Sticky Cinnamon Figs | Magnolia Days

Today’s post is by Stacy who has lived all over the world. My mind spins just to think of what it must be like to live in such exotic places. You can read all about it on Stacy’s About Me page. She is a southerner at heart and it is a big heart too. She is one who is willing to give help and support whenever it is needed. Together we created Bread Bakers and she leads Bundt Bakers too. Her blog is Food Lust People Love and it is filled with incredible recipes and stories from around the globe. I hope one day our paths will cross in real life. When that happens I am very sure we will have plenty of fun and laughs in the kitchen. I also hope she will bring some of her Apricot Habanero Jam with her too.

Figs are sweet all on their own but add a little butter, a little honey and a little heat and they turn even sweeter and syrupy, the perfect accompaniment to mascarpone and pistachios.

Sticky Cinnamon Figs | Magnolia Days

Serves six. Or two. Now, I want to say right up front that this recipe calls for six reasonably ripe sweet figs, because that’s what I could lay my hands on. And, frankly, there are only two of us left at home. You may find that two of you can eat three sticky figs each – never mind the mascarpone. Or that one fig with one scoop of mascarpone each is perfect for a dinner party of six. I’m not here to judge, people. What I am here to do is tell you that Renee is still on holiday in Germany and I am delighted to be filling in for her. If anyone deserves a break, it’s Renee! She is one of the hardest working bloggers I know, steadily publishing several posts a week with delicious recipes and gorgeous photos. I always feel like I should pour a cup of tea and settle in before reading her latest, because of the thought and care that goes into crafting each word and styling each shot.

Sticky Cinnamon Figs | Magnolia Days

A sticky figgy Southern thank you. I am sure that Renee is probably going to tell you a few things about me by way of introduction, but one thing she may not think to mention is that I grew up picking fresh figs from my grandparents’ trees in southern Louisiana – and eating my grandmother’s sticky preserves straight from the jar with a spoon – so figs are part of the pantheon of comfort foods for me.  It pleases me that Renee and I have southern roots and, I like to think charm, in common so I wanted to share a simple but elegant dish using my favorite figs. Thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post on your site, Renee. Your friendship over the last couple of years of food blogging has meant so much to me. Your generous sharing of your great expertise has helped guide me and your high standards are the benchmark for what I hope to achieve. But, most of all, your wicked sense of humor has made this whole blogging thing that much more fun!

Sticky Cinnamon Figs

15 minutes

Makes 6 servings

Sticky Cinnamon Figs

  • 6 ripe figs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • Good handful shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Unsweetened mascarpone for serving

Turn the broiler of your oven on. That’s the grill to our British readers.

Put the figs in an ovenproof pan and cut a deep cross in the top of each.

Push a wedge of butter into each cross.

Drizzle the figs with the honey and sprinkle on the cinnamon.

Add the pistachios to the pan.

Cook the figs under the broiler for about eight to 10 minutes or until the figs spread open and release some lovely pink juice to mix with the honey.

Serve warm, with a rich scoop of mascarpone, making sure to drizzle the sticky pink sauce over the mascarpone and add a few pistachios to each plate. Enjoy!

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Apple and Gorgonzola Biscuit Tarts | Magnolia Days

Today’s post is by my friend Anita. She is a truly sweet and generous person. She is also incredibly hard-working and I do not have a clue as to how she gets it all done. She has a full-time non-blogging job plus three websites. Two of those sites are food and beverage; Hungry Couple and A Cocktail Life. The other is YumGoggle, a popular food photo gallery and valuable resource for finding recipes by bloggers from all over the world. She also is my food twin if there is such a thing. I can’t tell you how many times we have featured the same type of recipe within days of each other and neither of us knowing it until we see each other’s posts. Check out her September Hungry Couple recipes to see a glimpse of the luscious and beautiful ones she shares.

Last month I made a wonderfully delicious Savory Tomato Cobbler lunch for a friend and the recipe included way more dough than I could use for the one dish. So I cut it in half and tucked it in the freezer because it was much too good not to do something with again. Buttery biscuits laced with sharp Gorgonzola cheese – I would have been happy to just bake them and eat them as is. Probably all at once, too.

Apple and Gorgonzola Biscuit Tarts | Magnolia Days

Now that apple season is in full swing, I’d been toying with the idea of using the rest of the dough in a sweet and savory apple tart. And so, when Renee asked me to guest post while she goes on vacation, I knew exactly what to make.

Apple and Gorgonzola Biscuit Tarts | Magnolia Days

I love sweet and savory together. The biscuits are savory and have the sharp cheese taste. I chose a soft, sweet eating apple and sweetened it with a bit of maple syrup. Just a touch of fresh thyme completed the perfect marriage of tastes and now I had one biscuit recipe and two different lunches. Enjoy!

Apple and Gorgonzola Biscuit Tarts

1 hour, 15 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Apple and Gorgonzola Biscuit Tarts

    For the Biscuits:
  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/4 Cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 6 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and small diced
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 Teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

To make the biscuits, add the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add the crumbled cheese and then make a well in the center, add the buttermilk and slowly incorporate it into the dough. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

When the dough is ready, roll it out to about a 1/4" thickness (thinner than you would for a biscuit) and cut out 4 equal circles. You can bake these in any individual sized pan (I used a small tart pan). Drape each dough circle over your pans.

Make the filling by adding the apples, maple syrup, lemon juice, thyme, flour and salt to a bowl and mixing until combined. Place equal amounts of apple filling into each of your four pans and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Serve over salad for a great lunch.

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Chocolate Almond Twist Bread | Magnolia Days

It is nice to take a break every now and then. To escape for a vacation is down-right necessary as far as I’m concerned. It has been a while since I’ve been away on a trip purely for fun. My mother and I are headed to Germany for a special birthday celebration. Earlier this year she turned 80 and I’ll turn 50 next month. We will be visiting family and friends plus eating and drinking everything in sight. I called upon some wonderful friends to help me out while I’m away. The next couple of weeks the posts here will be by those generous and talented fellow bloggers.

Today’s post is by Susan of The Girl In the Little Red Kitchen. She is kind, positive, brilliant and one of those people you know you can depend on. She recently took the plunge and made her dreams come true with starting her own online bakery. It is where you can get the tastiest cookies that are fresh baked and delivered to your door. I was one of the lucky ones to be a taste tester and I can tell you they are incredible. So be sure to order some cookies after you read about this Chocolate Almond Twist Bread. Susan has such great recipes on her blog and I can’t tell you how many I’ve saved to make after seeing them. One I know I’d love to start my day with is Avocado Tomato and Feta Toast with Poached Eggs.

Hello Magnolia Days readers! I’m so thrilled to be here today while Renee flies off to Germany for the rest of this month. If you aren’t familiar with me, I’m Susan from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen and I’m pretty sure I’ve known Renee for practically the entire time I’ve been blogging. Over at my site I’ve got a nice mix of healthy seasonal recipes, craft cocktails and decadent desserts, all made from scratch and never with processed ingredients. I also happen to run an online Bake Shop, baking up small-batch cookies delivered right to your door. Enough about me though, I’m really here to tell you a story about my 24 hour visit to Germany and how experimenting in your kitchen can lead to surprisingly delicious results.

Chocolate Almond Twist Bread | Magnolia Days

Why such a quick trip to Germany? Back in 2012 my Aunt and Uncle were living in Luxembourg City and my husband and I decided to take advantage of a free place to stay (plus visiting them of course!) and flew on over for a week of site seeing and eating our way through a new country. A few days during the trip were unplanned so we decided to take the quick train to Cologne for an overnight stay.

Chocolate Almond Twist Bread | Magnolia Days

As soon as we arrived I knew this city was for me, pastry lined windows were on site all over the city square and the random lunch spot turned out to be one of Cologne’s most well-known pubs for their pork specialties. Plus they have a museum just for chocolate. After the pork and the chocolate, it was finally to get down to real business and dig in with the German pastries. We purchased a bunch for the train ride back to Luxembourg – while most are a blur in my mind, one still stands out – the Nougat Breztal. Instead of a traditional bready German pretzel, this one had layers of flaky pastry, chocolate, sugar and almonds covering it. I’m not sure why it’s called nougat but I knew I had to recreate it for myself.

Chocolate Almond Twist Bread | Magnolia Days

I searched and searched but I couldn’t find a recipe online, just that it was similar to a danish dough, so I off I went looking for a danish dough recipe to make at home. Silly me didn’t realize I was going to have to essentially make puff pastry. Thanks but no thanks, I don’t have time for that. So I began the process of cheater danish, my mistake was kneading the dough in my mixer. Gone were the studs of butter but what came out was an easier version of brioche. I did say some mistakes can turn into delicious ones! I didn’t end up with the pretzels I wanted but I’ll take this chocolate almond twist bread instead.

Chocolate Almond Twist Bread

5 hours

Makes 12 to 16 servings

Chocolate Almond Twist Bread

    For the dough:
  • 2 3/4 cups + 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for your workspace
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 egg
  • For the filling:
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (60-70% cacao)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • For the topping:
  • 1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten for egg wash
  • Slivered blanched almonds
  • Powdered sugar to top

In a large bowl combined the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.

Using a pastry cutter, quickly work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal. You want some pieces of butter to still be in large chunks, others to be the size of pebbles.

Transfer to your stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment and add the vanilla, milk, water and egg. Mix until the dough starts to come together and form a sticky mass. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, continue to knead and stop when it just starts to pull away from the sides. The dough will never fully form into a ball in your stand mixer.

Scoop the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead until it is no longer sticky and you can form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Flour your work surface again and roll the dough out into a 10 inch rectangle, it’s okay if it isn't perfect. Fold the dough into thirds, turn and fold again into thirds so that it’s a nice package. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill. Remove to roll out and repeat the folding steps again. Wrap up to chill for 2 hours or overnight.

Before shaping the bread, in a small bowl mix together the chopped chocolate, cinnamon, sugar and salt and set aside.

Take the dough out of the fridge and cut the dough in thirds, placing the part you are not working with back in the fridge to stay cool. At this point you can shape the dough as you like, you can make rolls, long twists or pretzel shapes. If you are going to make a roll remove a small piece roll it in a floured hand, make an indent and fill it with some of the chocolate mixture then seal up. If you want to make twists or pretzel shapes roll out into a 6-8 inch long, press flat, fill with chocolate, twist around it so not too much falls out and flip to twist in a pretzel or leave as is. You can also tie the twist in a knot. Once you have determined you shape transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet to proof for 1 hour. Also proceed with all remaining dough.

Let the dough proof in a warm but not drafty spot, covered with plastic wrap for one hour or until doubled in size.

Once it’s finished rising, heat your oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the bread with egg wash and then generously top with the slivered almonds. Gently brush the top of the almonds with the remaining egg wash.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Let cool before serving with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Store any remaining bread in an airtight container.

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Dough adapted very slightly from King Arthur Flour Danish Pastry recipe.


Grape Focaccia for #BreadBakers

by Renee on October 14, 2014

Grape Focaccia | Magnolia Days

What would the world be like without grapes? To start with we would be missing a tasty and healthy natural snack. We would also be missing one of the finest beverages of all – wine. It is no secret I do my part in contributing to the economy via the wine industry. A glass of wine a day keeps me happy and thank goodness it has health benefits too. Occasionally I buy grapes for snacking or to put in salads. I haven’t baked with them until now. Grape Focaccia is my first bread with them and I know it will not be the last.

Grapes get sweeter when they bake. The flavor is more concentrated too. I was curious to see how they would taste after I put the focaccia in the oven. A couple of them rolled off as the bread was rising. I’m glad I thought ahead and put a big sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any drips or spills. Anyway, I had to taste a baked grape so I picked one off after it cooled a little. It was like eating jelly only that it still had grape texture. I’m really thinking about roasting or baking grapes by themselves because I enjoyed it so much.

Grape Focaccia | Magnolia Days

Grape Focaccia is not difficult to make. It is a from-scratch, homemade yeast bread. The hard part, kneading, is done by a mixer. You do not have to roll out or shape the dough. All you have to do is use your fingers to spread it out in the pan after the first rise. It’s fun to create those classic indentions on the top by pressing into the dough with your fingertips. Poke away and make those wells for olive oil to soak in the bread. Oh, and use the best extra-virgin olive oil you can find. It is such a big part of focaccia and you should not skimp out on flavor by using extra-light or mediocre oil.

Grape Focaccia 4

How is the focaccia? It is taller/thicker than most I’ve seen. That could vary depending on the size jelly roll pan you use. It has a soft texture on the inside and crispy edges. Fresh rosemary and thyme flavors are throughout with heavenly sweet grapes on top. I used black seedless grapes because of it being October and thinking of Halloween coming soon. Red or green ones, or a mixture of them, works too.

Grape Focaccia | Magnolia Days

Have you baked with grapes before? Whether you have or not, you may be inspired to do so after you check out the below list of recipes by Bread Bakers. Our host this month, Stacy of Food Lust People Love, chose grapes as the theme and I’m so glad she did. Oh, and for a non-bread recipe with grapes take a look at my Chicken Salad on Endive.

Grape Focaccia

3 hours, 30 minutes

Makes 12 to 16 servings

Grape Focaccia

  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound seedless grapes, cut in half lengthwise

Use shortening or olive oil to well grease a large bowl.

Heat water to 100 to 110 degrees F. Stir together warm water, yeast, and honey in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Add flour, salt, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix on low speed using the flat beater until combined (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Change beater to dough hook.

Add thyme and rosemary and knead with dough hook for 5 minutes at the speed recommended by your mixer's manufacturer for using the dough hook (usually medium-low to medium speed). Dough may be sticky.

Place dough in the greased bowl, turning to coat dough surface. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.

Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil in a jelly roll pan. Use your fingers to press down and into the edges of the pan. Use the tips of your fingers to make indentions in the dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place for 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F while dough is on the second rise.

Scatter grapes over dough and drizzle remaining 1/4 olive oil on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Recipe adapted from one in Southern Living Magazine September 2014 issue.

What is Bread Bakers? It’s a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Bread Bakers Pinterest Board. Links are also updated after each event on the Bread Bakers home page.

Bread Bakers

How is the monthly theme determined? We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Would you like to join in the fun? If you are a food blogger, send an email with your blog name and url to Stacy at


Slow-Cooker Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding) for #SundaySupper

October 12, 2014
Slow-Cooker Kheer - Indian Rice Pudding | Magnolia Days

How do you know when something will be good? It could be because it is made at a restaurant where you are never disappointed with the food. It could also be when you look at a recipe and the ingredient list alone strikes your fancy. Or a friend shares one and you trust their judgment. […]

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Pear Butter Sparklers

October 9, 2014
Pear Butter Sparklers | Magnolia Days

Autumn is starting to show its colors here in the South. I look outside and see the leaves on my dogwood tree change from green to muted red. Further in the distance are specks of yellow throughout the woods behind my house. Each day brings a new layer of leaves on the ground. A cool […]

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Devil’s Wing Sauce

October 8, 2014
Devil's Wing Sauce | Magnolia Days

What comes to mind when you think of Halloween? It is the food for me. Honestly, I could forgo a costume easily. Then again, so many of them allow the use of stretchy pants it seems appropriate for the evening. I’ll gladly put on sweats, belly up to the table, and chow down on all […]

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Idaho Potato Harvest Tour 2014 #IdahoHarvest

October 7, 2014
Heart Shaped Potato | Magnolia Days

That is a potato field in Idaho. It is right before the annual harvest when about 13 billion pounds of potatoes are dug up from the ground to be enjoyed by millions of people. There are 300,000 acres of these fields so you can imagine harvest is a very busy time of year. I had […]

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Spicy Smashed Fingerling Potatoes for #SundaySupper

October 5, 2014
Spicy Smashed Fingerling Potatoes | Magnolia Days

Cooking is a process. Simmering, roasting, freezing, blanching, baking, and frying are just some of the way food is prepared for consumption. The blending of ingredients through these processes combines flavors and textures to give a taste experience different from the individual components. As with many things in the modern world, some of those processes […]

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Honey Ginger Pear Butter

October 2, 2014
Honey Ginger Pear Butter | Magnolia Days

September is usually when we go on vacation. The weather is generally pleasant and places are not as crowded as during summer. For many years we would go to Orlando and enjoyed visiting the theme parks without waiting in long lines. Then we started going to California wine country. Being there during or close to […]

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