Apple “Jack” Donut Cake

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As you have learned from the past few weeks of blog posts, I love fall. From the changing leaves to the pumpkins everywhere to the seasonal foods, fall is definitely my favorite season.

One of my favorite fall traditions is going with my family to a local farm to buy apples, look at all the different pumpkins and gourds, and dig into fresh apple cider donuts. A relaxing day spent with the people I love… and cider donuts.

Apple cider donuts are an interesting food. They are soft, cake-like, and spiced on the inside with a firm outer crust that is covered in sweet sanding sugar… basically the perfect balance of textures and flavors. I love apple cider donuts so much that I actually had them instead of cake for my 6th birthday!

The apple farm is usually swamped on weekends, so apple cider donuts have been hard to come by this season. But when my mom showed me a recipe that she saw on Facebook for APPLE CIDER DONUT CAKE, I was sold. We had to make it and we had to make it now.

With a few tweaks, I think we made a pretty delicious cake. There are a couple stages of ingredients and steps, but the results are definitely worth it.

It starts with the dry ingredients.

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In a large bowl, I combined flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Then set the bowl aside as I got the wet ingredients together.

The first component of the wet ingredients is an apple puree that is made from boiling cubes of apple in apple cider until they are soft and tender.

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Any firm apple works here – I personally like granny smith or gala apples the best!
When the apples are tender, let the mixture cool slightly before transferring it to a blender or food processor. NOTE: when blending a hot liquid, only fill the blender up halfway and crack the top open and cover with a tea towel. This will prevent the top from flying off and hot apples going everywhere.

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Puree until completely smooth. Pour out one cup of the apple puree mixture – if there is not enough apple puree, add in some more apple cider to make up the difference. Then add in a ¼ cup skim milk – stir to combine and then set aside.

Now it’s time to bring out the big guns… your stand mixer!

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In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine some butter (okay, one stick), some granulated sugar, and some brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.

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Then slowly add in three eggs, some vegetable oil, and some vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract and stir until combine. Then, with the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients alternatively with the apple puree – starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. I recommend using a spatula to do one last mix to combine anything that is stuck on the bottom of the bowl.

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Pour the batter into a bundt pan, preferably one without a fancy pattern – this is a donut, after all! Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, you can whip up the two “toppings” for the cake – a glaze and a cinnamon sugar sprinkle.

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For the glaze, heat butter, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, let it cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and add in some…

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… whiskey! Apples and whiskey (just like bananas and whiskey) go together really well. If you don’t like whiskey, you can substitute some apple cider instead. Then set the glaze aside until the cake is done.

Now, all that’s left is to make the cinnamon sugar.

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In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously until combined.

Now we assemble!

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When the cake is done, cool it for a few minutes in the bundt pan then turn it out onto a cooling rack set over a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Let the cake cool slightly.

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When the cake has cooled, start to brush the cake with the whiskey syrup. I do this in several stages to allow for maximum syrup soakage.

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When all the syrup has been brushed on the cake, sprinkle on half the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the cake, making sure to cover the top and the sides. Wait 10 minutes and repeat with the other half of the cinnamon sugar.

Now it’s time to dig in!

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Not quite the same thing as a cider donut, but delicious nonetheless… A perfect homage to a childhood favorite!

So, kiddos, do you like cider donuts? What’s your favorite fall food? Let me know!

Your cider donut obsessed friend,

C

  • Servings: 12 people
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 firm apple (I like granny smith), peeled and chopped

¾ cup apple cider

¼ cup skim milk

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon ground allspice

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar, packed

3 eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

For the glaze:

½ stick unsalted butter

¼ cup granulated sugar

⅛ cup water

¼ cup whiskey

For the cinnamon sugar:

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon nutmeg

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine the chopped apple and cider. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes until the apples are tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before blending. If you are using a conventional blender, fill only halfway, slightly crack the lid (to prevent the top from blowing off), and then cover the lid with a towel before blending. If you are using a food processor, only fill to the max liquid line. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. Measure out one cup of the apple puree – if you do not have enough liquid, add in additional apple cider to make the full amount. Add in the skim milk, stir to combine and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir to combine and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffly, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, followed by the vegetable oil and vanilla bean paste/extract. Stir to completely combine, stopping to scrap down the sides.
  6. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the apple puree, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  8. While the cake is baking, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and water and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the whiskey – be careful because the mixture will bubble up! Set aside.
  9. While the cake is baking, make the cinnamon sugar. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Set aside.
  10. When the cake is finished, allow it to cool for about 5-10 minutes in the pan. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack set over a wax paper-lined baking rack. Let the cake cool completely.
  11. When the cake has cooled, brush the cake with the glaze – work in batches to cover the top and sides, allowing one coat to sink into the cake before adding in another. When all the glaze has been brushed onto the cake, sprinkle the cake with the cinnamon sugar – I recommend sprinkling half the cinnamon sugar onto the cake, waiting ten minutes for it to set, and then sprinkling on the second half.

Serve alongside a cold glass of milk. Enjoy!

 

Recipe lightly adapted from: https://leaandjay.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/apple-cider-donut-cake/

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

391 calories Ÿ• 54gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 1gm fiber Ÿ• 4gm protein •Ÿ 17gm fat Ÿ• 8gm saturated fat Ÿ• 330mg sodium Ÿ• 77mg cholesterol Ÿ• 2mg iron Ÿ• 68mg calcium

Peach/Nectarine and Blueberry Crumble

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My favorite part about summertime is quiet Sunday mornings spent at the small farmer’s market in my town. It’s usually less crowded, a lot less hot, and the produce is much less picked over earlier in the morning. Plus, it gives me time to wander around and decided what I am going to buy (instead of buying everything and anything I lay my eyes on). Just me, the fruits/vegetables, and my thoughts… summertime bliss!

I usually go to the market without a plan and then make meals from whatever looks good that day, but yesterday, I had a specific goal: buying peaches or nectarines to make Peach/Nectarine and Blueberry Crumble.

My social media pages have been EXPLODING with this amazing combination of sweet and slightly tart fruit with a yummy topping – photos of crumbles, pies, cobblers, and slab pies inspiring me to go out and buy all the ingredients to make my own dessert creation!

So I settled with making a crumble that had peaches AND nectarines, perfectly sweet/tart blueberries, a hint of lemon, and a delightful oat topping. Yep, pretty much summertime in a pie dish.

It all starts with a combo of peaches and nectarines that have been washed, halved, and sliced into thin strips.

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You technically can use all nectarines or all peaches, all white-fleshed fruit or all yellow-fleshed fruit, or you can be like me and grab a little bit of everything (white nectarines, yellow nectarines, and white peaches)! I don’t peel my peaches/nectarines because I don’t like peeling peaches/nectarines but also because it adds a bit of fiber to the dessert (which makes it a little more healthy, right?).

Then add in some blueberries!

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I love the color combination between the different fruits.

Then it’s time to add all the things that make the crumble filling become the crumble filling…

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Some flour, cornstarch, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, lemon zest, and lemon juice are all you need for a perfectly thick filling with flavors that make the fruit taste like the best version of themselves.

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Toss it all around until all the fruit is coated.

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And pour into a greased pie dish (this one is about 9 inches in diameter).

Then all that’s left is to make the crumble portion of this crumble!

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, toss in some flour, some oats, sugar, brown sugar, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Beat with the paddle attachment until combined. Then you add in one stick of cold unsalted butter that has been cut into small cubes and beat the mixture until it forms crumbles of “dough” (hence why I think this is technically called a crumble and not a cobbler).

Sprinkle the crumbles over the fruit.

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And bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes until the top becomes brown and crisp and the fruit is bubbling.

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Yum!

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I served mine at room temperature with some vanilla bean ice cream (but whipped cream or plain is just as amazing!).

Super simple, super yummy, and totally summer (what can be so bad about that?).

 

Happy Monday, kiddos!

Your farmer’s market obsessed friend,

C

Peach/Nectarine and Blueberry Crumble

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the filling:

4 medium-sized peaches and/or nectarines, halved and sliced into thin strips

1 cup blueberries

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon corn starch

⅓ cup granulated sugar – can use up ½ cup if your fruit isn’t very sweet

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice – the juice of half a medium-sized lemon

For the crumble:

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup rolled oats

⅓ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your greased 9-inch pie dish on top of the baking sheet (for easy clean-up in case of spill-over). Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the fruit, flour, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Toss thoroughly to coat the fruit in the flour and spices. Pour the filling into the greased pie plate.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, oats, the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Add in the unsalted butter and continue to mix until soft crumbles form, about 1-2 minutes. Gently spread the crumbles over the fruit until the entire surface is covered.
  4. Bake the crumble for 30-45 minutes until the top becomes golden and crisp and the fruit is bubbling. Serve immediately or at room temperature with whipped cream, ice cream, or just by itself!

Enjoy!

 

Recipe lightly adapted from Ina Garten: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/peach-and-blueberry-crumbles-recipe.html

Nutritional Information (1 serving):

280 calories Ÿ• 42gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 3gm fiber •Ÿ 3gm protein Ÿ• 12gm fat Ÿ• 7gm saturated fat Ÿ• 77mg sodium •Ÿ 30mg cholesterol Ÿ• 1mg iron Ÿ• 23mg calcium

American Flag Cake

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Happy Monday, kiddos!

How’s it going? How was your 4th of July? Did you have a great weekend with your family and friends?

I had a wonderful holiday full of family and good friends. E came home to celebrate, her godparents stopped for a visit as they were driving home from vacation, and we had two good friends come for dinner/dessert/fireworks. That’s exactly how I like my Independence Day celebrations – friends, family, food, and fireworks.

While dinner was all about the traditional cookout food, we decided to rebel and not serve pie for dessert (gasp!). I saw a really cool concept for a layer cake in Instyle Magazine and I had to try it out.

It starts with boxed cake mix – one box on red velvet and one box of white vanilla cake (not the yellow cake, the actual box that says “white”, or else the colors will get wonky).

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I made the red velvet cake according to the package in two eight-inch pans that were sprayed with cooking spray and lined with parchment paper (for easy cake removal). For the white cake, I prepared the batter according to the directions and pour half of the batter into a sprayed and parchment-papered eight-inch cake pan. With the second half, add some blue gel food coloring into the batter until you reach the perfect shade of blue (this is about a third of a 1oz jar of food coloring).

Now, it’s all about the assembly. I cut the perfectly risen vanilla layer in half, so I had two vanilla layers. Since my red velvet cake and blue cake layers didn’t rise very much (!), I ended up having less layers in the cake than the Instyle cake. But it all worked out fine!

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Place one red velvet cake layer on a plate lined with wax paper (I’m a messy icer!).

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Spread on a thin layer of vanilla icing… and yes, I am using icing from a can (two and a half cans of the stuff in total).

Then place a vanilla layer and add another thin layer of icing… and yes, I forgot to take a photo of these steps.

Then plunk another red velvet cake layer onto the growing cake stack and add more icing.

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Finally, it’s time to deal with the blue layer. Take the blue layer and cut a four-inch circle out of the middle of the layer.

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Place the blue ring layer on top of the cake.

Then grab the second vanilla layer and cut out a four-inch circle. Pop the circle into the middle of the blue ring.

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Tada!

All that’s left is to frost the cake!

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I usually pile a bunch of icing on the top of the cake and push it to the edges and let it fall over the sides. Then it’s easy to spread the frosting on the sides.

It’s important to pop the cake in the fridge for a little bit to let the frosting set up.

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Then cut into it and show off your American pride!

Enjoy, kiddos!

Your cake makin’ friend,

C

 

Grab this recipe from Instyle Magazine’s website at http://www.instyle.com/news/fourth-of-july-flag-cake-recipe-video!

Eggless Rocky Road Ice Cream

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I scream,

You scream,

We all scream for ice cream!

It’s been officially summer for over a week and a half, so that meant that it was past time to break out the ice cream maker and make some homemade treats. Getting the ice cream maker off the shelf was easy, but deciding what kind of ice cream to make was a bit more difficult.

Inspiration came from a food magazine that E had in her apartment during a recent visit. It was a recipe for eggless Rocky Road ice cream – chocolate + pecans + marshmallows = one of my favorite flavor combinations (plus, who doesn’t love mini marshmallows?). Plus, an eggless base meant a lower risk of food borne illness and a smaller margin of error (egg custards are intimidating!).

And with ONLY six ingredients, this ice cream is definitely the way to go for an easy homemade ice cream!

It starts with combining sweetened condensed milk and unsweetened cocoa in a small sauce pan.

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Heat the mixture over low heat while whisking constantly (hello, arm workout for the month!), for about 5 minutes until the cocoa completely dissolves and the mixture becomes slightly thick.

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These ingredients provide the thick “custard” structure without having to use eggs.

I transferred the chocolate mixture to a bowl and let it cool slightly while I whipped up the milk part of the ice cream base.

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It’s just some half-and-half with a good amount of vanilla extract. The original recipe calls for heavy and light creams, so swapping them out for half-and-half slightly lightens up the ice cream… life’s about balance!

While slowly whisking, pour the milk mixture into the chocolate base.

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If some of the chocolate doesn’t mix in, that’s ok (little chocolate chunks are never a bad thing!). After everything was combined, I popped the ice cream base into the fridge to chill for 15-30 minutes.

I churned the ice cream according to the manufacture’s instructions…

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And tossed in a mixture of mini marshmallows and chopped pecans when the ice cream was ¾ finished churning.

When the ice cream was finished, I transferred it into quart containers and popped them into the freezer to set up.

Then all that’s left is to dig in!

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I adorned mine with some additional pecans and mini marshmallows. A drizzle of chocolate sauce would also be delightful!

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What a great start to a (hopefully) ice cream-filled summer!!

 

So, kiddos, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Your mini marshmallow obsessed friend,

C

Eggless Rocky Road Ice Cream

  • Servings: 1½ quarts
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

½ cup unsweetened (or “natural”) cocoa

1-14oz can of low-fat sweetened condensed milk

3 cups half-and-half, chilled

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup mini marshmallows

½ cup chopped pecans

 

Steps:

  1. Prepare your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s directions – my machine has a core that needs to be in the freezer for at least 24 hours before use.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine cocoa powder and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly – make sure to get into the edges so all the cocoa can dissolve – for 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine half-and-half with vanilla extract. Slowly add in the milk mixture to the chocolate mixture, whisking to combine. If the chocolate doesn’t totally dissolve, don’t worry – a few chocolate chunks won’t hurt anyone!
  4. Freeze the ice cream per the manufacturer’s instructions – add in the mini marshmallows and chopped pecans ¾ of the way through the freezing process. Spoon the finished ice cream into quart containers and pop into the freezer until they freeze completely – at least 2 hours, but overnight doesn’t hurt!

Serve the ice cream by itself, or if you want to get fancy, drizzle with chocolate sauce and sprinkle with some more marshmallows and chopped pecans.

Enjoy!

 

Recipe lightly adapted from All Recipes Magazine, June 2015.

 

Nutrition Information (½ cup of ice cream):

261 calories Ÿ• 30gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 2gm fiber Ÿ• 6gm protein Ÿ• 13gm fat Ÿ• 6gm saturated fat Ÿ• 69mg sodium Ÿ 28mg cholesterol Ÿ• 0.68mg iron Ÿ• 165mg calcium

 

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries

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Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend celebrating with your mothers and family!

My weekend was wonderful because E drove home to spend the holiday with us, so the whole family was together… it was a real treat to see her and to actually having a work-free, relaxing weekend as a family.

Having E home was not the only treat we enjoyed this weekend – I (along with my mom) whipped up a dessert that looked impressive but was super easy to make!

This dessert combines three of my favorite things – strawberries, chocolate, and Oreo cookies.

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These three humble ingredients come together to create a Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries.

And it all starts with tossing some Oreo cookies into a food processor.

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And pulsing until they turn into crumbs. Then add some butter and pulse some more.

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Until the mixture looks like black, wet sand.

Pour the cookie crumbs into a 13¾”x4¼”x1” rectangular tart pan.

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And press with your fingers to form an even layer on the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Pop the crust into the freezer to chill while you make the filling.

And the filling is just a simple chocolate ganache.

Heat 7oz of heavy cream (just shy of one cup) on the stove until it becomes hot, but does not simmer or boil.

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Pour the hot cream over a mix of bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate chips and let stand for 1-2 minutes. Stir gently and…

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…tada! You just made chocolate ganache. Perfect to dip strawberries in, top cakes with, or use as a filling for Chocolate Ganache Tart.

Pour into the chilled Oreo crust.

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And place some fresh, ripe strawberries in a zig-zag pattern.

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We used whole, hulled strawberries and they were a little too big – I recommend using smaller hulled strawberries for a better balance of chocolate and fruit. All that’s left is to chill for at least 2-3 hours, but overnight is best – it allows everything to settle and firm up.

To serve, unmold the tart from the pan.

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And cut into wedges. If you want to serve this on a dessert buffet, you can cut it width-wise and have a bunch of small rectangle servings. The options are endless!

E plated the dessert, serving it with a dollop of lightly sweetened cream.

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The perfect complement to a rich dessert. It was a great finish to a beautiful day.

I hope you enjoy, kiddos!

Your chocolate tart obsessed friend,

C

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries

  • Servings: 8 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

25 Oreo cookies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

7oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form

3oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form

7oz heavy cream

6-7 medium fresh strawberries, hulled

 

Steps:

  1. Place the Oreo cookies in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are finely crushed. Pour the melted butter into the cookie crumbs and pulse until the mixture becomes evenly moistened.
  2. Pour the cookie crumb mixture into a 13¾”x4¼”x1” rectangular tart pan (with a removable bottom) and press the mixture with your fingers into the bottom and sides of the pan to form an even layer. Pop the crust into the freezer to chill while you make the filling.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-low heat until it becomes hot – be sure not to boil or simmer the cream! In a medium-sized bowl, place the chopped chocolate and pour the hot cream over it. Let the mixture stand for 1-2 minutes, then stir to combine until the chocolate is melted.
  4. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the chocolate filling into the crust. Top with the strawberries in a zigzag pattern.
  5. Pop the whole tart into the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight!
  6. To serve, cut into wedges and add a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Moustokouloura

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Happy Thursday, everyone! How’s your week been going?

Today is Holy Thursday, which means that we are three-quarters through Orthodox Holy Week – I cannot believe how quickly time has passed! It has been a whirlwind of clinical rotations, paper writing, and watching my mom whip up spectacular vegan dinners and one amazing vegan dessert that satisfies my late-night-paper-writing sweet tooth. With three days left until Easter, I’m sharing my parent’s adaptation on my Thea Goldie’s moustokouloura.

Thea Goldie was my godmother’s mother – I met her briefly when I was little so I don’t have any concrete memories of her. According to my mother, Thea Goldie was a feisty woman who could cook and bake like no body else… this cookie recipe is a testament to those baking skills.

It starts out with combining sugar and vegetable oil in the bowl of your stand mixer.

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Then comes the “mousto” part of the moustokouloura…

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WINE! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, wine. Mousto is the leftover residue of the grapes after they are crushed to make wine – since we don’t have any leftover grape bits, wine is a great (and easy) substitute. Crack open a bottle of your favorite red wine and pour some into the mixer (and maybe pour some for yourself!). We use a basic pinot noir but a merlot will work too! Just a word of warning – wine makes the color of the cookies… interesting. I’ll talk more about it in a minute, but if you are expecting totally brown cookies, you’re in for a surprise.

All that’s left is to combine the dry ingredients – flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

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And gently mix them into the wet ingredients.

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Toss in some walnuts for crunch, mix, and you’re ready to go!

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Form into two logs. Score the logs by making several shallow cuts ½-inch apart in the top of each log – this will help with ease of cutting later. Chill them for an hour and then stick them in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until the tops of the cookies are set.

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Yummy! Let them cool completely before proceeding.

As you can see in this photo, the wine turns the cookies blue-green! They are perfectly fine to eat – they just look a little different!

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Then cut the logs into pieces (like biscotti!) and lay them on a baking sheet flat-side down. Bake the cookies again for 12 minutes, flipping the cookies over halfway through the baking process.

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All that’s left is to dig in!

Enjoy these Lenten, vegan treats, everyone!

Your friend,

C

Moustokouloura

  • Servings: approximately 30-40 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup red wine

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup oat bran

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Steps:

  1. In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine oil and sugar and mix to combine.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir in the chopped walnuts.
  4. Form the dough into two equal logs, score the top of the logs ½-inch apart and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  5. Bake the logs in a preheated, 350° for 30 minutes. Let the logs cool completely.
  6. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into pieces on the score marks. Lay the cookies flat-side down and bake in a 350° oven for 12 minutes, flipping the cookies over halfway through.

Serve with your morning coffee or as a midnight snack – enjoy!

Happy Birthday, The Cat!

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Happy Easter and Passover to all who celebrate! Wishing you all the best today as you relax and enjoy your family and friends.

My Easter is officially next week, but today we are celebrating two big events – Palm Sunday and The Cat’s 11th birthday!!

And you cannot have a birthday without cake… it’s an ancient rule written somewhere. Promise.

I decided to whip up Williams-Sonoma Devil’s Food Layer Cake (in cupcake form) for The Cat’s big day. It is a super simple cake that is full of chocolate flavor!

It has four different components.

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A chocolate mixture, which is a combination of unsweetened natural cocoa powder and boiling water.

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A dry mixture, which is a combination of flour, baking soda, and salt.

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A milk element – it is supposed to be buttermilk, but I never ever have buttermilk in the house. My easy substitute? I put one tablespoon of white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup and fill the measuring cup with milk until it reaches one cup. I let stand for 5 minutes and tada, a good buttermilk replacement.

Finally, you need a bowl with room temperature butter and some sugar.

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The WS recipe calls for the batter to be made with a hand mixer, which works fine… but if you have a stand mixer, break that baby out of the cabinet. Using my hand mixer, I got butter and sugar (and then chocolate cake batter) all over my cabinets, walls, counters, and floor… so please, if you have one, use your stand mixer.

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When the butter and sugar are all combined, add in the eggs one at a time. Splash in some vanilla too!

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Then slowly drizzle in the cooled chocolate mixture. When it’s all combined, alternate adding in the flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. (forget to take pictures of said steps…)

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All that’s left is to dish them up into cupcake tins lined with cupcake liners and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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The best birthday treat ever!

You can frost the cupcakes with the recipe’s frosting but I was impatient and used a little bit of leftover canned frosting I had in the fridge. You can decorate with sprinkles, chocolate-covered candies, or just leave them unadorned… you have total creative license! Just make sure you have room for the birthday candle.

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Happy Birthday, The Cat! I’m so glad that you’re mine. Now make a wish!

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, kiddos.

Your chocolate cake- and cat-obsessed friend,

C

This recipe can be found at Williams-Sonoma’s blog, Taste. I substituted the buttermilk with 1¼ skim milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

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You all know that I don’t really do the whole Throwback Thursday thing, but I’m throwing it back to this weekend when I whipped up some amazing chocolate molten lava cakes.

Chocolate cake + molten center = a happy Grad School Foodie

And this recipe by Emeril Lagasse is super simple to whip up!

It starts with a bunch of ramekins that are liberally greased with butter and flour.

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I actually used baking spray (because I’m lazy) and the cakes didn’t come out of the ramekins easily (very frustration). Please don’t be like me… butter and flour them (well)!

The chocolate mixture of this cake is super simple.

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Butter, powdered sugar, some heavy cream, and semi-sweet chocolate chips (Emeril uses bittersweet, so use whatever your heart desires!). Yum, yum, yum! They get melted slowly over a double boiler until the chocolate and butter melts.

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Perfection. Please resist the urge to grab a spoon and dig in as it cools. And can you please marvel how shiny this chocolate is? You can see my kitchen curtains in it!

Now we just need to whip up the “cake” part of these babies and then it’s time to bake!

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Whip the mixture on medium-high speed until it becomes light, pale yellow, and forms thick ribbons.

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Sift in some flour.

Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture…

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… and portion them into the ramekins. The recipe says that it makes 4 cakes but I think it actually depends on what size ramekin you used.

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For me, this recipe makes four ½ cup ramekins, one 1-½ cup ramekins, and one size-undetermined heart-shaped ramekin. So I really can’t say how many cakes this will make – it’s totally individual to you!

Then all you need to do is bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

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And then dig in!

Enjoy, kiddos!

Happy Thursday,

C

Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients:

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

⅛ teaspoon of table salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Butter and flour to grease the ramekins

 

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450°. Grease and flour your ramekins very well and place them on a baking sheet.
  2. In a double boiler (a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water), melt butter, chocolate, heavy cream, and powdered sugar together – stir continuously until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat to cool.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whip on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes light, pale yellow, and thick ribbons form – about 3 minutes.
  4. Sift in the flour into the egg mixture – fold to combine. Add in the cooled chocolate mixture and fold in gently.
  5. Divide the batter between each ramekin. Place ramekins into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the sides and top are just set but still soft. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly before unmolding onto a plate.

Serve the cakes by themselves or with a dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Recipe slightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse.

Valentine’s Day Ideas

Happy Almost Valentine’s Day!

What are you all up to? Going out to a romantic dinner with your sweetie? Having all the girls (or boys) over for dinner and a movie marathon?

Whatever your plans are, I gathered up some of my favorite recipes that you can try tomorrow to celebrate the day of love!

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Baked eggs. Delicious, easy, and romantic. And if you want to be a little naughty, add some bacon.

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If you have kids, egg-in-a-hole are a great way to spread a little Valentine’s Day cheer!

But, if we are honest with each other, Valentine’s Day is all about the chocolate.

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Like salted caramel pretzel bark. Easy, can be made gluten-free, and you can add a festive spin with some pink and red sprinkles.

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Or if you want super easy, grab some store-bought cookie dough (chocolate chip, sugar, or peanut butter!), bake it on a cookie sheet, punch out hearts and dip in ganache!

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But if you want something sweet and light, a perfectly hued Blushing Dorothy is a great end to a Valentine’s Day dinner.

 

I hope that I gave you some ideas that you can whip up tomorrow – but remember, it’s not what you cook, but who you share it with!

Have a great Friday, kiddos,

C

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

Happy Snow Day, everyone! I hope that everyone is safe and warm at home, curled up with some TV, a good book, or a big cup of hot chocolate.

This snow day reminds me of grad school, where waking up to thick blankets of snow was a common occurrence. And nothing makes me want to bake more than a quiet, sunny, snow-filled morning.

But the question is, what kind of baked good to make?

After a lot of pondering, I settled on a twist on the classic oatmeal raisin cookie – oatmeal craisin cookies! They are a quick cookie to pull together and cannot be more comforting on a chilly day like today.

 

It all starts with the dry ingredients.

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Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Simple, standard cookie dough basics.

The wet ingredients are simple as well. Sugar, brown sugar, and a butter/margarine combo.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together a stick of butter, a stick of margarine, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then add in two eggs, one at a time, and some vanilla extract. When the wet ingredients are all combined, slowly add in the dry ingredients… a promptly forget to take a picture of the past three steps.

What makes these oatmeal cookies awesome are the three mix-ins. For the first, I stray from traditional oatmeal raisin cookies by adding a little crunch in the form of pecans.

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Lovely! Pecans play so well with craisins, so they were a natural addition to this recipe.

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I chopped them up nice and fine.

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Then tossed them into the bowl of the stand mixer with the oats and craisins. Mix up the dough until everything is just combined…

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… and then portion out heaping tablespoon of the cookie dough, roll them into a ball, and place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes until the cookies become slightly golden around the edge.

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Cookie perfection!

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All you need is a glass of milk (or a cup of joe), a blanket, and a comfy seat – snow day relaxation at its finest.

 

Enjoy and stay safe, kiddos.

Your cookie bakin’, snow day lovin’ friend,

C

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

  • Servings: 34-36 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

1 stick of margarine

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons good vanilla extract

3 cups rolled oats – not the quick cooking/instant kind

1 cup craisins (AKA dried cranberries)

½ cup pecans, chopped finely

 

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg – mix thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, margarine, sugar, and brown sugar until mixture becomes light and fluffy.
  4. Add in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add in vanilla extract and mix to combine thoroughly. Scrape down the bowl of the mixer.
  5. With the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combine.
  6. Add in the oats, craisins, and pecans and mix until just combined.
  7. Portion out heaping tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  8. Place cookie sheets in oven and bake for 11-12 minutes until the edges of the cookies become slightly golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely!

Enjoy!

 

This recipe was slightly adapted from the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe on food.com.