Welcome to the Neighborhood Trader Joe's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

It is hard to explain the place food shopping has in the hearts of most New Yorkers. It is both a loathsome, frustrating experience and a wholly satisfying one due to the incredible offerings at some of the more inventive markets. And so it was with great anticipation that my neighborhood welcomed the opening of our first Trader Joe’s. What followed for me was yet another love-hate relationship with a food emporium (as opposed to The Food Emporium which is 100% hate).
When I was a child nothing thrilled me more than a trip to a suburban grocery store. An overnight visit to my grandmother’s in Great Neck meant accompanying her on her weekly stock-up at Waldbaum’s. What a treat—roaming undisturbed in the wide aisles, the Brach’s Pick-A-Mix kiosk (where she forced me into a life of crime by encouraging me to swipe those Neopolitan coconut caramels and shove them into my mouth before check-out), loading up on No-Cal raspberry soda—it was a little piece of heaven. But then I spent a summer in LA and Ralph’s made Waldbaum’s seem like a corner bodega. It was huge, sunny (of course) filled to the rafters with every product I’d seen on television but somehow never found on the shelves of our edited urban market, and to my mother’s delight, it sold wine!
What a contrast to the endless meanderings to specialty food stores city shopping meant at the time: she had to hit the regular market, the fish store, the butcher, the liquor store, etc. all while steering a stroller through aisles that barely accommodated a shopping cart. Plus she had to beat the clock to make sure she got home before the supermarket delivery guy showed up. How stressful.

Shopping in the city can be treacherous business. With narrow aisles, nerves frayed by crowds and the general hostility of the average New Yorker the supermarket becomes a take-no-prisoners arena. And I’m as guilty as the next shopper. Lucky for me I’m only buying for one and can get away with just a hand-basket, weaving my way through the masses contemplating strawberry vs. raspberry jam or sampling olives when they think no one is looking. But Lord help the shopper who gets in my way. “Sorry!” I lie as I (oops) knock my basket into their back just for a little move-it-along encouragement.
I happen to live in an area that has always made a big deal about food—Whole Foods, Gourmet Garage, The Food Emporium, Zabars, Citarella and Fairway are all in walking distance from my apartment. For selection and prices Fairway (which started out more produce focused but is now a full grocery store complete with an amazing cheese selection, bakery, coffee, organic and house brands) is where I spend most of my food budget. However, you literally take your life into your own hands when you enter and I have the black and blue marks on my calves to prove it. Sure some of the bruises come from distracted old ladies accidentally crashing into me but I’ve also borne my share of premeditated attacks. Like the time a man dressed as a Dickensian child catcher waited for me by the exit and kicked me in the shin just as I walked out the door. It’s true. Because of the reasons detailed above the store is always crowded, always hostile, and the help is always surly. But as in most love-hate relationships, I continually go back for more.
And so, when the neighborhood got wind that Trader Joe’s was opening in the middle of the two-mile corridor bookended by two Whole Foods, expectations were high. “Oh, I can’t wait for the pot stickers!” said my friend Marsha. Amy was excited about the peanut butter filled pretzels while Anne raved about the lunch options for kids. Having been to one of their stores in the ‘burbs, I was just looking forward to the great prices on baking products, nuts, chocolate etc.
I made my virgin voyage to the 72nd Street Trader Joe’s last Tuesday and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. The space is horrendous—it is entirely subterranean going two stories underground and lit only by the glare of the florescent fixtures that are as flattering as the bad-mood lighting of the DMV. Everything looks picked over and messy, as if raccoons had been let loose in the store. The customers have no idea where they are going, so there is this sense of vagueness coupled with anxiety which seems to force the shoppers, and their carts, to stop suddenly in an aisle, look up helplessly for a non-existent sign while a four wagon pile-up forms behind them. I was desperate to find an exit sign. Gasping on the sidewalk for breath I vowed never to return.
That was until I made my opinion public; I was chastised by every friend who had sucked it up, stayed the course and come home with pistachio chocolate bark and the “perfect baguette.” And when my friend Chris reported they carried mini peanut butter cups, just a bit bigger than a chocolate chip, my baking imagination took hold and I re-visited the store on Friday night at the relatively peaceful hour of 9pm. (Oh, I’m sorry, were you busy painting the town red while I was grocery shopping on a Friday night?) Despite the lack of signage I found what I was looking for and yes, it was much less chaotic. Although the lighting still cast a yellow shadow over everything and everyone giving the whole place a kind of Night of the Living Dead vibe.
But really, how could I decide anything until I’d baked with one of their offerings? After a quick consult with my peanut butter and chocolate loving sister, I settled on a cocoa cookie using my box of Trader Joe’s Mini Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups in place of a conventional chip. They are soft and slightly cakey with surprises of oozy, salty peanut butter and gooey milk chocolate—perfect for the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup fan in your life. I should add that I handled myself very politely at the store and did not inflict any physical harm on the other customers. So these cookies have me feeling the Trader Joe’s love. For now.
Welcome to the Neighborhood Trader Joe's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
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Adapted from Nestle's Very Best Baking

2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa (not Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 12 oz box Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Mini Peanut Butter Cups (if not available you can substitute two cups of peanut butter chips or chocolate & peanut butter swirled chips or Reeses pieces)

Preheat oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
In a medium bowl whisk, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt to combine
In bowl of electric mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and add eggs one at a time beating to combine. Add vanilla and beat briefly to combine.On low speed gradually add flour until fully incorporated.Remove bowl from mixer and stir in peanut butter cups until distributed evenly.Drop by rounded teaspoons or use small (2 teaspoon) ice cream scoop onto cookie sheets.Bake for 9-11 minutes until the middle of the cookies puff and look set.
Cool on sheets for two minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

: These cookies can be fragile. Follow cooling instructions or you'll wind up with a mess of broken cookies.

Yield 6 1/2 dozen cookies


TV Time Nutty Spicy Caramel Popcorn

There is a lot I love about fall—good hair weather, changing leaves, chunky sweaters, trading open toes for boots. But there is a dirty little secret that I have harbored since I was a child: one of my favorite things about fall is the new TV season. I’ve made it clear that during my formative years my desired television viewing habits remained only desired. And I’ve also mentioned the irony (hypocrisy?) behind the strict “idiot box” policies that were enforced by my parents; my father was a creative director at an ad agency (yes, he had Don Draper’s job) and TV commercials kept a roof over our head.
In spite of (or perhaps because of) the dictatorship run by the people who kept our color television under the lock and key of their bedroom, I only wanted to spend my evenings in TV’s thrall. Their rules didn’t nurture a yearning to curl up with Tom Sawyer, Jane Eyre or Moll Flanders (or God forbid, my homework) but rather, with the Bradys, the Angels or the Carringtons. And so, just as buying a new pencil case put a little spring in my step, so did the unveiling of the signature theme songs each network used to usher in the new season's line-up. The really sad thing is that I actually remember a few of them (“Now is the Time, ABC is the Place!” Fall 1981 anyone?). I am truly curious as to what was going on in my brain at the time that made escaping into the black box more appealing than staying on the reality side of the screen. Although, thinking about anyone’s life at 15 it isn’t really that hard to figure out.
Here is where things get even more ironic: the automotive industry was the entire reason why the networks' season began in September in the first place and my father spent 30 years working on car accounts. According to my source, (you-know-who) back in the day (it still may be true) car companies were the biggest advertisers on television. New cars were rolled out in September and it followed that that would be when their ad needs were greatest, so let’s bring on the new shows. What’s also interesting (to me) is that the idea of January (mid-season) replacement shows was tied into the re-launches of the car models that had been introduced the previous September. Get it? The whole model was shaken up by the foreign car companies and their foreign schedules and the explosion of cable so none of this really applies to either business at this point. But old habits die hard in TV land and so, “Now is the Time [and my TV] is the Place!”

Of course, because I am a theater geek in princess clothing I am very happy to welcome back Glee. I’ve been watching since day one and recommend it to anyone, whether or not you are in high school or care about musical theater. Then there is 30 Rock because Alec Baldwin is brilliant, Private Practice because Tim Daly is Tim Daly, The Good Wife because I’m obsessed with Julianna Margulies’ eyebrows and Modern Family because everyone says it’s great and I have yet to watch it. I’m also watching Running Wilde, co-created and starring my hilarious friend Will Arnett (shameless plug for friend, sorry), plus I’m in the middle of Mad Men and easing into Top Chef: Just Desserts. As you can see, I am very busy.
Speaking of busy, keeping my hands occupied while watching all of this is a constant challenge. I don’t know about you but I have a very hard time staring at a screen with my hands resting by my side. At the movies I’m always nibbling on something and that happens at home too. The reason I took up knitting 10 years ago was so I could do something productive while watching TV, other than stuffing my face. And that tactic worked for awhile. Basically, I learned one sweater pattern and one hat pattern and I knitted them for the babies in my life. But there were two problems; first, yarn is a lot more expensive than a bag of chips and second, the babies grew. As their size went up my bank account went down. So now I’m back to eating.

I do my best to time my dinner to the show du nuit but the network programmers aren’t always taking my dining schedule into consideration. At 10pm I find myself empty handed, or to paraphrase Estelle Costanza again, “sitting there like an idiot without a piece of cake” and sometimes I’m not in the mood for cake. Actually, that’s not true. I always want cake. I just don’t want to look like someone who always eats cake. Really, I’m usually hankering after a little combo of salty and sweet and when I saw this recipe in the September issue of Bon Appetit I was intrigued. Caramel corn, cashews and….bacon? This I had to try.
Oh no, it is really good. Don’t be too freaked by the bacon (or Fakin if you’re a vegetarian), it just gives a little smokiness to this salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy, perfect grown-up version of Cracker Jacks. Now I have a new problem—I’m going to look like someone who ate 15 cups of snack mix. Maybe I should have stuck to cake. Or maybe I should go back to knitting. Anyone having a baby?
Note: Personally, I don't see the point of the tea in this recipe. I think you could just go with warmed cream, sans tea. Also, use your favorite nut if cashews aren't your thing. And forgo the bacon too if it freaks you out. The nuts, popcorn and caramel would be delicious even without the addition of a smoky meat.

TV Time Nutty Spicy Caramel Popcorn

from Bon Appetit, September 2010
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1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces bacon, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews (one 2.5-ounce package)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 oolong tea bag
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 300°F.
Heat popcorn and oil in covered heavy large pot over medium-high heat until kernels begin to pop. Using oven mitts, hold lid on pot andshake pot until popping stops. Pour popcorn into very large bowl.
Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until almost crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain; cool and chop into small pieces.
Add bacon and cashews to bowl with popcorn. Sprinkle with coarse salt and cayenne; toss to coat.
Bring cream and tea bag just to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat; let steep 15 minutes, occasionally pressing on tea bag with back of spoon to release flavor. (I poured my mixture into a mug for a better steep.) Discard tea bag.
Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray. Coat 2 wooden spoons or heat-resistant spatulas with nonstick spray; set aside.

Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup in large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 9-13 minutes.
Remove from heat and immediately add cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir until blended.
Immediately drizzle caramel over popcorn mixture; toss with sprayed spoons until evenly coated. Transfer to sheet.
Place caramel corn in oven and bake until caramel is shiny and coats popcorn, tossing mixture occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Cool completely on sheet on rack, tossing occasionally to break up large clumps.
Yield: 15 cups


You Don't Have to Fast to Love Rugelach

So here we are in the thick of the High Holy days, between Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), and I’m confronted with my annual religious ambivalence. Year after year I go to services with my father (my mother having handed in her resignation from organized religion 25 years ago) and year after year I wonder why. How do you explain to yourself why you enter a house of worship if you are unsure whether or not you actually believe in God?

When I was a child I hated anything to do with fantasy, magical places or whimsy. I refused to read the Chronicles of Narnia, thought Alice should not have traveled Through the Looking Glass and didn’t understand why Wendy, Michael and John got out of bed to join Peter Pan in Neverland. I think that same thinking is what has kept me from connecting to anything spiritual; I’m just too pragmatic. From yoga to Judaism, skepticism and a healthy dose of anxiety holds me back from considering the idea that there is something bigger out there. And don’t get me started on astronomy—I know I’d have a panic attack if I ever went to the planetarium because then I’d have to start thinking about infinity and might not ever recover.
I see all of this as one big character flaw. I know so many people who find real meaning in their lives through different faiths and philosophies and I wish I could join them. I just try to use morality as my guide, but I do feel like I am missing out on something I will never understand. And frankly, my angst is a luxury. I have relatives who went through hell to live in a country where freedom of religion is a right, not a privilege. In many ways, where would I get off not observing in some way?
So in the meantime, as I wrestle with my faith-based demons, I check in with my religion a couple of times a year when it seems most important to. As much as I complain about dressing like a grown-up, and shivering in our drafty, albeit beautiful, temple, I do have to admit that I enjoy the ritual of it. There is something comforting about the fact that I’ve been sitting in the same sanctuary since I was a child listening to the same rabbi (who was a seriously cute guy with the thickest head of hair in the 70’s and who is now completely bald and slightly stooped), the walk through the park afterwards and of course the people watching. (Last week there was a woman dressed from head to toe in bright red. And by head I mean she was wearing a hat so big, over her too-long, dyed yellow hair, she looked like she made a wrong turn on her way to Ascot.) Although I’ve never been among the people who chat and crowd the sidewalk before or after the service, it is indeed a feast for the eyes.
And speaking of feasts…of course food plays a part in all of this. My mother, despite her atheism, diligently makes matzoh ball soup (which I don’t eat because I hate chicken soup but which I hear is quite good), for the pre-fast, Kol Nidre dinner and I take care of dessert.

When we were growing up I don’t remember us making a big deal out of breaking the Yom Kippur fast. I know my father fasted, and there was always a big glass of orange juice waiting for him at 6pm, but then we just had dinner. It wasn’t until I was out of college that I heard “break fast” being used as a noun. But when I was invited to one, and witnessed the bountiful spread of bagels and smoked salmon, cheeses and noodle pudding, I couldn’t believe I had been living in a Zabar’s-less world for so long. Where had I been and how could I make up for lost time?
I’ll tell you how: by insisting that my family step it up and join the rest of New York’s Jews by going to carb-town. Now every year my mother handles the bagels and bialys, smoked fish, white fish salad, egg salad, an assortment of cheeses, more breads and a few pieces of smelly herring for my father while my sister takes care of the fruit salad and I bake the kugel and the rugelach. Somehow we are incredibly traditional in this area with none of the men (all of whom know how to cook and cook well) in our lives doing a thing. Hmmmn.
This year I’m actually looking forward to fasting, not only because I’m a fan of all the foods that await me, but also because my parents’ prodigal son has returned. My brother hasn’t lived in New York for five years and he is finally coming “home.” This will be his first break fast watching our nieces lick the cream cheese off their bagels and attempting to unfurl their rugelach. Although Niece 2 has decided she doesn’t “yike him because he’s a boy,” I’m sure he will be able to win her over. And I guess this is exactly what the high holidays mean to me. With apologies to God (if there is one), it’s all about family.
This rugelach recipe is just perfect, no surprise since it belongs to Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa—a nice Jewish girl herself. The pastry is so flaky and the filling has the chew from the currants (I use them instead of raisins because it makes life easier when you cut the dough into wedges), the crunch from the walnuts, the sticky, sweet-tart from the apricot jam and the warmth from the cinnamon. There is no reason to starve yourself all day in order to enjoy one (or three) and in fact, you don’t even need to be Jewish. As, yes, my people say, wishing you a good year—“Shana Tova.”

NOTE: If this sticky dough becomes hard to work with at any point, pop it back into the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. Be sure to liberally sprinkle both your rolling out surface, as well as the rolling pin and the dough.

You Don't Have to Fast to Love Rugelach
From Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Parties!, 2001
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8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons, divided
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
3/4 cup raisins or currants
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in a food processor
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.

On a well-floured board or piece of parchment, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. (Keeping each ball of dough in fridge till you are ready to roll).
Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough.
Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds.
Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350

Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
Yield: 4 dozen cookies


Back to School Olive Oil Cake with Blackberries

There’s something about a store display of school supplies that can make the most antique of alumna wistful for a new pencil case. Rows of folders, six packs of pens, index cards, spiral notebooks—oh If only I had a reason to buy a Mead Trapper Keeper! That’s all I wanted as a kid—all those folders and compartments, organized bliss. Just like Buster Brown shoes and Sears Toughskins, the Trapper Keeper was something I only saw on TV (nostalgia fans click here to watch the commercial) but never had an opportunity to purchase. I went to a school that issued special pygmy size, black loose-leaf notebooks, thus robbing us girls of the chance to stuff our back packs with assorted 8 ½ x11 inch accoutrements.
Regardless of whether you celebrate Rosh Hashanah I don’t think you ever get over thinking of September as the start of a new year. And in many ways I envy students who are headed back to school. Imagine sitting in a classroom and learning something completely new. That’s so exciting. And if it weren’t for homework, testing and grades I would have been happy to stay in school forever. Unfortunately, back in the day I often greeted the first day of school with jitters and some dread. Now when I take a class it’s because I’ve chosen to explore something that I think might be interesting and the whole experience feels more on my terms.
Over the years I’ve taken a variety of courses and what at first I couldn’t get over I have now come to expect: no matter how old we all are there is always a clown, a know-it-all, a dimwit and a teacher’s pet. Once I thought I might like pottery and spent ten Sunday evenings in the fluorescent basement of the JCC turning out misshapen vessels that looked a bit like my five year-old niece had had some fun with clay. There was one girl in the class who had a speech impediment and at our first class I decided I felt sorry for her, how hard it must be to be her, to speak in such a strange way. By the second class I hated her. Despite her hollow speech and lisp she was bossy, obnoxious and filled with a simmering rage at having to do our first few pieces by hand before ultimately being eased into working on the potter’s wheel. “You know, I’ve worked on the wheel before!” she snapped at the instructor who was so patient when, if I were her, I would have choked that student with a wire clay cutter. Not to mention, during my semester exploring ceramics, the horrible girl stared back at me blankly when I said “hi” at the supermarket.
But it wasn’t until I went to pastry school that I really got to sink my teeth (a little nod to Grandpa Sol’s propensity for bad puns, sorry) into something I knew I was interested in. Our afternoons were spent learning the hows and whys of baking: a bit of a lecture, a demo by our chef instructor and then off to put it to practice, usually in teams of two. What could be better? And of course the usual archetypes emerged. There was the know-it-all; a guy who brought his own infrared instant-read thermometer from home because the one the school provided wasn’t accurate enough. There was the teacher’s pet who offered to volunteer at every school function while making sure we all knew she was also holding down two jobs. There was the clown who actually wasn’t remotely funny and then there was the dim wit. She was like the love child of Charlie Brown’s dirty friend Pig Pen and Lindsay Lohan. Her apron was consistently smeared with chocolate, her fingers stained with raspberry puree, her shoes spattered with egg yolks (Pig Pen’s side of the family). One day she left a message for our instructor saying she was sick with the flu and wouldn’t be in class. The next day she walked in and her mouth looked like someone had punched her. Clearly her illness had driven her into the syringe of a sympathetic dermatologist who decided shooting her lips up with collagen was a sure way to lower her fever (LiLo’s side). Thank goodness for the woman who had become my bff (another must when you’re in school) because I would have burst if I hadn’t had someone with whom to exchange glances. Which brings me to another great thing about adult education; you get to know people from so many different walks of life you otherwise wouldn’t have had the good fortune to meet. Bff Meg had been a New York City cop—how cool is that? As tough as her prior career choice demanded she be she has the biggest heart, rescues kittens, was a wiz at decorative cake work and now she and her mother own Oh Sweet Day Marketplace, a lovely, crafty store in Westchester.

But there was one student who was obviously headed to the pastry big time. She was the most committed and talented in the class and so it was no surprise when I opened the July issue of Food and Wine and saw Jennifer Shelbo featured in the article, “The Year of the Pastry Chef.” After tours of duty in other Danny Meyer restaurants Jen is now dessert queen at his newest place, Maialino. (She also contributed a recipe for cantaloupe sorbet in this week's New York magazine. I don't have an ice cream maker so a trip to the restaurant for a taste is on my to-do list.) This incredibly moist olive oil cake is hers and it couldn’t be easier. It is an example of the “One Step” or “Dump” mixing method; you mix all the dry ingredients together, you mix all the wet ingredients together, and you add the dry to the wet. The olive oil gives the cake a mellow fruitiness that is offset so beautifully by the acidity of the blackberries while the infusion of orange perks the whole thing up. This recipe is definitely one for my files; I think I just found a reason to buy my first Trapper Keeper!
Note: I found the recipe made more batter than I needed to fill my cake pan 2/3-3/4 full so I wound up using up the leftover by making four little cupcakes as well. My 9-inch pan is 1 ½-inches deep, if yours is deeper that’s great. If it’s not either use a larger pan, waste the extra batter or do the cupcake thing. If you go with the cupcakes you won’t need one hour for them to bake. Mine were done in about 30 minutes.

Back to School Olive Oil Cake with Blackberries
From Jennifer Shelbo, Food and Wine, July 2010
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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 extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

2 cups blackberries
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder.
In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice and Grand Marnier.
Add the dry ingredients; 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 to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss the blackberries, sugar, oil and zest. Let stand, tossing occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the berries release some of their juices, about 30 minutes.
Cut the cake into slices, plate and top with berries.
Yield: 8 servings