Monday, January 25, 2010

Pear Rum & Raisin Cobbler Squares

Oh yum! Not too long ago I made a pretty delightful apple pie and then my husband requested pear cobbler! I thought that I would not like this dessert, but I must say that it is a close run to apple pie and the rum and raisins are so good mixed in. You do not have to cut these up into squares. You can simply spoon it out like any other cobbler. I just thought they were cute cut and could be wrapped in some cute napkins or decorative paper if serving at a party or office gathering.

Pear Rum & Raisin Cobbler Squares

For The Filling
4 - 5 pears, diced
¾ C. Brown Sugar
2 T. All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 T. plus 1 tsp. Rum Extract
½ tsp. Vanilla
¼ C. Raisins
1 T. Butter, unsalted

For The Crust
2 C. Flour
½ tsp. Salt
¼ C. Sugar
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, cold
1 Egg
2 T. Cold Water

Directions for Filling: Pour your raisins into a small bowl. Add 1 T. of your rum extract and 1 T. Butter and warm up in your microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan, stir in and simmer your pears, brown sugar, cinnamon, remaining 1tsp. Of rum extract, vanilla, 2 T. flour, and raisin mixture until thick and bubbly. Set aside to let cool a bit.

Directions for Crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add in your cold butter, and using your hands combine your flour and butter until you achieve small crumbles. Now add your egg and water. Combine until dough sticks together and forms a ball. Add more flour or water if necessary. Shape your dough into 2 large disk and wrap each separately in sawran wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out first disk to fit the size of a 13 x 9 inch pan. Now spoon your pear and raisin mixture on top, roll out the remaining disk and cut into thick strips to make a lattice design for the top of your cobbler. Be sure to put strips along the edges as well to create a nice closure. Bake on 350 degrees until crust is a light and golden.

Let cool COMPLETELY before cutting into squares. Serve warm with vanilla or rum raisin ice cream.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mini Blue Berry Bread Puddings {rustic meets comfort}

So, what do you get when you combine 3 slices of honey wheat bread, 2 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla almond milk, and a handful of blueberries? You get the most comforting, quick, and easy dessert ever! I consider bread pudding the "poor womans', because you really don't need much to make them and they are beyond delicious. Especially when served warm with ice cream or tea! Don't you just love how the blueberries pop...such a sweet dessert it is!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haitian Tea Cake {inspired by haiti}

The news and images that have been circulating around the web and on television has painted such a sad picture for the victims oh Haiti's shattering 7.0 earthquake. It has left me with many emotions of "I wish I could show my love"...nevertheless..I came up with the idea to prepare a Sunday dinner in honor of Haiti and for dessert I was inspired to fix a Haitian Cake, which is enhanced with milk and cinnamon sticks.

The aroma of the warm milk and cinnamon alone made me think of homemade chai, so I decided to add a little bit more spices to the mix: cloves, cardamom, ginger, etc. A warm cup of chai is a match made in heaven for this cake, hence the name that I have given it: "Haitian Tea Cake". I hope you all try this recipe and let me know what you think, Thanks to Haiti for such a wonderful sweet inspiration during such a sour time, and feel free to add more spice if you like, just be sure to balance out the brown sugar in the milk if you do! Enjoy!

Haitian Tea Cake
1 1/4 C. Milk
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cardamom
1/2 tsp. Ginger
1 Bay Leaf
Dash of Nutmeg
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Rum Extract
3 Whole Cloves
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 T. Light Brown Sugar
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
3 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Sour Cream
5 Eggs
3 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt

Directions: Butter and flour your cake pan and set aside. In a small saucepan, slowly simmer on low your: milk, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. cardamom, ginger, bay leaf, nutmeg extracts, cloves, and brown sugar for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and discard your bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Pour your spiced milk into a cup, preferably something with a spout to make pouring easier/less messy(I used my glass measuring cup.)

Now sift together your: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. cardamom in a large bowl and set aside. Now cream your sugar and butter until fluffy. Add your eggs one at a time. Now add your flour and milk, alternating between the two, ending with flour. Mix together and then mix in your sour cream.

Pour your batter into your greased cake pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 to 55 minutes OR until firm in the center and golden brown. Let cool. Serve warm with a cup of chai tea or vanilla ice cream!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fruit & Granola Parfaits {sweet & easy}

Hi everybody! Hoping your week is off to a great beginning! I know that for me that Mondays can be a bit of a drag. In fact, there are many days when I want to enjoy something sweet after dinner, yet I do not have the energy to bake anything. So I though I would start a section called "Sweet & Easy", which will consist of very simple items that you can buy from the grocery store and turn into a delightful and elegant dessert. First up is a simple fruit & granola parfait. I made this one last night using: low-fat vanilla yogurt, fresh blue berries & diced strawberries(which I sprinkled with a bit of sugar, as the blueberries can be a little tart.), crushed Nature Valley granola bars, whip cream, and a mint leaf to garnish. Simply layer your yogurt, granola and fruit and then top it off with whip cream, a bit of fruit and your mint leaf. It's so good and dare I say...good for you. You can try this with pound cake, crushed ginger snaps, or even lady fingers..the sky is the limit when it comes to parfaits! I am cannot wait to try a decadent chocolate parfait of some sort next time!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chocolate Sundae Fudge Cake {oh so rich}

I have been working on concocting recipes for chocolate cake for quite some time now. My last try was a three layer chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache. The icing turned out wonderful, but I was so not pleased with the density and richness of the cocoa. So, I thought that I would give another try to my chocolate cake journeys. This time I made what I call a "Chocolate Sundae Fudge Cake", and I am quite happy with the results.

This cake is beyond rich and decadent and is overflowing with warm fudgy goodness. I layered the batter with store bought hot fudge from the fridge (smuckers) and chopped pecans, but you can definitely make your own fudge sauce. Just be sure it is completely cooled before layering it into your batter. The key to this cake is to be patient and let it cool off for a good hour, but as you can see, patience is a virtue and I cut into it well before an hour was up. Waiting for it to cool will give you less of a gooey cut, but either way you are sure to enjoy this sweet treat! Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whip cream!

Chocolate Sundae Fudge Cake

1 C. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. Milk
2 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 Heaping tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
6 T. Dutch Cocoa
1 tsp. Molasses
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 C. Sugar
2 Sticks Unsalted butter
3 Eggs
1/4 C. Vanilla Yogurt
1 C. Buttermilk
1/2 C. Water
2 T. Vegetable Oil
Hot Fudge sauce - cold
Chopped Pecans
Confectioners Sugar - optional for garnishing

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour your bundt pan. Set aside. In a saucepan slowly melt your chocolate chips and your milk. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. Using your mixer, cream together your butter and sugar. Gradually mix in your eggs one at a time. Now add your molasses, vanilla, melted chocolate, and your yogurt.

Alternately add in your flour mixture and your butter milk and water. Next mix in your vegetable oil.

Now take some of your batter and spread it evenly. Now take small dallops of your fudge sauce and dallop it in the center all the way around and top with a hand-full of pecans. Layer on top of the more of your batter, dallop fudge sauce along the center and again top with pecans. Pour another layer of batter on top and repeat with fudge sauce, this time leaving off the pecans. Be sure to leave about an inch or two to allow for rising. Note: You will have batter left over.

Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes before turning onto cake stand. let cool for at least an hour or overnight. Dust with confectioners sugar. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whip cream!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I fixed this cake over the holidays and it was so rich, moist, and comforting, especially with the brown sugar icing and a warm cup of spiced tea to go along with it! It's super easy. I am still working on it's perfection, but this recipe was a hit! I especially love it with homemade vanilla ice cream, and I am sure you could turn these into scrumptious cupcakes as well! Yum!

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 ½ C. All Purpose Flour
1 ½ C. Bread Flour
½ tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter – room temperature
3 C. Sugar
1 ½ C. Cooked Sweet Potatoes – cooled & diced large
1/3 C. Brown Sugar
½ C. Buttermilk
3 Eggs – beaten
¼ tsp. Orange extract
¼ tsp. Almond Extract
¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Gently mix in your brown sugar into your potatoes. Set aside. In a large bowl, sift together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer or a hand held mixer, cream together your 3 cups of granulated sugar, butter, sweet potatoes, buttermilk, and eggs. Gradually add in your dry mixture. Lightly mix in your extracts. Butter and flour your cake pan generously. Pour your batter in and bake on 350 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out onto your cooling rack, bottom side up and let cool.

For The Frosting
8oz. Cream Cheese – room temperature
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter
2 T. Sour Cream
¼ tsp. Vanilla
¼ C. brown Sugar
½ tsp. Cinnamon
3 T. Milk
3 C. Confectioners Sugar
Chopped pecans for garnish – optional
Allspice for garnish - optional

Simply cream all ingredients together EXCEPT your pecans and allspice. Place your icing into a pastry bag or a sandwich bag and clip the ends to make a small hole...big enough for your icing to come through. You may want to start off small and test it on a paper towel to get the size you want. Do not make your hole to big. Drizzle some icing on top of your cake. Sprinkle pecans on top. Drizzle more icing on top of your pecans and dust with a sprinkle of allspice. Serve with hot coffee, spiced tea, or vanilla or butter pecan ice cream!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kiwi Berry Fruit Tart

I love a simple dessert, and I think that a sweet, fresh fruit tart is the perfect palette cleanser to a savory or light dessert! This recipe is more than simple, but you can most definitely add your own twist to it!
Kiwi Berry Fruit Tart

1 ½ C. All Purpose Flour
½ C. Confectioners Sugar
1 ½ Sticks of Butter
16oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 C. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Lemon Extract
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Fresh Strawberries, 5 whole & the rest sliced
Fresh Kiwi, peeled, and sliced
Fresh Blackberries

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an electric mixer mix: confectioners sugar, flour, and butter until your mixture comes together. In a 10 1/2” non stick spring form pan press your dough evenly into the bottom and onto the sides. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let Cool.

Now combine your cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and lemon with you mixer until smooth. Evenly spread your filling into your cooled crust. Place a vignette of kiwi, whole strawberries with the flat end facing down and the pointed end facing upward, and blackberries, in the center of your tart. Now place some some of your strawberry slices vertically along the edges of your crust...inserting it into the cream cheese. Now layer your kiwi and strawberry slices alternately working your way from the edges towards the center.

With a pastry brush lightly brush your honey on top of your fruit. Place your tart in the fridge to set for about 20 minutes before serving. Serve chilled!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ginger Snaps

These have become my new favorite cookie. They are so buttery and light and goes oh so well with a nice cold glass of almond milk! Cooking them for about 10 minutes results in a nice semi-soft cookie, but if you prefer a crunchy cookie, simply let them bake for a good 11-12 minutes.

Ginger Snaps
makes about 3 dozen
adapted from Paula Deen
3/4 C. Butter or margarine
1 C. Sugar, plus more for rolling
1 Large Egg
1/4 C. Molasses
2 C. Sifted All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tsp. Allspice
1/2 tsp. Salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats(I used foil and nonstick could also use a nonstick cookie sheet. using an electric mixer, on low speed, cream the butter and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the egg an molasses and beat until completely incorporated. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt then add to the mixture. Stir until combined. Roll dough into small balls and roll them into your sugar(be sure that balls of dough are SMALL).

Place 1/2 an inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. You can make these crispy by baking a tad bit longer. Let cool.

Tea Time Cuteness

I really would like to get back into having a "Me Myself & I tea time! There is something about a warm cup of tea that's sipped out of your favorite tea cup or mug in the midst of a quiet morning or the calmness of the late night. Anyhow, I love this table setting via Tea Time Magazine, it's so girly and delicate!

Upside Down Peach Cakes

Mmmm...this looks delightful! I ran across this recipe in the latest Tea Time Magazine, which is filled with sweet loveliness and inspiration. I imagine that if you do not want to make 6 separate cakes, that you could do this in a circular cake pan.

Peach Upside Down Cakes
Makes 6 Individual Cakes
via Tea Time Magazine,July/August 2009, pg.19
3/4 C. Softened Unsalted Butter, divided in half
1 C. + 2Tbsp. Sugar
3 ggs
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 C. Cake Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 C. Buttermilk
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
25 to 30 1/8-inch-thick peach slices

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 6 4" ramekins with nonstick baking spray with flour.

2. In a large bowl and using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat 1/2 C. butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift twice. Alternately add the sifted flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter. Divide the melted butter evenly among the prepared ramekins, then sprinkle each evenly with brown sugar. Arrange 4 to 5 peach slices in a single layer over the brown sugar. Pour batter over peach slices.

5. bake for 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in ramekins for 10 minutes. Invert a plate on top of each ramekin, and carefully flip cakes onto plate while warm.