Category Archives: Dessert

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

It has been a long time since I have been in the kitchen. It all started with a nasty case of food poisoning, of course from one of my favorite places to eat…so upsetting, and then the following week I was in the hospital with kidney stones. Cooking was quickly put on the back burner during my recovery and desire to just feel normal again.

Yesterday I took a cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. It was a great motivator to get me back in the kitchen. We made some great recipes, which I will share soon once I have a chance to recreate them.

This recipe I am sharing is from a new book my wonderful friend Lindsay gave me for my birthday. The book is published by America’s Test Kitchen, and if you are unfamiliar, just know that they know whats up with food. Trust that the recipe will be one of the best possible versions of whatever you are cooking. This recipe caught my eye because I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen already. It could not have been any easier for me to wade back into the kitchen. I am so happy to be back!

Ingredients:

CRUST AND TOPPING

  • 1 1/2 cups of quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cups of packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled

FILLING

  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of instant espresso or coffee powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs

Prepare the crust and topping:

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325.

Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with an aluminum foil or parchment paper sling (see the image above). Melt the butter and allow to cool. Whisk oats, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter until combined. Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the mixture for the topping. Pour the remaining oats into the pan and press firmly to evenly coat the bottom. Bake for 8 minutes until it is light golden brown. Allow to cool for 1 hour.

Make the filling:

Preheat the oven to 325.

Whisk flour, sugar, espresso, and salt together in a medium bowl. Melt the chocolate chips and butter together in the microwave, stirring often, for 1 – 3 minutes. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly. I am really lazy, so I put the chocolate mixture into the Kitchenaid at this point, but you could still do it by hand if you want. Whisk in the eggs until just combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Spread the filling evenly over the cooled crust and smooth the top. Sprinkle the reserved oat topping over the chocolate. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.

Let the bars cool in the pan for about 2 hours. Remove from the pan using the sling. Slice and serve.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen: Menu Cookbook

 

Strawberry Pie Cakes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I just couldn’t resist. What’s not to love? It’s pie, it’s cake, it’s Pie Cake! I also have a special place in my heart for all things mini and these are the perfect individual size treats. Creating the lattice topping was a bit tedious so I did it on half of the pie cakes and created a typical pie type topping for the rest. If you wanted to cut down on some of the prep time you could use pre-made dough but this dough recipe uses more sugar than a typical pie dough to sweeten it up a bit.

The original recipe was for a Vanilla Peach Pie Cake but peaches are definitely not in season and the strawberries I’ve been finding have been super yummy so I decided to shake it up a bit. I also just picked up my free Penzey’s cinnamon sugar with a catalogue coupon so I added it to the whipped cream.

Strawberry Pie Cakes 
Makes 24 standard sized pie cakes

Ingredients

FOR THE PIE CRUST
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons shortening, cold
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
6-8 tablespoons cold water

FOR THE CAKE
2 egg whites, at room temperature (save the yolks to use in an egg wash, if desired)
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon1 baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING
1 quart strawberries, de-stemmed and sliced thin
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons corn starch

To make the crust: In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients for a couple of seconds to combine, then drop the shortening evenly on top in chunks. Process until the mixture looks like wet sand. Evenly distribute the butter on top and pulse until the mixture has pea sized chunks in it. If mixing by hand, cut the cold shortening in with a fork or dough blender, again until it resembles wet sand. Then cut the butter in until you have pea sized pieces.

If using a processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Add about 6 tablespoons cold water and begin mixing with a spatula. Using a spatula, mix the dough by ‘folding’ from bottom to top and pressing down with each fold, adding more water if the dough is too dry.

Once the mixture has just formed a dough, turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface. As quickly as possible, finish bringing the dough together by hand, kneading as little as possible.

Divide the dough in half evenly and shape into two disks, roughly 4 inches across. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or over night.

Once chilled, make cake filling: Lightly coat muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl, and whisk together; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Beat in the butter on low speed until the mixture looks like soft wet sand or until there are no longer any large chunks of butter or streaks of dry flour, about three minutes. Add the egg mixture in two small batches, beating on low until combined in between each batch. Scrape the bowl and mix for another 15 seconds. Set aside while you prepare the pie crusts.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove your one of your disks of pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a little less than 1/4-inch thick. Cut several 4 to 5-inch circles out of the dough, re-rolling the remaining dough, as needed. Place each circle into the cup of the prepared muffin pan, pressing gently into the corners and trimming any excess dough away. Bake for 10 minutes.

While baking, make the pie filling: Combine the strawberries, sugars, and spices in a medium bowl, tossing to coat the strawberries thoroughly. Stir in the lemon juice and corn starch until well combined. Spread in a glass baking dish; set aside to bake with the piecakes.

Remove the pie crusts from oven and immediately fill each muffin cup with 1 tablespoon of the cake batter.

Bake the filled pie crusts and the pie filling for 10 minutes, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom, halfway through baking.

Remove the piecakes and filling from the oven and place about 2 tablespoons of the pie filling on top of each piecake. Roll out the remaining pie dough and cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch strips and weave the pieces into lattice tops on each of the piecakes. Return to the oven and bake until lattices are light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Ingredients

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the cream on medium high speed until it begins to thicken and form very soft peaks. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the cream and continue whipping until firm peaks form. Stir in the vanilla. Chill until ready to serve.

Source: Bakingdom.com via Pinterest

Lemon Chiffon Pie with Pretzel Crust

I feel like I shouldn’t even have to write something to try to convince you to make this pie. The name and picture should be doing all the work for me. But if you still need more convincing, here we go…

I was recently looking around online for recommendations for a new cookbook since, believe it or not, I was getting bored with my collection. I came across a post of the top 10 cookbooks of the year and read a review about “Best of the Best: Volume 14“, part of a series of books. The books are published by Food & Wine magazine and are a collection of a handful of recipes from the top 25 cookbooks of the year. I was very intrigued. I ordered Volume 14 and love it…so I ordered volumes 8 and 11 too! I really liked seeing recipes from great chefs that I had never even heard of and getting to try a wide variety of recipes.

This pie caught my eye because of the pretzel crust. I had never heard of it used in a dessert like this before. I am also a big fan of lemons. For a while there I was drinking multiple glasses of lemonade a day, which may have been a sign of some sort of serious deficiency. The crust works really well here and the filling reminded me of the lemon flavored push pops from back in the day.

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 3 1/2 cups of salted mini pretzels
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the Filling:

  • 1 packet of unflavored gelatin
  • 3/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 egg whites

To make the crust:

Spray cooking oil to coat a 9 inch pie plate. Combine the pretzels and sugar in a food processor and process until the pretzels are medium-fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and process briefly until the crumbs are evenly moist. Mold the crumbs into the pie plate, being sure to get as high up on the sides as you can.

To make the filling:

Pour 1/3 of the lemon juice in the bottom of a blender and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat the remaining lemon juice in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until it is almost boiling. Pour the hot lemon juice over the gelatin/lemon mixture in the blender and let sit for 2 more minutes. Cover and blend for 1 minute until the gelatin is dissolved.

Add the ricotta, 3/4 a cup of sugar, and the salt to the blender and mix until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the lemon zest. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to thicken, stirring often.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the egg whites and mix on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Continue to beat while gradually sprinkling in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Once all of the sugar has been added, turn the mixer to high until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the whites into the lemon mixture. Once mixed, fold in the remaining egg whites until well blended.

Pour the filling into the crust and allow it to mound in the center. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and set, at least 4 hours.

Source: The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge / Best of the Best: Volume 8

Raspberry Molten Cake

Hello. My name is Heather, and I am a chocoholic. I seem to have a hard time accepting something as a dessert unless it contains some sort of chocolate. I love desserts like this too since everyone gets their own little cake.

When I first spotted this recipe online, it seemed like it could be complicated to make, but I was really surprised by how easy it was. The chocolate had a really rich flavor and the raspberries were the perfect sweet compliment. This was one of those desserts where you just had to make an audible yummy noise after the first bite.

If you check out the Food and Wine website, you can see many other flavor combinations, including chocolate with a peanut butter filling, which was also very tempting. It is also a great site to check out if you feel like loosing several hours of your day. Not that I did that…

*Makes 4 individual servings*

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon of melted butter for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • 6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 16 fresh raspberries, plus more for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons of seedless raspberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting

 

Preheat the oven to 425.

Brush four 6-ounce ramekins with melted butter. In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of the flour; dust the ramekins with the cocoa mixture, tapping out the excess. Transfer the ramekins to a sturdy baking sheet.

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter with the chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly. In a small bowl, coarsely mash the raspberries with the seedless raspberry preserves.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar with the eggs and salt at medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate until no streaks remain. Fold in the 1/4 cup of flour.

Spoon two-thirds of the batter into the prepared ramekins, then spoon the raspberry filling on top. Cover with the remaining chocolate batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 16 minutes, until the tops are cracked but the centers are still slightly jiggly. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool for 5 to 8 minutes.

Once slightly cooled, place a small plate over the top of the ramekin and flip to release the cake onto your serving plate. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and garnish with extra raspberries.

Source: Food and Wine

Mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecakes

We were having company over for dinner and I was going back and forth for a few days about whether to make a layer cake, or a souffle for dessert. I have never made a souffle before, and I am completely intimidated by them, but was excited to try something new, knowing full well it could (and probably would) go horribly wrong. On the other hand, 2012 is the year or the layer cake, or so they said on the Today Show the other day, and there are plenty of amazing options for layer cakes out there. To make a long story short, I went in a completely different direction and ended up making these delicious little bites of wonderfulness.

I was searching through the desserts on my favorite food blog, Annie’s Eats, and was immediately drawn to the unbeatable flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate. And lets face it, making dessert in mini form is really just a way to eat more of them and pretend like you actually had less.

Makes ~20

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 cup of chopped Oreo cookies, filling removed (~13 Oreos)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. sugar

For the cheesecake:
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
Dash vanilla extract
Pinch of coarse salt

For the ganache:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

*Take out the cream cheese to bring it to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350

Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.  Remove the cream filling from 13 Oreo cookies, and try not to eat all of it…or discard it…go ahead, WASTE the filling. You make me sick. Crush the chocolate part of the cookie and combine with the melted butter, and sugar. Mix with a fork until evenly blended.  Fill each muffin mold with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture and press into a flat layer on the bottom of the well. Bake for 10 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚ F.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and peanut butter.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and well blended.  Add in the sugar and mix until incorporated. Blend in the egg and egg yolk, vanilla and salt.  Continue to beat until the mixture is completely smooth.  Divide the mixture evenly over the cookie crumb crusts and smooth the tops slightly. Bake just until set, about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.  Once completely cool, transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill thoroughly, at least 3 hours.

Once the cheesecakes are well chilled, carefully remove them from the pan. I had an interesting time doing this, so you might want to use mini muffin cups, or just accept that your mini cheesecakes might not look perfect and that people will judge you. To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat.  Once simmering, remove from the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate.  Let stand 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in small circular motions until a smooth ganache has formed.  Whisk in the butter until completely incorporated.  Let the mixture stand at room temperature until slightly thickened for piping onto the cheesecakes. Once the ganache has thickened, transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe onto the cheesecakes. Cover and refrigerate until the ganache is set. Serve and try not to eat more than 3 in one sitting.

 

Source: Annie’s Eats