisle. Whew! For those who can't find them in your grocery store, you can also get them on Amazon, of course or my favorite spice shop, Penzey's.
I thought it turned out really nicely, and for those who don't like very sweet treats, this is perfect for you! Slightly sweet, but a little nutty and salty, even my kids liked it (my husband and older son ate almost half of it before we brought the rest over to our friends' house to try). It was also fairly easy to put together -- no complicated techniques or anything. With its pretty swirl pattern, it would make a nice addition to a brunch dessert platter as well!
Next up was a couple of recipes from the Washington Post Food Section. They had an article that featured recipes with salted butter. Now, I don't think I've ever used salted butter (like, at all), so I was really intrigued to try these out. Because I bought a full pound (the only amount available), I decided to try two of the recipes. First up was a recipe for financiers, a fancy-sounding name for a little almond cake. This was a little more complicated because the recipe called for browning the butter and separating eggs, but those were the hardest steps. You also have to plan a little (or not have a timeline), because the batter goes in the refrigerator for at least an hour. On the plus side, once the batter has rested, it's super simple to pop them in the oven. I used mini muffin tins, as directed by the recipe, but had a good amount of leftover batter. The consistency was similar to a madeleine batter, so I made the rest using my madeleine tin. They turned out pretty well! If you really wanted to get fancy, you could dust with a little powdered sugar before serving. These go really nicely with a cup of tea. :-) You can find the financier recipe on the Washington Post website.
After I made the financiers, I still had 2 sticks of salted butter to use up, so I made the Milk Chocolate and Raspberry Jam Blondies from the same article. Unfortunately, I didn't have any milk chocolate handy, nor did I have raspberry jam. What I DID have was semisweet chocolate chips and some jammy balsamic cherries, so I gave it a shot. I really liked them! I left part of the pan unsullied by the cherries, because we have a purist in our house, so he wouldn't have liked them like that. In the end, everyone was happy!
Now, I think I need to figure out which of these I'm going to either freeze or bring to work, since there's no way we need to have all of these sweets in the house (even with 2 teenage boys)! Plus, there's a recipe for Fluffernutter cookies I've been wanting to try....