Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

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Blueberries for Karen

July 28, 2013

blueberry cobler

It’s blueberry season.

The last two years, I haven’t been able to enjoy blueberry season.  This year we found a new place.  It was a short drive to Michigan, and 15 pounds later here we are.

Now I can make jam, muffins, pie, pancakes, blueberry buckle, blueberry zucchini bread  and cobbler.

Cobbler is one of those great desserts that brings oohs and ahs without much fuss.  Not to mention, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.  Cobbler is easily adaptable to most fruit.  I actually love a peach cobbler, but my husband is not a fan of peaches.  So I used the blueberries instead.

This recipe makes quite a bit, so it’s perfect for company.  But if you don’t want to share, I’m not going to judge.

blueberry cobbler iiiBlueberry Cobbler

  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1 C Flour
  • 2/3 C Sugar, divided
  • 2/3 C Brown Sugar, divided
  • 1 T Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 t Vanilla
  • 2/3 C Milk
  • 4 C Blueberries, fresh
  • 1 T Lemon Juice
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • 1/2 t Nutmeg
  • 1/2 t Ginger

Melt the butter in a 13×9 baking dish.

Combine the flour, 1/3 C sugar, 1/3 C brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together.  Add the milk, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter over the melted butter, do not stir.

Bring the 1/3 C sugar, 1/3 C brown sugar, lemon juice and blueberries to a boil in a medium sauce pan, stirring constantly.  Poor fruit mixture over batter, do not stir.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm with ice cream.

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A Little Birdie Told Me

April 14, 2013

hummingbird cakeEvery Easter I make lamb cake.  Every Easter except for this one.  Meeshie didn’t want lamb cake this year.  And everywhere we went they haunted us.  I would point out the expense and snicker.  But a lot of people don’t have a lamb cake mold passed down from their mother and many more of don’t bake.

When Meeshie asked me not to make lamb cake this year, I knew I had to make something else.  I’ve seen hummingbird cake recipes before and had always been intrigued.  What a perfect spring cake.  Or more accurately the perfect spring cupcake.  For those who have never had Hummingbird Cake, I would describe it as a carrot cake made with bananas.  Or spice cake made with bananas.  It’s lite.  Nothing like the denseness of banana bread.  People that don’t generally like banana bread love this cake.

This recipe requires roasting the bananas in their skin in the oven.  At first, I was going to skip this step.  I am the person that freezes all of my over ripe bananas.  The riper the banana the sweeter the bread.  I just figured that roasting the banana would move the ripening process along.  But then I read further in the post and discovered that roasting gives the bananas a slightly different flavor. I can’t really describe it, but just don’t skip that step.

When I made the frosting, I felt that the amount of cream cheese was overkill.  I’m not a fan of the in your face flavor of cream cheese.  But once the frosting had sat for a bit, the flavor along with the cake, was perfect.  Oh, adding the pecans to the frosting, genius.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I took pictures on the same day my washer died.  And my washer was out of commission  for almost two weeks.

Sorry folks, as much I would love to share this recipe with you.  I can’t.  If you would like to read the recipe that I used, please use this  post.  The author has asked that I not post it.  Happy clicking.

 

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Paczki Day

February 11, 2013

Lent starts tomorrow.  I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll be sacrificing.  I have time because today is all about indulging.  It’s all about Fat Tuesday, or around here Paczki Day.

I love a good paczki.

The ones of my childhood, though, are nothing like the ones I see now.  The paczki of my youth are small, like the size of a donut hole.  Sometimes they are filled with jelly, sometimes they are plain.  There was a Polish-Irish restaurant that served the best paczki at the end of every meal near my hometown. It was called Paczki-Dunn or Dunn-Paczki.  I’m not sure it it’s still there.

The ones I see now are too big.  Too doughy.  Not light enough.  These paczki are just right.

I made these in honor of Lent.  I hope you try them, they are totally worth all of the steps.  I used a shot glass to cut out the dough, but if you want them bigger-go for it.  I stuffed some with raspberry filling, some with almond and some I left plain.

Paczki

  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 C warm (room temperature) milk
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 4 ½ to 5 C flour
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.  Pour the yeast into a small bowl. Pour the warm milk into the bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar, nutmeg, eggs and vanilla. Mix. Add the butter to the large bowl and mix until it is well blended.  Add the milk and yeast to the large bowl. Mix well.  Slowly add flour. When you have four cups of flour mixed in, the dough should not be sticky. If it’s still sticky, add a little more. (Remember, the eggs help make the paczki light, but too much flour can quickly weigh the dough down. Use only as much flour as needed.)

Knead the dough gently with your fists until it no longer sticks to your knuckles.  Put the bowl of dough in a warm place; cover it with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Let it  double in size.  Once it has doubled, punch it down.  Let it rise again. This should take about an hour.

When the dough has risen a second time, dump the dough onto a lightly floured counter and roll it out to about one half-inch thickness. Using a two and one half inch round (oblong is better) cookie cutter or regular canning jar ring, cut the dough. Carefully place the dough cutouts on greased cookie sheets, in a warm room.   Let the dough rise until about double in size.

While the dough is rising, heat the oil to about 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Fry each paczki for about two minutes per side, or until deep brown. Use the slotted spoon to turn the paczki and lift each one from the oil carefully. Place the paczki on the paper towels lined cookie sheet to drain. The more grease that is drained away from the paczki the better the paczki will taste.  While they are still warm, dipped them in a powdered sugar glaze.  I used 2 C powdered sugar, 1 t Vanilla Extract (or Almond), and 1/3 C milk.  Once they’ve been dipped, you can fill them with jelly.  They are light and airy enough to be shot with a pastry filler and stuffed.

Paczki can also be frozen.

Here’s were I found it.

Meeshiesmom's Blog

 

Lent starts tomorrow.  I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll be sacrificing.  I have time because today is all about indulging.  It’s all about Fat Tuesday, or around here Paczki Day. 

I love a good paczki. 

The ones of my childhood, though, are nothing like the ones I see now.  The paczki of my youth are small, like the size of a donut hole.  Sometimes they are filled with jelly, sometimes they are plain.  There was a Polish-Irish restaurant that served the best paczki at the end of every meal near my hometown. It was called Paczki-Dunn or Dunn-Paczki.  I’m not sure it it’s still there.

The ones I see now are too big.  Too doughy.  Not light enough.  These paczki are just right.

I made these in honor of Lent.  I hope you try them, they are totally worth all of the steps.  I used a shot glass to cut out…

View original post 423 more words

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A Peppermint Treat

February 10, 2013

peppermint cookie iiiI made these cookies for Christmas.  I found them in the Every Day Food Christmas edition.  I had planned to post in December about them, then realized I hadn’t.  Sorry.

These cookies are a little crisper than I like, but it didn’t take away from the greatness of this cookie.  Meeshie loved them.  So did I, and I’m not generally a fan of chocolate and peppermint.  It always makes me think of York Peppermint Patties and I’ve never liked them.

Don’t let the candy garnish prevent you from making these year round.  You could easily substitute the Starlite Candies with buttermints at Easter.  Or use green Starlite Candies in March.  Or better yet, use white peppermint candy and a few drops of food coloring.

These cookies, as is, are perfect for your favorite valentine.  Use a heart-shaped stencil to sprinkle for the candy sprinkles.  And use your own judgement on how finely you want to crush the candy.  I made the pieces larger for Christmas, but making a candy dust for Valentine’s Day would be perfect, too.

peppermint cookiePeppermint-Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • 2 1/2 C Flour
  • 1 T Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1 C Butter, softened
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1/4 t Peppermint Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 C Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 C Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 3-5 T Half and Half
  • 12 Round Peppermint Candies, crushed (Starlite Candies or Candy Canes)

Combine first three ingredients in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the peppermint extract.  Beat again for three minutes.  Beat in egg.  Slowly add flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into quarter sized balls.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Let cool for five minutes before transferring off the cookie sheet.

Stir the confectioner’s sugar and enough cream to make a spreadable glaze.  Spread a thin layer of glaze on top of each cookie (or dip the top of the cookies in the glaze) and sprinkle with the crushed candy.

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Let Them Eat Cake

October 16, 2012

 

 

Cathy talked about making the cake with orange and cranberry.  She loves that combination.  I’m not sure if she’ll make it for Thanksgiving, but I’m sure if she did it would be a hit.

I made the cake with the pumpkin.  I loved that I could just through the ingredients together so quickly.  I made this before work the other morning and just loaded it into the car.  The smell during my commute was heavenly.

My only complaint is that I don’t have a picture of the new cakes.

What variation can you think of?  What about the chocolate cake mix?

Butterscotch Coffee Cake

  • 1 box (18.25 Oz. Box) Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 box (3.4 Oz. Box) Instant Vanilla Pudding or Butterscotch Pudding
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • Topping:
  • ⅓ C Sugar
  • ¾ C Chopped Pecans
  • ¾ C Butterscotch Morsels

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the pudding as directed and let set. Add the cake mix and eggs to the pudding. Mix until blended and pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Mix the ingredients together for the topping, sprinkle on top of the cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

  • 1 box (18.25 Oz. Box) Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1  15 oz Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Topping:
  • ⅓ C Brown Sugar
  • ¾ C Chopped Pecans
  • 1 t Pumpkin Pie Spice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the pudding as directed and let set. Add the cake mix, eggs and pumpkin puree. Mix until blended and pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Mix the ingredients together for the topping, sprinkle on top of the cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Cranberry Orange Cake

  • 1 box (18.25 Oz. Box) Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 box (3.4 Oz. Box) Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • zest from 1/2 an Orange
  • Topping:
  • ⅓ C Sugar
  • ¾ C Chopped Cranberries
  • 1/2 C White Chocolate Morsels
  • 1/2 C Chopped Pecans
  • Orange Zest, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the pudding as directed and let set. Add the cake mix and eggs to the pudding.  Add the orange zest and mix until blended and pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Mix the ingredients together for the topping, sprinkle on top of the cake.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

 

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Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

September 19, 2012

I started a new job this summer.  I love it.  For my first day, I decided to bring in some baked goods.  I made whopper bars, lemon triangles and these babies.  I wanted to have a good variety since I didn’t know anyone.  I’m glad I did.  Although, I’ve been there long enough now, that no one is shy about requests.

These salty and sweet bars are simple.  Don’t let the steps scare you.  It’s a great bar that packs a great wow factor.  Plus it’s the salty sweet thing that I love.  These are a perfect treat now that the weather is starting to get cooler.  But then again, I made them in the summer, so they are a perfect treat for summer too.  I used coarse Kosher salt, but the recipe called for Fleur de sel.

Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

Shortbread:
2 C Flour
2 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Salt
1 C Butter, softened
1/2 C Sugar

Caramel:
1/2 C Butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 C Sugar
2 T Light  Corn Syrup
1 14-oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Chocolate:
8 oz Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 t Light Corn Syrup
1/2 C Butter, cut into 8 pieces
Salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

To make the shortbread layer: Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared
pan and press into an even layer over the bottom (it’ll be a fairly thin layer).  Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the caramel layer: Combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk in a medium saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted. Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and turns
a light caramel color. This may take 10 minutes or more, so be patient. Pour the caramel mixture over the cooled shortbread and spread in an even layer. Allow to cool completely, then chill briefly.

To make the chocolate layer: Add the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter to a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour the chocolate over the chilled caramel and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. Let cool for a few minutes, then sprinkle the top with the salt. Let the chocolate set completely before slicing and serving.

Here’s the original.  I’ve shared this site in the past, and it just gets better and better.

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More Blondies!

August 29, 2012

Now that school has started, I’m baking more.  I love baking treats and then having on hand for Meeshie’s school lunch.  This a great and simple treat for anyone’s lunch.  It can work well with any other fresh fruit.  I think the only thing to change up would be using white chocolate depending on the fruit choice.  But then I love white chocolate almost as much as I love browned butter.  Feel free to add pecans.  I didn’t, but you could.

Cut these up, wrap them individually and stick them in the freezer.  They’ll be ready to add to lunch.  That’s the beauty of a blondie, or a brownie.  Small effort for a great treat.

Chocolate Cherry Blondies

  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 1 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 1/8 t Salt
  • 1 C Flour
  • 1/2 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 C Cherries, fresh, pitted and chopped

Grease a 8×8 pan.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.  Melt and brown the butter, let cool.  In a large bowl, add the brown sugar and the butter and whisk until smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chips and then the cherries.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until set in the middle.

Makes 16 squares.

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Fresh Plums

July 15, 2012

The last time we were at Costco, we bought plums.  I love Costco’s produce.  It’s reasonably priced and it’s some the freshest, and tastiest, produce around.  These plums were so sweet and juicy.  So juicy, in fact, that we started to eat them over the kitchen sink to avoid a mess.

I knew that as soon as I got them home, I would be making something with them.  I settled on this crumble recipe.  It’s quick and delicious.  It also allows me to use some of my candied ginger from Penzey’s.  The ginger, cinnamon and dash of nutmeg tie together nicely with the sweetness of the plums.  Warm or cold, this is a wonderful treat that will make everyone happy.

The only thing that I didn’t do was keep much of the skin.  The reason for that was the plums were so ripe, most of the skin came off while I was cutting them in half.

Plum Crumble

  • 12 Prune Plums, cut in half and pitted
  • 2 T Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 T plus 3/4 C Flour, divided
  • 1/4 C Old Fashioned Oats
  • 3/4 t Cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 t Nutmeg
  • 1/4 t Ground Ginger
  • 2 T Candied Ginger, finely chopped
  • 3/4 C Sugar
  • 1 t Baking Powder
  • 1/8 t Salt
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1/2 C Butter

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, 1 1/2 T Flour, 1/4 t cinnamon, nutmeg, ground and candied ginger.  Add the plums and mix well.  Arrange the plums skin side up in an ungreased, 9-inch pie plate.

In the same bowl, combine the sugar, baking powder, remaining flour, oats, cinnamon and salt.  Mix well.  Add the egg.  Using your hands, or a fork, mix thoroughly until crumbly.  Sprinkle mixture over the plums.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan until browned.  Drizzle the browned butter over the crumb mixture.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is browned and the plums yield easily when pricked.  Remove from the oven and cool.

Serve warm or cool, with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Here’s the original.

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A Girl Scout Treat

June 15, 2012

I’m trying to get more organized lately.  I’m also trying to get acclimated to my new job.  The job is great.  The commute, on the other hand, is another story.  For the last few years I’ve been close to home and barely had a commute.  Now, I’m in the car for just under an hour and I’m having a hard time adjusting.  I figure if I can get even more organized I can help stream line the after work stuff.  You know, dinner.  It’s all on my husband, and like I said I’m getting acclimated.  Luckily it’s summer, and we love to grill.

I found these treats on pinterest.  I know, I know, “My name is Karen, and I have a problem…”  The recipe caught my eye because I love Whoppers.  The candy Whoppers.  I like a good whopper too, but that’s a discussion for another time.  I’ve always enjoyed malted milk balls and thought  this was a clever way to incorporate them into a simple treat.

I made them and shared them with my new co-workers on my first day.   Nothing like sharing with, or some may say bribing, my new family on the first day.  Then I made them again for a girl scout outing this week.  One of the girls in Meeshie’s troop is leaving us to move out of state.  Another girl in the troop told me that the next time I make these, I should feel free to stop by her house and drop them off.  That’s an endorsement I can live with.

These are a great treat, because the only thing you bake is the crust.  Perfect for these warm summer days when you want something sweet.  The original recipe called for more ingredients, but I didn’t feel they were needed and omitted them.  I also doubled the recipe.  But you could also just double the crust and making the amount of filling for one batch.

Malted Chocolate Bars

  • Crust:*
  • 1 C Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 3 T Butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 3/4 C Butter, softened
  • 4 ounces, Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 1/8 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 C Flour
  • 3/4 C Chocolate Malted Milk Powder
  • 3/4 t Salt
  • 1 1/2 T Vanilla
  • 1 C Whopper candy, crushed, plus additional for garnish

* I doubled the crust, and browned 6 T of butter before combining with the graham cracker crumbs and placed it into a 9×13 prepared pan.

Prepare a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper or foil to line the pan.  Combine the butter and graham crackers together and press into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a small, combine the flour, malted milk powder and salt.  In a medium bowl, combine the butter and sugar until smooth.  Add the cream cheese and whip until fluffy.  Slowly add the flour mixture and vanilla.  Beat until combined.  Stir in the crushed Whoppers.

Add the filing to the cooled crust, using a spatula to spread the filling evenly over the crust.  Place additional Whoppers on the filling to decorate.  Chill and cut into bars.

This is the original recipe.

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Starting Something New

May 30, 2012

I apologize for not posting.  Last week was a whirlwind.  It was my last week at work.

For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been looking for another job for quite some time.  The job I was at for the last few years was well below my skill level.  I took it due to budget cuts in my old department.  A few weeks ago I had a job offer, which I took, but that involved leaving some of the nicest people I know.  Truly, the people I worked with daily made the drudgery of my job seem less like drudgery.  I’ve cried more in the last week, then I have in a while.  I’m excited about the new changes, but it has been a very bittersweet week.

Of course, this week hasn’t been any better.  For the first time ever, I decided to take time of between jobs and I had such grand plans.  I think I’ve been able to accomplish some of those things, but not many.  It’s Meeshie’s last week of school, so I’m making arrangements for summer for her.  It’s been unusually warm, so the plans I had to work in the yard have been put on hold.  Except for the garden.  We expanded the garden this year and added a lovely fence.  I planted all of my veggies over the holiday weekend.

I’ve been trying to get some baking done while I’m home.  I want to bring in a treat to all my new co-workers next week, and I’m trying to figure out what that will be.

These lemon jam bars are a pretty good start.  I used some homemade jam in them, but store-bought will work.  I think either strawberry, raspberry or blueberry would really make this pop.  The jam complements the lemon in the bars perfectly.  I know I’ve been make quite a few things with lemon lately, but why not?  There’s something about lemon in the spring or summer that is so perfect.

Lemon Jam Bars

  • Crust:
  • 1 C Butter, softened
  • 2 C Flour
  • 1/2 C Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • Zest from one Lemon
  • Filling:
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Fresh Lemon Juice (I used 6 lemons)
  • Zest from one Lemon
  • 3/4 t Baking Powder
  • 4 t Flour
  • 1/2 C your favorite jam, I used strawberry, but use what you think will work well with the lemon

Line a quarter sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the butter, flour, confectioners’ sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest together in a medium bowl.  Use a wooden spoon to form a soft dough.  Press evenly into the prepared pan.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Bake the crust for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Remove from oven,  but leave the oven on.  Allow the crust to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, baking powder and flour together in a medium bowl.  Whisk until well blended.  Spread the jam over the cooled crust.  Slowly pour the lemon filling on to the jam layer.  Bake for 22-24 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  After that, lower the temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the topping has set.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Dust with additional powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

This is another great recipe I found on pinterest.  Here’s the original.

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