Category Archives: dessert

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (no butter)

I just love pumpkin and I can’t stop posting about it. Pumpkin Season is here.  I love baking this bread because the smell in the house is beyond. I usually serve pumpkin bread and a banana bread in my bread basket on Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that there is no butter in this moist, delicious bread. I make both of these way ahead of time, because they freeze so well. You can even double the recipe if you have two loaf pans, and eat one now and tuck one away for another day like Thanksgiving. It’s a nice thing to bring to someone’s house as a gift as well if you’re so inspired. Also, this bread is loaded with aromatic spices.   This recipe will make one perfect loaf.

It is also a lovely gift to bring to someone’s house .

*this bread freezes beautifully for up to 8 weeks. Double wrap it in plastic and put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and put the date on it. Defrost, still wrapped in the plastic to avoid condensation on the bread, at least 2 hours before serving. I take out of freezer the night before I’ll be using it.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (I sift)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (obviously this is optional)

You will need a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, parchment paper, large bowl, medium bowl, whisk, silicone or rubber spatula.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position oven rack in the center of oven.

Lightly coat the loaf pan with melted butter and dust with flour, or spray with Pam. I line my loaf with a piece of parchment paper that extends one inch beyond the edge of the pan (this makes it easy to life the bread out. It is optional , just make sure you grease pan in one way or another first. If you’re not comfortable working with parchment paper, skip it. I like it but it can be tricky in a loaf pan. Just grease well, or give it a good spray.)

In a large bowl, sift the flour. Then, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and blend well. Add the pumpkin moisture to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended and smooth. Add the walnuts and stir until they are well distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of loaf.  I let it cool for about 10 minutes, then I turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. I don’t freeze it until it is completely cool.

Banana Pudding from Magnolia Bakery – One of my Top Ten Desserts that you don’t even bake

Since the first time my daughter Jenn made this dessert we have added it to our Thanksgiving Table. Just what you need after that big dinner is this dessert!!! We love it and can’t get enough of it. Whether you’ll be making it for Thanksgiving or anytime just be prepared to fall in love with it. Completely decadent and totally ridiculous in calories and richness it is love at first bite.

It is actually a subtle taste of bananas, but I wouldn’t make this if I didn’t like bananas. I happen to just adore bananas and I absolutely love love this pudding. I cannot have it in the house because I will continually find an excuse to go into the fridge and eat it till it’s pretty much all gone.  As full as I was last year and swearing I wasn’t going to eat another thing for at least a week, when I saw this  pudding I knew I was going to eat it.  I find it impossible to resist, and I know others who suffer from this same fate. If you’re in the market for a purely decadent rich over the top dessert then this is it for you. Probably up there in my top ten desserts ever. This is from the More from Magnolia Cookbook so how could it be bad?

*this recipe really needs time , so you must start the day before to let initial pudding set, and then you’ll need at least 4 more hours minimum before serving. So you must factor time into your preparing of this awesome pudding.

Ingredients:

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 1 /2 cups ice-cold water

1 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix ( preferably Jell-O brand)is there another brand?

3 cups heavy cream

1 12 ounce box Nabisco Nilla Wafers ( no substitutions) is there another brand?

4 cups sliced ripe banana

Directions:

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and cold water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more.* Cover and refrigerate for 3 – 4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer , whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remains.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl ( preferably glass) with a 4 – 5 quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, over-lapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding . ( Just crush up a few remainder cookies in food processor) Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for *4 hours–or up to 8 hours, but no longer! Serve and behold the love! My camera broke on Thanksgiving and I took these pictures with my Iphone, sorry I don’t have more.

Serves anywhere from 12- 15

It’s a large dessert and a substantial one. It stands alone beautifully!

Baked French Toast — all time best

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DSCN4294I am sorry that I have been a little remiss in my posting lately , we’ve just moved into a new place in NYC and we’ve been supremely busy with unpacking and getting ourselves settled in. I haven’t even had internet service for the past week. This is going to be the first thing I ever cook in my new apt. Enjoy the holidays and have an easy fast if you’re doing so. Happy Healthy New Year to all my Jewish followers.

I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast and every Break Fast it is on the table, it’s almost a law in our family now! It is truly one of the best French toast recipes I’ve ever made.  I include it every year since my friend Ilene Stern gave it to me. I never have a single piece left. Delicious and decadent, perfect brunch and breakfast food. I almost always include it in my Mother’s Day Brunch as well. Once you’ve made this recipe there is no turning back, your whole family will love it and you’ll have to make it every time.

The only downside is that you must prepare and refrigerate the night before without cooking it, you cannot cook this dish till you’re ready to eat it, the bottom will get hard like a caramel candy would. So cook right before you’re going to serve. Enjoy!

*recipe as is should serve 6- 8 if you have more people make 2 trays!

Ingredients:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

2 tbsp. corn syrup ( I use Karo Original light corn syrup)

5 eggs (room temperature please)

1 1/2 cups milk ( you can use low-fat, I use Skim Plus)

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 package of sliced cinnamon bread. ( Pepperidge Farm is fine) if you can get thick slices it’s great , but the thin kind will work just double stack them it will be fine) You probably will use 12 slices of bread per tray. You will have 6 stacks of 2 slices each, 12 slices total, or 6 thick slices of cinnamon bread. If you can’t find just cinnamon bread use raisin cinnamon bread it’s easier to find .

Directions:

Melt butter, add brown sugar and corn syrup and combine well. Spray a 9×13 baking dish, Pyrex works well here. Pour butter mixture into baking dish and arrange bread slices flat in the mixture ( you will double stack the thin sliced bread) Unless the bread is 1″thick you will be doubling the standard sliced bread. Squeeze the bread to fit–it should hold 12 slices ( 6 double stacks), 3 on each side of a 9×13 baking dish.

In a blender mix the eggs, milk and vanilla and pour over the bread slices, covering them completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all the liquid by the morning, so if you need to travel with it will be fine.

Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Once it’s out of the oven you can dust with powdered sugar, but not necessary. Serve right from the baking dish.

*if you let this sit out too long before serving, the bottom may get hard like a praline candy. It never ever lasts long enough for this to happen at my table.

Look at my original recipe post on October 5 2011. More Break Fast: the all-time best Baked French Toast, I swear.

Noodle Pudding with Apricot Nectar

I’ve tried so many noodle puddings, but keep coming back to the same old , same old. they’ve been passed down in so many different incarnations. i don’t even know what the original one is anymore. this is my most favorite. also a perfect break fast food. can and should be made ahead of time, they hold together better.  we used to add apricot jam, but it really was overkill. we omitted it, and it is perfect just the way it is. thanks to karyn r. for this noodle pudding and for being such a great cooking buddy for as far back as i can remember.

1 lb. noodles ( i use extra wide egg noodles, you’ll need a bag and 1/4 app. just eyeball it) you can actually use up to 2 whole pkgs. There is enough custard for it. Use a large pyrex baking dish.

1 cup sugar

6 eggs ( I use extra large and at room temp. just make sure they are not right out of fridge) they work much better when they are not right out of fridge in baking.

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 stick unsalted sweet butter(melted)

6 oz. cream cheese (softened at room temp)

1 1/2 cups milk ( I use skim plus) would not use regular skim milk

2 cups apricot nectar (available in most supermarkets)

Topping:

1 1/2 cups cornflake crumbs

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter (melted)

Directions:

 cook noodles. mix 6 beaten eggs with the tablespoon of vanilla in one bowl and 1 cup of sugar.  in another bowl melt 1 stick sweet butter(unsalted)softened cream cheese, and milk. add the apricot nectar . mix all ingredients together and put in large pyrex type baking dish. mix topping ingredients together, put on top of noodle pudding. cook at 350 degrees for one hour.   i usually cook this ahead of time, cook for 1/2 hour and then freeze it till i am ready to use, take out of fridge bring to room temperature and bake it for another hour till brown on top and cooked through. noodle puddings are best if you let it sit a while (at least 15 minutes before serving) they hold together better that way. can be served at room temperature.

*serves about 12 – 15 people doubled

S’Mores Baked in the Oven

IMG_8638IMG_8636IMG_8639 IMG_8641 IMG_8642IMG_8634 IMG_8633 IMG_8632Oh Wow!!! what could be better??? truly easy and very little fuss , perfect with the kids and perfect for the adults. Very rich and gooey. Whole thing takes about 40 minutes from start to finish and you can re-heat the sliced bars in the microwave for about 30 seconds if you have some left-over. It’s great for a large group and I would say about 12-15 servings here. Let’s hold on to the last few weeks of summer with this delicious dessert.

For a very traditional s’mores taste eat immediately, I think they tasted a little better after they cooled down for a bit. Whichever way you prefer them –this is a great recipe for a crowd. You can prepare first and then pop in the oven while you are having dinner. Enjoy!

*also I was able to obtain these amazing square marshmallows in the supermarket, if you see them –grab them otherwise just regular old marshmallows will do the trick.

Ingredients:

Crust:

18 graham crackers

1/4 cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter-melted

*parchment paper — I think you’ll want to work with it for this recipe–it can get difficult once they harden to get them out of pan. Clean up was a snap with it.

Topping:

3 extra-large Hershey Bars (or 7 regular-size ones)

24 jumbo marshmallows–look for the large square ones

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 Pyrex type baking pan with cooking spray and then line with parchment paper , allow an extra couple of inches of paper to hang over the edge.

In the food processor bowl, pulse the graham crackers until they are finely ground. Transfer the crumbs to a medium-sized bowl.

Add the sugar and salt to the graham crackers and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and stir until the crumbs are moistened. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until the edges turn lightly golden. Let the crust cool off completely before adding chocolate. I probably let it sit off heat for about 1/2 hour.

Arrange the chocolate bars (see picture) evenly on the top of cooled crust, I had to remove 1 row of chocolate to fit it in pan and left a little uncovered crumbs around edges. Arrange the marshmallows on top of the chocolate, leaving a little space between each one (see photos) Marshmallows will expand slightly.

Bake until the chocolate is soft and beginning to melt, and the marshmallows are evenly toasted on top. Probably about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven.

I couldn’t wait to eat them but I would suggest letting them cool off for  a little bit, cutting was easier when it cooled down ( after 15-20 minutes) I was able to cleanly cut slices. It’s more like campfire s’mores when you eat them hot out of the oven and certainly messier.

You can re-heat the sliced bars in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. If you are keeping them , cut them and store individual slices.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

photo (2)photophoto (3)photo (4)photo (2)OK another blueberry recipe while the blueberries are so ripe and delicious! I combined a few recipes that I had and kept my fingers crossed and made a mess in the kitchen and used too much butter and here it goes. Sometimes I just don’t feel like using electric mixer even though I seemed to use a lot of different mixing bowls for this one. I had seen another recipe for a blueberry crumble but it called for shortening, so I substituted butter. It’s a lot of butter I know, but how much can be in one piece? My plan is to eat a little of this and freeze the rest for when my family comes out next month. As I was cutting it up to freeze I managed to eat way more than I should have and they were really beautiful and delicious. Just the right amount of sweet. I let them sit in fridge overnight, and they were way easier to cut into right out of the fridge. They are now nestled in to the freezer, except for the few pieces I left out to eat. I would keep unused and unfrozen pieces in the fridge, take out and bring to room temp. when you’re ready to eat them. You can also heat up in microwave if you prefer them warm. Either way, once you taste this buttery fruity combo you’ll be hooked.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 sticks cold unsalted butter I cut it up into small diced pieces. I sliced stick in half, and then cut up into smaller pieces which would be easier to blend in.

1 egg

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 cup of lemon juice and zest of one whole lemon ( I did use a large lemon)

4 cups fresh blueberries

9 x 13 inch pan , I used a glass Pyrex and it was perfect

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and Spray 9 x 13 pan. I used Bakers Aid Baking Spray because there is enough butter in this already.

In a medium size bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Using a fork or pastry cutter blend in the cold butter pieces and egg. Then with clean hands I played with the dough a bit and got a crumbly texture going. I took half the dough and patted it down gently into pan with my hands. I made as clean an edge as I could, but I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix into the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble with your clean hands the remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until top is slightly browned. I baked for 50 minutes , then checked on them. I baked for another 5 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares. I actually cooled in refrigerator over night, and cut up the next day.

Blackberry Cobbler

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping

finished product - Yum

finished product – Yum

photo (3) Memorial Day has already passed and Summer Season is officially upon us even though it’s not technically Summer yet.  This brings me to this delicious dessert filled with the most delicious in season blackberries.  I have posted numerous blueberry cobblers but this one has to be my personal favorite made with Blackberries.  It’s a real deal Old Fashioned Cobbler.  You can really make this with any fruit but I love Blackberries while they’re sweet, plump and delicious! Blueberries and Red Raspberries will also work  well. Or you can mix up the fruits!

 

Ingredients:

1 pound or about 3 1/2 – 4 cups blackberries , cleaned , rinsed and dried

1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar, I use regular granulated sugar for cobbler inside and on top I use turbinado sugar. 1/2 cup granulated sugar for inside cobbler and 1/4 cup turbinado

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk or you can use low-fat buttermilk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup boiling water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl I place the clean blackberries that I’ve washed and dried. I sprinkle them with the arrowroot and lemon juice and mix gently  Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, I sift the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk and butter. Stir until just combined, don’t over stir, it shouldn’t be smooth. Then by the moundful drop dough onto blackberries. I spread around a little bit but don’t completely cover the top of berries. ( see photo) the dough will spread a little once it’s baked.

Pour boiling water over the dough and fruit before you bake it. Sprinkle top with 1/4 turbinado sugar or regular sugar. Raw sugar or turbinado sugar makes it a little crunchier topping. I prefer it to regular sugar for a topping.

*if you are preparing in advance which is what I did today. Prepare up till the boiling water and sugar part. Refrigerate for up to 2 days , bring to room temperature then pour boiling water and top with sugar and bake. I baked for app. 45 minutes till dough gets browned and crackly looking and blackberries are bubbling. ( see photos)

Remove from oven and let sit but serve while it’s still warm with ice-cream for extra added deliciousness!

Happy Summer from my kitchen to yours.

My Favorite Macaroons–Traditional Style for Passover

macaroons for passover

I am not sure why I only make these macaroons during Passover. They are definitely my favorites; they are very easy to make, look totally professional, and are the Passover cookie in my book. These can be made ahead of time and stored. I usually make a few days before the Seder because I dip them in melted chocolate (just the tops). You don’t have to dip, you can leave plain. I dip up to 1/2 the macaroon in the chocolate. They are sweet and crunchy on the outside, and moist and chewy on the inside. After Passover, if there are any left over, I freeze them. Cannot have them lying around. Of course you may make these any time of year…they are always welcome on the menu.

*When dipping, just turn macaroon upside down (with peaked part into the chocolate). I usually go just a bit more than the top (probably 1/2 the macaroon into the chocolate). Use as much or as little as you like.

*just a little note, silpat is awesome to use for this recipe instead of parchment paper. You must cool completely before trying to lift off the paper. Also before you dip into chocolate I like to cool down completely.

Ingredients:

3  large egg whites (When I bake, I always leave eggs out so that they are at room temp.)

1/2  cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 package (14 oz.) sweetened, flaked coconut ( I like this Angel Flake Baker’s Brand, but they’re all fine)

*1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (You can really use any semi-sweet chocolate to melt. It’s just easy with the chips.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can use non stick cooking spray, like Pam, but I just line with parchment, which works really well).

In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar and salt until frothy. With a fork, stir in coconut until moistened.

Using a level tablespoon (measuring ones are perfect), pack the mixture into the spoon, so all macaroons are equal size. Drop mixture onto prepared sheet (cookies will not spread). Bake until golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Towards the end, check on them to be sure they don’t burn. I make a little peak with my fingers on the cookies before I bake them (this makes for easier dipping).

*To melt chocolate on stove top: I bring a small saucepan of water to a rolling boil, and on top of it put a small stainless (oven proof) bowl filled with the chocolate.( works like a double boiler if you don’t have one) When it completely melts, take off heat. Once macaroons are completely cool, you can dip the tops. Just make sure chocolate and macaroons are cooled off first. Just dip top of cookie in chocolate and place on a plate to cool. When I am all done, I refrigerate the macaroons to set the chocolate. You can leave in fridge until you are ready to serve and take out with enough time to bring to room temp. Before serving, I usually use a cool cookie sheet with parchment paper to cool off cookies once they’ve been dipped.

*should yield about 20 – 25 cookies. You can double if you’d like.

Peach Farfel for Passover – crowd favorite


This is most definitely a “must have” Passover recipe.  It has been a winning recipe ever since my friend Audrey gave it to me many years ago. This one is probably one of the most favorite Passover staples. Recipes are funny in that -they tend to spread out to a wide group of people and people start passing them down to their people and so forth and so on and before you know it no one remembers where the original recipe came from , they just remember that it was on their Passover table and they can’t imagine a Seder dinner without it.  Enjoy this one; it is sweet and makes for a delicious side dish with poultry or beef. This has always been a crowd pleaser. I know, the amount of eggs is obscene on this holiday! This one has 7 eggs in it!!!!!

Make this part of your Passover tradition, you’ll be happy you did.

Ingredients:

1 box matzoh farfel (I think it’s in a canister now)

2 15 oz. cans sliced peaches

7 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 sticks margarine, melted

2 tsp. vanilla

4 cups hot water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place dry farfel in a bowl, then pour hot water over it. Let stand until absorbed.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, syrup from peaches, salt, sugar, margarine, and vanilla. Add farfel and combine well. In a well sprayed 9 x 12 baking dish, pour 1/2 the mixture, then arrange a layer of peaches on top. Add remaining mixture on top, then top with remaining peaches. Sprinkle with just a bit of cinnamon if you’d like. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Serve hot out of oven, or room temp. It is quite delicious at room temperature, if you don’t have the room in your oven, and it makes for a pretty awesome leftover.

Can be assembled, cooked 1/2 way through, then cooked the rest of the way through on the day of the holiday.

Happy Valentines Day Brownies – Chocolatey and Fudgey

 

 

This is a delicious easy to make Chocolate Fudgy Brownie. Perfect for Valentines Day , as it is such a Chocolatey Holiday. I have always had a  rather large sweet tooth and  Valentines Day always meant candy, chocolate, dessert of one kind or another and it was always up there with my other favorite , Halloween for pretty much the same reasons. How can you not like a holiday that has so much sweetness?  Make this brownie  anytime and  top with ice cream and chocolate sauce for an incredibly killer dessert. I personally cut them up into small pieces and don’t feel as guilty when I eat them. I came in today from being out all day and saw them on the cake stand and because I had cut them up so small, I indulged in two pieces and it just hit the spot!!! Make no mistake these are the real deal, and I never really understand why anyone would use a mix when this is so easy and all the ingredients are so readily available.  And you have bragging rights for Homemade. Just make sure you use an 8 x 8 baking dish, this really does make a difference. Enjoy and Happy V-Day!!!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped ( when you buy the box, the chocolate comes in squares, each square is an ounce)

1/8 tsp. salt (regular table salt)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup Cake flour (make sure you use Cake Flour not regular Flour)

1 cup semi- sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts ( I used chopped pecans , but chopped walnuts are good as well)

*extra unsalted butter for greasing the pan, I admit to using butter but you can spray with baking spray. (Pam)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square baking dish with unsalted butter ( or spray with Baking Pam)  In a saucepan melt the stick of butter and then when it is melted add the chopped unsweetened chocolate on low heat. Stir often until all the chocolate has been melted. Add the sugar in and let cool for at least 10 minutes.  Once it has sufficiently cooled off , take out another bowl and add beaten eggs and vanilla, and mix well and stir in chocolate mixture. Blend in cake flour ,salt and mix, do not  over mix, just mix till blended. Then add in chocolate chips, and nuts if you’re using them.

Pour batter into greased baking dish and spread evenly. Tap the pan on countertop to get rid of any air bubbles, about 3 or 4 times ought to do it.

Bake the Brownies for 30 minutes ( it’s exactly how long I did)  insert a cake tester or toothpick and it should come out almost clean. Be careful not to over bake.

Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing into squares.

I actually took out of oven and let it sit out covered almost all day, so by the time I cut into them they were completely cool. I used a knife and wet it, so it would cut cleanly.

So yummy!:) Served with an ice cold glass of milk, perfection.

Also can sprinkle a little sifted confectioners sugar on top of cooled brownies before serving if you’d like.