Chocolate Malted Milk Mousse

Chocolate Malted Milk Mousse

Chocolate Malted Milk Mousse




When I was 13, I worked at a small ice cream shack (shack is a fairly fitting word, too) called “Frosty Hut”, also called Frosty Slut, but we won’t go there. I worked there for a dollar an hour. I had had to get a work permit to even work at that age and I guess the owner, Mr. A, figured a buck an hour was sufficient even though minimum wage was $3.35. One of the perks of the job was, of course, the free ice cream. Since this was privately owned and we were paid slave wages, there was no “you have a 30 minute lunch break and can eat one small thing from the menu” rule. Nope, my sister and I (she also worked there…we were the full line up of employees that Summer) ate like pigs lol. One of my favorite things to do was work my shift, then make 2 of what were called Boston Shakes, one for me and one for my brother Steve. These were HUGE shakes that also had a about 73 pints of soft serve on top of them. I have absolutely NO idea how I didn’t weigh 500 pounds by the end of that Summer. Mine was the same each time; a chocolate malt with extra malt syrup. The flavor is still a favorite. I don’t drink shakes often but when I go to say, Sonic and get one, it’s still chocolate malt with extra malt. I’m a creature of habit :-)

Since I also love Whoppers Candy; they are malt flavored after all, I was tickled to find this recipe in the same Better Home And Garden Cookbook/magazine (it’s one of those they keep on the shelves for a few months, then retire) that my last post came from. I am slowly working my way through all the recipes in there that I have tabbed. It was a good find; a cookbook that you actually want to make multiple recipes from. I have about a dozen pages tabbed and plan to get to them all.

This is a perfect Spring dessert; it’s rich yet light and not overwhelming. Mind you, it would also be great for a Christmas dessert or heck, any time of year lol. I don’t want to limit it. But Easter is tomorrow and if you still need just one more dessert, this would work wonderfully. It can be ready to go in less than 90 minutes and that includes chilling time. The mousse itself is sweet and creamy with a nice malted milk flavor. The topping is only very lightly sweetened and a wonderful foil to the sweeter mousse. And the crushed malted milk balls in the mousse and the topping add a nice light crunch.

You know the drill…. :-)

Chocolate Malted Milk Mousse

  • 2/3 cup malted milk balls (plus extra for garnishing)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate malted milk powder (I actually used the plain kind, not the chocolate kind)
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto, chocolate liqueur or cream (I used Kahlua cause I’m just a rebel :-p )
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (this is for the topping. Don’t be tempted to add more sugar. The small amount of sweetening is excellent against the sweet mousse)
  1. Put the malted milk balls in a large bag and crush them using a rolling pin…or a hammer…or a neighbors head, whatever works for you; no judgment here. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepot, combine the chopped chocolates and 1/4 cup of the cream. Over low heat, stirring constantly, heat until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, the malted milk powder and the liqueur (or cream) Cool to room temp. Stirring speeds this up.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whip 1 3/4 cup of the cream until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/2 cup of the cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. gently fold the rest of the cream into the chocolate. Then gently fold in the crushed malted milk balls. Spoon the mousse into either small dessert glasses or a 1.5 to 2 quart glass serving bowl. Cover and chill for one hour at least and up to 24 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, whip the remaining one cup cream with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 tablespoon of sugar and the 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder until stiff peaks form. Spoon the topping onto the mousse and garnish with more malted milk balls.

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Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

 

I could have SWORN Spring was here. The calendar says so, the Farmers Almanac says so, the fact that I had (key word…had) pretty Hyacinths blooming said so. But obviously God and Mother Nature are a wee bit confused. That or they were bored and figured playing a practical joke on all of us would be a good way to pass the time. I guess eating chocolate and watching reruns of House aren’t popular up there when you’re bored. Here in Kentucky, we had to cover all our budding fruit trees and plants in the hopes that the low temps of mid twenties we are supposed to get tonight won’t kill them. My Hyacinths were a lost cause though. The cold of last night already got them *sobs*

I was all prepared for warm weather baking however. Yes, I know that many of you think baking is insane in warmer weather but 1) I’m kind of warped that way and 2) it’s kind of my job… I can’t go on hiatus from April till October :-P So I still bake… I just change the theme. Pumpkin goes away (well, off the blog anyway. I love it so I still use it here at home), cranberries stay in the freezer and citrus, fresh herbs, and lighter foods (relatively speaking… I’m still me, after all) get made. So I had my mind set on lemon and I’ll be darned if I change it because God didn’t want to watch House or maybe play Rummy with Gabriel.

This is one yummy cake. The recipe in it’s original form comes from a Better Homes And Garden magazine I have. I didn’t change much, just added vanilla, almond and lemon extracts to both the cake and two of those to the frosting, used my own lemon curd recipe (theirs called for a cornstarch custard and to me, that’s just not the same) and didn’t do the caramelized lemons they called for. I just used sugared lemons. Easier, still deliciously edible if one swings that way and did I mention easier?

You know the drill…. :-)

Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cake-
  • 1 batch of Lemon Curd or one cup of store bought lemon curd (but I’ll cry if you use store bought. There is NO comparison.)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Boyajian Lemon Oil (or an equivalent amount of lemon extract)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Frosting-
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Lemon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Garnish (optional)-
  • 2 thinly sliced lemons
  • 1 cup sugar (you won’t use it all, but it clumps from the moisture of the lemons so you need extra. The leftovers go great in tea.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 9 inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add in the sugar, extracts, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until well combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. Alternate adding in the flour and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour (flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour), beating just until combined after each addition. Divide the batter between the 3 prepared pans.
  5. Bake at 350 for 25 to 28 minutes. The tops should be golden brown and spring back when touched. Cool in the pans for ten minutes, then carefully loosen with a butter knife and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. While cake cools, make frosting- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat well until smooth and creamy, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the extracts and beat until combined. Add in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time (unless you fancy looking like you just drove through a sand storm), beating well after each addition. Add just enough to get a good spreading consistency. When done, stir in the lemon zest.
  7. To assemble, lay one cake layer on your serving plate. Spread it with 1/2 cup of the lemon curd. Top with another layer; again spread with 1/2 cup of curd. Carefully place the top layer on, pressing down LIGHTLY to hold them together. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the frosting.
  8. For the garnish, JUST before serving (the sugar starts to melt and drip after while, so don’t do it until ready to serve), toss the lemon slices with the sugar until lightly coated. Do a few at a time or the sugar clumps and you get too thick of a coating on the lemon slices. Arrange them on the top of the cake. Serve.

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Fudgy Brownies With Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Fudgy Brownies With Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Fudgy Brownies With Mini Peanut Butter Cups




We all know I am NOT a fan of peanut butter. Well, to qualify again, not “normal” peanut butter. I do have a soft spot for Peanut Butter & Company’s Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter and Jifs new Salted Caramel Hazelnut is pretty amazing as peanut butter type spreads go. You’ll notice I did NOT say it was “to die for”. I believe I’ve mentioned before that that is one of those phrases that makes me want to gouge my eardrums out with a spoon. That one along with “EVOO” and “Sammy”. Damn you for your evil influence, Rachael Ray, damn you. But back on tangent, as much as it possible for me, no “to die for”…. I will only die for medium rare ribeyes and roasted brussel sprouts. I have my standards.

But every once in a while, cause I love you all so much (“I just cain’t quit you” :-P ), I have to make something peanut buttery for all of you. I realize how peculiar I am with my dislike of PB.  I realize how peculiar I am for many reasons and that that is but one of many, but lets not go there.

I was actually pleasantly surprised with these. Yes, they have a strong peanut buttery taste so those of you into that will love that aspect, but they are also fudgy/chewy enough and of course, chocolatey enough, that even I enjoyed them. They have a perfect, shiny crackly top crust, which I personally love. I found myself, after cutting off the edges, picking up stray bites here and there. Sooo chewy and yummy. :-D Oh yeah, just for good measure, I threw in a bag of Heath Chips, so that added yet another level of crunchy, salty/sweet goodness. You can thank me later. :-D

You know the drill… :-)

Fudgy Brownies With Mini Peanut Butter Cups

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten (use a large bowl)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 8 ounces mini peanut butter cups (I used Trader Joes Brand)
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) Heath Bar chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 11×7 glass pan (I used a standard Pyrex) or a 13×9 inch pan. If you use the 13×9, be more aware of your cooking time as these will cook quicker.
  2. Melt your butter in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add the chocolate, stir once, then remove the pot form the heat. Let it sit for five minutes then stir for about 2 minutes to finish melting the chips.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk to blend.
  4. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture over the beaten eggs, whisking the whole time. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat well.
  5. Pour in the flour and beat JUST until combined. Fold in the peanut butter cups and heath chips.
  6. Spoon into the prepared pan. bake at 350 for approximately 40 minutes or until the top is shiny, firm and crackly looking and inserting a skewer in the center shows only a few moist crumbs, not a loose or liquidy batter.
  7. Let cool in the pan on a rack until thoroughly cool before cutting. You cut them before this and you will get goop. Tasty goop, but goop nonetheless. If you have these room temp, they are creamier and silkier in texture. If you chill them, they take on more of a candylike fudge texture. try it both ways to see which you prefer. :-)

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Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard Pie

I may have mentioned before that I’m not a huge coconut fan, but my husband is which is why I will make things that contain coconut. I love the smell of coconut and I could eat a pan full of toasted coconut. My husband, on the other hand, can take a handful of sweetened coconut and eat it. He’s a little strange.

I did try the pie to make sure it met my standards and my husband ate 1 1/2 pieces the night it was made, so that must mean it tastes good. I drizzled some chocolate syrup over the pie, but that is completely optional. It does add some nice flavor to it though.

The pie is creamy and has a good amount of coconut flavor. The original recipe called for 1 cup of milk, but I halved that and used some coconut milk instead. You can do either one and it will still turn out delicious.

Adapted from: www.bakingbites.com

Ingredients:

  • Unbaked pie crust (Homemade or store bought)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Roll out pie dough and place into 9-inch pie pan (instructions below).
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour and salt until well combined. Add in eggs and whisk until well incorporated. Whisk in milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Stir in coconut.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared, unbaked pie shell.
  5. Bake for about 50 minutes, until pie is set.
  6. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

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Cherry Browned Butter Crumb Cake

Cherry Browned Butter Crumb Cake

Cherry Browned Butter Crumb Cake



I haven’t made a foodie confession in a while, so I guess it’s time for a new one. Well, I did mention to a friend the other day that I like Spam, but since he is from Hawaii, where they very wisely love the canned meat, it didn’t really phase him as it would have many other food bloggers :-P

On to the confession. It’s no secret that I used to love Twinkies and Ho-Hos when they were owned by the original company. Now however, they are pretty bad. I’m still mourning and have been blocked from the Hostess site because of my insistence on periodic candlelight vigils lamenting the passing of the REAL Hostess products. One other thing I loved? Those horrid, dry, overly sweet crumb cakes. I can’t recall if they were Hostess or Dolly Madison. All I know is that every couple of months, I had to go to a convenience store and grab a pack. We won’t discuss how I also would buy a Little Debbie Brownies that was topped with fake M&Ms.

But, me being me, when Hostess became “Hostess Wanna Be” (and yes, I’m astute enough to realize they weren’t exactly gourmet in the first place), and they AND Dolly Madison products disappeared, I knew it was time to make my own goodies. I never really got around to the Twinkies and Ho-Hos, but I CAN make a killer crumb cake. Does it taste like theirs? No and this is a good thing lol. The one I make is better. The original recipe is from Food And Wine and while it was good, it was rather plain. I wanted to give it some flavor and I think I succeeded quite nicely.

You know the drill… :-)

Cherry Browned Butter Crumb Cake

  • Crumb Topping-
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cake-
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups good quality cherry preserves
  1. Make your topping first- combine the flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the chilled butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small crumbs. Then get in there with your fingers and smoosh together the mix between your fingers to heat it up a bit and make larger pieces. Refrigerate while you make the cake batter
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch springform pan well with baking spray (the kind with both flour and oil in it) and put the pan on a baking sheet. This will protect the bottom of your oven from possible leakage. Put the butter into a medium pot and cook over medium heat until it has turned a golden brown color and has a nutty scent. Do NOT turn away form it as it begins to color as it can go from browned and delicious to burned and garbage very quickly. Pour into a bowl and set in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
  4. In another bowl (remember, always have someone nearby who has dish duty :-D ), beat together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, eggs and egg yolk and beat until well combined.
  5. Alternating the flour and the sour cream (start and end with the flour mixture) add them to the butter/egg mix. Beat just until combined after each addition.
  6. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread to the edge of the pan. Cover with dollops of the cherry preserves and spread them to within a half an inch of the edge of the batter. Top with the other half of the batter and spread it carefully to the edges. Sprinkle the chilled crumbs over the top of the batter.
  7. Bake at 350 for 45 -60 minutes or until it is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, with a few moist crumbs, but no loose batter.
  8. Cool on a wire rack, still in the pan. When completely cool, open outside of pan carefully then gently slide a butter knife under the bottom of the cake to loosen it and carefully lift it off of the bottom of the pan and transfer to a plate.

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Toasty Browned Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Toasty Browned Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Toasty Browned Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies




My husbands favorite cookie is a plain old fashioned oatmeal raisin cookie. While I like them, they aren’t my favorite and because of that and cause my husband is diabetic yet would eat every single cookie made, I don’t make them often. But I had been craving some the last week or so and decided to see what I could do to change them up a bit. I love using browned butter in baking so that was one thought. It adds such a delicious nutty flavor to foods. But then I decided to take the nuttiness one step further and I toasted the oats for these cookies.

These turned out wonderfully. They have a yummy, toasty, almost butterscotch flavor due to the browned butter and toasted oats. The edges have that sought after crispness with nice soft chewy middles. I was rather tickled with myself on how these turned out and can’t think of anything I would change next time I make them. I wasn’t sure what to name them so I asked my facebook readers to help me. Unfortunately, though they made some awesome suggestions, none quite resonated with me so the above name is what we ended up with.

You know the drill… :-)

Toasty Browned Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (I used the honey crunch flavored type)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (you can obviously sub out all of one or the other if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups oats
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Place the butter in a medium pot. Over medium to medium high heat, let the butter melt and cook, swirling the pot periodically, until the butter is a dark golden brown and has a nutty scent. Do NOT turn our back on it once it starts to color. This can go from browned to a smelly burned mess quickly. When done, set it aside to cool.
  3. While this cools, toast your oats. Pour the oats onto a cookie sheet and shake to settle them into a single layer. Toast them until they are a light brown color, stirring and spreading again a couple of times,  about 20 minutes. Cool for about ten minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, orange zest if using and vanilla and beat well. Dump the raisins and cranberries in there and just let it sit while the butter cools. This gives the fruits time to soften a bit.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the cooled butter and the two sugars. Beat well to combine. Add in the flour, wheat germ, baking soda and salt. Beat on medium speed to combine. Add in the egg/fruit mix and beat just until combined.
  6. Fold in the oats. Make balls of dough about 2 inches in diameter (you can make smaller or larger but adjust the cooking time accordingly) and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 8 to a sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 until the tops are firm and cookies are a medium golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes, depending on size. Let cool on pan for a minute then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

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Cherry Garcia Pudding

Cherry Garcia Pudding




I love ice cream. It’s my go to treat on nights when I allow myself dessert. Well, sometimes I’ll mix it up with something else, but 99% of the time, it will still resemble ice cream in that it will have a creamy texture. I’m one of those people whose downfall is creamy and rich, whether it’s something sweet or something savory. Creamy is my friend. But Ben & Jerry are even better friends. Have any of you tried their new “Core” flavors? I tried the salted caramel one (of course) and I have to admit it, I was rather disappointed. It was….boring. The best part was the little chunks of Blondie but even that wasn’t enough to make it worth the calories.
I DO however, love many of their other flavors. My favorite will always be Phish Food. It used to be that running a close second was Cherry Garcia, but now for strangely personal reasons, I don’t eat it anymore. It brings back memories I prefer to forget because they make me mentally queasy; one of those “omg, did I really get involved with someone that disgusting” memories. Yep… from an ice cream lol. I’m strange that way. Doesn’t take much; a smell, a flavor, a sound and I’m transported to other times, some good, some bad.
But I still love the flavor combo, that creamy texture, the cherries, the chocolate and that slight almondy background. I eat other brands of ice cream with it and have *gasp* even found brands that are better than Ben & Jerry’s. But I also love a dessert I began making about 9 years ago that has the same flavor profile. I usually call it “Cherry Garcia Wanna-Be” mousse. But for the sake of brevity, Cherry Garcia Pudding works also lol.

This is a cinch to make. The most time consuming part is chopping the chocolate and cherries and that’s still pretty quick if you have a decent knife. You can have this knocked out and chilling inside of 20 minutes. Then you just let it chill and serve it. This is oh so good. Creamy and rich with all those lovely flavors meshing into puddingish (yes, that too is now a word) perfection.

You know the drill…. git to cooking :-)

Cherry Garcia Pudding

 

  • 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 16 ounce jar Maraschino Cherries, drained, syrup reserved, cherries coarsely chopped (redrain and pat dry the cherries after chopping as they will let off more liquid)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2  teaspoon almond extract (I love the almond flavor so I tend to use more)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 8 ounce container Cool Whip (you can sub sweetened whipped cream, but this is one of those rare cases where the flavor and texture of cool whip works)
  1. In a large bowl, on low speed, beat together the sweetened condensed milk, 3 tablespoons of the maraschino cherry juice (You don’t need any more of it, but it makes an awesome cherry coke, thus why I said to reserve all of it :-P ), the lemon juice, vanilla extract and almond extract
  2. Gently fold in the cool whip and whipped cream, then the chopped chocolate and chopped cherries.
  3. Cover, then put the mixture into the fridge and chill until thickened, at least 3 hours.
  4. Pour the filling into individual glasses. You can then lightly cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until ready to serve or serve now. Garnish with some extra cherries and chopped chocolate.

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Mini Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Mini Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Mini Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting



I’ve never been a huge fan of carrot cake but my husband loves it and I love cream cheese frosting. The only carrot cake I have ever found myself to like is the cake the Kroger sells in their bakery section. The cake is a basic carrot cake with an orange cream cheese frosting. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Kroger around me here in Texas so when it came time to make a carrot cake I had to try and replicate that recipe.
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The cake is moist and absolutely delicious even by itself. The cream cheese is something I could sit down with a spoon and just eat. The added zest gives it a nice little hint of orange without being overpowering.

Adapted from: www.allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (use fresh if you have it)
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of one orange

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 16 mini loaf pans or 8 mini loaf pans & 12 cupcake
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and orange zest. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cakes.

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Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits & The Times, They Are A’Changin’

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

 

It occurred to me earlier today that I have been cooking for about 40 years now. I’m not quite sure whether to be proud of that fact or to go get my walker and economy size bottle of Geritol. I look back to when I was first starting when I was about ten and it amazes me how much grocery stores have changed. Back when I was a kid, you could still find a fair amount of mom and pop stores that carried the basics and a lot of cheap candy but not much else. Then you had the chain stores, which in the case of where I lived, were Jewel and Dominicks. You could fit two or three of those quite neatly into say, a Super Wal-Mart. They sold more than the mom and pop stores but the variety back in the ’70′s just was NOT what it is now. We take it all for granted and just blithely walk through huge grocery stores without batting an eye, but those of us who are older (as well as those who have lived in other countries that don’t have mega marts like we do) remember it being much different back in the days of the dinosaurs :-P  Stores had about ten aisles and if you wanted something fancy, you’d better have access to a large city with small gourmet shops.

Now however, you can go to any large chain grocery store and get gourmet cheeses, artisan breads, fancy meats and some even sell a good variety of decent wines. One of my favorite things about the here and now is the variety of ice cream hehe. When I was a kid, you got vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, Neapolitan, butter pecan, rocky road and that was about it. My favorite then was Neapolitan , my sisters was Butter Pecan and my brothers was vanilla. He was the boring one :-P NOW however, I can easily spend 20 minutes in the ice cream aisle choosing from gourmet gelatos and ice creams of every flavor under the sun.

Another thing that has changed is biscuits. You know those four packs of the canned biscuits that make biscuits with very little flavor and that are the size of a silver dollar? That was IT as far as the selection went. Those and *shudders* the prepackaged “Brown N Serve” rolls. My mom got those every holiday and I hated them. Even then I knew there had to be better out there somewhere. And now you can get some pretty good biscuits in the frozen section. But even then, they aren’t homemade. It took me literally years to learn to make a good buttermilk biscuit. Mine were….edible… but rather too hard and dense, to say the least. Now, if I do say so myself, I make some darn good biscuits. I’ve even taught my daughter and one other family member (who prefers not to admit they were schooled by me :-P ) how to do so. Now I’m writing it down for the rest of you. They are NOT difficult. The main thing to remember with biscuits? A light touch and don’t overwork your dough. It took me forever to figure that out. I used to knead it about a dozen times the way some recipes said to do. Now, I just dump the dough out, press it into shape, fold it a couple of times, press again and cut them. That’s it. Overworking is the death of a biscuit. Plus, as counter intuitive as it sounds, too much fat in the dough will make for a tougher, flatter biscuit. Stick to the ingredients and ratios here and you’ll have great biscuits. It may take a few times to learn to work the dough properly so if these don’t look like my photo right away, don’t sweat it. They will. I promise.

This makes about ten LARGE biscuits. If you want smaller and aren’t feeding an army, you may want to cup the recipe in half. If not, freeze the leftovers, securely wrapped.

You know the drill… :-)

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 4 cups self rising flour (please, if you have access, use  White Lily brand flour. If you can’t find it, then Martha White is a decent substitute.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (yes, even though the flour is self rising)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, refrigerator cold and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup solid shortening, chilled and sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (use whole milk buttermilk if you can find it. It makes a far better biscuit and really, low fat milk in a biscuit is a waste of time calorie wise)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, Grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Drop the butter and shortening into the bowl of flour. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles pea sized crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk, all at once, Use a fork to stir and combine the milk with the flour until you have a cohesive dough. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured board or counter top. Pat it down into a flat circle. Fold it into thirds like you’re folding a letter to fit into an envelope. Pat it down again, fold it one more time. Finally, pat it into a rough circle of about 1 inch to 1 1/4 inches high.
  5. Cut out as many biscuits as you can get, laying them right next to each other in the baking pan if you want soft sided biscuits or about an inch apart if you want crisp sided biscuits.
  6. Bake at 425 for about 20 to 24 minutes, until they are firm on top and golden brown. Take off the pan and serve piping hot, preferably with some nice fresh homemade butter (in the background of my photo and yes, it will be a later post) and good quality jam, preferably something like my homemade Apple Pie Jam because homemade is always better :-D

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

 

Lemony White Chocolate Double Berry Bread Pudding

Lemony White Chocolate Double Berry Bread Pudding

Lemony White Chocolate Double Berry Bread Pudding




When we get to this part of Winter, that time when you have some warm days then Winter has a hissy fit, backpedals and becomes cold again, I start having major cravings for fresh fruits. Citrus is always a good bet since it’s still in season, but I want berries, darn it! Problem is, what I can find in stores around here, besides being outrageously expensive, has been shipped either from the other side of the U.S. or from another country altogether. So it’s no longer very fresh and it just doesn’t have the flavor that in season berries have. So I compromise. I buy frozen berries. Believe it or not, they are a damned good substitute. With any company worth buying from, the berries are frozen within hours of being picked so you are still getting something that is extremely close to fresh. You may not be able to use it in ALL the same ways you can fresh ones, but in baking, so long as you remember the rule of thumb to use it still frozen, not thawed, you can use it in a LOT of recipes.

You may know I love bread pudding. I used to hate it, but have come to love it since I began making it myself and realized it didn’t always have to be an insipid nursery food with no flavor. Like I mentioned to my husband the other day, I like foods with strong flavors and that includes in bread pudding. This one definitely satisfies. I have made bread pudding enough now that I have no need of a recipe; I just change up the basics to go with whatever add ins I’m doing. This one turned out wonderfully. You have a mild lemon tang and peel taste in the pudding with a bit of smooth white chocolate in there. Then practically every bite, you get some nice tangy berries. It’s bright and fresh tasting and perfect for this time of year. I loved this both warm and chilled. Warm, it’s softer and the flavors are more intense. Chilled it has the texture of a firm mousse, which I love. So far I’ve had it only with some cream poured over it, but I can see this going quite nicely with a berry sauce or custard sauce.

You know the drill… :-)

Lemony White Chocolate Double Berry Bread Pudding

  • 6 cups cubed Kings Hawaiian Bread (about 12 ounces or 3/4 of a 16 ounce round loaf)
  • 11 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • zest of two lemons (about 3 tablespoons zest)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blackberries
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
  • boiling water for the water bath
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 4 quart baking dish or 2 2 quart ones. I used 2 2 quart souffle dishes. Place the baking dish/dishes into a large pan. An 11×15 works well.
  2. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Put your chocolate and lemon zest into a medium bowl. Heat the cream up in the microwave until very hot, but not boiling. Pour cream over the white chocolate in the bowl, stir once, then let sit for five minutes. Stir well to combine the cream and chocolate and complete the melting process.
  4. In a large bowl (I know; lots of bowls. Have your kids, neighbors, stranger off the street or husband or wife do the dishes :-P ), beat together the 6 eggs and the vanilla until frothy. Add in the 1/2 cup sugar and beat well.
  5. Slowly pour the warm cream into the egg mixture. Make sure you spoon out any lemon zest that may have sunk to the bottom and get it in there too. Beat in the lemon juice.  Let this mixture sit for about an hour so the bread can soak up the custard. When ready to bake, carefully fold in the frozen berries.
  6. Pour the pudding mix into the buttered dish and place it in the middle of the oven. Pour boiling water in the outer dish to reach about a third of the way up the sides of the dish the pudding is in. Carefully push the oven shelf back in to avoid sloshing.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for about 75 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and a knife inserted into the center of the pudding doesn’t come out liquidy and no liquid wells up in the hole left behind.
  8. Cool the pudding at room temp for about an hour. Then you can either serve it warm or chill it for later.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.