Saturday, November 28, 2015


Thanksgiving has come and gone, and so, too, the left-overs.

My sister hosted this year, so I had less to prepare and fewer left-overs. She asked me to make the cornbread dressing and a dessert. I threw in a fruit salad, because I was craving fruit. And I knew, without a doubt, that dessert had to be chocolate. How did I know? My chocoholic brother-in-law says that any dessert that is not chocolate is a waste of sugar.

I chose to make a dessert that had his name written all over it. Peanut Butter Fudge cake. Peanut. Butter. Fudge. Cake. What about doesn't sound good? In fact, this cake is so good, I never got a chance to take a picture. It was gone in a matter of minutes.

It's easy, it's moist, it's delicious.


Oven 350. Grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch cake pan.

Stir together in a bowl and set aside:
2 cups sugar
2 cups self rising flour

In a large saucepan, combine:
2 sticks butter (or 1 stick butter, 1 stick margarine)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Using a whisk and stirring constantly, heat the mixture over medium heat until the butter melts and the surface is covered with bubbles. Add, if desired:
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional (I don't add them)

Then stir the sugar/flour mixture into the hot mixture until blended. Add:
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bake for about 25 minutes.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, cover the top with peanut butter. I use creamy but you can use crunchy. I like a fairly thick layer of peanut butter, so I use at least 1 cup....maybe more. I just put big blobs of peanut butter over the cake and let it melt for a minute or so and then spread it evenly. Let the it cool for about 30 minutes before frosting.

In a large saucepan, sitr together:

4 tbs butter
1/4 cup cocoa
6 Tablespoons buttermilk
Heat on medium heat till butter melts and mixture is covered with bubbles. Then stir in:

1 pound powdered sugar (sift if it looks lumpy)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nuts, optional (I don't use them)

Pour over cake and let sit for a few minutes to firm.

Leave the cake in the pan to serve and store.

Fix a big glass of cold milk and sit down with a piece. Close your eyes and savor the moment that the soft, fudgy, rich deliciousness hits your tongue. And then move out of the way, because a crowd of chocolate loving fiends will soon come running.

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Had Puff Pastry and Nothing To Do

I was bored. Very bored. I wanted to bake something. Anything. I took inventory...I had apples, pears, and puff pastry, so I found this recipe by Dave Lieberman on the Food Network website.

Apple and Raisin Strudel
2 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick*
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, toss the sliced apples with the lemon juice until the apples are thoroughly coated. Add the raisins, 1/4 cup sugar, and the 2 tablespoons cold cubed butter and toss well. Set aside.
Lightly dust the counter or work surface with flour. Lay the puff pastry on top and dust the rolling pin with additional flour. Gently roll the puff pastry to 1/8-inch thickness.
Spread the apple and raisin mixture over the bottom half of the puff pastry square leaving about 1-inch of space along the side edges. Fold the top half of the puff pastry over and pinch to seal the edges together.
Brush the entire strudel with the melted butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon and remaining sugar. Using a serrated knife, make 3 diagonal slits across the top of the strudel.
Place the strudel on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking, until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.
Recipe courtesy of Dave Lieberman
Read more at:

*I had Granny Smith apples, so I increased the sugar to about 1/3 cup.

I had raisins (a pantry staple) and, surprisingly, a lemon. I was good to go!

Thank goodness for my Silpat, because it leaked out and made a mess. My seal didn't hold. But the smell was divine. The house smelled of autumn.

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But then, what to do with the other piece of puff pastry? I cored a couple of pears and a small Granny Smith apple and sliced them thin. I placed the slices down the middle of the puff pastry pieces and sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar. I put them in the oven at 375 on a parchment lined baking sheet and turned the pan after about 15 minutes. I took them out when the pastry looked golden. I heated up some apple jelly in the microwave and spread it over the tarts.

Here is the finished product.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Magnificent Mini

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Oh, not the skirt, I'm far too old for that. No, I am talking about bite-sized treats. I was asked to make some things for a reception at church and I decided to make some mini desserts. Today I made some pecan tassies and some mini red velvet cupcakes. I used Martha Stewart's recipe and it made a lot, A LOT of minis...105.

The problems with this is that these suckers are labor intensive. Easy, but I spent a lot of time on my feet.

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.

This is how you cool baked goods when you have two very curious cats.
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I was not pleased with the color. I used 1/2 tsp of gel color, but I think that I got more on me than in the cake.
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12 oz room temperature cream cheese
1 c room temperature butter
1 lb XXX sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and cream until smooth.

The finished product.
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So, for now, I am going to put my feet up and drink some tea, and watch some tv.