Cupcakes for Chanukah! Recipes and more

Sorry for the lag in posting, lots of travel and family commitments but now, shes back…………………..

cup3 There are times in your life (like after eating a dozen latkes) when you just gotta have that certain something sweet BUT you really don’t want the guilt associated with gobbling up 5 bags of candy coins or a calorie laden mega doughnut topped with chocolate and filled with custard (granted, there aren’t too many times when I DON’T want that kind of doughnut). For me that’s when I reach for a cupcake. Just enough cake and frosting to satisfy but not so much as that I feel like I’ve over indulged and the “oh I blew my holiday diet AGAIN” remorse isn’t omnipresent.

The origin of the cupcake isn’t all that clear. Some historians say it’s because the original recipe contained 1 cup measurements (I cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar etc.) Another source I checked with said that long ago that cake batter was cooked in tea cups, hence the name, cup-cake. Either way it came about I’m just glad the recipes evolved into the sweet treats we love today.

Deciding what type of cupcakes to make and what to top them with can be truly a personal and existential experience. You can fill them, frost them, and dust them with powdered sugar or cocoa. Sprinkles are always nice and so is a couple of pieces of candy or chocolate stuck into the top of the batter just before baking. The possibilities are endless and the results are always irresistible.

With cupcakes you can indulge in your love of lemon, banana, chocolate or vanilla or both at the same time and not have to commit to eating a whole cake. One of the beauties of making cupcakes is that most cake recipes can be converted into cupcakes. There are, however, some exceptions, like angel and sponge cakes, they don’t have quite enough structure to pull off the smaller size, but those to obvious exceptions aside, I say go for whatever recipe you want and see how creative you can get. I prefer to use cupcake liners in my pans as I find it easier to take them out after they’ve been cooked and they help keep all those pesky crumbs from falling all over your lap or shirt.

 

Just a few cup cake rules before you get started.

 

1. Always grease or line you baking pan, easier to remove the cupcake

2. Never over fill the pan, it will make an overly large cupcake top

4. Once the pan or pans are full, put them in the preheated oven immediately. The longer they sit out, the less they will rise.

5. Cupcakes should be baked in at least a 350 so that the structure sets quickly and the cake doesn’t dry while it’s baking

3. Make sure you test the cupcake with a toothpick before you remove it from the oven to make sure it cooked throughout.

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Depending on how you decorate the following recipe they can be served as a snack or at a formal dinner and are equally at home at a 5 year olds birthday party or a wedding reception. I make the peanut butter ones every Chanukah and decorate them with chocolate candy coins.  Enjoy!

 

PEANUT BUTTER CUP CUPCAKES (dairy)

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper cup cake liners in the muffin pan and set it aside. In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer combine the margarine or butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar.  Mix to combine and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture to the egg mixture with the milk. Do not over mix or you’ll get air bubbles in the cup cake. Fill each muffin cups about 1/2 full of batter. Place a peanut butter cup into the center of each and push it down so it almost touches the bottom but so there is still some batter underneath the peanut butter cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean (be careful not to test where the candy is, you won’t get a true test of if the cupcake is done). Makes approx 14 to 16

 

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BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk or non dairy substitute

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese or pareve cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoon soft butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Optional Toppings;

hot fudge sauce,

maraschino cherries

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 20 to 24 muffin cups or use paper liners. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. In another large bowl combine the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended.  Frost and top with fudge sauce and a maraschino cherry

 

Modified from the Joy of Baking

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ZUCCHINI AND PISTACHIO CUPCAKES (pareve)

This recipe uses self rising flour if you don’t have it for each cup of self rising flour use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 zucchinis, grated

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

2 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease or line 2 12 muffin tin pans. In a bowl combine the egg, oil, and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add the zucchini, lime zest and nuts and stir together until well mixed.  Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder, into the zucchini mixture and gently fold it in. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake and for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then dust the top with powdered sugar. Makes 24.

 

Modified from about.com

 

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

generous 1/3 cup potato flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add the sugar and beat until combined.  Add the cream cheese, vanilla, milk and eggs and beat to combine.   Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.

 

1 oz bittersweet chocolate

5 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave but don’t over heat it, it should just be soft. Cool for about minutes. Place the softened cream cheese in a bowl and then pour the chocolate over the top. Add the vanilla and mix until the cheese and chocolate is combine. Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Frost and serve. Makes 12

 

Submitted by Roger Mancref and Cheryl Rodrego Naples FL

 

CANDIED CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

Topping

6 chocolate candy bars, chopped into pieces (your choice)

1, 12 oz bag of any kind of M&M’s you like

Crush, cut and mash into tiny pieces

Mix together in a bowl, set aside

 

Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream

 

Cupcakes

12 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup mini chocolate chips

 

 

Make the frosting first. In a microwave bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Stir until smooth and then add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Cool in the refrigerator and when it is cool beat the frosting until it is spreadable.

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 24 cupcakes molds. In a bowl combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs and mix to combine. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, chocolate chips and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepare tins filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting and then decorate with the chopped candy. Makes 24.

 

LUSCIOUS LEMON CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream or pareve substitute

 

FROSTING:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon milk or pareve substitute

 

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or paper line 30 muffin tins. Set them aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar. Mix to combine and then with the mixer running add the eggs. With the mixer still running add lemon zest and vanilla. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer running slowly add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. This will be a thick batter.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the butter and powdered sugar. Mix until combined.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and milk; beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Makes 30.

 

 

 

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Fall Fruit is Spelled Nectarine

  Quick foodie question, that you think you should know but will take a moment and say, hummmmm do I really know the answer. Simple question, what’s the difference between a nectarine and a peach? The simple answer is, there really is no difference between the two fruit, it’s just that one has fuzz and the other doesn’t.

Nectarines are a stone fruit (it means they have a pit) that are at their peak in mid to late summer. Depending up on if the pit is free or attached to the fruit, nectarines are classified as (like the peach) free stone or clinging.  Yes, the fruits have slightly different tastes and textures, but it’s really so slight that in a peeled, blind taste test it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. They can be substituted for each other in most any recipe and rather than give you more than the basic facts that the fruit is a good source of  vitamins and minerals, low in calories and great in both sweet and savory dishes I thought I’d just give you bunches and bunches of recipes and let you get started cooking.

 

BROWN SUGARED NECTARINES

 

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

5 large nectarines (about 1 1/2 pounds), or peaches (which must be skinned)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Sweetened whipped cream, whipped topping or ice cream (optional)

 

Set a strainer over a bowl and cut the nectarines into slices and place them the strainer. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot add the nectarines and saute them until they start to soften and their juices reduce and begin to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of them and cook until the juices thicken and the sugar caramelizes slightly, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and cook until the juices thicken, then add any of the juice that collected in the bowl. Stir to combine and cook until the juices are very thick, which will take a minute or so. Total cook time should be 5 to 6 minutes. Spoon the nectarines to 4 individual serving dish and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

Modified from Epicurious August 2001 by Susan Herrmann Loomis

CHICKEN AND NECTARINE SALSA

 

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 24 (2-inch) pieces

1 large red onion, cut into 32 (2-inch) pieces

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Salsa

2 cups diced nectarine (about 3)

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup diced peeled avocado

 

In a bowl combine the chicken pieces, brown sugar, lime juice, olive oil chili powder, garlic, salt cumin and pepper. Mix to coat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes. In a large skillet heat the oil and then saute the chicken (discard liquid marinade) and onion for about 10 to12 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. While the chicken is cooking in a bowl combine the nectarine, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno and salt. Mix to combine and then gently stir in the avocado. Place the chicken and onion on a platter and serve with the salsa. Serves 4.

 

Modified from a recipe from Jennifer Martinkus, Cooking Light July 2011

 

BLUEBERRY AND NECTARINE BREAD

 

1 1/2 cups flour, divided

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

1 teaspoon orange zest

1/4 cup orange juice

2 eggs

2 nectarines

2/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

 

Topping:

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan and set it aside. Combine 1/3 cup pecans, sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice and salt. Mix just to combine and then add in the butter, eggs orange juice and orange zest.  Mix to combine for 2 to 3 minutes but don’t over mix.   By hand, fold in the fruit and remaining pecans. Spoon the batter into a loaf pan and sprinkle the  topping over the top.  Bake 50  to 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool in pan for ten minutes, remove the bread from the pan and then  cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Makes 1 loaf.

 

Modified from epicurious.com

SALMON WITH FRESH NECTARINE BERRY COMPOTE

 

6 – 5 ounces fresh skinless salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick

4 tablespoons bottled barbecue sauce

3 nectarines, pitted and chopped

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Lemon wedges

 

Brush the salmon with 3 tablespoons of barbeque sauce and season the salmon with salt and pepper. Using a grill pan or grill cook the salmon for 8 to 10 minutes until done. While it’s cooking in a bowl combine the nectarines, blueberries, pecans, and the remaining barbecue sauce. Mix well, mashing the fruit slightly. Season with salt. Serve salmon with salsa and lemon wedges. Serves 6.

 

My files source unknown

 

NECTARINE AND PISTACHIO COUSCOUS

 

1 cup couscous

1 1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon apple cider or rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 organic nectarines, diced

1 bunch chopped parsley (stems removed) (about 1 1/2 cups packed leaves)

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

 

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let it stand, covered stand 5 minutes, then take off the top and stir it. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil and then set it aside. In a large serving bowl combine the couscous, nectarines, parsley, pistachios and green onions and the dressing, toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Can be served cold or at room temperature.

 

My file, source unknown

PECAN STUFFED NECTARINES

 

1/2 cup pecan pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg yolk

2 nectarines, halved and pitted

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch of cinnamon

Maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a 9X13 baking pan and set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor process the pecans until they are finely ground. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and the egg yolk and pulse until combined. Arrange the nectarine halves, cut sides up, in the baking pan. Divide pecan/sugar mixture between the nectarine halves, mounding it in center of each half. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and then sprinkle it over the top of the nectarines. Drizzle a little maple syrup over the top. Bake, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t let the nectarines get too soft. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Great served with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

My files, source unknown

 

NECTARINE, MANGO AND AVOCADO SALAD

 

1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 head red leaf or romaine lettuce; torn into bite-size pieces

2 to 3 cups fresh baby spinach

4 Nectarines, sliced

2 mangos, sliced

2 avocados peeled, sliced

1/4 cup sliced green onions

Smoked almonds or candied almonds for garnish

 

In a bowl combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and pepper. Whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate. In a bowl combine the lettuce, onions, spinach, nectarines and mango. Toss to combine. Gently add the avocado and spoon the dressing over the top. Gently mix to combine. Garnish with the almonds. Serves 8

My file, source unknown

 

SHRIMP AND NECTARINE SALAD

 

1/4 cup oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 piece peeled fresh ginger; (1 1/2 inch)

1 1/2 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon hot sauce

1 head red leaf or romaine lettuce; torn in large pieces

1 1/2 lb shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined

2 to 3 ripe nectarines cut in thin wedges (2 3/4 cups)

1 large ripe avocado; halved, seeded, peeled and sliced thin lengthwise

1/2 cup minced red onion

1 cup fresh basil leaves; cut in thin strips

1 small can water chestnuts, drained

 

In the bowl of food processor or blender combine the oil, lime juice, ginger, honey and hot sauce. Process until smooth and set it aside. In a salad bowl combine the lettuce, shrimp, nectarines, avocado, red onion, water chestnuts and basil. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad, toss to coat and serve. Serves 4.

 

Modified from about.com

Super Dupper Ice Box Cake Recipes/Kosher

Anyone who has ever read one of my columns knows I am a huge fan of dessert. In fact, if given the choice, I’ll eat it first. While baking something is my typical motis operandi when the temperature and humidity starts edging toward thermo nuclear meltdown my feelings lean towards less towards cooking and more towards how cold can I make the sweet for the end of my meal.

I suggest we all veer straight towards the quaintly named Icebox cake. For those of us not born before the 1930’s an ice box is the storage unit that was the precursor to the refrigerator where “big blocks of ice” were delivered to the home to place in the “ice box” to keep food cold. Yep, this is how they did it in the olden days when we walked 10 miles to school each day (both ways up hill) and when the Slurpee ®  didn’t even exist.

Ice box cake is a slight misnomer. It’s usually a dessert like recipe that contains layers  of custard or curd or whipped cream layered between, cake, graham crackers, cookies or graham cracker or cookie crumbs. These layers of yummy “rest” or “set up” in the refrigerator (as opposed to the freezer) for a several hours or overnight so that all the ingredients evolve into a single, luscious, creamy cake like dessert that will remind you of an  éclair, cake, cookie and the best thing you’ve ever eaten all rolled into mouth full after mouth full of delicious.

Now for the easy part, putting together you ice box treat. For expediency sake most people usually opt for store bought cookies or cakes for the key ingredient because, like I said, I don’t wanna cook when it’s too hot. Sometimes though, you do have to make the cake or cookie as it’s a key ingredient of the recipe.  That being said I typically make my own, whipped cream, custard, curd or pudding as I’m not a big fan of their “imitation” flavors. I usually avoid recipes that require gelatin as I’m not a big fan of the texture it creates.

Most of the following recipes are quite flexible and forgiving when it comes to the ingredients. You have the luxury, dare I say freedom to interchange most of the ingredients and individualize your creations according to your (or your guests) preferences. Hate strawberries? Use raspberries or blackberries. Don’t like chocolate cookies? Use a vanilla or pecan one. Lactose intolerant?  Get the non dairy whipped topping. Just remember, no matter what you put together, cold in 100 degree weather is always delicious. I am, however, making no comment on the amount of calories you will consume when you decide that leftovers are just not an option.

CHOCOLATE AND CREAM CHEESE ICE BOX CAKE

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) German chocolate cake mix

1 egg

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped pecans

 

FILLING/TOPPING:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

3 cups cold milk

2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant French vanilla pudding mix

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon rum extract

2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, butter and pecans until they form a crumb mixture. Press the mixture  into the prepared pan. Bake  for 15 to 20 minutes . Cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processer combine the  cream cheese and sugar and beat or process for about 2 minutes or until combined. By hand, fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spread the mixture over the top of the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set. Stir in nutmeg and extract. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serves 16.

 

Submitted by Irene Koslowski Chicago IL source unknown

 

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE COOKIE ICE BOX CAKE

 

3 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies [or, make your own!]

Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings)

 

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center. Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

 

Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

STRAWBERRY ICE BOX CAKE WITH FUDGE DRIZZLE

 

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced thin (save 5 or 6 whole ones for garnish)

3 1/4 cups whipping cream, divided (3 cup +1/4 cup)

2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided (1/3 +1/3)

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 sleeves (about 19 ounces, or 24 to 28 whole crackers) graham crackers

2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

 

In the bowl or an electric mixer, whip 3 cups of cream until they form medium peaks. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and whip to stiff peaks. .

 

Spread a dollop of the whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Place six graham crackers on top of the whipped cream. Gently spread more whipped cream on top of the graham crackers. Place a layer of sliced strawberries on top. Repeat this process to create three more layers (total four layers of graham crackers and 3 layers of strawberry slices) End with a layer of whipped cream.

 

To make the frosting, in a microwave bowl combine the chocolate butter and ¼ cup cream. Heat just until the chocolate and butter melt. Whisk slightly and then add the remaining powdered sugar. Whisk vigorously to remove any lumps. If there are lumps microwave for at 10 seconds and whisk again. Drizzle the fudge frosting over the top. Refrigerate for at least four hours. Garnish with the whole berries. Serves 10 to 12.

 

My files, source unknown

 

EASY LEMON ICE BOX PIE

 

1 small can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 graham cracker crust, readymade is fine

2 to 3 cups whipped topping or whipped whip cream

 

Mix everything together until smooth and pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until set about 1 hour.

 

My files, source unknown

STRAWBERRY PRETZEL ICE BOX PIE

I saw a version of this recipe in a magazine a few weeks ago and just had to make it. It was AMAZING!

 

2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups whipping cream, divided

1/3 cup granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar then firmly press it on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned then let cool completely. In the bowl of a food processor chop up the strawberries, brushing down the sides as needed until they are in smallish pieces but NOT puréed. Remove them from the bowl. Place the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese in the bowl (you don’t have to clean it out) and process until smooth. By hand, fold in the strawberries. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat 3/4 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into strawberry mixture. Spoon the strawberry filling into prepared crust. Cover and freeze 8 to 12 hours or until firm. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread over pie. Freeze 1 hour or until whipped cream is firm. Serves 8

 

Modified from a recipe in Southern Living JUNE 2012

 

CHOCOLATE CRUST LEMON RASPBERRY ICE BOX PIE

 

1 (9 inch) chocolate cookie pie crusts (store bought or homemade)

 

Filling

2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (do not use low or no fat)

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

1 1/2 pints fresh raspberry (more for garnish if you like)

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the cream cheese and condensed milk. Beat or process smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the lemon juice and continue beating for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and then spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Cover with and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours or overnight. When you’re ready to serve sprinkle 1 pint of the berries over the top.  Then in the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whipping cream until it has soft peaks. Add in the powdered sugar and remaining raspberries and beat until the mixture has stiff peaks. Gently spread the raspberry whipped cream over the raspberries on the top of the pie. Slice and serve right away, garnishing each slice with additional raspberries.

 

My files, source unknown

 

AMBROSIA ICE BOX CAKE

 

1/2 cup pineapple juice

3 eggs (2 yolks room temperature)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 pinch fine salt

1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon sweet white wine

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

18 ladyfingers (soft)

12 cup shredded coconut (sweetened, lightly toasted)

 

In a sauce pan bring the pineapple juice to a simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Slowly pour the hot pineapple juice into egg mixture, while whisking constantly. Return mixture to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until it boils and coats back of a spoon. Continue cooking about 1 more minute. Remove the  mixture  from the heat and then whisk  in the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 

Zest 1 orange and place it in a bowl. Peel and section the orange, then cut the sections into pieces. Combine the pieces and the zest. In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the whipping cream together until it form soft peaks. Fold in the orange and zest. Whip cream and confectioners’ sugar together until soft peaks form and fold into chopped orange.

 

Combine the orange juice and white wine in a bowl. Lightly brush the ladyfingers with this liquid and then press into bottom and along sides of 6 ramekins. Evenly divide the pineapple curd among ramekins. Top each with the orange whipped cream and toasted coconut. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Release cakes from ramekins to serve. Serves 6

 

Modified from Yummly.com

Peaches and Cream/Recipes for the summer

Fresh peaches are starting to appear in the produce sections these days and I thought having a guide to help you pick out the very best of the best will set you on the road to delicious.

Peaches have been grown in the United States since the Spaniards brought them to North America in their early explorations. They’ve played an integral  part in making the fruit industry in Georgia, South Carolina and California as successful as has been (just check out the names of a lot of Atlanta streets to see what type of influence the peach has).

You should look for peaches that are unblemished and not to firm. Fresh peaches spoil quickly so don’t buy too many unless you’re going to use them. Peaches don’t get sweeter after they are picked so make sure get the ripest ones you can. If you need to peel your peaches (and you don’t have too, there’s bunches of stuff that’s good for you in the skin) you should blanch them in boiling water for about 1 minute and then drop them into ice water immediately to cool and then peel. The skin should come off easily. Just know that peaches will turn brown very quickly after they are cut so you should sprinkle them with lemon or lime juice if you aren’t going to use them immediately.

The phrase peaches and cream can literally mean eating “peaches” and “cream” together in a dish or pie or cake or whatever way your imagination (or taste buds) desire. The following recipes all combine peaches and some kind of cream or cheese and every single one of them is going to make you say you’all come back and try me again real soon!

SUPER DOOPER PEACHES AND CREAM PIE (dairy)

 

3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 (3 ounce) package non-instant vanilla pudding mix

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches, drained and syrup reserved

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease sides and bottom of a 10 inch deep-dish pie pan.

In a mixing bowl of a food processor combine flour, salt, baking powder and pudding mix. Process just to combine. Add the butter, egg and milk and process until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie pan. Arrange the peach slices on top of the pudding mixture. Don’t clean the processer bowl. Put the cream cheese in the bowl until fluffy. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons reserved peach syrup. Process until smooth. Spoon the cream cheese mixture over peaches to within 1 inch of pan edge. Mix together 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and sprinkle it over the top of the peaches. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Chill completely before serving. Serves 8.

 

Modified from a recipe by Debbi Borsick, source unknown, submitted by Tracey Malrick

 

PEACHES AND CREAM BAKE (dairy or pareve)

 

1 lb French bread or challah egg bread, cut into chunks

8 large eggs

2 1/2 cups milk or ½ and ½ or non dairy substitute

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 15-oz. cans sliced peaches packed in juice, drained

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Grease a 9X13 baking pan. Arrange the bread pieces so they fit tightly in the pan. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour the liquid over the bread. Arrange peach slices on top of the mixture and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. 30 minutes before baking take the pan from the refrigerater. Preheat oven to 350. Bake, uncovered until the top is lightly browned and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

 

Modified from about.com

PEACHY CREAM CAKE (dairy)

 

3/4 cup self rising flour (yes self rising)

1 pkg. cheesecake or vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 ounce)

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 large (about 28 ounces) can sliced peaches, drained, save the juice

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch deep dish pie plate. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, pudding, butter, egg and milk. Mix to combine. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the peach slices over the top of the batter. In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the cream cheese, sugar and 3 tablespoons peach juice and process for 2 minutes. Spread the topping over the top of the peaches, leaving a 1 inch border. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. Serves 8.

 

Submitted by Charlie Aronoes NY, NY, source unknown

PEACHES AND CREAM CHICKEN SALAD (meat)

 

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 tablespoon herbs de Provence

1 1/2 cups seedless red or green grapes, halved

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 fresh pineapple cut into tidbits

3 to 4 peaches, sliced

1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded

2 cups fresh baby spinach

 

DRESSING

3/4 mayonnaise

1 teaspoon herbs de Provence

1/2 cup frozen pareve whipped topping, thawed

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons pine nuts

 

In a salad bowl combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence, grapes, celery, almonds, pineapple and peaches. Mix to combine. In small bowl combine the mayonnaise, herbs de Provence, whipped topping, salt and pine nuts. Mix to combine. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture; stir gently to combine. To serve, arrange the lettuce and spinach on a serving platter or individual plates; spoon chicken mixture over greens. Serves 8.

 

Modified from tablespoon.com

 

CREAMED CHICKEN AND PEACHES (meat)

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

3 peaches, cut into wedges

1 shallot or 1 tablespoon onion, minced

1/2 cup white wine

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup non dairy liquid almond milk or soy milk

1/3 cup snipped chives or green onions

 

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Lightly sprinkle both sides of chicken with the salt and pepper and then cook them just until golden on each side so that it’s just done in the middle 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove the chicken from the pan and set it on a plate and set it aside.  After removing the chicken from pan, reduce heat to medium and add the wine. Stir so that the bits on the bottom are scraped up. Add the peaches and onion and stir to coat, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the mustard and no dairy substitute, whisk to combine. Place the chicken into the sauce and cook, uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the chicken as it cooks. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Place on a serving platter and sprinkle the top with chives and serve. Serves 4

 

Modified From Chatelaine Magazine

 

GRILLED PEACHES AND MOZZARELLA (dairy)

 

1 lb block or ball of mozzarella, cut into slices

5 to 6 ripe Peaches (not too mushy), cut in half, pitted

1 tablespoon minced onion

2 tablespoons oil

1 head each romaine and bibb lettuce, combined

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Zest of one lime

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup shredded basil leaves

 

In a small bowl combine the minced onions and vinegar.  Whisk in the lime juice, zest, honey, salt and pepper. After the mixture is combined add olive oil and whisk to combine then set it aside. Arrange lettuce on a large platter and set it aside.

 

Brush a  grill pan with oil and then grill the peach halves, cut side down for about 3 or 4 minutes or until there are grill marks and the peaches are warm. Flip them over and grill for 2 to 3 more minutes.  Place the peaches on a cutting board and cut them into thin slices. Arrange the peaches and mozzarella slices on top of green in whatever pattern you like. Sprinkle the shredded basil over the top and then drizzle the dressing over the top and serves. Serves 8.

 

From my files, source unknown

 

CREAMY PECAN PEACH PIE (dairy)

 

1 readymade pie crust uncooked

4 cups sliced peeled peaches

2 tablespoons peach preserves

1 cup sugar

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

TOPPING:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons chopped pecans

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

 

Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, combine peaches and preserves. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell. In bowl combine the sugar, sour cream, egg yolks, 1/4 cup flour and vanilla. Whisk to combine and then pour the mixture over the peaches. Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, sugars, pecans and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs mixture over the top of the peaches.

 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and topping is golden brown. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Cool completely on a wire rack for 3 hours before serving.  Serves 8.

 

Modified from tasteofhome.com

 

KIWI PEACH AND CREAM SALSA (dairy)

You can vary the amount of fruit or onion in this salsa and a few drops of a hot sauce can be added if you like a little kick to your salsa.

 

1 pkg (8 oz.) Neuchâtel or cream cheese, softened (you can use chive cream cheese)

2 peaches, chopped

2 to 3 kiwi, peeled, chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

4 to 6 green onions, sliced thin, green and white parts

2 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or cilantro

1/2 to 2/3 cup creamy Italian Dressing

Corn chips or crackers

 

Spread the cream cheese on to the bottom of serving plate leaving about an inch around the edge. In a bowl combine the kiwi peaches, red pepper, green onion, parsley and the Italian dressing. Mix to combine and then spoon the mixture over the cream cheese. Serve with chips and crackers. Serves 8 to 10

 

My files source unknown

 

It’s Blueberry Time/ Kosher Recipes

There’s only one bad thing that can be said about blueberries, they can be messy if you squish one.  Other than that, they’re really a wonderful fruit.

A typically American fruit the flavor and sweetness of the blueberry is the frosting on the cake that is fruit. A blueberry is a super food, one that is full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. This may sound obvious but when buying your blueberries you should remember they should actually be blue, if they’re even slightly green, red or purple forget them. Only blue will do.

The blueberries you want should be uniform in size, not big and small, firm not hard and have a slightly waxy sheen. To store then you should keep your blueberries refrigerated and please don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. They will spoil if you do. They should last, in the refrigerator, for 10 days to 2 weeks.

You’re in luck, blueberries are in season right now and very affordable so hopefully this column will nudge you toward adding them to your shopping list this week.

 

Blueberry Guide

Approx 3 cups of blueberries in a pound

One cup of fresh or frozen blueberries =2/3 cup pureed

1 cup frozen blueberries = 2/3 cup thawed blueberries

BLUEBERRY AND CREAM MUFFINS

 

2 cups cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

11/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

3 ounces cream cheese cut in cubes

2 teaspoon lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup milk

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Brown sugar to sprinkle on top

 

Preheat oven to 350. Line the cups of a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.  In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt and set aside.

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Stir in the melted butter and mix until smooth. Mix in milk. Add dry ingredients and stir until all dry is incorporated. Do not over mix. Fold the berries into the batter.

 

Pour an equal amount of batter into each muffin cup, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top and then bake for 30 minutes (or until the top is golden), remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

 

From my files, source unknown

 

BLUEBERRY APPLE SALAD

 

1 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, divided

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons apple jelly

Zest of 1 orange

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach

2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced

2 ribs celery, cut into 1-1/2-inch matchsticks (about 1 cup)

1/3 cup pecan or walnut halves, toasted

 

To prepare dressing: In a blender container, combine1/2 cup of the blueberries, oil, apple jelly, lemon juice, orange zest, mustard and salt; blend until smooth. Set the dressing aside. In a salad bowl combine the spinach with apple slices, celery, pecans and remaining 1/2 cup blueberries. Toss gently, drizzle the dressing over the top, toss gently and serve. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

Modified from a recipe from my mom Anita Weinfield, Northbrook IL

LIME AND BLUEBERRY BARS

 

2 cups blueberries

21/4 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup softened butter

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1/3 cup lime juice

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Extra powdered sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until blended. Cut in the butter (mash with a fork until dough holds together). Press the mixture over the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, lime zest, lime juice and baking powder. Gently fold in the blueberries. Gently pour the mixture over warm, baked crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes until the filling is firm. Remove from the oven and cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar cut and serve. Serves 12

 

Modified from about.com

BLUEBERRY CORN MUFFINS

 

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 cups blueberries

Coarse sugar

 

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 1 12 muffin pan and 1 6 muffin pan and set them aside. In large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix and set aside. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, orange juice, margarine, egg and orange zest. Whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix, by hand just to combine. Add the blueberries and gently mix them in. Do not over mix. Divide the batter between the 18 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with a little coarse sugar. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden or a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins.

 

Modified from an old Moosewood cookbook recipe in my files, book unknown

 

BLUEBERRY PULL-A-PART BREAD

 

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries

2/3 cup brown sugar

10 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon cinnamon

4 pkgs (10 oz ea) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

 

Preheat oven to 350. REALLY grease a 10 x 4 tube pan and set it aside. In a bowl combine 2/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Cut the biscuits in half. Roll each piece in sugar mixture. Arrange about one-fourth of the biscuit pieces and one-fourth of the blueberries in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Place blueberries between biscuit pieces, creating a mosaic effect. Repeat with three more layers (covered dough balls and blueberries), covering blueberries of one layer with dough balls in next layer. In saucepan combine the brown sugar, margarine, vanilla, cinnamon and the additional 1 cup blueberries. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the margarine melted. Pour the mixture over biscuits and berries in the pan. Bake 34-45 minutes or until done. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before you try and remove this from the pan. Place a plate on the top of the pan and invert. Serves 8 to 10 servings.

 

Modified from epicurean .com

BLUEBERRY SALAD WITH SMOKED TROUT

 

8 oz romaine lettuce, shredded

4 Smoked trout fillets, skinned broken into medium pieces

1 1/2 cups blueberries

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine or rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

In a bowl, combine arugula, trout and blueberries. In a small bowl combine the oil, vinegar, mint, salt and pepper. Divide the salad onto 4 chilled plates. Drizzle each serving with dressing. Serves 4

 

Modified from a recipe from Chef Marc Meyer, Five Points, New York City

 

BLUEBERRY ORANGE SAUCE

This is super over roast chicken or turkey

 

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

2 oranges, sectioned

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt and then set it aside. In a small saucepan combine the orange juice and 1/4 cup water and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the blueberries and orange sections and bring the mixture back to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar mixture to the berry mixture, whisk to combine and then cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, the sauce will thicken slightly. Remove it from the heat and serve. Makes approx. 2 cups.

 

NOTE: if you want a sauce to go over a fruit salad just omit the salt and pepper.

 

BLUEBERRY MANGO SALAD

 

2 cups fresh blueberries

3 to 4 mangos, peeled, seeded and sliced or cubed

1/3 cup frozen piña colada mix, thawed

1 to 2 tablespoons rum

Baby spinach

Toasted pecans

 

In a large bowl, combine blueberries, mangos, piña colada mix and rum and mix to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates. Spoon the berry mango mixture over the spinach. Top with the toasted pecans and serve. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

BLUEBERRY CRANBERRY CHICKEN SALAD

 

4 cups cook chicken cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, sliced thin

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup minced green onion

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2/3 cup toasted almonds

 

In a bowl combine the chicken pieces, red onion, celery and rice vinegar. Toss to coat and add the green onion, parsley, cranberries and blueberries. Gently mix to combine. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, yogurt and mustard and then spoon the dressing onto the chicken mixture. Mix to coat and then garnish with the toasted almonds. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

Modified from a BHG.com recipe

Brown Sugar Baby! Recipes for your Sweet Tooth

There are those among us carbohydrate addicted sugar junkies that prefer brown sugar to white when it comes to a choice of sweetener. While I know in my head and heart that there is no real difference in calories or sweetness between the two, brown sugar, with its mellow smoky taste is truly my favorite

For the uninformed, brown sugar is just white sugar combined with molasses. Molasses is actually a byproduct of sugar production. Normally, molasses is separated and removed when sugar is created from sugarcane. With brown sugar the molasses is either left in or reintroduced after the white sugar has been created.  Light and dark are the two most common styles of brown sugar. In general, the lighter the brown sugar, the more delicate its flavor. Dark brown sugar has a more intense molasses smoky flavor.

Most of us are familiar with the slightly moist, clumpy kind of brown sugar that turns into a door stop if left out in the air too long. Now a days a dryer granulated brown sugar and a liquid form of brown sugar is available. Be warned however that a 1 cup of the granulated brown sugar weighs about 5 ounces as opposed to a cup of packed regular brown sugar which weighs about 7 ounces.  Makes sure you weigh your granulated brown sugar (as opposed to just using a measuring cup) and your recipe should turn out just fine.

So the next brown sugar question is, have you’ve ever been confronted by a solid brick of brown sugar sweetness?  What looks like a catastrophe is actually a problem with a simple solution. You can re-soften it by including a few slices of apple in the bag of brown sugar and sealing tightly for 1-2 days or you can try microwaving it for about 20 or 30 seconds. You can also substitute 1 cup of packed brown sugar for 1 one cup of regular granulated sugar without any problem (other than a subtle chance of taste) in just about any recipe.

Brown sugar is super in both the main course and dessert sections of your life so it should be no surprise that the following recipes run the gamut from bbq rubs to cheesecakes. Bon Appitit.
WHIPPED SWEET POTATOES WITH BROWN SUGAR TOPPING

 

1 can (approx 22 ounces) red-skinned sweet potatoes or 3 large fresh, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces and cooked for 15 minutes in boiling water
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
6 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt

Topping
1 1/2 cups cornflakes crumbs
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
6 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 400. Peel and cut potatoes into one inch cubes. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sweet potatoes and butter. Beat until smooth. Add the egg, brown sugar, spice and salt; beat to blend. Transfer the mixture to 8 x 8-inch baking dish. (this can be made 1 day ahead). Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.) and prepare the topping. Bake potatoes until beginning to brown around edges and slightly puffed, about 25 minutes.

Prepare topping:
Combine all topping ingredients together in medium bowl and mix well. Spoon the topping evenly over potatoes. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes longer. Serves 6

 

BROWN SUGAR FROSTING

 

12 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoon milk
6 tablespoon butter
1 cup powdered sugar (or a little more depending on the consistency you want)

 

Place the brown sugar, milk and butter one in a saucepan and boil for minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and mix in the powdered sugar. Let cool, then beat until smooth. Makes 1 cup

 

BAKED BEANS WITH PASTRAMI AND BROWN SUGAR

 

1 (14- to 15-oz) can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (19-oz) cans small white beans, rinsed and drained (4 cups)
1 onion, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 pastrami slices (1/4 lb)

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the tomatoes, brown sugar, mustard, and salt. Gently stir in beans and transfer to a -quart shallow baking dish. Arrange onion slices in 1 layer over beans, and then cover onion with pastrami. Bake, uncovered, until pastrami is browned and beans have absorbed most of liquid, about 1 1/4 hours. Serves 6.

 

BROWN SUGAR STREUSEL PIE

This recipe is by Danielle Nettuno of Titusville, Florida, won the 2008 Junior Chef Division Best of Show in the American Pie Council-Crisco National Pie Championships.

 

Crust
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3-4 tablespoons water
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar

 

Bottom layer
4 ounces cream cheese
1/6 cup brown and white sugar mixed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 egg

 

Top layer
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 eggs

 

Crumb topping
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Combine flour, salt and cinnamon sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening until it looks like crumbs. Add in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is flaky. Roll out on a floured counter and place in a 13- by 9-inch pie pan.  Fork the pie crust. In another bowl, cream the cream cheese with the sugars, and then add the salt, vanilla and maple syrup. When this is combined, add the egg. Mix until blended. Spread it out evenly on the bottom of the pie crust. Place it in the refrigerator and chill when making the next two layers. Melt butter and brown sugar together in a medium sauce pan until blended. Let it come to a boil, stirring constantly. Let the mixture cook an additional 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cream, vanilla and eggs. Once the butter and sugar is ready, slowly combine the two. Let cool. For the crumb topping, combine brown sugar, flour and oats in another bowl. Cut in shortening. Add walnuts, salt and cinnamon. Slowly pour the brown sugar layer on top of the cream cheese layer (it is okay if it combines). Evenly distribute the crumb topping on the pie. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, checking frequently after 20 minutes.  Take out and let cool, then refrigerate. Serves 10 to 12

BROWN SUGAR BANANA POUND CAKE

 

1 pound brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 pound butter

5 large eggs

2 bananas, mashed

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecan

 

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the brown and white sugars with butter until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the mashed bananas. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Mix milk and vanilla together. Add each to the egg mixture alternately. Stir in the pecans. Pour the batter into a 10 inch well-greased bunt pan. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, or until firm. Place upside down on a cake rack; when cool, invert and turn out onto rack. Serves 12

 

BROWN SUGAR SHEESECAKE WITH BURBON SAUCE

A rich cheesecake made with bourbon and pecans

 

Crust

1/3 cup pecans

16 thin chocolate wafer cookies

4 (5 x 2 1/2-inch) graham crackers

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Filling
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons Bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar

 

Topping
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350. In a baking pan toast pecans in one layer in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes, and cool. In a food processor finely grind pecans, wafers, and graham crackers. Add brown sugar, butter, and salt and pulse until combined well. Transfer mixture to a 9 1/2-inch spring form pan and press evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side.

 

Make filling: In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy and add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed until just combined. Beat in Bourbon, vanilla extract and brown sugar until just combined. Pour filling into crust and put spring form pan in a baking pan. Bake cheesecake in middle of oven 35 minutes. Leaving oven on, transfer cake in spring form pan to a rack and let stand 5 minutes. (Center of cake will set as it cools.)

 

Make topping: In a bowl stir together sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Drop spoonfuls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly. Bake cake in baking pan in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool completely in spring form pan on rack. Chill cake, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 4 days. Run a thin knife around inside edge of pan and remove side of pan. Transfer cake to a serving plate and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Serve cake with sauce. Serves 12.

 

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

 

In a dry 3-quart heavy kettle cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork (to help sugar melt evenly), until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel, without stirring, swirling kettle, until deep golden. Remove kettle from heat and carefully add water and bourbon down side of kettle (mixture will bubble and steam). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Stir in butter until incorporated and cool sauce to warm. Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat sauce to warm before serving.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

 

Modified from epicurious.com

 

APPLE CAKE WITH COCONUT BROWN SUGAR TOPPING
3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt or sour cream

1/4 cups oil

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/4 cups flour

1 pounds apple, Granny Smith, cored and coarsely chopped (3 cups)

1 cup coconut, flaked

3 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon sugar, brown (packed)

2 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat oven to 325. Line two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans with foil; coat foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.   In a large bowl, stir together granulated sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, the 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the vanilla, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir in flour just until combined. Fold in apples (batter will be very thick and chunky).  Spoon batter into prepared pans; spread evenly. Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean and tops are browned.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine coconut, butter, brown sugar, milk, and the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat until the butter is melted. Preheat broiler after removing cakes from oven. Gently spread coconut mixture evenly over tops of cakes. Broil 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 45 minutes. Use foil to lift cakes from pans; remove foil. Serve warm. Serves 10 to 12

GARLIC BROWN SUGAR CHICKEN

 

1 broiler/ fryer chicken, cut up (3-1/2 – 4 lbs) or about 6 boneless skinless breasts

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup vinegar

1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (diet is fine)

2-3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon pepper

 

Place chicken in a large ziploc bag. Combine remaining ingredients, pour into bag and seal. Shake several times to coat the chicken. Refrigerate 2-4 hours. Transfer chicken and marinade to a large skillet, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until juices run clear.

 

BROWN SUGAR SPICE RIB RUB
2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup lemon pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil

 

In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Rub into both sides of ribs and let marinate. Makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups. Enough for 5 to 6 lbs of ribs

Snack Attack/ Homemade Gourmet Popcorn and Other Delicious Recipes

With the last of the winter snows (hopefully) blowing across the Midwest a hint of the idea that would require scraping off the car and going outside when is met with a less than enthusiastic response by my family. Saturday night finds us parked in front of the fireplace with a few friends and neighbors (hopefully the ones who had the foresight to rent a movie from Red Box) and pigging out on junk food (like we REALLY didn’t have enough to eat this weekend).

Junk food in our house usually consists of chips, salsa, anything chocolate and some form of popcorn or mixed nut/cereal snack. While some purists might say that popcorn is a dish best served with salt and a touch or butter I like to dress it up with all sorts of seasonings both sweet and savory.

The following recipes should tickle the taste buds of even the most discerning popcorn/snack food gourmet and they all can be made up on Friday so that when the beginning credits roll on the worst movie ever made (the one you kids just HAD to see) your snacks will end up being the feature presentation.

NOTE: 1 ounce of un-popped popcorn kernels makes approximately 4 cups of popped popcorn

SNACK ATTACK POPCORN (dairy)

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

6 cups unsalted popped popcorn

1 cup thin pretzel sticks

1/2 cup salted, roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 250. In a large bowl combine the popcorn, pretzel sticks and peanuts. Set them aside. In a microwave bowl melt the butter and stir in the seasonings. Drizzle the butter/seasoning mixture over popcorn mixture making sure to stir to coat well. Spread the mixture in a large, shallow ungreased baking pan and put it in the oven to bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon every 10 minutes while it’s baking.  Yield: 7 to 8 cups.

OVEN CARMEL CORN (dairy or pareve)

7 to 8 quarts popped corn
2 cups of blend of salted peanuts, shelled pumpkin seeds and sunflower
seeds
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250. Place popcorn and your choice of nuts in a large container. In a saucepan, combine sugars, butter, salt, syrup and flavorings. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add baking soda, STIR QUICKLY. Pour over popcorn mix in a large flat pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring several times. Remove from oven and stir occasionally while the mixture cools. Store in airtight container. Makes 7 quarts.

ACROSS THE BORDER PARTY MIX (dairy)

This snack mix gives a new twist to an old favorite with the addition

Of pumpkin seeds.

1 cup small pretzels (twists)

1 cup corn chips

1 cup oyster crackers

1 cup toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds

1 cup honey-roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon. chili powder

1/2 teaspoon. ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon. ground red pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl, combine the pretzels, corn chips crackers seeds and peanuts.  Set aside the mixture.  In a small bowl, combine the butter or margarine, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin and red pepper mix well. Pour mixture over pretzel mixture; toss to coat. Place on ungreased 15×10-inch shallow baking pan. Bake 25 minutes or until peanuts are golden brown, stirring halfway through cook time. Cool completely. Mixture becomes crisp as it cools.  Note: Recipe can be easily doubled, using 2 baking sheets. Makes 5 cups

WHITE TRASH MIX (dairy or pareve)

3 1/2 cups honey coated breakfast cereal

3 cups peanuts

2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup butter or margarine

12 oz chocolate chips (dairy or pareve)

12 oz raisins

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl combine the cereal, peanuts and raisins. Set the mixture aside. In a small saucepan melt together the peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and nuts. Mix well and when cooled n pour the powdered sugar over the mixture and mix to coat completely. Makes 5 cups.

PIZZA POPCORN

6 to 8 cups popped popcorn

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons dry Italian-style salad dressing mix

1/2 tsp. oregano

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons tomato Ketchup

In large bowl, place hot popped corn; set aside. In small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, dry salad dressing mix and oregano and set aside. In small saucepan, melt the butter and ketchup. Pour the mixture over the popped corn, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle the dry salad dressing mixture over popped corn, tossing again to evenly coat all pieces. Spread coated corn on l5x10-inchbaking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over baked corn and let cool 5 minutes. Serve immediately or store in airtight container. Makes 3 quarts.

MILK CHOCOLATE POPCORN (dairy)

Popcorn and peanuts glazed with a crispy, chocolate coating.

12 cups popped popcorn
2 1/2 cups (12oz can) salted peanuts
1 3/4 cups (11-1/2 oz bag) milk chocolate chip morsels
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 300. Grease large roasting pan. Combine the popcorn and nuts in prepared roasting pan and set aside. Combine morsels, corn syrup and butter in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Pour over popcorn; toss well to coat. Place the mixture in the preheated oven and bake, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes. Loosen popcorn from pan and allow to cool slightly in pan. Remove the mixture to a cookie sheet covered with wax paper to cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to two weeks. Makes about 14 cups.

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