Tasting Tuesdays: Coconut Raspberry Crumble

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Let’s make people smile today. Ready?

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Get yourself some raspberry preserves. Round up some coconut.

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Put them in pretty little jars for an extra added touch. No one but you will know your ingredients were in pretty little jars before they got baked up together, but it’ll make them taste better. Trust me.

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Stir together butter, flour, a smidge of sugar, a heap of super-shredded coconut and make yourself some shortbread. That’s right. I said stir. With a spoon. And some elbow grease. You don’t even need your Kitchenaid for this one.

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Bake it up, let it cool, spread more than an entire jar of sweet raspberry preserves and sprinkle with a generous helping of more coconut. Bake again and get that coconut all crisp and chewy on top.

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Then hand them out. Give them to your friends. Give them to your coworkers. Give them to folks on the street who look like they’re having a bummer day.

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Give them to the sweet ladies who work at Anthropologie. Give them to all the customers who walked in for a perfect chambray shirt who will then walk out with raspberry coconut crumble on their chins (and a hole in their wallet in the shape of said perfect chambray shirt–not that I’m talking from personal experience or anything).

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And watch those smiles come!

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Meanwhile, you’ll be smiling because the Anthropologie display is, um, the best one yet. Of course, I have a completely biased love of handwriting. This might also explain why I have fallen in love with the Donna Hay Seasons book, which this recipe is from–all the descriptions and comments are handwritten in pretty, looping script. Kim did such a great job emulating the design of the book in this month’s display!

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Okay, so admittedly this lost a bit of credibility for your life, dear reader, once I veered into Anthropologie territory–I mean, I can’t guarantee success if you walked into one of the stores with a panful of crumble and offered it up in the dressing room.

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But, like I said: Smiles? Yes. For sure. Definitely. Go break out the coconut.

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Blood Orange Curd

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You might think this is a Valentine’s Day post.

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After all, there’s a lot of pink happening here, and the scones are cut into heart shapes.

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But you’re WRONG! Wrong, I say. This is not a post about Valentine’s day, but it is a post about love… Love for Downton Abbey.

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Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you? (Well, maybe you were. Everybody in the world is in love with Downton Abbey. Don’t know what it is? I’m so sorry. It’s the best TV show ever. Go educate yourself immediately.)

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So why the scones? My coworkers are having a Downton Abbey-themed luncheon tomorrow. That’s right. We are gathering in the conference room over our lunch break and watching Downton Abbey while we eat a potluck English feast. (Pretty much the snazziest coworkers ever, I know.)

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Naturally I had to make scones. And obviously some sort of curd had to go along with them.

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I was envisioning lemon curd until I saw the blood oranges at the grocery store. That was it. I love blood oranges. I am not a fan of any other kind of oranges, but I will take sweet, juicy blood oranges any day.

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This blood orange curd is super-easy, sweet and just a little bit tart, and goes perfectly with my favorite scone recipe, which is subtle and creamy. Not to mention it is a beautiful pink color.

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I don’t really think the Crawleys would have been into blood orange curd. It’s a little exotic and I’m 99% sure not at all historically accurate. The Countess would surely have turned up her nose, although I bet Lady Sybil would have been on board. But I have a feeling these will be a hit at the luncheon tomorrow, historical accuracy be darned!

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Lemon Raspberry Cake + Cupcakes

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You guys! Let’s make a cake!

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I’ve been thinking about cakes for weeks now, ever since my mom sent me two coveted 6″ cake pans that I’ve been searching for for months! (It’s that darn Miette book–the recipes are made for 6″ pans and no larger.) I even got a guilt trip when I made lemon loafs last week instead of 6-inchers… so here you go, Mom. A cake! At last! A pretty little 6″ cake.

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Except… it’s not for you. (Sorry, Mom. If you were closer, I sure would love to make you a cake.) It’s for a friend who’s leaving Milwaukee for a little while. I’m not sure what kinds of cake flavors she likes, but I hope she likes lemons and raspberries, because that’s what this cake is: a fluffy white vanilla bean cake filled with raspberry preserves and covered with a bright sweet lemon frosting.

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Are you dying to get a closer look at the inside of the cake? Me too, but we can’t do it. Nope. It has to wait for the party.

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But happy day: This cake makes extra batter for cupcakes! Hurray! They are perfect for snacking on while you wait for the big cake to cool and chill.

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This cake is light and fluffy and very softly flavored. It’s not too sweet, it’s very simple, and it takes on just enough of the flavor that you pair it with.

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The frosting is tart and bright and sweet and if you are anything like me you will eat 5 spoonfuls of it over the course of your decorating and finish your evening on a sugar high.

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And of course we all know how well raspberry goes with lemons, don’t we? Look! Cupcake guts! (I’ve been wanting to type that all day.)

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In short, this cake and these cupcakes mean that all week I have had that “if I knew you were coming I’d’ve baked a cake” song stuck in my head. This makes no sense in terms of the circumstances of this particular cake (no one is coming to my house for the party, they are all expecting me at the party, and I actually did plan in advance to bake a cake). But it’s catchy. So let’s go with it. Go make yourself a cake already! Continue reading