Autumnal Brown Butter Butternut Squash Loaf Recipe

You guys, today is my wedding anniversary and I woke up to the most delectable baked treat from my hobby baker husband. I’m a big fan of pumpkin loaf and bread, but honestly this is the best squash variety of loaf I’ve ever had. Any loaf for that matter. He’d been playing around with the idea for this recipe for awhile and I think he nailed it. It’s perfectly dense and moist with a nice crust and the right amount of sweetness. So naturally I will share it with you and take all of the credit.

But without further ado here’s the recipe.

Brown Butter Butternut Squash Loaf (No I didn’t stutter)

Butternut Squash Brown Butter Loaf Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 medium sized butternut squash, oven roasted, peeled (should yield about 2 cups)
2 sticks of butter, plus more for greasing pan

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

In a different bowl beat the eggs with the butternut squash. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.

In a small sauce pan, brown the butter and stir it into the mixture until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 70 to 80 minutes and cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before removing from pan.

Brown Butter Butternut Squash Loaf Recipe

Enjoy!

Devil’s Booze Cake Recipe

If you’re in the mood for something super rich, chocolate-y, and boozy for your Halloween shindig, I’ve got the perfect cake for you. It’s a chocolate cake soaked in coffee flavored vodka, with gooey dulce de leche in between the layers and on top, and finished with black sea salt. It basically tastes like a boozy candy bar. In the words of Ina Garten, “How bad could that be?”. It’s perfect for Halloween! Or for when you’re generally feeling dark and want to eat your feelings, have PMS, etc. This cake has no limits, but it really is most perfect for Halloween.

Let’s bake.
Devil's Booze Cake Recipe via Melodrama
This recipe was adapted from Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coffee or espresso flavored vodka
Black Hawaiian Sea Salt for finishing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and dust the pans with cocoa powder. (I like to flour chocolate cake pans with cocoa powder. I think this gives it a nicer finish.)

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make your dulce de leche. Place two cans of sweetened condensed milk to a pot of simmering water. Make sure the cans are completely submerged in water or they will explode. Simmer for 3-4 hours. Remove from water and let cool to the touch. Be cautious of opening cans. If they are still too hot they may splatter.

Once cakes are cooled, use a tooth pick to poke small holes around the layer. Brush the coffee flavored vodka onto each layer (about 1/2 cup each layer). Let the cake soak up the vodka.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. Pour a good amount of dulce de leche on and spread around. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and pour remaining dulce de leche on top and let it run down the sides.

Devil's Booze Cake Recipe via Melodrama

Top with a sprinkle of black sea salt. SO. GOOD.

Devil's Booze Cake Recipe via Melodrama

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Now that summer is over it’s time to start the glorious task of baking with autumn and winter fruits. Sure, pumpkin and cranberry are popular seasonal favorites, like the king and queen of the holiday season prom, but what about our old friend the tangerine? If you’re craving something other than pumpkin pies and cranberry bars, I’ve got a citrusy treat for you.
Tangerine Olive Oil Cake Recipe via Melodrama
Tangerine Olive Oil Cake.

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake Recipe via Melodrama
This aromatic olive oil cake has a nice crisp crust with an ultra-rich spongey middle, and just enough tangerine flavor. It’s perfect to eat with tea or coffee for breakfast or with ice cream for dessert. Try a drizzle of orange blossom honey on for a special treat. It’s so easy to make, you’ll find it hard to resist whipping one up whenever you get the chance.

This recipe was adapted from Maialino Restaurant’s olive oil cake recipe.

For a 9 inch round (2 inch deep) cake pan you’ll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups tangerine olive oil (I like Pasolivo)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated tangerine zest
1/2 cup tangerine juice

Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Oil and line bottom of pan with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder together. In separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, tangerine zest and juice. Add the dry ingredients to the wet; whisk until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake pan to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife along the edges and remove cake from pan and let continue to cool.

Enjoy!

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake Recipe via Melodrama

3 Boozy Low-Calorie Zevia® Granita Cocktail Recipes

As you’ve probably guessed by looking at my gallery of recipes, we cook and bake a lot at Casa Melo. And because of that sometimes my pants don’t fit. We’ve been having a lot of fun in the “test kitchen” lately, so it’s about that time of the year where I take a little break from sugar. One of the hardest things for me to give up is fizzy drinks and cocktails, but now I figured out a way so I don’t have to.

I’ve partnered with Zevia® to bring you 3 low calorie and delicious granita cocktails made with their new colorless, non-GMO, naturally sweetened sodas. They’re basically snow cone cocktails!

Making a granita is easy, but you need to be prepared to walk back and forth to the freezer every 20 minutes for a couple of hours.

First you need a flat-bottomed dish, like a Pyrex baking pan. Empty your Zevia soda flavor of choice into the pan and let freeze for 20 minutes. Then stir with a fork, scraping down the sides and bottom of the pan. Repeat this every 20 minutes until you have a snow-like consistency.

Zevia Granita Cocktails via Melodrama

Once that is done, you can assemble your cocktail. Start with combining your ingredients in a glass and then pile in the icy granita. Once the granita hits the alcohol, it’ll start to melt creating a slushy beverage much like an adult Slurpee. Basically what my dreams are made of.

Zevia Granita Cocktails via Melodrama

Here are my 3 favorite tried and true Zevia Granita Cocktail recipes.

Zevia Granita Cocktails via MelodramaLemon Lime Twist Zevia with Tequila
Prepared Lemon Lime Twist Zevia granita (2 cans)
1 1/2 oz shot of silver tequila
Juice of half of a lime
Lime to garnish

Mix tequila and lime juice in an 8 oz glass. Then fill glass with prepared Zevia granita. Garnish with lime wedge. Serve with a spoon and straw.

Ginger Root Beer Zevia and Whiskey
Prepared Ginger Root Beer Zevia granita (2 cans)
1 1/2 oz whiskey
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Mix whiskey and bitters into an 8 oz cocktail glass. Then fill with prepared Ginger Root Beer granita. Garnish with a maraschino cherry. Serve with a spoon and straw.

Strawberry Zevia and Aperol
Prepared Strawberry Zevia granita (2 cans)
1 oz Aperol
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Juice of half a lime

Mix Aperol, bitters, and lime into a glass. Then fill glass with prepared Strawberry Zevia granita. Garnish with a wedge of lime and a cherry.

Zevia Granita Cocktails via Melodrama

That’s it. Easy peasy. Now go make some granitas with your favorite Zevia flavors and mix them with your favorite booze to see what flavor combos you can come up with.

Oh! And make sure you’re following @melodramablog and @ZeviaLife on Instagram for your chance to win $500.

This post was sponsored and made possible by Zevia®. 

Homemade Peach Pie Custard Ice Cream

I love pie. I love pie with ice cream more. Sometimes I even like putting pie and ice cream in a blender and turning it into a milkshake. Well, this time I dumped pie into my ice cream maker and made PEACH PIE ICE CREAM. This is the perfect way to use left over pie, and you can experiment with different pie flavors, which I will be doing immediately. For the purpose of this demonstration, I will use peach pie.
Peach Pie Ice Cream Recipe via MelodramaI should note that this isn’t one of those “no churn” recipes, so you’ll need an ice cream maker. I use a small $60 Cuisinart machine and it works great.

What You’ll Need:
1/2 of a peach pie, refrigerated
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar, divided in half
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
Beat the egg yolks and half of the sugar together until the mixture is pale and thick.

Meanwhile, over medium-low heat, whisk together milk, cream, the remaining half of the sugar, and salt in a saucepan until mixture to a slight boil.

Once the cream mixture reaches a slight boil, slowly pour and whisk in 1/3 of it into the egg mixture. Add the combined egg/cream mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly over low heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not boil or the eggs will over cook and scramble. This should take about 3-4 minutes.

Once the mixture is thickened, pour through a fine mesh strainer and bring to room temperature. You can let it sit on the countertop, or you can use an ice bath to cool it down faster. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Peach Pie Ice Cream RecipeMeanwhile, rough chop your pie into pieces and refrigerate until the ice cream base is ready.

Once the mixture is cold, pour it into your ice cream maker and let it churn to a soft serve consistency, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cold bowl and evenly fold in pie pieces. Transfer to an airtight ice cream container and freeze for about 2 hours.

YAY PEACH PIE ICE CREAM!

Peach Pie Ice Cream Recipe via Melodrama The chunks of peaches are my favorite.Peach Pie Ice Cream Recipe via Melodrama

No, just kidding, the chunks of pie crust are my favorite.Peach Pie Ice Cream Recipe via Melodama

Now grab yourself a pie, and all of the above mentioned dairy, and make yourself this ice cream immediately.

Boozy Cherry S’mores Brownie Bars

Today, the 10th of August, is apparently National S’mores Day. I had no idea until I woke up to social media rubbing gooey marshmallows and chocolate in my face. You bet your ass I jumped on that bandwagon immediately.

I didn’t want to just make basic s’mores though. I bounced some ideas off of my husband and we agreed on s’mores bars. I looked around at the ingredients I had around and spotted a jar of Moonshine Cherries. I love cherries and chocolate…and booze. This is how Boozy Cherry S’mores Brownie Bars were born.

What’s in them? Everything. Graham cracker crust, chocolate brownie filling, moonshine cherries, and roasted marshmallow topping.

Boozy Cherry Smores Brownie BarsYou can adapt the recipe to use your favorite graham cracker crust and brownie recipes, but here are the ones I used.

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 graham cracker crumbs, about 1 pack (12) graham crackers
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Crush crackers into crumbs and then combine with sugar, salt, and butter. Mix until it reaches a wet sand consistency and press into bottom of 8×8 pan. Bake for 6 minutes at 350 degrees.

Brownie Filling

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (about 14) Moonshine Cherries, halved 
1 package of jumbo marshmallows

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gradually blend into the egg mixture. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Press cherries into the batter in an even pattern. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. (Optional: Once brownies are done, brush top of brownies with moonshine cherry juice for an extra kick.)

Turn oven to broil, place jumbo marshmallows on top and broil until roasted.

Boozy Cherry S'mores Brownie Bars

Let cool to room temp before cutting.Boozy Cherry Smores Brownie Bars

Coconut Lime Tequila Cake

We’ve been having some majorly cloudy mornings lately and that makes me want to do one thing: Bake. I don’t know why really. Maybe it’s because it feels like Christmas, or maybe that’s just the lie I tell myself, but either way, I bake.

Anyway, I woke up the other morning and it was cloudy, so I said to myself “Eff it, self. Let’s bake a cake.” I have all this tequila laying around because of my projects with Patrón, so I also decided to make it boozy. Because why not? Day drinking and cake for breakfast sounds grand.

I had that “put the lime in the coconut” song stuck in my head. So I did. In a cake. I went a little crazy, so it might seem like there’s a lot of steps, but it’s still super easy.

Coconut Lime Tequila Cake Recipe via Melodrama

Coconut Lime Tequila Cake

Cake Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, cream room temperature butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and continue to beat for 5 minutes. Gradually add the eggs (one at a time) and mix well. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add them to the butter mixture alternating with the coconut cream.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let cake cool in pans for 15-20 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Coconut Custard Filling Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
1 cup Flaked coconut
Mix cornstarch with cream until dissolved. Add cornstarch/cream mixture, coconut cream, and sugar to a small sauce pan. Gradually heat to a simmer while stirring. Remove from heat. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly add half of the cream mixture to the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the sauce pan and bring back to a simmer. Cook for 2-4 minutes until thick and creamy. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cool in an ice bath or cover mixture with plastic and store in refrigerator for 2-3 hours until chilled. Toss flaked coconut in a pan over medium heat until toasted. Set aside.

Tequila Lime Soak Ingredients

2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup white tequila (like Patrón Silver)
2 tablespoons lime zest

In a small pot over medium heat, mix lime juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved and starts to simmer. Remove from heat. Stir in tequila and lime zest. Set aside.

Buttercream Frosting
(I just used a standard buttercream with lime zest thrown in. You can use your favorite frosting.)
Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
zest of one lime

Cream together the butter and vanilla. Sift the powdered sugar and add it to the butter mixture. Scrape down the bowl often to make sure all everything is mixed in. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until it’s your desired consistency. Beat until smooth for about 2-4 minutes.
Cake Assembly Directions

Slowly spoon the tequila lime mixture over both of the prepared cake rounds and let the cake absorb the liquid.

Coconut Lime Tequila Cake RecipeNext spoon the custard filling and half of the toasted coconut on one cake round and place the other on top.

Coconut Lime Tequila Cake Recipe

Ice the cake and then coat the sides with the remaining toasted coconut.

Coconut Lime Tequila Cake Recipe via MelodramaCut. Eat. Nap.

 

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie with Maria Cookie Crust

One of my favorite treats when I was a kid was Abuelita Mexican hot chocolate and Maria cookies. I would always dip the cookies in my hot chocolate, just like my grandma did with her coffee, and experience the pure joy that only food gives me. I was having a late night craving and had the wild I had the idea of putting the flavors together in pie form. Sometimes I don’t want to drink hot chocolate, but I pretty much always want to eat pie. So I made my dream a reality.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie

This pie has a crispy buttery cookie crust, much like a graham cracker crust. The filling is fudgey and gooey with a crackled top, and has all the flavor of Mexican hot chocolate.

Mexican Hot Chocolate PieQuick Note about Pie Pan Size:

For this recipe I used a 9 inch pie pan. You can use whatever you have, but if you use smaller pans you may not end up using all of your crust mixture or filling. But that’s ok, it’s better to make more and have some left over than not have enough.

Maria Cookie Crust

2 cups Maria cookie crumbs (1-2 packages of Maria cookies)

1 stick butter, melted

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Use a blender or food processor to finely crush your cookies into crumbs. (If you don’t have either of those appliances, put the cookies in a large ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin.) Melt butter on stove stop or microwave. Mix melted butter and crumbs together until it has a wet sand consistency. It should hold together when you pinch it. If your crust is still a little dry and won’t hold together, you can add a bit more melted butter until it does. Put in pie pan and use your hands or a measuring cup to press and flatten the crumbs to the bottom and up against the sides.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie

Bake at 350 degrees for about 7-10 minutes until it has just set to the touch. You don’t want to over-bake or over brown it, since it’ll bake more with the filling. Set it aside to cool.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Filling

4 ounces Mexican Hot Chocolate, such as Abuelita

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1.5 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cinnamon stick

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat eggs in a small bowl and set aside. Chop chocolate to make it easier to melt. Melt butter and chocolate together in a sauce pan with cinnamon stick over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick. While stirring constantly, add eggs and beat well until smooth.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie

Pour filling mixture into prepared pie crust until it almost hits the top edge of the crust. Do not over fill the pan.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes on center rack. The pie should be just barely set but remain gooey in the middle, and have a crackled top. It will set more as it cools.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie

Serve warm or room temp with ice cream or whipped cream. YUM!

Sally Draper’s French Toast with Rum Sauce

One of my favorite episodes of Mad Men is “The Beautiful Girls” (Season 4, Episode 9). There are so many things I love about this particular episode, but I love Sally’s scenes the best. I love any Sally-centric episode, really. She’s my favorite Mad Men character, because without going into years worth of details probably best saved for a therapist, I am Sally. Her scenes with Don always remind me of my relationship with my dad, and this scene is no exception. My dad is actually the one who taught me how to make French toast. Thanks dad!

Anyway, back to the food. Sally spends the night at Don’s apartment and in the morning he wakes up to her cooking french toast for him.
Mad Men

Mad Men

Mad MenMad MenShe thinks she put Mrs. Butterworth’s on it but it’s RUM. Oh Sally. She doesn’t know it but she’s a culinary genius.

Mad Men

Mad Men

Don is right. It isn’t bad. It’s actually quite delicious.

You might not want to just pour rum all over your french toast, because that might raise some red flags about your relationship with alcohol, but rum sauce is perfectly fine. Here’s how to make it.

Mad Men Inspired Food: Sally Draper's Buttered Rum Sauce on French Toast

Buttered Rum Sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup spiced dark rum
2 tbs butter

In a small sauce pan, bring sugar and cream to a simmer. Stir in rum and butter, bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Serve over french toast.

I got challah from Canter’s and cut it into thick slices. Thick cut challah makes the best french toast. It soaks up a lot of the egg mixture so when you cook it the middle stays fluffy and the outside gets crispy and brown. Yummmm.

You probably know how to make french toast, but just in case. Here’s how I like to do it.

French Toast

4 pieces of thick cut challah
4 Eggs
1 cup Heavy cream
zest of half an orange

Whisk together the eggs, cream, and orange zest. Place bread in the mixture and let it soak for a few seconds on each side. Cook in a pan with butter.

Mad Men Inspired Food: Sally Draper's Buttered Rum Sauce on French Toast

New favorite breakfast ever. Thanks Sals!

Mad Men

‘Attaboy’ Cocktail Recipe

The best Sundays for me are spent inside, binge watching TV shows in my PJs, eating things I probably shouldn’t, and making cocktails. That’s what we did today. We’ve been re-watching every episode of Mad Men before the final episodes premiere, and I’ve been dying to break in my new glasses from Baigelman Glass, so we made Attaboys and ate poptarts. I’m tipsy as I write this, because this cocktail is strong and I drank a double. ANYWAY, here’s the recipe for your own Sunday Funday pajama cocktail party.

2 parts gin
1 part dry vermouth
A splash of grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

'Attaboy' cocktail recipe