We hosted an ice cream sundae party not too long ago at the behest of my daughter. We made salted caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce, whipped cream. chopped almonds and peanuts, When I want to make chocolate sauce I turn to non other than David Lebovitz. His chocolate sauce recipe is amazing drizzled over crepes. This time I wanted something like fudge sauce. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. Spread it on cupcakes or use it to make s’mores.
Source: Maya Made
1/2 cup butter
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. In a heavy sauce pan melt the butter and chocolate together.
2. Mix the cocoa with the 1/4 cup sugar and stir in. Add the cream, the the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
3. Remove from heat immediately and add vanilla. Cool, then Refrigerate.
* Heat before serving by placing container in pan of hot water until sauce reaches pouring consistency. Should keep for 1-2 weeks.
Every year for the past four years my son has requested a clone trooper/Star Wars cake for his birthday. This year began no differently. However, as the date of his birth approached I had a strange request for a birthday cake. He no longer wanted a Star Wars cake. Instead he wanted sugar cookies. Yes, plain old white sugar cookies with white frosting.
Sour cream sugar cookies are fluffy and cake like, a little more special occasion-ish. He has already requested another cookie cake next year. I used the other half of dough to make heart shaped Valentine’s Day cookies for my son’s preschool. I mixed a little raspberry jam into the frosting for coloring. It was really sweet so I think next time I will use fresh strawberries without the added sugar.
Source: Adapted from Recipe Secrets
6 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1½ cups plain greek yogurt or sour cream
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Dough will be sticky. Divide dough in half. Flatten into discs, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface roll dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut the dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters or a knife. Place on baking sheets. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until cookies set and cooked through. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Cool cookies completely before frosting.
Cream together the butter and vanilla. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and the pinch of salt; beating until smooth and creamy. Add heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, beating at medium-high speed for a minute or two until light and fluffy.
Store in an air-tight container.
It is funny how we hold dear the traditions of our families. Often to the extreme that we decry any other version other than ours as less than adequate. I recall my own prejudice for my mom’s stuffed shells made with cream cheese rather than ricotta. No one could or can make it better. I am like my picky child refusing to concede on principle.
This is where my head was as I was searching for homemade recipes to recreate my mom’s coconut cake. I snubbed my nose up at Martha. Tisked at Paula Dean. The perfect coconut cake must be a white cake with a coconut custard filling and meringue frosting. How dare one even consider spreading this holy decadent white goddess with cream cheese or seven minute frosting. The nerve.
Admittedly, there have been instances I have veered from tradition. Yes, I felt guilty for abandoning my roots; especially because I am a huge diehard fan for recipes of yore. Chefs today tend to over complicate things. However, when it comes to coconut cake my roots are firm and steadfast. I just could not justify the shift. The cake must be white, the filling must be pudding with coconut bits mixed in, and without question a meringue frosting coated with coconut.
I have a great white cake recipe that I use for birthday cakes I think would have worked well in this instance. It has a tender soft crumb and delicate flavor. Yet, there was an itch to try something new. The thought of trying another white cake recipe was a stress I fully did not want to commit to. The biggest problem when making from scratch cakes is moisture. Homemade cakes tend to be thick dry masses. Nothing compared to the spongy light cakes from the box produced by Betty Crocker. I did not have the time to test multiple cake recipes, nor did I want a slew of sweet cake around with the holidays advancing. My ancestors must have been present urging me to explore. If we are going all out from scratch this had better be worth all the effort, right? I went with my gut and choose this version of a white cake that was sensational. It is made with coconut milk a perfect compliment for the coconut cake as a whole. The crumb was tender and moist. Should I mention that the cake even impressed my niece who went to culinary school?
Source: The Cookbook Chronicles
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup full fat sour cream
½ cup olive oil
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and sour cream. Set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the vegetable oil and the butter, until creamy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed. Beat in the egg yolks, and vanilla.
On low speed, beat in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Then, beat in 1/2 of the coconut milk and sour cream mixture. Repeat, ending with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
In a clean mixing bowl with clean beaters, whip the reserved egg whites until medium-stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
Line and grease three 9-inch light colored cake pans. Divide the batter evenly amongst the pans, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the tops of the cakes are light golden and spring back when lightly pressed. Cool, and remove from cake pans.
Bake cake and make custard according to directions.
Once pastry cream is set, mix in 2 cups shredded coconut.
Place one round of cake on a plate. Spread with coconut pastry cream. Repeat with second layer. Top with last cake round. Place cake in the refrigerator.
Make meringue frosting. Spread frosting over the cake. Lightly press shredded coconut around the sides, sprinkle on top, covering the entire cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
**Note** this cake recipe made thin flat cake rounds. If using another cake recipe or a box and the cake rounds are thicker try slicing each round into twos to make 6 thinner cake discs.
— Substitute 1 teaspoon of orange extract in the place of the vanilla in the meringue frostin.
— Dot the top of the cake with marchino cherries, drained and dried.
— 4-layer cake use two 9-inch cake rounds. Pour remaining batter into greased muffin pan.
Whenever my mom made her famous cream puffs or coconut cake she would make this incredible pudding filling. For her cream puffs she folded decadent whipped cream into the pudding. Her coconut cake was stacked 6 layers high with a filling of coconut pudding in between. I confess the pudding was the best part. It was so rich and creamy. I would sneak a finger full from the bowl of pudding. Maybe she knew it was me. If she did she never said anything, that I remember.
Weeks ago I was on a mission to recreate a box free version of my moms coconut pudding. The dilemma I ran into was, do I use a pudding recipe or a pastry cream. I noticed in my prior attempts when making vanilla pudding for cream puffs that the pudding was too soft and unstable.
Pudding by definition is a type of custard or soft dessert. There are two types of custards, stirred and baked. Puddings and pastry creams are stirred custards, with the exception of desserts such as bread pudding. Baked custards, like flan, are firmer and not as smooth. You would never use a baked custard or pudding to fill a cake. You would, however, use pastry cream.
I decided to use pastry cream. Pastry cream is thicker than pudding. It is meant to be used as a filling in pastries and cakes because the constant stirring enables the custard to thicken making it perfect to pipe with. Cook and serve Jello brand pudding is a easy substitute for pastry cream because of the additives that help thicken it.
Since I was using fat free milk I let the custard thicken a little longer. I was worried the custard would not set enough. I made coconut cake for my dad’s birthday once, when I was in college. I do not think I let the pudding thicken enough because the layers of the cake started to slide off. We ended up dumping the whole lot into a bowl and called it coconut punch bowl cake. It was still good.
Source: King Arthur Flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, or rice flour
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together 2 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, salt, and the vanilla bean. (If you’re using vanilla extract, add it at the end.) Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup milk.
Whisk some of the hot milk mixture with the egg yolks to temper them. This keeps the yolks from turning to scrambled eggs when you add them to the simmering milk.
Pastry cream will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. After that it may start to weep.
If you want the pastry cream to be sliceable, as for a cream pie, don’t fold in the whipped cream. The recipe will yield 3 cups of pastry cream in that case.
Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk. [Doing this through a strainer will help prevent lumps later.] Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens.
Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract (if you’re using it). If you’re going to flavor the pastry cream with chocolate or some other flavor, this is the time to do it (see variations below).
Rub a piece of butter over the surface of the cream, top with a piece of plastic wrap (make sure it touches the top of the pastry cream so it doesn’t develop a skin), then refrigerate until cool.
To complete, fold the whipped cream into the cooled pastry cream.
For coconut cream fold in two cups shredded coconut.
— Butterscotch Pastry Cream: Add 1/4 teaspoon butter-rum flavor and/or 1 cup (6 ounces) butterscotch chips to the pastry cream after straining, stirring until the chips have melted.
— Caramel Pastry Cream: Add 3/4 cup chopped caramel (7 1/2 ounces, or 21 to 23 unwrapped individual caramels) to the hot, strained pastry cream, stirring until melted and the mixture is smooth.
— Chocolate Pastry Cream: Add 1 cup (6 ounces) chopped chocolate to the hot, strained pastry cream, stirring until melted and the mixture is smooth.
— Hazelnut Pastry Cream: Omit the butter and increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces). Add 3/4 cup (8 1/4 ounces) praline paste to the hot, strained pastry cream, stirring until combined.
— Orange Pastry Cream: Increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces). Add 1 teaspoon orange extract; 1/4 teaspoon orange oil; or 3 tablespoons orange zest to the hot, strained pastry cream.
— Peanut Butter Pastry Cream: Add 3/4 cup (7 1/4 ounces) smooth peanut butter to the hot pastry cream, stirring until melted and the mixture is smooth. If you’re using a natural or freshly-made peanut butter, omit the butter from the recipe, or the pastry cream will be greasy.
— Pistachio Pastry Cream: Omit the butter and increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces). Add 3/4 cup (8 1/4 ounces) pistachio paste, or blanched pureed pistachio meats.
A couple of weeks ago I was dying for a bite of my mom’s coconut cake. The last time I tasted it was 13 years ago when I made it for Thanksgiving dinner with Stephen’s family. Stephen and the kids are not keen on coconut. As much as I would have loved to carry on the family tradition to serve coconut cake on Thanksgiving day, it just is not going to happen without additional mouths to help devour it. With Nadine’s pending birthday there was no question as to what type of cake I wanted to bake.
My mom’s version of coconut cake calls for boxed white cake, cook and serve vanilla pudding and a meringue frosting that uses corn syrup. My kids are allergic to chemicals, dyes and preservatives in processed foods, and corn syrup. My mission was to find a way to make a cake from scratch that was light not dense. Next, I had to find a recipe for the vanilla pudding. Pastry cream was the perfect substitute. Finally, I needed to tackle the corn syrup issue in the meringue frosting. After much research and debate Italian Meringue won. This frosting is so light and marshmallowy delicious.
My cake was so scrumptious. Above all I found a way to make it using fresh ingredients. I froze the leftovers to share with Thanksgiving dinner. It was just as fabulous as the day it was made. Happy baking!
Source: King Arthur
2 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the 2 egg whites in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat until the egg whites are foamy and thick; they should mound in the bowl, without holding a peak. Set whites aside while you prepare the sugar syrup.
Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently; the sugar should be dissolved. If the sugar hasn’t dissolved, cook and stir a bit more, until it has. Once the sugar has dissolved, boil the syrup, undisturbed, for 2 minutes, or until the syrup registers 240°F on a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer.
Begin to beat the egg whites, and immediately pour the boiling sugar syrup into the egg whites in a slow steady stream, beating all the while. As you beat, the mixture will thicken.
Once all the syrup is added, stir in the vanilla, and continue to beat until the frosting is thick and will hold a peak.
Immediately spoon hot frosting on top of prepared cake.
Two weeks was a scorching 102 degrees. Last week cloudy skies brought light showers accompanied by cooler weather. This week was back into the high 90’s. I know, right? It is October already! Mother Nature, not acceptable. Not acceptable at all! We will just have to go ahead and celebrate autumn without the fall weather. Solution? Bake some fall goodness and hope for a cooler reprieve.
Ginger cookies are my favorite fall cookie. It is also the only other cookie flavor besides sugar that we all agree on. This version of ginger cookies is my favorite egg free recipe. I have made baked goods using the flax + water. I have also used chia seeds mixed with water. Sometimes there is a noticeable difference in taste or texture though. However, with this recipe you would never know it does not contain eggs.
Source: Isa Chandra Moskowitz
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup rice or coconut milk
1 cup granulated or coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons turbinado, demerra sugar or granulated sugar (for sprinkling on top)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
In a separate large bowl, mix together the oil, molasses, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine well.
Roll into 1-inch balls, roll in turbinado sugar. Place on baking sheet 1-inch apart. Flatten slightly into a 1 1/2 inch disk. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (don’t overbake!), let cool on cookie sheet about 1 minute then transfer to a wire rack.
Variations: – Replace the milk with applesauce.
There is something so rewarding about reaching in to my pantry for a jar of homemade jam. Last summer I made certain to stock the pantry well. We ran out of jam in the spring. So I made double batches of strawberry, raspberry, and nectarine. The jam lasted us well into this summer.
For raspberry jam see the post Beginners Raspberry Jam 101.
Making jam can seem daunting at first. But after a couple of tries the fear subsides. It is always easier to make jam for the first time with a friend. Preferably someone who has some experience. So grab a buddy and a bushel of fruit before the season is over.
Large canning pot, with insert
Small sauce pan for sterilizing lids
Large pot for cooking the jam in
4-5 sterilized 1/2 pint jars with lids and rings
4 cups of peeled, pitted, and chopped nectarines or peaches (about 4 pounds)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
7 cups sugar
1 package powdered Pectin
Fill canning pot, sauce pan, and stock pot with water. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, wash jars, rings, and lids.
Lower the temperature of the canning pot to a simmer. Set jars in canning pot.
until ready to use.
Put the lids in a small sauce pan with water. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Leave the lids in the hot water until ready to use.
Wash the fruit removing any mushy fruit, stems and leaves. Cut a shallow X on the bottom of each nectarine. Place fruit in the boiling water of the stock pot. Let process for a minute (if ripe) or longer (if unripe). Drain water. Pour ice cold water and ice gently over nectarines. Cover with a lid for 1 to 2 minutes. The skins should easily peel off.
Remove the nectarines from the pot. Rinse pot.
Cut fruit into quarters and dice. Place back in stock pot. Mash fruit slightly leaving some whole bits.
Combine nectarines, pectin, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat (stirring often to prevent burning). Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a boil (it continues to boil even when stirred). Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Turn off heat and remove from stove. Remove jars and lids from the water and place on a clean dish towel.
Skim off any foam from the top of the jam. (*Use the sugary foam to sweeten popsicles or smoothies.)
Place the funnel in the mouth of a jar. Use the ladle to pour hot jam into prepared jars; filling up no higher than 1/4-inch from the top of the jar. Wipe the rim of the jar with a warm wet cloth or paper towel to remove any syrup.
Cap with the lid and screw on the ring. Return the filled jars to the canning pot of water. Adjust the water level to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Return the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and process (boil) for 10 minutes. (**boil longer if at higher altitude*)
Turn off the heat. Carefully remove the lid. Use the canning tongs to remove the jars from the water bath. The lids should immediately make popping sounds. This indicates that the jars are sealing. Test each lid by pressing down in the middle of the lid. If there is a slight bump that is raised and pops back up when pressed, the jar is not sealed. Let the jar sit for an hour. If the jar has not sealed store the jar in the refrigerator. Sealed jars can be stored in the pantry.
When I was a teenager I traveled with my best friend Cindy and her mom across the United States from Southern Florida to the Mid West. We saw Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and the Grand Canyon, then drove on to Utah to pick up her sister. While in New Mexico we dined at a local Mexican restaurant. The highlight of the meal was Sopaipillas; a fried square puff of bread, similar to the Native American fry bread, served with butter and honey.
I made these for the kids this week for our back to school celebration party. I dusted some with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or spread with butter and drizzled with honey. They went nuts asking if they could take some to the neighbors. So we ended up feeding most of the neighbor kids too. The way to eat them is you tear a corner off, drop a little butter in the hole, and then drizzle the cavity with honey. So tasty! They have a slight crisp to the outside and the inside is doughnut heaven.
* The heat of the oil is very important. The oil should not be too hot nor to cool. If it is too hot the dough will burn quickly resulting in crunchy not crispy sopaipillas. If the oil is too cool then the dough will absorb more oil as it cooks longer making the sopaipillas soggy. I do not fry foods hardly ever so it is hard to remember from year to year the trick to heating oil. This time I took notes. I started heating the oil over medium heat before making the dough. By the time the dough was ready to rest I could smell the oil. I turned the heat down to medium low while the dough rested. Then turned it back to medium while I rolled and cut the dough. The dough was a perfect light brown after 10 seconds.
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening
3/4 cup warm water
Canola oil for frying
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, powder, and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or your hands. Using a fork or hands, gradually stir in the warm water. Knead and mix the dough until the dough forms a loose ball. (dough will be crumbly) Turn out onto a flat surface and knead. (you should not need any flour but if the dough is too sticky lightly dust the surface with flour.) Knead the dough until it is smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes. Divide the dough in half and let sit covered with a hand towel.
Beginning with one half of the dough, roll into a large square to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into 9 equal pieces by cutting the dough into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Repeat with the other half of dough.
* Pour oil 1 to 2 inches thick in a deep rimmed skillet. Carefully place squares of dough in hot oil (careful not to overcrowd). Cook for 10 to 30 seconds each side. The cooked side should be lightly browned. Remove fried dough from the oil and drain on paper towels.
To serve: Dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar immediately after removing from the oil or serve with butter and honey.
– Gluten free version to come. Any ideas please comment.
– Use sunflower oil for corn allergies.
– Use coconut oil in place of shortening
Making ice cream in a baggie is super easy and loads of fun. We had several failed attempts before we successfully got the mixture just right. For our first trial we used whipping cream. It reminded me of a show I once watched where the woman tried to convince a family to use butter as toothpaste. We immediately had to go brush our teeth.
The second trial we used only whole milk. The mixture never set. We even tried placing the bag in the freezer. The result was not good. Actually, it was pretty gross. Icy and without flavor. Our final batch we had the correct recipe but learned a bit about the ice to rock salt ratio. The more ice and salt the faster the ice cream will set.
Another problem we incurred was with the baggies we used. We started out with dollar store brand baggies. Don’t skimp on the baggies. Use the higher quality freezer bags only or a large can with a lid that will not leak.
This is a great activity at a backyard BBQ or party. Set the ingredients up into stations. Make up cards for each ingredient detailing how much to measure. The kids can walk down the row of ingredients filling up their own baggies (with supervision of course). Make it an ice cream relay race. Fill up the bag as the recipe states. Have the first person take the bag and run around the block or a specified distance. When they return they hand the bag off to the next runner. Keep going until the ice cream is firm.
The texture of this ice cream is smooth and loose. It will never harden like ice cream made in an ice cream maker and it melts fairly fast. Recipe can be doubled. It just takes longer to set.
Makes 1/2 cup ice cream
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
6-8 tablespoons rock salt
4-6 cups ice
quart sized baggie
gallon sized baggie
Place the half and half, whole milk, vanilla, and sugar in a quart sized plastic freezer bag. Seal shut.
Place the baggie in a gallon sized freezer baggie. Fill baggie with ice. Add rock salt. Seal the baggie shut.
Shake bag until mixture solidifies. about 5-10 minutes. Remove the ice cream bag from the ice bag. Rinse or wipe off the bag to remove the salt. Eat the ice cream straight out of the bag with a spoon. Or in some cases with a straw.
*note: this ice cream is extremely soft.
When our family decided to get away from processed foods one of my first hurdles of home baking was to make my mom’s cream puffs completely from scratch. Valentine’s day was on the horizon and I wanted to be able to make our traditional Valentine’s Day Cream Puffs. My favorite part of my mom’s cream puffs is the custard filling. I could just sit and eat a bowl of the stuff and forget the puffs altogether. The secret recipe calls for vanilla pudding mixed with whipped cream. The result is creamy decadence.
– If the ingredients get too warm the whipped cream will melt and become somewhat soupy.
– Chill the bowl and beaters beforehand.
– Use cool to cold ingredients.
– Watch the cream closely. Beating even 20 seconds too long will make the whipped cream curdle. Example, the photo above. I looked away for what seemed like a second and my whipped cream went from just about perfect to a little over done. But, it still tasted scrumptious.
Source: Schaeffer Girl’s Grub
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Whip whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium just until cream creates stiff peaks. Chill or use right away.
Store whipped cream in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.