Heart Shaped Spice Cookies

Heart Shaped Spice Cookies

valentine2017.jpg

I hope everyone’s day is filled with love. These cookies are a little bit like love.. a little sweet,
a little spice and perfect to share with someone.. or all for yourself. This was inspired by a recipe on line from My Recipes. They are addicting! I made up little cookie bags for my husband and his hard working songwriters.

IMG_0373.JPG

IMG_0368.JPG

IMG_0370.JPG

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flourimg_0372
1 teaspoon roasted ground ginger
1 teaspoon roasted cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
sanding sugar

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.

In a separate large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, and beat until mixture forms a stiff yet pliable dough. I added a little water to make the dough easier to work with. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Sprinkle with white sanding sugar. Bake until cookies are firm in center, about 10 minutes. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

IMG_0376.JPG

Lemon Glazed Yogurt Cake

Lemon Glazed Yogurt Cake

Photo Feb 01, 7 57 18 AM.jpg

Everyone has a go-to cake that they pull out for guests, baby showers, when you see that Meyer lemons are available… both of these occurred at the same time this week. I had 2 neighbors that I see when I am out walking and decided it was past time to have them to tea. We had tea at 5 but I am not a stickler for these sort of things. This is simple a wonderful cake. Moist and lemony. This is wonderful without Meyer lemons but if you get a chance try them. A cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange they are just wonderful. This was adapted from a recipe in the “New California Cook” which called for sour cream and lemon extract but I tweaked until I got it the way I wanted.

This can be made 3 days in advance and kept at room temperature, tightly covered. It also freezes well, tightly wrapped for up to 2 months.

Photo Feb 01, 8 12 24 AM.jpg

Photo Jan 30, 7 38 09 PM.jpg

Photo Jan 30, 7 49 11 PM.jpg

 

Photo Jan 30, 8 01 41 PM.jpg

 

Cake
1 3/4 all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon of lemon zest (I used the zest of 2 lemons)
2 tsps of fresh lemon juice
1 cup plain greek yogurt

Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest

Photo Feb 01, 8 15 09 AM.jpg

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9 inch Bundt pan.
  2. Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest and juice and mix for about 2 more minutes.
  4. Reduce the speed to low and add half the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add half the yogurt, and then the rest of the flour and then ending with the yogurt.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Make the glaze while the cake is still warm.
  6. To make the glaze sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest, whisking to break up any lumps.
  7. Using a long skewer poke holes in the cake, almost going through the bottom. Brush on the glaze with a brush giving it time to absorb.

 

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

FullSizeRender.jpg

This is a great recipe for bringing to a party. It is easy, you can make it ahead and it looks really pretty. I adapted it from a recipe by Abigail Johnson Dodge in Fine Cooking. The recipe calls for a 9 inch springform and all I had was a 10 inch springform so I cut down just a bit on cooking time.

For the crust:

  • 1-1/2 cups very finely crushed chocolate graham crackers (I used the food processor)
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

IMG_1974.JPG

IMG_1976.JPG

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbs. natural, unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

IMG_1975.JPG

Make the crust: Heat the oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon (if using) until blended. Drizzle with the melted butter and mix until well blended and the crumbs are evenly moist. Dump the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the pan (to press, use plastic wrap, a straight-sided, flat-based coffee mug, or a tart tamper). Bake for 10 minutes and set on a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

Make the filling and bake: Mix the sour cream and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat (or in a microwave). Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, cocoa powder, and salt until very smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl and paddle frequently (and with each subsequent addition). Add the sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth. Scrape the cooled chocolate into the bowl; beat until blended. Beat in the sour cream mixture until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just blended. (Don’t overbeat the filling once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much.) Pour the filling over the cooled crust, spread evenly, and smooth the top. Bake at 300°F until the center barely jiggles when nudged, 50 to 60 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed, with a few little cracks around the edge. Let cool to room temperature on a rack and then refrigerate until well chilled, at least a few hours, or overnight for the best texture and flavor. (This cake freezes well, too: Put the unmolded cake in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm, and then wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil.)

IMG_1979.JPGIMG_1977.JPG

I made chocolate curls to go on top but you could drizzle with white or dark chocolate as well.

For the chocolate curls I melted about 3 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of Crisco. Melt in the microwave (about a minute) and stir until smooth. Pour onto a upside down cookie tray and spread until very thin. Put in the freezer for about 3 minute until hard. Take a metal spatula and scrape slowly until a curl forms. Keep in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to to put on top of the cake. I decorated it and then removed it from the pan when I got to the party

To serve: Unclasp the pan’s ring, remove it, and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate. Run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife as needed.

Pumpkin Pudding

 

IMG_3402.jpg

Since this is the season for everything cinnamon and pumpkin this is a super easy and low fat pudding. It is best eaten warm (I think). I ate some right out of the saucepan…. You can use whole milk for a full fat pudding and add more brown sugar if you want more sweetness. Super easy! It is also a great way to use up leftover canned pumpkin! This recipe was inspired by Health.com. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk  (or evaporated or whole milk)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation

Whisk milk, sugar, and cornstarch in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Beat eggs with a whisk in a large bowl. Gradually add half the hot milk mixture to the beaten eggs. Return milk-egg mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes, or until thick, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in pumpkin, salt, and pumpkin-pie spice. Spoon evenly into 4  dishes. Let cool, and chill for about 30 minutes, or until pudding is set.

Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb Crisp

FullSizeRender

I love rhubarb. My husband does not.. he ate a lot of this. It is very good. I cut back on some of the sugar from the original recipe. I love the tartness of the rhubarb and sweetness of the crisp. Good hot with ice cream or plain. I make this whenever I find rhubarb in the produce aisle. Super easy recipe, this would be great to make with children as an introduction to cooking.

IMG_1845

IMG_1846

IMG_1849

Ingredients

  • 4 cups rhubarb, cut into 3/4″ pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon  cinnamon
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup rolled oats
  • 1⁄2 cup melted butter
  1. Combine rhubarb, sugar, flour and cinnamon and put into 8″ x 8″ x 2″  baking dish.
  2. Combine flour, brown sugar, rolled oats and melted butter and sprinkle streusel over rhubarb mixture.
  3. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.
Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

Maybe the world does not need another recipe for Zucchini Bread but this is truly wonderful. It makes 2 loaves so it is perfect for sharing. It is Saint Patrick’s Day so I thought a recipe that had a green vegetable was a good idea. This recipe is from the blog Once Upon a Chef.

Two 8×4-inch loaves

IMG_0684

IMG_0680

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium Zucchini)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off 
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted if desired
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and set rack in middle position. Generously grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix eggs with sugar until combined. Add grated zucchini, melted butter and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  3. In another large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Use a whisk to mix well.
  4. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix until just combined. Add nuts and currants (or chocolate chips if using), then divide batter into prepared pans. Bake for 55 minutes (I baked it in a Convection toaster oven), or until tester comes out clean. Set pans on wire rack and let cool about 10 minutes, then turn loaves out onto rack to cool completely.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

 Pumpkin

Now that it is officially autumn, and the appearance of “all things pumpkin” is everywhere, I thought this was a good way to kick off the season for my husband who loves pumpkin desserts. This was adapted by a recipe from “Two Peas & Their Pod” which is a wonderful blog. I think the next time I might cut down the amount of butter in the next batch and see if that works, or cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8 x 8 tin.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Pumpkin Pie Spice (recipe Below)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 can canned pumpkin puree ( I used Trader Joe’s Organic)
  • 3/4 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

IMG_1404IMG_1405

Pumpkin Pie Spice:

  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Roasted Ground Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves

Mix together and keep in a jar.

IMG_1399

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. With a stand or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add pumpkin puree and mix well. The mixture will look somewhat curdled. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake bars for 35-40 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

4. Cool bars completely in pan. Cut into squares and serve.

24 bars