Posts tagged dessert
apple custard pie

apple basket You know how some foods just send you back in time?  This pie is definitely one of those foods for me.  We didn't have air conditioning when I was a kid and Lodi apples ripen in mid July, when it's usually pretty hot and humid outside.  It made for an exceptionally hot day in the kitchen with the oven on, but we didn't complain because we knew before long we would sit at the table, under the ceiling fan, eating slice upon slice of pie, more than likely with vanilla ice cream on the side.

pie edge

The filling is my maternal grandmother's recipe.  She was a top-notch cook.  Her fried chicken was unlike any others, I've mentioned her angelfood cake before, and her chocolate cake recipe is the reason my husband married me (true story).  Her apple pie has become a summer time staple for our family. Tart apples in a bed of sugary custard in a pie crust...what could be bad about that?  I can remember my mom making two of these at time for dessert and there would still be just a small sliver or two left by morning if we were lucky and there were only 4 of us in the house!

lodi apple in orchard

I always use Lodi apples for this pie.  I have tried other varieties for the recipe but haven't had much luck finding another one that works as well.  Thankfully, there is an orchard nearby that still has a few trees so we always pick up some every July.  The kids and I picked two baskets this morning.

picking apples

Cj suggested we divide them, one basket for making pies, one basket for him to eat.  I think you would be hard pressed to find another person who likes to eat tart apples more than he does.

rolling out crust

apple custard pie

for the crust

This recipe makes enough for 2 pies, but half can be wrapped in cling wrap and frozen for another day.

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter cut into small pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Put the flour, salt, and cold butter in bowl of food processor.  Process until it resembles a course meal.

Add ice water, spoonful by spoonful, through the tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky; do NOT over process.

Split the dough in half and shape into a disc on a piece of plastic wrap and then wrap it up.  Chill the dough you will be using today for one hour and freeze the extra disc of dough for another day (like tomorrow)

Once chilled, lightly flour your workspace and roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness.  Place in pan and chill while you get the filling and the apples ready.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

for the filling

In a bowl, mix together:

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

(If you are using a large pie pan, use 1 1/2 cup sugar and 4 Tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

Peel and core 6 Lodi apples and cut into chunks.  Place in a single layer on the UNbaked pie cruse.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top.

Fill to the bevel of the pie pan with milk.  Place in oven.  I bake mine on a cookie sheet, just in case it bubbles over.  Plus that gives me a place to bake the left over strips of pie crust (sprinkled with cinnamon sugar before baking).

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes.

side of pie slice

a delayed fourth of July post

At the risk of sounding like one of those people who is always saying "oh my, where has the time gone, these summers just keep flying by".  Oh my, where has the time gone, these summers just keep flying by! sparklers

We have a tradition of getting together with friends for a big bbq every year to celebrate the Fourth of July.  In keeping with theme, I made another red, white, and blue dessert this year.

berry covered top of brown sugar pavlova

It's a layered berry and brown sugar pavlova and you should make it!  It was as good as it looked.

Fourth of July means Antiques Extravaganza around here.

antique show

I was up early and power shopped my way through the fields of booths.  I found a tablecloth with the greatest four leaf clovers all over it.  It still had the tag on it.

four leaf clover tablecloth

The seller seamed a bit surprised that I was planning to take the tag off, but I do my best to use the things I buy.  What's the point if these things are just going to hide in a closet?

back of tag on clover tablecloth

I also found this beauty.  She's a Singer 99K and she's mine now.

singer at sale

This photo makes me laugh because I instinctively had my hand on the machine while I was taking it - as in "back off everybody because until I can find out more, this hand means I have dibs on this baby!"

I hope everyone is having a great summer.  I just finished the cutest paper pieced tablecloth so I'll be back with more soon.

risotto rice pudding

Our weather seems to have fallen into a routine of blizzard one week and thunderstorms the next.  It has made for a strange February that has left me with a touch of cabin fever.  The past couple of days have been grey and windy and I thought a bit of comfort food might be in order. arborio rice

This is an adaptation of my maternal grandmother's recipe.  She made it with standard rice, but it is cooked like a risotto so I usually use arborio rice for mine.

simmering rice in milk for rice pudding

risotto rice pudding

1 cup uncooked arborio rice


1/2 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Place rice in large heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with 2" of milk (2% works best)

Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Keep adding milk as necessary to keep the mixture loose and easy to stir.  After simmering for 30 minutes, taste to be sure the rice is cooked.  Once the rice is cooked, add the sugar and vanilla.

I sometimes serve it with gingersnap cookies for dessert.  You can add 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon when you add the vanilla, if you like a little spice.  If you are a raisin fan, you can also add 1/4 cup of raisins.

risotto rice pudding in bowl

our springtime

We've been busy doing things like sneaking over to the neighbors to cut lilacs.

There have been treats for parties.

We've been walking under the blooms.

I found the most amazing button card.

Someone got to make a wish.

I lost my will power in the Easter clearance aisle.

Today I'm working on basting  a lap quilt that I'm hoping to have done by the end of the week.

lemon shortbread squares

I love shortbread.

It's buttery, crunchy, travels well, and last for days.

These travelled with me to the sewing summit.

I think it's always best to travel with cookies.

lemon shortbread

2 sticks butter (at room temperature)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

zest of one lemon

2 teaspoons vanilla or vanilla paste

2 drops lemon extract

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In bowl of mixer combine butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed for about five minutes, or until the dough is soft and light in color. Add vanilla, lemon extract, and ginger and mix to combine.

Slowly add flour and mix until just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press by hand into a thick rectangle, wrap with plastic wrap and chill dough for 1 - 2 hours.

Once chilled, place dough on lightly floured surface and roll to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into squares. Place the squares onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the start to just turn golden on the edges. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes or so before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.

gooseberry crumble

This was our first crop of gooseberries.

Just enough for one crumble...

My mom sent me the recipe.  We had a can of whipped cream leftover from lulu's sundae bar and I have to admit, by the end I was adding the whipped cream right in the pan.

gooseberry crumble

3 cups gooseberries

1 1/2 cup sugar (divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

dash of salt

first make the filling-

Combine gooseberries, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until berries have burst.

While the berries are cooking, mix together 1/2 cup sugar, flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.  Once the gooseberries are cooked, remove from heat and stir in spice mixture and set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease 8"x8" pan, set aside.

crumble base and topping-

In a large bowl, blend together

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cold butter cut into small pieces

Sprinkle one half of oat mixture onto bottom of pan.  Pour cooked gooseberries over top and spread evenly.  Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top of berries.

Bake 45 minutes.

raspberry, mascarpone, and blueberry

Keeping with tradition, I made another red, white, and blue dessert for our friends July 4th bbq.

fourth of july trifle cake

1 pound raspberries

1/2 pound strawberries (cut into pieces)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup powdered sugar (divided 1/4 and 3/4 cups)

16 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

pinch salt

25-30 lady finger cookies

3/4 cup blueberries

Cut two strips of parchment that are at least an inch taller than the side of your springform pan and line the inside with them. (I used a 9"pan.)

In a bowl, combine raspberries, strawberries, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and lemon juice.  Use a fork to slightly smash the berries and let sit for ten minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the mascarpone and 3/4 cups powdered sugar until smooth.  Then whisk in the cream, vanilla, almond extract, and salt until soft peaks form.

Break the ladyfingers into three pieces each and make a single layer of cookies on the bottom of the pan.  Top with half the berry mixture.  Spread half the mascarpone mixer over top of the berries, smoothing the top with an offset spatula.

Then repeat, a layer of cookies, then berries, then mascarpone.

Top with a layer of blueberries.

Wrap gently with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.

party for 7

Turning seven that is... I spent an evening last week knotting strips of scrap fabric on to a piece of twine.

Lulu wanted a camp theme so we set a plan for an afternoon in the backyard with a tent full of balloons and games like bocce and basketball.  Then it turned out to be the hottest and most humid day we've had this year.  We still had the tent, but went with a water fight to try to cool off. Then they painted birdhouses.

They decorated bangle bracelets made from popsicle sticks. (here they are undecorated)

They made paper fortune tellers and signs for their rooms.

We had a sundae bar with all the fixin's along with cupcakes.

After all of that, they each went home with their own hobo bindle filled with goodies...

...and I slumped into a chair and didn't move for hours.

linda's cookies

My mom is the oldest of four and when she was growing up these were one of her specialties.  I was told they named them after her because no one else in the family could make them as well as she could.

We always called them chocolate oaties, instead of Linda's cookies.  Why limit your mom to one special cookie when she could be making all sorts of great ones?

There are the thing to make, when you don't know what else to make, especially when the weather turns hot and you don't want the oven heating up the kitchen.  Basically, they are quick, simple, and everyone likes them.

The trick is in the boil, not too hot, you want the sugar to melt before it starts to boil so the cookies have smooth texture.  Also, wait to start your three minute count until after you reach a rolling boil (that's when the mixture continues to boil even while stirring it).  These are really more of a candy than a cookie, so it also helps to have a heavy bottomed pan like you would use for candy making.  It helps heat the mixture at a more even rate and keep it from scorching.  Sometimes even when you think you've followed all the rules, they still don't set up and the only way to eat them is to scrape them off the tin foil with a spoon.  Don't worry, just call them spoon oaties and enjoy!


linda's cookies (chocolate oaties)

2 cups sugar

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 stick butter

5 ounces evaporated milk (one small can)

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (you can use crunchy, unless you are making them for cj)

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups quick cooking oatmeal

Lay a sheet of aluminum foil (or as we call it tin foil), about 18" long on your counter.  In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, stir the sugar and cocoa powder together (this keeps the cocoa from clumping together).  Add the stick of butter and stir in the evaporated milk.

Place over medium heat and stir constantly.  Once the mixture reaches a rolling boil (still boiling even when stirring) cook stirring continuing to stir constantly for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in oats, peanut butter, and vanilla.  Drop by spoonfuls on the foil and allow to cool.


angelfood primer

My grandpa took a piece of this angel food cake, wrapped in waxed paper, in his lunch box every day he went to work. This means my grandma had to have a cake on hand every week.  It's a good thing they raised their own chickens, because that's a lot of egg whites.

She usually left it unfrosted and when we were at her house she would pull the aluminum cake carrier down from on top of the fridge and we would all get a slice.  Only once, do I remember the carrier open to show a frosted cake.  She used a seven minute icing.  So fluffy and swirly, I always thought it was one of the most beautiful things, and sooooo delicious.

Sometime after I was married, I asked her for the recipe.  She pulled out her Betty Crocker cookbook and found the recipe and gave me a few hints to help it turn out just right.

Her first suggestion was to throw away the non-stick coated tube pan I had at home.  She quickly found this extra pan hidden away on a shelf in her basement and gave it to me.  Angelfood cakes need to climb to the top of the pan and if you don't give them a good surface to climb on, they will slide.  Do NOT prep the pan in any way - no butter, no flour - the batter needs to be able to stick to the pan.

As for the eggs, they shouldn't be too fresh.  I don't think this is much of an issue if you are using store bought eggs, but if you pick them up at the farmer's market or raise your own, be sure to use eggs that are from last week or older.  Also, eggs that are cool separate easier, but eggs at room temperature will have more volume when whipped.  What I usually do is separate all my eggs and then let the whites set in the mixing bowl, while I get together all of the other ingredients.  Depending on how much time I have to make the cake I may let them set until they are closer to room temperature.  It's also important to measure the eggs, especially if you have farm eggs that vary in size more than store eggs.  The recipe takes 1 3/4 cups egg whites.  On average that is 12 eggs, but when I made this cake it took 14 eggs.  I freeze the yolks for another day.  I either put them in a plastic container and freeze them in groups of 6 (lemon curd takes 6 yolks) or I put each yolk in it's own compartment in an ice cube tray.  Once frozen they can go in a zip closure bag and be used as needed for things like egg noodles and puddings.

My grandmother didn't sift her cake flour for this recipe.  I'm thinking if you are making one of these cakes every week, your flour isn't setting around long enough to get too lumpy.  After some trial and error, I find it's best to  shake my flour through a sieve before I make the cake.

Over the years I've heard people mention the importance of dropping the pan on the floor or tapping in on the counter once the batter is in the pan to remove any air bubbles.  Grandma never mentioned this and I've never done it.  I have never noticed any giant air bubbles in my cakes, so I have always skipped that step.

angelfood cake

1 3/4 cup egg whites

1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cup cake flour (sifted)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour and the salt, set aside.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy.

With the mixer on a medium speed, add the sugar 2 Tablespoons at time.  Once all the sugar has been added, turn the mixer on high and whip until soft peaks form, but are still moist and glossy.

For a soft peak, it should turn like the top of a dairy queen cone when you turn the whisk upside down.

Add vanilla, and almond extract.

Dust about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the whites.

Using the biggest rubber spatula you can find, gently fold the flour into the egg whites.

To fold you bring the blade of your spatula down through the middle of the bowl, once at the edge closest to you, pull along the bottom and up the side to turn the whites over on top of the flour, then turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until the flour is incorporated.  Then sprinkle with another 1/4 of the flour mixture and fold.  Repeat until all the flour is added to the egg whites.

Scoop mixture in tube pan.  Try not to get it on the upper part of the pan.  If some gets on the top, just wipe it clean with a damp cloth.  (you can see here where I swiped a bit away on this one)

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and invert to cool.

Some pans have little legs on the side, but this pan has a tall center to balance on.  Once the cake is cool, run a knife of offset spatula around the outside edge and also around the center tube.

Then run the knife under the cake and turn out onto a plate.  You can use an angelfood cake cutter (because it looks cool) or even two forks (held back to back and used to split pieces) to cut the cake, but I find a serrated bread knife works best.

If you have the patience to frost it, here's a cheat version of 7 minute frosting.  I should warn you though that if you frost it, it severely hampers your ability to sneak pieces of cake because it is a mess of gooey sticky goodness and having that on your fingers will surely be admission of guilt.  You can see it here on some angelfood cupcakes.

cheaters 7 minute icing

3 egg whites

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine egg whites,salt, sugar, and corn syrup on bowl and whisk together.  Place bowl over pan of simmering water.  Gently whisk until mixture reaches temperature of 130 degrees and sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and beat with hand mixer until the icing is cooled, white, and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla.


sour cherry cobbler

I don't normally bake desserts for Monday nights, but yesterday I decided it was time to use up last year's sour cherries that had been tucked away in my freezer.

Turned out to be a bit evil genius, because the spouse thought the dessert was so good that he washed up the dinner dishes.  If I would have known of their magical powers I would have baked them up months ago.
sour cherry cobbler
3 cups frozen sour cherries
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon vanilla
biscuit topping
1 1/2 cup flour (or 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup cake flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons cold butter (cut into pieces)
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 2 -3 quart baking dish.  Stir together the sour cherries, sugar, corn starch, and vanilla.  Pour into prepared baking dish.
In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  Using a pastry blender, mix in butter pieces.  Once butter is blended into flour mixture, add milk.  Stir until uniformly mixed and drop spoonfuls of dough onto the top of the cherries mixture.
Before baking, brush the tops of the biscuits with milk.  I also sprinkled the tops with sanding sugar, but that's not necessary.
Bake for 45 minutes.
my apparently famous brownies

It's the last day of teacher appreciation week.  Our assignment for today was to send in something to pamper the teachers. hmmm...

well I think sitting down with a big old chocolate chunk brownie can be a bit pampering.

Cj usually does a little tour of the school as part of his morning routine, so I put him in charge of deliveries.  I'm told that as he handed them out he said, "here is one of my mom's famous brownies."

I don't know that I would throw around the word famous, but they are pretty good.

I also have to add that I don't have nine kids.  I sent along treats for each of the kid's classroom teachers, cj's two associates, along with his resource teacher and speech therapist, and their art, music, and P.E. teachers.

mybricole brownies

6 1/2 ounces chocolate chips

1 1/2 stick butter

1 2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

pinch salt

3 eggs

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped into big pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment.  Set aside.

In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter together over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.

Add sugar and stir with rubber spatula until well blended.  Stir in espresso powder and vanilla.

Add flour and salt.  Stir gently until well incorporated.

Add eggs.  Stir until thick and smooth.

Gently stir in chocolate chunks.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.  Bake 30-35 minutes.

chocolate chipped

We rarely had chocolate cookies at home when I was growing up.  My dad doesn't like them.  I've never understood how that's possible, but it's true. More often than not, my grandma had them in her freezer.  She also usually had an angelfood cake on top of her fridge and a chicken in her skillet, but i'm losing focus here.

Anyway, it was at her house that I found my love for frozen chocolate chip cookies.  In my opinion, frozen chocolate chips cookies are one of life's cheap remedies for a bad day.

I spent the better part of last week waiting to find out if I had celiac.

I don't.

I thought the best way to celebrate would be with chocolate chip cookies.

chocolate chip cookies

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a separate bowl mix flour, soda, and salt.  Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  On a low speed, slowly add flour mixture.  Add chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 11 minutes.

it's all in the name

I join in with a group of moms at my church who meet up fairly regularly for some fellowship.  Fellowship is a really nice way of saying eat lots of yummy treats, play games and laugh until the late hours of the night.  Our group has a name, but it never stuck in the spouse's head.  We are Methodists, so I started calling it, Meth Moms.  When I say Meth Moms he knows exactly what I'm talking about.  The same goes for this cake.  It's a chocolate stout cake, but we call it beer cake.  What do these two things have to do with each other...

I made beer cake for tonight's Meth moms.  It's sound like we have a terrible problem.  We don't.  Unless you count chocolate as a problem.

beer cake

for the cake

2 cups Guinness

4 sticks butter cut into cubes

1 1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon vanilla

4 cups flour

4 cups sugar

1 Tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cup sour cream

for the ganache

3 cups whipping cream

1 1/2 pounds bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prep three 8" x 2" cake pans by greasing and lightly flouring.  It is important to use a pan at least that size, these cakes are very thick.  If you use a smaller pan they WILL boil over and make a huge mess.  Trust me on this one.

In a saucepan, bring Guinness and butter to simmer over medium heat, stirring to melt the butter.  Once the butter melts, add cocoa and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Set aside to cool slightly.

In a very large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sour cream until just combined.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture, folding until completely blended.  Divide batter among the three prepared pans.  Bake 40 - 45 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then removed from pan and cool on rack.

Once the cake is cool, bring cream and vanilla to simmer in medium saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate, let set for up to a minute, then whisk until smooth.  Chill, checking and stirring frequently to see if it's of a spreadable consistency.  This can take up to an hour, but depends on a lot of factors so be sure to keep an eye on it.  You want it to be spreadable but not so much that it will slide off the cake.  I topped mine with store bought sugar flowers.

I will also warn you this makes a very large cake.  When I ice all three layers it is too tall for my cake carrier.  The cake in this picture is made up of just two layers.  I iced the third layer separately so the family could enjoy some cake too.

This cake ages well so you can make it a day or two before you need it.  It's also great with vanilla ice cream.


I know what you are thinking... is she really posting a recipe for these?

Here's the thing, most of the time when I'm writing these posts, especially the baking ones, I have lulu in mind.  Someday she's going to want to know how to make all of her favorite things and these are definitely one of her favorite things.  It's also spring break this week so I'm making life easy for myself.

So I give you...


1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups corn flakes

1 cup creamy peanut butter

5 oz. dark chocolate chips

5 oz. butterscotch chips


Butter the bottom and sides of an 8" x 11" (or similar size) pan.

In a large saucepan, heat sugar and syrup, stirring gently until sugar dissolves and just bubbles at the edges of the pan.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla.  Add the cornflakes and stir to coat them.  Use a rubber spatula to press mixture into the prepared pan.

Using a pyrex measuring cup or other microwave safe dish, heat chips for one minute and stir well to melt the chips.  Spread over the cornflake mixture.  Let set on counter to cool because if they sit in the fridge too long they become too hard to eat.

extreme smores

We hosted a little bbq last Saturday.

It ended with homemade baileys, pumpkin cream pie, and these smores, made with ginger graham crackers, maple marshmallows, and nutella.

ginger graham crackers

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

8 Tablespoons (one stick) butter (cut into cubes and chilled)

1/3 cup honey or sorghum (I made one batch of each)

5 Tablespoons whole milk

2 Tablespoons vanilla


3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

To make the dough, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and ginger in bowl of food processor.  Pulse to mix.  Add butter and pulse until mixture is resembles a course meal.

In a separate bowl, mix together honey, (or sorghum) milk, and vanilla.  Add to flour mixture, pulsing to fully incorporate.  Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, divide in half and shape each half into a flat rectangle.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for two hours.

Once firm, roll dough on well floured surface to 1/8" thickness and cut into squares.  Place squares on parchment lined sheets and chill 30 minutes in fridge before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl.  Sprinkle liberally over squares before baking.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.  Cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then cool completely on rack.

maple marshmallows

The basic recipe can be found here, just add 1 Tablespoon maple extract along with the vanilla extract.

These marshmallows are also perfect in a cup of hot cocoa.

All that's left is to spread your graham with nutella, toast your marshmallow, and sit back and enjoy.

making friends with butternut

I'm not a fan of butternut squash. This means I'm never really sure what to do with them when they turn up on the CSA wagons.  I've tried roasting them, mashing them, turning them to soup, all which the spouse enjoyed, but not me.  I was doubtful when I saw Jamie Oliver turn them into cupcakes on Jamie at Home, but I brought the squash home, so I had to do something with it.

Besides ignoring it.

They have great texture and flavor, but I couldn't resist going over the top with the frosting to make it more of a cupcake and less of a muffin.  And let's be honest, who doesn't love toffee bits?

butternut cupcakes

adapted from Jamie Oliver

1 medium-sized butternut squash - skin on, deseeded, and roughly chopped

2 1/4 cup brown sugar

4 eggs

pinch salt

2 1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a food processor, blitz squash until finely chopped.  Add sugar and eggs.  Blitz to combine.  Add salt, flour, baking powder, spices, olive oil.  Blitz until well mixed.

Fill muffin cup no more than 3/4 full. Bake 20 - 25 minutes.

butternut cupcake frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

4 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, blend cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add flavorings and nutmeg.  With mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar until of a spreadable consistency.

After frosting the cupcakes, sprinkle the tops with toffee bits.


girls night out

We met up at the wine bar, sharing fancy meat & cheese trays and our fave fries along with lots of laughs and a love of hats. I made some sweets.

There were meringues

and truffles

and little cakes

iced almond cakes

for the cake

1 1/2 sticks butter (at room temperature)

2 1/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup almond paste

6 eggs (separated)

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prep rimmed 17" x 12" pan by buttering, lining bottom with parchment and then buttering and dusting parchment with flour.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside

Using an electric mixer, meat almond paste and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar until well blended.  Add butter and beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add flour mixture in three parts alternating with milk.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until frothy.  While mixer is running, add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  Add 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and fold in gently.  Fold in remaining whites gently.

Spread batter evenly onto baking sheet.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, turning pan half way through cooking time.  Transfer pan to rack to cool completely.  When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

for the glaze

1 cup apricot jam

In a small saucepan, heat apricot jam to thin it and then push through sieve.  Brush a thin layer of the jam over the top of the chilled cake.  Return cake to refrigerator and chill until set.

for the icing

8 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

gel food coloring of choice

Turn out cake and cut into 1 1/4" squares.  Place cakes on rack resting in baking sheet to catch icing drips.

Mix all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.   Pour icing over cakes and decorate as desired. Allow icing to set a bit before placing in paper cups for serving.