Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread

This oatmeal bread wins the award for best toast. It’s a hearty oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection.

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A good oatmeal bread is one of my favorite bakery items. When living in San Francisco, I would make my way to the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market most Saturday mornings. One of the things I would pick up is a loaf of oatmeal bread from Marla Bakery. I started baking my own oatmeal breads after moving to Southern California a few years back and I thought I’d share my favorite today. It’s a hearty, oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection. There’s an argument to be made that a thick slab of this bread makes the best toast in the world.
Slices of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread with Butter

The Ingredients

Let’s talk through the ingredients in this oatmeal bread. 

  • Old-fashioned Oats: Skip the instant oats, you want a more substantial flake here. 
  • Active Dry Yeast: I use this type of yeast for my non-sourdough bread recipes because, quite honestly, it’s the easiest yeast to find in most stores here in California.
  • Buttermilk: Mentioned down below, buttermilk is my go-to liquid for this bread if I have it on hand. I love the flavor of buttermilk. That said, milk and water work wonderfully as well, just use whatever you’ve got. One thing to note, if you heat buttermilk too aggressively, or too hot, it might break and curdle. It’s not the end of the world, and you can simply proceed with the recipe once you’ve cooled to the desired temperature, but if you heat gently, this can be avoided.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Your olive oil doesn’t have to be special, it should just be good tasting. Whatever you use for sautéing. That said, for fun you might experiment with using a lemon olive oil, or basil or herbed oil for an alternative flavor profile and added dimension. 
  • Honey: This oatmeal bread uses a kiss of sweetness to round out the cheesy spiciness of the cheddar and pepper. My main advice here is that a good tasting runny honey is easiest to work with.
  • Unbleached All-purpose Flour: You have a ratio of one cup of oats to 3 cups of flour here. The amount of oats really delivers a wonderful element of whole-grain heartiness and flavor. I’d recommend giving the recipe a go as written. At that point, if you want to add some whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour you absolutely should! I recommend swapping in 1/2 cup or 1 cup to start, make note of how you think it turns out, and adapt your next loaf from there. 
  • Jalapeño peppers: I like to actually taste the peppers here and find that using two chunky mediums is just about perfect. You can tweak to your comfort level of course. Go ahead and leave the seeds and veins in the peppers.
    Loaf of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread on Counter

How to Make Oatmeal Bread

Proof the yeast. This is to be sure your yeast is working. If it isn’t your bread isn’t going to rise. If you have end up with an inactive packet of yeast, no big deal, simply start the proofing process over.
Ingredients to make Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread on Marble Counter
Make your bread dough. This is the step where you combine your proofed yeast liquid with the remaining ingredients. I use one large mixing bowl from the start of the bread making process to the finish. One thing to keep in mind, this dough it is a little tricky to read because of all the chunks. Keep kneading  until the space between cheese cubes is smooth-ish and elastic. Also, pro-tip – you can simply wipe your mixing bowl out in between steps and use it for the initial rise as well.
Oatmeal Bread Ingredients Combined in Bowl
Let the bread dough rise. This is the initial rise and the key here is making sure your bread is cozy. If my oven has been on, I place the bowl on top of it. Or find a sunny spot. My dad has a proofing oven, and that is a dream. You can approximate one by heating your oven on low for a few minutes, turning it off, and then placing your dough in there to rise.
Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread Dough Rising in a Covered Bowl
Shaping the loaf and the second rise. My main advice here is to continue to be nice to your bread dough. Gently handle. Gently press to deflate along the surface of the dough. Gently shape the dough, no ripping or pulling. Keep in mind you don’t want it pancake flat before shaping. I do a bit of a burrito roll to shape this dough – roll along the length tucking in the ends a bit. Place into the pan seam-side down.
Oatmeal Bread Dough in Metal Loaf Pan
Top with oats and bake. I like to top my breads with a little bit of whatever is inside (when appropriate). In this case the cheese cubes melt and ooze, crisp and color. They break through the surface on the top of the loaf, so I don’t feel compelled to add more. Green streaks of jalapeño are also visible, so we’re all good on that front. To add oats on top, brush the top of your oatmeal bread with a bit of well-beaten egg white, and then generously sprinkle with rolled oats before placing in the oven to bake.

Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread

How to Store

Oatmeal bread isn’t going to keep as long as, say, sourdough, but this cheddar version keeps nicely for 4-5 days. If you bake a version without the cheese it tends to get a bit dry after day 2. Toasting remedies this and extends the load another day or so beyond.

To Store: Once your oatmeal bread has cooled completely, store it in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. The cheddar jalapeño oatmeal bread stays incredibly moist, the less decadent versions a bit less so. 

Oatmeal Bread Variations

  • Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread: Boost the percentage of whole grain flour. This is already a relatively hearty bread because of the amount of oats in the dough. You can make it even more hearty and wholesome by swapping out some of the all-purpose flour for a whole grain flour – start with 1 cup. Or take baby steps and start with 1/2 cup.
  • Saffron Honey Oatmeal Bread: You can take this loaf in an entirely different direction! Skip the cheese and jalapeño. Dilute a pinch of saffron in 2 teaspoons of almond extract and then stir this mixture into the 1 tablespoon of honey left after proofing. Combine some almond slices with the rolled oats added to the top of the loaf prior to baking.
  • Vegan / Dairy-free Oatmeal Bread: Skip the  cheese, use water instead of buttermilk or milk, and skip the egg wash topping prior to baking.

Slices of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread with Butter

My Favorite Ways to Enjoy this Bread

  • Keeping it simple: toasted with a smear of salted butter and sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
  • Had a slice with this carrot soup and simple salad for a perfect lunch.
  • Go the panini route, this bread loves to be toasted, use it in a panini TLT.
  • The cheddar jalapeño combo make this the perfect match for a breakfast sandwich – put an egg on it!

If you’re looking for more baking inspiration, here’s where all the baking recipes live. I love this beautiful braided onion bread, and if you’re a bit intimidated by yeast breads, you can never go wrong with a good one-bowl baking recipe

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Whole Bean Vanilla Cookies

Snappy, small, fragrant, vanilla wafer cookies made with a whole vanilla pod. The entire thing!

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I was pulling the sad remnant of a vanilla bean from a bag of sugar the other day, and it got me thinking about using whole vanilla beans. The entire pod. I’m sure this isn’t a unique concept, but for whatever reason, it’s not something I’d ever considered before. I started thinking it through a bit, and landed on the idea of pureeing a whole pod in a food processor to use in something. Perhaps adding some sugar to bulk it out the vanilla bean a bit. After a bit of experimenting, I landed on these little cookies. I love them!
Whole Vanilla Bean Cookies

These cookies are super simple to make – snappy, small, and fragrant, with a sloppy kiss of vanilla, and a right hook of salt to balance everything out. Any tiny pieces of vanilla bean that survived the processor are a bit like having vanilla-kissed flecks of raisins cut into the dough.

Whole Vanilla Bean CookiesWhole Vanilla Bean Cookies

I made the cookies with a blend of rye and all-purpose flours, but I suspect you could make them using either all-purpose flour, or whole wheat pastry flour without any trouble. And, as far as the vanilla bean goes, the key is starting with a good pod, one that is pliable and from a reputable source. I tested these with Nielson-Massey beans because I know many of you have access, and they seem to be widely distributed.

Whole Vanilla Bean Cookies
I love sharing these as part of a cookie plate, or cookie gift box alongside other favorite cookies. You can have a look at all the past cookie recipes, or jump right into these favorite shortbread, sables, snickerdoodles, puddle cookies and the like!
Whole Vanilla Bean Cookies
Have you all come across other whole vanilla ideas/recipes? – I’ve held off googling.

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Sourdough English Muffins

How to make homemade Sourdough English Muffins using sourdough starter (no yeast!).  They raise overnight and are cooked on the stovetop in the morning.   Tender, delicious and easier to make than you might think!  Vegan adaptable. When we question our…

How to make homemade Sourdough English Muffins using sourdough starter (no yeast!).  They raise overnight and are cooked on the stovetop in the morning.   Tender, delicious and easier to make than you might think!  Vegan adaptable.
How to make homemade Sourdough English Muffins using sourdough starter (no yeast!).  They raise overnight and are cooked on the stovetop in the morning.   Tender, delicious and easier to make than you might think!  Vegan adaptable. When we question our thoughts, we see that the craziness was never in the world, but in us. ~Byron Katie Oh...

Simple Beet Fettuccine

Fresh pasta, you can do it! A beautiful, fun, and simple way to make homemade fettuccine noodles.

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If you’ve never made homemade pasta before, this is a great beet-boosted take on fettuccine. Fresh pasta is a lot less time-intensive than you might think (really!). You knead the dough by hand, and you cut the pasta dough into fettuccine noodles in one of two ways – by hand, or with a pasta machine. The pasta machine is more precise, but there is a lot of charm in hand-cut noodles – both are special.

Simple Beet Fettuccine

I love this beet juice-spiked fettuccine, the beets lend a beautiful pink color, and you can play around with how pale or saturated your noodles are by adding more or less beet juice. You can, of course, substitute other liquids, or use yellow (or orange) beets. If you have success with these noodles, use the recipe as a jumping off point for other flavors.

Simple Beet Fettuccine

A couple of tips – don’t skimp on the kneading time. You want a silky, even-textured dough before wrapping it, and then letting it rest (and hydrate) a bit.

Simple Beet Fettuccine

One detail to emphasize here, I call for semola flour here (different from semolina) – semola is fine, powdery and talc-like durum wheat, semolina is often coarser. I blend it with either whole wheat pastry flour, or finely ground rye flour here.

Simple Beet Fettuccine

You can enjoy the noodles in endless ways. They are beautiful in a simple broth with herbs. We had them for lunch topped with lots of sautéed mushrooms, a splash of cashew milk, poppy seeds, scallions, toasted walnuts, and a big squeeze of lemon.

Simple Beet Fettuccine

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Aran’s Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies

From Aran Goyoaga’s new baking book, these buckwheat & chocolate crinkle cookies are spiked with almond butter, gluten-free, and the perfect cross between a brownie and a cookie.

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Many of you know that I consider Aran Goyoaga a close friend and colleague. We first messaged each other over a decade ago, and made an effort in the years since to get to know each other. We’ll meet up if we’re in the same city, and travel together on occasion. I love hearing about what Aran is working on and enjoy catching glimpses of her work-in-progress. She works on a lot of cool (beautiful!) projects, but recently she has been writing and photographing a book that is exceptionally close to her heart. A baking book.  Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Cannelle Et Vanille Bakes Simple is the culmination of Aran’s deep knowledge of baking. She mailed me an early copy of the book and I walked straight to the oven and dialed it to pre-heat. Cookies were going to get baked, pronto. I’ll tell you more about the book down below (and share some pics), but the first thing you need to know is that these puddles of fudge-y goodness were amazing. They’re her Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies, and Aran says about them, “…these cookies are crispy and gooey at the same time- a cross between a brownie and a cookie.”
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
The flavor! I love the chocolate-buckwheat combination which adds depth and dimension working alongside a good amount of brown sugar. They’re delicious. If you rarely explore the realm of flours beyond general all-purpose flour (and want to!), these cookies would be a great place to start. Also, if you’re looking for a great gluten-free cookie recipe to take for a spin, these fit the bill. They were the first thing I baked and were much loved at the potluck I took them to.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies

Variations // Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: 

  • Double Chocolate Fennel-Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: Aran makes her cookies with a teaspoon or so of crushed fennel seeds. I couldn’t find my fennel seeds (in any of my seven spice drawers LOL), so we went for straight chocolate & buckwheat for this round. Though I imagine the anise-scented fennel seeds with the chocolate would be wonderfully fragrant and special.
  • Espresso Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: A bit obvious, but if you love a coffee-chocolate combination add a tablespoon of finely ground espresso beans with the cocoa powder. 
  • Black Cocoa Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: I can imagine replacing 1 of the 3 tablespoons of cocoa called for in this recipe with a black cocoa, making note, and dialing it up from there if you love the richness of black cocoa as much as I do.

Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Below are a few snapshots of the interior of Cannelle Et Vanilla Bakes Simple. The photography is stunning, as is the beautiful book design. I’ll weave in some thoughts between some of the spreads below.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Who is this book for? This is the book I would buy for anyone wanting one fantastic, substantial deep dive into gluten-free baking. It’s all here. You’re covered on the sourdough front. GF Breads, baguettes, brioche, bagels, babkas? Check. Cakes, pie dough, scones, shortbread, thumbprints? All there. I also love the inclusion of a holiday baking section as the final chapter in the book. Linzertorte! Hot cross buns! Rugelach! Challah! Alternately, if you’re a baker wanting to explore the wonderful realm of baking with alternative flours you’ll find much inspiration here as well.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Cannelle Et Vanilla Bakes Simple will be available October 26, 2021 and my pro-tip here is this – if you think this is a book you might want to give as a holiday gift, pre-order it now. I suspect it will sell fast. I’m not just saying that as a friend of Aran’s, I’m saying it as someone who is buying multiple copies to give to friends and family with gluten-sensitivity because it covers so much in a beautiful package.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Beyond the book, if you’re interested in more Aran goodness you’re in luck. She has a fantastic Instagram account, and you can keep track of her events and new projects on her site. Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle CookiesAran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Before I sign off, just know that there is a lot of chocolate in the archives, and plenty of gluten-free recipes as well. Here’s where you can find more chocolate recipes, as well as lots of cookie recipes: Don’t miss these favorites: my all-time favorite brownies, this flourless chocolate cake, please please please make this chocolate pudding, and don’t miss out on this chocolate devil’s food cake. 

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Swedish Rye Cookies

Powder-kissed and pretty, these Swedish Rye cookies are perfect for anyone after a not-too-sweet, shortbread-style butter cookie.

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Powder-kissed and pretty, these Swedish Rye cookies are perfect for holiday cookie enthusiasts (or, anyone really!) after a not-too-sweet, shortbread-style butter cookie. I make them with a blend of rye and whole wheat pastry flours, and also break with tradition when it comes adding a secret ingredient. Because I love the taste of toasted rye bread slathered with cream cheese, I use a butter/cream cheese combination for the dough – instead of a butter-only dough.
Swedish Rye Cookies and Powdered Sugar
These cookies can be baked into all sorts of shapes although I do like to roll & stamp them. The dough is generally easy to work with and I’ve found that cutters from super small up to medium-large in size work really well. 

Swedish Rye Cookie Dough

Other Ideas

I suspect you could experiment with other flours in place of the rye and expect good results – barley or oat flours might work well. I was also thinking about doing a savory version of this cookie with herbs and grated cheese in place of most/all of the sugar – turning it into a buttery rye cream-cheese herb cracker…

Swedish Rye Cookies before Baking

Variations

A number of you have commented over the years with successful variations on this recipe. I wanted to highlight a couple here with the hope that it might be helpful!

  • Can these be adapted to be vegan? Truman notes, “I replaced the butter and cream cheese with earth balance vegan buttery stick and tofutti better than cream cheese. This made it a bit more heart healthy, and vegan as well.” And along those lines, Keri adds, “I made the vegan version of these as well! They are delicious – I added some grated orange zest and ground anise seed, and they remind me of a less-crispy version of my grandma’s pepperkaker.”
  • KanelBulle spiced things up, “I combined this with the gingerbread idea by adding spices – ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon – and using a dark sugar that is called “molasses sugar”. It came out brilliantly (even if I don’t have the cutters to make those rings).”

Swedish Rye Cookies on Baking Sheet

I like to make these cookies not just around the holidays, but throughout the rest of the year as well tbh. If you’re here and on the lookout for holiday/ Christmas cookie recipes, I’ve compiled a bunch of favorites from past holidays into one place. Or, here if you’re simply looking for more cookie recipe inspiration. I particularly love these chocolate puddle cookies, this shortbread, these special snickerdoodles, this millionaire’s shortbread, and these triple ginger cookies.

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Mexican Rice with Sheet-Pan Veggies

Healthy & Flavorful Mexican Rice made with brown rice, topped with sheet-pan roasted yams, red onions, and shishito peppers.  Serve with pickled jalapeños and pumpkin seeds for a comforting delicious vegan meal. (Stovetop or Instant Pot) Forget yo…

Healthy and flavorful Mexican Rice made with brown rice, topped with sheet-pan roasted yams, red onions, and shishito peppers.  Top with pickled jalapeños and pumpkin seeds for a comforting delicious vegan meal. #mexicanrice

Healthy & Flavorful Mexican Rice made with brown rice, topped with sheet-pan roasted yams, red onions, and shishito peppers.  Serve with pickled jalapeños and pumpkin seeds for a comforting delicious vegan meal. (Stovetop or Instant Pot) Forget your voice, sing!  Forget your feet, dance!  Forget your life, live!  Forget yourself and be! ~ Kaman Kojouri This Mexican...

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Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Kim Boyce’s Rosemary Olive Oil cake is incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary, and dotted throughout with big and small chocolate chunks.

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This is one of my favorite cakes of the past ten years. It’s a rustic, incredibly moist, golden-crumbed olive oil cake. Flecked with rosemary, and dotted throughout with big and small chocolate chunks you’re looking at a perfect picnic treat. It’s one of those cakes that is both distinctive and memorable in an understated way and a breeze to make. We have Kim Boyce to thank for the recipe, and you might remember it from when I originally posted it here after Kim released Good to the Grain in 2010.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe

What Makes this Olive Oil Cake Special?

The rosemary is the wild card factor here. And it’s so good. It heats up in the oven as the cake is baking and  permeates the cake in a subtle but steady way, not at all overpowering. The other thing I love about this cake is that it is such a breeze to make. You’re looking at ten minutes tops to get it in the oven. This is perfect when you’re trying to pull things together for a road trip, or picnic, or flight.

Why are Olive Oil Cakes so Good?

There are a number of reasons people love cakes made with olive oil in place of butter. You tend to get a nice, even crumb with olive oil cakes. But, in my opinion, you really see the difference a day or two after baking. Olive oil cakes tend to stay beautifully moist. Olive oil is fattier than butter with no water factor. There’s a theory that the percentage of water in butter interacts with the flour in a cake batter to form more gluten strands. This results in a more structured and less tender cake. Olive oil cakes are also great for people who forget to plan ahead. With butter cakes you’re often waiting for the butter to come up to room temperature. Not necessary when you’re baking with olive oil.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Tweaks and Variations

I’ve made a few tweaks to Kim’s recipe over the years, and you can see them integrated into the recipe below. Most are stylistic more than anything. I converted the recipe into weights for the scale-based bakers. I also decided I wanted more chocolate visible on top, and a bit of a sugary top crust. What about pan size? I wanted to bake it in a vintage baton cake pan I found in Portland a few years ago (my $1 pan!), and aside from a slightly longer baking time, it was no problem. Feel free to experiment with different pans or muffin tins, but adjust your baking pans accordingly.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe

This  one of those perfect picnic, travel, or lunchbox cakes. I can’t believe it has been over a decade since I originally highlighted it here, but I love that it is still part of my repertoire. Xo Kim & congrats on the much deserved James Beard Award! xx -h

For more cake recipes, be sure to try this flourless chocolate cake, this chocolate pudding, or for a real chocolate jolt, make these chocolate brownies.

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Super Orange Citrus Rice

This incredible citrus rice is flooded with orange juice, flecked with celery and carrots, and boosted with a packet of French onion dip mix. It’s beautiful, delicious, and if you’re in a rice or grain rut, it’s just the thing to get you out of it. This Super Orange Citrus Rice is also the perfect […]

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This incredible citrus rice is flooded with orange juice, flecked with celery and carrots, and boosted with a packet of French onion dip mix. It’s beautiful, delicious, and if you’re in a rice or grain rut, it’s just the thing to get you out of it. This Super Orange Citrus Rice is also the perfect base for a rice bowl, and I love using leftovers the next day for a citrusy-y take on fried rice.

Super Orange Citrus Rice in a Serving Bowl
I cook rice a couple times a week. Half the time I’ll make it straight and simple – water, rice, and a bit of salt. The other times I like to mix it up with different broths, infusions, and favorite flavors, ingredients and textures. A lot of you know how much I love a good rice situation – I included a whole section of ideas in the back of Super Natural Simple. I also constantly revisit Bryant Terry’s Amazing Green Rice, this Congee with Brown Rice and Turmeric, and this herby rice situation. Recently, this super orange citrus rice has been in high-rotation. Here are the details!Super Orange Citrus Rice in a Kitchen on a Counter

Citrus Rice Inspiration

One of the things I love about flea markets, estate and yard sales is finding and browsing old cookbooks. I come across a lot of community cookbooks, and always have my eyes peeled for books that are special, unusually, and/or regionally specific. Today’s recipe was inspired by a cookbook I picked up a few years ago, published by Sunkist in 1968. It is cover-to-cover recipes that are citrus inspired – note the sub-title: lemons, tangerines – citrus treasures of the west – oranges, grapefruits. 

A few of the recipes caught my attention. In particular, there is an orange rice recipe that calls for “instant minced onions.” I imagined that would add a nice seasoning element to a citrus rice. I tend to keep French onion soup mix on hand to make the French Onion Strata in Super Natural Simple, and have dehydrated onions in my pantry as well.  Today’s recipe evolved from there. I love the way the onion helps counter the sweetness of the orange juice, keeping the whole dish squarely in the savory camp.
Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat
Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat

What Kind of Rice to Use?

I’ve been using brown basmati rice for this recipe. Short grain brown rice should also work, you might need to adjust the cooking time a bit though. I’ve tested a blend of half brown basmati with half white basmati and it wasn’t great. Unsurprisingly, the white grains really blew out and over cooked while the brown rice grains finished cooking.

The general rule of thumb here is yes, you can likely use your favorite rice, whatever it is. You should simply adjust the amount of liquid and cooking time according to whatever you typically use for 2 cups of rice. So, for example, if you’re using 2 cups of white rice, scale back the orange juice and water called for in the recipe from 4 cups to 3 cups (or 3 1/4 cups total liquid). Hope that makes sense. It’s a long way of saying you can likely make this with success with whatever rice you have on hand.

Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat

Make Citrus Rice into a Meal

You can easily add another hearty element to this rice and make a one bowl meal. You see the citrus rice pictured here topped with a bit of simply marinated, baked tofu. It’s just slabs of thinly sliced extra-firm tofu tossed in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon wasabi paste, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce and baked until golden in a 375F oven. Wasabi paste can be tricky to come by, and when I’m out of it I’ll substitute a favorite curry paste or tobanjan paste. Throw some broccoli or cauliflower florets into the oven with the tofu for some added veg.

Alternately, I like to make a thin omelette with an egg or two, slice it thinly, and use that in place of the tofu. And before I forget, if your celery is extra leafy, be sure to make your own celery salt! It’s really wonderful on this rice, but also on all sorts of soups and salads.

Leftover Ideas

This recipe makes a good amount of citrus rice, and we often have leftovers. It’s SO good the next day, perfect for a quick fried rice for lunch, or easy dinner. The citrus element is really fantastic and unexpected if you aren’t in the know. 

If you’re looking for more rice recipes I have so many ideas. Laugh/cry. Be sure to try this green rice, my favorite mushroom casserole,  and this vegetarian take on paellaI also love cooking with quinoa, cooking with lentils, and on the citrus recipe front, don’t miss this citrus salt – it’s so much fun to play around with a range of limes, lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines! Enjoy! -h

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Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake

An easy little butter cake baked in a single pan. This is a sugar-dusted, walnut-studded version, perfumed with nutmeg. That said, there are a thousand other directions you can take this cake. It’s so simple and incredibly good.

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This beauty falls squarely into the easy-little-cake category. It’s a butter cake that isn’t basic. Baked in a single pan, perfumed with grated nutmeg, and topped with well-chopped walnuts this is a versatile cake with a sugar-sweet heart and rustic rye soul. I love this cake and bake it (or variation on it) regularly. It’s a favorite for picnics and a nice alternative to the usual suspects around the holidays. The key is upping your nutmeg game. If you’ve never grated your own nutmeg, consider this an invitation.

Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake on Purple Tablecloth

Let’s Talk about Nutmeg

Great quality, freshly grated nutmeg will absolutely blow your mind. It is incredibly fragrant and powerful. Using whole nutmeg is a game changer for many things including this cake (or anything else you’re baking), ice creams, and spice blends. I have two favorite nutmegs at the moment, this Belmont Estate organic family farm-grown nutmeg from Grenada changed how I think about nutmeg, and this beautiful single-origin Anamalia nutmeg from Diaspora Co. From here on skip pre-ground nutmeg and grate your own.
Grating Nutmeg with Microplane Grater for Butter Cake

How to Grate Nutmeg

On occasion (and if you’re fortunate) nutmeg comes in the shell. Simply crack it with a mortar and pestle (or nutcracker), and grate the inner pit using a Microplane-style grater. If your nutmeg is whole, but has been pre-shelled, simply have at it with a grater.
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Slice of Cake with Whipped Cream on Purple Tablecloth

Let’s talk about Cake Pan Size

If you don’t have a 9-inch round cake pan, can you bake this cake in another pan? Let’s talk. I’ve baked this cake in an 8-inch pan a number of times, but it can be a bit tricky. You need to make sure the center of the cake sets, and this takes quite a bit longer compared to the 9-inch cake pan. If you want to use a square pan, please report back – I always bake this cake round. You can certainly make a series of mini-cakes with the batter, just dial the baking time way back and keep a close eye on things. When the centers of the cakes set up you’re all good.
Ingredients for Butter Cake arranged on Marble Counter

What if you Can’t Find Rye Flour?

I encourage you to play around with the flours in the cake. I like this cake just a shade rustic, and the rye flour brings that in spades. If you think you might like a slightly lighter crumbed cake, dial back the rye and dial up the all-purpose flour. If what you have is all-purpose flour, you can use about 1 1/3 cups of that. If you have whole wheat flour instead of rye, give that a go. I haven’t tried this cake with any of the GF flours available, but if you use one of those, let us know how it turns out.

Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake Cooling on Rack near Window

Butter Cake Variations

Pictured above is the cake straight from the oven (above).  I’m posting the basic recipe down below, but once you decide it’s a cake you love, you can take it in many different directions.

  • Powdered Sugar: I like to give this cake a heavy dusting with powdered sugar before serving. To be honest, I tend to use more powdered sugar than you see in the pictures here. I recommend really going for it, but I wanted you to be able to see some of the walnuts peeking through in the photos. Think about adding something to the sugar. Drop citrus rinds (or zest) that you’ve allowed to dry for a couple days into a baggie with powdered sugar and let it infuse in the coming days. Makrut lime is a favorite, and you can’t go wrong with meyer lemon, or classic orange. Or grind up a few threads of saffron, and combine this saffron dust with the powdered sugar. If your powdered sugar gets clumpy at any point, use your finger to rub it against the strainer for even dusting across your cake.
  • Nuts: I go all in with walnuts here, but can 100% get on board with pistachios, pecans, almonds, or walnuts for this cake. I’ve done versions with a blend when I’m low on any single nut variety. Well received! The main thing is to give the nuts a fine chop. This keeps things light & even on top of the cake, and makes for easier and more precise slicing.
  • Flours: We talked about ways to explore different flours up above. Even if you don’t have rye flour, give this cake a go!
  • Spices & Extracts: Another way you can make this cake your own is through spices and extracts. Let’s brainstorm! I bet a triple-vanilla version would be really good. You could add a splash of vanilla extract, a bit of vanilla paste to the batter, and a bit of vanilla powder to the powdered sugar on top. For my flower lovers out there, a rose cake would be gorgeous. In this case, I might actually scale back the rye flour, and use more all-purpose flour for a lighter cake overall. I’d add a splash of rose water and some freeze-dried raspberries to the batter, and then crumble some dried rose petals over the powdered sugar before serving. And if you’re serving with a bit of whipped cream, go ahead and boost that with a kiss of rose water as well. I could go on all day – but I hope this gives you some creative inspiration.

Slicing Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake on PLatter
Have fun with this one. It’s a fun, buttery cake canvas to experiment with. If chocolate is more what you’re craving, be sure to try my all-time favorite brownie recipe, this Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake, or the perfect chocolate pudding (no joke!).

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