Entries Tagged as 'desserts'

thanksgiving favorites!

November 17th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Can you believe that in four years of blogging, I’ve never posted a Thanksgiving turkey recipe?

Well, it’s true.  But over the past four holiday seasons, I’ve posted a lot of other delicious Thanksgiving recipes, so I thought that I’d highlight a few of them for you (you’re welcome).  This way they’ll be fresh on your mind when you’re grocery shopping next week!

Starting off, it’s not Thanksgiving without a plate of traditional stuffing — we put dried apricots in ours, and they’re absolutely to die for.  I usually hate celery, but Thanksgiving stuffing is the one recipe where I love it!  And then on the side, take your pick of glazed carrots, roasted green beans with shallots and almonds, a root vegetable mix, or any other fallthemed side dish (yes, my family once cooked farro for Thanksgiving).

And for dessert — obviously, you guys are going to make my mom’s apple pie recipe!  How could you resist?  But in case you want a wider variety, I have excellent holiday recipes for incredibly easy two-ingredient maple soufflés, indulgent flourless chocolate cake, mini lemon tarts, and homemade petit fours (these would actually be a fun–messy–one to do with kids)!

And if you really neeeed a turkey recipe, we used Martha Stewart’s t-shirt turkey recipe last year, and it was absolutely terrific. 

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Tags: appetizers · desserts · food · side dishes

strawberry rhubarb tart

June 29th, 2011 · 13 Comments

You’re welcome.

If you guys don’t already have Fourth of July baking plans, let me put this one on your list.  It’s as simple as you can get, using the best fresh summer ingredients for tons of flavor.  Throw in a half hour of cooking time, and you’ve got a dish that’s going to seriously wow any party you take it to.

Even if the party is just your family in the backyard.

(Which, we all know, is basically the best kind.)

I was on my way home a few weekends ago when I saw the most gorgeous, bright red rhubarb at Grand Central Market — not the green-pink kind you usually see this time of the year, but gorgeous, vibrant stalks of it. 

I was so excited that I immediately tweeted about it, and Jen planted the idea of a rhubarb simple syrup in my head.  My version is a little thicker and more rustic — not strained or blended — but it’s hearty enough for this tart and delicate enough for cocktails (coming up soon!).  The perfect mix.

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart Recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 (8-ounce) sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
2 cups strawberries, trimmed and sliced
1 cup sliced rhubarb (1 large stalk)
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

In a small saucepan, cook the rhubarb on medium-low heat with 1/4 cup of sugar, vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of water until broken down and tender, about 20 minutes (add more water if it runs too low). 

Preheat to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll the pastry into a large square.  Cut the pastry into a large circle by trimming the corners.  Spoon the rhubarb mixture into the circle, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edges.  Spread strawberries in an overlapping pattern over the rhubarb — use the end pieces of the sliced strawberries in the middle of the circle to get the style I used. 

Fold the pastry over itself, to cover the outer edges of the strawberries.  Pierce the pastry lightly with a fork, and brush the top of the pastry with water.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp sugar over the strawberries. 

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is starting to turn golden.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream!

Tags: desserts · food

peanut butter & jelly cookies

May 23rd, 2011 · 6 Comments

Sometimes, I think a recipe just chooses you. 

After more than three years of posting recipes on this site, sometimes it feels like I’ve made all the dishes I could possibly think of wanting.  This happens in particular with desserts (maybe because they’re my favorite thing to cook), and especially when I find myself trying to brainstorm ways to come up with a cookie that I haven’t already posted. 

Because there’s something so lovely about cookies.  They’re probably the first thing you remember baking, no?  Whether they were from scratch with your mom or from a mix at your friend’s house, for most people, cookies are the first taste of baking they get.

But I think partly because of that, cookies can sometimes seem unsophisticated.  If you could make them at nine years old, can they really be enough of a challenge to, say, serve at a party?  You’ll notice they’re almost never on restaurant menus.  That’s because cookies are a basic, and sometimes basics feel like the lazy choice.

So when I was thinking about new, exciting cookie recipes, I thought of one of my favorite flavor combinations: peanut butter and jelly.  Peanut butter cookies are beyond easy — the kind of recipe a nine-year-old could happily master.  But this sweet, smooth jelly filling adds so much to these cookies beyond just the basics — they’re interesting, new, and totally delicious.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 egg
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup grape jelly
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine peanut butter, 1 cup confectioners sugar, salt and and egg, and drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk together the grape jelly, 1/3 cup confectioners sugar and heavy cream until the consistency is even (use an electric mixer if you have one — this takes some time).

Place a spoonful of jelly mixture in between two peanut butter cookies, and press together.  Repeat to create sandwich cookies for all the remaining cookies.

Tags: desserts · food

chocolate souffle cake

April 6th, 2011 · 13 Comments

Swoon.

I actually made this in the dead of winter, one of those weekends when it felt like the snow would never let up and I needed something comforting, rich and totally decadent.  I’d just whipped these up for a friend’s birthday, but this time around, I wanted a lighter, fluffier texture and a classic chocolate flavor.

And this was incredible.  Frankly, you could probably guess that anything called a Chocolate Souffle Cake would be pretty delicious, but this was even better than I expected.  Somewhere between a cake and a souffle, this recipe mixed the best of both. 

chocolate souffle cake

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spray an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray (or use a nonstick springform pan).  Melt chocolate and butter over simmering water in a double boiler, about 7 minutes, stirring frequently.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Whisk yolks with 2/3 cup sugar on a high speed, until they are pale yellow and form thick ribbons when the beater is raised.  Set aside.

In an electric mixer, whip egg whites with remaining 1/3 cup sugar until they form soft peaks, about 5 minutes.  While the egg whites are beating, add the chocolate to the yolk mixture.

Mix about 1/3 of the egg whites into chocolate mixture, stir to combine, then quickly fold in the remaining egg whites.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, and and allow to cool in the pan. When the cake is completely cool, gently run a knife around the edges of the pan and release the spring.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Tags: desserts · food

recipe: blood orange mousse

February 19th, 2011 · 11 Comments

A few weeks ago, we had a few friends over for drinks and dessert, and I was actually at sort of a loss in deciding what to make.  I spent way too long the day of the party wandering around the grocery store trying to figure out a fun, original dessert idea, until I stumbled across a bin of blood oranges.

Could it be?  Had I somehow found them on one of the two weeks per year that these incredible little fruits are in season?  I immediately knew that I had to use them. 

Except… one problem.  The gorgeous color that’s the defining characteristic of these oranges got a little lost in turning them into mousse!  When I’d added heavy cream and quite a bit of whipped eggs and sugar, the end product was something much more cream-colored than blood-colored, which was a little disappointing. 

The easy solution would be to keep a little wedge of the original oranges as a garnish, but I wondered if you guys had any ideas!  How do you preserve color when you’re diluting an ingredient?  Do you resort to artificial color, or do you choose ingredients with presentation in mind?

Blood Orange Mousse

INGREDIENTS

4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 blood oranges, juiced
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

DIRECTIONS

Combine the egg yolks and 1/4 sugar and set over a pot of boiling water.  Whisk until light and frothy, and until the eggs have reached 120 degrees.  Add the salt and blood orange juice and stir until combined.  Strain to remove any pieces of egg from the mixture.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg whites with the other 1/4 cup sugar until it has formed soft peaks.  Fold together the juice mixture, egg whites and whipped cream, stirring gently until combined.  Spoon the mixture into six glasses, and refrigerate for at least four hours. 

Tags: desserts · food