Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake

delicious pumpkin pecan streusel coffeecake | jessicagavin.com #fallrecipe

Dare I say, fall is finally making it’s appearance in Southern California? During our walk back from our favorite local breakfast spot this past weekend with my husband Jason and baby James, I finally noticed some indicators of autumn. Leaves are beginning to turn brown on the trees and just barely starting to cover the ground. Some of my neighbors have started to put up some spooky Halloween decorations, and of course pumpkins in their front yards. As we almost reached home and I finished sipping the last addictive ounces of my chai latte, I got a sudden urge to bake…. 

Read More »

Halloween Graveyard Brownie Cupcakes

Halloween Graveyard Brownie Cupcakes | jessicagavin.com #halloween #cupcakes

“Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat…”, do you remember that song? I used to joyously sing that song with my cousins, knowing very well how naughty it was, whoever wrote it must be a gazillionaire! Halloween has got to be one of my favorite fall festivities. It’s one of the rare nights sugar crazy kids get to stay up all night, dress like what they secretly want to be in real life, collect pillowcases full of free candy from strangers and your parents don’t say no. I admittedly had a secret stash of candy hidden in my closet that I was sneaking each day until Santa came to town. Now being a mom, I’m having fun dressing up baby James in adorable costumes until he can chose his own someday. This year I found the most legit baby Batman onesie with a detachable cape and everything, score!… 

Read More »

Pumpkin Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Stack of Pumpkin Cream Cookie Sandwiches | jessicagavin.com #cookies #recipe

Dunk…wait for it…nom nom nom! Oh boy do I love Oreo cookies with an ice cold glass of milk so I can dip each bite, so yummy! I don’t know how it started but I remember playing a game of who would get the cream filled center with my friends, anxiously holding one side of the cookie, pulling the sandwich apart like it was some magical wish bone. The crumbly chocolate wafer cookies are filled with just the right amount of vanilla cream and is one of my favorite childhood favorite treats, darn you Nabisco! Now these cookies are my adult guilty pleasure, and no better time to indulge than during the holiday season…. 

Read More »

Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Scones

Amazing pumpkin pecan scones with maple glaze | jessicagavin.com

Fall is finally here! This marks the beginning of my baking extravaganza. The first fall sightings were the giant bags of miniature Halloween candies exploding from the aisles in the grocery store. I also can’t forget those adorable mini pumpkins and sticky caramel apples. I try not to go to the market hungry because there are too many temptations right now. But boy, was I craving something pumpkin flavored, so I purchased my first can of Libby’s pumpkin puree. I couldn’t wait to think of a sweet treat to bake! So I decided to go all out and pack these buttery little pastries with my fall flavor arsenal, creating chocolate pumpkin pecan scones with maple glaze, boom!… 

Read More »

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

cooking macaroni pasta | jessicagavin.com #food

Did I ever tell you that I studied cheese for 2 years during my master’s degree? Yep! I researched the flavors of different cheese and how to make them healthier for you. I got a degree in Dairy Science, and I loved it! So when I think about classic macaroni and cheese recipes, I get super excited because my fondness for this nostalgic comfort food goes beyond just pure enjoyment.

My love for macaroni and cheese began like most American kids born in the 80’s, with the classic blue box of Kraft mac n’ cheese that contained 2 essential ingredients: elbow noodles and packet of cheese powder that never completely dissolved. This was probably my first exposure to food science and I didn’t even know it! I used to add a slices of Kraft American cheese singles, you know, the ones you unwrap because I wanted my macaroni even more cheesy, and we didn’t buy the Velveta kind at the time.

I still to this day enjoy that blue box of mac n’ cheese, and always will. Although I wanted to try my own homemade version so I could switch up the cheese varieties because there are so many delicious types of cheeses and toppings out there. For this recipe though, I just want to create a classic macaroni and cheese recipe, because once you nail the béchamel cream sauce base, the possibilities really are endless!… 

Read More »

Mini Nectarine Almond Frangipane Tart

nectarine almond frangipane tart | jessicagavin.com #sweets

The best thing about dessert is when you don’t have to share! I know, that may sound a little greedy, but sometimes you just want your very own pie. With that in mind, I thought that making individually portioned mini nectarine almond frangipane tarts would be a great way to indulge without going over board. It’s nice not having to give others a nibble of the good stuff, since everyone will have their very own tart…. 

Read More »

Rustic Peach and Berry Crostata

yummy peach and berry crostata | jessicagavin.com

Do you love crust? I love it! Who knew that combining butter and flour could be so magical, giving you tender pieces of pastry that melts in your mouth with each bite of fruit filling. Being that it’s still summer why not celebrate the last few days by using ripe stone fruit and berries in a delicious dessert?  My local market has super sweet yellow and white peaches and plump blueberries and blackberries available, so I thought that the combination of sweet and tangy fruit would be perfect for a crostata.

I originally found this recipe in Hedy Goldsmith’s incredible dessert cookbook, Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors. Chef Goldsmith is the executive pastry chef at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink in Miami Florida, where she creates whimsical and fun nostalgic desserts. I was lucky enough to meet her during her book release a few years back and I was so excited to try her recipes and now was the right time! I had brought this rustic peach and berry crostata to our friends fourth of July celebration, and it was a big hit!… 

Read More »

Fig and Prosciutto Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

fig and prosciutto pizza | jessicagavin.com

When I think of figs, I find it funny to imagine the times of Greek gods and goddesses spending the afternoon eating these delicate and luxurious fruit gems. These perfect ripe figs are like eating concentrated honey bites and are perfect for pairing with salty and savory ingredients like prosciutto and cheese. Of course honey and figs go together like milk and cookies. It’s exciting to see when figs pop up in the grocery store or at farmer’s markets, it’s like a a special treat because it’s not something you have everyday.

I was recently dining with some of my favorite coworkers at a nearby pizzeria called Fuoco in Fullerton, CA and they had a special pie on the menu featuring you guessed it, figs! For some reason all of our eyes lit up around the table and we all ordered a whole fig pizza to ourselves! Greedy you say? No way, just indulgent and who doesn’t like a leftover pizza the next day? I hadn’t noticed figs in the market yet, so that got me thinking and inspired me to make my own version of fig pizza at home, if I could find some figs at my local market. And guess what, success! Whole Foods had the figs in cute little green baskets, ready for the taking. I hope you enjoy this recipe for fig and prosciutto pizza with sweet honey balsamic glaze, it’s a little bite of heaven if you ask me…. 

Read More »

Bora Bora Coconut Custard Pie

delicious coconut custard pie recipe | jessicagavin.com Have you ever traveled to a destination and basically ate your way through the trip? When Jason and I traveled to Bora Bora this coconut custard pie recipe was our slice of heaven. We first had this irresistible dessert on our honeymoon to French Polynesia three years ago and we realized that it was a staple item on pretty much every menu around the island. Each restaurant had their own version, however we always found that the pie was served warm with a cool and creamy scoop of ice cream.

After out third visit to Bora Bora for our babymoon, I thought that I should try to recreate the flavors of French Polynesia by surprising Jason with this coconut custard pie recipe. And guess what, he said I nailed it! We actually ate a slice each night for dessert for almost a week until our craving was gone, haha!… 

Read More »

Skillet Cornbread with Blueberries

Skillet Cornbread with Blueberries | jessicagavin.com The best way to combine two of the tastiest summer ingredients, corn and blueberries, is into a baked treat! I am a sucker for freshly baked cornbread, so I decided to add some super ripe and sweet blueberries into the batter. To take it to the next level, I baked the cornbread in a steaming hot cast iron skillet with sizzling hot butter on the bottom to prevent sticking.

There is something so comforting and rustic about baking bread in a skillet versus glass pan or metal muffin tin. Don’t forget about those crunchy golden brown edges you get from preheating the cast iron pan in the oven before you add in the batter, yum! This cast iron skillet cornbread with blueberries recipe is guaranteed to be a hit with family and friends!… 

Read More »

Luscious Raspberry Lemon Bars

amazing raspberry lemon bar recipe | jessicagavin.com

When given the choice of a decadent chocolate dessert versus a light refreshing lemon indulgence, I’m much more of a chocolate lover. I actually used to hate lemon flavored desserts! That’s until I finally made a tray of fresh raspberry lemon bars at home. My first encounter with lemon bars was when I was working at a European bakery in high school, getting the chance to be exposed to lots of different citrus infused treats.

Lemon bars were a staple at Boniere Bakery in Alameda, CA. Baked fresh each week, I used to be in charge of cutting the crisp and gooey bars into perfect squares then dusting them with generous mountains of powdered sugar. I would sneak bites of the browned corners that I cut off, licking off the sticky evidence from my fingers. I think that’s when I started to appreciate the citrus pucker effect of the lemon juice balanced with the sweetness of the sugar in those gooey lemon bars…. 

Read More »

Delicious Braided Challah Bread

braided challah bread loaf

Have you ever visited a bakery and seen those long beautiful braided breads and wondered, what are those lovely golden brown loaves? I used to work at a European bakery called Boniere in high school and the pastry chef used to bake these aromatic challah loaves each morning and place them on the bread rack in the front of the store for display. These rich milk, butter and egg based breads were especially popular with customers during the spring time for Easter and the winter for Hanukkah. These yeast-leavened breads are tender with a hint of sweetness and are simple to make!… 

Read More »

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread

whole wheat banana nut bread | jessicagavin.com

At almost six months into my pregnancy journey, my baby bump is finally showing and I’m getting lots of fun questions from curious family and friends about how the experience has been going. So far, very smooth! One of the questions that I get all the time is “What kinds of food are you craving?” Well, lately my cravings have been anything sweet with bananas in it (bread, muffins, pancakes, the list goes on)! Due to this ongoing craving, I decided I needed to find a healthier alternative to my banana based sweet tooth.  I decided to create a whole wheat banana nut bread recipe to help satisfy my cravings without burdoning my ever growing tummy!… 

Read More »

Italian Easter Bread

delicious italian easter bread | jessicagavin.com

This year for Easter I decided to make Italian Easter Bread, a traditional recipe that Jason’s grandma Rose used to make each year. I honestly had never heard of this Italian treat before, but I was definitely curious! After some researching and talking with Jason’s parents for a description, I came across The Italian Dish blog which had a beautiful recipe. The bread looked so delicious, I knew I had to try it out! This Italian Easter bread recipe has a tender and slightly sweet dough with a hard-boiled egg in the center and festive colorful sprinkles. The perfect recipe to help celebrate Easter this year!… 

Read More »

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms

chicken marsala with mushrooms recipe | jessicagavin.com

You can find chicken Marsala with mushrooms on most Italian restaurant menus and for good reason, it’s simple to make and delicious. I typically order handmade ravioli when I’m having Italian food, however I recently wanted to try something new. I was pleasantly surprised to see how quick and easy it is to make this timeless chicken Marsala dish. Not to mention, the sweet and savory Marsala mushroom sauce is simply addicting!… 

Read More »

Delicious Fried Banana Fritters

making fried banana fritters

I have been craving beignets, the French “fritters” that are diamond shaped raised doughnuts. Hot, crispy and loaded with powdered sugar beignets are a must have treat if you ever visit New Orleans! Beignets are slightly time intensive to make from scratch. To get my quick fix I made delicious banana fritters which have a similar batter texture to beignets. Golden brown, tender and indulgent, these are the perfect quick and easy doughnuts to make without having to book a ticket to Louisiana!… 

Read More »

Chicken Andouille Sausage Gumbo

chicken andouille sausage gumbo pot

New Orleans is a melting pot for extravagant culture, exuberant energy, live music and it’s incredible food! I traveled there a few years back for work and I didn’t know it at the time but when I had my first taste of delicious gumbo, I was hooked! It immediately became my favorite dish from Louisiana. While I was there I had to try the various types of gumbo from each restaurant in The Big Easy!… 

Read More »

Guinness Corned Beef Stew

Guinness Corned Beef Stew

I can’t believe St. Patrick’s Day is almost here again. Last year I made baked honey mustard corned beef but this year, I asked Jason how he wanted to celebrate his Irish heritage and he suggested a corned beef stew. I always wanted to try a recipe with beer, so I thought this would be the perfect way to make traditional boiled corned beef more interesting! This Guinness corned beef stew has layers of flavor while the meat and vegetables are incredibly tender. There is a nice richness to the stew liquid. You don’t have to worry about dry, stringy and tasteless corned beef with this recipe!… 

Read More »

Irish Cheddar and Bacon Soda Bread

irish cheddar and bacon soda bread Maybe its just me but it kinda seems like Irish soda bread has gotten a bad rap lately. People tend to assume that it can be hard, dry and sort of boring. Regardless, if properly cooked it can be the perfect edible “spoon” to enjoy with classic St. Patrick’s Day dishes, such as corned beef and cabbage or delicious stews. I have made traditional loaves and sweet soda breads in the past, however this year I wanted to try something more savory. This Irish cheddar and bacon soda bread is my favorite rendition so far! I even received a stamp of approval from my half Irish husband Jason. It probably doesn’t hurt that I incorporated his favorite ingredient, bacon!… 

Read More »

Lemonade Sugar Cookies

lemonade sugar cookies on a tray

This is a refreshing lemonade sugar cookies recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard. Bright, tangy and sweet, these lemonade sugar cookies are a nice way to brighten anyone’s day. These cookies are perfectly balanced with sweet lemonade icing and a buttery tender sugar cookie…. 

Read More »

Conversation Heart Cookies

tray of sweetheart cookies and candys

Are you looking for the perfect rolled sugar cookie recipe to make Valentine’s Day treats? With all of the recipes I have tried, America’s Test Kitchen recipe is by far the best! The dough is very easy to roll and handle. The recipe doesn’t even need extra flour because the dough is not very sticky. With love in the air, you can make these iced conversation heart cookies while adding your own personalized messages to friends, family, and those extra special loved ones in your life…. 

Read More »

Chinese Potstickers

3 servings of potstickers

What was your favorite childhood food and do you still crave it? Well, I used to love eating handfuls of delicious Chinese potstickers! Growing up eating Chinese food at least four times a week, especially dim sum, it really set the tone for my taste buds. There is something about these handmade moon shaped dumplings, filled with savory pork and scallion filling, then dipped in salty and tangy soy and vinegar sauce that made for one of my ultimate comfort foods growing up. I’m excited to share with you my favorite homemade Chinese potstickers recipe, perfect for Chinese New Year!… 

Read More »

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

buttermilk fried chicken stack on waffles

I’ve never been a person to say no to fried chicken, it’s my culinary kryptonite. I just can’t get enough of the salty, crispy coating, and biting into the tender and juicy chicken meat. My childhood diet often times consisted of orders of McDonald’s chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce (which I still love), red and white striped buckets of KFC fried chicken (I prefer original recipe), and little fried drumettes from Oakland Chinatown which had the tastiest scallion batter. Fried chicken has certainly evolved with many chef’s adding their own blend of spices and coatings, sandwiching them between waffles and served at the swankiest and hippest restaurants…. 

Read More »

Spooky Spider Web Halloween Cupcakes

spider web halloween cupcakes

Are you looking for a scary and delicious treat for the hungry ghouls and goblins haunting you on Halloween? Nothing is more devilish and decadent than these spooky spider web halloween cupcakes. The richest chocolate cupcakes topped with sinful dark chocolate infused with cinnamon and chili spices to give a surprising spicy kick!…. 

Read More »

Pumpkin Hand Pies with Pecan Streusel

Cooking rack of pumpkin pies

Some people can look at the leafs outside and say fall has arrived, well in Southern California we go to the grocery store to notice the seasons changing. You know what I’m talking about, in late September the grocery chains start to bombard you with pumpkins, scary ghosts and lots of Halloween candy! Pumpkin is the essential ingredient of autumn, so its no surprise that you can find pumpkin everything… pop tarts, cheesecake, oatmeal, flavored beer and lattes luring you into the holiday spirit!… 

Read More »

Citrus Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

Citrus Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

There is nothing better than waking up on the weekend to the smell of sweet pancakes sizzling on the griddle. My fondest memories as a child was tip toeing down the stairs in the morning, still sleepy eyed, and waking up immediately when I saw my mom cooking an irresistible breakfast for me and my family…. 

Read More »

Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Ricotta

Fresh summer squash blossoms

The summer season yields not only delicious summer squash, but mother nature produces wonderful bright orange edible blossoms. You can typically find these eye catching blossoms at your local farmers market, I purchased mine at a recent visit to Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market…. 

Read More »

Apricot Spritz Cookie

apricot spritz cookie

My fondest memory of spritz cookies was when I working at an exquisite European Bakery called Boniere in my home town of Alameda, CA during high school. The pastry chef would fill the cookies with homemade raspberry and apricot jam, and lightly dust each cookie with powdered sugar. These cookies were so tender and contained the perfect amount of sweetness which would melt in your mouth. I just had to recreate these apricot spritz cookies at home!… 

Read More »

Irish Soda Bread with Cherries

Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread is a quick and easy recipe because you don’t have to wait hours for yeast to leaven the dough. The baking powder and eggs do all of the work to help make the dough to rise providing instant gratification with minimal time. This year for Saint Patrick’s Day, I decided to add a sweet twist to the traditional Irish soda bread recipe…. 

Read More »

Irish Coffee Profiteroles with Chocolate Whiskey Sauce

Irish coffee profiteroles with chocolate whiskey sauce

With Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations coming up soon, I decided to take a classic profiterole recipe and add some Irish (alcohol) ingredients to make ordinary cream puffs a little more interesting and festive. I would test the limits of Irish cream with whiskey! You’ll get in the spirit (no pun intended) with my Irish coffee profiteroles with chocolate whiskey sauce recipe. Now before you continue any further, please remember to eat these tasty desserts responsibly. Enjoy!… 

Read More »

Chinese Steamed Custard Bun Recipe

Chinese steamed custard bun recipe | jessicagavin.com

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, my family and I would have dim sum at least once a week at our favorite Chinatown tea house. It was so exciting seeing the servers push shiny silver steam carts filled with goodies around to each table. The dim sum carts were filled with different types of a la carte items like several varieties of steamed dumplings, rice noodles with seafood or meat, chicken feet, sticky rice and sweets…. 

Read More »

Steamed Pork Bun Recipe

Steamed Pork Bun Recipe | jessicagavin.com

Chinese new year is just around the corner! This year on February 10 we celebrate the year of the snake, the sixth animal in the Chinese zodiac. The snake is known for being keen, cunning, intelligent and wise. The Chinese lunar calendar is based on a 12 year cycle  represented by different animals (except the majestic dragon) and their characteristic attributes. To celebrate the new year I thought it would be fun and festive to make a classic steamed pork bun recipe, also called char siu bao…. 

Read More »

Persimmon Cookie Recipe

Persimmon Cookie Recipe

As the holiday season comes to an end, it doesn’t mean that the flavors of the winter have to! My sweet friend Amy brought me some gorgeous Fuyu persimmons from her grandparents tree. Amy told me that they were the perfect ripeness for baking, so I was excited to try a persimmon cookie recipe to highlight the honey like flavor from these delicious fruits…. 

Read More »

Ginger Crumble and Stone Fruit Pie

ginger crumble and stone fruit pie

The warm summer weather in Southern California has extended into fall, which means you can still purchase summer fruit at the market! In the last attempt to enjoy the flavors of summer in a sweet pie, I grabbed my favorite stone fruit; peaches, nectarines and plums.  I topped the pie with my favorite ginger pecan and almond crumble, and at last, the endless summer ginger crumble and stone fruit pie was created…. 

Read More »

Dulce de Leche Apple Pie

Dulce de Leche Apple Pie

There’s something about delicious pie crust, combined with warm apples, then mixed with a sweet dulce de leche sauce that I’ve wanted to create for a long time. With my husband Jason out of town for the weekend, I had some free time to turn the kitchen up side down and experiment with making a dulce de leche apple pie from scratch!… 

Read More »