Cornmeal-Buttermilk Loaf Cake, with or without Berries

Dorie tells us that since she bakes so much, as do all of us, it is hard to have a favorite…and even harder still to bake those favorites often. I totally agree. 😂. This cake is a favorite that she says is the simplest, plainest cake but it’s appeal is so strong.

This cake can be baked in a skillet or loaf pan and either with or without berries added into the batter. It can be eaten plain or toasted with butter or jam. We even added a little whip cream and sugared berries on the side…but it was not needed. So delicious and moist on its own!

As you can see, I went the loaf with blueberries…because why not add the berries right?! I can see though that this would taste great even without them or even as the base for strawberry shortcake! Very versatile and delicious cake…everyone absolutely loved it.

So easy to make too…mix up the batter and pop in the oven for about an hour until you get the golden crust, cracked top, and clean center skewer. Super easy.

Totally a keeper and like Dorie says, I will have to find a way to re-bake our favorites and this would be one of them. Loved it!


This was interesting to try…mixed reactions about whether they liked it or not, but all thought unique and worth trying.

None of us had heard of this cookie, or confectionary treat. It is very simple in its list of ingredients and the effort needed to make it. Three ingredients is all there is…sugar, honey, and chopped walnuts.

The sugar and honey are heated to boiling, and then mixed with the nuts. The “dough” is rolled out on a cutting board or sheet pan flipped over, and allowed to cool. The cookies are then cut into diamond shapes and can be stored for two weeks. Apparently these are a good holiday treat because they can last for entertaining and you can make some different variations.

So, what did we think…that first of all, you need to like walnuts! I think everyone who tried these had a first reaction that they didn’t care for the flavor, but as they kept eating the cookie, decided maybe it was ok. 🤷‍♀️. For having both honey and sugar, these were not overly sweet and had a distinctive taste.

They did get eaten 😂, but pretty much everyone was like, not really a keeper.

Mostly Rhubarb Tart

Rhubarb has been tough to find for some reason. Took me three stores, and even then it wasn’t the best looking and I bought all they had to try and get enough for this recipe.

Good thing I persevered because we all LOVED this tart.

It begins with our standard tart crust which is already beloved by all my family and tasters, so I was already off to a good start haha. The filling is pretty simple…macerated rhubarb, custard, and a few strawberries. This kind of custard, to me, is more of a sweet binding agent than “custardy pudding”. Really the fruit and crust shine though. ..and that crust being more like a cookie, this was just fantastic.

It was a perfect “kick the summer off” treat…fresh, and light, and so tasty! We tried it with some extra berries on top, but it wasn’t really necessary. We all thought tart was good enough to stand on its own.

When I can find rhubarb, this will be a keeper! 😍

Father’s Day Blueberry-Cherry Pie

Funny that Dorie made this for the first time in 2020 while her son was expecting his first child. I made this, and brought part of it over to my son-in-law when his new son was one week old. Didn’t quite get the baking done for eating ON Father’s Day, as we had a lot going on with a new baby in the family, but it didn’t make it any the less celebratory! 👶💙

This pie uses Dorie’s All-Butter Pie Dough recipe divided into two for the bottom and top layer. I thought this dough was great to work with, and everyone seemed to love it. The reviews were that I nailed the pie crust, so yay for that haha.

The filling is equal parts pitted and halved cherries and blueberries cooked down with sugar to make a jam like filling. There is some lime zest, lime juice, and flour mixed in and an optional teaspoon of cinnamon, which I added. The filling, which is super easy to make…other than the pitting of the cherries!…is put in the pie crust, topped and crimped and brushed with milk. The whole thing is cooked for about 65 min at two different temps. When it is brought out of the oven, the crust is brushed with a confectioners sugar glaze giving it an old school snack pie glaze look….which by the way my whole group loved.

The pie was promptly eaten with many great reviews..they loved the crust and the filling although it was mentioned that with two different fruit they thought this would be sweeter and more flavorful. It was almost like combining the fruit together made them more bland and neither flavor stood out. 🤷‍♀️. Weird. Regardless, the pie was a winner and none of it was left…I’d still call that a keeper.

One Big Break-Apart Chipper

This is a big slab cookie…one to put out on the table and let everyone break off a piece, or go ahead and cut it into pieces to share. Either way, it is a party cookie that is sure to bring smiles. It is delicious!

This is an interesting twist on a chocolate chip cookie bar. It is rolled thin, and baked large. The spices added in…cinnamon and cardamom are a sweet surprise that play well with the chocolate, brown sugar, and honey. You can add nuts as well and I went the route of using some glazed pecans I had on hand. Figured that would add to the cinnamon already in the dough.

This chilled in the fridge, and then baked until the edges were darker than the middle…which should be firm with a tiny bit of give. Sanding sugar is optional before you bake, but you know my stance on is a yes, always haha. Once again, I think it takes the dessert to a fancier level and the crunch is always welcome.

These are sweet, but with my group, a total keeper! We loved them!

Portuguese-Style Cod and Beans En Papillote

Just WOW!

I have never cooked En Papillote, which is French for “in a pouch”…a type of cooking that seals in the flavors by oven-steaming. Essentially arranging the layers in a bundle, usually parchment or foil, and achieving a big-pot braise in miniature.

The amazing thing about this dish, was not only the flavor, but seriously how easy it was! It is basically just a construction of layers.

  • Lemon
  • Two slices of tomato
  • Sprig of thyme, salt and pepper
  • Cannellini beans mixed with garlic, balsamic, olive oil, salt, pepper, smoked paprika
  • Green onion
  • Cod ( I subbed Mahi) rubbed in smoked paprika, salt, and pepper
  • Garlic and green onion
  • Remaining lemon, tomato, and thyme
  • Olive oil and white wine

Bundled in a hobo packet and cooked for about 15ish minutes. That…is…it. Really couldn’t be simpler.

The dish is not a soup, but heavy on the broth…which is so delicious you end up eating this with a spoon so you don’t miss any of it. My husband’s reaction was, “this is next level gourmet”!! Hahaha!

Worthy of company, and easy enough for a mid-week dinner. Needless to say it was a huge hit and will most certainly be repeated!

This one is a keeper!

*update…made it a second time already and loved it again!

Zan’s Birthday Cookies

These cookies, Dorie tells us in her intro, “give us the pleasure of a thick slice of cake in a small, elegant package…and if they look like they were made for candles, so much the better.” Baked for a friend’s child named Zan, they were reminiscent of a German Chocolate Cake with the chocolate and coconut.

I made these earlier in the month as I was baking a ahead of time in preparation of the birth of my first grandchild mid-month! I thought this would be a perfect bake for where my head and heart are this month…focusing on a birth day! Instead of using a white candle like Dorie did in the cookbook, since my daughter and son-in-law did not find out the gender, I took pictures with each a pink and blue candle so I was prepared once the baby made its grand arrival. As you can see from the candle, we were blessed with a GRANDSON…and I am now a GRANDMA!! We couldn’t be more thrilled…Mama and Baby are both doing great and at the time of writing this, he is only 1 day old! We are so excited, thankful, and full of joy! 💙💙

Back to the cookies 😂, these were such a huge hit…but pretty time consuming to make. Like many bakes, this wasn’t hard but did require three separate components, two of which had chilling time also involved.

These had a chocolate and coconut brownie-like base, a toasted coconut pastry cream filling, and then a crunchy, cocoa streusel on top. They are baked in muffin tins, and quite thankfully, pop out no problem.

My family and most of my tasters are huge coconut and chocolate lovers, so I was pretty sure these would be a winner and I was right! I was told “don’t lose that recipe” and “these are such a great, unique, fusion of an old school crumb cake, almond joy, and brownie”. They seriously loved these. With responses like that, how can I not make them again haha. At least I would know what I was getting myself into and plan accordingly..probably easiest to make the parts the day before and then bake the next!

This one is a keeper!

French Vanilla Sablés

Sometimes simple is best!

We have made many different flavors of Sablés over the years and it seems they aren’t always a favorite with my family and tasters…but these were a clear winner.

Dorie tells us this recipe is “the model cookie-it’s rich, sandy, flavorful and memorable…phenomenal in texture and universally beloved in flavor.” We couldn’t have agreed more!

I do think the sugar on top takes it to another level with the added crunch. Nothing about these is hard, so all around winner in my book!

This one is a keeper!