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Category Archives: Dessert

Dessert in a Flash – You’ll Love These Lemon Squares

Very often I find the need to make a dessert item at the last minute. It could be that someone is stopping by for a visit or coffee, we get invited someplace, or we just feel like having something sweet for dessert ourselves at home. Whatever the reason, sometimes I want to go beyond what a box of brownie mix can offer. There’s nothing wrong with boxed brownies; we use them often, and you can jazz them up in a number of ways to make them seem like they are homemade. However, I don’t always want to have chocolate, so having a good fallback dessert that you can make with what you have in your pantry is a good option. That is why these lemon squares are perfect. They only require a few ingredients, and they are all things you always have around in the house so in under an hour you can have a great tasting dessert that seems like you put a lot of work into it. I got this recipe from Dena Kleiman at New York Times Cooking, and it worked out perfectly.

Lemon Squares

2 cups flour, plus 1/4 cup

½ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 teaspoons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted

4 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

cup lemon juice (from about 1 to 2 lemons)

½ teaspoon baking powder

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together two cups of flour, 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar and the salt. Add the melted butter and stir the ingredients to thoroughly combine them. Spread the crust with clean hands in an even layer into a 9-by-13-inch pan and bake the crust for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, lemon juice, baking powder and the remaining flour. Pour the lemon mixture onto the hot baked shell and bake it for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is just set. Using a small, fine-meshed sieve, sift the remaining confectioners’ sugar on top of the lemon squares once they have cooled. Cut the dessert into equal-sized bars.

It’s quite simple to make, and it tastes great. You get that fantastic lemon flavor you love in desserts like this with just the right amount of chewiness and crunch. These squares are perfect for any occasion, whether you are looking for something to bring to someone’s home, are making a bunch of cookies for a cookie swap or holiday party or just want to have a tasty treat at home to go nicely for a dessert or with a cup of coffee or tea.Depending on how big you cut the squares, you can get about 16 to 20 squares, so there are plenty to go around. I’ll be using this recipe again because it is so easy to make.

That’s all I have for today. Work has kept me pretty busy lately, so I don’t have as much time as I want to blog, but I am going to try to get here a few times this week to try and get caught up with things (though getting caught up seems to be a rarity these days). Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Cookies, Cooking, Dessert, Snacks

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Recipes – NYT Cooking

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and if you are looking for some great ideas of what to make this year or want something different beyond the usual corned beef and cabbage, New York Times Cooking has put together an excellent collection of recipes that cover everything you might need. From soda bread to side dishes to desserts and drinks, you will find it all. Check it out.

On a side note, I haven’t been around lately because I have been fighting a terrible cold for 2 weeks now. The cold has pretty much sapped all my strength and leaves me coughing quite a bit. When this has been combined with a heavy workload I have had recently, I have little time for blogging. I am hoping to kick the cold this week as it seems to be waning, and then I can get back to posting recipes. Please bear with me a little bit while I get my strength back. Thanks!

 

Source: St. Patrick’s Day Recipes – NYT Cooking

 

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A Supermarket Endcap Classic -Copycat Entenmann’s Brownie Crumb Ring

Here in New York, and in many other locations, Entenmann’s occupies a unique place in the hearts of families. For us, Entenmann’s has always been those cakes and pastry items you find on the endcap in your supermarket that is perfect when you need to pick something up for a dessert and do know what to get. The frosted chocolate donuts, the raspberry danish, and many others have always been favorites of ours, but Entenmann’s, like so many other manufacturers, does discontinue items after awhile for reason or another. Such was the fate of one of our favorite desserts, the brownie crumb ring. The brownie crumb ring has not been around for years now, and I once contacted Entenmann’s to find out about it, and their reply was that it was not a big seller of their items, so they rotated it out, but it has never returned. I searched for a long time trying to find one and then starting searching around for a recipe to make my own. I even bought the Entenmann’s cookbook in the hopes that it would be in there, but alas, it was not. Finally, after a long search, I was able to track down a recipe for the frosting, which is really the most integral part of the cake itself. The cake alone is a simple bundt cake, so armed with the frosting recipe and a recipe for Cook’s Country classic yellow bundt cake, I set to work.

Copycat Entenmann’s Brownie Crumb Ring

For the Cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) butter, cut into 18 pieces and softened

2 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature

For the Frosting:

3 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/3 cup cola

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cold coffee

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 to 3 cups brownie crumbs (crumbled up brownies or brownies finely ground in the food processor, using your favorite recipe or boxed mix)

For the cake, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a nonstick bundt pan. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice together.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the egg yolk, one at a time, and beat the mixture until the eggs are combined. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the buttermilk mixture and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared bundt pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the bundt pan and allow the cake to cool completely, about 2 hours. The cooled cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

For the frosting, combine the powdered sugar, butter, cocoa powder, cola, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and coffee together in a medium bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat the mixture together on medium speed until the frosting is smooth and spreadable, about 3 to 4 minutes. You can add a little more powdered sugar if the frosting is not as thick as you would like it. Spread the frosting on the cooled bundt cake to cover the cake. Sprinkle and press the brownie crumbs onto the cake, so the adhere nicely. Allow the cake to set for at least 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

I have to say while the frosting is not a perfect match for the brownie crumb ring, it is pretty darn close. Entenmann’s used a mocha-maple frosting for their cake, and it was coated in brownie crumbs, and this frosting certainly emulates that. Everyone who ate it when I made it said it was just like the original, so I think it gives you a chance to get pretty close to what you used to have if you always enjoyed that Entenmann’s cake. If you have never had the brownie crumb ring before, then this gives you the chance to try out something different that would be perfect for a party or a crowd. The bundt cake recipe alone is quite good, but when you add the frosting to it it makes the cake something special.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 17, 2017 in Cakes, Cooking, Dessert

 

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Your Dessert for the Big Game – Banana Cupcakes with Bananas Foster Frosting

The big football game this weekend is more than just a huge sporting event. I am not nearly as big of a football fan as I am of baseball and really have no stake in whether Atlanta or New England wins. For us, the Super Bowl this year is more about just hanging out, relaxing and watching the game for the commercials. The big game also means it’s a day to enjoy all kinds of snack foods. Everyone breaks out their favorites for Buffalo wings, nachos, cocktail franks, egg rolls, meatballs, sandwiches, chips, dips and your favorite drinks. If you are hosting a party this year you probably have lots of things picked out for snacks and halftime, but what about dessert? Dessert might get overlooked, beyond the football field sheet cakes you can get or the football cookies, so why not do something different, easy and homemade? I have a particular love of banana desserts and sought out to make a cupcake this year for something different. I ended up combining two recipes, with a cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart for banana cupcakes and a Bananas Foster frosting recipe from Glorious Treats to make something great.

Banana Cupcakes with Bananas Foster Frosting

For the Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana for garnish (optional)

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

1/4 cup banana, mashed (about 1/2 a banana)

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon dark rum (optional)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In the well, mix together the melted butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir the ingredients together to incorporate the flour mixture without over mixing everything. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups.

Place the pan into the oven and bake the cupcakes until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin pan. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. Mash the banana in a small bowl with the lemon juice. In a large bowl or bowl for your stand mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mashed banana and beat it with the butter until it is well incorporated and smooth. Add the powdered sugar slowly, one cup at a time, while slowly mixing, so that it blends in well. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum (if using) and the vanilla extract. Beat all of the ingredients together until everything is well incorporated, and the frosting is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Spread the tops of each cupcake with the Bananas Foster frosting. Just before serving, peel and slice the banana into rounds and place one on each cupcake, if desired.

It’s a pretty simple cupcake recipe that presents nicely and has some great flavor to it. The banana cupcake is lighter than the typical banana muffin you might like and has some good banana taste to it, but the frosting is what really makes it perfect for me. The frosting has the flavor of the great Bananas Foster dessert, especially if you take advantage of the dark rum in the ingredients. I actually boosted the banana flavor up a bit for the frosting by adding some banana syrup to the frosting mix (about 1 1/2 teaspoons did it for me). I also halved the original recipe for the frosting since I had only twelve cupcakes to do and the recipe seemed like it was more if you want enough to frost a whole cake, which wouldn’t be a bad idea either. We each tested the cupcakes, and the came out nicely, with moist cake and a great frosting.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Cakes, Cooking, Dessert, Snacks, Uncategorized

 

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Another From the King Arthur Playbook – Flour’s Original Pound Cake

I have to admit, I have a great love of pound cake. I know for some people it seems to be plain and not very exciting, but I love the texture and flavor of a good pound cake. It can go nicely as a dessert for just about any occasion, can be dressed up with fresh fruit or just whipped cream and even allows for some variation of flavors by adding different extracts, alcohols or flavorings. Another great thing about pound cake is that it is relatively easy to make, which is perfect for someone like me that is not the best baker in the world. The ingredients are all pretty basic and things you usually have around the house anyway so you can even put one together on relatively short notice to have a nice dessert or snack for surprise guests or for something to bring to someone’s home or party. While I was looking through the latest King Artur Flour catalog, I came across this recipe for their traditional pound cake and thought it would be a very good time to give the new oven a try and check it out.

Traditional Original Pound Cake

1 cup (16 tablespoons, 8 ounces) butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon brandy, sherry, rum or other liqueur or extract of your choice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 10 to 12-cup bundt pan.In a large bowl, beat the butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer until it is very light. Beat in the sugar gradually and then add the eggs, one at a time, until they are blended in. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and beat the mixture until it is very light and fluffy.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer until it is very light. Beat in the sugar gradually and then add the eggs, one at a time, until they are blended in. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and beat the mixture until it is very light and fluffy.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla extract, and alcohol or extract of your choice, if using.

Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, starting the process with the flour mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Stir the mixture to combine the ingredients after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula.

Bake the cake for 60 to 65 minutes, until it springs back when pressed lightly on the top, and a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the cake appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with foil for the final 15 minutes of baking.

Remove the cake from the oven and loosen its edges in the pan. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully turn the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve the cake the same day or store the cake, wrapped in plastic or wrapped well in plastic if you intend to freeze it for longer storage.

The cake goes perfectly with ice cream, fruit, whipped cream or just by itself (which is the way I like it personally). I enjoy the cake with a nice cup of coffee, and it is perfect after dinner or even as a mid-morning snack. The cake is rich and buttery and has excellent flavor. I had made cakes before where I added flavoring like lemon to it or added alcohol for extra flavor, but the plain version works best for me. Freezing the cake is easy and lets you have a quick dessert for those last-minute guests. You can warm it up quickly in just a few minutes in a 250-degree oven until it is just hot, about 8 to 12 minutes, and it will be perfect. It is always one of my favorite, go-to cakes and this one is pretty tried and faithful to go with for any time.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Breakfast, Brunch, Cakes, Cooking, Dessert, Snacks, Uncategorized

 

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54 Pastries You Should Absolutely Eat for Breakfast | Bon Appetit

For me, there is nothing like great pastry treat any time of the day, but pastries can be fantastic, something special for breakfast, particularly on a Sunday. I can always remember having jelly doughnuts as a kid on Sunday morning from the bakery and how wonderful it was. Well, you can make great pastries right in your own home, with everything from doughnuts to muffins and all in between, with these 54 recipes from Bon Appetit. Check it out!

I had hoped to start posting some recipes this week now that our kitchen is finished, but life has interrupted things, and I haven’t been home much to try much new and post anything. I do have some stuff backlogged and hope I will have more time later this week to start sharing again. Hang in there, recipes are coming!

 

Source: 54 Pastries You Should Absolutely Eat for Breakfast | Bon Appetit

 

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Christmas Morning – Recipes from NYT Cooking

When you work through the frenzy that can often go along with Christmas morning, there is nothing better than sitting down as a family and having a nice, fun breakfast to start out the day. New York Times Cooking has put together some great Christmas breakfast ideas so you can have as little or as much as you want after you finish opening up those presents. Check it out!

Source: Christmas Morning – Recipes from NYT Cooking

 

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