Friday, December 31, 2010

A Fat Witch Brownie.......

Picture by Bake or Break

When I lived in DC, every so often my friends and I would venture to Georgetown and take in the sights. There were always great places to eat in Georgetown and fabulous stores to visit. I remember the first time I went to Dean & Deluca, I was mesmerized by it. It is a gourmet foods store fool of the finest of all foods and treats. They had cheeses of every kind and living in France I love my cheeses. They had fine meats, candy, all sorts of oils and vinegars and most importantly a Bakery. They had the most finest of bake goods that not only look perfect but their taste rivals their appearance. So when I was there I bought a brownie that was divine. It could stand alone without any frosting and melted in my mouth.

So when I came across a recipe posting on the cooking blog Bake or Break for some specialty brownies that are sold at a New York bakery called Fat Witch Bakery, I had to try it because first of all it reminded me of Dean & Deluca and secondly, getting the recipe for a famous brownie made me feel like somehow I was getting away with something or was just lucky to have it.

When I tried this recipe I loved it and what I loved about it was the delicate yet rich taste. And I also loved that surprisingly this brownie was not dense but light in its consistency. This definitely is the sort of brownie that would go into my "must make again" recipes collection.

Fat Witch Brownie
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
pinch of salt

Start of being preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Next grease a 9″x 9″ baking pan with butter, dusting it with flour, a getting rid of the excess flour by hitting the sides and bottom of pan. Set aside and let cool.

Using a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, making sure to stir constantly. Once done, Set aside. In another bowl (I use my kitchen aid) beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla on medium speed. Once mixed well, add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well blended.

In another small bowl sift together the flour and salt, mix together. Then add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, mixing gently until well combined.

Lastly, spread the chocolate batter evenly in prepared pan. Place in oven and bake 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only dry crumbs. Once done remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 1 hour before cutting into bars. Makes 12-16 brownies.

So if you are a brownie lover like myself and love a rich but light brownie, then this recipe is for you. So enjoy and eat up!

Happy New Years Eve!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cavet's Peanut Butter Blossoms.....

Who does not love peanut butter and Hershey Kisses, especially together? We have all had these in some form, at some point, some where. But this recipe is better than the rest. This fancy cookie was lovingly named after my youngest brother Cavet who loves peanut butter and who loves these cookies....hence the name. I always make these yummy cookies around the holidays because once baked they have a fun look and look pretty on a cookie platter. In fact I made these for a church Christmas party and doubled the batch and only brought home 3 cookies.

This recipe is the best recipe out there for peanut butter blossoms. These cookies have a perfect softness, mixed with the chocolate and rolled in sugar making these cookies worth trying. They are great for the holidays but also can be made any time of year because peanut butter and chocolate are always in style and always appropriate.

Cavet's Peanut Butter Blossoms
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1 bag Hershey Kisses

Start off by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.

Using a medium size bowl (I use my kitchen aid), cream the butter, making sure it is at room temperature and peanut butter together at medium speed. Once mixed, add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Beat until combined and smooth. Next, add the egg and vanilla to the mixture, beating until all ingredients are combined. Lastly add in as much of the flour as you can, mixing on low. If any flour remains, mix in with a spoon. Once all ingredients are combined, let the dough chill for about 30 minutes or more.

Get out a plate and measure out a little over a cup onto the plate. Once dough is chilled, remove from refrigerator and shape dough into 1-inch balls. Then roll the 1-inch balls in the sugar, making sure all sides are coated. I place 8 on a cookies sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes (baking time depends on how fast your oven cooks). Now the key to a good cookie is its softness, so watch your cookies closely the first few batches to get the baking time down. While cookies are baking, I unwrap all the Hershey kisses and have them all ready.

Once cookies are ready, leave them on the cookie sheet pressing a Hershey Kiss into each cookie, pressing it down softly so that the cookie around it slightly cracks. I love this finishing piece of the Hershey Kiss and how the cookie looks when completed. Once the Hershey Kiss are pressed into each cookie, I transfer the cookie ever so carefully, to the cooling rack.

Once they are cooled I plate about three of them and take them to Thad (my official and loyal taste tester), with a tall glass of milk. These are the perfect cookies to take to a new years party and are guaranteed to be gone within seconds. Enjoy!

Happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Wintery Winter Crisp

Winter is a time for baking, especially anything with warm apples and cinnamon.....apple pies, apple tarts and even appple crisps. The smell that travels through the house as these yummy desserts are being baked is so comforting and that scent alone can conjure up good holiday memories and get you all warm and fuzzy inside (cheesy but true). Martha Stewart has an apple crisp like recipe but with a holiday twist that will knock your Christmas reindeer socks right off. What is this holiday twist or secret ingredient you ask? Well cranberries of course and tis the season for fresh cranberries and I love me some fresh cranberries.

Martha's Winter Crisps is an age old favorite in our family, that my mom has made for years and that I can recall making when I was a junior in high school for the first time. The tart of the apples and cranberries mix well with the sweetness of the pears and crumb topping. And the cinnamon and nutmeg give it a holiday taste that is unmatched. And when served warm with some vanilla ice cream, there is nothing better.

Martha's Winter Crisp
2 cups cranberries (fresh), can be found in the produce section
4 cups pears, peeled and sliced
3 cups apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar

Crumb Topping
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup unsalted butter
Nuts optional

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch glass dish. Set aside.

Using a medium size bowl, peel cut and measure out the apples and pears, adding the cranberries last after rinsing the cranberries gentle. The in a small separate bowl mix together the cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg. Once mixed add the dry spice mixture to the fruit, tossing with your fingers until everything is coated evenly. Once fully coated place the fruit-spice mixture into the buttered glass dish. Set aside.

In another small bowl combine the flour, brown sugar and oatmeal. Mix well. Then cut the butter into the dry mixture with a pastry knife or a fork. Mix until the butter is in small pea sized balls and is incorporated in with the dry mixture. Pour the crumb topping mixture onto the fruit in the butter dish making sure it is blanketing the fruit.

Bake the winter crisp for 35-45 minutes, baking unto the crumb topping is a golden brown and the juices from the fruit mixture are bubbling and the fruit is soft. Once done baking, place on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm, with a yummy vanilla ice cream.

So if you are needing a little Christmas kick in the pants and like a good crisp, bake you a Winter Crisp and finish it off with a scoop of ice cream. In the end you will be oozing with christmas cheer and will keep going back for more.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Spreading some sugar cookie cheer........

Thad and I have a friend named Chris who is in the Navy and has been in Rhode Island for the past several months doing some training. He has been away from his wife and daughter and for some time had not been allowed packages. When he was allowed a package, Chris told Thad that he was craving my sugar cookies.

So one night I spent the evening making and decorating sugar cookies. I used the best sugar cookie recipe in the world, Bradford Sugar Cookies. Making them got me into the christmas spirit and got me excited for a season of baking. After a long but fun night of baking, I was able to get the cookies off to Chris the next day, so that he could enjoy them fresh.

So there you have it, just wanted to share some Christmas cheer with you, so that visions of sugar cookies dance in your head. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mini Pecan Tarts

Since I have lived in the south I have noticed that pecan pies are a beloved dessert that usually make a showing at many family gatherings and any event. You can almost always find it on the dessert menu at a restaurant and I have never made a pecan pie ever, and got my chance recently.

Thad loves to repay or thank people by offering up my baking. A friend recently had done something really generous for us and Thad asked him if there was anything he would like me to bake as payment, since he was refusing payment for his kind deed. This friend told Thad that he loved pecan pies. I was instantly intimidated because pecan pies, although made all over the world are definitely a southern specialty and southerners know their pecan pies.

So the search was on for a good pecan pie recipe but not just any good recipe but a great recipe. I tried a recipe from one of my cookbooks and it didn't work and so I remembered that my mother-in-law makes great pecan pies and so I went and got out her cookbook that she had made years ago for her children. I also thought that I wanted to do something different. I remembered I had some cute little tart pans and had never used them so I decided to make our friend, little cute pecan tarts.

I used my mom's secret pie recipe for the crust and then for the pecan filling I used Pat's recipe (my mother-in-law) and made them 5 cute tarts. The pecan tarts turned out rich and soft and were absolutely yummy. They were a hit with our friend and his wife told me he ate all five tarts except she got half of one.

Pecan Pie Filling
1 cup sugar
2 cups white Karo syrup
6 eggs (sligthly beaten)
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
2 cups pecan halves

Start off by setting the oven to 350 degrees. My oven tends to cook get a little hotter so I usually set it 10 degrees lower than the recipe calls. For this recipe I would set my oven to 240 degrees.

Then using your favorite pie crust recipe, roll out the dough until it is thin but not so thin that you can't work with it. Then depending on what size tart pan you use, use the tart pan as a gage making sure there is an inch extra along the edges. Then press the dough into the tart pan. Once that is completed, using a fork, poke holes all over the pie to let it breath. Set the unbaked tart pans to the side.

For Pat's pecan pie filling, using a stand mixer combine the sugar, karo syrup, eggs, salt and vanilla. Mix well on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Then with a wooden spoon stir in the pecans until they are incorporated fully into the mixture. Then pour the pecan pie filling into each tart pan, pouring batter almost to the top of the tart, so that you can still barely see some crust. This recipe will make about 10 4-5 inch mini tarts or what I did is I did one pie and about 6, 4-inch pecan tarts. Then place the cut cubes of butter onto each tart.

Next, place the tarts on a cookie sheet to prevent any dripping or overflowing. For the baking time I would watch them closely. For an average pecan pie you would have it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. For these I started checking on them 10-12minutes in. My pies were done within 20 minutes and the way I could tell was by inserting a small butter knife into the center, and when it comes out clean it is done.

Once the pecan tarts are done, place on a cooling rack and let cool. Once cooled completely, serve with a dollop of whip cream. If you love pecans, you will love these little tarts. They are easy to make and a southern favorite!

Enjoy Y'all!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cinnamon Apple Crumb Pie

I am sorry for being away for so long. Seven weeks ago today my brother-in-law Mark Forester died in Afghanistan, in combat trying to save a fellow teammate. Mark died a hero and he died for our freedoms. I have not felt much like blogging but after a gentle push from both my sister and my mom I am back and ready to bake my little heart out, and as my mom posted on my blog "Roz get back to cooking! It is good for the soul".

So with that said, it is fall once again and whenever I feel fall creeping up on me, I get so so so excited. I love colorful fall leaves, I love cool nights where I have to get my blanket out and curl up in it and I love what fall means.....it is the pre-party to Christmas. Along with fall comes this urge or need to bake an apple pie. It feels like it is not yet officially fall until I have baked a warm, gooey, cinnamony apple pie. Plus the smell that it sends through out our home is pretty much divine.

My parents live in a little town called Millville, in northern Utah, they have a gorgeous spread and on that beautiful spread they have over 80 apple trees. When fall rolls around each year the apples get ready to harvest which means apple picking, apple cider and lots and lots and lots of apple pies. Apples and fall go hand and hand. So the other night I was at the store and decided that I was going to make an apple pie. Thad didn't complain either and of course, true to form he was my little sampler. William Sonoma has a great Collection of cookbooks and I have their "William Sonoma Collection: Pie & Tart". In this cookbook I found an amazing recipe for a Cinnamon Apple Crumb Pie and I liked it because it was just a little different than your normal apple pie. The flavor of the pie, with the tart apples, cinnamon and crumb topping was a perfect combination and honestly it was the perfect taste of fall. So give this perfect apple pie a try....that rhymes.

To begin preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Get out a pie pan and grease it lightly, set aside.

For the crust, use your favorite pie crust recipe. I use my mother's secret family recipe (she is an amazing pie maker).

Pie Filling
7 large, tart apples
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of salt

For the pie filling slice the 7 large apples as thin as possible. Place apples in a medium size bowl. Then sprinkle the apples with the fresh lemon juice, set aside. Then in a small bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt, mix well. Once combined, pour sugar mixture onto the apples. Toss gently, making sure the sugar mixture is evenly distributed on the apples. When apples and sugar mixture are combined, pour apple filling into a prepared a dough-lined pie pan. Set aside.

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

For the yummy crumb topping, in a medium size bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Then with a pastry blender cut the butter into the dry mixture until the butter is in little bead shaped balls. If this is made before had, place in refrigerator until needed.

Once pie filling is complete and in dough-lined pie pan, sprinkle the crumb topping on to pie, making sure it is distributed evenly. Then place in oven on middle rack for 50-60 minutes or until the crust is a nice light golden brown and pie mixture is bubbling.

When done, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack until it is completely cooled or at room temperature. I serve mine with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream or you can also do whip cream. Either way you can't go wrong, this is a classic recipe, that is for sure a comfort food that will get you ready for fall and winter.

Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kitchen Sink Cookies....

Everything but the kitchen sink go into these hardy and feel good cookies or at least that is the idea of this recipe. This cookie was a staple in the Nelson Family home growing up and I remember they were my dad's favorite cookie. I even have a sweet memory of my dad helping me make them, partly to help his daughter and partly because he knew he would benefit from helping me make these delicious cookies, and the memory is sweeter because my dad often times was not found in the kitchen.

So a few days ago I made this recipe for the first time in who knows how long. I came across this oldie by goody while looking for a cookie recipe to make for my co-worker who had been gone for almost 2 weeks due to a procedure she had done. Candace (my other partner in crime and co-worker) and I wanted to give her a warm welcome back, so we made her a banner and I decided to make her some cookies since while out she wanted me to bring her her favorite cupcakes I make and I never did (I know, horrible friend). So to make up for my absence, I decided to make her Kitchen Sink cookies.

These cookies were a hit at work and my co-worker Candace even requested I bring some more the next day (I spoil them with my baking) and my manager kept asking for the recipe. I love this cookie because of its crunchy but soft texture, and buttery taste that compliments the sweetness of the cookie, making the cookie delish. Honestly I was delighted to see after all these years how good Kitchen Sink Cookies are and what a hit they still are.

With this recipe you can be creative and add whatever you want to them. I would have added coconut to this recipe but was out but for sure next time I will do so. You will be amazed with how simple, easy and quick these are to make.

Kitchen Sink Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups Cornflakes or Rice Krispies
1 cups nuts (pecans or walnuts)
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

To start off preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Start off by using a medium size bowl combining the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt . Set aside. Then in a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugars. Mix until combined and the mixture is light and fluffy. Once mixed, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add in increments and do not over mix the batter. next take bowl off of stand mixer and incorporate the oats, cornflakes/Rice Krispies , nuts and chocolates chips with a spoon. And then if you feel like being creative, you can add anything to this mix, M&M's, raisins, coconut, another cereal with a good crunch or whatever you want, just make it taste good.

Once dough is combined and it tastes yum, chill for about 30 minutes. Once chilled, scoop out good size heaps and then roll into a balls. I place 6-8 cookies on a sheet and bake them for 9-10 minutes (just depends on your oven too), watching them closely so that they don't over bake. I usually can tell the cookies are done when the edges barely get brown. Once baked to perfection , remove from the oven and let cool.

Thad likes to have his cookies a little warm with a glass of milk.
So enjoy these good old classic cookies, that require everything but the kitchen sink. These little cookies will for sure be calling your name long after they are all eaten.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Patience Please

I am changing my look so please be patient as I figure out what colors- fonts- and texts I like and don't like, etc. Please feel free to leave comments or feedback on what I've done thus far with my "new" look.

I am currently cooking up a fabulous recipe for this week!

So stay tuned...

ps Isn't this vintage mixer adorable. I found it here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cupcakes and Bama Football......

Living in the South, Football is like a religion, life is planned around football, wedding dates are set according to if there is a home game or away game and everything else is put on hold each Saturdays to take part in game day festivities. When I first moved here I amazed by the magic and energy that is here during football season. To just walk into a grocery store was to see everyone dressed head to toe in crimson red and hounds tooth. And when I attended my first game day on the Alabama campus I was in awe by the tents and spreads people had. They had tables full of yummy foods, flat screen TVs and all the comforts of home.

So for the Bama vs. Penn State game I was asked by Thad's work, who was having a tent out on the quad and were having some clients come into town for the game, to make 100 Alabama cupcakes and 100 brownies. It was my first official catering job.

I made two kinds of cupcakes, I made the Surprise Filled Cupcakes (chocolate and cream cheese) with a butter cream chocolate frosting and vanilla cupcake with a strawberry filling and a whipped butter cream frosting. As garnish I made over 200 scripted A's, both red and white out of royal icing. From this experience I learned the hard way that royal icing does not hold up in 100 degree weather but if you were having a party indoors they would do just fine.

For the chocolate cupcakes I made the Surprise Filled Cupcakes which were made bt my mom growing up. These are rich with the dense chocolate cake, cream cheese and semi-sweet chocolate chips and a creamy chocolate frosting to finish it off, plus it looks so pretty.

Surprise Filled Cupcakes

Start off by preheating the oven to 375 degrees and line two twelve cup cupcake pans with cupcake holders, set aside.

Surprise filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 eggs
pinch of salt
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the filling use a small bowl and mix the softened cream cheese, the sugar, egg, pinch of salt and chocolate chips. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.

Chocolate Cupcake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons coco
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water

Start off by combining the first 5 ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer(flour, sugar, coco, baking soda and salt), set aside. Once combined, gradually add the next 4 liquid ingredients (vinegar, vanilla, oil and water), mixing until barely combined. Once all ingredients are added mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Once completely mixed, I like to use an ice cream scooper to dish my batter into the cupcake pan. I Fill the cupcakes about half-way full, then drop in a 1/2 tablespoon of the surprise filling into each cupcake. Place in oven letting bake for about 13-20 minutes. Mine are usually perfect at 15 minutes.

Once removed from the oven, place on cooling rack and let cool completely. These surprise cupcakes can stand alone in taste without frosting but if you want to dress them up, you can start on the chocolate frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. Click
here for chocolate frosting recipe

These cupcakes are always a crowd pleaser and are delish!

For the vanilla Cupcake, I used a recipe from Magnolia which is a world famous bakery in New York City and my neighbor Becky a while back let me borrow her Magnolia's Cookbook and I loved their vanilla cupcake recipe. This recipe with the strawberry filling and the whipped butter cream frosting, you feel like you are eating strawberry short cake to go. So yum.

Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Begin by preheating oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12 cup cupcake pans with cupcake holders. Set aside.

Start off by combining the flours in a small bowl, mix and set aside.

In a stand mixer bowl cream the butter until smooth and fluffy on medium speed. Then slowly add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add each egg one at a time, mixing between each addition. Next add the dry ingredients, in three parts alternating with the milk and then vanilla. Beat well but make sure to not over mix. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl before scooping them out into the cupcake pan.

Note that this batter will be a thicker batter. Using the handy ice cream, fill the cupcake holder to 2/3 to 3/4 full. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. My were done at 17 minutes and I just used a small butter knife and once it came out clean I knew they were done.

Once done remove from oven and let cool completely. While cooling you can start on the frosting and the filling.

For the filling I used a Strawberry filling and boy was it good.

Strawberry Filling
2 cups hulled Strawberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup whipping cream

Start off by measuring out two cups of strawberries (I bought frozen strawberries and just let them unthaw)in a small bowl. Add sugar and let stand. Then measure out 1tablespoon gelatin and place in a small bowl; add 2 tablespoons cold water to gelatin and let the gelatin soften. Then add 3 tablespoons boiling water to gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Then stir the dissolved gelatin into strawberries and let cool.

While strawberry mixture is cooling, whip a 1/2 cup of whipping cream until it is stiff. Check Strawberry mixture and when the consistency is like a heavy syrup, then fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture. When all ingredients are combined and mixed, place in refrigerator to chill and set.

Once completely chilled and the cupcakes are cooled I cut out a dime to a penny size hole and piped the strawberry filling into the hole.

Lastly once the cupcakes have been filled it is time to make the frosting. Since this combo has a strawberry shortcake feel, I thought nothing would be better then a light fluffly butter cream frosting to top it all off. To see this recipe click

These cupcakes work best when made the night before and sit in the refrigerator to allow the filling and frosting to harden.

Both these cupcakes are great recipes and are fun for any event and any occasion. And are so delicious.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Missionary Brownies

Who doesn't love a good brownie recipe with a creamy chocolate frosting? Well these little guys will make you weak in the knees. Missionary Brownies are a Nelson family favorite. When I was a teenager, we moved to France for a couple years for my dad's job. We use to have the missionaries from our church over a lot and our house sort of became a safe haven for them. My mom was like their second mom and would make them some good homemade "American" food which was hard to come by in France. For dessert she would make these buttermilk brownies and they became such a hit with the missionaries that we started to call them the missionary brownies.

Years later they have continued to be a Nelson dessert favorite. I made them for Thad recently and he said these were the best brownies he had ever had. What I love about this recipe is the buttermilk and how moist they are, and the creamy frosting tops them off and makes it so just having one piece is almost impossible.

Missionary Brownies

2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 sticks butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Start off by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Then grease and flour either a jelly roll pan, which is best or a 9 x 13 inch pan which will make the baking time vary. Set aside.

Begin by sifting together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. Next bring the 1 cup water to a boil; then add the butter and cocoa. Mix well. Once the liquid mixture in combined, pour into the dry ingredients. I usually do this recipe with a good old fashion bowl and spoon. Stir all ingredients together, making sure to get the sides and bottom on the bowl. Then add the buttermilk. Get out a separate bowl and beat the eggs with a fork and then incorporate into batter. Lastly add vanilla and nuts. Mix well.

Pour the prepared batter into greased and floured pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes if in a jelly roll pan and then about 30-35 minutes if baking in a 9 x 13 pan. Either use a toothpick or butter knife to check for doneness, when inserted if comes out clean then it is done. Watch closely to prevent from over cooking. Once done remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Once completely cool frost with your favorite chocolate frosting or to use my favorite chocolate frosting click

Missionary Brownies will become your new favorite brownies, and who doesn't need a killer brownie recipe.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some good ol' Banana Puddin'..........

Before moving to the south I really never gave banana pudding much thought, I just thought it was an artificial jell-o pudding mix and did not have much of a desire to sample it. Then I moved to the south, where many restaurants serve banana pudding.

The first place I had banana pudding was at a place called Dreamland which also happens to be my favorite place in town for ribs and it is quite recognized as a must eat when in Tuscaloosa. Dreamland serves their banana pudding in these little bowls that are the perfect size for just finishing off a plate of ribs. Their banana pudding is so light and creamy and this is where the addiction began. Also our neighbor who we lovingly call "Neighbor Becky" makes a killer banana pudding that Thad loves.

Thad and I at Dreamland.....I have a craving for Dreamland about once a month

Dreamland's to die for Banana Pudding

So with all these inspirations, I had been wanting to make a good banana pudding and had been searching for a recipe when I was visiting one of my fav blogs....Bakerella where she had posted a banana pudding recipe that looked scrumptious. I made it for Thad and he loved it AND got a thumbs up, which is great since Thad is a connoisseur of good banana pudding.

So here it is, creamy, rich and so easy to make and I think what gives this one a great taste is the sweetened condensed milk which gives it its richness....

Cold & Creamy Banana Pudding

1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant pudding and pie filling
2 cups (1 pint) whipped cream, whipped*
36 vanilla wafers
3 medium bananas, sliced and dipped in lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and water, mix well. Then add pudding mix and beat until well blended. Once mixed place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.

Then in a stand mixer, mix 1 pint whipping cream until thick. I used a little powdered sugar and vanilla to give it a little taste. Once whipping cream is thick, fold into the pudding mixture (Do this slowly and as few times as you possible can to combine, so the mixture will retain its thickness.)

Then using a nice glass serving dish (about 2-3 quarts), spoon 1 cup pudding mixture into serving bowl. Top with 1/3 each of wafers (I did twelve wafers per layer but Thad said he would have liked more wafers per layer, so maybe 20-22 per layer), then bananas and then pudding. Repeat twice. On the very top I just put a nice thick layer of whipping cream on top and garnished with vanilla wafers and then chilled it over night.

You can also layer in individual serving dishes, which I would like to try next time.

So if you want a light but rich dessert, that is a crowd pleaser, you need to make this southern favorite.

Recipe from Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook, 1993.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Glazed Carrot Cake to die for......

Ok so are you ready for the best carrot cake recipe ever? Well here it is. My mom gave me a copy of a cookbook that she loves and it's called "A Pinch of Salt Lake". There is a recipe in the dessert section called "Glazed Carrot Cake" and beside the recipe my mom wrote "this is the best carrot cake", so with an endorsement like that from my mom who is a fabulous cook, I had to try it.

We were having my mother-in-law Pat over and my niece Claire who has recently moved to Tuscaloosa to attend the University of Alabama and I wanted to make sure to welcome her with a great dinner and a delicious dessert. This cake is moist, rich and full of flavor and truly melts in your mouth. Trust me on this one.....you will not be disappointed.

Glazed Carrot Cake

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups grated carrots (approximately 5 large carrots)
3 1/2 ounces flaked coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Then grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan. Set aside.

Combine the first 4 ingredients, the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Sift these the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Then in a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat the eggs, add in the vegetable oil, buttermilk, sugar, vanilla. Mix well. Then add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Mix on Medium unit barely blended. Lastly add the pineapple, carrots, coconut and nuts. Mix on low for 1-2 minutes. Before I pour out the batter into the prepared pan I use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are blended fully. Pour the mixed batter into the prepared pan. Place in the oven for 50-55 minutes, checking it often to make sure that it does not over cook. I use a toothpick or butter knife and insert it until it comes out clean, that is how I know it is baked to perfection.

About 10-15 minutes before the cake is done baking, start working on the glaze for the cake.


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan combine the sugar, buttermilk, butter and corn syrup. Cooking over low heat, stirring constantly bring to a boil. Then remove from the heat and add in the vanilla.

Once cake is done and remove from oven, pour the warm glaze over the hot cake. Let the glaze absorb and the cake cool completely.

Then to top it off, I decided to add a cream cheese frosting to make this cake even more delicious than it already was. I used my favorite cream cheese recipe which is below.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
16 ounces confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a stand mixer combine cream cheese, butter, sugar. Mix at high speed for 5-6 minutes. The longer you mix frosting, the smoother the texture will be. Then lastly, add in the vanilla. Mix until completely blended.

Chill the frosting for about one hour and then spread onto a completely cooled carrot cake. And voila, you are done and ready to serve. So if you are a lover of carrot cake you have to try this recipe, it will be one of your new favorites...and that is a Rozlynn guarantee.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My mom and The Purple Apple

As many of you know my mom is my inspiration when it comes to cooking. She has always been a fabulous cook and has been known in the land for her fabulous cooking abilities. And because of that very reason she was featured in the Deseret News which is one of the two major newspapers here in Utah. They came up and did a whole article about her and her lavender fields and cooking with lavender.

My parents about three years ago sold their home in Park City and moved to Cache valley where they live on 5.5 acre farm and my mother grows lavender and has over 800 lavender plants, and about 80 apple trees. She has created many recipes that incorporate her lavender (and apples). My mom also sales her lavender at local farmers markets and calls it The Purple Apple...check out her blog

So clickhere to read the article written about The Purple Apple and my mom........

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Southern Humingbird Cupcakes

My husband informed me yesterday that the boys at work were having a potluck which meant I needed to bake something for it. I was excited because there was a cupcake recipe that I had been wanting to try and had even already bought the ingredients for it. I came across the this particular recipe the other day when I was perusing my favorite baking blogs and seeing what new recipes were being featured. On one of my fav blogs called Bake or Break there was a cupcake recipe that caught my eye...a Hummingbird cake.

For those of you who may have not ever heard of a Hummingbird cake, it is a southern cake and one that is a staple here in the south. I did a little research on it and the first recipe "published" was in Southern Living in 1978 and was referenced as a traditional southern recipe.

So I decided that since I am now a resident of the South, married to a true Southerner and have a potluck to cook for some Southerners, I would try this recipe. It was easy to make and they were so good. I loved the interesting combo of the pineapple, bananas and cinnamon, plus the cream cheese frosting was literally icing on the cake. In the end the Hummingbird Cupcakes really lived up to their reputation.

Hummingbird Cupcake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas
chopped pecans or sanding sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour regular cupcake pans. Set aside.

Start off by combining in a large bowl the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon (I used my stand mixer for this recipe). Next making sure the eggs have been beaten well, add the eggs, then the oil to the dry mixture. Turning my stand mixer on low, mix the batter slowly making sure you mix it until it is barely moistened. Lastly, stir in the vanilla, pineapples, pecans, and bananas until it is mixed well.

Pour the batter into prepared pans, filling them up a little over halfway. Bake for 15-25minutes (depending on your oven, mine cooked in about 16 minutes) until a toothpick or butter knife is inserted in the center comes out clean. Remember to watch them closely because nobody wants a dry cupcake.

Let the cupcakes cool in pan for a few minutes before removing and placing the cupcakes on a cooling rack. Let them cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling start on the easy cream cheese frosting......

Cream cheese frosting
12 ounces cream cheese, softened (about 1 1/2 cubes cream cheese)
1 cup butter, softened
1.5 pounds confectioners sugar, sifted
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer), make sure that both the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature, combining the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Then on high, beat the frosting for about 4-5 minutes. This makes the frosting smooth and fluffy. Then place the frosting in the refrigerator, so that it is easier to work with.

Once all cupcakes are cooked you can either use a butter knife and frost or I used a frosting bag and with a fancy tip and piped on the frosting. As garnish you can either use pecans as a garnish or leave them plane.

Makes about 36 regular-sized cupcakes.

This unique combo is a southern treat that you will want to make over and over again. So enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An old school classic....Snickerdoodles

Last night I had the urge to bake something and since Thad got me the cookbook Martha Stewart's Cookies, I thought I would try another cookie recipe from the cookbook. I love Martha's recipes and have never been disappointed by any of her recipes, so as I was skimming through the cookbook I came across her recipe for Snickerdoodles and I am a lover of Snickerdoodles. As a little girl I loved to make cookies and one recipe I always made was Snickerdoodles. They are easy to make but are a classic staple in any recipe collection.

What caught my eye about this recipe was that there was no cream of tartar used and in contrast to the Snickdoodles recipe I use, there was no shortening used and instead of one stick of butter, you use two. This is a simple recipe but oh so good. I think for me it is the simple creamy light taste of the cookie wrapped in cinnamon and sugar, that pulls me in. I followed Martha's recipe to a "T" and even measured the exact size of each dough ball. These cookies are a little larger than your typical Snickerdoodle and make 20 cookies. And as usual, Thad was my official taste tester and he gave these a thumbs up. So if you love an old time favorite like Snickerdoodles, you will love Martha's recipe.

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (a little extra cinnamon never hurt either)

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Also line a larger cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients, combining the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer) cream together the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar using the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Next add in each egg, one at a time until just combined, be careful to not over mix. Then turning your mixer to low, slowly adding in the dry mixture to the butter mixture, until completely combined.

I placed the dough in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes so that it was easier to work with. While the dough is chilling, I combined the cinnamon and the 2 remaining tablespoons of sugar on a wide plate. Then once the dough is chilled, I scoop out a good size chunk of dough, rolling it into a ball. You want to make sure the balls are 1 3/4-inch balls, so that they are nice and big. Then roll into the cinnamon sugar. Place them 3 inches apart on the lined cookie sheet.

Place in the oven for 11-13 minutes, making sure the edges are golden and rotating half-way through. Once done let them cool for several minutes on the cookie sheet and then move them to a cooling rack to cool. Just a side note....they are good when served just barely warm.

So there you have it, an oldie but a goodie that is quick and easy but a definite favorite.

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Everyone likes Oreos.......

(Sorry for the blurry pic, it was the best one I took which is sad)

Ok so who doesn't like Oreo cookies? And especially who does not like homemade Oreo cookies? Usually you can't just have one Oreo you need atleast a whole row....well you will feel the same way about this Oreo recipe. This is a recipe of my mom's that will knock your socks off. The cookie is sweet and chocolaty, with a creamy cream cheese buttery filling.... making a soft, creamy and chewy delight.

I had these ready when Thad came home from playing tennis last night and upon entering the house he proceeded to tell me he was not hungry. It took a little time but he ended up having a cookie, then a cookie with frosting on it and then wanted some more....he was hooked which was my plan. Thad was doing his usually animated yelling and pounding on the counter about how good they were and it is not everyday I get that reaction from him.....so you know these are a treat.

This recipe is so easy to make and fun to assemble....

Homemade Oreo Cookies

2 boxes Devil Food Cake
1 1/2 cup shortening
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Start off by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Get out a cookie sheet and set aside.

In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer)empty the 2 packages of Devil Food Cake, adding the shortening, eggs and vanilla. On medium speed mix until blended well. Dough will be a little stiff. Scoop out dough with small spoon and roll into uniformed balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place in the oven, baking them for 7-10 minutes (mine were perfect at 7 minutes). You want them to still be soft and chewy, so watch them closely. Once ready take the cookies out and let them sit for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely.

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla

While you are baking your batches of cookies start on your filling so that it can be made and refrigerated for 30 minutes to an hour. Using your stand mixer again (or a hand mixer) combine the powdered sugar, butter and cream cheese, making sure the cream cheese and butter are both at room temperature. Start off mixing the ingredients on low speed for 2 minutes and then mix on medium speed for 5-6 minutes to give the filling a very smooth and creamy texture. Place the filling in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to let the filling firm up.

Once all cookies are made and cooled completely and the frosting has been chilled, you can now get started on the assembly of the Oreos. Using a frosting bag and a round standard tip, fill up the bag as much as you can with the creamy filling. I make sure the two cookies I am using are the same size and on the inside of the first cookie, pipe on the filling in a circular motion from the outside in until the cookie is completely covered. Then place the other cookie on top, making a yummy homemade Oreo cookie. Once done with the assembly I place them in an air tight container in the refrigerator, to keep them as fresh as possible.

As a warning, when you make this recipe you might as well have copies of the recipe on hand because you will be asked for it. So give them a try and I guarantee these will become yet another family favorite.

Fait avec l'amour,

Friday, July 9, 2010

Roz's Birthday Fruit Tart

I celebrated another birthday this past Wednesday. I was grateful for another year and was talking to one of my best friends and she has a birthday the day after mine. You know the saying, "another year older and another year wiser"? Well I asked her what she woke up knowing on her borthday and she said less than she knew before and that is exactly how I feel. So with that said, I did have a great birthday.

Growing up my mom always made sure that on our birthdays we were treated like kings and queens. It was always a very special day. So one thing I always had on my birthday was a Fruit Tart which my mom has listed in her coobook as "Roz's Birthday Fruit Tart". It is always a treat to have it made for me each year. Since I now live in Alabama and my mom lives in Utah, my mother-in-law made it for me this year which was such a sweet gesture and it just meant the world to me (Thanks Pat). So I thought I would share my most favorite fruit tart ever with you all......

Roz's Birthday Fruit Tart

Sugar Cookie Crust
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Fresh fruit of choice

Start off by preheating the oven to 325 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Then add egg, vanilla and almond extract. Mix until all is combined. Set aside. In a separate medium size bowl combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tarter. Once blended well, slowly add the dry mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until blended but do not over mix.

Next divide the dough into to equal halves. To prevent the dough from sticking to your hands place some flour on them and pat the dough into the 11" tart pans (you can also a 8", 9.5" or 1 pizza round pan). When patting the dough into the tart pans, make sure to press the dough a little up the sides for a nice crust.

Place on the middle and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven or until it is a light brown color. Take out of oven and let cool completely.

Tart Filling
16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

To prepare the filling cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until mixed well and is smooth. Then spread filling on cooled tart. Decorate with fruit of your choice....kiwi, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or whatever fruits you love. Once assembled the last step is the orange glaze.

(These pics are of the Fruit Tart Pat made for me...so pretty)

Orange Glaze1/2 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
4 teaspoons cornstarch

Combine the sugar, juices, orange peel, lemon peel and cornstarch in a small or medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the glaze is thick. Remove from heat and stir in zest. Let the glaze cool completely before using. Once cooled, pour orange glaze over the arranged fruit. Let set in the refrigerator for a few hours (because it is better when cold).

This recipe is one of my favorites of all time and I can and have eaten almost an entire fruit tart.....not ashamed. A perfect dessert for summer and so light and refreshing.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrating the 4th with a Flag Cake.....

Last summer I wanted to make Ina's American Flag cake for the 4th of July but never got the chance to. So this year I was bound and determined to try this Flag cake recipe. We were going to Pat and Ray's house for a 4th of July bbq and thought that would be a perfect gathering to make it for. Plus Thad was super excited and supportive of me making it, which made it even more fun.

I love all that goes into cooking...finding the recipe, making it, decorating it and serving it to those I love and seeing the smiles on their faces which makes it all worth it.

I used Ina Garten's Flag Cake recipe. I loved how hers looked and the recipe sounded rich and divine. It turned out beautiful and was a hit at the 4th of July BBQ.

Flag Cake
18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
To assemble:
2 half-pints blueberries
3 half-pints raspberries

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Begin by setting the oven to 350 degrees. Then butter and flour a 18 x 13 x 1 1/2 inch pan (I used a 18x13x.5 inch pan and it turn out fine). If you are going to decorate it outside of the pan also line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth and pretty.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Since I was decorating the cake outside the pan, I let it cool completely and then laid out a sheet of parchment paper and turned the cake out onto the parchment paper.

For aesthetic and presentation I had gone to Hobby Lobby and purchased 13 x 19 inch cake boards (you can buy a set of 4 for under $5), I slid one board under the cake and one on top and turn it over and was able to get the cake cleanly on a cake board.

Next step is the frosting of the cake. All I did was make sure the cream cheese and butter were at room temperature. Then I combined the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth. You want the end product to be light and smooth.

Once done with the frosting, place parchment or wax paper around the edges of the cake for easy clean-up and for a pretty presentation. Spread three-fourths of the frosting on the top of the cooled sheet cake.

Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Placing 8 rows down and 12 blueberries across. Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe. Put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe 2-3 rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is completed. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.

I then let it chill for a few hours to set.

This cake will be the star (no pun intended) at any party and what better way to celebrate the 4th than with a American Flag Cake, plus it is a lot of fun to make.