Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
We actually made this in the summer, as an easy recipe to make for a big hungry group. All the time is in the prep, which you can do several hours in advance, leaving you the rest of your day to sit back and enjoy with nothing to do except pop it in the oven.
The key to it’s simplicity is frozen spinach, rather than wrestling with fresh. However, the flip side is that you need to squeeze it thoroughly (through cheesecloth) in order to remove all the moisture.
The texture of your pie depends on it.
- 4 pounds frozen chopped spinach
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
- 5 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 bunch dill, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 1 pound cottage cheese
- 1 1/2 pounds feta cheese, broken up into small pieces
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 packet phyllo dough
- 1 cup clarified butter
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Thoroughly drain the spinach of all water by squeezing it in a cheesecloth.
- Over medium heat, melt butter with scallions and cook until scallions are soft and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes
- Transfer to a large bowl and add dill, salt, pepper, eggs, cottage cheese, feta cheese, spinach, and olive oil. Fold ingredients together until fully combined, careful to not break up feta. Do not overmix.
- Now prepare the phyllo. Lightly butter a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Prepare phyllo by removing from package and unfurling it. You should have around 25 to 30 sheets. As you work, cover the dough with a damp tea towel or moistened paper towel on top to prevent it from drying out. Carefully peel off one sheet of phyllo and lay it on the bottom of pan. Sheets of phyllo should not be pulled tight. Instead, lay it in a crumbled fashion to create a textured layer. With pastry brush, generously spread with clarified butter until the sheet is moistened.
- Continue until you have used half of your total filo dough (about 10 to 15 sheets). Spread filling over the sheets of phyllo in an even layer, to the ends of the dish. Begin the process of covering with phyllo and brushing with butter until two to three sheets of phyllo remain. Pull the final sheets tightly over the top of the dish to create a smooth top. Brush top layer with clarified butter.
- Bake at for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown.
- Check after 1 hour for browning. Serve at room temperature
Chewy Molasses Cookies
These were SO GOOD, try them immediately. Not too sweet, not too sharp from the ginger, just right. We did debate whether or not the sugar coating is required… and I firmly believe that it is. You need good quality molasses, that’s important.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup mild-flavored (light) or robust-flavored (dark) molasses
- 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- Coarse sanding or raw sugar (for rolling)
- Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 375°F. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk egg, butter, granulated sugar, molasses, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix in dry ingredients just to combine.
- Place sanding sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop out dough by the tablespoonful and roll into balls (if dough is sticky, chill 20 minutes). Roll in sugar and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2" apart.
- Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed, cracked, and just set around edges (over-baked cookies won't be chewy), 8–10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
- MAKE AHEAD: Cookie dough can be made and rolled into balls 2 weeks ahead. Freeze on a baking sheet; transfer to resealable plastic bags. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before rolling in sugar.
Healthy Coconut Almond Cookies with Cacao Nibs
I’ve been working on the process of cleaning out the cabinets, in particular all the little half bags.
I googled coconut, almond meal, and cacao nibs, and this one popped up. It’s originally from Sprouted Kitchen, but I got the Minimalist Kitchen.
They are super healthy- the only naughty bit is the brown sugar.
Don’t overbake them. When they first come out they’ll look soft, but as long as there is a touch of golden brown I promise they’ll firm right up once they cool down.
- 1 ¼ cups (137 g) almond meal
- ¼ cup (30 g) chopped dark chocolate or cacao nibs
- ½ cup (40 g) shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt (Sara used sea salt)
- 1/3 cup (73 g) brown sugar (Sara used muscovado)
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) coconut oil, melted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond meal, dark chocolate chips, coconut, baking powder, salt and sugar.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg until uniform in color and doubled in volume.
- Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet with 1-1/2 inch space in between each. Press down slightly to flatten a bit.
- Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
Coconut Pound Cake
This recipe is absolutely perfect. Easy, delicious, good for an afternoon snack, or also for a dessert after dinner.
I can imagine it with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet, or with some raspberry coulis.
It’s moist, and light, and unbelievably easy to prepare!
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Zest of 1 lime
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, lime zest, and salt. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture. Gradually mix with dry ingredients until just combined. Add melted butter, and stir until smooth. Do not over-mix.
- Line an 8 1/2- by 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan, making sure it isn't filled more than 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, but start checking after 45 minutes.
- Cool in pan 5 minutes, remove bread from pan, and finish cooling on a rack.
Cornmeal Molasses Rolls
These are perfect for a side dish to a thick black bean stew. That’s how I made them most recently, but unfortunately the soup went too fast for a photo, and is hence not featured on the blog.
I invited some of my closest friends over for a dinner, to tell some of them about the recent engagement (squee!!!), and I was so excited and in the zone that I actually forgot the yeast… had to unroll ALL of the dough balls, add it back in… and reroll them all. Catastrophic situation.
Anyways, surprisingly, this still worked, so I can’t imagine how delicious these rolls would be if you just followed the instructions.
One note, is that they are delicious fresh out of the oven. They are NOT delicious (barely edible in fact), the next day. So only make them for a crowd, otherwise you’ll eat the whole thing out of guilt and feel terrible.
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (1 package or 1/4 ounce)
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup boiling water
- ½ cup medium-ground cornmeal
- ¼ cup molasses
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 3- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- Grease a 9-inch round pan and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast and the lukewarm water. Set aside for 5 minutes to proof (the yeast should look puffy on the surface after that time).
- Pour the boiling water into a large bowl and slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking as you pour to make sure there are no lumps.
- Add the molasses, butter, and salt to the cornmeal mixture. Stir until the butter is melted.
- Add the egg and whisk thoroughly.
- Add the flour and the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes. The dough will be on the stickier side, but it shouldn't completely stick to your hands: You should be able to knead it. If it's much too wet, add up to 1/2 cup more flour (just a bit at a time) until it's sticky but you can knead it.
- Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. I recommend using a digital scale for accuracy. Weigh the dough on a piece of wax paper, then divide by 16. Pinch off pieces and weigh each one to make sure they are the proper weight. This will ensure your rolls look beautiful and uniform but it's not mandatory!
- With floured hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball and place it in the prepared pan.
- Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
- Just before the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 375° F.
- When the rolls have risen, bake them for about 30 minutes. They should be golden and sound hollow when you tap on the surface.
- Remove the rolls from the oven. Brush lightly with melted butter if you'd like them to look nice and shiny.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
I was inspired to make these when I recently cleaned the kitchen and discovered a great deal of coconut that was about to expire. Not wanted to throw out food and have that on my conscience for weeks, haunting me… I discovered the below.
Easy, and yummy! The batter does need to sit in the fridge before you bake, so keep that in mind (and it can even play in your favour if you want to leave it over night and have a ‘ready to bake’ cookie dough on hand for a dinner the day after.
There is even an extreme advance prep option: Roll out the balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once they’re set, transfer them to a resealable freezer bag or airtight container and keep them frozen for up to 3 months. Let the dough balls sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking as usual.
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup/113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, coconut, baking soda, and salt.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed fluffy and yellow.
- Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition for 30 seconds.
- Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the flour mixture in three parts, beating for about 10 seconds after each addition. Add the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop out portions of dough the size of golf balls, roll them between your palms loosely, and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet (you’ll need to bake the cookies in several batches). Bake for 14 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat to make the rest of the cookies.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
I received this cookbook for Christmas, and boy was this a great recipe to start with. The recipe makes 2 loaves, which disappeared in 24 hours at our house.
You can eat it as is, but I highly recommend toasting slices and giving them a thick slather of butter. Just do it, don’t ask questions.
It is light and fluffy (thanks in part to the dry milk powder), and has just the right amount of sweetness from the filling.
It looks like a hassle, and I won’t lie to you, it is. But it’s worth it.
Lastly, it’s not recommended to do this without a kitchen aid because the dough is very sticky which makes the kneading literally painful. Just find a friend who owns a mixer and go to their house to make it.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
- 3 ¼ cups bread flour
- ¾ cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 1 tablespoon instant or rapid rise yeast
- 1 ½ cups water, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ cups raisins (golden are nice, but any will work)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon room temperature water and a pinch of salt
- Toss butter cubes with a bit of flour, just to prevent them from sticking together. Set aside to soften.
- Whisk the remaining flour, milk, powder, and yeast together in the bowl of your Kitchen Aid.
- Whisk water, sugar, and egg in a separate bowl, until sugar is dissolved.
- Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add the water mixture to the dry mixture and continue to mix until a cohesive dough forms and there is no dry flour left (about 2 minutes). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Add salt to dough and knead on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. With mixer running, add butter cubes a few at a time, and knead for about 4 minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated. Continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic, another 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, slowly add raisins and mix for a minute or until incorporated.
- Transfer dough to lightly greased large bowl. Using greased bowl scraper or your fingers, fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough towards middle. Turn in a circle as you make a total of 8 folds around the outside of the dough. Cover dough with plastic and let rise for 45 minutes. Repeat folding, cover again, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Press down on dough gently to deflate it. Transfer it to a lightly floured counter, divide in half, and cover one half loosely with greased plastic wrap. Working with the other piece, press and roll it into an 11 x 6 inch rectangle, with the short size parallel to your body.
- Stretch and fold dough lengthwise into thirds, so it becomes an 11 x 3 inch rectangle. Roll dough away from you into a firm ball. Cover with the greased plastic wrap and repeat with the second dough lump.
- Make the filling by whisking together al of the filling ingredients in a small bowl.
- Take the first dough ball you made, coat lightly with flour, and place on a lightly floured counter. With the seam facing down, flatten with a rolling pin, into 18 x 7 inch rectangle, again with the short edge parallel to your body.
- Mist the top of the dough with a water spritzer. Sprinkle half of the filling mixture, leaving a small border around the edges. Mist filling with water spritzer until surface is speckled. Roll dough away from you into a firm cylinder, as tightly as you can. Pinch the seam and ends closed. Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rest as you repeat the process with the second dough ball.
- Grease two 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pans with butter. Using a sharp knife, cut one cylinder in half lengthwise. Turn the cut sides face up (so you can see the stripes with the filling facing you). Gently stretch into 14 inch lengths, pinch together the tops, and twist around one another (start by placing the left side over the right). You want the cut sides to always face up, and they should be tightly twisted. Pinch bottom end together, and place into greased loaf pan.
- Repeat with other loaf.
- Cover with greased plastic and let rise until dough is 1 inch above the rim of the baking pan, about 1.5-2 hours.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 350f/176c. Gently brush loaves with egg mixture, and bake until crust is browned (roughly 25 minutes) rotating the pans halfway through baking.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325f/162c, cover loaves with aluminum foil, and continue to bake until loaves register 200f/93c (about 15-25 minutes).
- Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes before removing from pans, and let rest for 3 hours on a wire rack before serving.
I originally made this for my beautiful friend Claudia who has just had two handsome twins. I did, however, leave it in the car and forget to bring it to her sigh.
Anyways, Claude- this one was for you!!
It’s yummy, salty, oily, everything a focaccia should be. We ended up freezing these, and that works just fine in case you can’t eat both loaves right away.
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup room temperature water
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 ¼ cups water, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- First make the base dough. Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, until combined. Cover tighly with plastic wrap, and let sit at least 6 hours, and up to 24. The dough should rise and begin to collapse.
- Once you’ve got your base dough, mix it together with the second dough. Stir the flour, water, and yeast into the base dough until well combined. Cover tightly with plastic and let rest 15 minutes.
- Stir 1.5 teaspoons of salt into dough with wooden spoon until fully combined, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic and let rest 30 minutes.
- Using a greased rubber scraper, fold dough over itself towards the middle. Repeat 7 more times, turning the bowl in a circle as you do, until you have folded it over all the way around. Cover with plastic and let rest 30 minutes.
- Repeat the folding circle, and let rest again for 30 minutes.
- Repeat the folding circle a third time, cover, and let rest until almost doubled in size, about an hour.
- Adjust the oven rack to upper middle position, and place a baking stone on the rack. Heat the oven to 500f. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons of oil each, and sprinkle each with a large pinch of salt.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured counter, and dust the top with flour as well. Divide dough in half, and cover the part you aren’t working with in greased plastic. Take the other dough ball, and shape into a 5 inch round by tucking the edges under itself.
- Place seam side up in a prepared pan, coat the bottom and sides with oil, and flip it over. Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rest 5 minutes while you repeat with the second ball.
- Moving back to your first dough ball, gently press it out into the edges of the pan, being careful not to rip the dough. Using a fork, poke the surface of the dough plenty of times, poping any air bubbles. Sprinkle with rosemary, cover with plastic, and let rest another 10 minutes.
- Repeat with the second ball.
- When ready, place pans on baking stone, and reduce oven temperature to 450f. Bake until tops are golden, 25-30 minutes.
- Let loaves cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans onto a wire rack. Let cool for 30 minutes thereafter before serving.
- Feel free to dip the bread in any olive oil left over in the pan- you won’t regret it !
Andrew’s Cognac & Almond Birthday Cake with Rasberry Coulis
This weekend we surprised my brother for his birthday in Boston! We baked this cake the day before and brought it with us.
What a treat to be all together again before the new year kicks off.
A certain someone (the cutest baby in the world Maxwell) particularly enjoyed the raspberry coulis and wound up with vampire face.
The cake really belongs with the coulis, do not attempt to make only the cake. It’s easy enough to do both, and so worth it.
It’s inspired by a recipe found on epicurious, from Claudia Roden. The link is in the recipe card so if you’d like to read the original or read the Spanish roots, please do!
Final chapter of the Christmas cookies series: the crowd favourite-florentiner!
Hard to describe, kind of a toffee esque cookie, half dipped in chocolate.
Also the prettiest I think.
- 50g butter
- 125 ml cream
- 100g sliced and skinned almonds
- 125g sugar
- 1 bag vanilla sugar
- 65g flour
- 2 bars of dark chocolate
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Pre-heat oven to 180c.
- Combine butter and cream in a frying pan, on low heat until it boils.
- Combine almonds, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, and flour. Once mixed, add to the butter and the cream.
- Keep the dough liquid over a hot water bath as you make the cookies.
- Using two spoons, make tiny lumps onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20mins at 180c.
- Once golden yellow, take out of the oven, let the cookies cool fully, and prepare the chocolate bath.
- In the same water bath, melt the chocolate bars. One by one, dip the cookies in, and place them on a non-stick surface (such as parchment paper) to harden completely (1-2 hours).