Dessert

Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake

Chocolate, moist and absolutely delicious!  This is what you will get if you make this cake.  We were having our friends in one night for some wine and dessert.  I looked through the folder of recipes that I wanted to try and found this one.  It has been hanging around for quite some time and i thought what goes better with wine than chocolate.  And in this definitely fit the bill.

The coffee added brings out the flavor of the chocolate and the whiskey adds great flavor.  The recipe said it would taste even better the next day, and it sure did.

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process) plus 3 tablespoons for dusting pan

1 1/2 cups brewed coffee

1/2 cup American whiskey

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream

Garnish: confectioners sugar for dusting

PREPARATION

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 10-inch bundt pan well, then dust with 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
  2. Heat coffee, whiskey, butter, and remaining cup cocoa powder in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, whisking, until butter is melted. Remove from heat, then add sugar and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool 5 minutes.
  3. While chocolate mixture cools, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, then whisk into cooled chocolate mixture until combined well. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Pour batter into bundt pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
  4. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Loosen cake from pan using tip of a dinner knife, then invert rack over pan and turn cake out onto rack.
Dessert

Apfelkuchen…aka apple torte

The finished product!

On a cold Saturday afternoon we decided to give Sunny Anderson’s Apfelkuchen, that was featured on Food Networks-The Kitchen, a try. My German roots from the Schreck and Meyer familie came out to bake. And the real reason, we knew my Mom would love this recipe.

Look at the layers!
Great pattern with the apples.

For the past couple of years we would buy her a tin of real German Lepkucken from Germany for Christmas. She has always told me the story of her having to stir the batter of these dense molasses cookies. We knew the Apfelkuchen world be a hit.

Ingredients

Apples:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/8-inch wedges 

Batter:

One 15.25-ounce box white cake mix

1 1/4 cups apple cider 

1/3 cup sour cream 

3 large eggs, whisked

Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan

Streusel:

2 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar, plus more for dusting

2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, frozen for 20 minutes

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. For the apples: Add the lemon juice and 2 cups of water to a large bowl and stir. Add the apple wedges. Set aside.
  3. For the batter: Add the cake mix to a large bowl. Whisk together the cider, sour cream and eggs in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the cake mix and stir until combined.
  4. For the streusel: Add the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon sugar to a large bowl. Stir to combine. Using a box grater, shred the chilled butter into the bowl. Use a pastry cutter or fork to mix and toss the mixture until crumbly. Place back in the refrigerator if needed while preparing to bake.
  5. To assemble: Spray the bottoms and sides of a 9-inch springform cake pan with cooking spray. Place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom and spray again. Pour half of the cake batter in the pan. Sprinkle the top with half of the streusel mixture, then add half of the apple slices in a circular fanning pattern. Repeat the layers and dust the top with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes before releasing the spring form.
  7. For serving: Serve the cake slices with Whipped Cream.
Cookies, Dessert

Molasses Cookies

This recipe brings back many childhood memories. My mom would make these Molasses cookies a couple times a year. I remember coming home from school and finding these on the counter fresh from the oven.

So this morning I found her recipe in my collection. Now when you look at this you can see how special having family recipes and memories passed down. She wrote this down on medical notepaper she had in the drawer. Lol!

When you find something like this, cherish it. Mom is soon going to be 92 years old. She still cooks now and then. Macaroni and cheese is a staple and loved by her Grandchildren. She does love her sweets. Last week I took over the apple pie. When I asked her how it was She said it was delicious and was quickly gone, but next time she would like pumpkin.

So this morning our kids were planning a visit so I decided to make some of mom’s Molasses cookies. As you can see from the recipe, not much detail. But they go together pretty quickly.

As soon as I started to put together the wet ingredients I was in love with the flavor. Just opening up the Molasses jar and smelling brought back memories. Adding the cinnamon and the ginger pushed it over the edge.

Now to push these over the edge you have to try them with butter. Just spread a little on the bottom and savor the flavor.

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 well beaten eggs
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup strong cold brewed coffee
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger

Mix together shortening and sugar.  Add eggs and mix well.  Next add Molasses and coffee.

In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients. Then slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Once combined drop by teaspoon full on greased cookie sheet at bake at 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Enjoy the as I suggested….with a little butter!

Dessert

Crumb Top Apple Pie

Once again I wanted to bake something last Saturday. Scouring the pantry and refrigerator I found some utility apples and some Empire apples that seem to call to me….bake a pie. They might not be the “choosen” apple to make a pie with but it didn’t matter because this came out pretty good. Not wanting the traditional two crust pie I found a recipe for a crumb top pie.

The original recipe did not have it’s own crust recipe so I went to my favorite pie crust recipe in my Better Homes and Garden red checked cook book.

This has been a favorite recipe to make as it is pretty simple and uses crisco. Pretty simple to follow and easy to mix when you have the right tools.

Single pie crust recipe

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons cold water

Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Rim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Do not prick pastry. Bake as directed in individual recipes. Makes 8 servings.

With the crust ready it was time to pull the filling together.

Crumb Top Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 pie pastry
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 5 1/2 c. peeled and thinly sliced apples

Crumb Topping

  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. quick oats
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2/3 c. caramel ice cream sauce, divided
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pastry in a 9″ deep dish pie pan. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and 1/3 cup Caramel Sauce. Toss the apples in this mixture and pour into the pie crust. Throughly combine the crumb topping ingredients. Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture. Bake the pie for 20-30 minutes. Then cover with foil and bake another 20 minutes until the apples are tender. Remove pie from oven and drizzle with the remaining 1/3 c. caramel ice cream sauce. Cool and serve with ice cream.

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

Dinner, Pasta

Italian Sausage and Shells Dinner

Quick Dinner idea! Do you have pasta, sausage and diced tomatoes on hand? Heavy cream as well? Then this would be a great weeknight dinner that comes together really quickly. This made a really great meal paired with a salad for Eric, Emily and I last week when she was here for dinner between calls.. Emily was going to take the leftovers home for her boyfriend’s dinner but forgot! So lucky me – great lunch today!

  • 8 ounces uncooked medium shells
  • 1 lb. Italian sausages (spicy or mild) crumbled
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can finely chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil, torn to taste (optional)
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
  1. Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook the shells al dente according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion and take the sausages out of their casings and crumble it into a skillet. Sauté the onion and sausage over medium-high heat for 7 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Drain the fat from the pan.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes to the pan. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cream, basil, and season the sauce with salt & pepper as needed. Cook for another minute or two and then toss with the drained pasta.

Cookies

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

Do you ever get a hankering to bake cookies? Well I did this morning. I looked through the dessert binder and found our recipe for While Chocolate and Cranberry cookies and then checked the pantry. I was in luck. We had all the ingredients.

So my baking process began. I took a stick of butter out of the refrigerator to soften, grabbed a couple of eggs and then got the mixer out. After a couple of hours I was ready to go.

Measuring out the flour

I thought with this recipe I would get some shots of the process. Here you can see the recipe on the counter. When we find a recipe online we print it out. After preparing it we make notes on how it tasted, anything we would tweak and sometimes we will not if it is.ffodie friends worthy. This recipe had some note to turn the cookies into something similar to Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss bars. But not today… the process continued.

My helper is always close by.

The next step is adding the baking powder, salt and baking soda. These are stored in our lazy Susan in the corner of the kitchen. Generally this.is my favorite stop to mix things up. It is also Mr. Magoo’s favorite stop to sit and watch. He is always looking to see what will fall down in his area.

A baking essential

Any good cook will have a great mixer. Ours is our kitchen aid. Hubby got it as a work Anniversary gift years ago. You know, one of those catalogs you get and have to pick out a gift. At the time he didn’t need the company watch or general jewelry gifts. The mixer seemed to be the best gift as we were really picking up our baking and kitchen aids are so expensive.

This one worked out great with this recipe for mixing up the softened butter and then adding the sugar and the 2 eggs.

Next up was blending in the flour mixture and adding the white chips and cranberries. Everything came together so quickly.

Time for the flour
Ready to go

Another great kitchen baking help is a cookie scoop. Ours is a Pampered Chef small scoop that I got years ago when I hosted a party. Pampered Chef has some great products especially for baking. My favorites are the chopper for nuts, the cookie press for Christmas cookies and the scraper for clearing the baking surface. A little flour fell out on the counter and with the scraper it was quickly back in the bowl.

Ready for the oven

Every thing came together quickly and using the parchment paper was great for clean up. But one thing did happen….my assistant fell asleep on the job.

So, here is the final outcome from my hankering for some cookies.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups white chocolate morsels

1 (6-ounce) package sweetened dried cranberries

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; set aside.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture gradually, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in white chocolate morsels and cranberries.

Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Dinner, soups

Quick and Spicy Tomato soup

Lunch time at the office

We were away this past weekend visiting our friends in North Carolina and our flight home arrived just before 5 on Monday.  After eating great food all weekend and traveling we wanted something that was easy to make and also light. This recipe from our favorite Italian chef Giada fit the bill. Within a half hour we had a hot and hearty soup on the table.

As we move into the fall season we start to crave hearty comfort foods. For the reason we try to keep our pantry stocked with basic essentials.  The less trips to the store the better.  This recipe had all of the essentials and made enough to bring into work for lunch.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – 26 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.