recipe: celebration cake

June 10th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

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This may be my new favorite cake!  It’s an old classic recipe from the 1950’s when cake was the dessert of choice.  It’s called a champagne cake and the recipe was revamped in “Baked from Scratch”.  I also revamped their recipe and I think it should be called “Celebration Cake”!  Whatever the name… it’s delicious!

I have two different frostings. The first is a butter cream and the second is the corrected fluffy strawberry frosting that was referenced in the original recipe incorrectly. I doubled the recipe below to make 4 cakes, so you have a four layer cake.  I made the first batch and then the second.

The cake was tall, impressive, and so delicious!  I am always a fan of a great butter cream frosting but again you can also use the fluffy whipping cream frosting and what’s ever bad with whipping cream!

 

 

CAKE INGREDIENTS: (Makes 2, repeat for a 4 layer)
• 1 cup butter softened
• 2 cups of sugar
• 2 teaspoons of vanilla
• 2-1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, “King Arthur’s Flour”
• 2-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon of salt
• 1 cup of pink champagne or sparkling wine, room temperature
• 5 large egg whites, room temperature

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STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
• 2 cups of unsalted butter softened
• 1 2lb bag of confectioners sugar
• 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
• 1/3 cup of finely chopped strawberries

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WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
• 1-1/2 cups of chopped strawberries
• 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
• 1 cup of confectioners sugar
• 1/4 cup champagne

 

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS:
• Garnish fresh strawberries

 

 

DIRECTIONS:
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two or four 9″ round cake pans, then dust with flour. Line bottoms with parchment paper and repeat the butter and flour dusting.

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• Mix butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy always stop to scrape down sides of bowl then beat in vanilla.IMG_0375

• In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with the champagne and ending with the flour beating until combined.IMG950385

• In another bowl beat the egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form then gently fold into the batter on third at a time. Divide batter between pans smooth the tops.IMG_0377

• Bake until wooden tooth pick comes out dry, about 22 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

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• Butter cream frosting: Beat butter at medium speed until creamy 5-6 min then add in sugar gradually with cream and salt beating until smooth. Then add in berries and frost your cake!

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• The Whipped cream frosting requires you to puree the strawberries set aside and whip the whipped cream with sugar until soft peaks form. Add in the champagne gradually and the berries.  Note: I have not made this frosting so I am sharing the “Baked from Scratch” information.

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• When the cake is cool remove the parchment and frost each layer, then put a light crumb frosting the outside of the cake, and finally spread the frosting on top and sides.  Refrigerate 1 hour before serving and garnish with berries.

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This is a beautiful cake that tastes wonderful and is a show stopper on a beautiful cake plate!!

Enjoy!!!

 

 

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recipe: window cookies

January 29th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

We call these “Window Cookies” and they are my younger son’s favorite cookie.  I make them at Christmas and Valentine’s day.  The center shape will change with the holiday but the cookie stays the same… so you can be creative.  This dough can be made with powdered sugar instead of regular and then altered some, but I think the crispness of the sugar cookie recipe makes this cookie taste the best and holds the jam better.  Have fun with this recipe as you can use all different flavors and colors of jam and you can cut out all different shapes.

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 2 sticks salted butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 tablespoon buttermilk or cream
• 3 cups of flour
• ¾ tsp of baking powder
• dash of salt
• One jar seedless jam, raspberry, strawberry, pear, peach, or whatever flavor you prefer.
• 1½ cups powdered sugar, placed in a powdered sugar container.

 

 

DIRECTIONS:
• Beat butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and buttermilk together until smooth.

• Slowly add flour, baking powder, and salt to the wet mixture.

• Make two slabs of dough, slightly flatten and wrap with parchment then with saran wrap.

• Put in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

• Roll out dough and use with either circle or square cookie cutters.

• For each cookie you will have a bottom that is not cut out and a top that you cut a shape out of.

• Place cookies on cookie sheet in a 350 degree preheated oven, until they are slightly browned on the edges. (10min approx).

• Let cookies cool.

• Once cool, powder the bottom side of the bottom cookie and spread jam on the top.

• Powder the top of the cookie (the one with the cut out) and place on top of the jam.

• Repeat until you are done with the dough.  I keep the second slab of dough in the fridge until I am done with the first slab.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies.  They are delicious as well as a great looking cookie.  Who doesn’t like jam on a crisp butter cookie?  Enjoy!

 

 

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recipe: crack slaw

January 27th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This recipe was given to me by a friend, and it works well if you are on a no carb/sugar diet.  My family loved this so the second time I made it I increased the recipe so I had plenty of leftovers!  I have changed the recipe a bit.  If you want to play with the flavors and texture you can always add water chestnuts for crunch and crushed peanuts or cashews.  I change a recipe most every time I make it depending on what I have in my pantry.

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 1½ lbs of ground beef (you can substitute turkey or chicken)
• 2 Tbsp of sesame oil
• 4 minced garlic cloves
• 6 diced green onions
• 16 oz coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
• Salt & pepper to taste
• Boston Lettuce or smaller cups of lettuce

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
• ½ tsp sweetener (Truvia)
• 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
• 1½ tsp white vinegar
• 3 Tbsp Tamari Sauce, a gluten free soy sauce
• ½ to 1 tsp of hot sauce (chili paste or Sriracha)

 

 

DIRECTIONS:
• Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, drain any fat, and set aside.

• Salt & pepper to taste.

• While the meat is browning, combine all the sauce ingredients.

• Heat up the sesame oil and add the garlic green onions and cabbage until cooked.

• Add the sauce and the ground beef mix well and serve hot with your lettuce cups.

This recipe is so easy and takes only a few minutes to put together so we have been making it quite a bit lately.

Enjoy!

 

 

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recipe: mixed berry chocolate slab pie

September 10th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I made this pie for my Labor Day party and it was a hit!  This time of the year the berries at the market are in abundance and I love this recipe because it serves a crowd.  I picked up fresh eggs and butter for the dough, and I always use King Arthur’s Flour. I pulled this recipe from a wonderful cookbook “Bountiful” by Todd Porter and Diane Cu. With the sweetness of the berries I cut the sugar down to ½ cup, and I use salted butter and don’t add the kosher salt.  Also I mixed the chocolate chips into the fruit so it was not a layer of chocolate on the crust but rather immersed in the fruit! It’s easy and delicious and makes a statement due to its size! I also like an egg wash on the dough. Enjoy!

 

FILLING INGREDIENTS:
• 3 lbs mixed fresh berries, larger berries halved and quartered
• ½ cup sugar
• 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
• 1 ½ cups chocolate chips

DOUGH INGREDIENTS:
• 8 cups flour
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 lb cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
• 3 eggs
• ½ cup cold water
• Heavy cream, for brushing the crust or egg wash
• Turbinado sugar, for dusting

 

Directions:
• Preheat oven to 400° F. Butter one 13-by-18-inch sheet pan.

• Start the filling: Put the berries in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together pie filling sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Add sugar mixture to the berries and gently toss to coat berries. Add chocolate chips. Set aside.

• Make the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together dough flour, sugar, and salt. Pinching with your fingers or using a pastry blender, incorporated butter into mixture until no large pieces of butter remain and mixture has a crumbly texture.

• In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the cold water. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, then pour the egg mixture into the well. Working from the center out, combine egg and flour mixes together until the dough holds together. If necessary, adjust with a little additional flour or cold water if dough is too sticky or not holding together.

• Divide dough into two portions, one twice the size of the other.

• On a large floured surface, roll out the larger portion of dough to an 18-by-22-inch  rectangle (I’ll roll out slightly larger then trim edges straight to the dimensions), dusting the underside and top of dough with flour a few times while rolling out to keep dough from sticking.

• Gently wrap the dough around the rolling pin, then unroll it over the first sheet pan. Adjust dough so it sits evenly in the sheet pan.

• Roll out the smaller dough portion to a rectangle just larger than 13 by 18 inches. Flip the second sheet pan upside down and gently press it into dough, then lift the pan off. Use impression to cut dough to size.

• Place in oven and bake 30-40 minutes or until top is golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Dust with Turbinado sugar, slice and serve.

 

 

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I love the flavor of Cardamom so when I saw this recipe in “Bountiful”, a beautiful cookbook by Todd Porter and Diane Cu, I had to try it.  Sometimes you want something just a bit sweet, not too sweet, and not a large portion… maybe a little something with your afternoon tea.  This is that something!

 

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 cup flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp cardamom
• ½ teaspoon of aniseed
• Pinch of kosher salt
• ½ lb of grated zucchini
• 1 egg
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ tsp of grated lime
• ½ cup of unsalted butter, melted
• Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

 

 

DIRECTIONS:
• Preheat oven to 325° and lightly oil the muffin tins.

• Whisk together the dry ingredients and set a side.

• Squeeze the grated zucchini dry to remove excess moisture.

• In a separate bowl whisk the egg, sugar, and lime zest. Whisk in the butter and stir in the zucchini, then fold in the flour until just combined.

• Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tins (you can also use individual tartlet molds).

• Bake for 20-25 minutes until cakes are light golden.  Allow then to cool and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Enjoy!

 

 

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recipe: Wilie’s pancakes

May 15th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Breakfast | RECIPES - (1 Comments)

 

These pancakes were introduced to me by my nephew’s wife Marissa and their adorable toddler Wilie.  This was his favorite breakfast, easy to make, healthy, and best of all no flour!  I make these at least once a week and keep a few in the fridge for a quick snack. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 2 mashed ripe bananas
• 2 eggs
• 2 tablespoons of almond butter (any nut butter will do)
• 1 tsp good vanilla
• 1 tsp of cinnamon

 

DIRECTIONS:
• Whisk together and pour into a griddle.

There’s really no need for syrup.  Delish!

 

 

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recipes: blackberry crisps

April 15th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

Spring makes me think of fresh berries, and blackberries were on sale!  So I used the plump sweet and tart blackberries in my crisp recipe.

 

INGREDIENTS:
Fruit:
• 4 cups of washed and drained fresh blackberries
• 2½ tsp of fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp lemon zest
• ¼ cup of whole wheat flour
• ¼ cup of sugar

Crisp:
• ¾ cup of oats
• ¾ cup of brown sugar
• ¾ cup whole wheat flour
• ⅓ cup butter melted
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda

 

DIRECTIONS:

• Mix “Fruit” ingredients (blackberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, and ¼ cup whole wheat flour, and ¼ cup sugar) together and place in ramekins.

• Mix “Crisp” ingredients together and place over the fruit in the ramekins.

• Bake in 350° oven for about 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Most of my love for cooking came from my early memories of my paternal grandmother, Marnos Bedrosian. She was an amazing cook and my sister and I have been trying to recreate this recipe for a while. On my last visit to Charlotte we had a day of cooking and I think we finally perfected this special recipe. The most enjoyable part of making this delicious bread besides eating it was cooking with my sister (who did most of the work!) and having my mom around to enjoy the delicacy fresh from the oven!

Please refer to the pictures as they are a big help when rolling out the dough.

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 2½ lbs. of flour (I recommend “King Arthur Flour”)
• 1 stick of butter
• 1 large spoonful of Crisco
• 1½ tablespoons of sugar
• ½ tsp. salt
• 1 yeast cake
• 4 eggs
• Approximately 1 cup of whole milk

 

DIRECTIONS:
• 2 sticks of melted butter to coat layers of dough

• Egg wash… 1 egg whisked with a tsp of water

• Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top after egg wash is applied.

• Scald milk and add butter & Crisco melt and let stand.

• Mix yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water, add sugar and let stand.

• Beat eggs and add to cooled milk mixture and combine with yeast mixture.

• Knead dough for 10 minutes then let rise in a warm spot covered for 3-4 hrs. You can make late the night prior, but if so put in fridge.

• Form into 6 balls of dough let rise keep covered.

• When doubled in size dough will be ready to roll out into a very thin sheet. I use a long dowel similar to the handle of a broom. It allows you to roll out dough in a large circle. Approximately 20 inches in diameter you will almost be able to see through the dough. Always use flour on your surface & dowel to avoid dough sticking.

• Now dough is folded & refolded.  Please refer to the pictures for guidance:

• Between each fold brush with butter. When you have folded it into a strip then cut on the diagonal and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover and let rise.

• When ready brush with butter, egg wash & sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top and put in preheated 350 degree oven.

• Choereg is done when golden brown on top! This is the best time to enjoy a hot fresh piece with a great cup of coffee or tea! The breads can be frozen and warmed up…always best with a dollop of butter! This is the recipe that brings back strong memories of my grandmother Marnos.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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recipe: butterscotch brownies

October 9th, 2014 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I was looking for an easy recipe to make that I could freeze if I had left overs.  My thinking was then I wouldn’t be tempted to finish the left over dessert.  So I have made variations of this recipe but the one below is out of a cookbook “Southern My Way” by Gena Knox, it’s her grandmother Dot’s recipe.  Of course brown sugar and butter made into a bar… there were very few left overs! Four bars made it into the freezer and were eaten several days later with a dollop of ice cream.

 

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons of baking powder
• 1 lb of light brown sugar
• 1 ½ sticks of butter
• 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
• 2 large eggs
• 1 ½ teaspoons of “good” vanilla
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• ¾ cup of chocolate chips or butterscotch chips (optional)
• Preheat oven to 350˚

 

DIRECTIONS:
• Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

• Melt butter and brown sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat till melted.

• Let cool slightly then whisk in eggs and vanilla.

• Transfer to a larger bowl and add in dry ingredients ½ cup at a time.

• Fold in pecans and chips then pour into a greased (buttered) 8 ½” x 11” baking dish.

• Bake for 40-45 minutes until center is a bit gooey but somewhat set.

• Let cool and then cut into squares… or whatever shape you prefer!

Enjoy!

 

 

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Summer is all about grilling, farmers markets, and easy meals.  So this simple but delicious combination is just how I like to cook.

I like to salt & pepper any meat for several hours or overnight.  It helps with flavor and tenderness.  I added a small baste of “UB”, that’s “Urban Barbecue” sauce.  Delicious when you don’t have time to make your own.  I grilled the meat on a high flame approximately 6 minutes per side.

Fresh vegetables from the farmers market sautéed in olive oil, lemon, sea salt, and pepper.  I added leeks, padron peppers, banana peppers, garlic, and okra… makes a perfect side dish.

 

 

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