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I am a day late, a dollar short, and I have no excuses.
I had originally planned to put up the surprisingly simple and amazingly delicious Vodka Pasta I made for my husband when he got home from work Friday but alas I forgot my camera in West Virginia (the problem with driving back and forth every weekend - whatever you need is always in the other state.) Oh well that just means I’ll have to make more! What a difficult life I have.
So today we are having pink sugar overload. Actually this is a really good recipe for this Spring weekend. Another find by my little sister I was originally a little put off by the aggressive Pink of it but one bit converted me. It is like the ubiquitous Christmas chocolate covered cherries - only with out the gooey middle to get on your hands and clothing.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Fudge
From Shugary Sweets
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 tsp cherry flavored gelatin (I just bought a cherry jello pack and took it out of that - but what can one do with the leftovers?)
2 1/2 cup white chocolate
7 oz jar of marshmallow cream/fluff
1/2 cup dried cherries
10 oz dark chocolate, melted
In a large sauce pan melt the butter and sugar with the cream and a pinch of salt over medium heat.
Once it comes to a full boil add in the cherry gelatin and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
In a separate mixing bowl combine the white chocolate and marshmallow cream.
After you have cooked the cream/gelatin mixture for the full 5 minutes, pour it over the chocolate/marshmallow cream mixture.
Beat until smooth and all the chocolate is melted.
Fold in the dried cherries. And really, it goes without saying that I consider the 1/2 cup more of a guideline than a hard rule. Dried cherries are delicious!
Line a 9 in square pan with parchment paper - or you know, aluminum foil because that is all you have on hand - and grease the heck out of that thing. Pour the fudge mixture into the pan and place it in the fridge to begin to set up.
After about 30 minutes melt your chocolate. (In a microwave safe bowl or a double boiler. Whatever floats your boat.)
Carefully pour the melted chocolate over the barely set fudge and spread to the edge in as nice and even a layer as you can.
(I messed this part up and just poured the chocolate over the fudge as soon as I put it in the pan without chilling at all. It was a mess let me tell you. Don’t do as I do. Be patient. It will work better for you.)
Chill the fudge for an additional 3 hours or, better (but again that patience thing) let it set overnight.
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Shhh don’t tell anyone but these are super easy. They have a box lemon cake mix in them but no one would ever know. They are so so so good.
And did I mention delicious?
Adapted from Paula Dean by Crazy About Cakes
For the cakes
1 box yellow cake mix (shhhh)
1 box cook-and-serve lemon pudding (they say you can use instant too if you got it)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
For the glaze
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon - so I just used 1 lemon and didn’t measure)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons or, you know, the above mentioned one lemon and the concentrated stuff from the fridge)
3 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Spray muffin tins (also great with mini-muffin tins if you have them) with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside
In a large bowl beat the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, and 3/4 cup oil for 2 minutes.
Spoon the batter into each muffin tin.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. (I told you these were easy.)
In a medium bowl combine the confectioners sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, 3 tbsp oil, and water.
Stir until it becomes a smooth drizzly consistency.
Dip each cake into the glaze while the cakes are still warm. Try to get as much of the cake covered as possible.
Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool (Be sure to put something under the rack or you will have a drippy lemon-flavored mess.).
Let the glaze set completely before eating (if you can!).
Store extras in an air tight container.
It is a slight problem. I love this show!
I chose the Cardamom and Lemon Stamped Cookies to make from the Bakeation series trip to Norway. Plus they are delicious, flavorful, and dead easy. While I don’t get to make them at a UNESCO World Heritage site like on the show, they did come out really delicious. Would have been better with a waterfall, though.
Lemon Cardamon Cookies
1 stick butter
a scant one cup of sugar
1 lemon zest
2 cups flour
1 heaping cup ground almonds
3 tsp ground cardamon
5-8 tbsp of milk to bring the dough together
I have converted the measurements into US measurements as best I could. If you would prefer the British measurements, please feel free to click on the link above.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
Add in the flour, almonds, and cardamom. (I could not find ground almonds in the store, so we used a food processor and pulverized those suckers)
Slowly add one tablespoon of milk at a time, just until you can form a stiff dough.
Roll the dough into roughly 24 balls (I got 30 out of mine but a few could have been made bigger) and place on either a parchment-lined cookie tray or a lightly greased cookie tray.
Press a cookie stamp into the dough. If you have one. I went to both Target and Bed Bath and Beyond and could not find one today and so, because of my lack of forethought, used a cup to just make them flat. It worked fine, though I also found some cookie stamps pretty cheap on Amazon, so I might pick one up the next time I have an order.
Bake at 375 degrees for 12 - 14 minutes (mine took all 14 minutes) until cookies are a nice light golden brown.
Put them on a cooling rack to crisp up.
Make a pot of tea, enjoy the cookies. (Wish you were in Norway looking at magnificent waterfalls.)
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Wednesday was my husband’s birthday. We were also snowed in with the last (most likely) winter storm of the season. I offered to make him whatever he wanted: cake, cookie, pie, whatever. He chose a banana cream pie, complete with mounds of fluffy, glossy meringue topping.
I had never made one before so I turned to a wedding present: the 75th Anniversary edition of Joy of Cooking.
Banana Cream Pie
From Joy of Cooking
1 Pre-made and baked pie crust (How to do this? Check out the Pumpkin Pie recipe for the dough, then bake for 10 minutes.)
For the Filling:
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
5 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2-4 firm ripe bananas cut into rounds (about 2 cups)
For the Meringue:
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup water
5 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
In a large sauce pan whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
Put on low heat and whisk in the milk.
One at a time add in the egg yolks and whisk until no yellow remains.
Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat, scrape down the sides, whisk until smooth, and then return to heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. This is actually like magic-it is liquid and then in 5 seconds it is a thick and bubbling custard. Once you reach this point, cook for one minute.
Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.
Spoon 1/3 of the filling into the pie shell.
Cover with 1/2 of the banana slices, another layer of custard, the rest of the bananas, then the final layer of custard.
Press a sheet of plastic wrap onto the top of the pie to keep a skin from forming.
Immediately start your meringue. Why immediately? Well, you see, here is the thing: homemade meringue pies weep. And then you have a soggy mess instead of a beautiful pie. One way to stop your pie from weeping is to put your meringue onto a hot pie. This will cook the underside of the meringue, while the oven will cook the top.
The problem with this is you have to either have 3 assistants, super-human speed, or… what I am gonna try next time…you can put the pie un-topped into the oven for 5-10 minutes before pouring on the meringue. ‘Cause boy, did I have weep-age this time.
But have no fear! Making meringue is one of my favorite things to make; it is so much fun!
Aside from weeping, the other main complaint with homemade meringue is shrinkage. You can stabilize your meringue by making a cornstarch paste and whipping it into the whites. Start by putting 1 tbsp of cornstarch and 1 tbsp of sugar into a small sauce pan.
Gradually stir in 1/3 cup of water, making a smooth, runny, paste.
Bring this to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Let boil for 15 seconds. This will immediately turn into a gooey paste. Bring off the heat and cover.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Add in the vanilla and cream of tartar. About a tablespoon at a time, beat in the 1/2 cup of sugar.
Beat on high speed until very stiff glossy peaks form.
Reduce the speed to low and incorporate the cornstarch paste, 1 tablespoon at a time.
When all the paste is in, turn the speed back up and beat for about 30 seconds until smooth.
Spread the meringue over a hot pie and make pretty swirls.
Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 325 degrees.
Let it cool completely, and then I would pop it in the fridge until cool.
Happy Birthday, Andrew!!!
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Growing up, when it would be my mother’s turn to pick a cake, she would always go for either strawberry with chocolate icing, or orange with chocolate icing. So I knew I had to make this cake for her. I just needed a good reason.
And the reason finally came. My mother has been selected to be the new District Superintendent of the Northern District of the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Got all that? Yeah, it’s a lot. But this is a big promotion and she is gonna be really good at it. She just never really wanted the job, because she doesn’t have the political/ambitious drive. But I think that is part of why she will be so good at it.
Nevertheless, this cake became her Congratulations/I’m So Sorry cake.
And the cake is good. Really good. Moist days later and super orangey and delicious. If you have never had an olive oil cake, it is really worth a try. The texture has a bigger crumb than a traditional American cake, but it is really good and, though time consuming, fairly simple and straightforward to make.
Orange Olive Oil Cake
For the cake:
2 medium oranges
2 1/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp orange blossom water**
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
For the Frosting
5 oz unsweetened chocolate
8 tbsp butter
1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
** Orange Blossom water…I couldn’t find any. I hear you can get it at Whole Foods but I do not have a Whole Foods handy. And Amazon has it-but not for AmazonPrime or for Super Saver shipping, and the shipping is more than the cost of the product. So I fudged it, by substituting more fresh orange juice or the liquid I cooked the oranges in. I note both the original and the changes in case you can get your hands on some.
Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil on your stove top. Trim about 1/2 inch from the tops and bottoms of each orange. Once the water is at a rolling boil, submerge the oranges and cook for about a minute. Drain and discard the water, then repeat the boiling, cooking, and draining two more times (for a total of three blanches).
Put the blanched oranges, 1 cup of sugar, and 4 cups of water back into the sauce pan and back onto the heat. Cook for 30 minutes while stirring frequently. Reserve the cooking liquid and let the oranges cool to room temperature.
Roughly chop the oranges into fourths or so; remove the seeds. Puree the oranges in a food processor or blender. Even the rinds.
Combine the remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, 1 tsp orange blossom water (Here I used 1 tsp of the cooking liquid) and the pureed oranges in a large bowl. Mix well.
Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined.
Gradually add in the olive oil and mix well.
Pour the batter into a really-well-greased 8x 3 in cake pan (I used a springform pan and it worked perfectly).
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes (mine needed to cook even longer-more like a hour-but watch it so that the edges don’t get too well done).
Mix 2 tbsp of cooking liquid, 1 tbsp orange blossom water, and 1 tbsp of orange juice. (Here to compensate for the missing orange blossom water I just did 2 tbsp cooking liquid and 2 tbsp orange juice.) Remove the cake from the oven, and poke it all over with a fork. Brush the liquid all over the cake and allow it to cool completely.
Now to make the frosting. Chop the chocolate and butter and set aside. Or, if you are like me, mix the 15 tbsp of cocoa powder and 5 tbsp of oil with the butter and set aside. (Helpful conversion: 1 1 oz. square of chocolate = 3 tbsp cocoa + 1 tbsp oil)
In a saucepan, bring the sugar and heavy cream to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes. Be careful that the saucepan does not overflow!
Pour the sugar/cream mixture over the chocolate/butter mixture and stir until completely melted. Stir in the vanilla extract and let it cool completely.
Whisk occasionally during cooling. I think of this more as a cross between frosting and ganache.
Frost that baby and let the feasting begin!
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I love cinnamon rolls. Like: LOVE love cinnamon rolls. Like: screw dinner, let’s just make cinnamon rolls and eat the whole pan because I had a bad day love cinnamon rolls.
I might have a slight problem.
Every now and again my family does breakfast for dinner, where we make eggs and bacon and fried potatoes-the works. And, sometimes, cinnamon rolls! But you don’t have to wait for a breakfast for dinner night to make cinnamon rolls; these babies are very flexible and do beautifully rising slowing in your refrigerator overnight. If you can stand to wait that long. I won’t judge you if you can’t and just cook them and have cinnamon rolls at 11pm.
From the Better Holmes and Garden New Cookbook
(but not the real new version of the New Cookbook. You want the one from the 70s. The new one I received recently has changed the recipe and it’s just not… as good. I was crushed. And then I called my mother and got this recipe.)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 pkg yeast
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup shortening
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup raisins (bahahahahaha 1/4 cup-yeah right - we halved the recipe and still used a healthy 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp melted butter
sugar - a goodly amount
cinnamon - lots
This recipe makes about two dozen but luckily is relativity easy to halve (though you can’t really halve an egg. Well, I am sure there is a way, but why go through all that? Just add more flour and you will still be good.)
Heat the milk, sugar,
shortening, and salt until warm and the shortening has started to melt.
In a mixing bowl combine the flour and yeast.
Add in the now-slightly-cooled milk mixture and the egg. Beat well.
Stir in the remaining flour. It will be a soft but workable dough. (Like I said: if you are halving the recipe just add more flour).
Knead the dough a few times.
Roll the dough out to a rectangle.
Spread/pour on the melted butter, covering all the edges.
Sprinkle liberally with sugar.
Cover nicely with cinnamon.
Scatter the raisins.
And, starting with the long edge, roll the dough up into a log.
Cut into about 1 inch slices and place in a greased baking pan (9x9x2 for half the recipe, 9x13x2 for full recipe).
Allow the rolls to rise until doubled (30 - 45 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator). Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Note: if you let them rise in the refrigerator overnight, you will need to bring the rolls back up to room temperature before baking.
After the rolls are brown and delicious and your kitchen smells like heaven, you can either make a glaze for them or, my favorite, just melt a little more butter on top, and enjoy.
They really don’t keep well, so there is no reason at all not to eat them all in one sitting!
What, I hear you exclaiming, what on earth am I doing posting a pumpkin pie recipie after Thanksgiving?
Well this is my bid to get you to make and eat pumpkin pie all through the festive holiday season. After all, it’s in the Christmas song and thus cannon:
There’s a happy feeling
Nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the coffee
And the pumpkin pie
It’ll nearly be like a picture print
By Courier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things
We’ll remember all through our lives
(Do you hear the music in your head now?) So go forth and make pumpkin pie.
For the pie dough
(from Southern Living cookbook)
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
4 - 5 tbsp cold water
For the pie filling:
(From the back of the Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin can - don’t look at me like that. It’s delicious!)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (or you know.. more)
1/2 tsp allspice (the can says cloves I say no’s)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 large eggs
1 can (15oz) of pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) of evaporated milk
(This will make enough for one pie.)
First things first: you need to get over being afraid of pie dough. It will not fall to pieces on you. It will be all right. Promise. Homemade pie dough is very doable… just don’t tell your friends and family that, or they wont be as impressed that you made it.
Mix the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry cutter until all pieces are small-pea-sized.
Add the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. It always seems to take a tablespoon or two more than the recipe says.
Turn it out and… gasp… knead it a turn or two to make sure the dough is together. (Really it will still be tasty and good. Promise!)
Form the dough into a ball, flatten it on a lightly floured surface, and then roll out.
I find the hardest part is getting the crust from the surface and into the pie pan without it sticking together or being very lopsided. But it always works out.
Press the dough into the pie pan and get ready to make the filling.
Preheat the over to 425 degrees.
Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl.
Add in salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.
Stir in pumpkin and gradually add in evaporated milk.
Pour into the unbaked pie shell.
We start out with a ladle but often give up and just literally pour.
Bake for an additional 40- 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and a few cracks are beginning to form.
Cool for two hours or so and then serve.
It is best the day it is made.
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I had a stomach bug this week. Ugh. My mother made me rice pudding, great comfort food for touchy stomachs. But you know what, it is just as sweet and delicious and comforting when you don’t have a touchy stomach, too. And it is easy to make.
The smell of this reminds me of my childhood: cinnamon and custard. It just makes your whole house feel a little more cozy.
3 slightly beaten eggs
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cups raisins (hahahahaha 1/2 cups - yeah that is really more of a guideline or suggestion - raisins are good. Lots of raisins are better!)
1 tsp vanilla
Boil some water and pour over the raisins in a small bowl. Set aside to plump up.
Make your rice. I actually used to have a hard time making rice. It took me forever to figure out how to get it right. Sigh. Now I can make rice all day long…living in New Orleans taught me. It goes so well with red beans or gumbo!
In a bowl (or my mom just does it in the baking dish she will be using to bake the pudding in - be sure to pam it first), combine the eggs, milk, rice, sugar, raisins, vanilla and salt.
Bake in an 8.5 X 8.5 baking dish at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.
Stir the mixture and cover the top with cinnamon.
Continue baking for another 25 or so minutes. There shouldn’t be any shiny wet spots.
I prefer it served warm just a few minutes out of the oven but my husband loves it cold. Both ways are good.
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Tomorrow is the premier of the second season of Once Upon A Time on ABC. And I am very excited!
To celebrate, my husband and I made this apple hand pie. Why, you ask? Well… if you haven’t seen the last season I am not gonna spoil it, but I will say poison apples are optional in this recipe…and these will definitely tempt anyone into taking a bite.
Even if you are not celebrating the return of magic, these are still delicious. The dough is very tender and the slight tang from the sour cream really works well with the sweet carmel salty filling. The recipe only makes 8 and they go fast!
Caramel Apple Hand Pies
From Just A Taste
For the pie dough
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup cold sour cream
For the filling
1 cup diced apples (I used a mixture of granny smith and red delicious apples)
1 tsp ;lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 c sugar
1 tsp flour
carmel candy chopped small
Kosher or large flake sea salt
Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add in the butter and, using your hands, work it into the flour to make a paste.
(Then wash your hands for what seems like an hour to get the butter paste off them.)
Stir in the sour cream to form a very wet dough. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over the dough and carefully move it to a well-floured surface. Knead, adding a little more flour at a time to form a soft dough.
Roll the dough into a rectangle and fold into thirds like you would an envelope.
Repeat this two more times. After the last folding, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the apples and be sure to cut them small, lIke the size of corn kernels, because you want them to soften while in the oven.
Mix the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour in a small bowl. Set aside.
Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a circular cookie cutter (or a cup) cut out as many circles as possible.
Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting circles of dough (you should have approximately 16 circles).
Place a row of dough circles on a well greased cookie sheet. In the center of the circle place about a tablespoon of the apple pie filling.
Then add as much caramel as you can. I found these cool little circles of caramel for easy melting in the baking section which work really well… as long as they don’t roll away. Finally, sprinkle with some kosher salt.
Carefully stretch another circle of dough a little and place it on top of the apple caramel
Use a fork to seal the edges.
Cut three shallow vents into the top crust and sprinkle with a little sugar if you like.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes (I say about because at minute 7 I caved and ate one and it was perfect and delicious).
These are best fresh and warm from the oven but good the next day too.
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This was one of my Dad’s favorite breads. Even after he was diagnosed with diabetes, this was still on the top of his list for ways to cheat the diet. It’s a sweet and tart quick bread, really just full of lemon flavor.
Plus, it is super easy to make and keeps well for a few days. And I am always looking for something delicious to have with my tea!
Lemon Tea Bread
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
grated rind of 1 lemon
glaze (1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
Cream the shortening with the sugar. Beat well with an electric mixer or KitchenAid. (My KitchenAid is, alas, still in storage, waiting for us to move and get it back out - so electric mixer it is for me.)
Add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) and, alternating with the milk, and beginning and ending with the dry mixture, slowly beat into the egg/shortening mixture.
I usually do mine in three steps: half the dry ingredients, the milk, the other half of the dry ingredients. Stir in lemon rind (Be sure to keep the lemon, as the juice from this now de-rinded lemon is perfect for the glaze.).
Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 55 minutes…
or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
While the bread is cooling, you can make up your glaze. Simply combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice, stirring like crazy to get out any lumps.
I like using the juice of the fresh lemon from the bread but, depending on your lemon, you may need to supplement with bottled lemon juice to get the full two tablespoons.
Pour the glaze over the bread.
Allow it to harden.
Slice as needed for consumption.
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