Friday, November 29, 2013

Classic Apple Pie


Pastry Ingredients

2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 c + 2 Tablespoons (160g) softened butter and/or shortening

5 T ice cold water
Filling Ingredients

½ cup (100g) sugar (or less)

1/3 cup (50g) flour

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

7 medium apples, peeled and sliced thinly

For a beautifully pictured step by step instructional on how to make this pie please go to Arabic Zeal.  She has some wonderful tips.  I followed her instructions to the letter and the pie turned out great!

As always,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Antique Caramel Cake: Baked Sunday Morning

I have yet to taste this looks really good and after licking the spoon from the frosting....I know that is good...I know, I know I am busted!

This caramel (well really brown sugar-buttermilk) cake was very simple to put together and the frosting went together like a dream!  I should have let my caramel get more color on it but...shhhh... don't tell, I tasted 
that too and it is good! 

My big brother is coming into town and I was in charge of making the dessert for our family dinner tonight.  I hope everyone likes it!  
To see what everyone else did with this Baked Elements cake click here.
You can get the recipe here.
Next up is Chocolate Velvet Walnut Fudge with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel.  Sounds like a good holiday treat to me! 

Until then

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cinnamon-Swirl Pumpkin Rolls: ABC

These rolls are good but not a favorite of mine.  I prefer a good plain cinnamon roll myself.  The spices in the rolls overpowered the cinnamon filling.  Didn't taste it much, perhaps it would have been better with the Bakers Cinnamon Filling.  I just used sugar and cinnamon.

I didn't have dried cranberries so I used golden raisins.  I think I would have liked it better without them.

The other bakers made some crazy good looking rolls....check it out here.
We are baking from the King Arthur Flour site.  Get the recipe here.

Next up for the Avid Bakers is Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Good Morning Sunshine Bars: Baked Sunday Mornings

 Quick and Easy!
Everyone Loved them.
I always feel like I am cheating when I don't actually bake something!   Crunchy, nutty, chewy goodness with a drizzle of could you go wrong?

Recipe here.

Next up is Antique Caramel Cake.

Until Then,

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Baked Sunday Mornings

Just a little bit of pumpkin cheesecake heaven here. 
Creamy deliciousness!
Recipe here.

You have to try these!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Not really sure what urged me to make these...hmmm...
I suppose the devil made me do it!

They were very good, the cake turned out a little too moist...kinda reminded me of a huge cake ball with a strawberry on top.  The original recipe used a chocolate cake instead of strawberry...I just thought strawberry would be good so I went with it!  I filled them with something that I normally don't use... that whipped frosting in the can.  
It was actually good.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes
Recipe from 

Servings: 12
Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 50 mins


1/2   cup   butter
1    cup   sugar
1/3   cup   unsweetened cocoa powder
1      egg
1    teaspoon   vanilla
1    cup   all-purpose flour
1/2   teaspoon   baking powder
1/4   teaspoon   baking soda
1/8   teaspoon   salt
3/4   cup   milk
1/4   cup   strawberry jam
1    recipe  Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
12      medium strawberries
3    ounces   bittersweet and/or milk chocolate curls

Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
1    cup   whipping cream
10    ounces   bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3    tablespoons   butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour or line with paper bake cups twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups; set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder until combined. Add egg and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, beat lightly just until combined.
In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to chocolate mixture, beating by hand after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the edges; carefully remove cupcakes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
If cupcakes don't have paper liners, trim a thin slice from top of each cupcake so they will sit flat. Turn bottom side up. Place cupcakes 2 inches apart on wire rack set over waxed paper. (For cupcakes in liners, peel liners down but do not remove.) Spread 1 teaspoon of the strawberry jam over each cupcake.
Prepare Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache. (below) Spoon ganache over cupcakes, making sure to coat all sides. Place a strawberry on top of each cake. Drizzle each strawberry lightly with ganache, letting the strawberry show through. Top cupcakes with chocolate curls. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
In a medium saucepan, bring the whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add the bittersweet chocolate, chopped (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until ganache is smooth.

Make Ahead Tip
To Bake Ahead: Prepare as directed through step 4. Place cooled cupcakes in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw cupcakes, if frozen. Continue as directed in step 5.

The cake recipe I used...

Southern Strawberry Cake

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Crusty Apple Hand Pies: ABC

Apple is one of my very most favorite flavor of pie.  And one with a good crust is even better!  The recipe for this pie was for a full size free form kinda pie sans the pie pan.  We were hosting our annual pig roast so I decided to make the recipe into individual hand pies.  

The result was lovely!  A nice cinnamon spiced apple filling,  I just wish there was a little more in each one.

 Butter and cream cheese were cut into the flour making the 
most beautiful crust... 

Flaky and tender

and good to the last bite!

A beautiful step by step tutorial for this pie here.
See what the other bakers did here.

Next up for the ABC bakers are Cinnamon-Swirl Pumpkin Rolls.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles: Baked Sunday Mornings

 Who doesn't like a snickerdoodle?  Especially one made with brown butter
I was afraid when I saw the picture in the cookbook that these cookies would be rather cake-like.  But oh no!  These snickerdoodles are just as  
 I like ...chewy on the inside and a nice crisp crunch on the outside. The brown butter and brown sugar brought a wonderful richness
and nice depth of flavor.  I had a favorite go-to snickerdoodle recipe already but these just may takes it's place!  You can't eat just one!

Now isn't that a sexy lookin' snickerdoodle?
Nice one Baked!  Two thumbs up from me!

Recipe here

Next up for Baked is Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars...a nice Halloween treat:)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Orange Almond Ricotta Cheesecake: Baked Sunday Morning

I love a good cheesecake and as much as I like ricotta cheese I have never made a cheesecake using it.  This cheesecake reminds me of my Nana's ricotta pie and brought me back to my childhood and back into our kitchen with Nana cooking once again.  One of my most favorite places to be

There is a hint of orange and amaretto in this creamy, not overly sweet, creamy goodness.  I loved the crust but next time I think I will use amaretti cookies or biscotti instead of graham crackers.  I halved the recipe (I am getting good at that) so I wouldn't have a huge cheesecake hanging around.  Way, way too tempting!  And I did something else that I am quite proud of....I made my own ricotta! (see below) Everything was quite easy from making the ricotta to making the cheesecake!  Takes really no time at all.
Give it a just might kiss that New York cheesecake bye bye!

So old it!

To get the recipe click here.

Next up is Brown Butter Snickerdoodles!  Can't wait!
Until then....

I have been wanting to try this for a long time now!  The process was actually very simple and fast.  I only made half of the cheesecake recipe so I only needed a half gallon of milk, 1 cup of cream and 6 tablespoons of lemon juice.  I used organic whole milk and organic cream and put that in a large pot and brought it to 180 degrees.  Do not let it boil!  It is then taken off the heat and lemon juice is added and almost immediately curds start to form.  You let that sit for 20-25 minutes and the curds are all on the top of the mixture the whey is a yellowish color underneath.  Your spoon off the curds and put them in a cheesecloth lined colander that is placed on a large pot.  Once the curds are all scooped out you let them sit for a minute or two and then gently gather up the cheesecloth and tie with a string or rubber band it at the top.  Then let it hang until the whey stops dripping.  I let my hang for about 2 hours but you can have a nice soft beautiful ricotta in about 30 minutes or so.  I don't think I will ever buy ricotta again! The texture is so creamy and it tastes far superior to anything you can buy at the store!

I used the tutorial below....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

ABC: Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I am very late with this post, but I was busy with inventory at work when this was due.  So here it is....better late than never I suppose!

This month's Avid Bakers Challenge is Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread from King Arthur Flour!  I love the moistness that zucchini gives to a quick bread and this one was very moist and chocolaty.  It not only has cocoa powder it also has chocolate chips. I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil but everything else was followed to the letter.  I couldn't wait for it to cool off all the way so I sliced off a piece while it was still warm.  So delicious!  Next time some toasted walnuts will be added in.

Ohhhh Yea!

So quick and easy...
there is no excuse not to try this while zucchini is bountiful!

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1/3 cup King Arthur All-Purpose Baking Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini, gently pressed
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F; lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.
2) In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, honey, oil, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
3) Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa, and flour, mixing until well combined.
4) Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
5) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
6) Bake the bread for 65 to 75 minutes, until the loaf tests done (a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean, save for perhaps a light smear of chocolate from the melted chips).
7) Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack.
8) Cool completely before slicing; store well-wrapped, at room temperature.
Yield: one 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf.
ABC source in 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Key Lime Pie for Christian

My son lives more 2000 miles away from me.  I miss him something awful. I don't get to see him much, the last time I saw him was almost 3 years ago.  So when he comes home I like to make some of his favorite foods.  Key lime pie is one of them.  I had a recipe I always use and this one is very similar but the ingredients are almost doubled and the graham cracker crust has ground almonds in it.  Yum.  This, I think, is the first time I actually squeezed all those little key limes myself...not and easy task but one so worth the effort!  This pie was the best key lime pie I have ever made.  So creamy and just the right amount of tartness.  We loved it!

I got the recipe at Epicurious. It will now be my go-to key lime pie recipe.

Key Lime Pie
Gourmet  | March 2009
Adapted from Town Hall Restaurant in San Francisco, CA

Makes 8 to 10 servings

active time 25 min
total time 10 hr (includes chilling)

An almond-spiked crust and twice the amount of filling you'd find in most Key lime pies are the secret here.


For crust:
7 (5-by 2 1/2-inch) graham crackers, broken into small pieces
3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
For filling:
2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
Grated zest of 2 Key limes
1 cup fresh Key lime juice (from about 2 pounds fresh Key limes)
4 large egg yolks
Accompaniment: sweetened whipped cream


Make crust: 
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.
Pulse together graham crackers, almonds, and sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely. (Leave oven on.)

Make filling and bake pie: 
Gently whisk together filling ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth and pour into crust. Bake until just set in center, 15 to 20 minutes.
Cool completely (filling will set as it cools). Chill pie, loosely covered, at least 8 hours.

cooks' note:
Pie can be chilled up to 2 days.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Whiskey Peach Upside-Down Cake: Baked Sunday Mornings

Have I ever mentioned how much I love peaches.  I do, I really do.  They are my favorite summertime fruit.  There is a market that sells the most luscious peaches around.  They call them bathtub peaches because they are so juicy you have to eat them in the bathtub!  And yes, they are that juicy!

I have been anticipating this bake for awhile now...when I saw it on our schedule, I just knew I couldn't sit this one out.  I had to bake it!  My evil twin made me do it!  It did not disappoint!  The cake was soft and moist and the peaches were covered with a wonderful caramelised whiskey topping.  I halved the recipe and it turned out really great.  

The recipe suggested that you serve it with whiskey whipped cream.  There was enough whiskey already!!  I opted to serve it with Cincinnati's hometown Graeters Summer Peach ice cream....oh my, so yummy.

Seriously???  I am in peach heaven!

Please take a look at what the other bakers did and thought of this recipe. Just click here.

You can get the recipe here.

Next up is Mile High Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream.
Until Then....


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Outrageous Brownies

I am a Barefoot Contessa fan.  I have been a huge follower of Ina Garten for many years now.  In fact, many people have told me that I look like much so, that a lady stopped me once at the Fresh Market and asked me if I was!  Now what in the world would Ina be doing in Cincinnati.  I had to laugh!  It is really quite comical when you think about it.

These brownies are not only my most favorite brownie in the whole wide world but they are also one of my favorite Barefoot Contessa recipes.  These are not for the weak of heart!  They have a pound of butter and almost 2 pounds of chocolate in them....but as Ina says...they make a lot of brownies.  And this recipe DOES make A LOT of rich chocolaty, fudgey, decadent brownies.

Make yourself a batch or maybe half a batch :)   But be sure to have some nice cold milk nearby....You're gonna need it!

You can get the recipe on the Food Network site.  If you love a good rich over the top brownie....give this a try!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

ABC: Braided Lemon Bread

The ABC Bakers are at it again.  I am loving baking from the King Arthur Flour site.  The recipes have all been real winners and this one is right up there with the rest of them!

I must admit I didn't braid this loaf so well ( I need to take lessons from some of the other bakers....beautiful loaves gals!) , but that didn't effect the taste one bit.  Lemon curd and a cream cheese mixture are in the middle of this delicious bread...I love that combo.  You could put any filling in it that you like but this suited me just fine. I halved the recipe and only made one loaf.  But I think that this would freeze nicely if you were to make both.

Be sure to check out what the other bakers did...their loaves put mine to shame!  They are beautiful!  Click here.



  • all of the sponge
  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor OR vanilla
  • 5 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • egg wash for brushing braid
  • pearl sugar or sparkling white sugar for sprinkling on braid

Cream cheese filling


In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients. Stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.
1) In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the sponge, yogurt, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and flavoring. Add 4 1/2 cups of flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is a rough, shaggy mass. Switch to the dough hook and knead on speed 2 until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 5 to 6 minutes, adding more flour if needed to achieve the correct consistency.

If you're using a bread machine, combine all the dough ingredients in the pan and set the machine on the dough cycle. Be sure to check the dough as it kneads and adjust the flour or water as needed to achieve a soft, supple consistency. Let the cycle complete itself.
2) If working by hand or stand mixer, place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.
3) While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Combine all the filling ingredients (except the lemon curd) in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and lump-free. Reserve the filling and lemon curd until ready to fill the braids.
4) Gently deflate the dough and divide it in half. Cover half with plastic wrap and set it aside as you roll out the first piece into a 10" x 15" rectangle. Rolling on parchment paper makes moving the bread to the baking sheet much, much easier. Lightly press two lines down the dough lengthwise, to divide it into 3 equal sections. Spread half the cream cheese filling down the center section, and top with half the lemon curd, leaving 1" free on all sides of the filling.
5) To form the mock braid, cut 1" crosswise strips down the length of the outside sections, making sure you have the same number of strips down each side. Beginning on the left, lift the top dough strip and gently bring it across the filling diagonally. Repeat on the other side with the top dough strip, so that the two strips crisscross each other. Continue down the entire braid, alternating strips to form the loaf
6) Repeat the rolling, filling, and braiding steps for the second piece of dough, using the remaining cream cheese filling and lemon curd. Set both loaves aside, lightly covered, to rise for 45 to 50 minutes, or until quite puffy
7) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaves with egg wash (one lightly beaten egg, 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt), and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Yield: 2 loaves.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Baked Sunday Mornings: Lime Tarragon Cookies with White Chocolate Lime Topping

This weeks challenge is Lime Tarragon Cookies.  We are baking out of the Baked Elements cookbook now.  We have a new recipe to try every other week.  When I saw this recipe I couldn't wait to try it!

Baking sweets with herbs really fascinates me.  I have used rosemary in pie crust and apricot bars and black pepper in cake, now I am using tarragon in cookies.  I am not really familiar with tarragon, I don't think I have ever used it in all my cooking adventures before, but I read that it tastes like licorice and in my book that is a real winner!  
Licorice is among one of my favorite flavors.  

This recipe called for a teaspoon of chopped fresh tarragon and I could barely detect any kind of licorice flavor in the cookie...sad and disappointed with time I think I will double the amount.  Despite my disappointment with the tarragon not shining through I still really liked these cookies.  They have a lovely texture and fresh lime flavor. Infact, they are quite addictive!!  They were incredibly simple to make and 
came together in no time at all! 

You can get the recipe here.
And you can check out what the other Baked participants did here.

Next up is Whiskey Peach Upside Down Cake!  How good does that sound!
Until then...