Meyer Lemon Raspberry Spinach Salad

I feel a little silly even posting this as a recipe, and I don’t normally post recipes that require possibly hard-to-find ingredients, but I love this so much I just have to share it.

Last week I took a cooking class at Olivelle, a local store in Bozeman that sells olive oils, vinegars, salts, and spices. I’d never actually been in the store before I took the class on making crepes, and I’m guessing that was a solid financial decision as it’s very easy to spend a lot of money there.

Lemon Raspberry Spinach Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

One of the recipes in the class used a Meyer lemon balsamic vinegar, and it is possibly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever tried. Sweet and tangy, I knew it would be delicious all on its own as a salad dressing. Although I managed not to buy the crepe pan (yet), I did walk out with this Meyer lemon vinegar and a caramelized garlic olive oil.

Lemon Raspberry Spinach Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

I always buy giant bags of spinach for my breakfast smoothies, and I recently discovered Costco carries pretty reasonably priced sliced almonds as well, which are perfect for salad toppings. All that wonderful flavor and crunch without the giant pieces or the tedious chopping.

As my raspberry bushes are finally producing in abundance this year, I can’t just eat them all straight off the bush before they get overripe. Although I will probably freeze some, mostly I enjoy them fresh as a topping on salad, yogurt, ice cream, and probably soon, waffles. They add a wonderful burst of color and flavor to a salad, and change it up from my normal mandarin oranges or strawberries.

Lemon Raspberry Spinach Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

This salad is bright and tangy, and would go great as a side dish for almost any summer meal. I wrote out measurements for one, as that’s what I am usually making, but you can obviously increase it to feed several people at once. Make sure your spinach and your raspberries are reasonably dry and you are good to go for whatever quantities you like.

If you’re looking to make this into an entree, I think some chopped chicken or fish would be an excellent addition. I’ve eaten it as a side dish most days since I bought it, but if I ever bought chicken I’d certainly give the entree a try. If you do, let me know what you think!

And if you’re a local Bozemanite, get thee to Olivelle, pronto.

Lemon Raspberry Spinach salad
Serves 1

Ingredients

2 cups spinach, rinsed and dry
2-3 tsp Meyer Lemon balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup fresh raspberries, rinsed and dry
1 Tbsp sliced almonds

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine spinach and vinegar, and use a rubber spatula to gently stir until spinach is well coated.
  2. Gently fold in raspberries and almonds (or add them after it’s plated if you want to make sure they are visible.)
  3. Enjoy immediately.

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Most of the time I start my days with a bowl of cinnamon-raisin oatmeal or a plate of veggie scrambled eggs. Particularly when M is out of town, I rarely put in the effort to treat myself to pancakes or similar, although I do occasionally have Belgian waffles for dinner. (Waffles are suitable for every meal, and also dessert.)

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

However, after an incredibly windy 10-mile run last Saturday, I decided to treat myself to something I hadn’t made in a long time: stuffed French toast. French toast is actually one of my favorite breakfasts but I rarely make it for no real reason other than I enjoy having leftover waffle batter for the next few days. Nonetheless, with some delightful potato buttermilk bread sitting on the counter and a dollop of cream cheese in the fridge, it seemed the perfect day for a more decadent confection.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

With melty cream cheese and my favorite jam in every bite, a thin spread of butter and a dusting of powdered sugar is all that’s needed to top this delightful creation. Even better, it’s no more difficult than regular French toast since basically you are just making cream cheese and jam sandwiches for your first step. It’s important to make sure your bread gets good and soaked with the egg mixture to ensure it results in a soft but golden brown bread to wrap those sweet insides.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

Fry on medium-low to make sure the cream cheese and jam gets nice and warm before the outside is overdone. The extra minutes of cooking is well worth the finished experience, I promise. If you’re looking for an extra rich option, top with a drizzle of maple syrup or homemade whipped cream, but just a little butter and powdered sugar is definitely my favorite.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a great option for Sunday brunch (or Tuesday brunch, or any brunch, or dinner, I don’t judge), and sure to please your Valentine. Don’t have a Valentine? Be your own Valentine and please yourself with an amazing breakfast. Your morning cup of coffee is a perfect addition; a side of bacon and/or eggs balances the sweet with some salty protein.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

I’ve printed the recipe as a serving for one so you can make it as is or easily scale it up as needed to feed the whole family. It’s best hot off the griddle but if you’re cooking for more people than fits in one batch, you should be able to keep them warm in the oven so you can all eat together.

Whip up a batch of stuffed French toast this weekend for a special treat, then enlist those recipients to clean up your kitchen. It’s really the least they can do.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients per serving

2 slices bread (I like to use buttermilk)
1-2 Tbsp cream cheese, softened1
1-2 Tbsp Raspberry Rhubarb jam1

1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Heat griddle or frying pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Spread cream cheese on one slice of bread, and jam on the other. Place cream cheese slice (spread sides together) on the jam slice to form a sandwich.
  3. In a shallow bowl large enough to fit your bread, whisk together remaining ingredients until well blended.
  4. Place your bread into the egg mixture for 1-2 minutes each side, until bread looks soaked through. (If you’re just making one serving, it should soak up almost all the liquid.)
  5. Fry until golden brown, 2-4 minutes per side. (I like to put a lid on the frying pan to help keep the heat in, but it’s not strictly necessary.)
  6. Serve immediately topped with butter and powdered sugar, or a drizzle of maple syrup for an extra decadent treat.

Notes

You can use basically any jam or sauce, this one is just my favorite. As for the amounts, I like two tablespoons of each for a decadent filling, but you can certainly use less if you prefer a less rich breakfast. If your cream cheese is hard to spread, soften it in the microwave in ten-second intervals. It’s going to be heated anyway so if you slightly over-melt it that’s no big deal.

Raspberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam

Welcome to September! We’ve had a couple of cool mornings here in Montana and it gives me hope that fall is on the way. I love sunny days but I could do without the sweltering heat and smoky skies, so some days in the 60s would be fantastic.

August flew by with a trip to Alaska for the Skinny Raven half marathon in Anchorage and to visit my parents in Juneau. I ran the race with a high school friend and it was easily one of my most fun (and nearly my fastest) race ever. Although it was a fairly rainy 10 days, I had a great time seeing my friends and family and making jam.

Skinny Raven Half

Luckily for you my mom doesn’t believe in secret recipes so I can share it here. This is my family’s favorite jam and an annual tradition. We typically use any leftover packages of last year’s rhubarb which is a great way to make space in the freezer. As rhubarb is one of the few foods that actually thrives in Juneau, it is usually quite plentiful. I love rhubarb in almost any form, but raspberry is one of its most complementary flavors.

Raspberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam {{Baking Bytes}}

Sour rhubarb and tart raspberries are tamed with an admittedly copious amount of sugar. Jam is rarely healthy and this one is no exception, but a small amount goes a long way and it’s much too delicious to bother counting calories. Never made jam before? A little intimidated? Never fear! A Jell-O base makes it an easy recipe for newbies and since it’s a freezer jam there’s no stress about proper canning practices. Just boil, pour, and freeze – easy peasy.

Raspberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam {{Baking Bytes}}

I always tend towards the more tart jams, I’ll take blackberry or huckleberry over strawberry or grape any day, but this is my absolute favorite. Excellent as a solo condiment or contrasting with peanut butter, it is sure to fill all your jam needs. Besides the normal uses of toast and PB&J, it’s also great with yogurt or ice cream (especially if your batch turns out a little runny for some reason). Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this jam and I highly  suggest you clear some space in your freezer and get to it.

Raspberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam {{Baking Bytes}}

A perfect balance of sweet and sour, a beautiful rich color, and an easy recipe are sure to add a go-to recipe to your repertoire.

Raspberry Rhubarb Freezer jam
Makes about 4 pints

Ingredients

5 cups chopped rhubarb
4 cups sugar

12 oz frozen raspberries2

3 or 6 oz package raspberry Jell-O3

Directions

  1. Combine sugar and rhubarb in a large pot, stirring until rhubarb is well coated. Let sit on the counter for about 2 hours.
  2. Afterward, clean and boil your canning jars, lids, and rings to clean and prepare them for the jam.
  3. Boil rhubarb and sugar for at least 10 minutes (rhubarb should be soft).
  4. Stir in the raspberries and return to a boil.
  5. Add the Jell-O and stir until completely dissolved.
  6. Pour hot jam immediately into canning jars, then put the lid on each one. Leave the rings off.
  7. Let cool on the counter until they are comfortable to touch. If the lids don’t all pop, it’s okay. Screw the rings on the jars and store in the freezer until ready to use. Refrigerate after opening; it lasts a long time in the fridge.
  8. Enjoy on toast, muffins, cornbread, ice cream, yogurt, in a sandwich or with a spoon. Makes a great gift also!

Notes

Fresh or frozen. Great way to use up last year’s crop!

A little more or less is fine if you don’t see packages of exactly 12 oz, although it will vary your total yield slightly.

Use the small size for fresh rhubarb, and the large size for frozen. It doesn’t super matter which one, but it could be a little runny with a small package and frozen rhubarb. If you *need* thicker jam, definitely use the larger box size.

Choose Your Own Adventure Scones

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}Welcome to May, my lovely readers. Apologies for the April hiatus, I got busy and blah blah all the usual excuses. However, I’ve been working on some new recipes for the summer and I’m excited to share them with you over the coming months.

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

In the meantime, I’ve been craving scones lately and wanted to get some berry action given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having here in Montana. I hopped over to Pastry Affair since I was pretty sure she’d have a great recipe, and boy was I right. Incredibly moist, bursting with berries, and boasting the added delight of white chocolate chips, these scones were exactly what I was looking for. Perfect for dessert, breakfast, or snack, they’re delicious at any time of day. Serve them solo with coffee as the main event, or in conjunction with eggs and sausage for a fuller breakfast.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

As fragile as raspberries are, even my frozen ones became somewhat muddled in the dough, but I think this only adds to the aesthetic as well as resulting in a perfect raspberry flavor in every bite. (The lovely pink color would make them extra adorable for Valentine’s Day, if you’re in to that sort of thing.) The dough was annoyingly sticky, I’ll admit, but an extra hand washing is well worth it in the end. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that the next day I made another batch with blackberries and dark chocolate chips. I think they’d be awesome with many combinations of berries and baking chips, so play around with the flavors and report back with your favorites.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Scones are something I never much enjoyed until I went to Scotland in 2009, and it was shortly after that when I found my go to recipe for cinnamon sugar scones. I love that recipe because it’s simple and super quick, but this one will definitely be added to the repertoire for a “berrylicious” alternative.

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

As you are likely aware, Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday. As I eat these scones, and write this post, I think about my mom and how much she has molded me and helped me throughout my life. Even now, she graciously proofreads all my posts and offers her own opinions and tweaks when she tries the recipes. I am so grateful for her being such an amazing person in my life and I wish I could bring her some of these scones to start off a day of celebrating her. But since we’ll be about a thousand miles apart this weekend, I guess a phone call will have to do.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Thanks Mom. =)

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Choose Your Own Adventure Scones

Borrowed from Pastry Affair
Makes 8 scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

6 Tbsp butter, softened

1 rounded cup frozen berries (do not thaw)1
1/2 cup baking chips (white chocolate, chocolate, etc)2

1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg

raw or granulated sugar for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Use your fingers to mix in butter until well distributed and texture is like fluffy but damp sand.
  4. Gently stir in berries and chips. Set aside.
  5. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over dry mixture and gently mix until combined. You will likely need to use your hands and it will be very sticky – this is annoying, but normal and oh so worth it.
  6. On your lightly floured silicon mat, flatten dough into a circle about one inch thick. If you like, sprinkle on some raw sugar.
  7. Cut into eight wedges (I like to use a pizza cutter) and gently spread to at least one inch apart on the baking sheet using a spatula dipped in flour. Wipe up extraneous flour if there’s a lot of extra.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes. Scones should no longer look wet and the bottoms will be lightly browned. Cool at least a few minutes before serving; they are also delightful at room temperature.
  9. Store covered but unsealed at room temperature. (If you seal them they will get sticky. I promise they will stay moist overnight. If you have pets or bugs you can cover them with a cloth or lid – just not anything airtight.)

Notes

Raspberries and blackberries have both been awesome. I cut some of the larger blackberries in half but that’s not strictly necessary. Blueberries or cranberries would also be great.

The full half cup makes the scones quite sweet, so feel free to use a smaller amount (or leave them out entirely) if you don’t want quite as much sugar.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I am not entirely sure how it could possibly be February already, but the sudden pinkification of everything in stores and on Pinterest means it must be true. Between work, training, and M finally returning home, January flew by at a rather alarming rate. Nonetheless, 2014 has started off pretty well so far and now that I’ve finally established my goals for the year I am pretty excited to start on them. I’m looking forward to a year of new recipes and new experiences.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

One of my biggest goals for the year is to run six half marathons; the first is on my birthday, March 15. The main goal of this first race was to keep me running all winter (so far a success) and give me a head start with training. Since I’m hoping for a sub-2:10 in September, I knew there was no way I’d get there if I started in June (as is my habit.) So far so good, but we’ll see where the year takes us.

On the flip side, I’m still baking up loads of sugary delight because that’s clearly going to help me get there. Ha. But be that as it may, this is the month of pink and red heart-shaped boxes of mostly terrible chocolates. Or in layman’s terms, Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been particularly fond of this holiday (shouldn’t you appreciate each other all the time?) but it happens to be the same day as my anniversary with M. (He is quick to point out this was coincidence and there is no “sappy love story” behind it. Silly kid.) This has drastically improved the “holiday” in my eyes, and each year I bake a cake to celebrate. Look for that post in a couple of weeks.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

In the mean time, here’s a fabulous recipe which would be delightful for any special occasion. Chocolate cookie crust, white chocolate, and a raspberry swirl come together in an amazing and smooth cheesecake sure to impress. Drizzle with chocolate sauce for extra presentation points.  It is very rich so just a small piece will do, but it keeps very well in the freezer if you don’t have eleven best friends to invite over.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

Fair warning, I’ve never managed to make this cheesecake without it cracking along the swirls, but it is beautiful and delicious just the same. If you’re looking to step it up a notch this year, and you have a spring-form pan1, this cheesecake is a fabulous option. Although a bit time-consuming, none of the steps are difficult as long as you pay attention. Bonus: it’s at least as delicious as it is pretty.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Adapted from CindyAnn
Makes 1 cheesecake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (about 20 Oreos2)
1/4 cup butter, melted

10 oz frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

2 cups white chocolate chips3
1/2 cup half and half
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter until completely combined.
  2. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 9″ or 10″ spring-form pan, pressing down evenly and thoroughly to form the crust. No need to press it up the sides.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and water, and heat over medium-high until boiling. Continue boiling until sauce has thickened, about five minutes. Strain sauce to remove seeds.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Using a double boiler (or a metal bowl over simmering water), melt chocolate and half and half, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about three minutes.
  7. Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium until combined.
  8. Stir in vanilla and white chocolate mixture until mixture is very smooth. It will be somewhat runny.
  9. Carefully pour batter over the crust.
  10. Slowly pour raspberry sauce into batter in a spiral shape. Drag a knife or a toothpick through the mixture to create swirls.
  11. Bake 55-60 minutes for a 9″ pan, or 45-50 minutes for a 10″ pan. Filling should be set but still a little jiggly4.
  12. Turn off the oven and crack the door, leaving the cheesecake to cool in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Remove to counter to cool an additional 30 minutes.
  13. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  14. Carefully remove from pan, slice in 12 pieces, and serve to adoring guests5.
  15. If you have leftovers, they keep beautifully in the freezer6.

Notes

1 I love my glass-bottom, handled version M got me.
2 Store-brand chocolate sandwich cookies work just fine for cheesecake crusts. I like to pulse the crumbs in a blender a few times to get them extra fine.
3 I like to use Ghirardelli white chocolate chips for this recipe.
4 Cheesecakes are very easy to overbake. Check it at 5 minutes before the lower end of the range: if it still looks kind of like pudding, keep baking. It should look firm but jiggle as one when you tap the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
5 To get clean slices, wipe off the knife between each slice with a hot, damp cloth. It is a giant pain but worth the effort.
6 If you decide to freeze it (which I highly recommend!), cut strips of parchment paper and gently press on both sides of each slice. Place the slices in a freezer safe container, cover the top with plastic wrap, and make sure the lid is tightly sealed. Defrost in the fridge if you have time, or in the microwave if you’re impatient like me. =)