Category Archives: sweet

Bread Pudding


Title:

Bread Pudding

From: Simply Recipes

Ingredients

Bourbon Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
  • 1 qt milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (soaked overnight in 1/4 cup bourbon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Method

Bourbon Sauce:

In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. (Do not allow to simmer, or it may curdle.) Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.

Bread Pudding:

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture.

3 Pour butter into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.

Serve with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made. Makes 8-10 servings.


Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under bread, dessert, pudding, sweet

Best Birthday Cake

Title: Best Birthday Cake

From: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

best birthday cake

Some people find out they’re going to be parents and — you know, after the whole “yay babies!” cheer has simmered down a bit — freak out because they haven’t yet a) traveled the world, b) made their first million, paid off all of their debt and saved up enough for $200 toys for their little snowflake or c) well, grown up yet. But me, I actually had a moment of panic because I hadn’t yet found the perfect yellow layer cake recipe. And apparently — and yes, probably ridiculously — central to my image of the kind of mom I want to be is not to have to turn to a box of Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Butter Recipe Golden (anyone else ever been perplexed by this wording?) cake mix to get a reliably perfect two-layer celebration cake. It’s the Smitten Kitchen, afterall: People have expectations!

siftingegg shellsmm, batteryellow layer cake

But I’m not knocking on Duncan Hines, or anyone else who — like me — thinks they do a frighteningly good job of making a consistently perfect, moist and plush yellow layer cake. It’s just that it has always been on my agenda to crack the code at home, using the kind of ingredients I’m a little more proud to put my efforts behind. And although I’ve made my share of vanilla layer cakes, such as this delicious one for that wedding cake or this one that everyone needs in their repertoire because it is infinitely memorize-able, I hadn’t yet found The One.

yellow cake layers, coolingmaking chocolate sour cream frostingchocolate sour cream frostingfilling the cake

I also hadn’t found The One in the chocolate frosting department. I wanted something not aggressively buttery or saccharine. Plus easy and drama-free — no tempered egg whites and no praying that the KitchenAid Gods will whiz a sloshy, curdled mess into a smooth and shiny frosting after 20-plus minutes. Those other frostings have their place, but my go-to chocolate frosting needn’t be so complicated.

best birthday cakeeee, best birthday cakebest birthday cake, confetti-edbest birthday cake

Well, I’m pleased to announce that with a mere 10 weeks left, I’m finally ready to be a mom. Phew, I mean, because we ordered a crib this weekend and everything — I’d hate to cut it much closer! But this is It, this is what I consider the Best Birthday Cake out there: two moist and flavorful vanilla cake layers swathed in a shiny, simple chocolate frosting. The cake has no weird preservatives or unnatural flavorings in it. The frosting has no butter or eggs, and barely any added sweetener. Neither take long to make. The cake doesn’t require a syrup-basting to stay moist and the frosting doesn’t even demand an electric mixer. Just maybe some confetti sprinkles. Er, who am I kidding? Definitely the confetti sprinkles.

mine

Layer Cake Tips: I’ve got lots of them, over here.
Celebration Cakes, previously: More layers, frostings and fillings over here. Tons of ‘em.

[Updated suggestion 12/09: Some of you have responded that you find the Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting a bit too sour for your tastes. And it is sour, of course, as sour cream is the base. However, if you’re looking for an equally speedy dark chocolate frosting more along the lines of a quick buttercream, you might instead want to give the Instant Fudge Frosting from the espresso chiffon cake a spin. It’s wonderful.]

One year ago: Chocolate Sorbet
Two years ago: Ratatouille-Style Ratatouille

Best Yellow Layer Cake

Everyone needs a killer yellow cake recipe. This is mine, and dare I say, it should be yours too. It just works. Every time. And if you’ve ever tried a yellow cake mix and wondered why yours didn’t come out that consistently plush (but not freakishly unnatural) at home, dare I say it’s because you hadn’t made this one yet?

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me)

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
Adapted from The Dessert Bible

Yes, it’s true: A chocolate frosting recipe without any butter, whipped eggs and barely a modicum of added sugar. Oh, and you don’t even need an electric mixer to make it. What are you waiting for?

Only cooking note: Be sure that your sour cream is at room temperature before you make the frosting. I did not (the original recipe does not warn of this) and just as I poured in the melted chocolate, my super buzzed on my apartment door to check on my always-malfunctioning oven and when I’d returned minutes later, the chocolate had seized a little, leaving little bits (like chocolate chips!) throughout my frosting. These could have been strained out but I decided they made the cake more rustic. Nevertheless, room temperature sour cream — a temperature closer to the tepid chocolate — should allow you to avoid this, ringing doorbells or not.

[Concerned about the sourness? Perhaps you might enjoy some Instant Fudge Frosting instead.]

Makes 5 cups of frosting, or enough to frost and fill a two layer 9-inch cake

15 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso (optional, but can be used to pick up the flavor of average chocolate)
2 1/4 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 to 1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the chocolate and espresso powder, if using, in the top of a double-boiler or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave for 30 seconds, stirring well, and then heating in 15 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted.) Remove from heat and let chocolate cool until tepid.

Whisk together the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup and vanilla extract until combined. Add the tepid chocolate slowly and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform. Taste for sweetness, and if needed, add additional corn syrup in one tablespoon increments until desired level of sweetness is achieved.

Let cool in the refrigerator until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. This should not take more than 30 minutes. Should the frosting become too thick or stiff, just leave it out until it softens again.

Leave a comment

Filed under baked, cake, sweet

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

Title: Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

From: Paula Deen

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup

Directions

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.


Leave a comment

Filed under bread, breakfast, french toast, sweet, syrup

Caramel Cake

Title: Caramel Cake

From: Paula Deen

Ingredients:

For the cake:

* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 4 eggs
* 3 cups sifted self-rising flour
* 1 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling:

* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
* 2 cups packed light brown sugar
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
* 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
* 1/3 cup heavy cream, or more if needed
* 1 (16-ounce) box confectioners’ sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Directions

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

For the filling:

While cake is baking, in a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Remove cake layers from oven and allow cake to remain in pans as you prepare to stack and fill. Remove first layer and invert onto cake plate. Pierce cake layer with a toothpick over entire surface. Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.

*Cook’s Note: As I stack layers together, I stick them with toothpicks to prevent cake from shifting.

For the frosting:

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until it reaches a spreading consistency. At this time it may be necessary to add a tablespoon of heavy cream, or more, if frosting gets too thick. Just be sure to add cream is small amounts because you can always “add to”, but you can’t take away. Frost cake and sprinkle top with chopped nuts, if desired.


Leave a comment

Filed under cake, caramel, dessert, paula deen, sweet

Marzipan

Title: Marzipan

From: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

8 ounces blanched almonds
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract
4 tablespoons corn syrup

Grind the almonds in a food processor for about two minutes: it will first become crumbly, and the crumbs will get successively smaller until it is more of a fine powder. Keep it going through this stage, and when it nearly forms clumps, that’s when you’ve got it right.

Add the confectioners’ sugar and almond extract, then the corn syrup, processing until well-combined.

Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and knead until it makes a smooth dough. If the dough seems too sticky, knead in a little more confectioners’ sugar. If it seems too dry, add more corn syrup. At this point, the dough can be tightly wrapped in foil and refrigerated until needed.


Leave a comment

Filed under candy, dessert, smitten kitchen, sweet

Monte Cristos

Title: Monte Cristos

From: Cooking with Amy

Ingredients:

4 slices sourdough French bread
4 slices Fontina cheese
4 thin slices of black forest ham
1 egg
splash of milk
Dijon mustard
fruity jam of your choice, strawberry or blackberry recommended

Spread one slice of bread for each sandwich with mustard, leave the other slice plain. Place the cheese and ham on the bread, then carefully dip the sandwich in a combination of beaten egg and milk. Fry in a pan with oil or butter until cheese melts, about five minutes. Serve with a spoonful of jam spread on top. Eat with a fork and knife.


Leave a comment

Filed under cheese, cooking with amy, eggs, ham, sandwich, sweet

Applesauce

Title: Applesauce

From: Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. (Make sure you use a good cooking apple like Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein.)
4 strips of lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths
Juice of one lemon, about 3-4 Tbsp
3 inches of cinnamon stick
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
up to 1/4 cup of white sugar
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels. Mash with potato masher. Ready to serve, either hot or refrigerated. Delicious with vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt. Freezes easily, lasts up to one year in a cold freezer.


Leave a comment

Filed under fruit, sauce, side dish, simplyrecipes, snack, sweet