Tag Archives: baking

Lemon Cherry Muffins

Forbidden Rice Blog| Lemon Cherry Muffins (5 of 9)

I once went to a birthday party where there was no cake. Not even cupcakes. In their place were muffins. Fruit-filled muffins. While most kids would be terrified or genuinely pissed off about such a thing, I was quite pleased. I remember one of the choices being a cherry muffin that was laden with dried cherries… they were delicious.

One morning recently I recalled those muffins and my genuine appreciation of them. Not knowing what else to make for breakfast one day, the idea of baking  something that was quick and filling sounded necessary.

The following muffins came out of that experiment. They’re lemony without being overly tart, the cherries provide a beautiful sweetness, and the dusting of coarse sugar creates a lovely slightly-crisp topping once baked.

Forbidden Rice Blog| Lemon Cherry Muffins (2 of 9)

Lemon Cherry Muffins

Yields about 12 standard sized muffins.


1 cup dried cherries, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
5 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
zest from 1 lemon
coarse sugar (optional)

Forbidden Rice Blog| Lemon Cherry Muffins (1 of 9)


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line a cupcake pan with liners or generously grease the well of each spot.

Sprinkle dried cherries with 2 tablespoons of the flour, then mix until the cherries are coated.

In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and nutmeg.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg then add the vanilla, buttermilk, butter, lemon juice and zest and combine well. Add the chopped cherries.

Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, just until the dry ingredients are moist.

Divide the batter equally between the greased/lined muffin tins, filling each well about 2/3-full. Sprinkle a generous amount of the coarse sugar over the batter. Bake for 20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown.

Forbidden Rice Blog| Lemon Cherry Muffins (7 of 9)

Forbidden Rice Blog| Lemon Cherry Muffins (6 of 9)

Forbidden Rice Blog| Lemon Cherry Muffins (3 of 9)

Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Upside-Down Cake (7 of 7)

If I wasn’t so stubborn, I probably would’ve given up on gardening nearly 7 years ago, after two consecutive years of low yielding, scraggly looking plants. The last couple years, my garden has been bursting with produce. Then last year I tried to plant some blueberry bushes… which inevitably became blueberry-less sticks in the ground. This year’s garden has yielded minimal produce — tough squash, a handful of roma tomatoes, a bigger handful of cherry tomatoes, little eggplants, skinny little anaheim peppers, a single carrot and two strawberries… Like I said, it’s good I’m stubborn because it’s likely I’ll try a better garden next summer. And I most certainly want to plant blueberries. That’ll actually give me blueberries.

Luckily even if I can’t find them in my own backyard, really good Oregon-grown blueberries are easy to come by here. I eyeball them in the produce sections the second they arrive in season and then dream up ways to eat them. When I saw the following cake on Saveur’s website I instantly knew it would have a home in my kitchen. I was not wrong… and most importantly, I was correct to assume that this cake would be deliciously delectable.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Upside-Down Cake (5 of 7)

Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

Makes one 9-inch round cake.

Recipe very slightly modified from Saveur

12 tablespoons butter, softened
3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups fresh blueberries
zest and juice from one small Meyer lemon
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
1⁄2 cup whole milk
1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Upside-Down Cake (6 of 7)


Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and lemon juice, then cook until mostly dissolved. Pour the sugar into a 9-inch round cake pan, then add the blueberries, spreading them evenly across the pan. Sprinkle on the lemon zest.

Whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and the granulated sugar with a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, until fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg yolks, and beat until evenly combined. Add the dry ingredients followed by the milk and beat on low speed until a smooth batter forms.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with a handheld mixer until they form stiff peaks. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the cake batter until just combined, and then spread the batter over the blueberries in the pan, smoothing the top.

Bake about 1 hour (until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean). Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Place a serving platter over the pan and invert the two together. Let the pan sit upside down on the platter for 5 minutes, and then remove the pan. Let the cake cool completely before serving.

Leftovers can be wrapped tightly with plastic and kept up to 3 days.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Upside-Down Cake (2 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Upside-Down Cake (1 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Upside-Down Cake (3 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Upside-Down Cake (4 of 7)


Forbidden Rice Blog | Snickerdoodle Cookies

Guilty (but really not-so-guilty) pleasures, a list:

Mac and cheese from a box (preferably this one), cheese added, eaten straight out of the pot (you know, less dishes to wash).

The time between 2 and 4 AM when I am not sleeping (dammit) and the house is incredibly, almost eerily quiet.

Getting all the lint off the lint sheet in the dryer, in one solid piece.

Burying my whole body under my down comforter, face included, then sticking my toes out.

Cooking alone and singing along to really shitty country or pop music while doing so.

Tight-fitting deep pocket sheets that I can pull super-duper tautly over our king size bed.

Looking through other folks’ baby and wedding registries online. Sorry…not sorry.

Watching crime shows late at night, trying to solve the crime before the show’s over.

Waking up, but pretending to still be asleep for another 15-50 minutes.

Eating cookies straight out of the oven, so they still have that almost-gooey soft, warm, center!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Snickerdoodle Cookies


Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Like two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

Cream together the butter, 3/4 cup of sugar, egg and vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Scoop the dough by rounded spoonfuls (about one heaping tablespoon) and use your hands to roll them into balls.

Mix the 1 tablespoon of sugar and the ground cinnamon. Gently roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard or dark brown in color. Remove immediately from baking sheets to a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy within 3 days for best flavor.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Snickerdoodle Cookies

Forbidden Rice Blog | Snickerdoodle Cookies

Blueberry Pie

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Pie

Awaiting Oregon berry season with eager anticipation is one of the highlights of these months for me. Embracing the vast bounty and variety of berries available here each summer can be chalked up to “enjoying life’s simple pleasures” in its finest sense. Strawberries can be found as early as May, then again in the later summer months (when they are full of even better flavor). Raspberries and blackberries start showing up in June, marionberries around July… but my all-time favorite, blueberries, are beginning to show up right now… and should easily stick around until late summer.

Last year I made one of my favorite jams ever with some local blueberries. While I look forward to making another batch or two (or three, or four), standing around a stove cooking piping hot jam, then jarring them up while Ashland temperatures have been lingering in 3-digit numbers, sounds less than ideal.

Of course my next move wasn’t the most intelligent either, given the outside temps, but I couldn’t resist the first blueberry pie of the season. It’s one of my favorites and not often a pie I find on restaurant menus. There’s a beautiful simplicity about a good blueberry pie. This recipe isn’t brain-surgery; it’s pretty simple, the crust is flaky and also simplistic. This pie will easily become a loved staple in your recipe repertoire if you let it! :)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie.


For the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar (plus a little more to sprinkle on the top)
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons cold butter
8-10 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:
6 cups fresh blueberries, picked through for stems
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
zest and juice from half a large lemon
1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Pie


Prepare the dough for the crust: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Cut in the cold butter (I like to use a standing box-type grater for this) until you have a shaggy looking mixture with pea-sized pieces of butter mixed in. Add the water to the mixture, then use a fork to bring to dough together. Add a bit more water (a tablespoon at a time) if necessary, although you want to dough to be shaggy and not outwardly wet.

Divide the dough into two equal portions and gently knead each portion into a flattened disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Pie

Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, salt, zest and lemon juice. Gently mix until all the berries are coated. Let the blueberries sit for about 10 minutes.

Prepare the pie: Remove one of the pie dough disks from the fridge. Roll the dough out into about a 13-inch round, on a lightly floured surface. Gently lift the 13-inch round and center it in a deep 9-inch round pie dish. Place the crust in your fridge while you roll out the top crust.

Roll out the top crust just as you did the bottom crust, creating a roughly 13-inch circle.

Remove the bottom crust from the fridge and fill with the blueberry mixture, evenly spreading the blueberries around. Carefully remove the top crust from your work surface, then drape over the filling. Use a small knife to trim the crust, leaving about 1-inch overhang. Press the top and bottom crusts together with your fingers, and fold under. Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges of the dough. Cut a few small slits in the top of the crust so the steam can vent.

Brush the pie lightly with beaten egg, then sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of granulated sugar. Place the pie in your fridge to chill while the oven preheats.

Bake the pie: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue baking for another 30 minutes, or until the top of the pie is nicely golden brown and crisp.

Allow the pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving. Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap, then refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Pie

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Pie

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Pie

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Pie

Easy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


Growing up, there was never a shortage of sweets in our house. Cookies–homemade or store bought– candy of multiple varieties, sugary cereals, soda I could help myself to, ice cream or popsicles (if not both) in the freezer. It’s a wonder to me why I don’t crave sweets very often these days. (Or why I don’t have diabetes or weigh much more than I do. ;) )

Yesterday was the first time in awhile where I actually craved anything super sugary. I woke up and all my body wanted was cinnamon rolls. Soft, pillowy, cream-cheese-glazed warm cinnamon rolls. It took every ounce of self-restraint not to walk into the kitchen and make some while drinking my coffee.

The time before that when I really, really had a nagging craving for something sweet, my brain immediately screamed “oatmeal cookies!” I am a long-time fan. My other favorite is a good, warm, slightly chewy chocolate chip cookie. Smash-banging the two together? Genius.


Easy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe very slightly modified from Half Baked Harvest.

Yields 14-16 cookies.

1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl add the oatmeal, flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, oil, egg and vanilla, stir together until the dough is moist and all the ingredients are combined. The dough will be very crumbly. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Use your hands to clump together a tablespoon of dough. Really squeeze the dough into a ball, using pressure from your hands as needed. If the mixture is not holding add 1 tablespoon more of oil. Place on prepared baking sheet. If your ball of dough is a little crumbly don’t worry, they’ll come together while baking. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until set and golden. Transfer to a cooling rackThese are best right out of the oven, so eat up!