Category Archives: dessert

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.

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.

My Favorite Macaroons–Traditional Style for Passover

photo 5 (40)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.

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.

Mocha Icebox Cake –can be gluten free

This is a most amazing dessert. It can be made in a large bowl like a trifle, which is what I did or for a more spectacular presentation in an 8″ springform pan. I made it in a large glass bowl and while I don’t have a lot of photos I can tell you that this was a big hit! I even froze the leftovers and they were outstanding. I made it with Tates gluten-free chocolate chip cookies because a friend of mine who was coming for dinner is gluten-free. If you’re looking for a gluten free dessert for a crowd this is it!

This was surprisingly easy to make and no baking makes it a perfect go to dessert. This was a crowd pleaser for sure.

You’ll need an electric mixer with the whisk attachment for this.

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream ( I didn’t say this was diet food)

12 ounces Italian Mascarpone Cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup coffee liqueur, I used Kahlua

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 packages chocolate chip cookies, I used Tates (gluten-free or regular) in the bowl I didn’t quite use the 3 packages but if you do it in a springform you’ll probably need them all.

Shaved semi sweet chocolate for garnish

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar , Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly increase speed until it forms firm peaks (this could take up to 6 minutes so don’t get nervous if it takes a while)

In a large glass bowl, I broke the cookie into pieces for the bottom of the bowl, covering the bottom as much as possible. Spread some of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies ( you’ll want about 5 to 6 layers depending on the bowl) so eyeball the whip cream so you’ll have enough. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying cookies flat and touching one another. Follow by another layer of cream, continue layering cookies and cream until there are about 5 or 6 layers and you’ll want to end with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap , and refrigerate overnight.

Right before serving I sprinkled the top with chocolate shavings. Serve cold.

I did freeze this in small plastic containers and then just defrosted it in refrigerator and took out of fridge for a little bit and it was perfectly delicious.

I scooped into dessert dishes, a little goes a long way with this because it’s pretty rich. Will probably serve 10-12 in small dessert dishes.

Springform Pan directions:

You’ll need an 8″ inch springform pan.

Directions are pretty much the same – 5 layers will do it. When you are ready to serve run a sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate, cut in wedges, and serve cold.