Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gingerbread Trifle

This year at my family Christmas, I was in charge of making the dessert.  I wanted to make a cheesecake, however when I came across this recipe it looked to good to pass up.  The best thing about trifles is that they look difficult to make, but they really are quite simple.  This is a great dessert to make when you have a large crowd to feed because it makes quite a bit.  There are three parts to creating this trifle, so it is quite time consuming, but well worth it!

Gingerbread Ingredients

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark molasses
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk

Making the Gingerbread:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger,cinnamon, and salt   

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter until it's soft and creamy

3. Add the sugar and molasses to the butter and beat again until the mixture is well blended and fluffy, about 2 minutes more
4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition
5. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and beat well
6. Reduce the mixer's speed to low and slowly add half the flour mixture to the bowl and beat until blended
7. Repeat with the other half
8. Pour the batter into a greased 9 in round cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes
9. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack, and then cover it tightly with plastic wrap until ready to use

Vanilla Custard Ingredients
9 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Making the Custard:
1. Divide the egg yolks and whites by carefully tipping each yolk back and forth between the shell halves, letting the whites spill into a bowl
2. Place the yolks in a separate bowl
3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 2 to 3 minutes
4. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour
5. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil
6. Slowly pour half the milk into the egg mixture and beat until blended. Then pour the mixture into the remaining milk in the pan
7. Over medium heat, bring the ingredients to a boil while whisking constantly. Allow the custard to boil for 1 minute as you continue to whisk
8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla
9. Let the custard cool slightly, then cover its surface with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming
10. Let the custard cool completely, then refrigerate it until ready to use (up to three days)

Filling and Garnish Ingredients
3 (12-ounce) packages frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed and drained
1 cup chilled heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 pint fresh raspberries

Assembling the Trifle:
1. In a medium bowl, toss the thawed raspberries and white sugar
2. Remove the gingerbread from the pan and use a serrated knife to slice it into four equal wedges
3. Turn each wedge on its side and slice it into three equal pieces
4. Stack them, slice the pile in half, and cut off 1 1/2 inches from the tips, reserving the pieces
5. Arrange a layer of six cake wedges over the bottom of a 2 1/2-quart bowl or trifle dish
6. Fill the center with a few of the trimmings
7. Spoon and spread 3/4 cup of the raspberry mixture over the cake, then top the fruit with 1 cup of custard
8. Repeat the layering three more times with the remaining ingredients
9. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours to let the flavors meld (the dessert can be stored overnight)
10. Before serving, make the whipped cream
11. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip the cream with the confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes
12. Use a spatula to spread the whipped cream on top of the trifle, and garnish it with fresh raspberries

Recipe from Family Fun Magazine

Cornflake Christmas Wreaths

This is one of my favorite treats that my dad makes every Christmas time.  This was my second year making them myself and they are simply delicious.  

1/2 cup of butter
30 large marshmallows
1/4 tsp of green food coloring
1/2 tsp of vanilla
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups of corn flakes
Red Hot candy

1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan
2. Add marshmallows to butter and stir constantly until melted
3. Remove from heat
4.  Stir in vanilla and food coloring
5.  Add corn flakes to the marshmallow mixture
6. Grease fingers, and form the corn flake mixture into wreaths
7.  Place wreaths on wax paper to cool, and immediately decorate with red hot candy

Monday, October 4, 2010

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Does anything really go better together than peanut butter and chocolate? I can't believe in all of my 23 years this was the first peanut butter cupcake I have ever tried. I recently purchased a frosting press which made these cupcakes even better. Not only did I frost the top of the cupcake with a rich chocolate frosting, I filled the middle of the cupcakes with chocolate as well.

However, I must say and perhaps this is obvious, that my favorite part of these cupcakes was eating them. There is nothing better than watching "You've Got Mail," drinking coffee, and eating Chocolate Filled Peanut Butter Cupcakes on a crisp, Fall afternoon while catching up and reminiscing with fabulous friends. I hope you are able to delight in these cupcakes and your company that comes along with them as much as I have!

Cupcake Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
2. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners
3. Beat together butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until smooth
4. Mix in egg and vanilla
5. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
6. Add the flour mixture and milk to the cupcake batter.
7. Fill each liner about 3/4 full with batter and bake for about 20 minutes.
8. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting

Frosting Ingredient
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup baking cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Melt butter
2. Stir in cocoa
3. Combine with powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract
4. Add small amounts of milk if more is needed
5. Frost cupcakes as desired

Cupcake recipe from Elinor Klivans from her book "Cupcakes!"
Frosting Recipe from

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Apple Tart

Fall is in the air and I haven't updated since July. In honor of this I thought it was time to make an apple dessert. This Apple Tart recipe from looks like it would be hard to make, but is as simple as can be...

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a 9 inch spring form pan.

1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of cold unsalted butter (cut into pieces)

Mix together the flour and powdered sugar. Add the butter and blend until dough forms. Pat the dough into the bottom of the springform pan, and one inch up the sides. Place in refigerator.

One 8 oz package of cream cheese
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Blend the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and mix well. Blend in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Remove the crust from the fridge and pour in the filling. Return to refrigerator while preparing the topping.

1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
4 cups of granny smith apples (About 3 to 4 apples) peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/3 cup of sliced almonds

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in large bowl. Mix in the apples. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and place the apples on top of the cream cheese layer and sprinkle with almonds.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes. The tart will be done when the apples are golden brown and filling is set. Remove from oven and let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vegetable Risotto

This is a simple dish to make that goes great with chicken or steak. If you are a vegetarian it is a great dish to have alone as well. Since it has been so hot I hadn't cooked or baked in awhile and was really wanting to cook I decided to cook this vegetable risotto and bake (Cookie Dough filled cupcakes) on the same day. This was a horrible decision. It was so hot that the butter started melting before I even turned on the stove! Despite the heat, I successfully completed the cooking.

Risotto - 1 cup
Butter 1- tbsp
White Wine - 1/2 cup
Asparagus 1/4 cup
Onion 1/4 cup
Mushroom 1/4 cup
Chicken Broth 4 cups

Begin by chopping up a few vegetables of your choice. I used about a 1/4 cup of each vegetable, but you can use a variety of vegetables and use different portions of each as well. Once you have chopped up the proper amount, toss in a pan with butter and sautee for a few minutes. Add the wine and risotto and cook until wine is nearly evaporated. Pour in one cup of chicken broth and stir. Once that has evaporated pour in the next cup. Continue doing this for all four cups. When the fourth cup of broth has been evaporated the risotto should be ready. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Blackberry Lemon Muffins

Blackberry Lemon Muffins
Recipe compliments of

Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Muffin Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
12 ounces fresh blackberries, cut in half


1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees, and line 12 muffin cups with liners (or grease the cups).

2. In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg and then stir in the sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, and lemon zest.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, along with the buttermilk, and stir just until moistened.

6. Add the blackberries and mix well.  

7. Fill your muffin cups almost to the top with the batter.

8. Sprinkle the topping evenly over each cupcake.

9. Bake for 25 - 35 minutes, until they're golden brown.

10. Spread some butter on your muffin and enjoy!

This was my first attempt at baking muffins and they turned out pretty well.  The blackberry lemon taste is a perfect combination.  I doubled this recipe because you can never make to many muffins.  Next time I bake these I would add a little more lemon to balance out the flavors.  This weekend I am going to invest in a jumbo muffin tin and then attempt to make sour cream chocolate chip muffins.  Stay posted....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup from

This soup is delicious and very easy to make. If you can cut up a few vegetables, you will have no problem making it. For the type of oil I used extra virgin olive oil and had no problems. Don’t leave out the limes and cilantro, their flavors are essential!
  • 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, preferably a little old and dried out
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil, peanut oil, other high smoke-point oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium Anaheim, poblano or jalapeño chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped (Depending on the hotness and flavor desired. You can also mix chiles – 1 Anaheim and a half jalapeño.)
  • 4 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (recommended Muir Glen fire-roasted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 ripe medium avocado
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 oz) (or other mild, melting cheese)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don’t have a lot of moisture in them. Cut tortillas in half; cut halves into 1/4-inch strips. In 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry strips in oil, 1/3 at a time, until light brown and crisp. Remove from pan; drain on paper towels. Reserve.
Heat oil remaining in saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion in oil 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and chile; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in broth, tomatoes and salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken; heat until hot.

To serve, peel and pit the avocado. Cut into 1-inch slices. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 4.