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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Latest Updates!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Here's the update: my husband and I welcomed a baby boy into the world on Sunday. I'll be back soon with more tips, tricks, and recipes soon, but in the meantime here is a photo of a recent day in the kitchen for an upcoming celebration:

GIANT cinnamon babka!
Babka: A yeasty, brioche-like cake. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Take Me to the Tailgate!

Lizzy Bee brownies cooling on the rack.
Happy Thursday everyone! The weather is cooling off and that can only mean one thing - football season is upon us! It's time to place your fall orders at Lizzy Bee's Bakery for brownies, cookies, and cakes! However for right now, in honor of America's favorite pastime (and the tailgating that goes with it) here are a few desserts you can grab and eat in the back of your truck.

Coconut Blondies
Gourmet, March 1992

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled
  1. In a bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and the brown sugar, beating the mixture until it is light and fluffy, add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat in the vanilla. I
  2. n a small bowl whisk together the salt, the baking powder, and the flour, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat the batter until it is just combined. 
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and the coconut, spread the batter evenly in a buttered and floured 13- by 9-inch baking pan, and bake it in the middle of a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and crumbs adhere to a tester. Let the mixture cool completely in the pan on a rack and cut it into squares.

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Baked, 2011

Crispy Crunch Layer:
  • 1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer:
  • 5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
Chocolate Icing:
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
For the crispy crust layer: 
  1. Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch-square baking pan. 
  2. Into a small saucepan, pour 1/4 cup water. Gently add the sugarand corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 235 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, and then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer. 
For the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: 
  1. In a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crispy crust layer. Put the pan in the refrigerator until the top layer hardens, about an hour. 
For the chocolate icing
  1. In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer. Put the pan in the refrigerator until the topping hardens, about an hour. 
  2. Cut into 9 squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.

Jam Thumbprints
Saveur (who adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook)


  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1⁄2 cups flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1⁄3 cup jam or preserves, any flavor


  1. Using an electric hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. With the motor running, add egg yolks and vanilla until combined; slowly add in flour until a dough forms. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  2. Heat oven to 375°. Grease 2 baking sheets; set aside. Lightly beat egg whites; set aside. Shape dough into 1” balls. Roll balls in egg whites, then in nuts. Place 1” apart on prepared cookie sheets; using your index finger or the end of a wooden spoon, press into balls to create a deep well. Bake for 10 minutes until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Fill center of each cookie with jam before serving.
Happy baking!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pumpkin Cupcakes!

Happy Monday everyone! I was going to make a really stupid joke a la the "Hump Day" camel commercial (Pump Day! Get it? Pumpkin? Pump? See, this is why I left it alone...) but I will spare looooooove me some pumpkin desserts! So in honor of that love affair, here are a few pumpkin cupcake ideas (and bonus! One is gluten free!)
you. Instead let's just get right into it. I made mini pumpkin cupcakes with maple mascarpone frosting this weekend to say thank you to some very generous people who gave me and my husband baby gifts for our impending little dinosaur. I held out as long as I could before I jumped on the pumpkin wagon..but I just

Seasonally appropriate...
Mini Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes
Bon Appetit, October 2009

  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Orange and black food coloring; orange, black, white, and yellow candies and sugar crystals
  • Special Equipment: Mini muffin pans 13/4x1-inch paper liners
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 mini muffin cups with 1 3/4x 1-inch paper liners. Mix flour, golden brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in large bowl. Whisk egg, canned pure pumpkin, vegetable oil, sour cream, and vanilla extract in medium bowl. Add mixture to dry ingredients; stir to fully combine. Spoon batter into paper liners (batter will almost fill liners). Scatter crystallized ginger over, if desired. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely on rack. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar.
  2. Divide frosting among 3 bowls. Tint frosting in first bowl with orange coloring (or combine red and yellow coloring to make orange) and frosting in second bowl with black coloring, keeping frosting in third bowl white. Chill frosting 2 hours or until firm enough to easily spread. Frost cupcakes; decorate using candy and sugar crystals as desired.

Gluten free for you and me!
Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Ginger Cupcakes
Mani Niall

  • 6 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 1/4 cup chopped or sliced crystallized ginger, for garnish (optional)
  1. MAKE THE FROSTING: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone and cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Cover and refrigerate the frosting until it is firm enough to spread, about 1 hour.
  2. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE CUPCAKES: Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk the rice flour with the tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar with the granulated sugar, vegetable oil and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth; whisk in the pumpkin puree.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed. Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and let cool completely.
  4. MAKE THE CARAMEL: In a medium saucepan, spread the sugar evenly and cook over moderately low heat, shaking the pan to keep the sugar in an even layer. Cook, swirling the saucepan occasionally, until the sugar is melted and a deep-amber caramel forms. Slowly add the cream (be careful, the caramel will boil vigorously) and cook, whisking, until smooth. Transfer the caramel to a heatproof bowl and stir in the salt. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Frost the cupcakes and drizzle with the caramel sauce. Garnish with the crystallized ginger and serve.
MAKE AHEAD: The unfrosted cupcakes can be stored overnight in an airtight container at room temperature. The caramel can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; rewarm before using.

Yes, it's a cake...but bake them in cupcake molds! Start 10 min, turn and flip pans, then another 8-10 min and check.
Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Icing
Bon Appetit, December 2002

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel icing and fruit and walnut filling:
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 6 tablespoons raisins
  • 6 tablespoons dried sweetened cranberries
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • Thin orange peel strips
  • Vanilla ice cream
For cake:
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift first 8 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually add dry ingredients; beat just until incorporated. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth top with spatula.
  2. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in pans on racks. Run small knife around cakes to loosen. Turn cakes out onto racks.
For icing and filling:
  1. Stir rum, raisins, and dried cranberries in small saucepan over low heat just until warm, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Drain, reserving rum and fruit separately.
  2. Whisk whipping cream and cream cheese in small bowl until smooth. Combine sugar and 2/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with pastry brush dipped in water and swirling pan, about 10 minutes. Slowly and carefully whisk in cream cheese mixture (caramel mixture will bubble vigorously). Add butter; whisk until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool caramel icing 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  3. Pour 3/4 cup warm caramel icing mixture into bowl. Mix in half of reserved dried fruit mixture, 1 cup walnuts, and grated orange peel. Place 1 cake layer on 8-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round. Brush top of cake with half of reserved rum. Spread caramel-nut filling over, leaving 1/2-inch plain border at edges. Top with second cake layer, flat side down; press to adhere. Brush top of cake with remaining rum; let stand 10 minutes to allow rum to soak in.
  4. Pour generous 1/2 cup warm caramel icing onto cake and, if necessary, spread over top with offset spatula to cover. Refrigerate cake and remaining caramel icing until icing is firm enough to spread and to adhere to sides of cake, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
  5. Transfer 3/4 cup chilled icing to small bowl and chill for sauce. Using offset spatula, spread remaining 1 cup icing evenly over sides of cake to cover. Mix remaining dried fruit mixture and remaining 1/2 cup walnuts in another small bowl. Sprinkle mixture in 1 1/2-inch-wide border around top edge of cake. Cover cake with cake dome and chill at least 6 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep cake and caramel icing for sauce chilled separately.)
  6. Place cake on platter. Garnish with orange peel. Rewarm icing over low heat just until pourable. Serve cake cold with ice cream and warm caramel sauce.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pretend The Fruit Makes it Healthy!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you sick of the fall posts yet? Today we're using fall fruits to create delightfully moist cakes - so who can complain about that? This post's inspiration comes from a delicious apple crumb cake I made last week (I was craving cake - we can blame the pregnancy, but let's be honest; I always crave cake). The great thing about fruit-filled cakes is that you don't need to buy more than 1-2 pieces of fruit (though if you're like me, and just went apple picking, 2 of 25 apples doesn't really make a dent...). At any rate, I've compiled a few recipes that'll help you get a little serving of those healthy fruits from the (former) food pyramid, while wrapped in an unhealthy, sugary coat.

Pear Crumb Cake
Melissa Clark

  • 1 tablespoon/14 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters honey
  • 2 small or 1 1/2 large pears, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
Crumb Topping:
  • 1 ⅓ cups/165 grams all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup/65 grams dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ⅓ cup/65 grams light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon/8 grams groundcinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon/2 grams groundallspice
  • ¼ teaspoon/1 gram fine sea salt
  • 1 stick/113 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon/133 milliliters sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups/185 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup/150 grams granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon/3 grams baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon/2 grams baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon/3 grams fine sea salt
  • 1 stick/113 grams softenedunsalted butter, cut into pieces
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan; line with parchment paper and butter the paper.
  2. In a skillet, melt butter and honey. Add pears, lemons juice, nutmeg, zest and salt and sauté until the pears are just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool.
  3. For the topping, whisk together flour, sugars, spices and salt in a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir until crumbs form.
  4. Whisk together sour cream, eggs and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add softened butter and beat for 10 seconds to combine. Beat in egg mixture, continuing to beat until very smooth.
  5. Pour batter into pan and top with the pear slices, spreading them out evenly (if there is liquid in the pan with the pears, don’t add it). Use your fingers to squeeze together large crumbs from the topping and scatter evenly on top of pears.
  6. Bake for 50 to 65 minutes, until the cake is set and the center springs back when very gently pressed with a finger. A cake tester may come out with crumbs attached, but it shouldn’t be wet. Transfer cake to a wire rack and cool completely, at least 2 hours before serving. Cake can be made a day ahead.

Old-Fashioned Banana Cake
Ina Garten

  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Walnut halves, for decorating (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (1/2 pound)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the bananas, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on low speed until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and orange zest. Mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts, if using. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack, and cool completely.
  4. Spread the frosting thickly on the top of the cake and decorate with walnut halves, if using.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. Mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until just combined. Don't whip! Add the sugar and mix until smooth. Yield: frosting for one 9-inch cake.

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake
Dorie Greenspan

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  3. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's evenish.
  5. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
  1. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Hélène's served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination.
  1. The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature and, according to my husband, gets more comforting with each passing day. However long you keep the cake, it's best not to cover it - it's too moist. Leave the cake on its plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper against the cut surfaces.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Perfectly Unusual Desserts for Fall

Happy Wednesday everyone! We're slowly tapering off of our "post-Rosh Hashanah feeding frenzy," finally eschewing the honey cake and looking ahead (to birthday cakes of course). Before we get to those cakes, we need to take a slight detour and enjoy some delicious recipes for unique fall desserts. Usually we think of apple pies, pumpkin (anything), and sometimes even pears. Today we'll look at some of those flavors, but using them in refreshing new ways.

Maple-Bourbon Banana Pudding Cake
Grace Parisi

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a deep, 2-quart baking or soufflé dish, melt the butter in the microwave. Whisk in the superfine sugar and banana, mashing until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the egg and milk.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk into the baking dish until combined (the batter will be pretty loose).
  3. In a microwave-safe cup, heat the maple syrup, light brown sugar and 1/2 cup of hot water at high power until hot, 1 minute. Add the bourbon. Drizzle the syrup mixture over the batter; it will seep to the bottom. Do not stir. Scatter the pecans on top.
  4. Set the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until the cake is golden. Let cool for 5 minutes, then scoop into bowls and serve with ice cream.

Vanilla-and-Cider Panna Cottas with Spiced Ginger Cookies
Shawn McClain



  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 plump vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, cracked
  • 4 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin (from 2 envelopes)
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • Spiced Ginger Cookies, for serving
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the milk with the cream, 3/4 cup of the sugar, the vanilla beans and seeds and cinnamon sticks and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and return it to the saucepan.
  2. In a small bowl, sprinkle 3 teaspoons of the gelatin over 1/4 cup of cold water and let stand until softened, about 2 minutes. Scrape the gelatin into the saucepan and whisk until dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher and pour about 1/2 cup into each of 12 small glasses. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.
  3. In a clean saucepan, boil the cider with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of gelatin over 1 tablespoon of water and let stand until softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk the gelatin into the cider mixture until dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher and let cool completely (but don't let the gelatin set), about 30 minutes. Gently pour 2 tablespoons of the cider into each panna cotta over an inverted spoon and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. Serve with the Spiced Ginger Cookies.
MAKE AHEAD: The panna cottas can be covered tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Kabocha Squash Cake with Brown Sugar Cream
Will Goldfarb

Brown sugar cream:
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 cups 3/4-inch cubes peeled seeded kabocha squash (from one 3-pound squash)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lager (mild-flavored beer)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For brown sugar cream:
  1. Place 1 tablespoon water in cup. Sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand 10 minutes to soften.
  2. Stir cream and sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add egg whites and whisk until mixture thickens, about 12 minutes (do not boil). Add gelatin mixture; whisk until dissolved. Strain into large clean bowl. Chill until cold. Cover and chill overnight.
For cakes:
  1. Combine squash and milk in heavy small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove vanilla bean. Drain squash. Place in processor and blend until smooth. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray six 3/4cup ramekins with nonstick spray. Place 1/2 cup squash puree in large bowl (reserve remaining puree for another use). Add sugar, oil, beer, and egg to puree and beat to blend. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt over; beat to blend. Divide batter among prepared ramekins.
  3. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool cakes in ramekins. Turn out onto plates. Beat brown sugar cream to firm peaks; spoon alongside cakes.

Happy baking!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Get Ready for Apple Season!

Happy Monday everyone! On Saturday, my husband and I took a trip to a huge farm to pick apples (my FAVORITE fall activity!). We were given a big empty box and a map. We trudged through wet grass and rows and rows of trees filled with unpicked, beautiful round apples! We filled our box to the brim with a delicious variety - from macs to honeycrips to gala - and made the long walk back to the cashier, passing people with half filled boxes ("amateurs" according to my husband). With our new bounty of goodness, I am ready to start baking (though if I'm honest, we usually eat most of the box prior to baking anything...but that's really neither here nor there). At any rate, here are a few recipes in case YOU get to bake with your apples before you eat them all (I mean, come on, they really do taste best right off the tree! How could you not?).

Honestly...did you think I wouldn't bring up the OTHER white meat?
Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Cake
Bon Appetit, October 2001

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups diced peeled cored Granny Smith apples (about 4 large)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 11/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (firmly packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vanilla ice cream
For apples:
  1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; sauté until apples begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and cinnamon and sauté until golden brown, about 3 minutes longer. Cool.
For cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Combine flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside 2/3 cup of mixture for topping. Beat pumpkin, sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, spice, and baking soda into remaining flour mixture, beating just until smooth. Beat in eggs. Transfer batter to pan. Scatter apples evenly over top. Sprinkle reserved topping over apples.
  2. Bake cake until topping is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 20 minutes. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides from cake. Transfer cake to platter. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.

Okay so maybe these apples aren't picked from the tree yesterday, but they were...once...
Dried-Apple Stack Cakes
Ruth Cousineau

  • 9 ounces unsulfured dried apples (4 cups)
  • 4 cups unfiltered apple cider
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
  • 1 large egg
Equipment: 2 muffin pans with 12 (1/3- to 1/2-cup) muffin cups each
Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream

Make filling:
  1. Simmer all filling ingredients and a pinch of salt in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot, uncovered, stirring occasionally and mashing apples with a potato masher as they soften, until a thick purée forms, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool completely.
Make cakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter muffin cups.
  2. Stir together milk and vinegar and let stand 10 minutes to curdle.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cloves.
  4. Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in molasses and egg. At low speed, add flour mixture in 3 batches alternately with curdled milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until each addition is just incorporated. Spread 1 heaping tablespoon batter in each muffin cup and bake just until a wooden pick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean with some crumbs adhering, 11 to 13 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pans on racks, then invert onto racks to cool completely.
Assemble cakes:
  1. Spread about 2 tablespoons filling on top of 1 cake and invert another cake over filling, then spread a heaping tablespoon filling on top. Make 11 more stacks (you will have about 2 cups filling left over). Transfer to an airtight container and chill at least 2 days for flavors to develop. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Cakes can be assembled 3 days ahead and chilled in an airtight container.
  • Leftover filling can be used like apple butter.

Golden Apple Triangles
Julia Moskin

  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup peeled and grated tart apple, like Granny Smith (about 2 apples)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Flour for rolling out pastry
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in refrigerator
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sugar like Demerara or turbinado (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside. In another bowl, mix apples, remaining granulated sugar, lemon juice and salt. Let sit 5 minutes, and drain, reserving juice.
  2. On a floured work surface, roll out a sheet of puff pastry to a rectangle roughly 9 by 12 inches. Cut into 6 squares, and place 1 tablespoon apple filling in center of each. Lightly brush edges with reserved apple juice; fold into triangles, and seal edges by crimping with a fork. Repeat with remaining puff pastry and filling. Transfer turnovers to freezer, and freeze until firm, at least 15 minutes. Turnovers can be kept frozen in zipper-lock freezer bags up to 1 month.
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick pan liners. Brush tops of frozen turnovers with apple juice, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and arrange on baking sheets. (If reserved apple juice is no longer available, use commercial juice or water.) Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until well browned, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. Let cool slightly before serving.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rosh Hashanah Ready!

Happy Wednesday! Rosh Hashanah is right around the corner and honey cakes may already be in the oven. But if you are feeling the holiday blahs this year (feels like temps of 100 will do that to you in September), you might want to spice things up. Today's recipes are a little different than the usual honey brick; perhaps they'll change your holiday blahs into holiday yaaahs! (See what I did there?)

Honey cake...but not the typical recipe...
Honey Cake
Kemp Minifie

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pure honey
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm coffee (brewed, or instant dissolved in water)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons packed grated orange zest
Chocolate Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk (not light)
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 4 ounces bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate, finely chopped
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon (optional)
  • a 10-inch Bundt pan; nonstick baking spray (shake well first; see Cooks' Notes); cake tester or wooden skewer for testing cake doneness
  1. Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously spray pan, including center tube, with baking spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk eggs well in another large bowl and whisk in sugar, oil, honey, coffee, and zest until well combined.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the honey mixture, then stir with the whisk until the batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter into pan (it's liquid enough to level itself in the pan), and bake in oven until springy to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
  6. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes.
  7. Loosen cake from the pan with a thin rubber spatula, then invert cake onto the rack (see Cooks' Notes) and cool completely.
  1. Bring coconut milk and corn syrup to a simmer in a small heavy pan, stirring until combined.
  2. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate. Let chocolate stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is melted and glaze is smooth.
  3. Let glaze stand, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, but still pourable.
  4. Transfer cake to a cake plate and slowly pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. If desired, let the cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set.
  5. Just before serving, sprinkle glaze lightly with flaky sea salt, if using.
  • Nonstick baking spray: Normally, I’'m not inclined to use nonstick baking sprays, preferring to line the bottoms of greased cake pans with parchment paper, then greasing the paper and flouring the pans to ensure that the cake releases easily from the pans, but the design of a Bundt pan makes that method impossible. While developing this recipe, I had a disaster when the top half of one cake remained in the Bundt pan when I tried to turn the cake out (and I thought I had really played it safe by using a well-oiled nonstick pan, albeit an old one). On my next attempt, I turned to the nonstick baking spray, and since then, it has worked like a charm. 
  • Measuring oil and honey: Both should be measured in a liquid measuring cup. The oil is listed first, because if you measure the honey in it afterward, without washing the cup, the honey will slide out easily, with barely any help needed from a rubber spatula. 
  • Inverting the cake onto a rack: The best way to do this is to place a rack over the top of the pan, then, holding the rack and pan together, flip the cake pan and rack over so that the cake can slide safely out of the pan onto the rack. 
  • Chopping chocolate: The easiest way to chop chocolate is with a long serrated bread knife. Or you can break the chocolate into squares (if you are using a bar) and pulse it in a food processor.

Using a classic family-friendly cake for a holiday? Sure...
Poppy Seed Cake
Joan Nathan

  • 1 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 cup milk or soy milk
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter or pareve margarine, plus more for greasing pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting pan
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the poppy seeds and milk. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to rest until cool, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a large loaf or tube pan by greasing it with margarine and lightly flouring the inside of the pan.
  3. In bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter or margarine and sugar. Add egg yolks, vanilla, and poppy seed-milk mixture, and beat until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well; remove bowl from mixer and set aside.
  4. Place a clean bowl in mixer, with a whisk attachment, and whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold into batter. Scrape into pan, and bake until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on a rack. When cool, dust cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Fancy and unusual; perfect for a sweet new year...
Fig-and-Raspberry Tart with Chestnut Honey
Peter Pastan

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 30 fresh figs (1 1/2 pounds), stemmed and sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick
  • 24 fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chestnut honey
  • 11 small fresh bay leaves
  • 13 small, tender rosemary sprigs
  • Sweet Red Wine Ice Cream, for serving
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar, salt and lemon zest and pulse to blend. Add the butter and cream and pulse until the mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and pulse until it starts to come together. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently a few times. Pat the dough into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 hour.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 14-inch round about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the round to a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, gently pressing it on the bottom and up the side without stretching. Trim off any excess dough and patch any cracks with the scraps. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the tart shell is set. Carefully remove the foil and weights and bake the shell until golden brown all over, about 25 minutes longer. Transfer to to a rack and let cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425°. Arrange the figs standing up in concentric circles in the tart shell; dot with the raspberries. Sprinkle with the sugar and drizzle with the honey. Insert the bay leaves. Scatter the rosemary on top and bake for 30 minutes, until the fruits have begun to release their juices. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges and topped with Sweet Red Wine Ice Cream.
Happy baking!