Tag: Sweets

Brown Butter Buckwheat Madeleines

Brown Butter Buckwheat Madeleines | Serious CrustBrown Butter Buckwheat Madeleines | Serious Crust

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a batch of baked goods disappear so quickly. I just wanted to warn you right off the bat. Whether you’re making these buckwheat madeleines for you and your honey at home or to take to a fête, you should know either way that they won’t be around for long. I think it’s because they dance on the edge of sweetness and toe the line between a soft, cakey middle and crunchy browned edges. The outside is a tiny bit sticky from a spoonful of honey, and so when you finish eating one you have to lick your fingers, which only reminds you of the comforting flavors swirling around your tastebuds.

I spotted the recipe for these madeleines in my dad’s copy of My Paris Kitchen, which, yes I’ve been pining over and no I don’t have yet (but I may have just ordered). David Lebovitz has long had a home in my kitchen. I believe his lemon curd was the first one I ever made, and I’ve churned plenty of his ice cream recipes. When my dad got his cookbook, he almost immediately sent me the recipe for the leeks with mustard-bacon vinaigrette, which are delicious and you should definitely make them. I think I love his writing so much because I used to dream of packing up my life and moving to Paris, where I would use my 6 years of French lessons to make French friends and shop at French markets and cook French meals and it would all be so perfectly French.

But sometimes that isn’t quite how real life goes. You do sensible things like go to college and have roommates and get a job (or a few) instead of living the dream life in Paris. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have French inspired food and toss little French phrases around with other French speakers. And it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t brown butter in your kitchen so the house smells like nutty, toasty heaven, whisk that brown butter in with buckwheat flour and honey, and fill the molds of a madeleine pan with the batter. And it doesn’t mean you can’t break one of the madeleines in two while it’s still warm, the inside springy and spongey and the edges perfectly crispy. And it definitely doesn’t mean you can’t eat three (or four…) in the span of 10 minutes.

Brown Butter Buckwheat Madeleines


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 egg whites, equaling about 1/2 cup (hint: keep the remaining yolks to make a citrus curd later)
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp cocoa nibs (optional – I didn’t use these)


In a pan over medium heat, cook the butter until it’s the color of a perfectly cooked marshmallow or toast. The butter will foam and spit, don’t be afraid. When it’s brown, pour into a heat proof bowl and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the egg whites and honey and whisk until combined. Add about a third of the brown butter, and mix until combined, then slowly add the rest of the butter while mixing. If you’re using the cocoa nibs, add them now and mix until they’re evenly distributed.

Brush your madeleine pan with butter, and fill the molds about 3/4 of the way full with batter – about one tablespoon. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the madeleines spring back lightly when you touch them in the middle. Thanks to the buckwheat flour, you can’t really rely on color here too much, but you’ll kind of be able to tell when the edges are looking a little on the golden side. Allow to cool in the pan for about a minute before popping them out onto a cooling rack. I recommend eating them warm (or at least the same day) with a cup of coffee or tea.

Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Cake | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler Gingerbread Cake | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Ah, the holiday season. The time of year when we are surrounded by twinkling lights, ugly sweaters, and sweets. Oh the sweets! I love and hate it at the same time. Rather than a big Christmas dinner, my family opted for the age old Jewish tradition of Chinese food and movies. Don’t be fooled though, we did do a few Christmas-y things. My mom, sisters and I would usually spend an entire day in the kitchen making Christmas cookies for the mailman and the neighbors, but we didn’t make any really for ourselves (ok, that’s kind of a lie, we definitely ate a few during the packaging process).

The one thing that really sticks out in my mind as something we made during the holiday season was gingerbread. And I’m not talking about the houses made of stale candy, or the too-crunchy cookies. I’m talking about the almost-savory snacking gingerbread cake: gingery, perfectly spiced, moist, and a little bit sticky. In a season full of too-sweet cookies and candy, this cake is perfectly the opposite kind of treat. My mom used to make it, and I always remember her in her pajamas, eating it late at night between the dessert and midnight snack hours, usually dolloped with cream cheese and accompanied by a mug of tea. I love this cake because it takes me back to those nights when it was cold outside, but it was so warm in our kitchen, and full of the smells of holiday baking. When I told Jonah I wanted to make some of my own (which I had never done before), he said he’d never had this kind of gingerbread. I think this recipe convinced him.

Gingerbread Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks (plus some more for greasing the pan)
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup blackstrap molasses
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups AP flour (plus some for dusting the pan)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (ground will work, but fresh is better)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Optional: powdered sugar, whipped cream, or cream cheese for serving


Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, and butter and flour the parchment and sides of the pan.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add baking soda (it will foam! don’t be scared!). Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in the butter until melted. Next add the brown sugar, molasses, and ginger and mix until combined. Set aside until no warmer and lukewarm.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder. Whisk in the eggs and then the molasses mixture, mixing until the ingredients are combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared 9×13 pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick (or skewer or knife or whatever you’re using) inserted comes out clean. Cool pan on a wire rack and, once cooled, cut around the edges and invert the cake onto the rack, and then onto a serving plate, where you can cut into whatever shapes you’d like and enjoy it alongside some tea or coffee.

Restaurant Review: Cup & Bar

Cup & Bar | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

A few months ago, driving south on MLK Jr. Blvd from my house as I often do, I noticed a beautiful industrial space with high ceilings, white walls, and a garage door. Not long after I first spotted it, I was happy to read that it was going to become Cup & Bar, a coffee and chocolate tasting room, production facility, and café opened by Trailhead Coffee Roasters and Ranger Chocolate.

More delicious coffee PLUS luscious chocolate? What more could you want? The real beauty of it, though, is that the two are paired together in the most spectacular ways. Yes, there are lattés and chocolate bars for sale, but there are also mochas, dirty charlies (a macchiato gone wild, topped with chocolate shavings), flights of drinking chocolate, and coffee mocktails as well as beer and wine. The spot takes it a step further with refreshing bites like avocado toast and small sandwiches, plus house made syrups in flavors like orgeat, anisette, and cardamom mint.

Cup & Bar | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cup & Bar | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cup & Bar | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cup & Bar | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

My first visit, a work date with fellow bloggeress’ ErinMeredith, and Mary, was lovely. It was just after lunch, so my sweet tooth was aching for a treat. The Ranger Brownie was delicious – the perfect balance between fudgy and cakey, and the gal working even dug around in the stack of them to find me a corner. How sweet is that? After a couple hours at my laptop, plugging away on some podcasts, I needed a pick me up, so I went for the Cold Fashioned – a mocktail based on the Old Fashioned, but with cold brew instead of whiskey. While I can easily see how it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea – or coffee, as it were – it was funky, cold, and caffeinated, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

On my most recent visit with Jonah, we both got a dirty charlie. Right as we sat down, one of the miniature garage doors in back opened up, and a gentleman bearing two tiny spoons dipped in chocolate offered us a taste of Ranger’s most recent chocolate blend, called Wildcard, which was dark and delicious.

I highly recommend a visit to Cup & Bar for an afternoon pick me up of chocolate and coffee. I hear they also do tours and tastings, so you can bet I’ll be back to learn more about the roasting processes!

Tillamookies are Here!

Tillamookies are here! | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

My friend from college, Dylan, has a house on the Oregon coast (or rather, his family does). At various times throughout the school year, a bunch of friends would drive out to the house where we would spend the weekend playing bocce on the beach, cooking good food, drinking, playing games, and singing by the campfire.

But always one of the highlights of these trips was going to the Tillamook Cheese factory. Sometimes we’d stop on the way out to the house, sometimes we’d make a day trip, and sometimes we’d visit on our way back to Portland. We would head to the observation deck and watch them make and package those tasty bricks of cheese, then make a couple trips through the cheese tasting line, and end with a scoop of ice cream. I always really liked their flavors – they seem like the kind of flavors they might have at the neighborhood ice cream parlor I dreamed of having nearby growing up: Mudslide, Java Chip, Berry Cheesecake, and more.

Tillamookies are here! | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

So when Soda Pop PR contacted me about Tillamook’s new ice cream sandwiches, called Tillamookies (the cutest name ever), it certainly tugged at my heart strings. And made my mouth water. I like ice cream sandwiches, but what I like about these is the cookie part. Rather than a dense cookie that, when frozen, is hard to bite through, these sandwiches have a circle of crispy, thin waffle cone, coated with dark chocolate on one side. It lends the sensation of eating a waffle cone filled with sweet creamy dessert. I love it.

And now you can try them yourself. They’ll be available in stores soon, but you can also enter below (there are a few different ways) to win some Tillamookies of your own! Enter before next Friday for a chance to enjoy these sweet treats!

a Rafflecopter giveaway