Category Archives: dessert

7-layer Heaven (in a bar)

These bars are truly divine. They are, quite simply, a very small bit of heaven on Earth. Superbly sweet and gooey. Perfect for when you need to make a dessert quickly. Buy these ingredients and keep them in your pantry and then when you need to make something quickly, here you go. These bars don’t require any real baking skills and you can’t really screw them up unless you burn them (but you won’t do that!) My daughter, Jennifer, bakes these. She makes a crust first with the graham crackers and butter then layers the other ingredients. These bars are always her go-to dessert and are always welcome around our family. In doing some research for these bars (which aren’t gentle on the thighs), I found that you can dump all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the sweet condensed milk, and it works! So sweet indeed. Simple and delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 1/2 sticks unsalted, sweet butter, melted

2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped (you can buy them this way)

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips (you can also use peanut butter chips or arrange a medley of whatever chips you like as long as you end up using 2 cups total)

1 1/2 14oz. cans (21 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan (I spray lightly with baking spray.)

Mix together all the ingredients except for the sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and pat it down evenly with your clean hands. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top to cover, using a spatula or a knife to spread, if necessary. If you like, you can add nuts on top of the sweetened condensed milk, too. That’s up to you, but this couldn’t be easier to do. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until it looks golden brown. Cool to room temperature.

*yields about 24 2-inch bars (or cut into little squares). Best if left to cool overnight before cutting and serving, when possible.

National French Toast Day!!!! Baked French Toast

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I just found out it’s National French Toast Day so I am posting my best French Toast Recipe!

I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast. 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.

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.  This recipe will make one perfect loaf.

*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.

Baked French Toast — all time best

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DSCN4288

DSCN4283

DSCN4274

DSCN4270

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I just found out it’s National French Toast Day so I am posting my best French Toast Recipe!

I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast. 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.

Applesauce and Raisin Cake – an Homage to the Bundt Queen

I always call my friend Susan the Queen of the Bundt Cake. It certainly seems to be her calling as she is always coming up with new and delicious Bundt Cakes for all of us to try.  I changed one of the ingredients because I bought chunky applesauce instead of plain applesauce. Of course, if you’re so inclined you can make your own applesauce (I wasn’t so inclined today!).  The original recipe hails from The Silver Palate, and I have to say this is one cookbook you don’t want to be without. There are so very many wonderful recipes in it.  I hoped it came out as good as Susan’s cake did because hers was delicious. It has a slightly spicy flavoring, and is just so darn good. Am very happy to report that this cake came out awesome! Super Delicious with the chunky applesauce. Very moist and delicious, cooked perfectly at 1 hour and 10 minutes. Thanks Suki and the Silver Palate!

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the pan (Butter should be at room temperature.  I woke up early and didn’t have time to let it sit so I just put it in microwave to soften for 15 seconds.)

*if baking for the Jewish Holidays and don’t want to use butter you can use margarine

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs (at room temperature)

2 cups applesauce (I used Chunky because probably didn’t have reading glasses in market and grabbed it.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or 1 teaspoon freshly grated

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup raisins

Lemon/Orange Icing ingredients:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl (electric mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the applesauce and vanilla.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda together then add to applesauce mixture. Next, sprinkle in the raisins, and blend gently but thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the tube pan and set on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. 1 hour and 10 – 15 minutes. I cooked it 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes (I will leave it all day as I go out hiking, and turn it over when it is completely cool when I return.)  When it is completely cool, I will make the icing and drizzle over the top. A little trick is to poke little holes in the cake (on top, with cake tester or toothpick) and pour icing over the cake and it will go into cake and infuse some of the lemon/orange directly into cake.

Instructions for icing:

Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl.

Dribble in the juices, stirring constantly until the icing is smooth. Drizzle over completely cooled cake.

*should be enough icing for 1 Applesauce Raisin Cake

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.

Banana and Blueberry “Ice Cream” not Ice Cream Frozen Dessert

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Hummingbirds at sunset in Colorado.

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photo 4 photo 3This was a delicious variation of the Banana non ice cream I already posted back on May 29, 2013.  I had bought a lot of bananas and had a giant tub of blueberries so without any milk I made this for my dessert and it tasted so creamy and delicious that it was hard to believe it was not real ice cream.  The natural creamy consistency of bananas makes this taste like real ice cream and yet it’s a delicious frozen treat that’s actually dairy-free.

The only thing is that you have to prep by freezing bananas overnight.

Perfect for little kids. No nuts, No milk, No nothing but fruit and a pinch of salt.

Go for it and you certainly can try and mix it up by using bananas and strawberries, raspberries, etc.

Ingredients:

4 firm ripe bananas, cut into chunks, frozen at least overnight

1 cup blueberries

pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

Remove bananas from freezer and let sit for a few minutes to just soften a bit. Mine were in freezer for a few days and had to soften before I could attempt to puree them, about 5 – 10 minutes.

I used my Cuisinart Food Processor for this.

I pureed the Bananas, Blueberries and salt , scraping down the sides as I went.

Puree till you get a creamy texture.

You can make ahead of time and freeze for about a week. Let it sit before serving because it’s best when it’s creamy.

Super Healthy and low in calories and no fat.

Perfect Summer Food and why not all year round?

Blackberry Clafouti (Blackberry Cake)–Simple and Easy to make

I made this cake because I love blackberries and I had all the ingredients in my house. If you like blackberries, this is a light cake which will be perfect for dessert and not too heavy at all.  Clafouti is actually french for a cake made with cherries. If it’s made with blackberries or other berries it is called a Flaugnarde, which sounds super fancy and difficult to make and this is anything but that so we’ll just call it Clafouti! We aren’t going to get too technical here and I hope I don’t offend the French chefs out there. This is pretty much the same as the cherry Clafouti which I plan on baking soon and will post that once I’ve cooked that, but we have to wait for the cherries to be super ripe.  This cake is so very easy to make, requires no fancy equipment, and you can whisk ingredients in one bowl. Just use a pie baking dish to bake in. I had a glass dish and am happy that I did, because I could see the blackberries in the cake. This cake would be a most amazing breakfast type of cake–not too thick, but sort of like a blackberry muffin flattened out. Blackberries are so plump and delicious right now, you gotta cook this as soon as possible.

*In order for the blackberries not to sink in cake, I made sure they were dry after rinsing and then I put in a bowl with some flour and coated the berries in flour before adding them , not too heavily floured just a dusting.  It came out perfectly. I have made it where I forgot to dust with flour and they did sink. It didn’t look as pretty but it tasted just fine.

Ingredients: 

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup of sugar for top of cake

1 cup Self-Rising Flour  Presto), sifted

1 cup whole milk

2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen (I used fresh)

* A little extra flour for dusting the blackberries before baking with them (see note)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I sprayed the baking dish with baking spray but you can also butter it.

Rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Melt the butter in microwave. Pour 1 cup sugar and flour into a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk and mix well. Then pour in the melted butter and whisk it all together well.

Dust blackberries with a little bit of flour and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter, distributing evenly.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until golden.  Yum!

Happy Memorial Day Blackberry Cobbler

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping

finished product - Yum

finished product – Yum

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I saw these amazing blackberries at Whole Foods and had to buy them. They are nothing short of amazing right now. I have posted numerous blueberry cobblers , etc. Today is a version of my blueberry cobbler made with blackberries, and an opportunity to write up another recipe and wish everyone a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Whatever you have going on  stop and think about all the very brave men and women who have served our wonderful country and continue to serve and protect every single day.

Enjoy the unofficial start of the summer season! We finally made it.

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)

Happy Cooking and Happy Memorial Day from my kitchen to yours.

Baked French Toast — all time best

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DSCN4294I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast. 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.