Category Archives: Desserts

Brownies [ w/ Melted Chocolate ]

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I love brownies.  They are my go-to dessert when I need comfort in the form of chocolate.  I do have a problem.  I cannot pick a favorite brownie recipe.  Maybe you can help me out.  Here is what I know about brownies:

–  Has to be fudgy.
–  Not cakey.
–  Has to have top flaky layer.
–  No nuts.
–  Has to exude chocolate.

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With that said, I rely on two recipes and have many more on my to-do list.  The first  one I’d like to share with you involves melted chocolate (as opposed to cocoa powder).

The results?

–  Definitely fudgy.
–  Definitely has the top flaky layer.
–  Definitely chocolatey.

I loved every bite.  It had a chew and soft enough to melt in my mouth.  With that said, I think I’ll look to see if other recipes really pack more of a chocolate punch.

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What’s your favorite brownie recipe?

Brownies (with melted chocolate)

barely adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 and 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.  Grease an 8×8 inch square pan.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter and water.  Cook over medium heat until boiling.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth.
  3. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Stir into the chocolate mixture.
  6. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Start checking after 25 minutes because you don’t want to overbake.  Cool in the pan and cut before serving.

 

 

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Filed under baking, Brownies, Desserts

Tres Leches

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As we approach Cinco de Mayo, I look forward to great food.  Guacamole.  Fajitas.  Chips and salsa.  Mexican wedding cookies.  Tres leches cake.  After having a slew of spicy and flavorful dishes, this cake is a light and cool dessert that absolutely fits the bill.

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As if I need a reason to make and eat this cake.  A cake soaked in a blend of sweet milks and covered in fresh whipped cream.  I say, have it all-year round.  Birthdays, weekends, found-another-sweetened-condensed-milk-can-in-your-pantry days.  I definitely don’t need a reason.  Just a fork.

Tres Leches

adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking pow der
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together.  Set aside.
3. Cream butter and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well until fully incorporated.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well
blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
6. Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the
top of the cooled cake.
7. Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon
vanilla together until thick in a stand mixer.  Spread over the top of cake.  Place cake in fridge until time to serve.

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Filed under baking, Cake, Desserts

Banoffee Pie

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My career, in my opinion, has taken a nose dive since the baby was born.  Going from a 100 hr/week attorney to a part-time attorney has been a major hit on my career self-esteem.  So, when one of my cases recently was scheduled for back to back depositions and a settlement conference, it was my time to get back on the work horse.  And, I loved it.

After very successful depositions, I marched into the settlement conference with dare I say — a swagger.  My client and I sat in one room while the opposing party was in another and the attorneys were to walk back and forth with settlement offers.  Walking back to my client’s room, I happily thought that I put aside the mom clothes and was back to my old self.  I took one step inside my client’s waiting room when she said, “I think you sat in chocolate.”  Mortified, I stood there for a minute attempting to salvage this most unprofessional situation.  But, she was right.  Somewhere between feeding my kid a chocolate chip granola bar and driving, I sat in it.  Oh, and my suit was tan/light brown.  It paired well with my dark chocolate chip stain.

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Luckily, my client quickly said, “Oh, I figured your son did that,” and went on about her life as a mom.  And, there I was – in my professional element, exchanging mom advice with my client.  The settlement went well and on the drive home, I accepted the duality that has become my life, where the mom part is the base and everything else is seemingly built around that.  When I got home, I celebrated by making a pie.  No chocolate.

Banoffee Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups graham crackers, finely crushed into crumbs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 (14 oz) cans dulce de leche 
  • 4 large bananas, sliced
  • 2 heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3 tbsp confectioner’s (powdered sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a 9-inch pie plate, mix together the graham crackers and butter, and evenly press into the pie plate for the crust.  Bake for 5 minutes to set the crust.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Once the crust is cooled, spread the dulce de leche from one can over the crust.  Layer with bananas.  Finish with the last can of dulce de leche.
  4. Chill in a refrigerator.
  5. Make the whipped cream:  With a stand or handheld mixer, whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff.  Spread evenly over the cake.  Serve immediately or put back in the fridge to chill.

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Filed under Desserts, Pie

Dulce De Leche (The Easy Way)

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Remember when I slaved over a pot of boiling milk to get about 1 cup of dulce de leche?  Yeah, turns out that’s not going to be happening anymore.  Why?  Ask my kid who finds it fun to tug at my pants and grasp onto my leg for dear life just to be picked up every 5 minutes.  It’s also hilarious when he pretends he has cooked noodles for legs when I try to set him back down.

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You could extend a sigh of frustration with me.  Or, you could ask why a mom who has more than enough on her plate couldn’t just buy a bottle of it?  Or perhaps just not make it altogether because it really isn’t a necessity like maybe … dinner?  I call those non-options.  And, you’ll agree when you see what I’ve done with two beautiful cans of pure decadence, without all the stirring.

Dulce De Leche (The Easy Way)

Ingredients:

  • Cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • Large pot with a heavy bottom with a lid

 Directions:

  1. Place the cans of condensed milk in the pot.  Fill the pot with water.  The water should fully cover the cans.
  2. Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Once at a boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium to keep it at a simmer.
  4. Check the water level every 30 minutes to make sure that the cans are all well submerged.
  5. After three hours, turn off the stove and move the pot with lid off the heat (to another burner).  Jut let everything cool down.  Once the water is cool, remove the cans and place on a towel to cool to room temperature.
  6. Do not use any cold water, ice or any cooling procedure to make the cans colder faster.

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Filed under Custard/Pudding, Desserts, Frostings & Fillings

Banana Pudding

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The title should really be – Best. Banana. Pudding. Ever. Ever.

As a Texan, I take my banana pudding pretty seriously.  I’ve seen serious atrocities attempt to pass as banana pudding.  My ideal banana pudding must be vanilla pudding, with banana and vanilla wafer cookies.  The most important part to know is that it’s vanilla pudding with bananas.  Not banana flavored pudding.  But, the banana flavor, after sitting, will get into the vanilla pudding.

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I totally agree the ingredients in this recipe may not be the most traditional, but oh good gravy it’s good.  The sweetened condensed milk adds the perfect amount of sweetness while the whipped cream keeps it light.  The vanilla wafers get cakey after sitting and these seemingly separate ingredients blend wonderfully.  Cohesion – it works.

Banana Pudding

barely adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 1 box mini vanilla wafers
  • 6 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream

Directions:

  1. Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch dish with wafers and layer bananas on top.
  2. In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.
  3. Using another bowl, mix the cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. 
  4. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. 
  5. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining bananas and then cookies.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

8 Comments

Filed under Custard/Pudding, Desserts, Favorites

White Chocolate Mango Cheesecake

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Have you seen the movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs?  Fully identifying with Janeane Garofalo’s character, crushing on Ben Chaplin and Uma Thurman, and of course the adorable pets, I loved that movie.  But, looking back, the one thing I remember most is the cheesecake scene.  Do you know the cheesecake scene?  An image-conscious Thurman attempts to refuse cheesecake, but ultimately succumbs to being fed each bite by Chaplin.  Aside from the sheer awkwardness of the moment altogether, I remember studying the cheesecake a little too much.  As a child only left with a stash of Maria cookies (thanks, mom!), I longed for something so decadent.

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As strange as the cheesecake scene, I still think of that movie when I eat cheesecake.  Totally weird.

You can use whatever preserves, jam or fruit butter you have on hand.  Mango and white chocolate were heavenly together, but I know this would also work with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.

White Chocolate Mango Cheesecake

adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese,
    softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fruit preserves, jam, coulis or butter

 

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tbsp white sugar and unsalted butter.  Press mixture into a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F.
  3. In a double boiler, melt white chocolate chips and half and half, whisking until smooth.  Once smooth,remove from heat and set aside to cool down.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time until each is fully incorporated.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Pour half of the batter over the graham cracker crust in the springform pan.
  5. Spoon half of the fruit preserves.  Pour the remaining batter over the preserves.
  6. Spoon the remaining fruit preserves and marble the preserves with the tip of the knife.  Marble according to your preference.  I wanted more pockets of mango butter so I didn’t marble as much.
  7. Place the springform pan on top of a cookie sheet filled halfway with water.  Carefully move the springform pan and cookie sheet into the oven.
  8. Bake the cheesecake for 55-60 minutes, until the cheesecake is set (no longer jiggling or wet in the middle).  Once set, turn off your oven, and leave the cheesecake in the oven for an hour.  Do not touch it.  Do not open the oven.  Just leave it.
  9. After an hour, remove the cheesecake and allow it to cool.  Once cool, cover with a plastic wrap, touching the cheesecake as you cover and place in fridge for at least 8 hours prior to serving.

 

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Filed under baking, Cake

Recipes for Valentine’s Day

I really don’t like Valentine’s Day.  In fact, I hate it.  And, no – nothing happened.  Nothing traumatic or heartbreaking happened for me to feel this way.  I can think of several other occasions to celebrate love besides a holiday concocted for it.  But, I’ll tell you what.  The best Valentine’s I remember is the first one I spent with Binks.  Specifically, he brought me a box of chocolates, which we ate standing over the sink.  I would take a bite and then give him the rest.  We did this methodically with the entire box.  Best. V. Day. Ever.

So, aside from the creepy flying baby in his underwear, the tolerable thing about Valentine’s is the food.  The glorious decadent food.  In honor of, I’ve put together a list of foods that I think would be great for any Valentine’s.  Happy VD my sweet friends.

1.  Raspberry Coulis

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Drizzle this on – anything.  Pancakes.  Cheesecake.  Straight into your mouth.  Wonderful.

2.  Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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A little on the nose, but who can resist a beautiful red velvet cake?   And, I promise you that this cake is irresistible.

3.  Garlic Bread

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This may not be on the nose and mostly on the breath but this garlic bread is completely worth it.

4.  Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

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I love making and decorating sugar cookies for Valentine’s.  It’s a creative and personal way to show someone you care.

5.  Cream Puffs

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Looking more difficult than it actually is to make, cream puffs are a delicious way to impress a Valentine.

6.  Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

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Pizza is a love in our house and this Chicago style deep dish is a decadent main course for a casual meal with anyone you love.

7.  Funfetti Cookies

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A classic sugar cookie gets an instant glam makeover by adding your favorite sprinkles.

8.  Donut Muffins

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I dare you resist donuts at any time.  Waking up to these in the morning will truly show a loved one how much you care.

9.  Pesto Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers

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All my favorite flavors and ingredients combine to make a dish that makes me swoon.

10.  Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These are a favorite cookie in my house and everyone that tries them falls in love.

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Filed under Desserts, Favorites, Holiday

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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I love coffee cake. I just do. More than just the perfectly crumb cake with a bountiful streusel topping, the cake signifies relationships. Impromptu gatherings or just meaningful conversations take place around these cakes. Usually accompanied by copious cups of coffee or tea, conversations abound with coffee cakes. And, this cake is a classic – simple to make and yields a bakery-like presentation.

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In addition to the decadence of having two layers of streusel, the cake, when cut, is a stunner. The sour cream is a wonderful addition to keep the cake from drying out without making it too heavy.

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And, when you’re with good company, the last thing you need is a fussy cake.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
  3. For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.
  4. Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with half of the streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork.

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Filed under baking, Cake

Prune Cake

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My mom get ideas. Usually ones that are well deserved of my eye rolls. Her latest? Prunes. Prunes! I tried. The baby tried. Binks, on the other hand, did not. My dad once attempted to make me try prune juice. I wanted to cut out my tongue.

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But, turns out when you cut it up and put it in a cake and top it off with a surprisingly magnificent buttermilk sauce, prunes are delicious. In fact, the prunes lend a great deal of moisture to the cake. So, when I make desserts like this, it bodes well for me to hide the ingredients from my husband. Presented as a spice cake, I gave him a small piece. Without stopping for air, he ate the whole piece and asked for more. My mom, who was also over, requested more than one piece. After I was sure my husband couldn’t deny enjoying the cake, I revealed the magic ingredient – prunes. He paused and said, “it’s amazing!’ Then, he asked for another. I looked over at my mom who looked at me, smiled and said, “I told you so.”

Insert eye roll here.

Prune Cake

barely adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

CAKE:

  • 1 cup prunes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk

TOPPING:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.
  2. Place the prunes in a small saucepan. Cover them with water. Bring to a low boil and cook until soft and mashable, about 8 minutes. Drain the water and mash the prunes into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs to the oil and sugar, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
  4. Combine the four mixture with the egg mixture. Add and stir in the buttermilk until just combined – do not over stir. The batter may be lumpy at this point.
  5. Stir in the prunes.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes up clean.
  7. Meanwhile about 5-7 minutes before the cake is done, combine all the topping ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Continue boiling until the icing turns a light caramel color, 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and pour the topping evenly over the cake. Serve warm or cool.

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Butterscotch Pudding

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My mother doesn’t waste food.  Like nothing.  It could be that she cooks everyday or that she doesn’t eat out unless we take her.  Whatever it is, other than my sister and my habit of stockpiling snacks, she doesn’t have more than what she needs – in food.  Her household hoarding habits are a different story to be addressed later.  

I confided in her one day that I hate wasting vegetables that I never get around to cooking.  She looked at me as if I had just revealed to her that I was working for the devil.  In an attempt to gain understanding, I asked her if she ever deals with that problem.  She just shook her head no.  Now, with just my grasping for a way out of this conversation, I told her the following:  “You know, when I come back from work, I just don’t feel like cooking so we pick up something.”  Like kryptonite to Superman.  Disappointment would be an understatement.

In short, my mom uses everything she buys.  And, I – well, I’m trying my best.

So, when I made this cake, I had four egg yolks left over (from here) that I needed to use.  Otherwise, the guilt would eat me alive.  And, I would much rather eat pudding.

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Oh and by the way.  No skin.  I know this is a heated debate, but no skin.  The fact that the word to describe that layer is called ‘skin’ is just enough to say no skin.  So, if you are like me and no skin – cover like above – place the plastic wrap on top of the pudding itself.  If you are a skin person, cover the top of the dish without touching the dish.

Butterscotch Pudding

Adapted from Taste of Home

Yields 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Add milk and egg yolks and stir until smooth.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until thickened.
  2. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla.  Cool to room temperature, stirring several times.  Pour into individual dessert dishes.  Cover and refrigerate until fully chilled, at least 2 hours.

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Filed under Custard/Pudding, Desserts