Lemon Icebox Cookies

Lemon Icebox Cookies

Lemon Icebox Cookies

Total tart throbs….that’s what I call these buttery, lemony confections.  Cookie nirvana!  Cookie heaven!  Cookie num-yums!   I think you get how much I love these cookies.

IMG_9544

Lemon desserts seem so perfect at this time of year, more than any other, I think.  So I took my recipe for luscious butter cookies, added some (lots) lemon zest, plus a few drops of lemon juice, and zing went the strings of my heart.  Just lemony enough, just buttery enough, and just satisfying enough.  In other words…..perfection 🙂

IMG_9548

As you look over the recipe you will notice that confectioners’ sugar is used instead of granulated.   Powdered sugar gives these cookies their crumbly, sandy texture without too much sweetness, thus the lemon and butter flavors shine through.  The dough is made entirely in the food processor, divided in half and chilled before slicing and baking.  The dough cuts beautifully, not like some others I’ve made that like to crumble when you go to slice them.  Before cutting the cookies each log of dough is rolled in granulated sugar, so the edges of the cookies are glistening and crunchy once baked.

LEMON ICEBOX COOKIES

Yield:  Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:IMG_9519

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

IMG_9520

Directions:

1.  In a food processor, pulse together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt and lemon zest until combined.

IMG_9522

This is how I cut butter into small pieces.

 

Add butter and process until sandy.  Add egg yolks and lemon juice; pulse until dough comes together.

IMG_9524

IMG_9523

 

2.  Divide dough in half and form each into a 1  1/2-inch-wide log.

IMG_9525

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours, or overnight.  Or after wrapping, dough may be frozen up to a month.

IMG_9526

3.  Preheat oven to 350*F. , with racks in upper and lower thirds.  Spread granulated sugar on a piece of wax paper or parchment; roll logs over sugar to coat.

IMG_9535

Roll dough logs in sugar to coat well.

 

4.  Slice logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

This dough slices so nicely.

This dough slices so nicely.

Arrange 1 inch apart, on two (or more) parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

Lightly browned around the edges.

Lightly browned around the edges.

Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.   To store, cover and keep at room temperature, up to 5 days.

IMG_9550

These are the perfect little sweet to serve with a cup of tea, or alongside a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

 

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Advertisements

Cranberry Pecan Biscotti

Cranberry-Pecan Biscotti

Cranberry-Pecan Biscotti

Listen up folks!   It is a scientific fact that a beverage, whether it be coffee, tea, hot chocolate or milk, needs the perfect dunking cooking to go with it.

I took a poll among my friends with the question “would you rather have a graham cracker, a snickerdoodle, or cranberry pecan biscotti with your favorite beverage”?  Don’t ever let it be said that I’m afraid to ask the hard questions!   Biscotti was the overwhelming winner.  Although I have a sneaky suspicion that a frosted cinnamon roll would not be unwelcome either.

The winners….biscotti!

The winner….biscotti!

These are very gentle biscotti;  they are not going to fall apart and leave crumbs in the bottom of your cup or glass.  They are gently spiced with cinnamon and cloves, and they are made with whole wheat flour, so they are good for you.  In addition there’s the cranberries adding their vitamin C. and chopped pecans for some added crunch.  These are as much a cookie as they are a tiny package of warmth and comfort in the middle of what was this winter’s coldest temperatures.

Ahem, excuse me, but I wrote this over a month ago when it was still winter around here.  Don’t be misled, these are great any ole time you feel like having a cookie to munch on.

IMG_8934

CRANBERRY PECAN BISCOTTI

Yield:  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen biscottiIMG_8929

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamonIMG_8931
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325*F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or Silpat liner.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves.  Add to creamed mixture in several additions.  If mixture becomes too thick, stir in the remainder of the flour mixture.

4.  Stir in the nuts and cranberries.

5.  Divide the dough in half and form 2 logs on the baking sheet. (approximately 1/2″ x 2″ wide).

Form dough into 2 "logs" on baking sheet.

Form dough into 2 “logs” on baking sheet.

6.  Bake at 325*F. for 25 minutes, until light golden brown.

7.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.  Slice into 1/2″-thick slices.   Lay on their sides.  Bake about 10 minutes longer, turning over after 5 minutes.

These biscotti may not seem crisp enough, but as they cool they become crisper, so do not over bake them.

IMG_8937

Enjoy these delightful biscotti and be comforted!

SOURCE:    Big Oven

Irish Whiskey Cake

This year I got a little carried away with making Irish recipes for our St Paddy’s Day dinner.  Here today, we have the meal’s finale; Irish Whiskey Cake.

Irish Whiskey Cake

Irish Whiskey Cake

You might be tempted to call this a “drunken cake” because of the whiskey content.  But fear not, the alcohol content evaporates with cooking, leaving behind the flavor of the whiskey.  To be really authentic, you should use Irish Whiskey, but having none in the house, I used what I had, which was an American brand of whiskey.   Can’t say I noticed a hugh difference in flavor….it’s just plain good no matter what brand you use.  Oh, and it’s very OK to adjust the amount upward if you’re so inclined.

IMG_9434

When you look at this cake you would not suspect what’s hidden inside.  It looks like a nice golden poundcake, unassuming and quiet-like.  But wait…..what’s that ribbon of moistness lying along the bottom of the cake?  and what IS that white, crusty, crunchiness on top?  That folks, is the whiskey glaze that slowly seeps through the cake from top to bottom carrying all the whiskey flavor throughout the cake and making it super moist.  Scattered throughout my cake are finely chopped walnuts, but you could also use pecans.   For those with nut allergies, you can leave them out and still be totally satisfied with the results.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

Note how the glaze pools in the recesses of the cake.

The recipe for this cake calls for baking it in a round tube pan or bundt pan, but I wanted to share the cake with another family, so I baked it in two loaf pans, and split the amount of glaze between the two cakes.  There was no problem in doing that, they both came out fine.

IRISH WHISKEY CAKE

Yield:  1 round bundt cake, or 2 smaller loaf cakes (8″ x 4″)IMG_9423

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (without pudding added)
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 oz. whiskey of choice ( or more?)
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk ( skim is OK)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

For the glaze:IMG_9431

  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Generously spray a bundt cake pan or 2 loaf pans with non-stick spray, and then flour well, shaking out the excess flour.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, and eggs.  Beat well…this will be a thick mixture.

IMG_9424

3.  In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, and whiskey.  Add to cake mixture and continue to beat 3 minutes.  Lastly fold in the nuts, if using.

IMG_9425

IMG_9429

4.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 60 minutes.   Loaf cakes may take a little less time.  Start timing at 45 minutes and watch and test for doneness.  Mine took about 50 minutes.

IMG_9432

5.  While cake is baking, make glaze.  Place whiskey glaze ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook on stove top just until it begins to bubble and boil.  Set aside.

6.  When cake is out of the oven, pour the glaze slowly over the cake while it is hot and still in the pan.  It helps to absorb more quickly if you make holes all over the top of the cake with a chop stick or other fine wooden tool.  Let cake stand in the pan for at least 2 hours before removing to a rack to finish cooling.

IMG_9433

7.  Once completely cooled, remove cake from pan.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate 12 hours or more for flavors to permeate throughout the cake.  Keep leftovers refrigerated.

IMG_9435

SOURCE:   The Ranting Chef

 

Impossible Coconut Cream Pie

 

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

Tomorrow is Pi Day, folks!

In case you are not aware of it, the first three digits of the mathematical constant pi are 3.14; so March 14th has earned the title Pi Day.  Since the date this year is March 14th, 2015, we have the first five digits of pi, 3.1415, an extra special day for celebrating.   And it’s so nice to have another food holiday (besides Thanksgiving) to celebrate each year.

IMG_9381

Of course, we love our pies for Thanksgiving, but most of us stick to the traditional ones–pumpkin, apple, pecan, etc.   I like Pi day because it gives me a reason to make a pie (#1), and because it gives me a chance to bake a new pie I haven’t tried yet (#2).  As I do each year I browse through many pie recipes, mulling over the choices in my mind, considering both sweet and savory options.   This coconut cream pie just got stuck in my head and wouldn’t let me rest until I made it.  I don’t remember trying coconut cream pie before this.  Newsflash—-it’s fabulous.  Don’t be thrown by the name.  This pie is not impossible to make, just impossibly good!

IMG_9379

Naturally since this is my first attempt at coconut cream pie, I have no basis for comparison, but we do love this pie.  The coconut custard filling is silky smooth and luscious without being too rich.  A cap of freshly whipped cream on top makes almost any pie better, and this is no exception.  I decided to go the extra mile and toasted some coconut chips for a garnish—so fun and so pretty.  I just love the way it looks.

Will you be celebrating Pi Day with pie?  I’d like to know what flavors you all are making!

IMPOSSIBLE COCONUT CREAM PIE

Yield:   Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked ( your favorite recipe or a refrigerated pie crust)
  • 2 eggsIMG_9361
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup non-sweet coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a 9-inch pie plate.  Set aside.

2.  Flour a work surface and roll the pie crust out to fit your pie plate.  Carefully place the crust in the pie plate, flute the edges and refrigerate until ready to fill.

3.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs well.  Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt , milk, vanilla and melted butter.  Mix well.  Fold in the coconut.  IMG_9362

Fold in the coconut.

Fold in the coconut.

4. Pour into the pie crust.

IMG_9365

Bake  at 350*F. for 45 minutes or until lightly browned and edges are set.  The center may still be a bit jiggly.  It will become firm as it cools.  Allow to cool at room temperature about 2 hours, then refrigerate.

Baked, and lightly browned at the edges.

Baked, and lightly browned at the edges.

5.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top and garnish with some coconut flakes that have been lightly toasted.  You can easily do this when the pie is cooked and out of the oven. Leave the oven on and toast the coconut flakes for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully that they do not become too brown.

IMG_9377

IMG_9378

IMG_9380

IMG_9382

Looking for more Pi day inspiration?  Be sure to check the Pie category—there are many more options to choose from.

 

SOURCE:   adapted from a recipe by Penzey’s Spices

 

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

I did it!  I finally did it!!   I found a way to make a chocolate chip cookie that stays tall and rounded, soft and chewy with lots of chocolate pieces in it.    I am in love with these cookies.

So for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, we have these beauties.

IMG_9329

There must be a ba-zillion recipes out there for chocolate chip cookies, and I must have made at least half a ba-zillion of them, but could never achieve this kind of result.  Oh, they were good all right; some crisp, some chewy, but most all of them flatten out either during baking or as they cool.   I’ve wanted a thick, full cookie that comes out of the oven looking almost the same as it went in, and now I have it.

Before baking.

Before baking.

After baking.

After baking.

What this recipe does is… swap out 1/4 cup of butter and substitute 1/4 cup full-fat cream cheese.  You wouldn’t think that would make a big difference, but it did.  The resulting cookie is so soft with a richness to the dough unlike any other cookies I’ve tried.

Don’t use light, or fat-free cream cheese because your dough will become really soft, and your cookies will spread too much. The cream cheese gets mixed with the butter at the start of the mixing process, followed by the sugars, egg and vanilla.  Then the flour mixture gets mixed in and finally the chocolate chips.

IMG_9328

Make sure to chill your dough for at least two hours before you bake to ensure your cookies bake thick and puffy.  I also found out that if you form your dough into cookie balls before chilling, and chill them all together on a baking sheet, it is much easier to transfer them onto other baking sheets when ready to bake them, than it is to form dough balls when the whole batch of dough is chilled. All the while you are forming cookie dough balls from chilled dough, the dough is coming to room temperature as you work, and then you get limpy whimpy cookies when they are baked.   I want thick, puffy cookies that are overflowing with chocolate, and that’s what these are.

IMG_9333

CREAM CHEESE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Yield:   Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softenedIMG_9320
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened ( use full-fat cream cheese)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  •  2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks ( or a mixture)

Directions:

1.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes

2.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

3.  By hand stir in the chocolate chips/chunks.

4.  Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds ( 28 – 30).  Place mounds onto a large flat platter or baking sheet, flatten slightly with your palm, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight, before baking.  Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.

Before baking.

Before baking.

5.  Preheat oven to 350*F., line baking sheets with parchment or spray with cooking spray.  Place cookie mounds on baking sheets, spaced at least 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8 – 9 minutes, or until edges have set and barely browned, tops are just beginning to set, pale and glossy in the center.  Cookies will firm up as they cool, so do not bake more that 10 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

IMG_9325

6.  Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Unbaked cookie dough can be store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked at a future time. Chilled cookie dough balls may be transferred to a zip-lock bag and frozen for future use also.

IMG_9330

IMG_9327

SOURCE:   this recipe was adapted from one by Averie Cooks

 

 

 

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Call me sentimental, folks, but I think there’s something downright romantic about the way all those bright oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes show up in the produce aisles just when we’re needing them most.  When the wind is whipping and we haven’t seen green grass since I don’t know when, who couldn’t use a little warm weather fling to reminder them of warm, sunnier times?

IMG_9219

No matter if stirred into a salsa, or baked under a fluffy layer of meringue, these seasonal beauties remind me of how much I long for the sunshine, and so I do my best to incorporate citrus fruits into our diet and our lives whenever the opportunity presents itself.   I would never turn away from the kiss of citrus.

This grain-free lemon cake (also known as Torta Caprese Bianca) is just perfection in my mind.  I would like to say it is “to die for”, but that phrase is so over-worked, that I won’t use it, but you get my meaning, I’m sure.

IMG_0247

The cake is made with almond flour and is full of lemon flavor!  It’s yellow, like a ray of sunshine, a happy color.  Just the thing to cheer you up as this winter weather drags on endlessly.  If you love lemon, this is a dessert you will love.  There are three sources of lemon flavor;  lots of lemon zest, lemon extract, and limoncello ( or lemon juice).

After baking it may look a bit underdone in the middle, that’s what gives the cake its dense texture.  When you remove it from the oven it will be puffed up, but slowly sinks as it cools. It that doesn’t suit you, you can bake it a tad longer.  I loved the edges of the cake–kind of crispy and kind of chewy!   The texture reminds me of marzipan, but with the flavor of lemon.   We loved this cake so much, Mr. D. is asking when I’m going to make it again (his favorite flavor is lemon.)

IMG_0245

 ITALIAN LEMON ALMOND CAKE

Yield:   Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients:

  • 320 Gm (about 1 1/2 cups) almond flour, or blanched almonds ground into flour
  • 200 Gm ( a little over a cup) white chocolate, chopped ( I used white chocolate chips)IMG_9198
  • 2 Tbsp. cream or milk
  • 180 Gm butter, softened     1 stick + 4.5 Tbsp.
  • 130 Gm granulated sugar    about 1 cup
  • zest of 2-3 lemons,  2 Tbsp.
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 40 Gm (about 2 Tbsp.) limoncello or lemon juice
  • powdered sugar for garnish

IMG_9202

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 10-inch round pan ( a spring-form pan is good) and line it with parchment paper.

2.  Combine the white chocolate and cream/milk in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool.

3.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 100 Gm sugar (3/4 cup) until fluffy.

4.  Add egg yolks, lemon zest and extract and beat to combine.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

5.  Add almond flour and melted chocolate.  Add limoncello and beat to combine.

6.  In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks,  slowly adding remaining 1/4 cup (30 Gm) sugar.  Fold into almond batter and combine gently.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Spoon into pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

IMG_9206

A toothpick is not a reliable test for doneness, as the center may still be moist.  The cake should be golden brown, puffed, and spring back when touched.  As it cools it will sink in the center a bit.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

7.  When cool, invert onto a cake plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

IMG_9219

IMG_0247

 

Note:  This recipe can be halved easily.  What you see here in my photos is half a recipe.  To bake the smaller volume, use a 7-inch round cake pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Unfortunately I do not have a 7-inch round pan, so I used an 8-inch cake pan, thus my cake is thinner than it should be.  A 7-inch pan will give you a taller cake.

P.S.  I will love this cake in any size 🙂

SOURCE:  Texanerin Baking

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

 

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

Good morning, world….I hope this is not too many sprinkles to start off the week.   Once in a while I get carried away with sprinkles.  They’re so joyful and happy looking, they lift my spirits.  And in this world of white that surrounds us here, we need a little (read, a lot) of color. IMG_9134

Here (pretend I’m pointing) you’ll find cookies.   Not just any cookies, but the most colorful and buttery delicious cookies I could come up with.

The cookie base is a traditional sugar cookie:  scoop-able dough, not the roll-out kind.

The flour gets whisked together with the baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Softened butter is beaten together with vanilla and granulated sugar.

Then an impossible number of sprinkles gets stirred in.  Isn’t this fun?  Like a party about to happen.

Add in those sprinkles!!

Add in those sprinkles!!

The dough needs some time in the refrigerator before the cookies are baked.  The butter needs time to re-chill and the egg needs time to moisten the dough.  A 2-hour chill is good although overnight is better.

The dough is portioned into 2 tablespoon balls and rolled into more rainbow sprinkles.   If it feels like too much, that’s absolutely right.

IMG_9133

These cookies are chewy in the center, crisp at the edges, and packed with sprinkles and vanilla.  They’re the perfect way to get in the mood for whatever celebration lies ahead.

VANILLA CONFETTI COOKIES

Yield:  makes about 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperatureIMG_9120
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

Directions:

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.    Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined.

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and vanilla.

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and vanilla.

3.  Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Adding in the dry ingredients.

Adding in the dry ingredients.

The dough will be thick ( you may have to finish incorporating the mixture with a wooden spoon).  Fold in 1/4 cup of the sprinkles.

Add in those sprinkles!!

Add in those sprinkles!!

4.  Place the remaining 1/4 cup sprinkles in a bowl.  Scoop up 2 tablespoon of dough and roll in a ball.  Dip the ball in the bowl of sprinkles to cover lightly.  Put the balls on a platter.  Repeat with the remaining sprinkles and dough.  Chill the dough balls for at least 2 hours.

Form balls of dough, roll in more sprinkles, then chill.

Form balls of dough, roll in more sprinkles, then chill.

5.  Place oven racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

6.  Transfer the chilled dough balls to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space in between each ball.

Leave space, cookies will flatten out and spread.

Leave space, cookies will flatten out and spread.

7.  Bake until the cookies have spread and are just beginning to brown aground the edges, but are mostly pale and soft, 8 to 10 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.  The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

IMG_9138

Strawberry-Lime Gooey Bars

IMG_9040

Strawberry Lime Gooey Bars

 

It was the name that got me first, then the color.  They looked so bright and pretty in the picture, my mouth began to water, and next thing I knew I was tearing through my storage cupboard looking for the strawberry cake mix that I knew was in there somewhere.

IMG_9032

I was desperate for these bars.  I could taste them way in advance of making them.  You know, I often forget how much I like strawberry (anything), until something forces me to make it.  Then, of course, I remember how much I really like it.  Just like when I’m ordering a milk shake….I always order vanilla.  But if Mr. D. orders strawberry, and I taste his, then I’m like, “dang, why didn’t I order that too”?

That’s pretty much how it was with these strawberry gooey bars.

IMG_9039

There was no lime in the original recipe, but I felt that all that concentrated strawberry sweetness would be too much, so I brightened up the flavor with fresh lime juice and zest.  Now they are not cloyingly sweet, and I love how pretty and pink they are.  Just the ticket, I think, for a Valentine’s Day treat.

IMG_9029

STRAWBERRY LIME GOOEY BARS

Yield:  Make 16 barsIMG_9008

Ingredients:

  • 1  (15.25-oz.) box Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, ( low-fat, or non-fat are OK)
  • lime zest to garnish tops of bars, if desired

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, then spray well with cooking spray and set aside.

2.  Beat butter with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy.  Add in the cake mix, egg, lime juice and zest and continue beating until it all comes together and forms a thick dough.

3.  Press about 2/3’s of the cake mixture onto bottom of the foil-lined pan.  Sprinkle white chocolate chips over the top.

IMG_9010

4.  Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the chips.

5.  Drop the remaining cake dough in “blobs” over the top of the milk, trying to spread it out as much as possible.  Press lightly.

IMG_9011

6.  Bake for 29 – 32 minutes, or until edges start to brown.

7.  Cool bars in pan on a cooking rack.  When completely cooled, cut into squares.  Top with additional lime zest, if desired.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

IMG_9030

IMG_9025

SOURCE:    Mom on Time Out

Baked Black and White Doughnuts

Baked Black and White Doughnuts

Baked Black and White Doughnuts

Ah, yes…..doughnuts!   Do you love them?   Strangely enough, I can’t say that I do.  I’ve always thought of doughnuts as greasy, fried, blobs of sweetness without many redeeming qualities.  But then about a year ago I got introduced to baked doughnuts. Up till then, I had never tried them.   Now, they may not suit everyone, especially those of you who crave your daily doughnut from the doughnut shop, but I hope you will agree with me that they are good….like, really, really good.   OK?

IMG_8998

Baked doughnuts are the drama, whereas fried doughnuts are the comedy of life, sort of like little emojies 🙂   These doughnuts in your hands, in your life, are like magic.  That’s it,  that’s all I’m saying.

These doughnuts are a take-off on those black and white cookies, we all love.  They’re for when you can’t decide it you want a chocolate glazed doughnut or a vanilla glazed one with sprinkles.  See, I’ve solved that problem for you!   Donut ignore this recipe.  (Pun intended.)

IMG_9003

I like the way these doughnuts come together,  mostly because it’s so simple.  No electric mixer involved, just two bowls and  a few measuring and mixing tools.   And since I’ve become completely captivated by browned butter and the flavor it adds to baked goods, I’ve used it here too.

IMG_8984

They’re basically made with flour + sugar + spice + everything nice, (i.e., buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and browned butter).

IMG_8988

Browned butter adds a lovely depth of flavor and nuttiness to the cake-y doughnuts, and lots of freshly grated nutmeg takes them over the top.

Dry ingredients are whisked together to fluff and blend them well.

IMG_8983

Wet ingredients are whisked up just so, and added to the dry.  Wet + dry, that’s how you do it.  It’s called cooking math.

IMG_8987

 

Baked up, these doughnuts are soft, tender and sweet.

IMG_8997

Chocolate and vanilla glazes are thick enough to be just spreadable.  Colored sprinkles never hurt.

Glaze one side of each doughnut with the chocolate glaze, then do the other side with vanilla glaze,  Don’t forget the sprinkles.  It will take a bit of will power to do this without taking a bite out of one of them.   I wish you luck.

IMG_9003

I’m sorry to tell you, but the final decision is yours here….will you bite into the chocolate side, or the vanilla side first????

IMG_9006

 

BAKED BLACK AND WHITE DOUGHNUTS

Yield:   Makes 6 doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (but you will use only 2 Tbp. of it in the recipe)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the vanilla glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease a doughnut pan and set it aside.

2.  In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.  Butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts.  That’s the water cooking out of it.  Once the water has evaporated out, the butter will quiet down and begin to brown.  Keep an eye on it as it browns quickly.  It will begin to smell nutty.  Remove from heat and immediately pour into a small cup or bowl to cool.

IMG_8984

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar.  Set aside.

IMG_8983

4.  In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Measure out 2 tablespoons of browned butter and whisk into the wet ingredients.

IMG_8989

5.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.

IMG_8990

Lift and fold as you stir until no flour bits remain and all of the ingredients are well combined.  Try not to over mix the batter.  This is what makes a tender cake.

IMG_8991

6.  Use a small spoon to dollop batter into the prepared pan.  Smooth out and fill each doughnut cup in the pan three-quarters full with batter.

IMG_8992

IMG_8995

7.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Check for doneness at 8 minutes, tops should spring back slightly when touched.  Do not over bake them.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan a few minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_8996

IMG_8997

When the doughnuts are cool, make the glazes.

1. For chocolate glaze:  whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla extract.  Stir to combine.  Add more milk as necessary to create a thick but still just pourable glaze.

2.  For vanilla glaze:  whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to create a thick put still pourable glaze.

3.  Spread half of the doughnuts with chocolate glaze, and remaining half with vanilla glaze.  Place back on the wire rack and sprinkle the vanilla side with colored sprinkles while the glaze is wet.  Allow to set for about 30 minutes before storing or serving.  These doughnuts are best within 2 days.

IMG_9001

 

SOURCE:   Adapted from Joy the Baker

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

This cake, oh man, did it turn out well!  What started out as a plain, but exceptionally good, pumpkin cake morphed into a gigantic cinnamon roll.

The cake is fine textured and velvety smooth.  It just melts in your mouth.  As if that weren’t enough before baking it I swirled some cinnamon roll filling into the top which got all gooey and caramelized as it baked.  Once out of the oven and still warm, I finished it off with a buttery cinnamon glaze that creeps into all the crevices, making this the best darn cake if I do say so myself.

IMG_8673

This would be fabulous for Christmas morning, or an addition to a holiday buffet or brunch, but it can certainly hold its own as an after dinner dessert as well.  The cake recipe is one that I use often, it’s my favorite pumpkin cake.  You could bake it in the form of cupcakes, a loaf cake, or whatever.  You won’t be sorry with this cake recipe.  I particularly like that it makes a small cake, perfect for two or a small family.  Double all ingredients if you want to go bigger, it can handle it!

If you know someone who is obsessed with anything pumpkin, make this cake for them and watch them swoon 🙂

IMG_8677

PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLL CAKE

Yield:  1  8 – 9-inch round cake

Ingredients:

IMG_8667

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/8 cup light brown sugar (I measure 1/2 cup, but don’t pack it)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup milk

Cinnamon Swirl:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 – 2 tsp. milk, if needed

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease or spray an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar for 2 – 3 minutes or until fluffy.  Add the oil and pumpkin, beating until smooth.

4.  Gradually mix in the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternating with milk,  starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Don’t over-mix.

5.  Pour batter into the pan and smooth the top with an off-set spatula or knife.

IMG_8668

6.  Stir together the filling ingredients. Carefully pour filling into a piping bag, or use a glass measuring cup with a spout.  Swirl the filling onto the top of the cake.

IMG_8669

7.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until baked through and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

IMG_8670

For Glaze:

8.  Whisk together the melted  butter and powdered sugar until smooth.  (Start with 3 T. of sugar and add the 4th if it seems too runny.  Stir in the cinnamon and add milk if needed.  You want the glaze to easily spill off the spoon and not be too thick.

9.  Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake and serve while warm.

IMG_8671

 

SOURCE:   The cake recipe was adapted from Food and Wine