Dense Blueberry/Cranberry Cake

 I liked it better with cranberries.

See, I made this cake for co-workers over the Christmas holiday. A gift of sorts. People went nuts for it. Over fudge and magic dream bars even. I was kind of surprised. It was good…but, over fudge?!

Anyway. I decided to make it again and since cranberries aren’t in season and I stupidly didn’t freeze twenty bagillion bags of fresh ones…well…blueberries were my only option. And they were on sale. Ok, I guess I could have used raspberries or something but. Whatever.

Bottom line is, I like this cake better with cranberries. I love the density of the cake…it’s not a crumb-y cake. It doesn’t fall apart in your hand. Actually it is quite the opposite. You could even add a brown sugar crumble to the top and call it a coffee cake if you were so inclined.

But for the love of God…make it with cranberries.


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Cran-Orange Scones

Do your scones look more like the top of a muffin than a scone? Do they have the texture of a muffin or cake instead of being dry and flaky?

I’ve seen too many scones like this lately. I’ve bought them at coffee shops, my friends have made them…hell, I’ve made them! It’s wrong! It’s a travesty! It’s an offense to real scones everywhere! Scones should be so dry they give you cotton mouth!! Ok, not really but you get my point.

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Granola Bars!

I love Ina Garten. She’s the Julia to my Julie. See, Ina has no formal training…and, like me, spent time in Washington, DC cranking it out in a government job (not like me) as a budget analyst (definitely not like me). Ina cooked because she wanted a release from the daily grind. She learned to cook from her cookbooks and, I would assume, later discovered that she could do a little something with this passion. So after years of working in a 9-5 desk job (and apparently flipping houses!?) she opened her own store, Barefoot Contessa. Then came cookbooks…then shows…and well, we all know how she’s doing now.

So after a bad day or a long week, when I bake cookies or make homemade granola bars I think about Ina. I doubt Ina ever had to cook in a galley kitchen with about three square feet of counter space BUT! She battled the daily grind with cups of packed brown sugar and ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolates and she came out on top. It’s a nice reminder that I/you/we can come out on top, too.

On to the granola bars though. I swear, every time I make something there’s always ONE ingredient I can’t find. I’ve come to expect this so I’ve also become quite good at improvisation. This time around I couldn’t find a jar of wheat germ anywhere in this stupid city…so I used flax seeds instead. Also, dates sounded lovely, but they’re expensive…and this gal’s on a budget. I had prunes laying around and used those.

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