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Posts Tagged ‘Dessert’

Here’s a dessert I really enjoy and is simple to make.  While this site usually advocates using produce in season, here’s a recipe that is fairly forgiving if the strawberries are not at their peak – though of course, in season tastes better and costs less.  Also remember to clean your strawberries well as they are listed among the fruits with the highest levels of residual pesticides.  Beginners: slice off and discard the tops.

This is recipe is a mild variation on another web recipe but this time the changes are few but significant.  The original recipe calls for ¾ cup of vegetable oil.  Here I cut the oil in half and compensate by increasing the amount of strawberries.  Strawberries when they bake give off a lot of water so do not be concerned that your batter will be barely moistened when you add in the strawberries.  A note for dieters – even with cutting the oil in half, the entire recipe is about 2700 calories – which per serving (no matter how small you serve) is not slimming.IMG_0318

The other change is that I use an 8×8 pan rather than a loaf pan.  The best parts of this recipe are the top and the sides (the rest is very good too).  Also cooking in a flatter pan also reduces baking time and you do not get that gooey middle that sometimes forms when oil based breads take a few days to eat.  If you want, a 7×11 pan should work well too.  I find that many dessert breads turn out better in an 8×8 pan than a loaf pan.

Oatmeal Strawberry Bread – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup oats (I have not tried the quick variety)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound strawberries roughly chopped (about 3/8 “ dice +/-)

Cook:IMG_0314-2

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 glass pan.
  • Stir together in a large bowl: flour, outs, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil and the eggs until well mixed
  • Stir the oil-egg mixture into the dry ingredients until all the dry ingredients are moist
  • Fold (stir) in the strawberries
  • Place batter in the pan, spreading it out evenly
  • Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 – 60 minutes (check out 45 minutes if using a 7×11 pan).
  • Cool on a wire rack.

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I like to search for recipes on the internet.  One of the advantages of many internet recipes is that you can read the comments made by those who have already tried the recipe.  Not only do they tell how good the recipe is, but they also talk about changes or variations to the posted recipe that they have made.  And then there are the comments seconding or reviewing those changes.

The banana chocolate chip cake recipe posted here today epitomizes finding a well received recipe and adjusting it significantly based on the recommendations and feedback to the recommendations as well as my own experience baking.  The ingredients and/or quantities listed below vary from the original recipe so much that I have no trouble labeling the recipe my own.   Only 3 of the 11 ingredients are unvaried from the original recipe; even the pan is changed.

Now on to what matters: the cake.  Although I often try to make cakes recipes that use canola oil rather than butter, I cannot deny that butter makes a better tasting cake and this recipe uses butter – but not quite as much as the original recipe called for.  I also use low fat buttermilk, but you can substitute any variety of milk you prefer.  Since this cake is not frosted, you are not getting the overdose of saturated fat most cakes have.  As to the chocolate chips, try it with standard sized chips or the minis and please let us know which you enjoyed most.   All pertinent feedback is welcome.  You’re even welcome to guess which 3 ingredients are unaltered from the original recipe (and no, flour is not one of them).

Some cooking hints: I find the best way to mash bananas is to place them in a wide soup bowl and mash them with a fork.  Of course, this depends on how overripe your bananas are and the strength of your fork.  A nice feature of this cake is being able to visually tell when it is ready to come out of the oven.  Since the cake is not frosted you want the top to appear golden in color.  Yes, the toothpick may come out clean sooner but the extra minute or two to get that nice appearance is worth it and does not impact the result.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Cake – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda (1.5 teaspoons)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup low fat buttermilk
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cook:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, sugars, baking soda, and salt
  • In a separate bowl, combine bananas, egg, melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla extract
  • Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended.  Be careful not to over mix.
  • Stir in chocolate chips
  • Pour into 9 inch round pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (see cooking hints above).
  • Remove cake from oven and allow the cake to cool before removing it from the pan.

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The peach harvest this summer is off the hook. They are at the farmers market every single week, no exceptions.  They smell and taste amazing, are juicy and just perfect. One of my favorite recipes for peaches combines them with another summer staple: basil.  While they may not seem like a natural combination the two together are mind-blowing.

For this recipe I wrote it for one whole peach.  I like to save the extra juice/sauce to pour over vanilla ice cream.  The goop is that good it really is worth saving.  I also think you could serve vanilla ice cream with the peaches themselves.   They can be served hot, room temperature or cold – totally up to you.  If saving the peaches in the fridge make sure to cover them with plastic wrap.

 

Basil Poached Peaches – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 1 peach
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 sprig of basil (about 10 leaves)

Prep:

  1. Cut the peach in half and discard the pit.
  2. Wash the basil and remove the leaves from the stem.

Cook:

  1. In a wide bottom sauce pan combine the sugar, wine and water over medium-high heat.
  2. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add to the mixture the basil leaves and the peaches cut-side down.
  4. Cook for 3 minutes, and then using a slotted spoon turn the peaches and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Remove the peaches and place in bowls.
  6. Let the syrup to cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  7. Allow the peaches to cool a little and then using spoons, a fork or your hands carefully remove the peach’s skin.  Discard the skin.
  8. Using a slotted spoon remove the basil leaves from the syrup and discard.
  9. Drizzle the syrup over the peaches, serve and enjoy!

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Here it is again, that line between breakfast and dessert.  Just earlier this week we were discussing at work how muffins are really just cake in a funny shape. It’s true that many breakfast sweets really are just desserts in a poor disguise.  I like that this recipe is honest about what it is.  It’s a cake.  That you eat for breakfast.  I also like that its pumpkin, a lot.

Now not everyone owns ramekins, so there are some possible substitutes.  One option is to use a large muffin tin (one that would make huge muffins).  Another is that you can use oven-proof mugs or bowls.  These should be made of stoneware, as traditional coffee mugs may not hold up.  It’s important to note that just because a mug is microwave safe it does not mean it is safe to use in the oven.

I did also make one change to the recipe regarding “topping” the cakes.  The original recipe calls for a glaze made with powdered sugar and maple syrup.  I decided to just use straight maple syrup and cut back on the sugar, but you can still do the glaze if you’d like.  The cakes are not too sweet so the additional sugar won’t overwhelm them.  Just make sure to use real maple syrup and not that nasty corn syrup stuff that comes in a bottle shaped like grandma.

 I need a new camera

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cakes – ½ rolling pin (Adapted from Tasty Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • ½ stick butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pureed pumpkin (the plain canned kind)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I used a combination of nutmeg, ginger powder, cloves and allspice)
  • Maple syrup

Prep:

  1. About an hour before you plan to bake, take the butter out of the fridge so it can warm up to room temperature.
  2. Right before you prepare the recipe preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  3. Grease the inside of two ramekins.

Bake:

  1. In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar until well mixed.
  2. Add the egg and stir well until the mixture is combined.
  3. Add the vanilla and pumpkin and stir until the pumpkin is completely mix in.
  4. Add in the two kinds of flour, baking powder, salt and spices.  Stir the mixture well until everything is evenly mixed and no flour remains on the edges of the bowl.
  5. Pour the mixture into the two ramekins, making sure they have even quantities.
  6. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and then bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the middle comes out clean.  Mine needed to bake for the whole 35 minutes, but it can’t hurt to check the cakes after 30 minutes.
  7. Allow the cakes to cool for at least 15-20 minutes before carefully removing them from the ramekins.
  8. Place the cakes on plates, drizzle with maple syrup (as much or as little as you like), and enjoy!

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I don’t love April Fools.  Seriously, I don’t.  I always get pranked, and I hate it.  I am such an easy target.  But I know a lot of people who do actually enjoy this “holiday” so I thought I’d honor it by making a fool.  Blueberry fool to be exact.

Fool is a simple recipe you can make any time, and makes for a great dessert over the summer when you want your berries, but you want them cold and wrapped in a chilly blanket of delicious cream.  This recipe I fit for one of those small 6 oz containers of blueberries that you find at most grocery stores and serves 2.  You can easily double it or more if you are serving a crowd.

Blueberry Fool – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 1 6-oz package of fresh blueberries
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prep:

  1. Wash and drain the berries.
  2. Set a few berries aside to garnish (about 3 per serving).

Cook:

  1. Place all of the berries into a food processor (or blender) and pulse until they are liquefied.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  You will know they have formed when you pull out the whisk and the cream follows it to create a peak.  Also, it will be super thick like Coolwhip.
  3. Mix together the whipped cream and the berries and stir gently until mixed, though it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  4. Spoon the mix into individual cups for serving and top with the extra berries.
  5. Cover the containers with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least one hour.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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BY JODI OCHSTEIN

Nothing says “I Love You” like a red velvet cupcake.  This recipe, like love, is deceptively simple.  It’s your basic flour and sugar cake recipe, only with red food coloring.  The one twist – there’s always a twist—is that you will need buttermilk.  If you’re like us and you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, do what we did, and substitute a creamy mixture of yogurt and milk.

The frosting is a luscious combination of cream cheese and butter, vanilla and sugar.  It’s a dramatic Love Fest.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting – 1 Rolling Pin (Adapted from Paula Deen)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Prep:

  1. A few hours before you plan to bake take the butter and cream cheese out of the fridge to soften to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

Bake:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
  2. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer.  If you don’t have a mixer you can do it by hand with a whisk or spatula.  Just be sure to stir it for a good while to get everything well mixed.
  3. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins  so that each cupcake is about 2/3 filled.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. You can test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness.
  6. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.   You can also stir this well with a spatula, which is what we did.
  8. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.  If you are stirring by hand add the sugar 1 cup at a time stirring until fully incorporated.  Repeat this step until all the sugar is added.
  9. Frost the cupcakes to your liking, serve to loved ones, and enjoy!

 

Rachel’s note: What makes red velvet such a special cupcake isn’t its signature color, but the addition of vinegar to the batter.  The vinegar with a touch of cocoa powder is what gives red velvet that signature taste.

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A few years ago my dad gave me an old cook book of his mother’s.  It’s called the “Calico Pantry” and is a volume of recipes submitted by the real housewives of New York State.  This cook book was printed in 1974, but you’d swear it was right out of 1960.  So many recipes require combinations that would make most people now a days squirm.  Also there is an obscene use of soup mixes.

I did find a few diamonds in the rough however, and this chocolate mousse recipe is one of them.  It’s easy, though I did make a few modifications simply because some of the techniques in the original were not translating for me. The hang up with this recipe is having the right equipment.  You really need a mix master or a stick-blender with a whisk attachment to beat the egg whites.  If you don’t have one you will be beating the eggs with a whisk for a very, very long time.

Also something important to note is that this recipe is designed for six people, so if you need to make more you can increase your quantities.  If you are serving less people on the other hand just give everyone a larger portion (I kid, except that’s what I did the other night).

Chocolate Mousse – 2 Rolling Pins (Adapted from Calico Pantry)

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate (smaller pieces the better)
  • 5 tablespoons boiling water or hot coffee
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum

Prep:

  1. Use two bowls to separate the eggs; saving the egg yolks in one bowl and the egg whites is a separate bowl.  You will need both parts.
  2. If you are working with large pieces of baker’s chocolate break them down into smaller pieces by placing them in a Ziploc bag and smashing them with a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet.

Cook:

  1. In a blender combine the chocolate and the boiling water and blend at high speed until smooth.  I had a lot of trouble with this step as the chocolate did not all melt.  In this case I recommend melting it in a microwave-safe bowl for a few seconds until melted.  Then add it back into the blender.
  2. Add the egg yolks and rum to the blender and blend for a few seconds until incorporated.
  3. In a bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  This video helps to visually demonstrate what that will look like.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl and gently fold in the chocolate until it is fully mixed in with the eggs.
  5. Place mousse in your serving containers and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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